Monday, January 30, 2012

Gedolims' Edicts and Mishpachah

A while back, in a post entitled The Gedolim's Authority is Tested, I wrote about the ban on Mishpacha magazine by various Gedolim. Things have gotten more heated lately, with the Israeli Yated publishing a very sharp letter, signed by Rav Elyashiv, against Mishpacha.

Mishpacha's response included the following gem:

"While we are not privy to all that's going on behind the scenes, we highly doubt the authenticity of this letter. Anyone who has ever attended a Yeshiva knows that a posek cannot and does not issue a ruling, much less a ban, unless he is presented with both sides of the story and carefully weighs the evidence before he issues a ruling. We know for a fact that this procedure was not followed in this case, since not one person from Mishpacha's Hebrew staff was summoned to Maran Rav Elyashiv's home to explain their side of the story."

It's extremely similar to my own response, drafted with the help of an experienced posek, which I sent to the zealots who were threatening to publicize a ban on my books:
"...it is inconceivable that anyone, especially Gedolim, would condemn someone without meeting and talking with them. I am ready to meet with these Gedolim at their convenience and to hear what their objections are, and to discuss the matter fully. I am certainly willing to retract from anything in which I am proven wrong or mistaken, and kal v'chomer if I am proven to have written something that goes against the fundamentals of emunah, chas v'shalom. Surely to condemn someone without meeting them goes against both the spirit and the letter of Torah and Shulchan Aruch, and would be an unbelievable chilul Hashem befarhesya, and will be widely recognized as such..."

Mishpacha goes one step further and says that because it's so inconceivable that Rav Elyashiv would sign without hearing their side, his signature is suspect.

I have no idea whether the signature is genuine or not. But I assume that Mishpacha is well aware that Rav Elyashiv does indeed frequently sign off on such things without listening to the other side. Yet it is nevertheless true that a posek should never do such a thing. I have heard people claim, in the case of my own books, that there is no reason for a posek/ Gadol to meet with the author, since he can just read the book. But that could only be even suggested if the posek were to entirely initiate proceedings himself after reading the book/ magazine of his own accord. In these cases, he is presented with select parts of the publications, along with the all-important arguments of the zealots as to why the publication is so terrible. Since he is hearing arguments from one side, in person, he must also hear arguments from the person whose publication is being judged, in person.

Unfortunately I have heard an abundance of stories of Rav Elyashiv issuing "Daas Torah" after only hearing one side. Rav Nosson Kamenetzky's experiences are well-known. And a neighbor of mine told me about how his child was kicked out of school after the menahel consulted Rav Elyashiv. My neighbor went to Rav Elyashiv's gatekeeper, who did not want to let him in. My neighbor said, "Dinei nefashos b'tzad echad?" The gatekeeper paled and let him in. The child was reinstated to the school.

Mishpacha, I'm sure, knows such stories only too well. When they say that a posek not only cannot issue a ruling without hearing both sides, but does not, this is not the case and they know it. I don't expect Mishpacha to do an expose on the abuse of rabbinic authority with the Daas Torah system; in fact I am admiring their strategy. They are pointing out that to exercise rabbinic authority in such a way is absolutely wrong, without explicitly castigating those who do so.

It's amazing that there are still so many people who believe in the Charedi system of rabbinic authority and Daas Torah. But my impression is that the number of such people is steadily shrinking.

(My schedule for my forthcoming lecture tour in the US has been updated - you can see it here)

51 comments:

  1. Mishpacha's disingenousness would be hilarious if it weren't serious.

    This reminds me of the late R. Menashe Klein writing that R. Moshe Feinstein could not have written what he did about the publication of R. Yehudah Hachassid's commentary on the Torah, so it must be that he didn't.

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  2. R' Slifkin,
    as opposed to what you too frequently bemoan, sometimes even rabbinic leaders are vindicated!
    http://ohr.edu/this_week/insights_into_halacha/4966

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  3. HaDarda'i:
    Tactically, however, this was the only approach Mishpacha could have taken.

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  4. r'hadardai,
    it goes back much further - for example ראבי"ה תשובות וביאורי סוגיות סימן תתקפה

    ופר' לי הא דאמר מר, תלמיד טועה הגיהו.

    or(lhavdil?)


