Rabbi Zalman Leib Teitelbaum, Rabbi of Sighet, was a chasid of Rabbi Chaim Halberstam of Sanz. He always traveled to spend the festivals with his rebbe.

At one point there was a sharp dispute between the Sanzer Rebbe and the children of Rabbi Yisrael of Ruzhin, but Rabbi Zalman Leib did not get involved, and did not declare his support for either party. When he was asked why he did not side with the Sanzer, Rabbi Zalman Leib replied, "The Rebbe is great, but he is not greater than Moshe Rebbeinu! I learned from my grandfather not to get embroiled in quarrels, even if it involves Moses himself!"

He explained that his grandfather, Rabbi Moshe Teitelbaum of Ujhely, the chasidic rebbe known as the Yismach Moshe, used to remark that he was aware that his soul had been reincarnated three times. In a previous life, he had been among the Jewish people who were redeemed from Egyptian slavery.

He, as a child, once asked him, "Zeide, you came out of Egypt, and lived during the dispute of Korach and his followers. Tell me Zeide, whose side were you on?"

Rabbi Moshe replied, "My child, you cannot imagine what a revered man Korach was. He was held in great esteem by many important people, and had a large following. And on the other side was the holy leader Moshe Rabbeinu! I decided that the best way to deal with such a division was to stay out of it. Throughout the entire controversy, until Moshe and his brother Aharon, the High Priest, were affirmed as the leaders, I remained inside my tent. I did not go out even once.

"And you, my dear grandson, should do the same. Learn a lesson for life: Whenever there is divisiveness, keep away. Lock yourself in your house if necessary so that you are not forced to join one side!"


Adapted by Yerachmiel Tilles from "Gut Woch" (Mesorah) by Avrohom Barash

Biographical note:
Rabbi Chaim Halberstam of Sanz [1793 - 10 Nissan 1876] was the first Rebbe of the Sanz-Klausenberg dynasty. He is famous for his extraordinary dedication to the mitzvah of tzedaka and also as a renowned Torah scholar; his voluminous and wide-ranging writings were all published under the title Divrei Chaim.

Rabbi Yisrael Friedmann of Ruzhin [1797 - 3 Cheshvan 1850] was a great-grandson of the Maggid of Mezritch, at a young age was already a charismatic leader with an large following of chassidim. Greatly respected by the other rebbes and Jewish leaders of his generation, he was - and still is - referred to as "The Holy Rhyzhiner." Six of his sons established Chassidic dynasties, several of which - Sadigora, Chortkov, etc. - are still thriving today.

Rabbi Moshe Teitelbaum [1759-28 Tammuz 1841], known as the Yismach Moshe after the title of his book of Torah commentary, was famed both as a scholar and wonderworker. A disciple of the Seer of Lublin, he was instrumental in the spread of Chasidut in Hungary. His descendants founded the dynasties of Satmar and Sighet.

Rabbi Zalman Leib ("Yekutiel Yehuda" in Hebrew) Teitelbaum, the Sigheter Rav (? - 6 Elul 1883) and author of Yetiv Lev, was a chasid of Rabbi Chaim Halberstam of Sanz. He was a grandson of Rabbi Moshe Teitelbaum of Ujheley, the author of Yismach Moshe, who was the forerunner of the Satmar and Sighet dynasties. The present Satmar Rebbe in Williamsberg, NY is his great-grandson and is named after him.

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