Avodah Mailing List

Volume 04 : Number 132

Saturday, November 13 1999

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Fri, 12 Nov 1999 12:17:05 -0600
From: "Yosef Gavriel and Shoshanah M. Bechhofer" <sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu>
Re: Avodah V4 #130 reply to RYGB's post on Chassidus study

----- Original Message ----- 

> 4.Focus is not a bad thing: If one concentrates on ones own  derech and
> lives it and it leads someone to ever higher heights in Torah, Avodah and
> Kiyum Mitzvos Be'hiddur, this is an absolute good.

I disagree.

>  Provided of course, that this is coupled with Ahavas Yisroel for all
> Jews and respect for any approach "Hamolich Beis Hashem". 

With this I agree.

>  Our Rebbe often pointed out that we must learn lessons in Avodas Hashem
> from Minhagim and Tefilos that other Jews have even if we don't practice
> them ourselves.


Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer
Cong. Bais Tefila, 3555 W. Peterson Ave., Chicago, IL 60659
http://www.aishdas.org/baistefila    ygb@aishdas.org

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Date: Fri, 12 Nov 1999 13:45:12 -0500
From: gil.student@citicorp.com
RE: Avodah V4 #130

     Chaim Markowitz wrote:
     >>Or if you want to get lomdish-Borei Pri Ha'adama since a person is
     called "Adam-min Ha'adama">>
     But isn't "adam eitz hasadeh" in which case a person's parents are 
     eitzim and that person is "pri ha'eitz." :-)

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Date: Fri, 12 Nov 1999 10:55:01 -0800 (PST)
From: harry maryles <hmaryles@yahoo.com>
Re: Yitchak had Downs Syndrome!?!

--- gil.student@citicorp.com wrote:
>      The following was taken from R. Avi Weiss' dvar
> Torah which was 
>      included in this week's Toras Aish.  I find it
> totally appalling.
>      >>The upshot: Yitzhak is easy to deceive, he
> lacks individuality, is 
>      spared grief, is compliant and is even laughed
> at. My dear friend, 
>      Rabbi Saul Berman points out that there is a
> common thread that weaves 
>      itself through each of these characteristics -
> they are often found in 
>      those who have Downs Syndrome. It should be
> pointed out that aged 
>      parents are more vulnerable to having a Downs
> child.  Avraham and 
>      Sarah were elderly when Yitzhak was born. 
>         There is no classical opinion that suggests
> that Yitzhak had Downs. 
>      Still, the fact that his attributes fit into
> this mold, teaches a 
>      vital lesson - those with Downs possess the
> image of God and have the 
>      ability to spiritually soar, to spiritually
> inspire and yes, even to 
>      lead.>>

The Chazon Ish used to stand up when an indivdual with
downs syndrome walked into the room.  He felt that
such a person was on a higher Madregah than "so
called" normal people because he is better able to
fufill G-d's requirements of him than we are G-d's
requirements of us.

Also, I don't think the point of Avi Weiss's Devar
Torah was to say that Yitzchak Avinu had Downs
syndrome. to quote:

>There is no classical opinion that suggests
>that Yitzhak had Downs. 

I believe, It was to try and make some connnection  to
the parsha and Kavod Habriyos and to point out, as did
the Chazon Ish, that we should not look down at those
who are less fortunate than we and perhaps even look
up to them.

I do think that Yitzchak, probably suffered from
macular degeneration in his old age.



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Date: Fri, 12 Nov 1999 14:03:28 -0500
From: gil.student@citicorp.com
Yitchak had Downs Syndrome!?!

Rich Wolpoe wrote:

>>Totally appalling?

By totaally appaling are you suggesting that EVERYTHING written was literally 

EG Is the fact that Down syndrome possessing teh image of G-d appaling?>>

I did not mean that the total was appalling.  I meant that the suggestion that 
Yitzchak had Downs syndrome was totally appalling (as opposed to partially 
appalling - admittedly a poor choice of words).  I should also have mentioned 
that this dvar Torah was pointed out to me by R. Moshe Schapiro to whom it was 
pointed out by R. Danny Rapp - just trying to bring the geulah.