    “Who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes?” — GROUCHO MARX

    KT
    Joel Rich

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  5. HaDarda"i, you didn't stress the joke: R' Moshe said it was impossible for R' Yehuda HaChassid to have written it (i.e., R' Moshe thought it was apikorsut to say that Hallel HaGadol was written by Moshe and removed from the Torah and put into Tehillim, hence no earlier authority could have felt that- circular, but nu), so it must be a forgery. R' Klein, sharp as always, said it was impossible for R' Moshe to have written that, so *that* must have been a forgery. :-) Rabbinic humor.

    R' Slifkin: Perhaps Mishpacha knows (but won't admit) that R' Elyashiv did such things in the past, as little as a few years ago, but in his current health (and with handwriting analysis), we *know* he couldn't have issued these. It doesn't help the overall point, but technically they're not incorrect.

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  6. From what I have read Rav Elyashiv has about 20% lung function and has not been well for some time. Even in the event that this signature is genuine I doubt he was fully aware of what he was signing off on. Those around him have long ago stolen the "signet" and they are using it to further their extremist goals. What a community!

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  7. The entire discussion of whether or not it's a forgery (and kal v'chomer over whether both sides should be heard by the putative signatory) is moot in light of this:

    http://www.kikarhashabat.co.il/%D7%9B%D7%9F-%D7%9E%D7%95%D7%AA%D7%A8-%D7%9C%D7%96%D7%99%D7%99%D7%A3-%D7%97%D7%AA%D7%99%D7%9E%D7%94-%D7%9E%D7%A4%D7%A0%D7%99-%D7%A9%D7%9C%D7%95%D7%9D.html

    "While it is true that it is forbidden to forge a signature, I absolutely maintain that we should not compare forging a signature on a private document like a promissory note with forging one for the purpose of helping the greater community. Forging private notes [even when justified] cannot be allowed because of the damage done thereby to the good and peace of the community. For that very same reason, forgery for the purpose of the peace of the community is appropriate and desirable."

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  8. R' Slifkin, I wish to take issue with your final comment. I have yet to formally bow out of the chareidi camp, but I think it's a bit unfair to call what's happening "the Charedi system of rabbinic authority." Look, I think that what happens today is deplorable, wrong, unhalachic, and on and on; but that's not the system! That's like saying you don't approve of Israeli democracy because of the corruption, or American politics because all the politicians sleep around. That the reality is different from the ideal is a sad fact, but it's not the "Chareidi way." (The fact that many followers still seem to support, whitewash, and defend the way things are is yet more unfortunate, but again, that doesn't mean that we all have to put on blue shirts now.)

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  9. The system is one in which pronouncements from those labelled as Gedolim are deemed authoritative and binding with no permission to critique the methodology via which they were issued or their innate merits.

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  10. Permission from whom? I know plenty of people who are Chareidi who "permit" such a thing. And of course there are plenty who don't. Even if the latter are more numerous, that doesn't mean they get to define what it is to be a Chareidi.

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  11. Raffi - Ahh, No True Scotsman.

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  12. I saw so called gedolim in action. One guy comes in--he makes sure to get there before the other party. he says his side. Then the other side gets there and it is too late and he goes out in tears.--all this on shabat yet! But this is only todays so called gedolim. I think real Torah scholars would be different.

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  13. Gedolim are supposed to be honest and just. What has been done in Rav Slifkin's case is obvious, indefensible intellectual dishonesty. Doing it without actually reading his books and considering the evidence is unjust. Those who engaged in it are, by definition, not "gedolim".

    Q.E.D.

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  14. Forget the signatures of gedolim as they are too easy to forge. I want videos of the gedolim reading proclamations and bans. Much harder to forge.

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  15. There is a relatively unknown story that is highly relevant in this context, less known because it took place decades ago, long before the internet offered a venue for exposing and opposing these evils, and at a time when Rav Elyashiv was a great deal younger.

    I heard the story from Rav Shlomo Riskin at a training conference for rabbinic community leaders in Israel. It made a deep impression on me, both in terms of the potential for abuse of Torah power, and of how the victim can still act with derekh eretz.

    Rav Riskin told us that when he considered bringing Nechamah Leibowitz zt"l to teach in his yeshivah, he first made sure to get high-powered rabbinic backing for the move in the form of haskamot from Rav Avraham Shapira zt"l and Rav Shlomoh Zalman Auerbach zt"l.

