In the answer here, an opinion that 'the Torah of the Baal Shem Tov is forgotten' is attributed to Reb Yoel of Satmar.

  1. Is there an actual source for these words being said by him?
  2. Is there any literature describing what these words mean?
  • @Yishai here's your oportunity – user6591 Dec 16 '15 at 14:31
  • This is a huge argument within Satmar now. I'm not sure why I would want to step into that. The two most plausible explanations are that no one understands it anymore, or that the centrality of a Rebbe isn't relevant anymore (or both, I guess). I'm pretty sure that when the Lubavitcher Rebbe cried upon hearing it, he understood it as the former. – Yishai Dec 16 '15 at 15:05
  • Is there anywhere I can actually see this statement? Is it printed? Or was it only heard in a speech? – user6591 Dec 16 '15 at 15:25
  • there is a lot from the baal shem tov that is forgotten but that doesn't mean all of it was. for example we have the book kesser shem tov but due to the fact it is written in a very b'kitzur manner it is very difficult to fully understand beyond the p'shat. Much of the deeper (not necessarily all of it though) meaning has been forgotten. This doesn't seem to only be a satmar opinion though. – Dude Dec 21 '15 at 6:10

I don't think you can find it in an online source, but it is a famous and oft quoted remark. It made its way into the Wikipedia article on Satmar.

As one can imagine, many were up in arms about this statement which sends to do away with Chasidus more effectively than any contemporary Misnagdim. The Satmar Rebbe is said to have joked that every Chassid anyhow disregards all other Rebbes and only holds off his own. Therefore he only put down himself.

It is obvious that Satmar still considers itself a Chasidus and still claims to follow earlier generations of Chassidic Rebbes. But this famous comment is meant to portray that we aren't following the same brand of Chassidus practiced back then.

The early Chassidic Sefarim have aspects of Avodas Hashem that people today don't relate to. Many directives are addressing those who are constantly in a state of heavenly awareness, and describe how to relate to mundane matters with that perspective. There is little doubt that Chassidus has adapted to the later generations. However, most Chassidim wouldn't call this forgetting the Torah of the Baal Shem Tov but rather that the underlying concept is being applied differently, and that it didn't evolve but was intentionally redirected through the Rebbes of each generation.

Essentially, like many controversial statements, this boils down to two sides of the same coin.

The Satmar Rebbe is not the first, or only, one to make this claim. Others have said (don't recall right now whom) that just like the period of Geonim and Rishonim passed, the period of Talmidei Baal Shem passed as well. However, this doesn't either mean to disregard it, just like we don't disregard the Geonim and Rishonim. But it's meant to keep perspective and understand that although we might be following on their heals we aren't there anymore.

EDIT: Here is a Drasha from R. Yechezkel Roth which discusses the statement. The statement itself can be found in Vayoel Moshe, Maamar Shalosh Shvuos 185. I didn't find the Sefer online but it can be downloaded at http://www.mysatmar.com/docs/shite_hakdoshe/ p.172

  • Ty for your effort. en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Satmar_(Hasidic_dynasty)/Archive1 actually has a similar idea from Reb Chayim Sanzer. But I would really like to see this at quoted somewhere reputable. In a seffer or online. – user6591 Dec 16 '15 at 15:33
  • If you have any links to his followers arguing about what he meant that would be helpful by somewhat proving he actually said it – user6591 Dec 16 '15 at 15:48
  • The Vayoel Moshe doesn't say that. It just says that the statements in those sefarim are for special people and they require extra understanding to understand them. There are those who point to that as clarifying the meaning of the original statement. – Yishai Dec 16 '15 at 19:14

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