Bostoner Rebbe of Yerushalayim Responds to Lakewood Yeshiva Suspending 50 Bochrim For Attending Skulener Rebbe’s Levaya

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If the article you wrote about a Mesifta in Lakewood of suspending their yeshiva bochrim, who attended the Levaya of the Skulener Rebbe ZT”L after being instructed by the hanhalah not to attend, is true (and I hope it is not), then I am writing an…

Open letter to the YWN and its readership:

The Gemara in Kesuvos (17a) explains that one should relinquish one’s Torah learning in order to attend a funeral or to attend a wedding, if their presence is required. When discussing how many people are necessary, the Gemara states, “Just as the Torah was given with 600,000, so too 600,000 should be present when it is taken back”. The Gemara concludes that this applies to one who learns Torah, but for one who teaches Torah there is no limit. The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh Da’ah 361:1) codifies this as the Halacha. The Shulchan Aruch concludes by saying that this does not apply to Tinokos Shel Beis Raban or young Torah students. They should not disrupt their studies to attend a funeral. However, if we look around the Jewish world today and the widespread practice of closing even the elementary schools for funerals of Torah scholars, certainly the rule of Tinokos Shel Beis Raban should not apply to these students. As the Gemara (Eiruvin 14b) tells us, when Halacha is in doubt ‘see what the people say’.

While I did not have the opportunity to know the Skulener Rebbe zt”l personally, as I live in Israel, the outpouring of grief and anguish that was seen and visible, not only to the Jewish people who reside in Boro Park and in Monsey, but also noticed by the police and the general public who saw the many tens of thousands of people who participated both in the eulogies in Boro Park as well as the burial procession in Monsey, testify to the stature of the Skulener Rebbe zt”l.

Even if before the event, the Hanhala of the Mesivta were unaware of the esteem of the Skulener Rebbe zt”l in the eyes of the masses, certainly after the fact, they should have reassessed their position rather than double down by suspending these student, who may have felt obligated by Torah law to attend, especially their Chassidic students, who may have felt they were participating in the Levayah of someone who they considered one of the great sages of this generation.

If the Hanhalah of this Mesivta follows through in punishing these Yeshiva Bochrim who are adhering to Shulchan Aruch, then in my opinion, this Mesivta is causing damage to their student’s perception of Torah, those who learn it, those who practice it, and their students who desire a genuine Torah education.

May such an occurrence never happen again regarding the Levaya of a sage of Yisroel, whether it be a Chassidic Torah leader, a Misnadic Torah leader, or a Torah leader of any group within the Yeshiva Torah World.

Mayer Alter HaLevi Horowitz
The Bostoner Rebbe of Yerushalayim

Thirty-five Years of Kiryat Boston-Har Nof in Eretz Yisroel
שלושים וחמש שנה לבוסטון הר נוף בארצנו הקדושה

[SEE THIS: Suspended Bochrim Are Sitting And Learning in Lakewood Shul [PHOTOS]

THE FOLLOWING WAS THE EXTENSIVE YWN COVERAGE OF THE LEVAYA

VIDEOS & PHOTOS: Live Coverage of the Boro Park & Monsey Levayas of the Skulener Rebbe ZATZAL

INJURED NYPD OFFICERS: One Struck By Vehicle Carrying Aron of Skulener Rebbe ZATZAL; Another Struck By Falling Drone

Photo Essay: Levaya Of The Skulener Rebbe ZATZAL- Part 1 (Photos by JDN)

Photo Essay: Levaya Of The Skulener Rebbe ZATZAL – Part 2 (Photos by JDN)

Photo Essay: Levaya Of The Skulener Rebbe ZATZAL – Part 3 (Photos by JDN)

Photo Essay: Levayah Of The Skulener Rebbe ZATZAL In Monsey – Part 1 (Photos by JDN)

Photo Essay: Levayah Of The Skulener Rebbe ZATZAL In Monsey – Part 2 (Photos by JDN)

Photo Essay: Photos Of The Skulener Rebbe ZATZAL – Part 1 (Photos by JDN)

Photo Essay: Photos Of The Skulener Rebbe ZATZAL – Part 2 (Photos by JDN)

BORUCH DAYAN HA’EMES: Petira of the Skulener Rebbe ZATZAL

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)




