Tuesday, January 25, 2011

An Upside-Down World

The following mind-boggling story appeared on Bechadrei Chadarim, and was reported and translated on the Daas Torah blog:

The Voice is the Voice of Yaakov - Gathering with the Rav.

After a long absence, Rabbi Leib Tropper arrived in Israel. He got chizuk (encouragement) from Gedolei Yisroel and met with tens of alumni of Yeshiva 'Kol Yaakov'. Photographer Yosi Pormansky

By Shmuel Klein.

24/01/2011

[Photo: Rabbi Tropper lectures]

Tens of people gathered motzei Shabbos Shira in a bais medrash in the Bucharan section Jerusalem with the founder of yeshiva 'Kol Yaakov' Monsey, Rabbi Leib Tropper from New York.

It's hard to believe that all the participants at the event, bnai Torah in full, are baalei teshuva. One was a doctor, another a sportsman - and so on. All had been far from Torah and mitzvos. Until they got to yeshiva 'Kol Yaakov', where their Jewish spark was ignited.

Two events brought Rabbi Tropper to visit Israel: He came to visit the fresh grave of his father Rabbi Yehuda Tropper z"l who died about two months ago and upon the completion and publication of the sefer [book] of the 'Taharas Yisroel' with the added commentaries of Rabbi Tropper.

Rabbi Lipa Yisraelzon, grandson of Rav Elyashiv, affirmed before the students, as one who has accompanied Rabbi Tropper on his Israel trip, on the warm connections he has merited in the homes of Gedolei Yisroel.

So, on his trip, Rabbi Tropper came to the homes of Gedolei Yisroel. Aside from the Halachic questions that he placed before Gedolei Yisroel, he received their blessings for his holy work.

At the main lecture Rabbi Tropper conveyed, that he expanded the importance of prayer as preparation for greeting our righteous Moshiach.


Putting this together with some other recent stories, the following picture emerges:

- You can have a history of manipulation and arayos, culminating in using your power in gerus (attained by bribing Roshei Yeshivah) to bribe/blackmail potential converts into sexual perversion which is then exposed on the Internet in perhaps the greatest chilul Hashem of all time, but still be showered with praise and blessings from the Gedolim;

- You can lead a cult of physical child abuse resulting in one child being put in a coma for life, but by virtue of your being a marbitz Torah the Gedolim will attest that you are righteous and innocent;

- You can be convicted of terrible sexual abuse against your children, but the Gedolim will visit you in prison to give you chizzuk and declare you innocent of all charges;

- You can molest hundreds of children over decades, but the Gedolim will not publicly name you and shame you;

But, on the other hand - if you write books presenting the rationalist views of the Rishonim, if you write the historical truth about Rav Aharon Kotler, or if you throw a concert of modern-style Jewish music in Madison Square Gardens - the Gedolim will publicly condemn you in the harshest way!

39 comments:

  1. Almost seems like the inmates are running the assylum (I'm referrim to Askanim, not the Rabbanim that they seem to control)

    When can we ask for our religion back?

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  2. Some more examples...

    * You can be convicted for a million dollar money-laundering scheme (Spinka Rebbe), but the chareidi world (and their gedolim) will not stop respecting you and calling you an Admor.

    * You can brutally murder an innocent woman (Grossman), and the chareidi world (led by the gedolim) will turn heaven and earth to defend you, but if you (god forbid!) want to allow more spiritual opportunities for women (R' Avi Weiss), they will condemn you in the harshest language ever.

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  3. Michael, I'm sorry but the "gedolim" cannot be completely exonerated from the mess we're in.

    Either they are truly "gedolim" in which case, by definition, they bear at least some responsibility for our current state of affairs, or they are "just" major talmidei chachomim who deserve the basic Kovod that accrues to all talmidei chachomim, but nothing more.

    But you can't have it both ways.

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  4. The one point about the endorsement on behalf of the cult leader turned out to be bogus. Other than that there seems to be an emerging pattern here.

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  5. The one point about the endorsement on behalf of the cult leader turned out to be bogus.

    How so? It was a neighbor of mine who wrote to Rav Kanievsky and received his answer.