    The ban nevertheless came out in the form of a front page banner headline in Yated Neeman that said, "Riskin, pick up your [pig's] hooves and go back to NY." Among the signatories on the cherem were Rav Shach, Rav Elyashiv, and Rav SZ Auerbach.

    Rav Riskin tells that he first called up Rav SZA, who broke down crying on the phone and between sobs repeated, "I was afraid of Rav Shach, I was afraid of Rav Shach."

    Then he called up Rav Elyashiv and asked in Yiddish, "This is Shlomo Riskin speaking. Does the rav know me?" To which Rav Elyashiv replied, "No, I don't."

    Rav Riskin then asked, "But isn't it required to know a person and speak to them personally before issuing a cherem?" At which Rav Elyashiv hung up the phone.

    Rav Riskin simply concluded, "I will never go to Rav Elyashiv with a she'elah." Which is obviously the appropriate response.

    To my mind this is a necessary story le-to'elet for people to know the very real potential for abuse in the Gedolim system by the Gedolim themselves, without all the usual apologetics like "it's the fault of the askanim" or "that's not how the system is really supposed to work."

    Furthermore, it is not just outsiders or powerless members of the charedi community who can be abused by the system, but even smart and savvy charedi rabbinic insiders who take the risk of teaching the truth of Torah as they see it. A recent, powerful example of the latter is Rav Hayyim Amsalem shlit"a.

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  16. "Rav Riskin tells that he first called up Rav SZA, who broke down crying on the phone and between sobs repeated, "I was afraid of Rav Shach, I was afraid of Rav Shach."

    If this is true, it reflects very poorly on RSZA. A good leader should be strong and stand on principles not cry and cower before others.

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  17. Rabbi Kaddish- I don't mean to doubt you, but this sounds a bit fishy. If he knew it was so controversial why didn't he get something in writing?
    Furthermore, RSZA had no problem bucking R Shach's calls to join Degel. He was also an ardent "Kooknik" - not exactly run of the mill Chareidi.
    Also, assuming this is true, isn't it Lashon Hara to repeat it?

    (BTW- Who DOES Rav Riskin go to for sheilos?)

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  18. MO, some people who heard the story had similar feelings to what you wrote or later voiced questions about it.

    But the impression I got was simply that Rav SZA was a human being too, and that Rav Riskin felt only warmth and sympathy for him. The true culprit here would seem to be Rav Shach's ability to silence others.

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  19. That story sounds questionable. It's hard for me to accept RSZA would countenance a woman teaching Torah in a yeshivah for men. Not the RSZA I knew [admittedly not that well] when I was in yeshivah. Somewhere there is a broken link.

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  20. When it came to issuing cherems, R' Shlomo Zalman was not quite the open-minded loving type the biographies write of. Another famous story is that of the Yehuda HaChassid incident. Listen to R' Leiman's shiur on the topic. R' Leiman, k'darko bakodesh, is more even-handed than I- the story turned my stomach, and made me wonder how I could respect any of the people involved. (Those issuing the cherems, that is.)

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  21. Nothing new under the sun. Even at the time of the Beis HaMikdash, the kohanim at one stage were corrupt. We know how that turned out.

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  22. Who am I to say what the physical or mental health of anyone is...however, I work with the elderly and, while it is true that SOME 100 year olds can still function in a limited capacity, the vast majority cannot.

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  23. You know what MO? I love RSZA. He was truly a good Jew, a talmid chacham, and a gentle person. The fact is, the story shows that he knew the difference between right and wrong. You don't know what you would have done in his shoes. You don't know what Rav Shach threatened him with. The more stories I hear about Rav Shach the more uncomfortable I get.

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  24. Nacum, I would've loved to listen to R. Leiman's shiur. Mind providing a link? Thanks.

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  25. "At which Rav Elyashiv hung up the phone."

    I suppose that dan l'kaf zchus would require me to think of a forgiving scenario, such as: he was so shocked, the phone slipped out of his hand and fell right onto the switch that hangs up.

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  26. Yeedle, it doesn't seem to be online. About half of R' Nordlicht's tapes are on the YU site; perhaps he can be persuaded to put the rest up.

    Now I wonder: What, exactly, could R' Schach threaten? Violence? More cherems?