37 COMMENTS

  1. According to his own words the Shulchan Orach ruled “The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh Da’ah 361:1) codifies this as the Halacha. The Shulchan Aruch concludes by saying that this does not apply to Tinokos Shel Beis Raban or young Torah students. They should not disrupt their studies to attend a funeral.”

    it is the Bostoner Rebbe’s personal interpretation that it doesn’t apply “Bzman Hazeh”. Certainly the Yeshiva Hanhallah might hold differently. Since it is subject to a machlokes, either side has on whom to rely. But once the Yeshiva Hanhallah assered the Bochurim from going, it becomes a matter of defying a direct instruction and no longer muttar – except possibly under special circumstances – if they got a psak that they are permitted to defy their Rosh Hayeshiva.

    The kovod of the Skulenah Rebbe as described in the letter doesn’t change this.

    How would the Bostoner Rebbe feel if someone else wrote a public letter telling HIS chassidim to ignore and defy him, because the letter-writer held differently than the Rebbe in some Halacha? Did he call the Rosh Hayeshiva first to discuss it?

  2. TEMIMUS ;
    does anyone think the hanaholoh doesnt know who the sekulener was & the question of if the message at night was pareve ( because the rosh was scared of a ruckus) and leachar hamaaseh not to reign in his own gaaveh
    bostoner rebbe dont worry ” er vet arupkumen fun boim”

  3. In line with what I just wrote, the Rebbe’s conclusion of “If the Hanhalah of this Mesivta follows through in punishing these Yeshiva Bochrim who are adhering to Shulchan Aruch,” is actually inaccurate. The situation is more like “these Yeshiva Bochrim are going AGAINST the Shulchan Aruch,”, and that is a very good reason to punish them indeed!

  4. With all due respect to other opinionators, those students who intentionally and openly disobeyed the Rosh Yeshiva should indeed have been expelled, unless they remorsefully and respectfully plead for reconsideration.

  5. 1. Does the yeshiva have ANY godol or posek backing their position? Or is the yeshiva basing their decision on their own personal feelings without any gedeolei yisroel making such a pekuach nefesh decision? So far we’ve heard ZERO anything that the yeshiva made this decision anything other than on their own administration’s decision.

    2. The yeshiva did NOT tell the bochorim in advance not to go. The news of the levaya came out after yeshiva was over and the bochorim were home. And they left early in the morning before anyone from the yeshiva told them any instructions.

  6. Tis Litvish So Called Rosh Yeshiva can’t stand that a chasidisher rabbi had the biggest lavaya in New York
    when he makes a wedding and needs the bucherim to dance for him, than there is no bittel torah

  7. It is very simple what happened here. After the holla Holocaust there was a lot of yidden that work very schvach in Yiddishkiet. And there kids went to shvache ye hiva’s with litvishe rabbim who wore them machzir bitshiva.
    Now they can’t face the fact their ancestors were chasidish and went off the Derech, so that try to stand apart as much as possible for their own Gilt .

  8. Mr. Yitzyk,

    Can you please get off your high and mighty horse. There is a FIFTA SHULCHAN ORUCH. Sometimes you need to look at the entire picture and you seem to be stuck in the trees and not seeing the forest.

    I am not a Skulner chassid but when you read and hear about a tzadik that was MOSER NEFESH to help YIDIN under circumstances that this generation cannot begin to understand andwho sat in prison for helping YIDIN under a Communist regime, then you have to teach the talmidim that part of yidishkeit as well. Every blat of gemarah is HEILIG but there is such as thing as CHESSED at a level that very few YIDIN will ever attain in their lifetime like the level that the SKULENR REBBE ZECHUSO YAGEN ALAINU achieved. When you can measure up to his TZIDKUSS then rethink your opinion. When does the Yeshiva ever have an opportunity to teach by example what MESIROS NEFESH means and what CHESSID means. They missed the boat BIG TIME !

    I do not know which yeshiva this is but this was a grave mistake. They just took it too far and sent the wrong message.

    Do you have any idea how insulting this was to any Holocaust survivor that benefited from his CHESSED and TZIDKUS. And what the children of the survivors that were physically and spiritually saved. Please get your priorities straight before you quote SHULCHAN ARUCH since you are definitely missing one CHALEK of the SHULCHAN ARUCH that you never got to.

