Tolner Diary

There is a diary of the court of the current Talner Rebbe that has appeared on the web with the title of Tolner Wikilinks. It was likely taken or stolen from the computer of one the aides of the Rebbe or from someone inside of the court. Most of it concerns the recent courts of Reb Pinches Menachem and Reb Yitzchok Menachem Weinberg, today’s Tolner Rebbe of Bayit Vegan. The former was the powerful and politicaly active Gerrer rebbe who died in 1996.

It is a journal-pinkas of 492 typed pages in Hebrew and Yiddish of the last 20 years and includes reactions to people, weddings, current events as well as visits to the doctor. It opens with stories and then moves on to more personal material.But even then the editor mixed past and present. It includes a pinkas of those who came for yehidus, the etzah and the pidyan as well as who got to sit at a tisch. It is as close as most people will ever get to the inside working of a hasidic court. Once digested will likely generate op-eds, articles and certainly the possibility for a book on contemporary Hasidism using this as a basis.

There are Brisk stories, stories of Rav Menachem Zemba, Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, Holocaust stories,and many other stories. Some of the stories about decades ago are clearly anachronistic, the recent stories are the gems. The Hasidic blogs will likely pick out the gossip first, then name calling and petty comments about Belz, Slonim, Satmar, Viznitz, and Gur as well as the visit by Gutnik. I am most interested in the actual content.

Here is the leaked Talner Diary as a large pdf file.

I skimmed its almost 500 pages and here are a few random items that caught my eye. If you find important parts then please let me know in the comments. Also if important discussions start on Hyde Park or on other blogs then please let me know.
To give you a sample:
1] There is a conversation between the two aforementioned rebbes about the Jerusalem trend of graphology and does it work?
2] We have a discussion on the need to learn ibn Ezra.
3] We have Hasidim coming for advise to recoup losses from an American bank scheme.
4] We have a steady stream of bachrim and young avrachim asking for a tikkun for an averah. To one he says, “learn for 5 hours straight.” The bachur says that would go over seder time so he cant, to which the rebbe answers that if one has enough effort then ordinary seder will count as 5 hrs.
He told another to seek truth like Kotzk, to which the avrach said that is above his level. So instead he was told to learn half a day and to guard his eyes the other half.
Another came in asking for help in his avodah and he was told to take everything easy and to go on a diet.
A group of avrachim asked to go on a trip to the Golan, he told them to act appropriately and to remember God at all times “when you go on your ways.” Same advice was given to group heading up to Meron.
He refused pidyon money from Avrachim.
5] We have him keeping Rav Hayyim Druckman waiting for a yehidus since Druckman wanted greater support for Yesha and the settlements and the rebbe did not want more of this avodah zara.
He leaves town for a day when there was a gush emunim rally.
6] We have an 18th century mocking of his doctors. He went to an eye doctor erev Sukkot and his vision improved, to which he attributes to the power of the Sukkah.
He another time he went to visit the Professor- Doctor and the doctor complained about Rav Getz calling the police on the woman’s group at the Kotel. To which Professor-Doctor #2 said it is because of the prohibition of a woman’s voice. Doctor #1 said he listened to a woman’s voice many many times and it has never bothered him. And then the Rebbe said it is like the peasant who walks barefoot with rocks compared to the sophisticated European, who is elevated and greater than the peasant, who cannot tolerate a little pebble in his shoe, so too here. At this the doctor praised his amazing wisdom.
7] We have a case where someone lied to get a pre-wedding berachah and now came to admit lying and get a real berakhah.
8] We have a story of ideology about not reaching out to common people. The Besht reached out to common people and was not able to create a court, but Kotzk threw people out and it created Gur.
9] It is better to have a marriage with the son of a heretic than a son of mumar leteavon, because the latter leaves a lasting bad virtue.
10] We have a bachur coming for advice what to do since his mother is not Jewish. He was told just keep the 7 mizvot and not to try for more. [I assume it was a conversion question]
11] We have a miracle tale of causing the Petah Tikvah movie theater that was open on Shabbat to close permanently.
12] They have an suspicion of the Israeli government officials and at the same time claiming credit for themselves. For example, they have a minhag to say shem reshaim yirkov about Mt Herzl. But they claim credit for the Yom Kippur War victory.
13] He visited his son on his birthday and brought a present and said that there are also tikkunim on a birthday.
14] The essence of Hasidut is obedience tot he rebbe as we know from Mordechai giving Esther instructions. (This drashah is usually cited for Rav Elhanan Wasserman’s daas Torah)
15] When Reb Pinches Menachem heard that there is kolel for baalei teshuvah, he exclaimed ” who took this upon themselves to create this ..they should work and only have fixed times for Torah.”
16] When asked by an avrach who had many preparations for prayer and prayed for a long time, the rebbe told him to stop it is not for our generation.