You raised an interesting question.  Do people with Down syndrome have a tzelem 
E-lokim?  It depends on your definition of tzelem E-lokim.  Since there are 
different degrees of mental incapacity from a variety of illnesses I will only 
speak of symptoms and not diseases.

According to the Targum, tzelem E-lokim is the ability to speak.  Thus those who
cannot speak do not have a tzelem E-lokim.  What about people who are mute?  I 
don't know.  They have the ability to communicate through sign language but so 
can certain animals.  For that matter, vocal communication has been studied in 
dolphins.  Do they have a tzelem E-lokim?  I don't have any answers nor any 
certainty about the preceding.  Would it be permissible to leave a mute person 
unburied because it isn't "kilelas E-lokim talui?"  Probably not.

The Alter of Slabodka says that the tezelem E-lokim is the ability to make 
choices (bechirah chofshis - I also heard this from R. Shimon Romm in the name 
of R. Yerucham in the name of the Ramchal but can't find the Ramchal).  If so, 
those who are incapable of making decisions due to mental incapacity don't have 
a bechirah and therefore are not betzelem E-lokim.

Is it possible to say that they have a tzelem E-lokim which is hidden and/or 
incapacitated.  This seems a more humane answer but does it make sense?  Anyone 
have thoughts or sources on this?

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Date: Fri, 12 Nov 1999 14:00:06 -0500
From: "Markowitz, Chaim" <CMarkowitz@scor.com>
RE: Avodah V4 #131

	In response to  richard_wolpoe@ibi.com who wrote 

	 Totally appalling?
> By totaally appaling are you suggesting that EVERYTHING written was
> literally 
> appalling?
> EG Is the fact that Down syndrome possessing teh image of G-d appaling?
	I think what Gil meant was self-evident.

>          ]

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Date: Fri, 12 Nov 1999 14:06:09 -0500
From: "Feldman, Mark" <MFeldman@CM-P.COM>
RE: Re: Acknowledging internal problems

In contrast to Ha'aretz's coverage, the Jerusalem Post
(http://www.jpost.com/com/Archive/11.Nov.1999/News/Article-8.html) did not
have a report slanted against the rabbis who testified.

Here is an excerpt:
<<The brief appeal came at the end of a three-hour session in which seven
character witnesses, including the principal of the Horev Yeshiva High
School, Mordechai Alon, the former secretary-general of the Bnei Akiva youth
movement, and former students, attested to Kopolevitch's exceptional
devotion to his students and school.
Kopolevitch, dressed in black suit and hat, sat alone, his head down, hands
trembling, a wet handkerchief clutched in his hand, as he heard the
testimonies to his educational qualities.
He is on trial for forcing 12 of his students, who belonged to a favored
inner circle which he created, to conduct homosexual acts with him. The
prosecution dropped charges involving seven other students after reaching a
plea-bargain arrangement in which Kopolevitch confessed to having relations
with the others.
"He was the yeshiva head who invested the most in his students, was ready to
do anyone's bidding to an exceptional degree," said Ya'acov Lipshitz, the
former head of Bnei Akiva. "He went to Bnei Akiva camps all over the country
and was always received with great love and esteem. No other yeshiva head
gave so much, with so much intensity. It was very unusual."
Avishai Grosser, who graduated from Netiv Meir in 1997, said that
Kopolevitch remembered the name of every one of the 450 students in the
school. "He always put his heart into it," he said. "He attended every
Shabbat meal, almost always came to prayer services, and was always ready to
hear our problems and help us."
Given the charges against Kopolevitch, including that he performed some of
his acts on his students at his home late at night, some of the tributes
were unintentionally ironic.
"He was dedicated to each student individually and would receive them in his
home," said Netiv Meir graduate Asher Vodka. "His home was very close to the
yeshiva. Any student could come for advice at any time of day or night."
Another student, Ehud Shraga, inadvertently damaged his credibility when, in
his overeagerness to protect his teacher, he told the court that he does not
believe Kopolevitch performed sexual acts and that the students who
testified against him are liars.

