An orthodox Jewish man reading the Torah by the Kotel

If you think there is no ‘Litvack’ interest in Meron, you’d be wrong.

***Updates below***

Granted, most of us believe that the Litvack / Lithuanian interest in Meron kind of starts and stops with statements like the one below, from R’ Gershon Edelstein in Bnai Brak – who appears to have some form of mild ruach hakodesh.

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On April 28th, 2021 – two days before the mass murder in Meron – he put out the following heavily publicised statement:

Rabbi Edelstein: ‘We do not travel to Meron’

Leading Lithuanian-haredi rabbi calls on followers not to travel to Meron on Lag Ba’omer. ‘We do not travel; we sit and learn.’

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Snippet below:

“We have learned from the Brisker Rav, from the Chazon Ish, from the Ponevezher Rav – and they did not travel [to Meron],” [R’ Edelstein] explained, listing former leaders of the Lithuanian-haredi community.

“They did not travel, and therefore we do not travel. We sit and learn: Learning Torah is equal to everything else. We do not travel: Torah learning is equal to all else.”

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So that’s nice and clear, isn’t it.

And if that wasn’t nice and clear enough, we have other more minor luminaries in the Litvack universe echoing the same message ad nauseum. Like this, from HERE:

Yes, Lag Ba’Omer is a happy day!… But who says we are supposed to celebrate a Yohrtzeit of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai and the illumination of the Zohar that he taught with mass events that outstrip the most grandiose wedding?… Something has gone terribly wrong.

When I was in Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Berlin under the guidance of Rav Yitzchok Hutner ZT”L (1906-1980) I do not recall any special mention or fuss being made about Lag Ba’Omer. There was no hadlaka (bonfire) tthere, there was no special singing or dancing, there was no official lecture about the day. Nothing. Just no Tachanun, perhaps a wedding or two of students.

This is admittedly the Litvish, Lithuanian yeshiva approach…

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But of course, everyone should be holding by it.

That’s the ‘subliminal message’ I picked up from all these articles. And it’s the same message you get about daring to go to Uman for Rosh Hashana, too. Good Jews, good ‘Litvaks’ just don’t do that sort of un-Jewish, quasi-avoda-zorah stuff involving travelling to tzaddikim.

But there is a puzzle here that I can’t quite seem to figure out.

So I thought I’d try and thresh it out here on the blog, and we’ll see what turns up.

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On Pini Dunner’s blog HERE, he set out who ‘owns’ Meron, on the religious side of the equation.

Relevant snippet below:

Ultimate control over what happens in Meron is in the hands of a shadowy group known as the Va’adat Hachamisha (“committee of five”)… 

One of the two Ashkenazi groups [who ‘own’ Meron] is headed by Rabbi Avrohom Frohlich – the former proprietor of a Judaica auction house in Jerusalem who closely associates himself with the Brisk community in Jerusalem, a group that utterly rejects the State of Israel’s legitimacy… He is closely followed in his inflexibility and refusal to consider any changes to Meron’s infrastructure by his Ashkenazi counterpart, Rabbi Mordechai Dov Hacohen Kaplan, son of Safed’s late chief rabbi, Rabbi Avraham Simcha Hacohen Kaplan.

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Me being me, I went to look these people up.

Let’s start with R’ Mordechai Dov Hacohen Kaplan, descendant of Shabtai, aka the SHACH, whose family have ‘inherited’ the position of Chief Rabbi of Tzfat over the last six generations.

There’s lot of interesting stuff I could tell you, but let’s focus in on this pertinent snippet, for this post:

The Kaplan family are about as hardcore ‘Litvak’ as it comes.

If you go to the Hebrew Wikipedia entry for R’ Avraham Simcha Hacohen Kaplan, here’s a bit of what you learn:

He was a member of the Council of Torah Scholars of Degel HaTorah. Degel HaTorah is an: ‘ultra-orthodox Lithuanian political party in Israel’.

Not only that, R’ Kaplan senior seems to have studied with just about every big Litvak ‘luminary’ of the 20th century, including:

  • Rabbi Chaim Ozer Grodzensky
  • Rabbi Shabtai Yagel of the Slonim Yeshiva
  • Rabbi Shabtai Weigel Slonim of the Mir Yeshiva
  • Rabbi Shmuel Rozovsky of the Lomza Yeshiva (and later of the Ponevezh Yeshiva)

And while he’s at the Lomza Yeshiva, he rubbed shoulders with many other ‘Litvak’ luminaries, including:

Rabbi Yosef Rozovsky, Rabbi Reuven Yosef Gershonovich , Rabbi Eliyahu Mishkovsky , Rabbi Zalman Rotenberg , Rabbi Zvi Markowitz, Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky and more.

