Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Testing Poe's Law

The story so far: Rabbi Yosef Mizrachi, who brags about being called "the Moshe Rabeinu of this generation," has for many years given lectures with hateful teachings. Sixteen rabbis, representing a fairly broad spectrum, who have reputations for being outstanding people and responsible leaders, condemned his approach as simplistic, misleading, arrogant, creating chillul Hashem, and being objectionable and dangerous. Rabbi Mizrachi responded with a video, posted on his Facebook page, in which he did not attempt to defend himself against a single one of those charges. Instead, he described his critics as "very evil" "ignorant" rabbis who are "resha'im" and who have never been mekarev anyone (!) and who are "jealous" of his kiruv system which is "the most successful kiruv system in the world, perhaps in history"(!!). He adds that "We did research on each one of them, unfortunately they have a lot of problems, each one of them." 

A friend of mine, Rabbi Scott Kahn, posted the following comments on Rabbi Mizrachi's response, but they were soon deleted:
How DARE you speak motzi shem ra against these rabbis, saying things like, "We did research on each one of them, unfortunately they have a lot of problems, each one of them." I know some of them, and can testify about those whom I know that they are wonderful people who are moser nefesh for Klal Yisrael. Even if you are right - and you decidedly are not - how can you say such things even if you disagree? How can you speak so negatively about people who disagree with you? How dare you do such a terrible thing? Have you ever thought about the possibility that perhaps some of their criticisms are not ignorant? And that even if you disagree with those criticisms, these rabbis are trying to do the right thing? And unless you are 100% sure that they are evil people, how can you call them reshaim? I know some of them; they are not reshaim, to say the least. Not everyone who disagrees with your approach, and who thinks that your approach is dangerous, is a wicked person. Motzi shem ra is one of the most serious prohibitions in the Torah; I suggest that your choir of supporters think about this before running to your defense.

Yesterday I took on an immense challenge. I attempted to persuade a follower of Rabbi Mizrachi that it was severely inappropriate to endorse and spread his response, which does not defend his approach and instead slanders these sixteen rabbis in the most appalling way. (The only reason I even tried to do this is that I slightly know this follower, and my impression is that he is an intelligent, sensitive person. Furthermore, I was fairly sure that this person knows, or knows of, some of the 16, and would surely realize that they are not very evil resha'im who have never been mekarev anyone!)

Unfortunately, I got absolutely nowhere. The person insisted that it's basic Torah hashkafah to say that sins get punished (which in this person's mind seemed to translate to saying that secular Jewish women acted without concern for their modesty at the gas chambers during the Holocaust, that IDF soldiers who are mechallel Shabbat have no share in the world to come, that children who are born with blindness are being punished for watching pornography in previous lives, and that people contract cancer as a result of sexual licentiousness and dirty thoughts). The person believed that there is no basis for saying otherwise, and thus, the rabbis who criticized Rabbi Mizrachi are indeed very evil resha'im. The most that I could get this person to concede was that Rabbi Mizrachi's claim that these 16 rabbis have never done any kiruv "might be an exaggeration."

Afterwards, a thought struck me. If it's impossible to get them to listen to reason, is there any other way to get them to see the absurdity of their position? Is there any hope of demonstrating to them that Rabbi Mizrachi is supremely arrogant? Is there any way for them to see the hypocrisy of criticizing these rabbis for the terrible sin of criticizing a rabbi who criticizes rabbis?

Perhaps it is possible to go in the other direction - to express support for Rabbi Mizrachi so strongly, that they see its absurdity? I posted the following comment on the Facebook page of another of his supporters who had shared Rabbi Mizrachi's response:
It's terrible, Rabbi Mizrachi has made more baalei teshuva than anyone else in history, he is greater than Moshe Rabeinu. Then all these evil reshaim rabbis are trying to murder him! Why is he suffering so much? It must be a Tikun for all his averot in his previous gilgul.
That succeeded in getting a "Like" from the person who had posted it!

I've been banned from posting on Rabbi Mizrachi's own page, along with others who have written critical comment. But someone submitted the following:
Rabbi Mizrachi is an amazing Holy Rabbi! He has made over 500,000 baalei seshuva. He is like Moshe Rabbeinu! It is the BIGGEST SIN to speak out against a Rabbi. The 16 "rabbis" who criticized him are going to burn in fiery depths of the worst Gehinnim forever and ever. They will suffer excruciating agonies of the body and soul, burning endlessly in the Fires of Hell. These rabbis are the most evil reshaim. How dare anyone criticize a rabbi!
This comment, which was submitted sarcastically, is still standing!