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  6. There really are far too many examples of how crazy the chareidi world (under the guidance of their revered leaders) has become. Some months ago, I compiled a list of their offenses: http://bit.ly/dayeinu.

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  7. Truly sad. However, I am sure many of the Gedolim have no idea about certain things happening in the world. I bet most of them never heard about Leib Tropper and his sexual adventures. This must be true because they don't have the internet, they don't read newspapers and they don't have TV. So, how are they supposed to know any information other than from those that surround them AND the one's that do tell them things are going AGAINST the Gedolim. How so? Because, in order to get any information, someone along the line has to have read a newspaper, gone on the internet or watched TV. THings all forbidden by the "gedolim." So, the people who tell them these things clearly have an agenda to put forth.

    I bet if you told any of the gedolim about what happened to Leib Tropper they would be shocked and call you a liar. (This is most probably true of the people in Israel, but probably not about the people in Europe or America)

    I truly wonder what Judaism will look like in 100 years.I wish this incident would be publicized in newspapers and such and not just your blog.

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  8. There is no way that the circle of people around Rav Elyashiv have not heard about Troppergate.

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  9. Because, in order to get any information, someone along the line has to have read a newspaper, gone on the internet or watched TV. THings all forbidden by the "gedolim."

    Clearly this was not always the case...

    http://i.imgur.com/4BVDD.jpg

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  10. To the "Anonymous" poster who thought that I didn't want to post his comment: The reason was simply that I have a rule that no anonymous comments get posted. Use your name or a pseudonym. This time, I will post it and respond to it. You claimed:

    There is a world of difference which you are well aware of, but just are scared to print, between an apikoros who has never done any aveiros like yourself, but who incites others to apikorsus, and to a person who is thoroughly 'ferdorben'. His aveiros are well known, and it is unlikely that others will copy them.

    On the contrary. One reason why all kinds of abuse are prevalent in Charedi society is that people know that they can get away with it. Kolko was doing his stuff for years, with Margulies protecting him. And is Tropper likely to refrain from further abuses of power, now that he again receiving honor? And sometimes, effort is even made to defend the guilty and help them, as with the letter on behalf of Elior Chen.

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  11. By the way, "Anonymous," it's quite ironic that you (wrongly) thought that I was afraid to print your comment, but you were afraid to print your name!

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  12. "His aveiros are well known, and it is unlikely that others will copy them."

    A few years ago, after Mordecai Tendler's aveiros had become well known, Nachum Eisenstein invited Tendler to give a Shiur in Eisenstein's Shul. Tropper is close to Eisenstein, and, as Tendler, from the Monsey area. It seems that Tropper understood the message. As we see now, it really works!

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  13. This worship of "gedolim/admorim" is our generation's Egel HaZahav. If we go with the peshat that the Jews didn't believe in the Egel as a god but only wanted something physical to realte to, then perhaps we can say that our generation's obsession with "gedolim" is the way we create something "physical" to realte to.

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  14. from the comment section at bechadrei:

    כשביקר כאן, הוזמן לסעודת שבתבבית הגר"ח
    חיים 11:32 25/01/2011
    ואכן אכל אצל שר התורה הגר"ח קניבסקי שליט"א ודיבר עמו בלימוד
    וכיבדו עד מאד
    כך שמעתי מבני הבית של הגר"ח

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  15. Troppergate is a horrendous Chillul Hashem. There are special places reserved in Hell for him and Eisenstein.

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  16. The socio-political power of the Charedi Gedolim and more minor leaders comes from deference accorded them by people outside of their immediate communities.

    When does kelal u’prat become u’prat u’kelal in reference to how one assesses the level of shmirat mitzvot by these communities and their leaders?

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  17. Meir says
    I wasnt aware that you needed my name, you still have no idea who I am. R Harry has now this story on his blog taken from yours. Your reply does not answer mine. I wrote that it is unlikely anyone will copy him. Everyone knows what he did is also morally wrong. I was not referring to if others would do it in the future and get away with it. I also wrote that I would not give him kovod. Whereas a rabbi who gives over things which are not acceptable, and will convince others has to be ostracized.

