On Saturday night, December 9, 2017, the Satmar Hasidic community, the largest Hasidic community in the world, celebrated the 73rd anniversary of the rescue of their founder, Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum, from the clutches of the Nazis. The day was marked with two separate massive events: the Brooklyn branch, under the leadership of Rabbi Zalman Leib Teitelbaum, gathered at Pier 36 in Manhattan, while the upstate New York branch, under the leadership of Rabbi Aaron Teitelbaum, gathered at the New York Expo Center in the Bronx. Each event drew a crowd of more than 20,000.
Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum was a major rabbinic leader in pre-WWII Hungary, and when he stepped onto Swiss soil on December 6, 1944 it gave his followers new hope of rebuilding their lives and their all-but-destroyed world. The rabbi was one of 1,684 Jews who were spared the gas chambers thanks to hefty bribes given by the Jewish community to top S.S. officers in Hungary.
He and his followers soon made Williamsburg, Brooklyn their new home and set to work founding schools, synagogues and other institutions of Hasidic life. From mere a handful in the late forties, the Satmar community has grown to a movement of approximately 150,000 families today, with major centers in Williamsburg and Kiryas Joel, NY, as well as branches in Montreal, London and Jerusalem.
The annual celebration of Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum's rescue has, over the years, become something like an annual convention for the sect at which members gather to hear speeches about their founding principles. The gathering also serves as a fundraiser for Satmar's system of private schools, which are attended by about 20,000 children in Brooklyn alone, and 200,000 worldwide.
Both current leaders delivered keynote addresses in which they declared that religious Jews do not recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel, just as they do not recognize the entire State of Israel as a Jewish state.
Text of speech by Rabbi Zalman Leib Teitelbaum Leader of Satmar’s Brooklyn Branch
Everyone has been following the news about Jerusalem and, unfortunately, there are Jews who are happy over this desecration of the most holy place, When the King’s Palace is being used as a symbol of the heretical state. With words of blasphemy and heresy they rejoice with this rebellion against G-d, which has been going on already for 70 years.
We have to remind ourselves of the Rebbe’s powerful weeping at the time of the Zionist war of independence, When he was in Boro Park (Brooklyn) And they told him that the United Nations passed the resolution for the [Zionist] state, a shuddering seized him he couldn’t come to himself he couldn’t believe That G-d would put the Jewish people to such a test. Now they are making it bigger by taking Jerusalem, the Holy City.
We pray on every festival “Because of our sins, we have been exiled from our land.” The Temple was destroyed and we were forbidden to ascend the Temple site. We pray every day: “Build Jerusalem, the Holy City, soon in our days.” They are taking that Jerusalem and making it a symbol of rebellion against G-d - and Jews can rejoice over that???!!! Have pleasure from that? and feel grateful towards those who recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the [Zionist] state – something which everyone agrees can lead to bloodshed, may G-d protect us all. This is a terrible rebellion against the non-Jews, which is forbidden by the Torah. But at the same time, they know that this can bring heavy consequences, yet they still feel grateful for to the one who recognized it.
Here we see the result of those who integrated themselves into the state, those who accept their funding and take part in everything they do. Once one is under the influence of their bribes, He doesn’t hear anymore, he doesn’t see anymore how they are bringing down the entire Jewish people. He is so sold out to them that at the same time as he sees them bringing about danger he expresses his gratitude for recognizing Jerusalem as the capital.
Text of speech by Rabbi Aaron Teitelbaum Leader of Satmar’s Upstate Branch
Everyone knows what happened this week in the political world regarding Jerusalem, the Holy City.
The name Jerusalem means fearing G-d. Zionism means the opposite: uprooting the Holy Torah and uprooting the fear of G-d. Jerusalem and Zionism are a total contradiction.
We proclaim today to the whole world, in the name of the entire religious Jewry: Jerusalem is holy. Jerusalem is the Holy City. It is not the capital of the Zionist state! It makes no difference to us what anyone proclaims, even if he is the President of America. We know that the President of America, seventy years ago, the President at that time, in 1948, recognized the State of Israel as a Jewish state, but religious Jewry didn’t accept his recognition. It didn’t interest us what the American President did for his political reasons. It didn’t make any impression on us when the American President in 1948 recognized the State of Israel, and it doesn’t make any impression on us, when the American President in 2017, 70 years later, makes an announcement about Jerusalem the Holy City. We don’t recognize the State of Israel, nor do we recognize that Jerusalem should be the capital of the State of Israel. Even if all the nations of the world were to say, that Jerusalem has something to do with the State of Israel, that doesn’t change the Torah one iota.
For Jews who walk in the light of the Torah, it makes no difference whatsoever, what the American President says about Jerusalem. For Jews who follow the Torah, Nothing has changed, because of the words of the leader of one country, or the leader of any other country. We have only the words of Torah.
We are waiting for the true redemption, when Jews will be redeemed from this exile by G-d Himself, when He sends the messiah, and not through our own physical power. Only a redemption by G-d Himself.
We proclaim to the whole world: the Zionist state is a Satanic power, and whoever increases its honor, is increasing the honor of the Satan. That means: that last week there was unfortunately an increase in the honor of the Satan. That should hurt for every religious Jew – every religious Jew who wants to see the uplifting of G-d’s honor, who hopes for the honor of G-d to be increased in His world. If anyone feels happiness or pleasure from the announcement last week, it is a sign that he has Zionist leanings and he has anti-Torah views, G-d forbid. It is clear that whoever is happy with the success of Zionism, will not be privileged to rejoice in the true joy when the messiah comes.