There is an Internet adage called "Poe's law." It states that, without a clear indicator of the author's intent, it is impossible to create a parody of fundamentalist views so obviously exaggerated that it cannot be mistaken by some readers or viewers as a sincere expression of the parodied views. I think that it would be an interesting experiment to see how far this can be pushed. Are Rabbi Mizrachi's followers so blindly besotted with him that they will tolerate and believe any lie, heresy or slander in his support? Try it yourself at this link!

67 comments:

  1. I tried, it was fun, but probably futile.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I listened to the recording posted on his facebook, and I don't think that what is posted above is accurate. I'm not defending Mizrachi's underlying approach, but he was pretty clearly not directly attacking the Rabbi's listed above.

    Instead he attacks two people who he names as having the psuedonyms "Dwake (Drake?) from London" and "Dana? Cohen". He says that they took the quotes of out context to show R Shafran and he agreed to sign (and then presumably others). He does say "3 of them are the wicked people" who have been attacking him for five years (it is unclear if they part of the list of Rabbis above or not). What he says about that Rabbis who signed the statement against him is that they only attacked a few of the things that he said and that he has support in lots of Torah sources, and that other greater Rabbis support him. Whether or not his narrative is correct, he was not calling the Rabbis on the list "evil".

    He also asks if it is fair to attack him for a few statements out of the many thousands he claimed to have made over the years.

    Again, I have no use for his style of Rabbinics, but I object equally to attacks on all groups based on authority. This is especially true when the attacks avoid more important people who have said substantially the same thing, just because they are more more difficult targets and can fight back.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's not "Dwake", it's Rabbi Joseph Dweck.
      When he says "3 of them are the ones who have attacking me for five years" he is talking about 3 of the 16 rabbis (Rabbi Dweck, Rabbi Benzaquen, and I'm not sure about the third.) So he was definitely calling at least 3 of the rabbis "very evil resha'im." And he says explicitly about all 16 that "these people are so ignorant, calling themselves Rabbis." He says that they tried to murder him and lost all their Olam Haba.

      Delete
    2. Thank you.

      This means he did not call people evil for writing that letter. Instead he said that they did not know him and it was not fair that they condemn him for 3 of 1000 things. He calls them ignorant because they are condemning him for saying things that lots of other authorities have said and say and he is correct about in that.

      I don't know that R Dweck et al had done with him before, so I can't judge that. However, I would also point out that calling other Rabbis evil is also unfortunately commonplace in the Charedi world as you have pointed out.

      The bottom line is that I have no use for Mizrachi. His reaction is not excusable.

      I also think that the stand against him is an attempt to cover up an embarrassment, and not not a principled stand about anything that he actually says. It would not be done against a Rabbi with any power. The fact that he acts immature in response does not rehabilitate the condemnation.

      Delete
    3. I agree with R. Ohsie that R. Mizrachi is repeating lines uttered by others far greater than he--and therefore safe to attack as they were not--and that they too should have been called out for their statements.

      On the other hand, be the condemnation to cover up an embarrassment, or lacking principle, nor the fact that the rabbanut have failed to act before when they should have, should keep them from acting now, if acting is the right thing to do.

      And having done so, they should resolve to do the same to any speaker of inflammatory statements.

      Delete
    4. If so, they should detail what they are condemning. They can't because they know that what they are condemning is in fact commonplace in their own camp (and not only theirs).

      Delete
    5. Claiming there are enemies with vendettas behind the ban?
      Claiming that other great rabbis support him?
      Claiming quotes were taken out of context in order to garner greater support?
      Zealots picking on a low-level rabbis because he makes an easier target?
      Banners can't detail what their condemning because they know it is commonplace (or found in numerous classic sources)?

      It would seem that this ban against Rabbi Mizrachi has much more in common with the ban on Rabbi Slifkin's books than Rabbi Slifkin would care to admit.

      Delete
    6. R. Kornreich: While your some of your reasoning is slipshod (e.g. "Claiming that..."), I agree with you 100% that both condemnations were quite deficient, although not comparable in many respects. For example, the signers do not make up lies out of whole cloth as was done with respect to R Slifkin and they don't claim the authority to declare the material in question heresy.