The h/t goes to CIRCUS TENT צירק געצעלט who also provides a guide to abbreviations in the text.

רי”ם = Reb Yitzchok Menachem Weinberg, today’s Tolner Rebbe of Bayit Vegan,

ס.ט. = Saba Tolner, his zeide, the old Tolner Rebbe, Reb Yochonon Twersky,

הב”י = is the Bais Yisrool, of course, Reb Yisroel Alter,

ל”ש = the Lev Simcha, Reb Simcha Bunim Alter,

הגרפ”מ = is the Gaon Reb Pinches Menachem, before he was Rebbe, (after which he was known as the אד”ש, and after his passing as the Pnei Menachem,) which was after 7 Tammuz, 5752, when his brother the Lev Simcha passed away.

מו’ ד. ח = Moreini Reb Doniel Chaim, son of the Pnei Menachem

Reb Shaul is the Rosh Yeshiva of Sfas Emes in yerushalayim and a son of the Pnei Menachem,

Reb Aryeh was the Pnei Menachem’s son who passed away some 20 years ago after being hit by a bus. He was a son in law of Rav Menashe Klein.
Other Roshei Teivosen are Shamoshim and Gaboyim.

קו”פ is קודש פנימה = the Rebbe’s Tzimmer

12 responses to “Tolner Diary

  1. Oy vey. Such narishkeit from a rav! It would be better not to publish such nonsense: it’s great material for people who wish to make fun of the orthodox. On the other hand, it is rather interesting and embarassing to see the superstition and folkways of a rav.

  2. The pages were apparently published without permission of the author

    • Do you have more details on the publisher or author.
      I am actually more concerned with the editing. Is there more than one hand? Is it more than one volume that has been placed in a single file. As some readers noted to me in emails. The maasehlach and the records of yehidus have different styles.

  3. I haven’t heard a name yet, but somebody was asked to type up all the handwritten pages and he made the mistake of passing it on to one person who “swore” not to let anybody else see it…

    It’s a few years worth, so maybe different people did the writing.

    • I saw that you posted them. Thank you. I am not interested in general Heimishe gossip. I have not read through them. Is there something significant in them? Even though the Tolner document had lots of gossip, I posted it for the insight into current Israeli Hasidus, waiting for one of my Israeli academic friends to write on the Pnei Menachem.

  4. Can you post the Gerer Takanos regarding Onah? There is much misinformation and I would like to find out the truth about them. Also how do they justify being mevatel the mitzvah of Onah ?

  5. Rav Mendel Shafran against the Diary – he claims, inter alia, that it contains gross inaccuracies, and lists a number:

  6. Re: Rav Mendel Shafran – are the accusations of ‘ניבול פה, ליצנות וזלזול באישים רוחנים ” true? Or is this shades of Making of a Gadol?

  7. I asked my brother in law who is Ger & a chareidi pundit about them:

    He said the following:

    …some real juicy stuff there, but my sources in ger tell me that parts of it are unreliable. Either way, reliable or not, it has a lot of fasnciating stuff in it.

    Btw, in case you know the guy that wrote this, none of it is about the Tolna court. All of it was written long before the Tolna rebbe became rebbe. the tolna rebbe is a gerer chossid who was a long-time magid shiur at yeshiva sefas emes. When his grandfather who was the tolna rebbe passed away, he became rebbe. the entire diary is written years before that

  8. There’s good news from the Tolna Rebbe who now has a new Shul This is all in the Merit of Dovid of Tolna the original Tolna Rebbe whose Yahrzeit is today Netsach Sheb’Netsach, may His merit protect and bless us !

    Check out the Tolna Rebbe in English so you can hear the truth of the Tzaddick himself <-click here !

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