Thousands of chassidim are expected in Williamsburg for the Yom Tov of Shavous to be with Rav Zalman Leib Teitelbaum of Satmar. As this is being written, thousands have already arrived from all over the world. Traditionally, many Chassidishe Rebbes came to reenact Kabbalas HaTorah, the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai, with their mentor.
Kiryas Yoel Satmar Shavous 5739 – 1979
Shavous 5739 (Friday and Shabbos, June 1 and 2, 1979), the last Yom Tov with Rabbi Yoel Teitelbaum, zt”l (1886-1979), founding Satmar Rebbe and author of Divrei Yoel, stands out as memorable and historical. It was the first Shavous celebrated with a Rebbe of Satmar in the then newly established village of Kiryas Yoel. Chassidim came from all over the world. They slept in every space available. Kiryas Yoel’s legendary hachnassas orchim was fully enlisted. All bungalow colonies within walking distance were completely rented out to chassidim. Cars and mobile homes had their batteries removed and served as temporary bedrooms. No one today recalls any of the inconveniences, but everyone remembers the spiritual ecstasy of that Shavous.
Hospitality For Thousands
In the past few week, full-page broadsides announced that the Williamsburg Satmar Kehillah will provide lodging and meals for all guests. Satmar’s large Bais Rochel girls school building at 125 Heyward Street, between Beford and Lee Avenues, has been designated and outfitted to serve as lodging for out-of-town guests for Yom Tov. Those living in Williamsburg and wishing to provide guests with either meals or lodging, or both, are invited to register with 718-384-7449, extension 110.
In addition, the kehillah has expended tremendous efforts to reorganize the main beis medrash at 150 Rodney Street, to accommodate the maximum number of people. Almost 1,000 additional seats have been fitted in, as was last created for the Yamim Nora’im. This is especially significant since the beis medrash, in accordance with the Rebbe’s wishes, had many of its benches replaced with tables for the huge number of congregants that have started to have their daily learning schedules there.
The Yeshiva Study of Sugyos
Rabbi Moshe Sofer, zt”l (1762-1839), Pressburger Rav and revered author of Chasam Sofer, introduced and instituted the study of sugyos (topics) as the iyun shiur (in-depth lectures) in Hungarian yeshivos. This study method dates back to times of the Ba’alei Tosafos of the 1100s and 1200s. Students would thoroughly pursue understanding of a particular subject, examining its beginning in the Chumash, follow through in Mishnah, Gemara, Shulchan Aruch, and contemporary halachic practice.
In 1980, when Rabbi Moshe Teitelbaum, zt”l (1915-2006), late Satmar Rebbe and author of Beirach Moshe, was anointed as Rebbe of the Satmar Kehillah, he reintroduced the study of sugyos. The sugya the yeshiva studies immediately before Shavuos serves as the background for the pilpul shiur delivered by the Beirach Moshe at his Krepel Tisch after Shacharis on the first day of Shavous. Kreplach are cheese-filled ravioli, reserved especially for Shavuos. Thousands paid rapt attention to the Beirach Moshe as he delivered his pilpul shiur. His son, the current Satmar Rebbe, continues this minhag, and, this year, will deliver a pilpul shiur based on the subject of Davar she’yesh lo matirin at the traditional Krepel Tisch after Shacharis on Friday, the first day of Shavous, May 29.