  9. Dear Editor,

    As a member of the hanhalah of a yeshiva that penalized bochurim for going to a levayah this week, I wish to share the following.

    Firstly, don’t believe everything you read. Certain things are misreported and misrepresented. So don’t take things hook, line and sinker. There’s much you don’t know. Don’t believe the so-called investigative reporting.

    Secondly, when a bochur is suspended for going to a levayah, he isn’t suspended because he went to a levayah. It’s sounds sensational to say it and it works great for website headlines. But the truth is that he’s suspended because he blatantly violated yeshiva rules. If a bochur is explicitly told not to go somewhere and he still goes, he has ignored his rebbi and his hanhalah. Therefore, even if he went to visit Rav Chaim Kanievsky, for example, he should be penalized because he defied his rabbeim.

    So of course, it sounds great to proclaim that bochurim were suspended for going to a levayah, and then all the brilliant pundits can comment about how the bochurim were not treated fairly and the mechanchim don’t know what they are doing. The truth is that the mechanchim do know what they are doing. Yes, a student will be penalized for ignoring the rules of his school or yeshiva, no matter how righteous his excuse is. If a bochur leaves yeshiva grounds without permission to daven or attend a shiur – and we know that Torah supersedes all – should he not be penalized because he was doing a choshuve thing? Of course he’ll have to own up to it. It’s not a free-for-all.

    Finally, the decision of a yeshiva is its alone. It shouldn’t be fodder for every person at a keyboard to chime in on. You don’t like a yeshiva’s rules? Don’t send your kid there. No one forced you. And if a yeshiva feels that it must apply certain rules or penalties, then either deal with it or mind your own business.

    Sincerely,

    A Rebbi

    {Matzav.com}

  10. To the honored Rebbe shlita
    its very appreciated that the Rebbe took the time and tircha to write to ywn. may we humbly ask the rebbe to please answer the following, as it is seems to be qs asked by many of the readers.
    the Rebbe wrote : “The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh Da’ah 361:1) codifies this as the Halacha. The Shulchan Aruch concludes by saying that this does not apply to Tinokos Shel Beis Raban or young Torah students. They should not disrupt their studies to attend a funeral. However, if we look around the Jewish world today and the widespread practice of closing even the elementary schools for funerals of Torah scholars, certainly the rule of Tinokos Shel Beis Raban should not apply to these students.
    As the Gemara (Eiruvin 14b) tells us, when Halacha is in doubt ‘see what the people say’.”
    the gmarah quoted says, when Halacha is in doubt” !.why is there a ‘doubt’ in this case, if the shulchan aruch is very clear? if something is wide spread does that mean theres a doubt?!
    thank you, b’kavod rav.

  11. This all sounds so strange. A Rebbe is reponding to a blog? If he feels that this should be addressed, call the Rosh Yeshiva and discuss the matter with him.

    This has nothing to do with a levaya. Bochurim broke Yeshiva rules. The word of the Rosh Yeshiva must be adhered to just as much as a Rebbe/Admor.

    All of us from Yeshiva backgrounds know that this time of the zman is exceptionally shvach. If I am to be melamed zchus, the Yeshiva must have felt that had they allowed all to go to the levaya, the zman would basically be over. And most yeshivas last until 5 Nissan – 7 Nissan. By allowing all the bochurim to leave, probably many would not return and that would be the end of the zman.

    Once you allow for the the Yeshiva’s rules to be openly questioned, by any person (even a Rebbe living 5000 miles away (who signs his letters with “35 years in Har Nof”), it time to question, what is the purpose of the Yeshiva. A Yeshiva runs out of respect for the Rosh Yeshiva and by the rules of the hanholo. Just like a chassidus runs on the word of Rebbe. And if the Rebbe doesn’t understand this, it’s just so strange. The public forum is not the place to actually solve the issues.

  12. I’m sure that none of these bochurim will have any problems with finding a shidduch because of their action. I can imagine that many fathers would be happy to have a bochur who took bold action for kovod hatorah. Ais la’asos lashem…

  13. The entire basis of this being a news story is ridiculous! People are accusing others of saying something wrong without any knowledge of any facts and maligning and accusing people in the process. What happened to hilchos loshon horah?!? Perhaps TYW should post a disclaimer, similar as you do at the end of all the har abois stories, gedloi torah throughout the generations, including every single tana, amora, rishon, achron, litvish and chassidish godal forbid saying over and being mikabel loshon haroah.

