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Jul 21, 2008

The Satmar Rebbe on extremism

On Shabbos, we had a yeshiva bachur over. He said over a dvar torah in the name of the Satmar Rebbe (I do not know which, but it seemed like one of the previous rebbes).

He asked, why does the story of Pinchas killing the Nasi and the princess of Midian get split spanning the end of the parsha of Balak and the beginning of Pinchas, with the names and reward only coming in Pinchas? Why not put it all together at the end of Balak where it related the story itself?

He answered, in the name of the Satmar Rebbe, that the reason is because cheider boys only learn the parsha until sheini (the first section of every parsha) before Shabbos in school (I guess this was the custom of the time).
If the Torah would have rewarded Pinchas at the end of Balak, where the story happened, the cheider boys would never have learned that kannaus is a goal deserving of reward. So the Torah split the story spanning it into the first portion of Pinchas, thereby assuring the cheider boys would learn about his reward for his kannaus.

I then suggested that perhaps that is why our kannoim are the way they are - because they never actually learned past sheini in the chumash. If they would ever sit down and learn beyond sheini, perhaps they would get a fuller picture of the Torah, develop middos, and learn how to behave and when kannaus is appropriate and when it is not.


  1. I heard that exact same quote on shabbos from Rav Yoef Kaminetzky who quoted also from the satmer rav. wonder if your yeshiva bachur was in shul with me...

  2. so what did the yeshiva bochur respond to you?

  3. he was not. He said it Friday night, and he davened in shul with me, and you were not there....and Rav Kaminetsky spoke in Shivtei, not my shul...

  4. LOZ - he kind of laughed..

  5. this also retrojects how heder students were later to learn humash onto how the parshiyot were originally split up, or is he saying that kids always learned this way? it would also be interesting to know how this was divided up according to מנהג ארץ ישדאל

  6. I do not know. it was a surprise to me to hear cheider boys only learned to sheini... I mean - what do cheider boys learn if not chumash?

  7. and here i was surprised that they learned even as far as sheini.

    what age does cheder mean? could they be learning torah she-be-al pe already most of the day?

    or it might also mean they only learn till sheni for פרשת השבוע, but they also learn chumash independent of פרשת השבוע.

    now there's a post i'd like to see. what is the curriculum like in RBS?

  8. It's hard to imagine that the parshiot were divided up the way they were based on cheider boys only learning until sheni.

  9. yoni - it is one of those more "tongue-in-cheek" type divrei torah, rather than one base don reality...

    LOZ - maybe I will try to do one for you, though I think most people would not be all that interested...

  10. Wahat trobleing vort... I would say the opposite is in fact true. If a child would read the last aliya in Balak, he would think that kanaaus is noble thing - but if you learn (properly) the first aliya in Pinchas it states clearly that kanaaus is not a valid pursit in and of itself - to the contrary! In fact the passuk clearly states that Pinchas was not rewarded for kannaaus, he was rewarded for saving klal yisroel. The point of him becoming a Kohen was precisely because he was an Ish HaChessed and not a kanoy - it was simply that kanauus was necessary here to save the Jews (ala Abvrhom Avinu and the akeidea), and otherwise he would have been wrong to be a kanoy.

  11. Sorry, that should have read: "What a troubling vort"

  12. Lest one get the wrong impression, R' Kaminetsky's drasha shabbos morning in Shivtei was about the dangers of kannaus without halacha (he described Zimri as a kannoi as well).

    You can decide if he was referring to incidents involving RBS, his father, or anything else.

  13. is his father the one with the banned books?

  14. Yes

    [note, I truly doubt that's what he was referring to]


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