Sunday, November 8, 2009

Rabbi Leib Tropper and EJF


Rabbi Leib Tropper is known to many readers of this blog as one of the team of people involved in engineering the ban on my books. He told the story about two students in his yeshivah, "malachai hashareis, "who read my books, and promptly dropped out of yeshivah and went off the derech. When I investigated it, I found out the one of them, who had said, "if the rabbis can make mistakes then why am I learning Bava Kamma" (a direct quote from R. Tropper), dropped out of the yeshivah and left observance before my book on Chazal was published. The other one, who read my books, dropped out of the yeshivah and went to YU - which I would not exactly describe as "going off the derech." When I discovered the identity of the other student and wrote to ask him if it was true that my books caused him to drop out, he wrote this reply.

I honestly don't really care much about all that. But there is something else about Rabbi Tropper's activities which I find very, very disturbing. First, some background. For the last few years, Rabbi Tropper has been running an organization known as EJF - Eternal Jewish Family, whose mantra is that they are seeking a "universally accepted standard for conversion," which sounds wonderful. Exceptionally well funded by Tom Kaplan, EJF flies out rabbonim to conferences in hotels.

There are, however, some very serious accusations against EJF. I will briefly review these, after which I will get to the problem that I personally find particularly worrying.

One problem, which unites such disparate forces as the Badatz of Jerusalem and the Roshei Yeshivah of YU against EJF, is the charge that EJF encourages proselytization. This has been discussed at great length by R. Daniel Eidensohn on his blog Daas Torah.

Another problem, also discussed at the aforementioned blog and elsewhere, is that the rabbis who endorse EJF have also received exceptionally large donations to their yeshivos - in one case, millions of dollars. כי השחד יעור עיני חכמים ויסלף דברי צדיקם.

The third area of controversy was recently made very public. Guma Aguiar, the nephew of Tom Kaplan, has filed a Din Torah against Rabbi Tropper for allegedly misappropriating millions of dollars that he gave him for charity. This story, which you can read in great detail here, includes this report:
For example, when Aguiar's daughter was born at the end of 2007, he wanted to express his and his wife's thanks to G-d by donating $36,000 to each of 36 rabbis. He says he turned to his uncle's close confidante Rabbi Leib Tropper to formulate a list of 36 beneficiaries.

The list, which you can find on the website, is basically a who's who of the rabbis that consented to sign on to the ban on my books. It pays to play along with Rabbi Tropper's zealotry! But apparently Aguiar wanted the list to include rabbis from a broader spectrum of Judaism than that represented by Rabbi Tropper's narrow perspective. After the list was expanded and agreed upon, the money was sent, but according to Aguiar, the money didn't reach all the rabbis. While the article does not specify which rabbis are alleged not to have received the money, my impression is that it is those who were not part of Rabbi Tropper's suggested list.

But the problem with EJF that is of greatest concern to me is the serious effort by Rabbi Tropper and his partner in Israel, Rabbi Nochum Eisenstein, to delegitimize those who do not share their narrow hashkafic viewpoint - both rabbis and converts.
There is a deeply troubling report as follows:
Rabbi Nachum Eisenstein said words to the following effect, from the podium, during the Tuesday, November 6, 2007 afternoon session of the EJF conference:
"Rav Elyashiv holds that any person who believes the world to be older than 5768 years is kofer b’ikur, and as such, is pasul l’dayanus. Therefore, a ger who underwent conversion through a beis din on which such a person served as a dayan remains non-Jewish. The conversion is invalid even b’dieved."
Let me repeat that these words were made before a large audience of rabbis and gedolei Torah. Stunned, I privately asked Rabbi Eisenstein if he realized that this psak would, in effect, exclude the modern orthodox rabbinate from the conversion process. He answered affirmatively, adding that Rav Elyashiv held this psak to be “pashut.”
Similarly, the previous day (Monday), Rabbi Leib Tropper mentioned, also from the podium, that Rav Chaim Kanievsky was asked if it is mutar to convert a person who is mikabel ol malchus shamayim but is unwilling to believe that the world is only 5768 years old. Rav Kanievsky answered that it is in fact assur to convert such a person. Rabbi Tropper also made seemingly hateful remarks, saying: how ridiculous would it be for a person wearing non-Yeshivish clothes and/or wearing cologne to serve as a dayan!?
More troubling yet, during the same speech, Rabbi Tropper made remarks to the following effect: "EJF’s goal is to connect a would-be ger to a universally accepted beis din. A universally accepted beis din could not, by definition, include dayanim who believe the world to be older than 5768 years."
I would be remiss not to mention that these remarks were said boldly, publicly and to an audience of over one hundred chashuvim. There was no visible protest amongst the assembled.