      I imagine that R Slifkin sees them as different, since Mizrachi does in fact appear to be something of a buffoon. He also likely puts faith in people like R Adlerstein who actually did show a tiny bit of courage in rejecting the ban on his books.

      Of course the only comparable things about the two cases are the poorly done condemnations. On the substance, there are many differences. Among them:

      1) The nature of the attacked material (well-sourced and important Chiddushei Torah vs. raving internet videos).

      2) The responses (a article defending of the motivations of the attackers vs. a fairly unhinged attack against the detractors).

      Delete
    7. "While your some of your reasoning is slipshod (e.g. "Claiming that...")

      I'm not sure what you are referring to. Perhaps I should elaborate.

      *Rabbi Mizrachi claims there are enemies with vendettas who engineered the ban and Rabbi Slifkin claimed there were enemies with vendettas who engineered the ban. see here:
      http://zootorah.com/controversy/account.html

      *Rabbi Mizrachi claims other great rabbis support him and Rabbi Slifkin also claimed great rabbis support his approaches. see here:
      http://zootorah.com/controversy/authority.html

      *Rabbi Mizrachi claims a list of controversial quotes were taken out of context and circulated in order to garner signatures, and Rabbi Slifkin claimed a list of controversial statements or positions were compiled and circulated in order to garner signatures. see here:
      http://www.zootorah.com/controversy/processfaq.html

      Rabbi Slifkin also claimed he was being used as a pawn in a larger dispute in order to undermine the authority of Rav Shmuel Kaminetzky. See here:
      http://zootorah.com/controversy/account.html

      On "substance" as you call it, there is no real significant difference either.
      1) The nature of the attacked material:
      *Rabbi Mizrachi takes well-known and well-established Jewish theological principles (about punishment in this world for sins and re-incarnation) and misapplies them carelessly and boorishly.
      Rabbi Slifkin also takes well-known and well established theological principles (--i.e. G-d prefers to work within the laws of nature than through miracles--) and misapplies them (to the meta-natural process of the creation of those very laws).

      2) The responses:
      If you'll notice, Rabbi Slifkin got around to penning an article defending the motivations of his attackers a full FOUR YEARS after the condemnations.
      http://zootorah.com/controversy/InDefenseOfMyOpponents.pdf

      At the time of the ban however, Rabbi Slifkin was perfectly willing to have his internet cronies (his brother among them) do all the vicious bashing and caricaturing of the signatories for him--for months and months on end.

      In fact, I find there to be very little that is not comparable between the two situations.

      Delete
    8. @Rav K. the similarities you bring up aren't unique to these 2 cherems. Many cherems have them.

      In fact, I find there to be very little that is not comparable between the two situations.

      Keep looking and you'll find. If you still can't then ask someone to help you.

      Delete
    9. "While your some of your reasoning is slipshod (e.g. "Claiming that...")

      I'm not sure what you are referring to.

      I'm referring to the fact that comparing the values of the condemnations based on similar "claims" of the condemned is slipshod reasoning. Alfred Dreyfus and Jerry Sandusky both "claimed" innocence.

      On "substance" as you call it, there is no real significant difference either.

      You have a whole blog on this; I don't think that there is any value add here.

      If you can't tell the difference between internet ravings and a book that you happen to disagree with, then I understand why you are confused.

      But to something that we seem to agree on: condemnations based on authority are worthless and are often done opaquely to avoid having the attack apply to great people who have said more or less the same thing.

      Delete
    10. Perhaps it's your turn to elaborate.
      Why are Rabbi Mizrachi's claims any less credible than Rabbi Slifkin's?
      As you pointed out on this very thread, Rabbi Slifkin certainly has a penchant for stretching the truth in order to make his attacks on others more "meaty".
      And from what I've noticed, (documented extensively on my blog) he has also stretched to truth/omitted critical details in order to make his victim-hood more convincing.

      Delete
    11. R. Kornreich, there is no purpose is relitigating the entire controversy in the comments section of this blog. I think that we can cut it down to this:

      S1) The universe is about 14 billion years old.
      S2) Saadia Gaon translated Shafan as Hyrax (Wabr).

      M1) Fewer than 1 million Jews were killed in the Holocaust.
      M2) Herzl tried to convert all the Jews to Catholicism

      If you think that all 4 statements have the same level of credibility, the you are correct that R Slifkin is little different from Mizrachi.

