HaBucher HaChushev Ploni ben Nistar here for shtick, news and fun. You know, a Chassidic life isn't as boring and heavy as most people might think! ;-)
מצוה גדולה להיות בשמחה תמיד
Remember you can always easily stop the playlist at the bottom of this page. Also don't hesitate to send me an 'ask' if you have any questions. I don't bite at the first time.
DISCLAIMER: Questions on Jewish Law (Halacha), I will try to answer to the best of my ability. Note that my understanding may not be accurate nor be the final word on asked topic. One should consult an Orthodox Rabbi before drawing any conclusions.
Hello there Anon from Belgium!
Thank you for your question. I have family in Antwerp. Actually I was there last year for a wedding of a close family member.
I have to say that your question kind of took me by surprise. But I’m okay with answering it.
How it affects the Chassidishe world? Well, first of all; we are all very aware of what happened to our people. Everyone has family members who went through these horrors. We all know about the stories and about the amazing strength of the Jewish people after the war. Chassidus as a movement was almost destroyed by the Nazi’s y”sh. Most chassidim were murdered, including many rebbes. Some of the largest Chassidic groups today (Satmar, Belz, Vizhnitz, Ger, etc) were basically almost extinct after the war. But the surviving Rebbes didn’t let this stand in their way and they started rebuilding their dynasties. With G-d’s help they were successful and the Chassidic groups are flourishing once again.
How this affects us as a community today? It taught us to always trust and rely on G-d to to stick to the Torah. That no matter how hard things are for us, there is always a G-d above who watches over us. Someone who will help us.
As for how it affects us personally. Well I cannot speak for everyone of us, nor for every family, but I can speak for myself and some of my friends.
My family has always been very wary; especially my zaidy [grandfather]. As a yingle (little boy) I once roamed through my grandparents’ house and stumbled upon a large glass jar filled with money. It contained bundles of different currencies: French francs, Belgian Francs, Dutch Guilders, Spanish Peseta’s, British Pounds and even American Dollars.
“Zaidy, what is this for?” I asked him when he suddenly stood at my side. His answer was one I will never forget.
“You never know how people are. One day they are nice and act like your friends. And the other day they throw you out of the country. Today everything might seem all nice and quiet, but you’ll never know how long this will last. Never trust them. Always remember this. Do not forget it.” With these words my zaidy took the jar and put it somewhere else.
Now, you have to realize that my zaidy and his sister were the only survivors of the war. He was ‘miraculously’ saved while digging his own grave in 1945. The soldiers overlooking the digging suddenly threw their weapons on the ground and fled for their lives.
So as my parents grew up they were taught to always think twice and to be the best in everything. Even I was forced to excel in everything I did (whether in cheder, yeshive or ‘outside’). Once I had to do some course in a secular study (I got a heter - permission - of our rebbe). My zaidy called me every two days to remind me I had to be better than the goyim. I had to show them I could not only be equal, but even be better than them. And so I did. I had no choice…
This of course, is only one (and just a ‘minor’ one) of the many effects’ the Shoah still has on my family.