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And if that wasn’t enough, he makes aliya to Israel with none other than the Brisker Rabbi himself, R’  Yitzhak Zeev Halevi Soloveitchik, descendent of R’ Chaim of Volozhin.

And if THAT wasn’t enough to prove just how ‘Litvak’ R’ Avraham Simcha Hacohen Kaplan really was, he got his smicha from another very interesting big personality in the Litvak world, called R’ Isser Zalman Meltzer of the Slutsk yeshiva.

In fact, there is so much huge, Litvak yichus going on there, on his Wikipedia page, it’s almost making my eyes water.

So now, let’s set out the difficulty I’m having.

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How is it, that the two Ashkenazi organisations who are part of the “Va’adat Hachamisha” who control the site of Meron on the ‘frum’ side of the equation are both being run by people with very deep ties to the Litvak community?

For example, R’ Mordechai Dov Hacohen Caplan’s sister is married to Rav Mordechai Drori, the Rosh Yeshivah of Yeshivas Chemed.

Rav Drori’s brother was the late R’ Ozer Drori, who according to the YWN,

“[L]earned in Ponevezh as a bochur under his Rav, Hagaon Harav Gershon Edelstein.”

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Hey, wait a minute.

Where have we heard that name before?

Ah yes, I remember now:

Rabbi Edelstein: ‘We do not travel to Meron’

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R’Avraham Froehlich is proving harder to track down ‘in the real world’, but I will take Pini Dunner’s word for it, at least for now, that he’s closely associated with the Brisk Litvak faction.

So, that makes two out of the two Ashkenazi groups who ‘own’ Meron being run by people who are about as LITVACK as you can get.

So now, the questions start to multiply like mushrooms after rain.

Here’s a few, to get us started.

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  • How did this strange situation come about, given that no Litvaks rabbis light bonfires at Meron, nor apparently hold with the custom of ‘praying to dead people’, and other things they like to describe as ‘quasi-avoda-zorah’?

  • Why have the two Litvak Ashkenazi groups who ‘own’ Meron been blocking the very necessary renovations required, for the site to be able to safely accommodate the hundreds of thousands of people who visit every year?
  • Why is it that none of us know that the same people who tell us ‘not to go to Meron’ for L’ag B’omer are closely linked to the people who ‘own’ Meron, at least on the Ashkenazi side of the equation?
  • Who gets to decide who should be leading the Ashkenazi organisations who participate in the “Va’adat Hachamisha”.
  • Who put the money down, in the first place, to create these Ashkenazi Hekdashs, and to get them recognised by the Ottoman rulers of Israel 200 years ago? (If we can get the answer to that, then we’ll really start to know a whole bunch of other things, too.)

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Do you see the problem, here?

The Chassidim are getting blamed for the ‘awful infrastructure’ of the RASHBI tomb at Meron, by the secular authorities and the police, and also – and often much more harshly – by people who proudly claim to be religious Jews who are part of the Litvak world.

But who is really at least partly responsible for that ‘awful infrastructure’ in the first place?

The two Ashkenazi ‘hekdash’ institutions, who officially ‘own’ at least a bit of Meron – and who are being run by dyed-in-the-wool Litvaks.

There appears to be something very strange going on here, and another mystery that needs solving.

BH, with God’s help, we’ll get to it.

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In the meantime, let’s be clear that the hardcore Litvak community in Israel has a very strong, historical link to the ‘ownership’ of Meron, and that this link has been deliberately obscured from the public, for reasons that are not yet obvious.

Now we know this information, we can start to ask why the Litvak people running the Ashkenazi institutions that ‘own’ Meron don’t stand aside, and let representatives of the communities who actually believe in things like going to Meron for L’ag B’omer, and the importance of visiting the graves of tzaddikim take over?

I mean, c’mon guys, what does Meron have to do with learning Toyrah?

And why are you running these organisations when you clearly don’t believe in the whole inyan of going to Meron for L’ag B’omer in the first place?

What else is going on here, under the surface?

I think it’s time we popped the hood, and tried to find out.

TBC

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UPDATE:

A reader sent me links to the following:

First THIS, which explains how the feuds between the Ashkenazi and Sephardi organisations who ‘own’ Meron have basically brought us to the stage where the State of Israel is ANYWAY going to expropriate the tomb of the Rashbi at the end of three years, in 2023 if they can’t figure out how to work together, to do what needs to be done at the Kever.

