Teitelbaum

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TEITELBAUM

TEITELBAUM , family of rabbis and dynasty of ẓaddikim in Hungary and Galicia. Its founder, moses ben Ẓevi of ujhely (*Satoraljaujhely in Hungary; 1759–1841), was born in *Przemysl, Galicia. A pupil of *Jacob Isaac ha-Ḥozeh (the Seer) of Lublin, he first served as rabbi at Sieniawa (Galicia) and from 1808 at Ujhely. Moses was among the first to spread Ḥasidism in the northern and central districts of Hungary. He won renown as a learned man and a wonder-working ẓaddik among all sectors of the Jewish community, both Ḥasidim and others. He wrote Yismaḥ Moshe (Lemberg, 1848–61), considered one of the classic homiletic works of Ḥasidism, and responsa, Heshiv Moshe (Lemberg, 1866).

His only son, eleazar nisan of drogobych (1788–1855), served as rabbi at *Sighet (Marmaros-Sziget), Hungary, and for 15 years at *Drogobych. He wrote no works himself, but his teachings are recorded in works written by his father and one of his sons. Of these samuel was rabbi at Gorlice, and Nahum Ẓevi succeeded his father as rabbi at Drogobych; the best known, Jekuthiel Judah of Sighet (1) (1808–1883), became one of the greatest admorim in Hungary. Born in Drogobych, he studied with his grandfather, Moses, and served first as rabbi at Stropkov. After his grandfather's death in 1841 he was rabbi in Ujhely, but was forced to leave under pressure by the *Mitnaggedim. He then officiated in Gorlice and Drogobych. However, he became known chiefly as rabbi at Sighet, where he moved in 1858; he subsequently gathered around him many Ḥasidim, and also founded a yeshivah. Jekuthiel Judah wrote many works, among them Yitav Lev, on the Torah (in five parts, 1875); Yitav Panim, on the festivals (in two parts, 1881–83); responsa Avnei Ẓedek (in two parts, 1885–86); and Rav Tov on the Torah (1889).

His sons were abraham aaron (d. 1910), rabbi at Kolbuszowa; moses joseph (d. 1897), rabbi at Ujhely; elijah bezalel (d. 1918), rabbi at Havasmezö and Tecsö (Tyachevo); the best known was hananiah yom tov lipa of sighet (b. in the 1830s–1904) born in Stropkow. At first he served as rabbi at Tecsö, but after his father's death in 1883 left for Sighet, where he became involved in the dispute which broke out in the community over the question of joining the national organization of Orthodox congregations of Hungary which had its headquarters in Budapest. Like his father he became known as a learned man and ẓaddik, and many sought him out. He wrote Kedushat Yom Tov, on the Torah and festivals (in two parts, 1895). His son, Ḥayyim Ẓevi of sighet (b. in the 1870s–1926), born in Sighet, was also a rabbi and ẓaddik. He wrote Aẓei Ḥayyim on the Torah and the festivals (in three parts, 1927–34); responsa Aẓei Ḥayyim (in two parts, 1939); and Aẓei Ḥayyim, on tractate Gittin (1939). His son, jekuthiel judah of sighet (2), the last rabbi to serve in Sighet, perished in the Holocaust at *Auschwitz in 1944.

joel(ish) teitelbaum of satmar (1888–1979), son of Hananiah Yom Tov Lipa Teitelbaum, served in communities in the Carpathians and northern Transylvania, and from 1928 at Satmar (*Satu Mare). He became involved there in fierce controversies with both Zionist circles and Ḥasidim attached to other ẓaddikim, who violently opposed him. During the Holocaust, in 1944, he was saved in the rescue train arranged through R.R. *Kasztner and from *Bergen-Belsen reached Ereẓ Israel. In 1947 he settled in the Williamsburg quarter of Brooklyn, New York, which was the center of a ḥasidic congregation that continued the way of life of a ḥasidic town in Hungary. In 1953 Teitelbaum became rabbi of the ultra-Orthodox *Neturei Karta community in Jerusalem, although he remained in New York and only visited Israel every few years. Later his ties with the community weakened and it ceased to regard him as rabbi.