We thus have Rabbi Tropper's well-funded organization working to delegitimize the entire non-charedi rabbinate. We also have a nightmare scenario for sincere converts. I noticed the following report in the comments to this post:
I know about a case where a Jewish boy was dating a non Jewish girl and the local Chabbad was mekrev them for Orthodox conversion with kabalas mitzvos. Someone told the EJF about them and they got involved, they scared the girl with their tactics and the couple left orthodox Judaism and got married in Reform temple. As it turned out the girl was a scientist and the EJF freaked her out with their insistence that she will believe in 6000 years old universe.

Nor should one think that this witch-hunt will be limited to those who accept that there was an age of dinosaurs. In opening pages of the appalling work Chaim B'Emunasam, which claims that every Jew is obligated to believe that every single word in the Gemara is from Sinai or else he is a heretic and should be killed, there is enthusiastic praise for Rabbi Tropper and EJF for his assistance to the author. On his own blog, Rabbi Tropper recently made the following announcement regarding the forthcoming EJF conference:
Some of the new issues to be discussed will be the importance of true Torah Hashkafa and Midos as an ability to measure a candidates seriousness to convert properly... Someone who does not believe in “Emunas Chachachim” though he knows Halacha, should a Beit din proceed with the conversion?

We know from another post on his blog that Rabbi Tropper believes that every Jew is obligated to listen to the "Gadol HaDor." (As I noted in a previous post, he claims to base this on a Teshuvos Yaavetz, but Yaavetz says no such thing, and even if he would, there are clearly others who argue.) We thus have a real risk of a situation whereby converts who do not accept whatever pashkevil has Rav Elyashiv's signature to it are going to have their conversions declared invalid by EJF. Read this post to gain an insight into the terror being experienced by many sincere converts.

The latest EJF conference begins today, in the Sheraton Meadowlands, NJ. Something has to be done.

39 comments:

  1. Yishar Koach. When you kind of tried to justify your ban, I felt you were attempting to avoid fighting in the war. This post gets to the core. It is war, and this is a correct attack.

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  2. Rav Elyashiv holds that any person who believes the world to be older than 5768 years is kofer b’ikur, and as such, is pasul l’dayanus

    Have you verified if this is true?

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  3. I'm almost certain that it is not true, but what difference? What counts is what people say that Rav Elyashiv said, not what he actually said.

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  4. I agree with you. Just for my own psyche I'd prefer it not be true. :)

    This is part of the process of the Talibanization of Judaism. You and I live it every day here in Beit Shemesh.

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  5. > "if the rabbis can make mistakes then why am I learning Bava Kamma" (a direct quote from R. Tropper)

    I think this quote says more about R. Tropper than it does about any students he has that might have left his derech. Apparently he thinks that if something isn’t guaranteed to be completely correct, its worthless. This goes a long way towards explaining why he so vehemently opposes your work. According to his way of thinking, by saying chazal may have made some mistakes your saying that all of the time he has spent learning Torah has been a waste. The only way for him to respond to such an attack on his life’s work and self-worth is to attempt to delegitimize such a claim.

