Rabbi Hutner's continual ferment entailed an uncharacteristic submission to the authority of two figures- an approximation of his stance as a student in Europe, when he searched out mentors. One of the two represented an extension of Rabbi Hutner's past, the other, a deviation from it. The first, Rabbi Aaron Kotler (1892-1962), was the "ari shebahavurah," "the lion of the pack," the most talented, loyal extension of the talmudic scholarship and intensity of pietistic purpose of Slobodka. In matters of high policy, such as whether to open a college in which secular studies would be sanctioned, Rabbi Hutner bent to Rabbi Kotler's will (the school was not opened). A far different figure, the Hungarian anti-Zionist Satmar Rebbe (Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum, 1888-1980), was, said Rabbi Hutner, royalty; and one honors royalty. Rabbi Hutner explained with reference to the midrash that states that Noah once was late in feeding the two lions in his Ark, and was clawed. Noah humbled himself in the service of his zoo: why did he deserve to be clawed? Because, said Rabbi Hutner, these were the last lions [emph mine]. One does not neglect the honor of a last, majestic leader of undifferentiated, communally cohesive, pre-Holocaust East European Jewry.
It delighted the protean Rabbi Hutner when representatives of two diametrically opposite faces of Orthodoxy- the arch Zionist Rabbi Kuk's son, Rabbi Zvi Judah, and the arch anti-Zionist Satmar ally Rabbi Amram Blau- once met uncomfortably in Rabbi Hutner's waiting room. Both sought counsel from the same person. That Rabbi Hutner grew apart from Rabbi Kuk's Zionist views is clear. That he retained the highest regard for his person and his erudition is also clear. How he squared that regard with his emergent homage to the Satmar Rebbe is an issue he never addressed. Did the dialectical tensions in his multihued prism find a welcome anchor, a stream of pure light, in monochramatic Satmar Hasidism? Or did the meeting of the two opponents in his waiting room signify that Rabbi Hutner had tugged their perspectives into a unity?
~Between Berlin and Slobodka: Jewish Transition Figures From Eastern Europe by Hillel Goldberg, 80