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Date: Fri, 12 Nov 1999 11:07:39 -0800 (PST)
From: harry maryles <hmaryles@yahoo.com>
Re: Jastrow

--- j e rosenbaum <jerosenb@hcs.harvard.edu> wrote:
> On Wed, Nov 10, 1999 at 06:45:26PM +0200, Eli Turkel
> wrote:
> > I remember seeing copies of "Jastrow" in Telshe. 
> Of
> > course, at that time (9th and 10th grade), I had
> no
> > knowledege that he was one of the founding fathers
> of
> > the Conservative Movement.  I wonder if the
> Telsher
> > RH's were aware of Prof. Jastrow's Historiography.
> What do you see as the difference between Jastrow
> and rabbis 
> (such as R. Hertz) educated at JTS before it was
> exclusively 
> conservative?
> Janet

I don't really want to get into the entire history of
JTS (which is a fascinating subject).  But I do
believe you partially answered your own question. R.
Hertz went to the seminary before it was established
as heretical. It is a little known fact but one of the
previous Gedolei HaDor, R. Eliezer Silver, actually
applied to the seminary for a position, but when he
met with, the seminary Head, Solomon Schecter, and saw
him without a head covering of any kind, he quickly
realized that this was not a makom Torah, excused
himself, and left.

Prof. Jastrow was integral in the shaping of the
philosophy of the Conservative Movement and was at the
various conventions where he had major input.  He was
considered then to be on the Left Wing of the

It certainly is ironic that a man of such major
intellect and knowledge was such an apikores. Well I
guess, by definition, it isn't so amazing but it
certainly is a shame.



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Date: Fri, 12 Nov 1999 14:09:35 -0500
From: "Michael Poppers" <MPoppers@kayescholer.com>
On the subject of tznius...

With a "zachin l'adam shelo b'fanav"-level of permission (whether such is
necessary, and if such applies to an org., are tangential topics for
discussion -- given the time of day and the day, as well as my schedule
this coming week, I thought it worthwhile to post now and ask later :-),
I'd like to publicize the text of a poster (according to the Oct. 1999
"Coalition" article, it, "a public service message from the Conference of
Synagogue Rabbonim of Agudath Israel of America, is the first step in a
campaign directed at refocusing people on the importance -- and different
facets -- of tznius," and additional copies may be obtained through AIOA at
84 William St., NYC 10038 USA, tel# 212-797-9000).  Entitled "V'hatznai'a
leches im Elokecha -- Tznius is a state of mind," it continues:

    More than a manner of centimeters and inches, it also is a realization
    each Jew is constantly in the presence of Hashem and must act

    Tznius means moderation and modesty in every sphere of life
    including the following attitudes and behaviors:
        -- Appropriate language and tone of voice
        -- Courtesy for others
        -- Dress
        -- Honesty
        -- Moderation in material acquisitions
        -- Patience
        -- Proper decorum at simchas
        -- Respect and modesty between husband and wife

    Ultimately, through tznius, each Jew brings tremendous nachas ruach to
    and to other Jews - and peace, security, and unity to all of Klal

Humbly submitted on Erev Shabbos (so have yourselves a great one!) by
Michael Poppers * Elizabeth, NJ

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Date: Fri, 12 Nov 1999 14:08:30 -0500
From: richard_wolpoe@ibi.com
Yitchak had Downs Syndrome!?!

Agreed.  And that's why it was not TOTALLY appalling. (at most partially 
appalling <smile>)

A more rational objection would be to say:
"I reject and obejct toanyone who calls Yitzchok Ovinu as being somehow xyx"

Omitting that one aspect, we indeed have a very moving drush, to have compassion
for people with disabilities.

Admittedly, tagging Yitzchok with a disability as a means of engendering that 
compassion might be going too far.  But as HM notes, R. Riskin did NOT say he 
bougth that theory, rather he DID say we could learn mussar heskel fom that 
theory!  There's an essential distinction between learning a lesson from a straw
man and taking that lesson too literally.

