Did the Savraner Rebbe Have Bratslav In Mind?

In the collection of the Admor of Savran, Moshe Tzvi, entitled ליקוטי שושנים, I read an interesting vort for the parsha of Behar, p. 89. But first, some background.

As noted:

In late 1834, Rabbi Moshe Zvi, the Savraner Rebbe, instigated fierce and fanatical opposition to Reb Noson and the Breslover Chassidim (— and some refer to it as a smear campaign —) . This opposition led to Reb Noson’s temporary imprisonment by the authorities. After his release, Reb Noson fled from city to city in the Ukraine, only returning to Breslov in the spring of 1835. Shortly afterwards he was banished from Breslov and was under court order to remain in the city of his birth. Though he obtained permission to travel to Uman for Rosh HaShannah and for other select occasions, he was virtually a prisoner in Nemirov. His confinement also put him at the mercy of his opponents, who seized every opportunity to torment him. With the Savraner’s sudden death in 1838, the relentless opposition waned and Reb Noson returned to Breslov later that year.

One reason for this suggested is that the Savraner Rebbe wanted to marry Rebbe Nachman’s daughter but Rev Nosson opposed it.

Rebbe Nachman was also opposed by Aryeh Leibe of Shpola:

The Shpole Zeide, was antagonistic to Rav Nachman of Breslov. When some of the Zeide’s students heckled Rav Nachman, the Zeide censored them. Every movement needed opposition, he explained. He had been providing a service.

Another, fuller retelling:

Shortly before Rosh Hashana 1800, Rebbe Nachman moved to the town of Zlatopol. The townspeople invited him to have the final word on who would lead the Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur prayer services. The man chosen to lead Neilah, the final prayer service of Yom Kippur, did not meet the Rebbe’s approval. Suddenly the man was struck dumb and forced to step down, to his great embarrassment. After the fast ended, Rebbe Nachman spoke in a light-hearted way about what the man’s true intentions had been, and the man was so incensed that he denounced Rebbe Nachman to Rabbi Aryeh Leib of Shpola, known as the “Shpoler Zeide”, a prominent Hasidic rabbi and early disciple of Rabbi Pinchas of Koritz, who was a leading figure in the first generation of Hasidut. Thus began the Shpoler Zeide’s vehement campaign against Breslov Hasidism…The Shpoler Zeide saw Rebbe Nachman’s teachings as deviating from classical Judaism and from the teachings of the Baal Shem Tov.

Some postulate that the Zeide felt threatened because Rebbe Nachman was moving in on his territory and taking disciples away from him. Still others claim that Rebbe Nachman was a threat to other rebbes because he opposed the institutional dynasties that were already beginning to form in the Hasidic world. (Rebbe Nachman himself did not found a dynasty; his two sons died in infancy and he appointed no successor. ) A number of prominent figures of Hasidut supported Rebbe Nachman against the Shpoler Zeide’s opposition, including Rabbi Levi Yitzchok of Berditchev, Rabbi Gedalia of Linitz, Rabbi Zev Wolf of Charni-Ostrov, and Rabbi Avraham of Kalisk. At one point, a number of Hasidic rabbis gathered in Berditchev to place the Shpoler Zeide in cherem (a rabbinic form of excommunication) for showing contempt to a true Torah scholar. Their effort was nixed, however, when Rabbi Levi Yitzchak heard about the idea and persuaded them to desist.

Now, to return to the vort:

“The verse (25:17) reads: וְלֹא תוֹנוּ אִישׁ אֶת-עֲמִיתוֹ, וְיָרֵאתָ מֵאֱ-לֹהֶיךָ: כִּי אֲנִי יְ-וָה, אֱ-לֹהֵיכֶם – ‘And you shall not wrong one another; but thou shalt fear thy God; for I am the LORD your God.’. The Holy Grandfather/Zeide Rebbe [Aryeh] Leib of Shpola ran into the Holy Rebbe of Savran when he [the latter] was still quite young and still learning with the Rav Ber of Mezeritch and the Savraner Rebbe was working on his prayers and would be jumping and hopping around withh all his strength with great exuberance and the Holy Zeide told him that the above verse’s meaning is that one beeds be careful even in an insignificant measure not to fake your respect for God [for that is wronging God] but that the respect must be truly genuine. And in his later years, the Savraner Rebbe, when he became great, would relate that what he heard rested in huis mind for 15 years afterwards and would severely torment him”.

I am supposing that another aspect of the rivalry between the Savraner Rebbe and the Bratslav (the former would stone the Bratslav synagogue and break its wondows and beat up the chassidim) is reflected in this vort given the exhuberance and exhiliration of the custom of Bratslav.



About yisraelmedad

I am a revenant, that is, a Jew who has returned to his historical homeland. I live in Shiloh, the pre-monarchy capital of the Israel tribal federation where I have lived with my family since 1981. I have been in Israel since 1970. Previously, I have worked in the Knesset, as a parliamentary aide, in Government, as an advisor to a Minister and Deputy-Minister, as director of Israel’s Media Watch, and now retired Director of Information Resources at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center after 17 years. I have now been appointed Deputy Editor to the critical anthology edition of Jabotinsky's Writings in English.
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One Response to Did the Savraner Rebbe Have Bratslav In Mind?

  1. Gershon George Wynschenk says:

    Certainly , Rebbe Nachman ZatZal, and Rebbe Noson ZatZal were sincere. Later mashpi’im like Berland not so much.

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