      If you think that the first two are facts and the last two fantasies, then you are going to view Mizrachi much differently that R. Slifkin.

      Delete
    12. Cute.
      Here's my version:

      S1) Humans evolving from ape-like ancestors is a fact of history (which Rabbi Y. B. Soloveitchik accommodated)
      S2) The Torah was written for a people who were as primitive as everyone else in the ancient world, and as a result, many statements of the Torah are fundamentally mistaken.

      M1) Fewer than 1 million Jews were killed in the Holocaust.
      M2) Herzl tried to convert all the Jews to Catholicism

      If you think that all 4 statements have the same level of credibility, then I am correct that R Slifkin is little different from Mizrachi.

      If you think that the first two are facts and the last two fantasies, then you are going to view Mizrachi much differently that R. Slifkin.

      Delete
    13. R Kornreich, you are missing the point. I was not attempting to defeat your position. I am demonstrating why the discussion is pointless.

      You think that evolution and an ancient universe are as much a hoax and a fantasy as the statements of Mizrachi. The rest of your position flows from there: if that is really true, then of course most of what R Slifkin writes is pointless drivel, since there is no problem to solve in the first place. There is no need to analyze further the details of anything the R Slifkin has written here: Mizrachi == Slifkin.

      Contrariwise, if one accepts evolution and an ancient universe as facts, then your writing on this topic is worthless scribbling which promotes heresy, inasmuch as it claims that the Torah is counterfactual.

      Delete
  3. I get a kick out of how much you love this hock
    You're awesome, Rabbi Slifkin.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Very cute.

    The "problem" with this is that "one man's "reductio ad absurdum" is another man's "ain hachi nami".

    In the case of Rabbi Mizrachi, he has **already** proclaimed the almost-equivalent in one of his videos. He is a believer in the autistic kids, and he relates how he visited one of them, who told them that the reason that he is doing this successful kiruv in this life is as a tikkun for the evil he did in a previous life. Because in a previous life, he was a big proponent of Zionism, and persuaded many people to the sin of Zionism.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah, so his sin was a Tinok Shenishba type sin of having a mistaken philosophy! How fortunate that it wasn't licentiousness or anything that he needs to be ashamed of. You can always count on an autistic kid speaking through Facilitated Communication to say what you want to hear!

      Delete
    2. "The "problem" with this is that "one man's "reductio ad absurdum" is another man's "ain hachi nami"."

      The "problem" with that statement is that I was eating an apple as I read and had to clean my keyboard.

      Delete
    3. the sin of zionism?
      excellent
      im sure this post will now be picked up by the likes of ali abunimah to prove that not all observant jews are zionists and israel should be destroyed

      Delete
    4. Apples are dangerous and evil! Ban apples! They cause all sins, including the original one! (actually there is no source for that, but who cares?)

      Delete
  5. Though I must admit, I am sorely tempted to ascribe the carnage in Syria to their unrelenting anti-Semitism and spilling of Jewish blood for the past 70 years . . .

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  6. Techniques of arguing are far more important than logic in bringing someone round to your way of thinking.

    Usually people won't change their minds because
    A) they have to much pride invested in winning the argument.
    B) they are already certain you're wrong before you even start speaking, so don't even truly consider what you have to say.

    In order to get round that I recommend not even trying to push your side. Instead listen intently, acting as if you're truly trying to understand his ideas. Then, using the socratic method, ask questions as sincerely as possible till he understands the ridiculousness of his position by himself.

    Thus the argument actually becomes a discussion, which is a much better medium for developing ideas and rethinking views.

    Try it. I think it will lead to some quite different results. And who knows? You yourself might discover that whoever your arguing with actually has a point.

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  7. I know some of these Rabbeim and they are wondwerful ppl who guide many ppl to Torah. Shameon him.

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  8. Cognitive dissonance is also a mechanism by which people, when confronted with arguments that contradict their beliefs, come to hold these beliefs even more strongly.

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  11. The only defense against such gurus is to get to potential baalei teshuvah before they do.

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  12. i tried with this..