______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________

Also, I don't think the point of Avi Weiss's Devar 
Torah was to say that Yitzchak Avinu had Downs 
syndrome. to quote:

>There is no classical opinion that suggests 
>that Yitzhak had Downs. 

I believe, It was to try and make some connnection  to 
the parsha and Kavod Habriyos and to point out, as did 
the Chazon Ish, that we should not look down at those 
who are less fortunate than we and perhaps even look 
up to them.

I do think that Yitzchak, probably suffered from 
macular degeneration in his old age.



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Date: Fri, 12 Nov 1999 14:12:13 -0500
From: richard_wolpoe@ibi.com
Totally appalling?

Indeed. I was objecting to taking it too far.  One could miss a valuable lesson 
inherent in the thrust of the article by dismissing a point that R. Riskin did 
not quite make.

In the listening world it's called NOISE.

EG If I invoke a beautiful lesson from a Chosid in fornt of a misnaged he 
doesn't hear it, because I have said a word that shuts off his mind a pirofi!

FWIW  I do not think it's a good idea to label Yitzchok Ovinu as having Doen 
syndrome, but R. Riskin didn't quite do that, and even if he did, that wasn't 
the thrust of his point!  

We can legitimately cirticize and disagree with a statment and still not 
throwout the baby with the bathwater!

Rich Wolpoe

______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
Subject: RE: Avodah V4 #131 
Author:  <avodah@aishdas.org> at tcpgate
Date:    11/12/1999 2:00 PM

	In response to  richard_wolpoe@ibi.com who wrote 

	 Totally appalling?
> By totaally appaling are you suggesting that EVERYTHING written was 
> literally 
> appalling?
> EG Is the fact that Down syndrome possessing teh image of G-d appaling? 
	I think what Gil meant was self-evident.

>          ]

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Date: Fri, 12 Nov 1999 14:09:39 -0500
From: Kenneth G Miller <kennethgmiller@juno.com>
Re: Yitchak had Downs Syndrome!?!

Gil Student quoted from R. Avi Weiss' dvar Torah, which suggested that
Yitzchak Avinu had Down's Syndrome. R' Student wrote <<< I find it
totally appalling. >>>

I am very curious how this idea is "appalling". I can see how someone
might say it was "surprising", since I understand that men with Down's
are generally considered sterile and unable to have children, but why say
"appalling"? Is it appalling that [name your favorite rabbi here] is
nearsighted? Would anyone be appalled to find that someone was

Am I missing something?

Akiva Miller
Get the Internet just the way you want it.
Free software, free e-mail, and free Internet access for a month!
Try Juno Web: http://dl.www.juno.com/dynoget/tagj.

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Date: Fri, 12 Nov 1999 14:26:26 -0500 (EST)
From: alustig@erenj.com (Arnold Lustiger)
RYBS Drasha

I am working on translating a drasha by RYBS dealing with the purpose and
meaning of Brachos, and I need some help.

The bare outline of the initial part of the lecture is the following:

A. The word baruch in the context of birchos hanehenin does not mean
"praise", it means "bless". In a very enigmatic yet real  sense, we are
providing Hashem with "blessing". How?
B. The pasuk in Breishis says: Vayivra Elokim es Haadam Betzalmo...zachar
unekeva bara osom." This means that Hashem has both a zachar and nekeva
side, known in kabalah as "Dukhra Venukva".
C. When we bless Hashem, we are doing it in the context of "Zivug" - Hashem
is the Nukva while we are the Dukhra. Through our blessing, zivug takes
place, and just as on earth, the Bracha of Pru Urvu happens - Hashem has

Again, this is bekitzur nimratz. ("Yoser mimah shekarati katuv Kahn").

I wondered if anyone knew of an independent source  in which some or all of
the above is succinctly summarized or explained - I can't believe that this
is the Rav's chiddush.  The Rav himself cited the Nefesh Hahaim of R. Haim
Volozhin, but the Nefesh Hahaim does not deal with the topic of Bracha in
quite the same way. 

