Understanding the Exclusivity of Siddur Kiddushin in Kiryas Yoel

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rabbi-gershon-tannenbaumBy Rabbi Gershon Tannenbaum

On Wednesday, January 27, 2010, a wedding took place at the beautiful new Ateres Meir Zvi hall in Woodbury, N.Y. close to Kiryas Yoel. The hall was designed especially to accommodate chassidishe weddings. The undertaking had the initiative and participation of several chassidishe philanthropists and activists, led by the noted Yechezkel Brach. The hall is part of the yeshiva building.

Though the hall is not completely decorated, the full-time relentless work has brought the basic structure up to building code requirements. The work continues. On Friday, January 15, the township officially issued the Certificate of Occupancy (C of O), for use as a catering hall. Motzaei Shabbos Parshas Va’era, a melaveh malkah was held there for the mosdos of Kiryas Yoel, established by the followers of Rabbi Zalman Leib Teitelbaum, Satmar Rebbe.

The dinner also served as the formal inauguration of the facility. The event had the participation of some of the rabbis of Kiryas Yoel as well as that of the Kasho Rebbe; Rabbi Yechezkel Gold of Beis Medrash Shaarei Chesed; Rabbi Avrohom Katz of Beis Medrash Mishkanos L’Avir Yaakov; Rabbi Menashe Fulop, Satmar Dayan; Rabbi Ephraim Zvi Smilowitz, Kranitzer Rav; Rabbi Yerachmiel Gruber, Rosh Beis Din Orchos Mishpat; Montevideo Rav; Arader Rav; Rabbi Chaim Yehudah Friedman, Dinover Rosh Yeshiva; amongst others.

On Wednesday morning, in anticipation of the first wedding to take place there, several area rabbis and the project’s philanthropists and activists joined in affixing mezuzos. Immediately thereafter, a L’Chaim Tisch honoring the hall was celebrated. Later that day, guests began streaming through the wide doors in participation of the hall’s first wedding. The chuppah was held outdoors, in keeping withchassidishe custom, in the parking lot of the elementary yeshiva.

The Mesader Kiddushin was Rabbi Yoel Morgensten, Sharmasher Rav in Kiryas Yoel. Rabbi Meir Yehudah Tannenbaum, Chahter Rav of Kiryas Yoel, read the Kesubah. Immediately following the chuppah, a spontaneous dance erupted with ecstatic singing and joy. The dinner was served to more than 1,000 participants. Rabbi Zvi Hirsh Meisels, Shoproner Rav of Williamsburg participated in the Mitzvah Tantz.

The following day, Rabbi Yechezkel Roth, Karlsburger Rav of Boro Park, visited the facility and gave it his blessings.

Statements of Authority

Upon opening the new hall and the occasion of its first wedding, the rabbinical court of the United Orthodox Congregations of Kiryas Yoel issued a statement on Tuesday, January 26, allowing the performance of Siddur Kiddushin without impediment. In addition, two letters written by Rabbi Moshe Teitelbaum, zt”l (1914-2006), Satmar Rebbe and author of Beirach Moshe, were published in the Williamsburg-based Der Yid. The first letter, written on February 11, 2002, was addressed to residents of Kiryas Yoel. The second, written on February 20, 2002, was addressed to his older son, Rabbi Aaron, then Kiryas Yoel Rav and presently Satmar Rebbe. Both letters by the Beirach Moshe cite his authority as Mara D’Asra, successor to Rabbi Yoel Teitelbaum, zt”l (1886-1979), who was the Satmar Rebbe, author of Divrei Yoel, and founder of Kiryas Yoel. With that authority, the Beirach Moshe authorizes his son, Rabbi Zalman Leib, then Williamsburg Satmar Rav and presently Satmar Rebbe, to perform weddings and establish religious organizations in the community of Kiryas Yoel.

Protest Statements

The February 5, 2010 edition of the Kiryas Yoel-based Der Blatt had a full-page proclamation condemning the unauthorized Siddur Kiddushin within the community and environs of Kiryas Yoel. Woodbury, in the immediate vicinity of Kiryas Yoel and not having its own independent kehillah, is considered as a satellite of the central Kiryas Yoel Kehillah. The entire realm of a kehillah, together with its satellite communities, is under the exclusive authority of the Kehillah’s rav. This authority has been preserved since Talmudic times. This prevents a rav passing through another’s Kehillah, without having obtained specific permission from the Kehillah’s rav, to rule upon kashrus questions, perform weddings, or conduct any rabbinic functions.

A three-page letter in the handwriting of the Divrei Yoel, published in Der Blatt as well as in sefer Igros Maharit, 2:6, clearly details such prohibition. The Divrei Yoel cites the Knesses Yechezkel 72 and the Shvus Yaakov 3:121 as strongly condemning the unauthorized performance of any wedding within the jurisdiction of a Kehillah’s rav. Those forceful words prohibit the presumed married couple to live together until such time as they are properly married according to accepted halacha.

An April 2009 letter by Rabbi Getzel Berkowitz, Kiryas Yoel Dayan, is published in the same edition of Der Blatt. The Divrei Yoel, who founded Kiryas Yoel, personally appointed Rabbi Berkowitz as its dayan. He cites the aforementioned Shvus Yaakov (ibid), as well as the Knesses Yechezkel (ibid), and proclaims that Kiryas Yoel was established in the same way of kehillos of old and that the same halachos and dynamics apply. Further, the dayan clearly states that Rabbi Aaron Teitelbaum, Satmar Rebbe, is the ruling Rav of Kiryas Yoel and that the performance of every wedding within the greater boundaries of the Kiryas Yoel Kehillah must have his specific permission.

{Rabbi G. Tannenbaum-Machberes/Matzav.com Newscenter}

10 COMMENTS

  1. ITS A SHAME THE ARTICLE IS MISSING A LOT OF FACTS. THE MAIN THING IS THAT THE CONGRIGATION BNAI YOEL WAS EXPELD OUT OF THE YETEV LEV CONGRIGATION YEARS AGO ,SO THEY HAVE THEIR OWN LARGE KEHILA ,THEY HAVE OWN MIKVAHS-BEIS HACHAIM-SHICTA-SHULS AND SCHOOLS .ALLSO THAT THE HALL IS NOT IN MONROE . ALLSO THAT REB ZALMEN LEIB TEITELBAUM SATMAR RAV OF WILLIAMSBURG GAVE AUTHORIZED
    RABBI MORGENSTERN TO BE MESADIR KEDUSHIN.

  2. Lets not overdo this.
    You know Siddur-Kidushin has been for years the income of the local rov. (yes, income. you are supposed to pay the rov for being mesader kedushin).
    Today, for some unknown reason, the roshai yeshivos took this over(for free). But it really belongs to the rov.
    When it comes to being mesader a get, Chas v’sholom, you run to a rov (and pay him too) not to the Roshai yeshivos. I guess it is not such a kibbud to be mesader a get???

  3. Amazing. We are living in an era where Ahmadinejad is developing nuclear capabilities which he wouldn like to use to destroy our people, many of our bretheren are struggling to put food on the table.

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