    You have brought so many closer to the Emet of Torah how dare anyone say otherwise, how dare anyone credit the bal teshuva for exercising bechira as clearly their is none today, and only your miraculous mesirus nefesh and ability to shout the truth from your position despite being degraded and detested by the majority of supposed normal people is humbling. You are greater than Jesus himself as you were not zoche to learn from our great Amaroim directly but still have the love and sacrifice so rare to see. REPENT SINNERS

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  13. While I'm no fan of Mizrachi, hard to see how the Rabbinnic condemnation would not apply to Rav avigdor Miller as well, other than the fact that like him or not, Rabbi Miller at least was a talmid chacham. Ditto satmar Rav.

    Hard to imagine that either of them would not have been equally embarrassing were they to have appeared before broader audiences.

    Yet, none of these signatories would have dared to publicly attack or even publicly distance themselves from these icons.

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  14. I've also tried hard to convince a friend who is a supporter of mizrahi to recognise that he is wrong in certain areas and that spreading certain of his teachings is harmful to torah and to Jews (i wasn; attempting the impossible of getting him to see just how wrong mizrahi is!). No joy at ALL. I was told that a. i'm not a rabbi so who am i to point out the areas of sheker in his teachings b. i am just spreading negativity, i should go out and mekarev peopple instead c. he's makereved X number of peopple, and how many have i mekareved d. different strokes for different folks, if i don;t like it then just don;t listen.

    there's none so blind as those who will not see

    ReplyDelete
  15. This week's Plant Money episode "Finding the Fake News King" explores similar phenomena in with viral nationalist news articles

    http://www.npr.org/sections/money/2016/12/02/504155809/episode-739-finding-the-fake-news-king

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    Replies
    1. Maybe NPR should check their own broadcasts for fake news, e.g., about how awful Israel is on human rights.

      Andy

      Delete
  16. Is theodicy acceptable when saying for instance that Sharon fell into his coma because of the Disengagement, or that UK flights were disrupted a few years ago by the Icelandic ash cloud as divine punishment for the British tourist board failing to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel (as certain Chareidi commentators have suggested)?

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  17. This approach might be delicious fun, but I'm wondering if it isn't infringing on the issur of hating one's fellow in one's heart, and my personal adage: "A straight answer turneth away wrath."

    I'm contemplating suggesting to R. Mizrachi that we also have a tradition that death brings kaparah--so even if you DO believe in gilgul neshamos, one's aveiros shouldn't follow you into a subsequent life.

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    Replies
    1. Some sins are so great that even death does not atone. See perek chelek and the Rambam. And besides, the whole concept of gilgul is that you come back again to fix your mistakes.

      Delete
    2. Maybe that explains the emergence of Mizrachi. He has returned in our lifetimes to correct what he mucked up last time. Looks like he'll be coming back again...Given his prodigious ego I suspect he might regard that latter return as the second coming.

      Delete
  18. > "the most successful kiruv system in the world, perhaps in history"
    > "We did research on each one of them, unfortunately they have a lot of problems, each one of them."

    Did anyone else read this in Donald Trump's voice?

    ReplyDelete
  19. How to win over YM’s Chasidim is probably impossible. He isn’t shy with his outrageous statements so whoever wasn’t upset with him while he was saying them all along isn’t going to start now.

    But some people can be more easily won over by criticizing more carefully. Why write that he is a charismatic but boorish entertainer with little scholarship or substance if between his fire and brimstone he does say perceptive insights? Why write that he excels in attracting unsavory types and ignore otherwise decent people who are also attracted to him? And if you write that others did not … cause people to walk out of Yiddishkeit, as Rabbi Mizrachi has done you might as well clarify how “in” Yiddishkeit were they beforehand that solely because of him they walked out. And where were their acquaintances who didn’t tell them that most rabbis aren’t like him?

    As for the difference between him and ROY, if both of them are harmful, and ROY is too popular to oppose, so at least oppose him so there should be less damage.

    But the real way to find out is just by asking the Shadchan directly. Being on good terms with ones Shadchan is a Segulah for Shalom Bayis :)

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  20. I have the pleasure of knowing R' Michel Twerski. He built an entire community of tirei shamayim. He is a tzadik of the highest caliber. He has stellar midos and ahavas Yisroel. Not a rasha!

    ReplyDelete
  21. My 2C, kindly supply some of the 'perceptive insights' that you impute to Yosef Mizrachi. As an aside. to whom do you refer with the term 'Shachan'?