Any ideas? 

Thank you.

Arnie Lustiger

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Date: Fri, 12 Nov 1999 14:27:59 EST
From: C1A1Brown@aol.com
Re: the bear

>>> Let's analyze this so-called joke carefully. Could a bear really be a 
Jew? I 
 presume the bear isn't circumcised. I therefore presume that he only 
 to be a Jew.<<<

Not only is this list filled with RW/LW bashing, now we've stooped to sexism 
as well. Of course the bear need not be circumcised to be Jewish - SHE is a a 
female Jewish bear.  We must consider what kind of female bear we are dealing 
with who would openly run after a member of the opposite sex (the opposite 
species as well) in a clear breach of the rules of tzniyus, not to mention 
the breach of the laws of yichud in entering the cave together.  We are 
clearly dealing with a very MO bear.  And don't tell me you didn't realize 
the subtle reference to Plato in the use of the cave image - TUM had to be 
buried in the story as well.  
>>> Is this cannibalism, at least  symbolically speaking? Isn't that really 
what's been happening to our  community? The RW is, in fact, devouring the MO 
among us . . . . <<<

Cannibalism when the beracha was hamotzi?  Clearly the bear never intended to 
eat the person, only to trap him in the cave and offer him a meal of bread, 
no doubt expecting he had brought his tefillin along...

But then again, perhaps you are right all along.  Perhaps the bear is a 
chassidic bear, working on being ma'aleh the nitzotzos through avodah 
b'gashmiyus of eating, the cave being a makom hisbodedus, the running just 
his zerizus for avodah.

Who knows?

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Date: Fri, 12 Nov 1999 11:29:20 -0800 (PST)
From: Moshe Feldman <moshe_feldman@yahoo.com>
Re: Paraoh identity

Check out today's Ha'aretz

<<Is there an alternative theory for Israeli archeology? Seven years
ago, Yehoshua Etzion published "The Lost Bible" (Shocken Press). The
book, based on an extensive literary search, provided a verbatim
account of almost every discrepancy listed in Herzog's article. And
more importantly, it offered an explanation in terms of a radical
change of the dating for archeological strata, extending Immanuel
Velikovsky's writings ("Ages in Chaos"). Etzion is not a professional
archeologist, and the book has therefore been greeted with contempt
and disregard by the archeological establishment. While it is indeed
difficult to accept such a radical idea, particularly from a person
lacking formal training, the scientific method demands that two
questions are answered: does the new view settle a key problem and
does it conform with Occam's principle?

What is the relationship between Lisa Liel's article and Etzion's

Kol tuv,

Date: Fri, 05 Nov 1999 15:16:55 +0200
From: Lisa Liel <lisabeth@bigfoot.com>
Subject: Re: Paroh identity


>Liel brings evidence to Velikovsky's dating of the period, and
>that the pharoa of the Exodus was Malul and Pepi II -- who most
>believe to be two different people, but under this chronology is
one. It
>also does much to explain archeological findings about the bayis

Most historians actually would be unlikely to believe there ever was
such a
person as Malul.  Malul is only mentioned in Jewish midrashic
But the description does fit historical sources (ancient Egyptian
inscriptions) about Pepi II.  And I tend to doubt that there were 2
pharaohs who reigned 94 years from the age of 6.  So either they were
same person, or one source copied from the other.  And since the
Egyptian material hadn't been uncovered at the time that the
midrashim were
being written down...

Or maybe it's just a really strange coincidence. <grin>

And just as a minor point, I'm not backing Velikovsky's dating.  He
put the
Exodus at the end of the Middle Bronze Age, for example, which is a
difference.  But from the standpoint of conventional historians, any
radical redating of the archaeological record is pretty much the
"crackpot".  And as convinced as I am of what I wrote, "crackpot"
really is
a legitimate description of any theory that hasn't gained widespread
acceptance.  And this one hasn't.