    It would also explain the disdain he and his fellows have for science, history, and other non-Torah knowledge. If its not completely correct, its worthless.

    I know this is a lot of speculation to build on one sentence, but it fits so well.

    > Rabbi Tropper's well-funded organization working to delegitimize the entire non-charedi rabbinate

    The yeshivish world doesn’t consider the Modern Orthodox to really be frum. This is nothing new. R. Tropper probably really does see going to YU as going off the derech, and MO rabbanim as no different than Conservative or Reform.

    Why do you try to fight them? Much of their behavior is insulting and condescending towards anyone that doesn’t share their worldview, but so what? Judaism has split many times before. It seems its time for it to split again. Let the chareidim go their own way. Neither Modern Orthodoxy nor rationalism needs their approval. No doubt they will brand us another heretical sect. So what. We should stop yielding them the moral high ground, and preemptively declare numerous practices, like rebbe and rosh-yeshiva worship, as the superstition and idolatry that it is. As it is, MO Jews are not considered frum by many chareidim, and chareidim are considered superstitions by many MO. Why not make it official?

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  6. G*3, while I have written myself about how rationalists and non-rationalists should acknowledge the chasm between them, what you say is not so simple. We are not just talking about the yeshivah world here, but about the charedi establishment, whose influence reaches beyond the yeshivah world. EJF is connected to Dayyannim throughout Europe and has indirect influence on the Chief Rabbinate in Israel. There are hundreds of geirim who stand to be affected by this.

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  7. > EJF is connected to Dayyannim throughout Europe and has indirect influence on the Chief Rabbinate in Israel.

    Ah. I wasn’t thinking in terms of Israeli legalities. Here in the US, where religious affiliation has nothing to do with the legal system, declaring ourselves a separate sect would be simple. All that is needed is for some like-minded people to open a shul. Get a few of these going, and we’re in business.

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  8. My answer to haredi powerhungryness is walking away and starting a blog. XD

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  9. As the piskei halacha, perceived piskei halacha, & haskafa of Haredi gedolim get more out of touch, they lose more of their sway over non-Haredim.

    The dati-leumi world actually becomes stronger and more autonomous as a result of this process.

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  10. >As it is, MO Jews are not considered frum by many chareidim, and chareidim are considered superstitions by many MO. Why not make it official?

    Many Orthodox Jews have familial and friendly ties across these so-called lines. I don't know about you, but I don't want to split my family and friends in a religious schism.

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  11. Geirus al pi halacha, the way Jonathan Rosenblum and R. Yitzchak Adlerstein have correctly potrayed it, is something which cuts across hashkafic lines, and should unite the Right-of-Center, whether "charedie" or not. Why in the world,a parochial issue such as science/Torah issue was brought up at the EJF is beyond me.

    A valid question one might ask is who is in charge of Charedi Judaism. I would think that umbrella organizations like Agudah would seek to minimize dissent and machalokes; perhaps they do not have control of this situation.

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  12. I am so glad to find your website (it was referenced at UOJ). Everything Tropper stands for is a hideous distortion of the real width and breadth and depth of Judaism, and I support your scholarship and am sympathetic about your run-in with the megalomaniac Tropper. He's left a wide swath of destruction behind him, turned many people off of Torah observance, and given faith and observance a bad name among many non-orthodox communities with people seeking a closer relationship with G-d. Your work does just the opposite, and I applaud your efforts.

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  13. R' Slifkin writes: "Rav Elyashiv holds that any person who believes the world to be older than 5768 years is kofer b’ikur, and as such, is pasul l’dayanus"

    Natan Lipkin asks: "Have you verified if this is true?"

    R' Slifkin answers: "I'm almost certain that it is not true, but what difference? What counts is what people say that Rav Elyashiv said, not what he actually said."