The basic gist is that in 2008, there was a State Comptroller’s report into the RASHBI site, that lambasted the ‘owners’ for not renovating the site properly, and keeping it properly maintained.

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Then at the end of 2011, the State of Israel decided it was going to ‘expropriate’ the site – which honestly, also makes me queasy, as I don’t trust a thing the State of Israel decides to do, vis-a-vis things that are holy to yiddishkeit, and to Jews, generally.

So then, a massive court battle ensued, which apparently only ended in February 2020 of last year, where the ‘Vaad HaHamisha’ – or ‘Council of Five’ in Meron – was given three years to put appropriate administrative arrangements for the site in place (whatever that actually means…).

If they didn’t manage to do that – then the State of Israel ‘reserved the right’ to expropriate ownership of the site at the end of 2023.

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If we could trust the government here, and if we could believe that it really only has the best interests of the religious Jewish community at heart, maybe that wouldn’t be such an issue

But we can’t.

And so it is.

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The next article my reader found is also very interesting, in English, HERE:

Here’s a longish snippet:

Between the rival [Ashkenazi and Sephardi] trusts, the battle lines are clearly drawn. According to Shalvash [of the Sephardi Trust], “All areas are our areas” and the Ashkenazic trust “has no control of” Rabbi Shimon bar Yohai. But Ben-Zion Guberstadt, board member of the Ashkenazic trust, states simply, “We say the whole thing is ours.”

Both groups claim hundreds of years’ precedent, and appeals through the past five years to courts — both religious and civil — have failed to settle the feud…

Both groups say that they are ready to build prayer houses and ritual baths to serve the million-plus pilgrims a year. The Sephardim say they would use a multimillion-dollar Safra legacy. The Ashkenazim say that even without this money, they have donors in England who will give $25 million.

[Rivka note – this is an old article, and some renovations of the Tomb itself, using money from the Safra legacy, have subsequently been carried out in Meron.]

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The Sephardic trust, however, says that the Ashkenazim are driven less by a genuine interest in the site and more by the financial implications of control…

The Ashkenazic trust is battling for control “because they want money. That’s the name of the game,” Shalvash said in an interview with the Forward. Guberstadt flatly denied the claim…

The prevailing opinion in the Israeli government is that it should take control of the site, an inside source said.

On Meron, Rabbi Shraga Shnitzer suggests a different solution. Shnitzer, head of the independent charity Ohel Ha’Rashbi-Meron, which provides free food to visitors, believes that decisions about the site’s future should be placed in the hands of the most respected contemporary halachic authorities, the gedolei hador.

He said, “Ashkenazim and Sephardim need to sit together with gedolei hador who will come to the place and hear from everyone at Meron and decide what is allowed to do and what it is not allowed to do.”

But Schvinger says that any resolution will open up another can of worms, as there are rival splinter groups within each trust. “If it is decided that either the Sephardi or Ashkenazi hekdesh are the owners, this will open up a whole new question as to who is the true Sephardi or Ashkenazi hekdesh.”

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The ‘Schvinger’ quoted here is Yosef Schvinger, head of the ‘National Center for the Management of Holy Places‘, and Aryeh Deri’s right hand man, who we wrote about HERE.

There’s a LOT of very dodgy things going on around the grave of the RASHBI at Meron, but at least one aspect seems to be bringing us back to the idea of ‘following the money’.

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Right at the start of the investigation into Meron, I had some emails from someone who told me that the grave is a very big money spinner for the people who are running it.

It brings in literally millions of shekels in donations every year, and those donations are made to the various organisations and people who ‘own’ it.

Something about this just doesn’t seem right, does it?

We’ll have to tread very carefully, to try and unpick all this, because while the financial incentive is clearly looming large in the battle for control, it’s certainly not the only reason that at least some of the people involved in Meron are there, and doing what they are doing.

At least some of those people also care for the sanctity of the site, and the well-being of the pilgrims who are visiting it.

But sorting the wheat from the chaff is going to be challenging, to say the least.

And at this stage, I’d really love to know who is sitting on those ‘hekdeshim’, which ‘hekdeshim’ came first, the Sephardi or the Ashkenazi ones, who is making the decisions and really wielding the control on the ground – and how much money is flowing through the coffers of these organisations, and where it’s all going.

Once we know that, we’ll know a lot more about what ‘went wrong’ in Meron this year.

For sure, it was State-sponsored mass murder carried out by the police.

But clearly, there is also a lot of cheshbon hanefesh that’s required on the ‘frum’ side of the equation, too.