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Date: Fri, 12 Nov 1999 14:30:01 EST
From: TROMBAEDU@aol.com
Re: Sin'at Chinum

In a message dated 11/12/99 1:52:31 AM Eastern Standard Time, 
toramada@netvision.net.il writes:

<< Again -- if they were wearing slacks, maybe. If they were dressed in a
 >tznius manner, and acting in a tznius manner?

I fail to see how wearing slacks would be relevant.


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Date: Fri, 12 Nov 1999 14:42:14 EST
From: TROMBAEDU@aol.com
Re: RYBS and Psak

In a message dated 11/12/99 10:47:22 AM Eastern Standard Time, 
richard_wolpoe@ibi.com writes:

<< And I can tell you that the Rav often resufed to pasken in NYC; though I 
 say he never did. >>

Well, I can tell you a number of instances specifically where he did. I 
should also point out that these Tshuvos were done in his apartment, not in 
the shiur room as far as I know, and often involved major issues requiring 
great delicacy, especially dealing with Baalei Tshuva and tensions between 
increased observance and Kibud Av V'eim, although those were not the only 
issues discussed.


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Date: Fri, 12 Nov 1999 14:45:49 EST
From: TROMBAEDU@aol.com
Re: Avodah V4 #129

In a message dated 11/12/99 11:21:22 AM Eastern Standard Time, 
MFeldman@CM-P.COM writes:

<< Were they condoning his acts?  No.  Is it required that they know the 
 details (after Kopelovich had already admitted his guilt)?  I don't want to
 know them either.
 The use of the word "concerned" implies that they had a lack of concern for
 the victims.  I think that that is an unfair trick being pulled by Ha'aretz.
 It should have written "did not investigate the details."

My only response to this explanation is to say that if these acts were in 
fact what happened, Roshei Yeshiva, if they are thinking people, would have 
to reassess their perception of their colleague. If that is the case, how can 
they vouch for his character?


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Date: Sat, 13 Nov 1999 17:53 +0200
From: BACKON@vms.huji.ac.il
Re: Daniel: A prophet ?

Shavua Tov.

Regarding Daniel as a navi: Rashi, the BEHAG and Seder Olam do NOT include
him; the GRA in his peyrush to Seder Olam does count him as a navi.
BTW according to Rashi there were 48 neviim; according to the GRA there
were 76.


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Date: Sun, 14 Nov 1999 10:12:09 +1100
From: SBA <sba@blaze.net.au>
Rebbes as Poskim

From Shlomo B Abeles <sba@blaze.net.au>

>>Shlomo Yaffe <syaffe@juno.com> wrote:
>>>>This idea of Chassidic Rebbeim not paskening is not universal.
>>>For example, The 1st Munkatcher Rebbe - the Minchas Elozor was also a major and
>>>>prolific Posek whose Teshuvot remain a staple of the genre.

Not only the Minchas Elozor - who was not the first but the 3rd (or even 4th -  if you count their
predecessor the Bnei Yissoschor who spent time in Munkatch). His father the author of Darkei Tshuvo
- which is used by most Morei Hoyroah and grandfather the Shem Shlomo. They were all the official
Rabbonim of Munkatch - an Ir V'em Beyisroel.

>>>>The Divrei Chayim -the first Rebbe of Tzanz is known by the same name as
>>>>his Sefer of teshuvos. His son the Shinover was also a much turned to Posek.

As were many of the Sanzers descendants - including the late Klausenburger Rebbe - who was actually
the Rav of the (Sfardim/Charedim in Klausnburg) and a renowned a Gaon and Posek - with his several
volumes of his Tshuvos in print.

Many descendants of the Yismach Moshe (the Teitelbaum family) were Rabbonim and poskim - a number
who have had their Tshuvos published -  including generations of the Sighet Rabbonim and Rebbes, as
well as the late Satmar Rebbe -  who was also Rav and Rosh Yeshiva in various towns before Satmar.
The present Satmar Rebbe (Sighet Rav) was pre-war the Rav of Zenta. The Belzer rebbes were also the
Rav of the town.

Shlomo B Abeles

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