    For some background, R' Slifkin's website,
    http://www.zootorah.com/controversy/ravelyashiv.html
    , says the following: "NOTE from Natan Slifkin:
    While I was initially unclear as to Rav Elyashiv's position, and have received conflicting reports, my understanding is now as follows: Rav Elyashiv does not feel that the books are literally heresy (hence his surprise at seeing the wording of the ban), but rather that they are extremely inappropriate for his community (a view with which I would largely agree). It is also his belief that it is acceptable to colloquially term this "heresy" (as is clear from his letter to Rav Wachtfogel that he stands by the wording of the ban). I am sure that Rav Elyashiv is aware that one of his mentors, Rav Yitzchak Herzog, held similar views as me regarding Torah and science. Rabbi Beryl Weisbord of Ner Israel, who was present at the meeting between Rav Feldman and Rav Elyashiv, reports that Rav Feldman asked Rav Elyashiv if the books may be used in an outreach context and Rav Elyashiv replied in the affirmative. I am told that Rav Aharon Feldman likewise permits certain people to read my books. This further confirms my understanding that Rav Elyashiv does not consider them to be bona fide heresy, merely severely inappropriate for his community."

    Sorry for the diversion of the main topic of this post, the troublesome EJF story.

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  14. "As it turned out the girl was a scientist and the EJF freaked her out with their insistence that she will believe in 6000 years old universe."

    Call me a skeptic, but ths story rings as true as Tropper's dropout one.

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  15. רמב"ם הלכות סנהדרין פרק ב הלכה א

    אין מעמידין בסנהדרין בין בגדולה בין בקטנה אלא אנשים חכמים ונבונים, מופלגין בחכמת התורה בעלי דיעה מרובה

    Perhaps we should write a pamphlet which documents the statements by Rav Eisenstein et al, contrasts this with the Halachic requirement that judges not be ignorant in secular knowledge, states the threat to the nation, and then asks the reader to sign a formal declaration saying that he/she refuses to be judged by Dayanim who believe that the world is younger than 6,000 years, and demand from the State of Israel to provide enough religious courts with Dayanim who are not ignorant in secular knowledge. I think many would sign a well argued declaration of this kind.

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  16. Rabbi Slifkin, your post is a call to action; what do you recommend we do?

    For what it's worth, I write as someone not at all in the charedi world, but I suppose as an oleh, I am influenced by it indirectly.

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  17. I personally know two friends who are in the conversion process. I recently gave a shiur (with them in the audience) on the age of the universe, using R Yitzhok d'min Akko, etc. I am very afraid for thier conversion. One of them knows about these issues and is making sure to say all teh right things, but is this what we want? For convert to have to lie? sigh

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  18. While the EJF's behavior isn't good, I'm a bit disturbed that you find the allegations of embezzlement to be less disturbing than Tropper's attitude towards conversions and related issues. While I understand your concern at a more systemic level, theft is theft and is at some level much more serious than halachic disputes.

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  19. "if the rabbis can make mistakes then why am I learning Bava Kamma"

    Somehow I'd guess a more likely story would be a student who accepts the concept that Chazal could, on occasion, err in profane matters. Then the slippery slope and eventually the student claims Chazal erred about everything. But that's not what Tropper reports- an instantaneous rejection of Yiddishkeit due to the (student's) acceptance of an extremely high standard. The phrase thus reeks of fanatacism- one mistake makes an entire enterprise worthless? Any slight imperfection reduces a person to complete and utter unworthiness (and unworthy of conversion)? It's like burning down a supermarket because of one rotten egg! Who actually thinks this way? Could it be... Tropper?

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  20. "Chaim B'Emunasam, which claims that every Jew is obligated to believe that every single word in the Gemara is from Sinai or else he is a heretic and should be killed,"

    Could you remind of us of the /exact/ words the book said? Chayav Misa, perhaps?

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  21. Eh, never mind, I see it on page 3 of your paper.

    "R. Schmeltzer takes the situation of such a “heretic” very seriously; in reference to this, he has a
    footnote quoting the Shulchan Aruch that one should bring about the death of such a person
    by any possible means."

