The Satmar Rebbe gave away Yeshiva Funds

November 28, 2017

Years ago, when the previous Satmar Rebbe z”l first came to America after the Holocaust, he urgently wished to reestablish the religious institutions which existed in Europe. However, the fledgling yeshiva which the Rebbe had recently founded was struggling for survival, and financing was difficult to come by. The Rebbe had no choice but to embark on a fundraising trip in order to erase the institution’s deficit.

And so it was that on a particular Shabbos, the Rebbe found himself in a certain city in the American Midwest.  The city’s residents were indeed impressed by their distinguished guest, and were moved to tears by his wartime experiences and his valiant struggle to establish a Torah citadel on American soil. They resolved to help the sage in his mission, and an impressive amount of money was, in fact, raised.

But then the story took an unexpected turn. The rebbe discovered, in the course of his conversations with residents of the community, that the local mikvah had serious problems and required major corrections.  After carefully considering the mikvah’s defects, he determined that that the most prudent course of action would be to immediately construct an entirely new facility.

The Rebbe got in touch with the community leaders and discussed this matter with them.  However, they pointed out that the cost of building a new mikvah would be prohibitive, and, despite its problems, the current mikvah could be considered acceptable b’dieved.  They therefore felt that the fiscally responsible course of action would be to remain with the status quo, rather than undertake financial responsibilities which could not be met.  The rebbe would not go along with this reasoning.  However, he did more than just voice his objection. Imagine the astonishment of the Roshei Hakehilla when the Rebbe took all the money which had been raised during his stay which amounted to a very considerable sum, and without another word handed it over to the community leaders for the purpose of building a new mikvah.  Although these funds were vital to the continued existence of the Yeshiva, and now the rebbe would be returning home with no money to show for his efforts, he did not hesitate to contribute every penny he had traveled such a distance to raise, so that this community could have a decent mikvah , and not have to rely on lenient interpretations of halacha.  But that was not all.  The amount that had been collected for the yeshiva, and which the rebbe had handed over to the mikvah fund, was indeed substantial, but it did not cover the entire cost of the mikvah. So the rebbe actually went out and borrowed the difference. So that the city would have all the money it needed to construct a proper mikvah!

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