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  27. Avi Kadish's comment about Rav Riskin's reminds me of another story that is about a different issue but has direct bearing on what we are discussing here:
    Many years ago I was listening to Dennis Prager on "talkradio". For those who don't know Prager, he is a Jew who lives in California and is what Woody Allen calls a "stand-up philosopher". I don't believe he considers himself Orthodox but he has a very positive attitude to traditional Judaism.
    One day a caller called up Prager and identified himself as a " a convert to Reform Judaism" and he was complaining how the Orthodox don't recognize his conversion. Prager asked him why that bothers him. He replied that the Orthodox should have to recognize his conversion. Prager then said "why does it bother you if they don't consider you a Jew, why isn't it enough that you consider YOURSELF a Jew, regardless of what others might think". The caller then repeated that it is wrong that the Orthodox don't consider him a Jew. Prager then interjected and said "I'll tell you why it bothers you, it bothers you because deep down you are afraid they are RIGHT!".

    I am hearing the same thing here. Did Rav Riskin really think the Haredi Rabbanim he consulted would agree to have Nehamam Leibowitz lecture in the yeshiva? I presume he asked his Rebbe, Rav Soloveitchik beforehand. While it is true that Rav Riskin was young at the time and new in Israel so maybe he felt protocol demanded he make the effort, I think he knew very well what the answer would be. (I assume he went ahead an brought her in anyway). But I still hear in many of the things that appear here that, with all the criticism of the Haredi world, there is still a feeling that they are "right" and somehow, in spite of the impossible odds, we supposedly have to get them to "see the light" and come around to our position. I have serious doubts as to whether this is work the effort, or even attainable.

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  28. "I am hearing the same thing here. Did Rav Riskin really think the Haredi Rabbanim he consulted would agree to have Nehamam Leibowitz lecture in the yeshiva? "

    The Haredi Rabbanim that he consulted DID agree to have Nehama Leibowitz teach. I'm really not sure what you are trying to say here. If someone publicly sets up a newspaper article calling you a pig and telling you to leave Israel, I think calling them up to find out what the hell they were thinking, has no implication that you are afraid they might be correct.

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  29. Ameteur-
    Perhaps you are right in my misjudging what happened. Maybe the Haredi Rabbanim he consulted were willing to at least consider the question. However, I still think it was reasonable to assume there would be a sharp response by their colleagues...I would think that Rav Riskin should have expected that. In involving known Haredi Rabbanim in the question in the first place, he was opening himself up to attack. I think it is possible that had he only involved the Religious Zionist Rabbanim in the matter, the hard-liners would have never even bothered to express an opinion on it. The religious Zionist community is off the radar for them. For example, as I understand it, the Haredi leadership determined long ago that secular education is forbidden in the form of preparation of the bagrut (matriculation) exams is forbidden in Jerusalem. When a Haredi yeshiva k'tana attempted to introduce this years ago in Jerusalem, there was again a harsh reaction on the part of many Haredi Rabbanim, (again, as I understand the story=I heard it many years ago). The fact that Religious Zionist yeshivot do give secular education in Jerusalem is not viewed as "threatening" in the same way to the Haredi leadership and so they don't express an opinion about it, because their views about the Religious Zionist ideology and eduation system are well known for many decades now.

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  30. Y. Ben-David, maybe Rabbi Riskin was naive to think that R. Shlomo Zalman Auerbach somehow had a connection with him, as R. Shlomo Zalman was a profound talmid chacham and manhig. Silly Modern Orthodox Jews, for not seeing that the correct interpretation of Yiddishkeit is that anyone with a different hashkafah is a mumar and an apikores. I mean, what are the odds that not only is your religion the only way God wants people to act, but your specific denomination. And not only your specific denomination, but your specific hashkafah. And not only your specific hashkafah, but the interpretation of it based in one country. And not only the interpretation of that hashkafah based in one country, but the more conservative interpretation of that hashkafah. The odds are pretty high, right? Rabbi Riskin should have realized that.

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  31. This is a very typical attitude. It's very common in oppressive systems where people often will often support some harsh treatment or another until they themselves become the targets.