    As you wrote, this is awfully disturbing.

    Any comment about R' Caro's statement now?

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  22. Any comment about R' Caro's statement now?

    Yes, my comment is that it has absolutely nothing to do with what R. Schmeltzer cited it for.

    Would you like to comment, with your full name, on your view of R. Schmeltzer's position, and its subsequent implications for the Gedolim who wrote a haskamah for it?

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  23. I'd rather not use my full name, but lets just say that I thought your critique of Chaim b'Emunasem was excellent, and seemingly very solid. (I'm shooting for 100%, though, which made me question your charge that his paper actually called for murder.)

    My questions about how people would've blogged about controversial statements and actions of Talmudic sages are a separate interest of mine.

    As far as the implications for the gedolim are concerned -- I don't know. If I were you, I'd try to win over the hearts of those who have the ear of these gedolim. There's got to be at least some of them who would read your work with an open mind.

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  24. "There's got to be at least some of them who would read your work with an open mind."

    "Got to be" as in "I really hope there are" or as in "there must be"? Personally, I doubt it.

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  25. Arutz Sheva reports:
    "According to Aguiar, "Tropper lied in the name of the biggest rabbis... They don't even know who he is. Unfortunately, these appointments in Israel to distribute the money by Leib [Tropper], never got there... including hospitals, yeshivas, wedding funds, girls' high schools, research institutes, and rabbi's medical funds."

    In the immortal words of Dr. Who, "You can always judge a man by the quality of his enemies."

    I'd say you're doing pretty well for yourself there, Rabbi Slifkin.

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  26. It seems to me that a person who reads the age of Earth and humanity and so on from Bereshis could not, by definition, be much of a "Gadol". Pontificating that such a silly age for the Earth is a criterion for anything meaningful is a simultaneous declaration that the individual has no idea of the function of Torah...or, at best, the embedded limits of Torah knowledge.

    The individual may be a good fund-raiser [no mean task in itself]. Or, perhaps, know how to administrate a yeshiva [again, no mean task]. & perhaps this should count as some level of "Gadol". But this type of person should not automatically be assumed to have top-notch Torah knowledge. It's unfair to them as individuals as the status of "Gadol" may cause a self-satisfaction with such silliness. When people afforded high status proclaim such goofballery with full emunah, it does at least two bad things. One, it is a cause of much misdirection of ba'al habatim or our children who attach authority to the afforded status. Second, it causes the masses who know better to have feelings of deep embarrassment for the "Gadol" and wonder "who in the world appoints such fools as masters of Torah".

    Sincerely,
    Gary Goldwater

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  27. The Sages knew what they were doing when they made us say Davka when we ask for good judges: והסר ממנו יגון ואנחה

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  28. It seems to me that a person who reads the age of Earth and humanity and so on from Bereshis could not, by definition, be much of a "Gadol".


    I wish it was that simple. Unfortunately, we are talking about people whose knowledge and understanding of large portions of the Torah is amazing. The problem is that they also have their big blind spots which they seem not to even be aware of and which, to a great extent they have inherited from previous generations. I think the real chance to get the Torah in line with modern knowledge was probably around 200 years ago, when the issues were fairly new and there was more freedom of interpretation inside of Judaism as well. Today's gedolim (and they are, within their limits) are kind of stuck. How can they say things the Chasam Sofer didn't say?

    I don't mean that I agree with them; I'm just saying that it's a real mess with no obvious way out.

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  29. I think the real chance to get the Torah in line with modern knowledge was probably around 200 years ago


    Of course, what I meant to say was, "get our understanding of the Torah in line with modern knowledge".

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  30. ... keeping in mind that sometimes modern knowledge is mistaken.

    I mean, just imagine if rabbis from the 60's had tried to show that the Torah is in line with geosynclinal theory. The layman are all happy now that there's harmony between Torah and science. Then one day, the theory, which was considered by a popular science textbook at the time as solid as evolutionary theory, is overturned in favor of plate techtonics.

