Borough Park, NY - Bobov Dispute Heads Into Final Stage At Din Torah, Not Secular Court
Borough Park, NY - They are known as the Bobov 48 and Bobov 45. And word on the street is that the Bobov Din Torah will finally come to an end this winter. If so, it was a Din Torah that will have lasted four long years.
The Din Torah, of course, is between Rav Ben Tzion, the second son of Rav Shlomo and the half-brother of Reb Naftuli, the leader of Bobov 48th Street and Rav Mordechai Duvid Unger of Bobov of 45th Street, the son-in-law of the previous Rebbe Reb Naftuli.
The Bais Din was a hand-picked Zavla Bais Din of Five Town . Zavla stands for Zeh Borer Lo Echad – each side chooses one representative and those representatives choose a third objective judge.
In this case three objective judges were chosen. The two initial representatives are Rabbi Zalman Gross of the 48th Street Bobov and Dayan Yitzchok Berger from Manchester representing the 45th Street Bobov. The three neutral Dayanim are (1) the Chatkover Ruv, Rabbi Yoztchok Zelbereich, (2) Rabbi Avrohom Burich Rosenberg, (3) Rabbi Yechiel Baabad, the Tartikover Rav.
One of the reasons that the issue has taken so long is that the Bais Din meets sporadically.
The issues that the Bais Din has been ruling upon are numerous. The number one issue is whether there is a concept of “inheritance” - Yerusha at all in regard to a Chasidic dynasty or does the Chassidus belong to all the members of the Kehillah. If it is the latter, then the repercussions are that there is no Yerusha to talk of at all. This would effect the institutions, the positions, the power to appoint people in positions, and of course title to the real properties.
If the Bais Din rules that there is indeed a concept of Yerushah, then the question revolves around who, in fact does inherit in this specific case. Reb Naftuli, the most recent Bobover Rebbe who passed away, left only two daughters and no sons. Are the sons-in-law next in line for inheritance? Or does it revert to the half-brother of the previous Rebbe? The third issue involves whether there was a “will” – a tzavaah of the previous Bobover Rebbe Reb Shlomo, and whether or not that Tzavaah is binding. No one is arguing that there was no written Tzavaah – the question is was there an oral one? The oral one, if it was actually transmitted was only witnessed by one person, and that too is an issue for the five Dayanim.
The entire episode is one of great frustration for many members of the Bobov community and beyond. The plus side is that despite all the rancor, both sides have remained in Bais Din and have not taken their disputes to secular court like has occurred within the Satmar dynasty dispute.
Why the urgency, now? It has been conjectured that the economy has had an enormous impact and has created pressure to settle some of the outstanding issues as soon as possible. The 48th Street Bobov has been particularly hit hard by the economic downturn. It has been predicted that a final conclusion will be reached by February.
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