Teitelbaum continued to be one of the most vigorous opponents of Zionism and the State of Israel, and engaged in intensive activity against the latter both in Israel and abroad, in his writings and sermons, and by demonstrations. While his opposition to Zionism and the State of Israel was based on halakhic grounds, most of which had been raised from the beginning of the Zionist movement, he added objections to the way of life and the social and political order in Israel, which in his opinion contradict the principles of halakhah. According to Teitelbaum, Zionism and the establishment of the State of Israel constitute a violation of the three oaths which the people of Israel were made to swear (see Ket. 3). This has delayed the coming of the Messiah and complete redemption, and resulted in all the troubles affecting the Jewish people in the 20th century. The Holocaust also was a punishment for the sins of Zionism and the State of Israel. Hence Teitelbaum denounced the secular character of the state, objecting to its democratic regime and legislature as not being founded on halakhah.

Teitelbaum also opposed the use of Hebrew as the spoken language, since this has secularized the holy tongue, and the adoption of the Sephardi pronunciation instead of the Ashkenazi. However, Teitelbaum did not express opposition to settlement in Israel provided that it was not through a mass aliyah movement but carried out by individuals only, from this point of view Ereẓ Israel being no worse than other countries. *Naḥmanides' opinion that to settle in Ereẓ Israel is a positive commandment is interpreted by Teitelbaum as referring to those who live in the country and observe the commandments of the Torah. If, however, a person living in the country does not observe the commandments, but is sinful, he defiles it, and those who fear the word of the Lord have a duty to see that he leaves. Teitelbaum forbade the Ḥasidim living in his community to cooperate with state institutions, while ordering those living in Israel not to take the oath of loyalty to the state, not to take part in the elections to its parliamentary institutions, and not to make use of its law courts or legal system.

An eminent scholar and sharp polemicist, Teitelbaum combined extreme fanaticism with a forceful personality. His public stand and at times his actions gave rise to much dissension and opposition. He succeeded in gathering round him a large ḥasidic community, exercising authority over his Ḥasidim even in matters which were really political. His discourses and sermons, mainly devoted to an explanation of his position on various matters, could be regarded for the most part as polemics against the State of Israel.

In 1970 Teitelbaum founded *Kiryas Joel in Monroe, New York, where many of his tens of thousands of Satmar followers moved. After his death he was succeeded by his nephew Moshe Teitelbaum (1914–2006), who divided the control of the Williamsburg and Monroe Satmar communities between two of his sons: Rabbi aaron teitelbaum (1948– ), chief rabbi of Satmar-Kiryas Joel, his eldest son, and Rabbi zalman leib teitelbaum (1952– ), chief rabbi of Satmar-Williamsburg, his third son.

bibliography:

J.J.(L.) Greenwald (Grunwald), Ha-Ẓofeh me-Ereẓ Hagar (1911); idem, Maẓẓevet Kodesh (1952); A.Y. Bromberg, Mi-Gedolei ha-Ḥasidut, 8 (1952); P.Z. Schwarz, Shem ha-Gedolim me-Ereẓ Hagar (1914); N. Ben-Menahem, in: Sinai, 25 (1949); Sefer Milḥemet Mitzvah he-Ḥadash (1929); J. Sperber, Sefat Emet (1929); H. Lieberman, Der Rebbe un der Sotn (1959); G.G. Kranzler, Williamsburg, a Jewish Community in Transition (1961); S. Poll, The Hassidic Community of Williamsburg (1962); S. Rozman, Sefer Zikhron Kedoshim li-Yhudei Carpatoruss-Marmarosh (Yid., 1968), 84–87, 92–100.

[Avraham Rubinstein]