Thursday, November 26, 2009

How many Rabbis are there in Chassidut BELZ ?


How many Rabbis are there in Chassidut BELZ ?

This is the question I asked a Belzer Chassid a few weeks ago. His answer sounded surprising to me:

"There are only about sixty Rabbis in our group. In order to become a Rabbi you have to be a real serious Talmid Chacham and not just "anybody". And those educated Rabbis in Belz are mostly Dayanim (judges) or such kind. But not only us, almost every other chassidic groups only has a few Rabbis. Anybody else is a student or anything but not a Rabbi. Even the teachers in our schools are not called Rabbi".

My question:

Can a Baal Teshuva become a Rabbi in your group ? If not a Rabbi, so maybe 
a teacher ?

The Belzer:

A Baal Teshuva  could not become a Rabbi in Belz. Not because he is a Baal Teshuva but because he is lacking all the knowledge. People cannot catch up and are never on the same level as a frum Jew from birth. Furthermore, a Baal Teshuva entering our group will never be a real 100 per cent Chassid. If he is good he can become 90 percent but never be perfect.
People entering from the outside think that, once they join, they are IN, but they are not. There is nothing like being born into a Chassidut. However, a Baal Teshuva could become a teacher. There is none like that in our group but he could".

My question:

Why don't you tell this to the Baalei Teshuva who are willing to join Belz ? Or do you tell them what you just mentioned to me ?

 The Belzer response:

"If we told them that, no one would become a Baal Teshuva".

While saying this he smiled.
Well, what can I say ? It is not only the Belzer saying this. I  have spoken to quite a few born chassidic Jews and all of them told me the same. No matter if Belz, Gur, Boyan or Toldot Aharon.

If I was one of those Baalei Teshuva yearning to join any chassidic group, I would be satisfied with keeping their customs and going to their Synagogues but I would not sign anything official in order to become a member.

Why not ?

Because I am just not the type trying to squeeze myself into a society where I don't belong. It would just make me feel too uncomfortable.


  1. "Into a society where I don't belong." Shows what this guys thinks of balei teshuva. What you posted is a sad commentary, and is factually incorrect. There are probably about about 1,000 Rabbis in Belz. In order to work for any chassidic yeshiva you have to be a Rabbi. Therefore we shouldn't believe the rest of what he has to say either.

  2. B"H

    Why should we not believe a Belzer ? Because you don't agree with him ?

    It is not only "these guys" thinking about Baalei Teshuva this way. I have spoken to many many Haredim from all kinds of backgrounds and they all basically say the same. It doesn't mean they are against Baalei Teshuva, it only means that a newcomer could never be 100 % member as someone born into the group. Which is true.

    Why can't Baalei Teshuva accept this ?

  3. It just seems to go against the Torah. In Judaism we believe that a ba'al teshuva could reach a level that a frum from birth can never reach. The entire idea of teshuva is undermined here.

  4. B"H

    This is very true but today's reality is slightly different. Just look what kind of Shidduchim they offer to a haredi Baal Teshuva !

  5. And don't forget. This whole idea is antithetical to the original teachings of chassidus. Chassidus was originally there for all Jews. You chose a Rebbe, became close to the group, and in time you were like everyone else. Someone should remind this Belzer that Belz is only 200 years or so old. They have thousands today not from that one original family, but from hundreds, thousands of Jews who joined the ranks. It was only after a time that chassidus started to become more exclusive. This isn't what the Ba'al Shem Tov or the Maggid, or the generation after had in mind. So that's why I don't accept it.

  6. B"H

    You are totally right but, unfortunately, we have to make a distinction between Chassidut in the past and today.

    I think the Baal Shem Tov would be terribly shocked if he saw what is going on.:-)

  7. intersting
    i as a belzer i know for fact most of whats written above is not true at all not the numbers or anything
    BTW i have now in my head 2 Ballie Tshuveh who are very recogniesed rabonim in belz 1 is harav Avichie Cohen he lieves in bet shemesh i was once a shabbos there and he gave the Shaloshsiede Drushe in Belz shul
    The only reason most BT dont become rabbis is the same reason why most born Chasidim are not , simply because we are not qualified