Tuesday, March 11, 2014

I Want To Live In A Torah City

(I'm now on Twitter at @NatanSlifkin. Blog posts will automatically be tweeted there.)

This past Motzai Shabbos, Rav Aharon Feldman of Ner Israel flew to Israel specially to address the Anglo community of Ramat Beit Shemesh. He said that the municipal elections taking place tomorrow present a unique opportunity. We can make Beit Shemesh into a Torah City. And we must do so.

I agree.

I want to live in a Torah city. The first of the Aseres HaDibros is about loyalty to God. I want a mayor who fears God, not man. I want a mayor who is not intimidated by violent people who terrorize other residents of the town, who will take a firm stand against them, and who will not campaign in a way that encourages verbal and physical violence. I want a mayor who is honest, not one who states blatant lies to the frum press.

I want to live in a Torah city. The prerequisite for Torah is acting properly with regard to other human beings - derech eretz kadmah leTorah. I want a mayor whose campaigners act with derech eretz towards others, not one whose campaigners refer to their opponents with Amalek and Nazi terminology and imagery. I want a mayor who displays honor and respect for the state that protects him and provides him with an office, not one who proudly and disrespectfully declares that he is not a Zionist.

I want to live in a Torah city. And Chazal say, Im ein kemach, ain Torah. Torah cannot survive without material support. Shuls and yeshivos and schools and chesed organizations need buildings and municipal aid. I want a mayor who is trained and qualified in professional management, who will attract residents that pay taxes and contribute economically, who has a good reputation with the rest of Israel that will attract national support, who gives the city a good name internationally that will attract investment from abroad. I don't want an incompetent mayor that just stuffs people into the city without proper infrastructure, or who is associated with people that make a chillul Hashem.

I want to live in a Torah city. Torah is embodied in Torah scholars. I want a mayor who is associated with rabbonim that honor the Torah that they embody - rabbonim that act with love and respect and care towards everyone in the city, not rabbonim who describe their opponents as animals and lacking sechel and who physically assault rabbis who disagree with them and who relentlessly slander their opponents.

I want to live in a Torah City. The Rishonim and the Shulchan Aruch state that a person should work for a living (Orach Chaim 156; Yoreh De'ah 246:22), because Torah without work leads to laziness, sin and theft. While I will tolerate those who disregard this ruling based upon a poisonous extrapolation of a hora'as sha'ah beyond the circumstances in which it was enacted, I do not want this perversion of halachah to take over and define the city.

I want to live in a Torah city. Chazal say that a father is obligated to teach his son a trade. I want a mayor and a city that encourages schools that fulfill Chazal's dictates, not a mayor associated with those who disregard Chazal and who strongly oppose schools that teach children the knowledge, skills and inclination to work for a living.

I want to live in Torah city. I want to live in a city that lives Torah, not that just learns it. I want to live in a city that brings glory to Torah, not disgrace.

I want to live in a Torah City. And that's why I'm voting for Eli Cohen.

20 comments:

  1. Rabbi Slifkin exhibits sensitivity to the true intentions of the Torah and to the type of ethics and values to which good Jews should demonstrate fealty.

    Indeed, vote Eli Cohen! Who are the real gedolim? The rabbis such as HaRav Soloveichik and Rabbi Slifkin who call upon Jews to do the right thing and not act like sheep.

    Gedulah=putting true Jewish values over repulsive politics.

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  2. I was in NIRC for many years with both the previous two roshei yeshiva, R. Weinberg and R. Kulevsky, as well as R. Nueberger.

    R. Aharon Feldman does NOT represent the Ner Israel we knew. His involvement in these matters, [as well as other recent comments and books] is NOT the Ner Israel way. This is NOT the approach that made NIRC into one of the greatest, if not the greatest, yeshivah in North America.

    No, I don't speak for everyone - no one can, for anything. But many of us, almost for sure the majority of supporters, are dismayed by R. Feldman's extra-curricular activities. He's not our rosh yeshivah. I hope the Neuberger family is watching.

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  3. Moshe Dick writes:
    In accord with DF- I have heard from a number of Ner Israel graduates that bringing back Rav Aharon Feldman as Rosh yeshiva to Baltimore was a mistake. Having lived in israel for many years, Rav Feldman absorbed the Israeli chareidi mentality-totally at odds with the Ner Israel way of thinking. However, "kovod hatorah" prevents anyon from doing anything sbout it.

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  4. Eli Cohen is not shomer shabbos. Period. He might be traditional but he isnt shomer shabbos.Someone not shomer shabbos cant really fear Hashem. Another one of the 10 commandments is to keep shabbos.
    Abutbol has been on the city council for many years and he was mayor for the last 5. He has a lot more experience as a mayor then our present finance minister does as a politician or finance minister.
    The Rabbis who are advocating voting Eli Cohen have buried their heads in the sand and are capitulating to the dl extremists that are trying to stop the "hareidization" of bs.
    I guess you know more than the chazon ish, Stepler, Rav Chaim and Rav Eliyashiv when it comes to learning fulltime vs working.
    This blog contines to sound more and more like "failed messiah" than a blog written by a frum jew.