    What becomes of those people's faith? What becomes of their opinions of rabbis who keep reinterpreting Torah to fit with modern science?

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  31. Well, fortunately that problem doesn't exist with me, since I don't reinterpret Torah to fit with modern science.

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  32. Actually, I'm slightly in favor in interpreting Torah to make sure it jives with modern science so long as it's 100% clear that the one doing so is doing so /tentatively/ and he points out that either he or the scientists might be wrong.

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  33. There are plenty of people in the highest levels of chareidi halachic structure who realize that recent claims are deceptive and constitute overreaching. But they are intimidated. If parents can be intimidated out of justice for their molested children, why should talmidei chachaim feel secure.

    In effect, chareidi halachah is profoundly corrupted. If MO does not rebel, those who are intimidated will truly give up. We owe it to the best elements on the other side to hold the line on extremism. Yes it is awful that families will be cought in the middle. However, to paraphrase the Israeli argument, what can you do if the enemy is willing to endanger its own civilians for some advantage?

    It may already be too late to reverse internal chareidi corruption. I just want to be clear that I am not necessarily talking about money, but about people whose official rulings do not reflect their true judgement. I am also talking about people who teach and talk and accept opposing arguments where they are abandoning their obligation to represent the truth as they know it. Forget about the daas torah debate. Let us just have simple truth.

    For all its flaws, MO has much more integrity and less coercion in producing its authoritative rulings.

    Yerachmiel Lopin (FrumFollies)

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  34. "I don't mean that I agree with them; I'm just saying that it's a real mess with no obvious way out."

    The only way out is to stop pretending, against Torah, that one man can know all and can decide slone, and instead follow the Torah, and go sit together in a Sanhedrin.

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  35. The mother of my children was m'gayer by a Beit Din that included R' James I. Gordon, a Young Israel rabbi. I think he got his smicha at REITS. Will Leib Tropper use that fact to invalidate my kids' Jewish status?

    Along with R' Gordon, a'h', on the Beit Din was R' Joshua Sperka. In this photo from 1950, you can see that Rebbitzen Sperka did not cover her hair - at least not in 1950. As you can see, none of the other women in Rabbi Sperka's orthodox shul sisterhood covered their hair either, and many wore short sleeve blouses.

    So I suppose that the Leib Troppers of the world would say that my ex's Beit Din was not a kosher orthodox Beit Din. That's where they run into a problem.

    Rabbi Sperka's son Joel is the rav of B'nai Israel, a chareidi shul. If Leib Tropper thinks that R' Joshua Sperka, z't'l, was some kind of heretic, let him tell R' Joel Sperka that his father was not capable and authorized to sit on a Beit Din for giyur.

    While Tropper is trying to explain to a stalwart chareidi rav how his father wasn't a good enough rabbi, he can think of what to tell the family of Rav Eliezer Levin, z't'l, who sat with Rabbis Gordon and Sperka as Av Beit Din.

    If Rabbi Gordon or Rabbi Sperka were not sufficiently orthodox to sit on a court, what does that say about the head of that court? Will Leib Tropper say that R' Lazer Levin didn't know who was a kosher rav, let alone a proper candidate for conversion? True, Tropper has a fancy organization and millions of dollars under his control and many rabbis apparently under his sway. Rabbi Levin suasion was of a less material form. He had no lavishly endowed organization. He was a simple shul rav and head of the local va'ad. He followed the advice of his own rebbe who told him to talk to Jews, all kinds of Jews. His rebbe? R' Yisroel Meir Kagan.

    So who are we going to believe, Leib Tropper or the Chofetz Chaim's last disciple?

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  36. G*3 said, "According to his way of thinking, by saying chazal may have made some mistakes your saying that all of the time he has spent learning Torah has been a waste."