TBC

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UPDATE 2:

Baruch Hashem, now we are having some ‘achdut’ between the Sephardim and Ashkenazim after all…

SHAS and UTJ are working together to try to help cover up what really happened in Meron on L’ag B’omer.

This comes from HERE:

Mount Meron: UTJ and Shas propose gov’t controlled committee of enquiry

Interior Minister and Shas head Arye Deri would control appointment of chairman, and at least two other committee members, while the chief rabbis would also appoint a representative.

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In case you forgot, Deri and ‘Interior Minister’ Amir Ohana were two of the ministers, together with Yuli Edelstein, Nachman Ash, and Netanyahu, who signed off on the ‘Coronavirus rules’ for Meron this year, that directly killed 45 people, and injured hundreds more.

So of course, a ‘government controlled committee of enquiry’ where the appointments are all being controlled by the very people who need to be investigated to get to the truth, is worse than useless.

People, how much longer are we going to put up with these so-called ‘religious’ politicians, who only care about their own egos?

45 people died, the Government is poised to swoop in on Meron and ‘expropriate it’, what happened in Meron is now being used as the ‘excuse’ to stop big weddings, and visits to other holy sites, and to try to ‘control’ even more aspects of religious life – and our two ‘religious’ parties in the Knesset are totally complicit in the cover up of what really happened on L’ag B’omer.

Man, it stinks.

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UPDATE 3:

So, I did more digging around the whole question of ‘who owns Meron’, and that brought me to a couple more interesting bits of information.

#1 – There is apparently also a massive corruption investigation currently going on in land ownership in the whole of Meron, over the last 40 years, which began in April 2019.

You can go HERE to read more of the details, if you want. (I’m choosing not to translate this, at this point, for the blogbut Google translate works well enough, if you don’t have Hebrew:)

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#2 The Hebrew Wikipedia contains more information about who ‘owns’ Meron.

It seems that the Algerian ‘Abu’ family basically bought the site when they made aliyah in 1817.

That then somehow became the ‘Sephardi Trust’ – or at least one of them – who took over management of the site, which was registered in the Trust’s name in 1888, when Eretz Yisrael was still under Ottoman control.

In 1920, when it became mandatory to official register ownership of the land, most of the land was registered in the name of the Spanish Trust, with a small area now also registered in the name of the ‘unknown’ Ashkenazi Trust, while the rest of Meron was put in the name of the Israel Lands Administration.

Snippet from Wiki:

“In 1976 , an agreement was signed between the Spanish Trust and the Ministry of Religions, according to which the ministry will rent the complex for a period of 5 years. This period ended in 1981, when the complex returned to the management of the Spanish Trust. However, during the period a number of different organizations and bodies clung to the place, which refused to vacate their place afterwards.

Splits and divisions in various dedications, led to four various public agencies being involved in managing the complex, in addition to the Ministry of Religious Affairs and National Center for the Development of the Holy Places…

Since 1998, there has been a legal dispute over the ownership of the site, between four different endowment bodies, which are splits of the old Sephardic and Ashkenazi Trusts.

The litigation took place in both the Rabbinical Court and the District Court , with appeals being submitted to the Supreme Court . The State of Israel was also involved in the litigation on the issue, and finally in 2008 the Supreme Court decided to appoint a five-member committee (one from each body of the sanctuary, and the State Representative as chairman), to manage the compound.”

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So the ‘Vaad Hahamisha’ is this five-member committee, that was appointed by the State of Israel’s Supreme Court in 2008.

And the ‘State Representative’ is R’ Shmuel Rabinovitch, the Rav of the Kotel and chair of the Western Wall Heritage Foundation.

You probably won’t be surprised to learn that there is a whole can of worms opening up around the Western Wall Heritage Foundation, too, but I’ll save that for another post.

R’ Rabinovitch lost a nephew in the crush at Meron.

He wrote about that – apparently in English! – HERE.

But it’s strange there is no mention of him chairing the ‘Vaad Hahamisha’ that is actually at least nominally responsible for the site’s infrastructure.

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In the meantime, from what I can tell with the very limited information available, the Sephardim seem to be getting the short end of the stick here, as their Trust / Endowment clearly owned the site first, and clearly owns most of the site, historically.

Also check the comments, below, for more input on ‘who really owns Meron’ which at this stage I can’t verify, but it’s certainly adding another dimension into an already murky discussion.

It’s hard to see anyone associated with Meron – in any capacity – coming out of this smelling of roses.

Everywhere I turn, there seems to be decades of corruption bubbling up – even when we’re not talking about the State-sponsored mass murder of pilgrims.

Sigh.

