Edah Haharedith is Now Officially Aligned with the Zallies

The Satmar world held their breath yesterday and counted the minutes towards Aaron’s scheduled to return to the States. His return had been extended by a day amid rumors that he may, after all, pay the “Jerusalem Rav” (title of the gavad/president of the edah haharedith among his core base) a visit, as would normally have been the proper thing to do.

Aaron is very disappointed with the president of the Edah Haharedith (=The Pious Community, name of both the community and the Rabbinical court championing traditional Jewish belief and practice, dating back to the 19th century) R. Yitzchak Toviah Weiss.

Upon the most recent vacancy for the presidency, Aaron’s supporters plucked R. Weiss from relative obscurity in Beligum and nominated him for Gavad in the face of stiff opposition from the Zallies who preferred the Dayyan of Williamsburg, R. Yisrael Haim Menasheh Friedman. The Aaronim ultimately won the bout and R. Weiss was confirmed as President. The tacit understanding in this arrangement, however, was that R. Weiss would distribute the spoil to the victor by siding with the Aaronim. The Aaronim, therefore were beside themselves when on a recent trip to America, R. Weiss paid a visit to the KJ dissidents, Bene Joel, and their Zallie allies — who by some accounts constitute 40% of the KJ demographic.

On Aaron’s just-concluded trip to Israel he thus faced a dilemma: pay the proper respect for the Jerusalem Rav, and you’re letting him get away with “disloyalty” to his patron; snub him, and raise the ire of the staunch core of Edah Haharedith zealots –known as Sikrikim.

It is noteworthy that R. Weiss himself isn’t all that much of a zealot. If he had been, he may never had been picked for the job; that’s because the Edah Haharedith knows that in order to maintain a semblance of balance and representation of the entire haredi sector, it must moderate its zealotry, at least in the persona of its premier leader and spokesperson. Aaron’s snub to the Gavad is, therefore, as much –or even greater so– a snub to the zealot skiriki party in Jerusalem. They see in it a personal rejection.


Aaron’s proponents are saying “we’re gonna teach you a lesson; don’t expect unqualified financial and moral support from us if you don’t play ball! You choose, you want our checks to continue flowing to your institutions, you better support Aaron”. The question is: did Aaron overplay his hand? Will his tactic backfire? After all The Zallies also have wealthy backers. What if the Zallies take it upon themselves to fill the gap in expected funding from America? What if the Old Yishuv (=settlement) says: “screw you; we don’t need your support”?


The Zallies feel that this latest rift between the Edah Haharedith and Aaron bodes well for them insofar as it reflects poorly on Aaron. Aaron is now portrayed as uncouth, querulous and conniving. He is seen as jettisoning the long-time alliance between Samar and Edah Haharedith for the sordid benefits of an artificial pact with Belz, a sect that is inherently incompatible with Satmar due to the doctrinal disparity with regard to Zionism.


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