    The difference between Harav Ovadiah Yosef and Yosef Mizrachi is not a question of popularity, but of reputation and accomplishment. Rav OY was an outstanding posek gifted with an encyclopedic knowledge of talmud and poskim. He achieved fame in the halachic world both with that encyclopedic knowledge and with his painstaking and innovative work in freeing agunot resulting from military deaths in the Yom Kippur war. That history overweighed his controversial statements stemming from his motza'ei Shabbat talks in more recent years. What does Yosef Mizrachi have to commend him given his exaggerations and intemperate language? Bringing people closer to halachic observance is good, but not if it doesn't last, and the disillusioned adherents turn out to be more irreligious than when they first heard him. As an example, Yaron Yariv was brought to religious observance and knowledge by Rav Moshe Shapiro, a major talmid chacham. He married frum, had many children, and even became the head of a kollel. It didn't last, however, and he divorced and became a visceral opponent of anything religious - at last notice. My point is that Mizrachi's style breeds contempt of both him and what he represents - on the part of many. Those that are influenced and remain religious may not be sufficient to override the harm that he does with his words. My judgment would be much different if he showed any inclination to listen to criticism, but he doesn't. He just becomes more vituperative.

    Y. Aharon

    Y. Aharon

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    Replies
    1. The solution is to attack the idea openly, not to attack the easy targets by authority. Say that idea X is wrong even when stated by a great man like ROY. But they can't bring themselves to do that. Unfortunately, they take the same approach when it comes to child and sex abuse with continued disastrous consequences.

      Also the Yaron Yariv example is confirmation bias. All types of people change their minds for all types of reasons.

      Delete
    2. @YA, a while back before I knew much about him I picked up a free cd of his and listened to a few hours of his lectures. I stand by my claim that between his fire and brimstone he does say perceptive insights. There's no way I can start discussing them here. But I don't see what the problem is. There's no shortage of people who make both insightful and inciteful statements. If someone claims he's nothing more than a boor then people who believe otherwise won't be won over to your view as quickly... so it's better to criticize more selectively.

      In the first post Rabbi Slifkin says that one of the 16 is *his* Shadchan.

      When I said that ROY is *popular* I didn't mean the empty kind of being popular. I meant popularity based on reputation and accomplishment, like you wrote. Sorry for the misunderstanding.

      Delete
    3. Without taking sides regarding ROY, rav Goren freed many more agunot (unfortunately), yet is vilified by many.

      Is that the criteria? Or is it being (another form of) politically correct?

      Delete
    4. the newest bored lawyerDecember 22, 2016 at 10:47 PM

      The Reform rabbi who freed Agunot if they had a civil divorce, because Dina De Malchuta Dina, is even more righteous than ROY and RSG. But just being kind to Agunot won't save you from vilification if the vilifiers say that you crossed the red line. I don't know why ROY and RSG should be on different sides of the red line, but if you want to know, roll up your sleeves and study and compare their Tshuvot.

      Delete
    5. the newest bored lawyerDecember 26, 2016 at 6:19 PM

      In case it wasn't obvious, I was being facetious about the Reform rabbi's righteousness.

      Delete
  22. Have a look at his fb comments.
    The way his supporters write it mamesh sounds like a cult of loonies.

    Here is my favourite, though hard to tell if sarcastic

    Benzion Chinn:
    Rabbi mizrachi has made more baalei teshuva in history with the exception of our lord and savior Sabbatai

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    Replies
    1. Ummm.... That one is definitely sarcastic.

      Delete
  23. Theodicy alert (Resist the temptation to cite cause and effect):
    http://www.timesofisrael.com/top-general-steps-down-after-army-computer-stolen-from-home/
    Top general steps down after IDF computer stolen from home

    He was also responsible for a number of controversial measures within the army, including restructuring the unit of the IDF that determines “Jewish identity” and toughening the policies towards facial hair, which were perceived as taking power away from the military rabbinate.

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    Replies
    1. Refreshing though to see a leader making a mistake and taking responsibility for it in a meaningful way.
      KT
      Joel Rich

      Delete
  24. he has been doing this for 20 years
    he shouldve been stopped long ago, but he was pretty much ignored
    maybe there is a need for another asifa so that no one should be able to see his vids and he can go back to being ignored
    because we all know that nobody has used the internet since the asifa

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    Replies
    1. I haven't seen any pictures of this "asifa" thing on the agudah website.