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UPDATE #4:

Another interesting addition to the list of ‘figuring out what really happened in Meron’ can be found HERE, on the Kikar Shabbat website.

Take away points:

“[A]nother document of the licensing officer from the northern district of the police, which was revealed to “News 12”, states that the engineer approved the buildings, the bleachers and the lighting stage in the Toldot Aharon compound, and determined that each bleacher would have 220 to 300 people. There will be 1,800 people in the gathering plaza and the total number of celebrants in the place will not exceed 3,159.

In practice, and although the Israel Police approved the decision of the licensing officer and the safety plan, about 20,000 people were present – six times the number allowed.”

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But here is the really telling stuff:

“Also, in a document sent three days before the incident, the engineer alerted police that “due to the expected amount of crowds, all emergency exits should be kept free.” But in real time there were policemen on the ground who were not properly instructed, and even blocked one of the exits.

Moreover, at a concluding safety discussion, which took place a day before the celebration, according to one of those present, when talking about the quantities of celebrants, and the engineer expressed concern about the congestion, District Commander Superintendent Shimon Lavi replied: “Do not worry [about access] To the site, I know how to stop them if necessary. “

(Emphasis mine).

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This is incredible.

It seems the police are saying they DID block ‘one exit’ out of Toldos Aharon the night of L’ag B’omer.

And of course, we know that THERE WAS ONLY ONE EXIT out of Toldos Aharon, the night of L’ag B’omer, as the Health Ministry ‘Coronavirus Regulations’ meant that the other three were blocked the whole time, with fences and gates.

And the police’s own safety engineer flags congestion as a real concern three days before L’ag B’omer – before most of the Ministry of Health’s additional fences and ‘checkpoints’ and the ‘tunnel of death’ had even been built – and is just waved off by the police.

Why aren’t these people being arrested, already?

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That Kikar Shabbat article also throws some light on the specific issue we’re discussing in this post, stating there is:

“[A]n open check for tens of millions of shekels, which the Safra Foundation previously placed in favor of renovating the complex and repairing the many defects in it, but while most members of the famous ‘Va’ad HaHamisha’ in charge of the complex were happy, Avraham Froelich, who heads the “sanctuary” of the fanatics, refused – because of their principle not to enjoy “Zionist money”.

I understand the principle.

But I’d really like to know just who Avraham Froelich is representing.

Who is he working for?

Who is making these decisions, behind the scenes?

And why is all this information so very hard to come by?

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UPDATE 5:

Yosef Schvinger and Israel Deri, of the Holy Sites Authority, were questioned by the police two days’ ago, on May 18th. See more HERE.

The director general of the Center for Holy Places in the Ministry of Religious Affairs, Yossi Schwinger and Israel Deri, in charge of the northern region, the center’s cargo, were interrogated by Lahav 433 with a warning in recent days, and released today [Tuesday, May 18, 2021.]

And in case you need more evidence that we are living in the olam hafuch, or upside-down world, the anti-Torah ‘Yesh Atid’ is bringing a bill to the Knesset on Monday to demand an independent State Commission of Inquiry into what happened in Meron.

Let’s see how the ‘religious’ parties, UTJ and SHAS, try to wiggle out of voting in favor for it, so they can keep the cover up going.

 

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35 replies
    • Rivka Levy
      Rivka Levy says:

      I have the feeling that there is a lot more stunning info about to pour out of this particular subject… let’s see.

      Reply
  1. Hannah
    Hannah says:

    This is soooo fishy. Kol haKavod Rivka! All the pieces of the puzzle are starting to be put together. I would not be surprised if all the rabbit holes which you discovered during your past research on Shabbtai Zvi & Co (coded SZ & Co) would lead to the same underground tunnel…

    Reply
  2. AnotherYid
    AnotherYid says:

    You’ve lost me, “Litvishers” don’t have a custom to go to Miron (or Uman), so what? Neither did the Chasam Sofer (see the reason in Yoreh Deah 233).
    The worry of “praying to dead people” is another question addressed in Halocha (see Ohr HaChaim 581:4, Beir Heitev there 17, Mishne B’ruruh there 27, see also the Munkacher Rebbe in the Minchas Eleiezer Helek alef Ohr HaChaim 68).
    These are Halochic issues (the inyan is really HOW to daven by the kever). The Brisker Rov, when he was sick, sent Rav Shach, the Stiepler and other “Litvishers” to daven for hi by the Rashbi’s kever (famous story).

    As for Avroham Froylich, who says he’s still part of the vaad? Looks like they got rid of him ten years ago (or at least tried). And so what if he’s connected to Brisk, “Chasidim” can also learn there. Also from what I understand the vaad itself is not so old. You can look this stuff up on Hebrew sites.