    In that vein, Mishpacha could very well firmly believe that all the rulings made by Rav Eliyashev, but because this one affects them personally, there is something "wrong" with it and they don't accept it. They may very well reject the stories R' Slifkin mentioned and many others as being exaggerations or simply not true. This is the attitude that I have seen many times in the Charedi community: "R' Eliyashev is the greatest gadol and posek of our generation. We should always listen to him. Oh that psak you just mentioned (don't get a job, don't go to the old city on shabbos, etc) doesn't apply to us, but all of the other ones apply!"

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  32. Can someone provide a link to the Yated cherem with the pig hoofs. I'm mighty intersed in seeing it,
    this would be one of the better ones the Yated's had over the years. I mean Judaism has been attacked over and over again, according to them, and still hasn't fallen. They must be mighty effective at hachzakas Hadas via editorialising!

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  33. Yeedle,

    That lecture from Prof.Leiman is on yu.org. I just listened to it last week.

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  34. S. said...
    Y. Ben-David, maybe Rabbi Riskin was naive to think that R. Shlomo Zalman Auerbach somehow had a connection with him, as R. Shlomo Zalman was a profound talmid chacham and manhig...

    Why the sudden burst of invective? Nechama Liebowitz was more than a few steps removed from mainsream chareidism. R Kaddish implies that R Riskin understands (and understood) that too. I don't understand why the Yated can't write whatever the heck they feel like, and R Riskin can do whatever the heck HE feels like? Once you move out of the Yated's circle they have no power to scare you anyway. It's not like the Chareidi gestapo are going to be rousing him from his bed one of these nights. Sheesh.

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  35. Nachum:

    he could have threatened sidelining RSZA, and thereby making it very hard for children and grandchildren to find shidduchim. Not to mention the talmidim in Kol Torah if they chose to stick by him. Maybe I have an overactive imagination, but that was my first guess when I read the story. In other words, dividing the Israeli-charedi community by making a second tier was totally within Rav Shach's power, I think.

    This was basically what people had done to Rav Kook and his children and talmidim earlier in the century.

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  36. Looking at the comments, it seems to me that there was indeed a to'elet to posting the story.

    My initial decision to do so, by the way, was because I have seen people hurt by the Daas Torah system (I am not talking about myself). Furthermore they are people who, unlike Rav Riskin, do not have stature and connections and support in the rabbinic world, so no one important comes to their aid when they are attacked, but people do withdraw their cooperation and support as a result of the attacks.

    That is why I think the story has an important to'elet in a number of ways: First for exposing the fatal flaw in the system, which is that it grants immense power to its Gedolim without any sort of accountability (and this is what ultimately leads to all the rest of the flaws). Secondly by serving as a warning to people to keep away from the system and avoid getting entangled in it at all costs. In other words, simply avoid working with people and organizations that are invested in the "Daas Torah" mentality. And thirdly that if something like this happens to you, that you are not alone but rather in very good company.

    Good luck to Rabbi Slifkin on his trip to the USA!

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  37. To Rav Kadish-
    Thanks for the last posting. I agree that the best solution is for those who don't agree with that system or don't fit in with it to STAY AWAY. B"H today, here in Israel, there is a strong National Religious system of schools, Rabbanim, great scholars and institutions that allow for freer thinking without any regard for getting involved in Haredi controversies. Thus, I have to repeat my question, why do people insist in getting sucked into these controversies when there is no need to? (I am not referring to situations where non-Haredim get involved against their will by living on the "seam line" with the extremists, as exists in Ramat Beit Shemesh). Frankly, I have seen many people who have a "love-hate" relationship with the Haredim...they are bitterly critical of it and yet they are attracted to it. I don't really understand it except to refer back to my first comment in this thread....is it that they they really, deep down are afraid the Haredim are right. I asked one of these "love-hate" people why he continues to send his children to Haredi schools when all he does is complain about them. His answer was "that's were the tradition of real Torah learning is". Really? Are they the only ones?

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  38. JR is right. Here is the link:

    http://www.yutorah.org/lectures/lecture.cfm/725856/Dr_Shnayer_Leiman/Torah_Min_Hashamayim:_Recent_Perspectives_on_the_Divine_Origin_of_Torah

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  39. saul shapira

    "Why the sudden burst of invective? "

    I'm surprised you considered that invective?

    Do you think that Rabbi Riskin thought that R. Shlomo Zalman Auerbach had no connection with him? If so, why did he go to him? He may have, indeed probably, realized that Rav Shach did not, but obviously he didn't realize that R. Shlomo Zalman Auerbach should be shunned by the Modern Orthodox or Religious Zionists. Naive.

