Novardok, question and an answer

I posted the following comment on Cross-Currents:
“I’ve always wondered why, if Novardhok mussar resulted in such a true Simchas HaChaim, didn’t it continue to spread after the Holocaust? I would have thought that after the war, Novardhok’s message of not giving up and carrying on would have been welcome.”


One reader took time to email me the following response:


Good question.
I am not a Novhardoker, nor a son or grandson of one (if you define it as someone who learned in a Yeshiva that was part of the Novhardok network) – that is to my knowledge. Although I had a an elter zeide who lived in the city.

I see that you ask one question in the second sentence of your comment, while the third sentence seems to be asking something a bit different.

Anyway, first to the second sentence question – Briefly, I would venture to say that although R. Shafran’s point is well-taken, it is lost on some, perhaps many/most people. Not everyone is a deep thinker like him, and some people only saw absorbed the part that, as he wrote “Novardhok had a reputation for a pietistic and morose – to some even morbid – philosophy.” I suspect that even some/many/maybe most students, their children, and kal vachomer outsiders, didn’t get beyond the part of Novhardok that ridiculed olam hazeh pre-occupation, etc., which ultimately can yield the simcha, when properly handled. R. Nekritz was a great man, not everyone made it that far, some just absorbed part one, and didn’t get to part two. I could elaborate more I guess. 


I thank this person for taking time to give me a reply.





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