    Reply
    • Rivka Levy
      Rivka Levy says:

      It looks like they tried – but he came back. I’m finding him VERY hard to track down in all this. It’s Pini Dunner who identified him as the head of one of the Ashkenazi organisations that run Meron. If you have more information, please do send me links.

      Reply
        • Rivka Levy
          Rivka Levy says:

          Why is getting to the truth of something ‘going after frum yidden’? If there is no wrongdoing, why is it a problem to know who is running what, and how?

          Reply
      • Dunner
        Dunner says:

        Dunner has a financial interest here.

        He owes a lot of money to one of the largest donors to Meron.

        He conveniently leaves out the family name of the largest players and biggest profiteers of Meron.

        Shame on Dunner

        Reply
  3. Shimshon
    Shimshon says:

    It is interesting how much Litvish leaders, few of whom I have even heard of, downplay Meron. I doubt any kind of remotely similar statements have been uttered about Kever Rachel.

    Reply
    • AnotherYid
      AnotherYid says:

      Maybe you didn’t understand what I wrote above. “Litvaks” DON’T downplay Miron. They just don’t go to the Lag B’omer celebration. Kever HaRashbi and kever Rochel are no different.
      The Satmar Rov Zecher Tsadik L’vroche said bichlol there was no need to go to Kever Rochel.

      Reply
  4. Daisy Stern
    Daisy Stern says:

    For your info, my cousin Z”L – who passed away from “Covid” last winter – was the best friend, as well as
    Mechutan of Aba Dunner, the father of Pini Dunner. So we are quite connected family-wise. I am sure you remember Aba Dunner from London, Rivka, don’t you?. Not only that, but my distance cousin and dear friend Charlotte (from Zurich where I studied medicine, and whose parents were close friends of mine, at whose home I ate Shabbat meals many times ) was married to Aba Dunner for years until his passing, ( second marriage for both), loving adoptive mother to his nine children, among which Pini Dunner. Charlotte and I are still in contact. Just saying…. But I never met either Pini or his brother, late husband of my cousin Esti ex-Dunner, who died in a car crash several years ago . Rings a bell, Rivka?? Do you remember the story?

    Reply
  5. AnotherYid
    AnotherYid says:

    In reply to your response above about finding out who’s running things. So find out, I don’t think it’s a big deal. What I don’t understand is your infatuation with “Litvaks” in general and Avroham Frouylich in particular. Who were the four other representatives of the Vaad? 2 Sfardi another probably Chasidish and Rabinovitz (from the medina).
    From what I understand each representative was chosen by his particular community. Frouylich seems to have been chosen by the “Eida” which encompasses many different Ashkanazi kehillos including Brisk and believe it or not BRESLOV. So it’s not some sort of “Litvish” conspiracy here, he probably was chosen for his knowledge in hekdesh or whatever. Hekdesh is assets. That means each community has assets in Miron, whatever it is, Ashkanazim and Sefardim have been there 500 years. The Ari zal was Ashkanazi. The Chida’s mother was Ashkanazi (from the kehilla of YEHUDA HACHASID!). 500 years of assets. Different kehillos. Frouylich said himself the whole area is full of kvorim. Lots of issues. It’s like Har HaZeisim (and other places) each kehilla has its own area. This is Jewish stuff that people know about.
    I personally think you’re getting off the subject of the what exactly the police did to cause the disaster.

    Reply
    • Rivka Levy
      Rivka Levy says:

      I’ve been researching the community in Eretz Yisrael over the last 400 years, before I got into the topic of Meron. There are mysteries here – lots of mysteries – that may well be intersecting in Meron.

      It may look like I’m going ‘off topic’, but it’s a mistake to think that bad people only exist in the secular world.

      Reply
  6. AnotherYid
    AnotherYid says:

    Also Ha’aretz and the marker did research on this subject about who owns the Miron p and wrote articles on the subject, it’s just that they charge to read their articles.
    So it’s not really chidushim. If you want to pay for access to their websites to get to the bottom of it, be my guest.

    Reply
  7. AnotherYid
    AnotherYid says:

    Also the Shach זצ”ל was (according to Wikipedia) born 5 years before, l’havdil, Shabtai Tzvi יש”ו.
    But I’m sure you weren’t trying to make some sort of strange illusion, ח”ו.

    Reply
  8. Inquiry
    Inquiry says:

    Repeated theme – bleachers, ultra orthodox, crowded, Israel – video all over the internet of moment of collapse (I didn’t watch it).