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  18. About 5 years ago I owned a Seforim Store and of course carried your books. When the banning of your books came out, I called Feldheim the distributer, and asked him "whats going on?" He said call R' Shmuel Kaminentzky Shlitah, so I called him and asked, "didn't you give a haskama?" He answered... "you cannot begin to understand the pressure that I am under."
    That sums it up!

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  19. Hanging out with Tropper the same week as attacking army conversions, is more than just upside down. No army rabbi has been accused of selling a geirus for a night out.

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  20. meir from Kersal.
    Since you now start printing my comments perhaps you can also print this one. You started off quite harmlessly saying the world was 'old'. This is not a halacha,and shouldnt make a difference to anyone. You can think what you like. But the so called 'gedolim' realised that it would not stop there and they have been proved right, since now you are paskening about brain death. At the moment hirhurim have a lot to say about it and your views would also be welcome there.

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  21. since now you are paskening about brain death

    No I'm not, and I never did.

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  22. But, Meir, if you think that the Gedolim were only opposed to what my books lead to, and not to the books themselves, you are utterly mistaken. They certainly don't think that it is "harmless" to say that the world is billions of years old. I always find it amazing when people who claim to respect and follow the Gedolim, completely manipulate their positions in order to suit them.

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  23. Meir wrote:

    "There is a world of difference which you are well aware of, but just are scared to print, between an apikoros who has never done any aveiros like yourself, but who incites others to apikorsus, and to a person who is thoroughly 'ferdorben'. His aveiros are well known, and it is unlikely that others will copy them."

    This is nonsense. The difference is the following:

    People like Rav Slifkin are attacked because they undermine the authority of gedolim by denying that Chazal were omniscient and that science might provide the key to understanding the Torah.

    People like Rav Tropper are defended because they defer to the authority of gedolim and provide money to their mosdos.

    Its not that complicated: its all about power and money.

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  24. One possible explanation is the worship in this world of their own lifestyle and Torah learning. Anything that contradicts it is evil. Anyone who follows it can do no wrong (ie. they cannot believe that someone who follows their revered ways could possibly be anything less than a tzadik). There are other possible explanations (ex. cognitive dissonance, ignorance, collective insanity), and the reality is probably a result of several of them.

    The tragedy (besides for all the suffering that has been caused) is that their system does not easily for reevaluation, so the catalyst and process of reformation will be traumatic.

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  25. Hi Rabbi Slifkin,

    Again this post begs the question of why you don't pack your bags and move to either your native UK or America where people will value your tremendous intellectual contributions to modern Jewish thought. Please enlighten me as to why you remain in Israel-at least as part of the community who has shown you nothing but contempt. Do the gedolim speak for you? If not, why even bother trying to challenge a system with more land mines than Cambodia. I could easily see you teaching at YU or other establishments of that ilk where novel thought and research into Jewish source texts is welcomed as opposed to condemned. I would be interested in your comments. Please write back:)

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  26. I'm not so sure what is difficult about this. Community leaders support furthering the careers of wrong-doers because they don't have any problem with those people's behavior. Community leaders who further the careers of known child abusers have little, if any, problem with child abuse. There's no big mystery.

    I think the harsh condemnations you note are simply another projection of the same disdain for humanity.

    Gary Goldwater

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  27. R' Slifkin:
    You have been maligned and unfairly treated. However, is the purpose of the blog to expose the failings of the frum world or to examine Rationalist Judaism?
    I abhor the hypocrisy, cronyism, and other failures of our community. We're human and we make mistakes but that doesn't excuse us from trying to be better.
    Is this the forum to address these problems? Will you win the argument with them?
    I think you need to choose your battles more wisely---keep your powder dry.

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  28. RYGB wrote:

    "Troppergate is a horrendous Chillul Hashem. There are special places reserved in Hell for him and Eisenstein."

    RYGB, who are you to condemn someone that gedolim clearly embrace? Where's your humility?

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  29. SNB wrote

    "R' Slifkin:
    You have been maligned and unfairly treated. However, is the purpose of the blog to expose the failings of the frum world or to examine Rationalist Judaism?"

