Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Next Frontier

Thanks to the generosity of a sponsor who wishes to remain anonymous, I was able to print a few thousand copies of my booklet "Chaim L'Amitam," which is the Hebrew translation of my critique of Chaim B'Emunasam. (Both English and Hebrew versions can be downloaded here.) The booklet is being distributed free of charge, but I have to be careful that people don't take it to discard it. If you would like to arrange to distribute some, or you want one for yourself, please be in touch with me via email to arrange to collect it from Ramat Bet Shemesh or Bayit Vegan. I would be especially grateful if someone could encourage those who wrote haskamos to Chaim B'Emunasam to actually read the critique. Monsey would also be a good place to distribute it!

This booklet represents my first foray into the Hebrew-speaking world. I am also currently having my book Sacred Monsters translated into Hebrew. It will be interesting to see the effects of my entering this territory.

23 comments:

  1. Hatzlacha rabba!
    If you go to:
    http://www.luach.com/posts/Region/monsey/rides_and_carpools
    or:
    http://www.luach.com/posts/Region/israel/rides_and_carpools
    you can advertise that you're looking to deliver packages (ie your booklets) from Israel to the US.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Who wrote the Haskamot for Chaim Beemunasam?

    ReplyDelete
  3. An Interested ReaderMay 11, 2010 at 1:45 PM

    There are many people you disagree with in the Charedi world,so why have you picked out Rav Shmeltzer for special "treatment". It does not suit you or do the concepts you are trying to advance any benefit. It makes you appear vindictive, especially that you are going to such lengths to spread the machlokes by having your essays against him translated and distributed. Although I know you feel deeply wronged, do not violate the Torah issur on revenge. Even if this is technically allowed in this situation, just the appearance of this effort to spread machlokes is unbecoming and damaging you.

    ReplyDelete
  4. To "An Interested Reader" -
    Revenge has nothing to do with it (at least, as far as I am consciously aware). Chaim B'Emunasam is not only the greatest perversion of Torah that I have ever seen, it is also the single most dangerous sefer for the rationalist cause. Hopefully people will be perceptive enough to realize that this is the reason for my publishing this.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thank you! I must commend you on your measured, and calm response. Had I seen the scrap you're reviewing I would not have been that restrained.
    Keep up the great work!

    ReplyDelete
  6. >There are many people you disagree with in the Charedi world,so why have you picked out Rav Shmeltzer for special "treatment". It does not suit you or do the concepts you are trying to advance any benefit. It makes you appear vindictive, especially that you are going to such lengths to spread the machlokes by having your essays against him translated and distributed. Although I know you feel deeply wronged, do not violate the Torah issur on revenge. Even if this is technically allowed in this situation, just the appearance of this effort to spread machlokes is unbecoming and damaging you.

    What does it make Rav Schmelzer appear, when he wrote an entire sefer to attack Slifkin?

    ReplyDelete
  7. I will be coming soon to take some for distribution. Kol Hakavod on your zeal for spreading knowledge.

    Many, many are turned off to Judaism becuase they have not been exposed to a more rationalist version.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Rabbi,
    1. Page 23. Don't you find it weird that people cite the vilna gaons critique of Rambam's view of demons, while failing to realize that the Rema right there (by lechishah) agrees with the Rambam.
    2. The best line in the book is "I must confess that I find it odd that in certain circles it is acceptable to say that Rishonim were ignorant of
    the revelations of kabbalah, but not to say that they were unaware of the discoveries of modern science."

    ReplyDelete
  9. "it is also the single most dangerous sefer for the rationalist cause."
    Sorry Rabbi, it is the best thing for the rationalistic cause.

    ReplyDelete
  10. KollelNick: That's true only if the readers get to read Slifkin's response as well.

    ReplyDelete
  11. May I take any credit for being one of the people who suggested you start reaching the Hebrew-speaking public? :-)

    Believe it or not, the vast majority of religious Israelis have never ever heard of the "Slifkin Affair" (which is probably a comforting thought).

    Besides translating things, I look forward to when you offer to come speak in Hebrew to Israeli audiences. I'll be happy to do my best to get you invited to my community when that happens.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I downloaded the English version and only the Hebrew footnotes showed up in the pdf without any English.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Rabbi Slifkin,

    I wonder if some of those people who wrote the haskamos to Chaim B'Emunasam would read your booklet if they did NOT know that it was you who wrote it.