    We must ask 2 questions – are (nefarious) human players involved and/or what is Hashem trying to communicate to us with this literally days apart etc. regardless of whether it’s part of a wicked setup agenda or maybe the media et al are just excited to cover these occurrences and broadcast them to the world to paint the religious (Jews/Israelis) in a negative light (along with their religion).

    We CANNOT ignore these occurrences – regardless of the earthly “causes”. Rambam says it behooves the community to do cheshbon nefesh if crazy things transpire – not to could be even more dangerous and turning the back on Hashem Who is obviously communicating (or allowing these to happen).

    Reply
    • Rivka Levy
      Rivka Levy says:

      Yes, you are totally right that there is a much greater cheshbon hanefesh required, because the ‘Cause of all Causes’ of this is Hashem.

      Thanks for reiterating that point.

      Reply
  9. AnotherYid
    AnotherYid says:

    I found your blog because of your inquiry into the cause of the tragedy (I must say you have done a good job).

    I thought at the time that, even though you were from Shuvu Bonim, you could possibly make an objective inquiry. And you have, until now.

    Yes, I see now, that R Mordchai Kaplan was against your kehillos hadloka in 2019 and so were many Rabonim. So I understood all of your research is going in that direction. Towards blaming those who “persecuted” your Rebbe. That’s not why I’m here. Like I said, “I don’t go after frum yidden” (unless they’ve been proven not).

    So, in light of this, I will take my leave. I hope you can, in the future, work on the Miron disaster objectively.
    Brocha v’hatslocha
    Ay

    Reply
  10. Carlebach
    Carlebach says:

    Shraga Shnitzer is a nobody. He serves food in a kitchen. He is merely the face for the family Carlebach.
    The people making all the money are not the names being thrown around. They’re shady but not nearly as important as the “secret” names.

    Reply
  11. reuven
    reuven says:

    Comment to Another Yid – you claim: “I don’t go after frum yidden” (unless they’ve been proven not).”
    How can they ever be proven ‘not’, if they are never investigated?

    The unfortunate reality is that once a random guy with a beard gets himself the title “Rabbi” (which is relatively easy to obtain these days – I know, I have Smicha myself…), he apparently buys himself immunity from investigation. Are you happy with that idea?

    Reply
    • AnotherYid
      AnotherYid says:

      ע’ בס’ ח”ח כלל ז’ סעיף ה’ וע”ע בכלל ח’ סעיפים ה-ז כדאי ללמוד כל הספר

      Reply
      • reuven
        reuven says:

        I’m not sure what you’re trying to say by this reference. The text of the paragraph you cited reads: הלכות לשון הרע, כלל ז’, סעיף ה’
        הדין שמותר להאמין ללשון הרע רק בשביל לחשוש, הוא בסתם איש ישראל. אבל אם הוחזק בתור אדם רשע שעובר על איסורים ידועים כמו שבת לדוגמא, על אדם כזה מותר לקבל לשון הרע.

        Which translates as: “The law that a person is permitted to believe Lashon Hara only in order to suspect the person refers to a ‘standard’ Jew. However, if the person is known to be a Rasha (evil person) who transgresses known laws, such as Shabbat, then on a person like that, it is permitted to accept the Lashon Hara.

        How does that help make your point?

        Reply
        • AnotherYid
          AnotherYid says:

          Your right! I wrote too quick. Your problem is better addressed in clall daled, sief zain.
          Over there the Chofetz Chaim talks about when and who to judge l’tzad zchus and when to judge l’tzad chov.
          I have lots of chozora to do.
          Kol tuv.

          Reply
  12. Shimshon
    Shimshon says:

    If a person has power and/or influence, and that power and/or influence derives from or is connected to the state in some way, that person is suspect, no matter what their yichus or reputation is.

    I will provide a completely unrelated but totally relevant example.

    The first act, as well as the absolutely priority, of Yaakov Litzman as Health Minister was to reintroduce fluoride into the water supply. The single good thing his horrific predecessor did was to end this, and do it so effectively it could not be simply restarted. So determined was he that Litzman actually got a law passed to do this, but B”H no funding has been allocated to carry out the law and it remains unimplemented to this day.

    Fluoride is a deadly toxin, no matter what the slick PR has said for decades. Finally, in the last few years, peer-reviewed research has come out that shows that fluoride demonstrably reduces IQ, so don’t bother trying to tell me that DRINKING poisoned water helps produce healthy teeth. Even before these studies came out, restraint and skepticism by a Charedi Jew would be expected.