  14. Kol Hakovod to these Bochurim , Chizku Veamtzu , I am positive that you will grow up to be big Torah giants and you will be able to look back at this time and say Geloybt Der Aibishter that we had the right Sechel to go the Levaya and give the Kovod Achron to this Tzaddik Emes ! This was not an Aveira Lishmoh it was a Mitzvah Lishmoh

  15. Without expressing any opinion because i believe there are facts missing from the original headline and by printing such a letter by the Bostener rav here without having lakewood hanhola print explanation from their side . it just smells of gossip-and by doing it this way. yeshiva world is contributing to more machlokes in clal yisroel.

  16. Thanks Rebbe.

    From now on, please submit all the decisions of your mosdos in advance to Lakewood, to make sure they agree with them, and give them veto power to block any they don’t hold of.

    After all, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

  17. I have 1 question for YWN. You pride yourself on being run with daas torah. Was daas torah asked if these articles should be published?

  18. I’m sorry, no I’m really not, but if somebody asked r’shus to go, was denied, and went anyway, he deserves what he’s going to get! If something would have happened to him, the parents would have raised holy hell against the Yeshiva AND THEY WOULD HAVE BEEN ONE HUNDRED PERCENT RIGHT.

    As far as this “letter” is concerned from the Bostoner Rebbe Shlita from Har Nof, I highly doubt this letter is emes. I truly don’t believe that he would have written such a letter. In fact I will go so much to say as I think this is SHEKER!

    Why do I say that? Because I think he would have looked into the information before publicizing something. I also don’t believe but he spends his time on this or any other blog to see what the yentas have to say.

  19. It’s pretty simple to me: If a bochur feels he can disagree with his Rebbe on the meaning of Shulachan Oruch, and then deliberately, while in Yeshiva, do things his way and against the Rebbe’s פסק, then it’s pretty clear he does not belong in that Yeshiva, no?

  20. It’s an ego issue. They said not to go and the bochurim did so they chucked them. Disgraceful chinuch. And sheesh the letter from that rebbi that’s way off the mark! I give myself a blessing that this is the trouble my children should make. In the world of today I’d be thankful for my kid to be doing this at the end of an ibur yur winter zman! #BadDecision

  21. With all due respect to the Bostoner Rebbe I don’t understand his question. Since when does what people do trump halacha? People speak lashon hora too so does that mean we can now speak freely not worrying about the issurim involved with doing so?

  22. In my opinion the Yeshiva is right. If the boys wanted to go that badly they should have put that up with the Hanhala. The yeshiva is showing them that they mean business. and that’s the way it should be. We don’t want to teach our children that they can make their own decisions. And anyways why is this world news?

  23. The Skulener Rebbe zt”l was known for many things but one of the principal traits he undoubtedly had was always looking out for the kedusha of each and every one of Am Yisroel. He was violently opposed to the internet and smartphones. Here we have another “Rebbe” who never knew the Skulener Rebbe zt”l engaging in self seeking Internet blog publicity. Anyone who knows Rabbi Horowitz understands that this is what his letter is all about. Its sanctimonious tone suggesting that the hanhola of one of Lakewood’s finest Yeshivas were unaware of the esteem the Rebbe zt”l was held in, is laughable. This is the same “Bostoner Rebbe” who was refused entry to the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah in Israel even though his late father zt”l was one of its most respected members. The sons of the Modzitzer, Erloi, Sadigura Rebbes, to name but three, all automatically assumed their father’s seat upon his passing. Before publishing this letter, it would have been wise of YWN to have enquired just who this “Rebbe” is. Anyone can trade on and use his family name to generate machlokes.

  24. Although we are obligated to honor and respect our parents and our Rabbeim, if they ask you to do something that is against Hashem’s will, you are required to disobey (See Rashi Vayikroh 19:3). There was no issue of liability because the boys went WITH their parents, or at least with their parents permission. The boys know that this particular Rosh Yeshiva can act strangely, and are not surprised that this is how he reacted. There are those rare occasions where you have to do what’s right, regardless of what your Rebbe says, and regardless of the consequences, and indeed this is one of those situations. I doubt any of the boys have any regret for what they did, and they shouldn’t have. As for the Hanholas HaYeshiva, I would like to give them the benefit of the doubt (similar to what the Bostoner Rebbe wrote) that they likely didn’t realize how much the Rebbe meant to these boys. They are human and erred in judgment and could be forgiven. But for their own Kovod and dignity they should invite the boys back ASAP and think of a way to get past this quickly before more damage is done and the boys and the rest of Klal Yisroel lose all respect for the Yeshiva.