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  5. Moshe Abutbul tells lies. Period. Someone who tells blatant lies cant really fear Hashem.

    The Rabbis who are advocating voting Moshe Abutbul have buried their heads in the sand and are capitulating to the charedi extremists that are trying to accelerate the "hareidization" of bs.

    I guess you know more than Chazal, Rambam, and the Shulchan Aruch when it comes to learning fulltime vs working.

    Your comments continue to sound more and more like a small-minded zealot than a comment written by a frum jew.

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  6. How does fearing a god (or even believing in such a concept) bear any relevance to one's ability to professionally run a city?

    (and don't put forward the fallacy that only believers in god can be truly moral)

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  7. Emes and refreshing


    כי המעט מן האמת ינצח הרבה מן השקר, כאשר המעט מן האור דוחה הרבה מן החושך

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  8. Ekim, wish I could "like" your comment. Definitely liked the post. Well said!

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  9. Moshe Dick writes:
    Kudos to Ekim for skewering "Mike"'s words,showing how far present chareidim have strayed from the Torah.
    Additonally, I have read most of the coverage of the present events and I see a real spiritual war emerging.
    The chareidi leaders has intensified its attacks on the dati leumi Rabbonim and leaders. See the comments of the Yated's spokesman ,who wrote the disgusting article about the so-called settlements being a burden, and now attacks the whole dati leumi tsibbur. Note the incendiary and insulting words said by chareidi rabbonim against the dati leumi Rabbonim. See the words of the chareidi MK's ,vowing revenge against the dati leumi tsibbur.
    All of this amounts to a real spiritual war. The chareidim think they can win this war. I think they will find out that ,having sown the wind, they will reap the whirlwind. Theyv will find that many moderate chareidim (like me) will shut off the spigot to any of the chareidi yeshivos. And that is a start.

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  10. Is there any assurance that this election will be conducted any more honestly than the previous one? Any new safeguards in place to prevent voter fraud?

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  11. A wonderful article! Thank you, Rabbi Slifkin.

    Eli Cohen is a real Mentch! G-d fearing in every respect - as is Nir Barkat, Mayor of Jerusalem.

    Shomer Shabbat... that too will come...

    Sheina

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  12. "Eli Cohen is a real Mentch! G-d fearing in every respect - as is Nir Barkat, Mayor of Jerusalem."

    In which respect, exactly?

    Fluffy slogans by cheerleaders do not add to the discussion (if you can call it a discussion--I sometimes wonder what kind of comments Rabbi Slifkin is trying to elicit when he writes posts like these. He seems to either be preaching to the choir or rousing the rabble).

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  13. Excellent article by Rabbi Adlerstein on the issue, with a letter by Rabbi Soloveichik


    http://www.cross-currents.com/archives/2014/03/10/adar-blues-and-the-beit-shemesh-election/

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  14. I want to live in a secular city where corruption, when it exists, is not justified by religion. Where religion is not קרדום לחפור בו. Your preoccupation with the nonsense going on in the charedi society is becoming obsessive.

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  15. HERE WE GO AGAIN!!!
    Lakewood Rabbonim BAN Megillas Lester Artscroll pulled the video from its website.

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  16. "Not a cheerleader"...

    Sheina's post was nothing close to "fluffy", nor was there anything close to a "slogan" in her post.

    Any rational person can see that she was posting support for the Torah ideas Rabbi Slifkin's article on why Eli Cohen is a mensch), whilst also expressing a belief that Eli Cohen (like all Jews) will one day re-connect with their G-d given soul and begin to observe shabbat.

    Calling a woman a "cheerleader" and her opinions "fluffy" does point to a serious lack of intelligent discourse on your part.

    On top of that you go on to project ill intentions on Rabbi Slifkin in why he writes this blog?

    I think you need to either work on your arrogance or get your crystal ball checked for maintenance.

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  17. not a cheerleaderMarch 13, 2014 at 3:25 PM

    "Sheina's post was nothing close to "fluffy", nor was there anything close to a "slogan" in her post.

    Any rational person can see that she was posting support for the Torah ideas Rabbi Slifkin's article on why Eli Cohen is a mensch), whilst also expressing a belief that Eli Cohen (like all Jews) will one day re-connect with their G-d given soul and begin to observe shabbat."


    You just happened to conveniently leave out the very words which prompted me to label it a fluffy slogan.

    Please re-read my comment and address it squarely.

    ReplyDelete

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