    SNB, Rav Slifkin's post embodies the essence of Rationalist Judaism because it illustrates the duty to rely on own own moral judgment and condemn immorality even if that involves rejecting what every gadol in the world embraces.

    btw I think we need a new term for Charedi Judaism. I'd go with "Gadolatry"

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  30. To SNB: When one sees that (some of) those who propagate falsehood in the name of Torah, and fight seekers of truth in the name of Torah, also consistently violate basic morality, and cover up and give honor to outright evil, it is a good thing to point this out. The reason is simple: One should know where to stay away from.

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  31. I am so happy you blogged about this shindik.
    I saw the b'chadrei article yesterday and almost fell off my chair.

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  32. "RYGB, who are you to condemn someone that gedolim clearly embrace? Where's your humility?"

    I undestand the irony, but I think this is not fair. Rabbi Bechhofer, thanks for the condemnation. It is very good to know that you feel this way.

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  33. I'm sickened by the call for Rabbi Slifkin's yeridah to the galuth.

    In addition, do some people really think the reaction is different if he lives somewhere else? We live in a global world. There are those in eretz yisrael who appreciate rabbi Slifkin's work just as there are some in america who do. And in either place he will get the condemnations from both places.

    I for one am happy to see that people like Rabbi Slifkin do not let intellectual tyranny deter them from asserting themselves in their homeland and claiming their portion of our eternal heritage. Do you really want everyone else to run away so israel becomes one giant Meah Shearim?

    For from Zion the Torah goes out.

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  34. Please enlighten me as to why you remain in Israel-at least as part of the community who has shown you nothing but contempt.

    I'm not part of that community anymore! Baruch Hashem, there are other communities, even in Israel!

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  35. why you don't pack your bags and move to either your native UK or America where people will value your tremendous intellectual contributions to modern Jewish thought

    It seems to me that the anti-rationalist ban originated and fermented in USA and North America. HaRav Tropper was one of the principal instigators - correct? Rabbi Slifkin can stay put in Israel, thank you!

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  36. I think you need to choose your battles more wisely

    I disagree 100%. Morality and ethics are paramount. These scandals and the ethos that tolerates them are intolerable. I say that they are nothing less than an existential threat. Personally, I think that Chareidim do and must play a critical role within the context of 'Am Yisrael', but these scandals are posing a serious threat. The Weingarten Rabbi's visit and endorsement makes my blood boil - even more so than Tropper because of the nature of the victims involved.

    Let's not confine ourselves to the ivory tower!

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  37. "I'm not part of that community anymore! Baruch Hashem, there are other communities, even in Israel!"

    Especially in Israel. Not that I think you need to move, but I think you might feel at home in Yehuda or Shomron.

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  38. For someone with a blog called "rationalist judaism", this post is pretty irrational. For one thing, you are tossing around the word "gedoilim" as though every dime store rabbi is called a Godol. Like in your last link. Also in that last link, the story says the rabbis in question went to visit Jewish inmates, not just one individual. You have a problem with that?

    Further, the letter about the cult leader is suspect, and was also written before the man was convicted. I see nothing wrong with saying someone is entitled to a presumption of innoncence, no matter how heinous the charges.

    Still further, one of your commenters thinks the OU's defense of a mentally handicapped prisoner is somehow akin to what you are talking about. You're not responsible for silly comments, but you see where your arguments lead to.

    Still further, in several cases you cite the Gedoilim - or rabbis - didnt actually come out in support of someone, but rather didnt sufficiently persecture them to the extent you seem to want. Well, guess what. The Jewish policing system is far from perfect, but so is the secular system. Their decision not to bring in the police has absolutely nothing to do with your case.

    In a nutshell, you're mixing apples with oranges. I say this as someone who despises much of the hypocrisy of the charedi world, and who supports your approach to learning. My point is simply that the examples you site are not nearly on all fours with your personal case.

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  39. It's actually quite simple. If you'll believe that the world is literally less than 6000 years old, you'll also believe that all the evidence about Troppper is forged.
    There's a {blank} born every minute.
    A {blank} and his money are soon parted.
    Fill in the blanks.

    ReplyDelete

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