‘Moshe Gabbai’ Grants First Interview, Discusses Berach Moshe’s Decision for Two Satmar Rebbes


moshe-gabbaiRav Moshe Friedman, longtime gabbai of the Berach Moshe of Satmar and now of Rav Zalman Leib Teitelbaum of Satmar, has for the time spoken publically about his life in an interview with Shaah Tovah magazine. For decades, Rav Friedman┬áhas been known simply as “Moshe Gabbai.” Now, on Erev Sukkos 5770, he granted an interview to discuss his fascinating life as one of the leading askanim of Satmar.

The conversation with Rav Friedman reveals much of the influence and power he possesses, as well as his ability to understand things and analyze situations, and his extensive knowledge of Torah and chassidus.

The following is a brief excerpt of the interview in which Rav Friedman sheds light on the establishment of two Chassidic courts within the greater Satmar chassidus.

Satmar has become two courts. Won’t it reduce its power?

Rav Friedman: What does ? Satmar, boruch Hashem, is large enough for two chassidic courts. In fact, each of the two courts is large enough to be divided into another few courts.

So what you’re saying is that, Baruch Hashem, Satmar became two courts and it’s a good thing?

Rav Friedman: Of course it’s good that there are two chassidic courts. Without a question.

Are you saying that the truth is that it’s impossible to run a chassidic court that has more than 10,000 families? Do you think that such large kehillos can be run?

Rav Friedman: It’s pretty clear.

Even though everyone would prefer a united chassidus, but if it was already divided into two, they should be happy about it?

Rav Friedman: Actually, I see it as a lechatchilah, not a bedieved.

Do you mean that from the start they should have been two separate chassidiyos?

Rav Friedman: Correct.

If the chassidus is divided into two, and there are now two chassidiyos with two rebbes, can the community live in shalom with each other?

Rav Friedman: They won’t really be together. But they’ll live fine as they are, not like in other places where they ended up fighting all the time. I don’t want to mention names.

When the controversy emerged, the community said it was your doing. Is that accurate?

Rav Friedman: They have to blame it on someone, so they blame it on me. Maybe there was someone who didn’t like what was happening, and one always has to find someone to blame. Let them blame me. But ┬áthe truth is that it was the Rebbe himself.

The Rebbe zt”l?

Rav Friedman: Yes, the Berach Moshe.

And you were not involved?

Rav Friedman: Someone had to convey what the Rebbe said. The Rebbe for years debated how to establish the leadership of the chassidus – whether the Rebbe from Williamsburg should be in Kiryas Yoel or the Rebbe from Kiryas Yoel should be in Williamsburg, or the other way around. In the end, he decided that the Rebbe would be in Williamsburg.

They claim that the Rebbe wasn’t well when he made the determination.

Rav Friedman: This is just nonsense. At the time that they say the Rebbe wasn’t well, they also said that he wanted to appoint the other Rebbe. So they have to decide whether he was indeed well or not.

… During all these times that they say he was not well he was still leading tishen and davening, and meeting people, doing all that a rebbe does.

The full interview can be read in the Hebrew edition of Shaah Tovah magazine.

{Yair Alpert-Matzav.com Israel/Dovid Bernstein-Matzav.com Newscenter}