Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Wisdom of the Satmar Rebbe


And something many people don't understand about the Rebbe -- if to some people he seemed extreme, he was also very practical. He had an unerring vision. He told me he wanted the girl's division to be of good quality, so a balabatisher Yid could send his daughter to our school. The school wasn't one for extremists.

Why did he say "a balabatisher Yid"? Because, the Rebbe told me, "if the girls in the home will go to Bais Rochel, then the boys will also remain in Satmar schools. But if the girls go to other schools, eventually the boys also won't stay in Satmar."

The Rebbe doesn't need me to prove he was right. But I saw it firsthand. In Crown Heights, there was a whole group who sent their boys to the Satmar Talmud Torah. "Their daughters went to other schools. In the end, all the boys endued up in other yeshiovs -- not in Satmar!

Don't get me wrong. They went to other fine yeshivos. But we're talking about building up a community now. And 90 percent of the boys whose sisters did not go to Satmar schools did not continue in Satmar yeshivos. The whole household veered away from the community.

The Rebbe was absolutely right. He wanted a school where a balabitisher person could send his daughter and not say; "My wife doesn't let me send my daughter to Bais Rochel. It's too farchnyukt." 

"The Satmar Rebbe and His English Principal," Rabbi Hertz Frankel, p. 45

The trend today, particularly in Israeli society is for schools to have extreme entrance standards, even schools for small children. It's like getting admitted to Yale law school. Parents beg sometimes for years to get into schools, which sometimes send spies around town to catch families doing something not approved of. One administator told me openly that he makes parents call dozens of times over months or years in order to be sure they really want to go to his precious school. The game is very unhealthy for the kids who develop a superficial frumkite. So here we see that Satmar, the pinnacle of frum standards, didn't work it that way at all. 

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