A printed announcement in today’s Hamodia newspaper has caused confusion within the ranks of the Chabad Rabbonim. The ad is signed by Rabbonim and Admorim and forbids the Simchas Bais HaShoeva festivities to take place outdoors. Until now, Admorim refrained from signing such advertisements.
The undersigned are against all and any events that take place outdoors, even with the best type of separation between men and women. They state that such events must take place either in shuls with a completely separate Ezras Noshim, or in halls with a separate hall for women, and separate entrances and approaches. The Rabbonim who signed are: The Admorim from Ger, Sanz, Sadigura, Belz, Rav Yisroel Hager (Viznitz) and Rav Elyashiv, Rav Wosner, Rav Nosson Gestetner, Rav Tzadka, Rav Shmuel Aurebach, Rav Baadani, Rav Michel Yehuda Lefkowitz, Ravb Aron Leib Steinman, Rav Chaim Kanievsky and Rav Nissim Karelitz.
The Chabad news website “Shturem” spoke with several Lubavitch Rabbonim in Yerushalyim and heard various responses. Rabbi Zev Dov Slonim, member of the Chabad Bais Din explained that it is impossible to come out against all the Rabbonim. He feels that there must be a meeting to discuss this responsibly, and find a way to incorporate the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s will without going against the Rabbonim.
Rabbi Tuvia Blau (Chabad) was also approached to give his opinion on this controversial matter. Rabbi Blau stated that in his opinion, the Simchas Bais HaShoeva in Shikun Chabad should be cancelled, but in non charedi neighborhoods and cities they should be celebrated as scheduled.
“Without a doubt we must fulfill the Rebbe’s horoa of dancing in the streets, but the purpose of the event in Shikun Chabad organized by Tzach is to be mezake – not Lubavitchers, but – the charedim in the area. Thousands came, attended and danced in the streets, and during the years we have accomplished our purpose. Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Aharonov and Rabbi Naftoli Roth are to be commended for keeping strict segregation between men and women, making sure that it was utterly impossible to have any slip-ups. Last year only Litvishe Rabbonim signed the ban, and the chassidishe crowd participated, together with unaffiliated Jews.
This year, since – for some reason – the Admorim signed as well, including great admirers of the Rebbe as the Gerrer and Sadigura Rebbes; we will not go and debate the issue with them. If no one will participate, what is the point of hosting it at all? If only Lubavitchers and some religious nationalists attend, and not charedim, we haven’t fulfilled the purpose and will of the Rebbe. I repeat and emphasize that in all other places, the events must go on as usual. And in Yerushalayim we must host the Simchas Bais HaShoevea in a venue where charedim can also participate, but not in a charedi neighborhood.”
Rabbi Blau adds that the Rebbe never opposed other Gedolim.
Other suggestions came from Rabbi Avrohom Michoel Halperin, Rav of the French Hill and a member of Chabad Bais Din. He told “Shturem” that it is forbidden to oppose the Rabbonim, and the event can be transferred indoors, so that there can be ample tznius control, while bringing a car with music out on the street. That way the Rebbe’s horoa will be carried out.
Another important Lubavitcher personage suggested moving the festivities over to the Kosel compound, which has the two elements necessary: it is also outdoors, and provides the tznius arrangements needed. No one will be angered, and there are always plenty of people on hand.
An (un-named) Rav who is a member of Chabad Bais Din – not from Yerushalayim – was extremely firm in his position. “By no means are we to stop the Simchas Bais HaShoeva. Who are we to listen to, the Rav or the talmid? We have clear horoas from the Rebbe to celebrate on the streets, especially during the Hakehel year. It is absolutely forbidden to cancel the outdoor events.”
(NOTE / CLARIFICATION: The above article was written by “Shturem”, not YWN.)