  25. The halacha is tinokos shel beis raban shouldn’t mevatel Torah, those talmidim al pi shulchan aruch should be getting ready get married in a year or two. (will be, as they are Chassidim)

    tavasnoach
    April 4, 2019 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm
    “since when do yeshivas realy care what halacha is a lot of it is impulse and you have to listen to me type of rules.”
    Exactly, that’s how people of that kind of Yeshiva turn out. Since when to Yeshivos tcare about halacha. Lol

  26. The bochorim were never told not to go since the levaya was announced after yeshiva hours and they left to NY before yeshivs started.

  27. While I don’t know who this Rebbe is, I agree that everyone, especially those in chinuch need to use the “Fifte Shulchan Aruch”.
    I want to know, if the Hanhulla would have not allowed their talmidim go to a litvushe godals Levaya?
    I am sure they would have.
    As I know from many of my friends that learned in Lakewood Yeshiva’s, the litvushe Hanhulla is always trying to suppress them and not allow any “chasidisha Shtik”.
    This was outright wrong!!!!!!

  28. What would have happened if the Yeshiva would allow the kids to go (yes these are kids not 20 year olds) ?
    There would be a mass exodus full Sunday off, with everyone besides a handful of Masmidim packing out to BP ( or anywhere else) for the day. This is nothing to do with Chasidish or Litvish, a wedding or a funeral, this is the Hanhala trying to run a serious Yeshiva. And it would have been scandalous had they closed down for a Levaya in a different town.
    Did any shops or businesses in Lakewood or Monroe shut down in honour of the Levaya in BP? I suspect not.

  29. “avi732 – Since when does what people do trump halacha? People speak lashon hora too so does that mean we can now speak freely not worrying about the issurim involved with doing so?”

    If you ask such a question, because YOU never heard of Chazal’s statement: “puk chazi my ama d’bar” (go see what yidden do), of “minhag mevatel halacha”, then go back to yeshiva, bring your dust covered sefer and learn a little bit.

    Your question advertizes your extreme am haratzus.

    If you nebech don’t know anything, quietly ask someone without posting for all to know your ignorance.

  30. the level of halakhic wisdom displayed has not been overwhelming. additional factors not considered: 1) attending a levayah that is nearby is not the same as traveling to a levayah. 2) in the modern day attendance via electronic hookup is always to be considered. 3) listening to your rebbe even if you think he is wrong, unless you are already rouy le’horaah, is mandated by halakha. 4) In all due respect, the niftar was not known as a great marbitz torah. a quick search did not uncover any of his writings or shiurim transcribed in any way. 5) were any of the 50 ever by his tisch?? i could go on, but i am preparing for Shabbat

  31. We jews are so messed up philosophically and spiritually that it is a pathetic state of events. A mesivta in Lakewood appears to clearly and unequivocally violate the words of the Gemara and the YWN refuses to identify those who go against the teachings of the Gemara. What exactly is the purpose of learning Gemara in 2019? I am confused.

  32. Interestingly, about 13 post down from the top Is a post from someone titled Takes2-2tango. He say’s he is a rebbi in that Mesivta in Lakewood. He stands “so proudly” behind the expulsion of about 70 bachurim from that Mesivta for going to the Levaya of the great Skulener Rebbe. However, as I see it he is careful not to name the Mesivta in Lakewood that he works for (though who here does’t know which Mesivta it is). Apparently, this rebbi is embarrassed as to the foolishness of the so called Menahal. He wants to place the silly responsibility of enforcing rules made by a clown on the shoulders of the entire hanhala, yet refuses to provide his first and last name. He reminds me of the criminals that get arrested and cover their faces from the photographers because they are too embarrassed. Clearly, this person has a strong negias – ulterior motive- to protect the old (so called) Menahal. Do we need to wonder what is this rebbi’s connection to the Mesivta? Or was he told “get on line and support my position or else you too will be out of my Mesivta”? The answers are I believe very obvious.