    No, no, no. That's not his motivation. It's interesting to hear what people who have not been around him think.

    Tropper has been spouting (incorrect interpretations of) Nietzsche and others whom he feels shows him to be an intellectual for years. There is no reason to think he believes anything that he preaches in this case.

    He had become (and EJF still might be) a fulcrum that focuses all power associated with conversion to an individual (global besides Israel) or small group (Israel). Added to this is the new power the power brokers gave themselves to revoke conversions after the fact. This gives them tremendous power over people for all their lives and beyond, to their descendants. This power is what Tropper craved.

    This could not be done if the Torah way, using non centralized Buhtai Deenim, had continued to be applied. And adding proselytization now lets them choose wealthy and powerful targets who can be controlled.

    The political necessity to accomplish this maneuver was the banding together with others who possess the same craving to control others, others who may or may not have been sincere in their beliefs. It was just a show that allowed Tropper to get what he wanted.

    We see some of what he did with his power. EJF must be disbanded.

    It is questionable if sanity will ever be returned to the Geirus movement, however. The avalanche has begun. His cohorts in Israel could get political control over Mi Yehudi and, even if they do not, their word is law in Charedi circles now. Though R' Reuven immediately announced that all EJF conversions remain valid, not all of us believe they were done halachically. I'm sorry to say this, but I would not allow them to marry into my family without investigating the details of their conversions. Tropper is a power freak, and there are reports that he strongarmed butai deenim that did not want to do certain conversions.

    The mess that is going to result when children of all these gierim, both EJF/hardcore Israel and those by others who are not recognized by them, will greatly divide the Jewish people in the future.

    Tropper did tremendous harm.

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  37. re:

    "Why do you try to fight them? Much of their behavior is insulting and condescending towards anyone that doesn’t share their worldview, but so what? Judaism has split many times before. It seems its time for it to split again. Let the chareidim go their own way. Neither Modern Orthodoxy nor rationalism needs their approval. No doubt they will brand us another heretical sect. So what. We should stop yielding them the moral high ground, and preemptively declare numerous practices, like rebbe and rosh-yeshiva worship, as the superstition and idolatry that it is. As it is, MO Jews are not considered frum by many chareidim, and chareidim are considered superstitions by many MO. Why not make it official?"

    The problem is this type of division has been very bad for the jews historically.

    The Vilna Gaon learns that one of the features of the Erev Rav is they attempt to stir up controversy to divide us. we have to resist that impulse.

    also, alot of people are in the middle and will therefore get ripped apart.

    but the bottom line is the orthodox must be united for us to get to Moshiach properly i think, at least in the 'good way'.

    that being said, i think the modern orthodox community is going to have to hold its ground here.

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  38. Rabbi Slifkin,
    I have always been a huge fan of yours. I adore your writing, and respect your mind. I saw you speak at the YI on Queens a few years ago, and when I bumped into your wife without know it was your wife and told her I liked her skirt, she immediately recognized me from college after 13 years. Yasher coach on all you have done and may Hashem continue to pave the way for the greatness yet to come. Please know that during your ban you had some major fans rooting for you. Yasher Koach.

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  39. Just noticed this blog. For the name "Rationalist" this article seems full of hyperbole. Let's analyze this rationally. Rabbi Eisenstein quotes Rav Elyashiv. One of three possibilities. 1) Rav Eisenstien fabricated this statement. If he did, I wouldn't take him seriously on anything.2) He made a legitimate error; he thought he heard & understood Rav Elyashiv but he didn't. In that case, I don't see your gripe against him. He is just carrying his mistake to its natural conclusion. Everyone makes mistakes. According to you even Chazal did it. 3) Rav Elyashiv did say it. If he did say it, Rav Elyashiv is a person who tried his utmost, with complete dedication, to understand the dvar Hashem. We cannot blame him personally for having his viewpoint. I agree that we don't have to accept all that he says, but there is no room for hyperbole here.

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