And the answer is nothing. We’re quite friendly. I consider myself a full misnaged. And not only I, but my rebbis. We don’t practice anything of chassidus. Yeshivah men today practice a lot of chassidishe things. I don’t and my family never did. They couldn’t even pronounce the word chassidim. They used to say s’chidim. They couldn’t pronounce the word correctly. They didn’t have them in their districts in Europe.
But my rebbis weren’t unfriendly. There was just one short period at the beginning when chassidus began to rise that the Gra, zichrono levrachah, was afraid that they’d go off – some of them – and form a wild sect and do things against the Torah.
Now, I’m not saying my own idea but in the sefer Mekor Baruch he says that. And also in a famous sefer called Zichron Yaakov he says the same thing. He says at the beginning there were some groups that were doing wild things and they had to be stopped. And the machlokes that the Gra made against them caused the gedolei hachassidim to call a halt to these groups. They reacted and stopped it. And from then on there’s no machlokes anymore.
Would you say there’s a machlokes between the Syrians and the Egyptians and the Hungarian Jews because they have different customs? It’s not a machlokes. Today there are different customs, that’s all. They’re all minor things.
All the Jews that are loyal to the Torah believe in one Chumash, one Tanach, and one Gemara and in one Shulchan Aruch. The Rema adds certain things but in general it’s all the same. And therefore I would say there’s no unfriendliness.
If a person wants to exercise his meanness of character and he wants to be mean against misnagdim because he’s a chossid or mean against chassidim because he’s a misnaged, he’ll be mean against fellow misngadim too and against fellow chassidim too.
You find that the same person is mean even among his own. Don’t you find chassidim who fight with chassidim? You don’t find that? I don’t want to talk about that but you’ll find that. And even in the same sect people fight. Mean people look for excuses to fight. If his nose is longer or shorter than your nose, it’s also an excuse to fight.
TAPE # 339 (November 20, 1980)