On Tuesday evening, June 14, Rabbi Simantov Yanetz, Rav of the Bukharian Congregation of Briarwood, hosted the Sassover Rebbe for a holy, unforgettable event for the community. During the Rebbe’s visit, he spoke in the shul and at the home of the president of the shul, Mr. Roman Davydov. The full name of the Sassover Rebbe is Rav Duvid Taytelbaum, but everyone refers to him as the Sassover Rebbe. Rav Noach Isaac Oelbaum, Rav of Congregation Nachlas Yitzchok, also welcomed the Sassover Rebbe at Rabbi Yanetz’s house.

The current Sassover Rebbe is the great grandson of Rabbi Moshe Leib, the founder of Sassov. His father was Chananya Yom Tov Lipa Teitelbaum, who was the son-in-law of his uncle Rebbe Yoel of Satmar, and he managed his father-in-law’s yeshivah in Kroli. Later, he was Rabbi of Semihaly, and he headed the Beis Din of Satmar. After the Holocaust, he established the Sassov chasidus in the US and in Kiryat Yismach Moshe in Eretz Yisrael. He was a Holocaust survivor who lost his first wife during the Holocaust. He came to the United States after the war and opened a shul in Manhattan. He married his second wife, and so the current Sassover Rebbe was born in America. The family made aliyah when he was ten years old.

In his speech, the Sassover Rebbe shared his personal miracle and how Hashem saved his life. He told the story that happened 22 years ago, right after his son’s wedding. Rabbi Yanetz told this writer that he was at the aforementioned wedding, which hosted thousands of people. The Sassover Rebbe danced a mitzvah tantz at the end of the wedding, which was in Ashdod, and on the way back from the wedding, he told his driver that he wasn’t feeling well. He felt pressure on his heart. It was two o’clock in the morning at the time, and it was an hour ride back to his neighborhood of Yismach Moshe. He didn’t have his key to his home and the gabbaim called all his sons. Although they all had keys to his house, none of them could find his key except for the son who was still in Ashdod.

The amazing hashgachah was that the doctor told him later that if he had gone home and gone to sleep, he probably would not have awakened; but because they couldn’t find a key, they drove the Rebbe to Urgent Care. The Urgent Care nurse determined that he was having a heart attack and he was rushed to the Sheba Tel HaShomer Hospital, where he had emergency open-heart surgery.

He was actually almost niftar. He said he asked Hashem to give him back his life and he listed two reasons. The first reason was that he lost his father when he was 11, so he was an orphan and never had real happiness as a child with his father. The second reason was that if Hashem gave him the privilege to come back to this world, he would dedicate his life to help chasidic youth to come close to Hashem.

Hashem brought him back and he has devoted his life to helping chasidic boys. He is considered one of the greatest educators in the chasidishe world. Parents call him from all over the world, seeking guidance on how to help their children. He has helped countless numbers of boys. He specializes in doing kiruv for chasidic boys.

He is also the rosh ha’yeshivah of a mainstream yeshivah in Yismach Moshe and he runs two kollelim. His sons run Sassov shuls, as well. There is one in Borough Park, one in Yerushalayim, and one in Bnei Brak. Last winter, he opened one in Betar.  All the shuls are flourishing, baruch Hashem.

Rabbi Yanetz shared that when the Rebbe’s father passed away and the Rebbe was only 11 years old, everyone left the chasidus. When the Rebbe turned 18, he reopened everything and started from zero. Today, he has hundreds of followers.

This writer asked what is special about the Sassover way. Rabbi Yanetz explained that the Sassover Rebbe’s way is to bring Torah u’mitzvos and closeness to Hashem with love, and in a positive way. He shows the sweetness of Torah and connects with each person. He gives each person a lot of attention. He travels weekly to Yerushalayim and to Bnei Brak to teach shiurim, and he stays and speaks to each of his followers after class. At the event, he offered every individual an individualized brachah.

The community thanks Rabbi Yanetz for this wonderful, holy experience.

By Susie Garber