    Why was Yaakov Litzman so dead-set on reintroducing poison into the water supply? Why the obsessive focus on that and not perhaps try to do even a little bit to make a dent in the 60000 abortions done annually here? Was he acting as a merely misguided do-gooder?

    It is perfectly reasonable to wonder about and investigate the motivations and connections and choices made and sources of the power and influence of people in charge of the infrastructure of Meron, as well as so many areas of life here, even if they have big beards and don large kippot.

    Reply
    • AnotherYid
      AnotherYid says:

      To state known facts and ponder them is one thing, to make or even insinuate conclusions publicly is another (motzi shem ra).
      Example: to state the known fact that Litzman introduced fluoride is fine, but to insinuate that he’s part of a diabolical plan to kill babies is another. It’s called to m’lamed zchus. Even Litzman. The fact that they’re -connected- to the Zionist baby killers doesn’t make them chashud for killing babies themselves (although they are chashud for chanufa). Sometimes when someone is suspect for one thing it doesn’t mean we suspect him for something else (except roshaimim g’morim).
      I don’t vote in the Zionist elections b’shita but I understand those that do b’shita. They don’t have a din of roshaimim like the Zionists themselves. Another example: Meshi Zahav (שר”י), even though he was connected to the Zionists I would have never thought or speculated (unless I was warned) he was a… until it came out.
      Think about it well because the laws can be somewhat complicated. People (also myself) need to learn sefer Chofetz Chaim not just once.

      Reply
  13. J.A.M.
    J.A.M. says:

    That’s it. I am so done with religion. All of it. Between the ridiculous infighting among our supposed leaders, the extreme corruption among those who are supposed to be tzaddikim, and things I have personally witnessed in the thugery of the Eidas, I am done.
    Done. Done. Done.
    I’m not going to eat a ham sandwich or anything, but no more shul, no more anything. These people aren’t fit to be role models for anyone. If this is where Torah knowledge leads people, I don’t want any part of it.

    Reply
    • Rivka Levy
      Rivka Levy says:

      I understand your reaction, but I totally disagree with giving up on ‘religion’.

      Why would you cut your own soul off form Torah and Hashem’s light, just because so many of our leaders are false?

      Rebbe Nachman warned us that before the geula actually came, most of our leaders would have ‘heresy dripping out of their pockets’.

      (Pockets is connected to money, btw….)

      Almost everyone I know, including myself and my husband, has been badly burnt by ‘false’ rabbis, and ‘false’ leaders – and btw, that’s also happening in the secular world, where people put their faith in politicians like Netanyahu.

      They ‘believe’ in the political process just as much as ‘believe’ in our false leaders, and for them, there is nothing else, so it’s even more difficult when that crashes.

      Point is: false leaders are a test from Hashem. We are attracted to them, because they are reflecting something ‘false’ inside ourselves, and our own service of God.

      Once we realise they are just mirrors, and we start to work on the issues IN OURSELVES, we can spot the ‘false leaders’ a mile off.

      And then, we are ready for the next stage: to ask God to show us who the real leaders, the real tzaddikim, are.

      And that also is work – because following a real tzaddik, and a real leader, is a tremendous zchut.

      So don’t give up! The only person you’ll hurt, if you do, is yourself.

      Reply
  14. AnotherYid
    AnotherYid says:

    I’m writing a clarification because I don’t want to get into a cat and mouse game with “Rabbi Reuven” above.
    A “random guy (frum Jew) with a beard” DOES GET THE BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT according to the Chofetz Chaim.
    And (as far as I know) there is NO Mitsvo to go and investigate another Jew who’s frum to see if he’s a shaigetz (it’s probably an avera). Most people know who’s the shaigetz because he acts like one or it comes out.
    B’emes, there’s no need to quote places in sefer Chofetz Chaim because that’s the purpose of the whole sefer to tell us how and when we can speak.
    You probably know the sefer better than me, Rabbi, so what’s the question?

    Reply
    • Rivka Levy
      Rivka Levy says:

      Why is your definition of ‘frum Jew’ only reliant on the outward appearance?

      If someone doesn’t have a beard, or a kippa, but he’s working on his middot and keeping shabbat and talking to God every day – does he also count as a ‘frum Jew’?

      Reply
      • AnotherYid
        AnotherYid says:

        Keeping Shabbos and believing in HaShem is intrinsic.
        I never said that Jews without kippos and beards shouldn’t get the benefit of the doubt (but many times it’s a sign of worse things ח”ו). All I was saying is that a kippa and a beard are the outward signs of being frum.
        I don’t suspect people to be missionaries if they have a kippa and a beard. Once they start talking about Yemach Sh’mo then, ok, we can talk.

        Reply

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