    "I don't understand why the Yated can't write whatever the heck they feel like, and R Riskin can do whatever the heck HE feels like?"

    First of all, I never said that the Yated can't write whatever it feels like, so that's moot.

    But since you brought it up, it is like comparing a pile of canine fecal matter with pearls. In case that metaphor isn't clear, asking R. Shlomo Zalman for an endorsement for a Torah initiative (and him granting it) is the pearl and the other thing is the canine fecal matter. Yes, both pearls and canine fecal matter are legitimate. But one is beautiful and the other stinks.

    "Once you move out of the Yated's circle they have no power to scare you anyway. It's not like the Chareidi gestapo are going to be rousing him from his bed one of these nights. Sheesh. "

    No kidding. What I was responding to was the suggestion that Rabbi Riskin should have known better than to go to R. Shlomo Zalman. ("Did Rav Riskin really think the Haredi Rabbanim he consulted would agree to have Nehamam Leibowitz lecture in the yeshiva? ") Uhm, yes, he really thought that R. Shlomo Zalman would and he did.

    Gee, maybe R. Shlomo Zalman should have known better too. He, after all, had a heck of a lot more experience with Israeli kannaus.

    Also, your point is disturbing. No, there is no Chareidi gestapo to actually hurt someone outside of their own circle (at least that was true). But do you think it feels good to be compared with a Chazir? To realize your life's dream of moving to Israel and then told that you ought to go? It seems that the Chareidim have a hard time handling external criticism, which I can well understand since it's hurtful. Why shouldn't Riskin mind it? Frankly words do hurt.

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  40. "he was so shocked, the phone slipped out of his hand and fell right onto the switch that hangs up."

    Heh. Like the case in Habo Al Yivimto.

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  41. Y. Ben-David, there are some things that made/make "staying away" quite difficult at times:

    1. Not so many years ago there was not such a clear social chasm between Religious Zionism and charedim in Israel (e.g. in Rav Riskin's 1980s). In America today the divide still isn't clear.

    2. A clear divide between the two is exactly what the charedim want, and what non-charedim find unfortunate. Because the non-charedim really do want to learn Torah from everyone and cooperate whenever possible. Saying that it is impossible or even dangerous to learn and work together isn't a happy thing, but a very sad and unfortunate idea for us! It is NOT what we believe in.

    3. Even WITHIN Religious Zionism today the ban is alive and well today. It takes a different form than in the black hat world (there are very few open, outright cherems), but there are other ways to accomplish the very same thing (such as "Your voice will never be heard in my beit midrash."). Since Religious Zionism is still a single community today (though it may not stay that way forever), one therefore faces the Daat-Torah/Gedolim problem even within the wonderful would of Religious Zionist institutions that you rightfully praise.

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  42. >("Did Rav Riskin really think the Haredi Rabbanim he consulted would agree to have Nehamam Leibowitz lecture in the yeshiva? ") Uhm, yes, he really thought that R. Shlomo Zalman would and he did.

    I think it important to remind readers that we have no verification of this story. All we have is a second-hand account by one internet commenter, and its a story that by definition (b/c it only involves two men) couldn't be proved. I remain very skeptical of the story, and dont believe RSZA would have no problem with a woman teaching Torah to unamrried young men in a yeshivah. NO WAY.

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  43. "I'm surprised you considered that invective?"

    I consider it "of or related to abuse." I thought your sarcastic comment was more of a carricature than a description.

    "Do you think that Rabbi Riskin thought that R. Shlomo Zalman Auerbach had no connection with him? If so, why did he go to him?"

    That's what I'm wondering. Since when does a self described halachic feminist give a **** what an ultra tradionalist thinks? Which I part of why I wonder if we're getting an accurate portrayal of what happened.

    "In case that metaphor isn't clear, asking R. Shlomo Zalman for an endorsement for a Torah initiative...is the pearl and the other thing is the canine fecal matter."

    Thanks for clearing that up. I agree about the second part, by the way (about the Israeli Yated, not the signatories.)

    "Also, your point is disturbing. No, there is no Chareidi gestapo to actually hurt someone outside of their own circle (at least that was true). But do you think it feels good to be compared with a Chazir? To realize your life's dream of moving to Israel and then told that you ought to go? It seems that the Chareidim have a hard time handling external criticism, which I can well understand since it's hurtful."