    I know that sounds crazy, but, if they could somehow be "tricked" into reading it, and only after reading it, checking the sources and realizing the intentional “mistakes” of Chaim B’Emunasam for themselves, being told that it was you who wrote it.

    The point is that a lot of people have this reflexive cultish dismissal of "the apikorsim" or those who they perceive as such. There is so often no merit given to the facts, but rather who says them. (Yes, exactly what Chaim B'Emunasam aims to promote.)

    Which is why I think that none of those who wrote the haskamos will even entertain the thought of reading Chaim L'Amitam or the English version as long as they know you wrote it because you were iron-branded "an apikores". (Sure, it was really specific of your BOOKS that were banned, not you yourself, but, that's just semantics when it comes to the fiercely frum...). The cognitive dissonance they would have to overcome in order to read your booklet is a lot to ask of even those called "the gedolim."

    Emes is no match for knee-jerk responses to perceived spiritual threats. Nor does the currency of Emes have much value in the marketplace of tribal loyalties.

    But it’s the cognitive dissonance that gets them every time...

    ReplyDelete
  14. There's actually lots of precedent in Jewish tradition for Michapeset's suggestion.

    Just poke around on the Seforim blog, and you'll find a few examples...

    ReplyDelete
  15. Michapeset, you are assuming that the maskimim would find the distortions objectionable. What makes you so sure? Maybe they are as intellectually dishonest as R. Schmeltzer.

    ReplyDelete
  16. The Hebrew translation of your booklet is quite 'high-fallutin', and not so yeshivish. Perhaps it would be better to reframe it in a 'yeshivishe lashon' so that it will not be instantly rejected for being written in an academic style.

    ReplyDelete
  17. David T. said...
    Michapeset, you are assuming that the maskimim would find the distortions objectionable. What makes you so sure? Maybe they are as intellectually dishonest as R. Schmeltzer.
    May 12, 2010 5:48 PM

    David T -

    I refuse to believe that EVERY one of them would be as intellectually dishonest as R. Schmeltzer, even if another one of them is.

    Somehow, R. Schmeltzer can sleep at night. I don't think each of the maskimim, as individuals, would just shrug at the blatant distortions, knowing that they signed their names to endorse the sefer's contents.

    And even if they would not be bothered by the lying, and would excuse it in their heads with something like “Eis l’asos L’Hashem haifairu Torasecha” perhaps they would be bothered by the idea that long after they are gone (and have lived a life of kavod at the expense of the Torah), their names could be shamed for endorsing lies and Torah distortions.

    These are people who supposedly believe in a world to come, after death. A world where they will be held accountable for things like this.

    I just can't imagine EACH of them, separately, would shrug off the blatant distortions.

    Then again, I've been surprised, many a time, by what the Chareidi gedolim are capable of.

    Either way, I think it is well worth a try to give them a chance at redeeming their names, and more importantly, THE TRUTH.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Peter -

    I would be interested to see any links you could provide to examples of precedence in Jewish tradition for what I suggested.

    Rabbi Slifkin - would you even entertain the thought?

    ReplyDelete
  19. Is Shemesh Marpeh available on-line? Which would be the best dead tree version to read?

    ReplyDelete
  20. http://seforim.blogspot.com/2010/04/benefits-of-internet-besamim-rosh-and.html

    Just one - I really remember seeing a whole bunch, if you'd look around.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I saw your Hebrew booklet in a shul in Ramat Beit Shemesh.Keep up the good work!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Rabbi Slifkin, shkeyach on translating _Sacred Monsters_ into Hebrew.

    If I may be so bold as to make a suggestion, I suggest that you think about distribution to the general Israeli book market, not just to sforim stores.

    There is some general demand for accessible books on Judaism, and there are publications of traditional sforim aimed at a secular audience. (In mainstream bookstores one can find new academic works on, say, midrashim of Tanach, and also new publications of Tanach, Mishneh Torah, classic mussar works, siddur / machzor, etc.)

    I'm not in the book business, but chavrach chavra iit leih, so I might be able to help you network.

    ReplyDelete

Comments for this blog are moderated. Please see this post about the comments policy for details. ANONYMOUS COMMENTS WILL NOT BE POSTED - please use either your real name or a pseudonym.