    "We don't 'handle' external criticsm, we tend to ignore it.

    "Why shouldn't Riskin mind it?"
    Nunu. Ask Barack Obama how to deal with it. Or "that nazi Bush". Or Newt 'crybaby' Gingrich. Public people attract this kind of stuff. Have you ever seen the cartoons of R Shach after his famous rabbit speech?

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  44. Rav Kadish-
    I must clarify my position...I am not advocating a separation of the Religious Zionist rank-and-file from the Haredi rank-and-file. Perish the thought. People on the ground level get along fine, except for these extremists. However, I have even davened with my kippah serugah on my head in Toldos Aharon and Satmar and nobody cared. I regularly go to a Hassidic shul for Kabbalat Shabbat because I like the style there and people welcome me warmly. I am sure I could go daven in Friedman's shul and no one would say anything. However, should I begin proselytizing my views at any of these places, I am sure things would heat up, just as we would react if people with views hostile to ours came to our synagogues and started, say, trying to convince our children that the education they were receiveing was "wrong".
    I also oppose calls to boycott the Badatz-Eda Haredit hechser or other Haredi hechsherim.
    What I don't support is going to the Haredim and demanding that they recognize MY Religious Zionist and pro-secular education and pro-evolutionist views. They are not going to do it and there is no point in provoking them with it. I don't see why we have to have this inferiority complex that says that they are the ones who have the Torah and WE aren't "authentic" unless we have their approval. They have a right to their views, I recognize their gedolim...I will stand up for them when they enter the room, but we have ours too and we will not give up our views or compromise them, because TRUTH is important, too.

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  45. " trying to convince our children that the education they were receiveing was "wrong"."

    I've seen charedim come and try to tell people that their education is wrong, I've even seen people tell Chabadniks that they can't daven in public. I have never seen any of them get violent or even visibly angry.

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  46. shaul shapira

    "That's what I'm wondering. Since when does a self described halachic feminist give a **** what an ultra tradionalist thinks? Which I part of why I wonder if we're getting an accurate portrayal of what happened."

    Ah. Maybe you have stereotyped "halachic feminists?" I have yet to meet the Orthodox rabbi who doesn't care what at least some of the ultra traditionalist rabbis think. My gosh, maybe he actually reveres God, Torah, the whole bit?

    ""We don't 'handle' external criticsm, we tend to ignore it."

    I guess it depends how insular people are, but certainly those who are online and those who write for the Chareidi media seem to very hurt or angry by things which have been said and written lately about Chareidim.

    "Nunu. Ask Barack Obama how to deal with it. Or "that nazi Bush". Or Newt 'crybaby' Gingrich. Public people attract this kind of stuff. Have you ever seen the cartoons of R Shach after his famous rabbit speech? "

    I agree, being the object of nastiness is part of the price of being a public figure. I don't really have anything to say to that, I guess.

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  47. S."I have yet to meet the Orthodox rabbi who doesn't care what at least some of the ultra traditionalist rabbis think."

    Which plays into the Chareidim's hands. "See? If they care about what we say but we don't give a hoot about what they say, it means they know that they are the counterfeit and we're the real deal."

    "My gosh, maybe he actually reveres God, Torah, the whole bit?"

    And God, Torah, the whole bit lies in the hands of RSZA or R. Shach? I doubt that's what R. Riskin believes, but hey, you never know.

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  48. "Have you ever seen the cartoons of R Shach after his famous rabbit speech?"

    What was the "famous rabbit speech"?

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  49. Mergatroid said...
    "What was the "famous rabbit speech"?"

    It's known as the n'eom shfanim ve'chazarim in hebrew. It was a landmark adress in which rav shach essentially challenged the left wing secularists to explain what makes them Jewish if they raise pigs, sleep with nidah's, eat rabbits etc. Alot of people found it over the top, and were insulted.

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  50. "certainly those who are online and those who write for the Chareidi media seem to very hurt or angry by things which have been said and written lately about Chareidim."

    I can't speak for the Chareidi media but as one of 'those who are on online' I can tell you we're generally not the salt of the Chareidi world. My older married siblings have no idea who slifkin is and don't particulary care about this debate one way or the other.

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