      Delete
  25. Rabbis are reluctant to criticise other rabbis for all the most obvious reasons. But the principle of criticising rabbis who speak pernicious nonsense must be established. And the principle of not speaking pernicious nonsense in the first place must also be established. So on one hand the rabbinic condemnation letter is important. But equally the petition in the UK, which made it clear that what he said was wrong, that it did not have grass roots support apart from his zombie army, has been influential in moving the debate, getting into the mainstream media. If Mizi is called out, other rabbis may start feeling it's possible that they may lose the support of the public.

    https://www.change.org/p/protest-the-hateful-views-of-rabbi-yosef-mizrachi

    ReplyDelete
  26. I managed to get in there. See my post about 'no semicha, no rabbi'.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Someone is obviously deleting the real facetious posts. Mine are the only ones I still see

    I am curious as to the scientific proof for the transmigration of souls. I personally do believe in kabbala (at least of the Ari and his teachings), but scientific proof? Someone who does not believe is obviously not a heretic but this hubris is awful.

    The difference between mizrachi and historical characters should be obvious. The Tosfos Yom Tov (an ancestor of ours) was dealing with a community of shattered survivors searching for a meaning to their suffering and a method of dealing with it. Chizuk in not talking during davening was an easy way to accomplish this. Nobody is insulted, everyone can take part in this chizuk. Mizrachi is spouting nonsense for no reason. None of us.need chizuk in covering up genitals in the gas chambers we frequent and the handicapped children, and their parents, are not necessarily the ones preoccupied with pornography and this attaches no meaning to their suffering. This is just nastiness masquerading as Kanous. I know some members of Neturei Karta with the same attitude. "I will get under your skin and feel frum about it too".
    Btw, when reb ovadya would blame things on chillul Shabbos, he was asking his flock to be.more careful, learn more halachos etc. He never meant the chiloni chillul Shabbos. Listen carefully and ask his close followers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rav Ovadia Yosef has definitely made statements that fall under the same rubric. Also, if you have to "listen carefully and ask his close followers", there is still an issue, IMO. That doesn't mean that ROY is any way comparable to Mizrachi. It means that we should disagree with actions and principles and not just condemn a person.

      Delete
    2. Well done!
      Here's another from Chaim Grunsfeld:

      "Rabbi Mizrahi is only stating a basic tenet of Chazal. And everyone knows Midah K’neged Midah. Rabbi Mizrachi Shlita did not make that up. So if he says, that blind people today are being punished for watching pornography, he is 100% correct. The proof is, that prior to 150 years ago, before the existence of pornography, blindness was virtually unheard of. Conversely, it is extremely well documented that there has been an explosion of blind children born since 2015, as the people who started watching the readily available pornography on the internet started dying off and being reborn. In my opinion, it serves them right. I mean, it serves their former selves right"

      Delete
  28. I think there's a corollary to Poe's law: If in a subject area that's not intrinsically religious it looks as though Poe's law _is_ applying, it's because the true issue in the debate isn't scientific or political, it's a religion-like belief system masquerading as science, etc.

    ReplyDelete
  29. For those with open minds looking for intriguing evidence mounted in favor of reincarnation, suggest you read Yakov Astor's book, "Soul Searching".
    https://www.amazon.com/Soul-searching-scientific-tradition-afterlife/dp/1568712499

    P.S. If you are looking to mock or dismiss out of hand, don't bother.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's irrelevant.

      Not a single Jew can claim to know what happens in an eventual afterlife. The issue here is the unassailable certainty that mizrachi offers on these matters. That is harmful. That is what is wrong.

      Mizrachi to this day talks about the bible codes and other long discredited idiocies that only the foolish or gullible would expound or believe to be absolute truths.

      Almost every thing he utters is not normative of definitive - but he claims it is.

      Delete
    2. I wasn't trying to defend R' Mizrachi's level of certainty. That is irrelevant.
      What is relevant to me is the claim by some commentors in this thread that belief in reincarnation is irrational and completely without evidence.
      I would hope such people who are so "certain" about this claim would be open to reading about the evidence that does in fact exist.

      So again, if you are looking to mock or dismiss, don't bother.

      Delete
    3. I have not read that book but any 'scientific' accounts of reincarnation I have read are anecdotal or speculative.

      If the 'evidence' is as strong as 'bible codes' that Aish embarrassingly (IMO) relied on to mekarev and 'prove' Hashem's existence for decades then it can comfortably be discounted.

      Even if it could be ascertained that an afterlife exists then speculation regarding its essence would still be...well, speculation.

      If it is a source for attitudes in Torah and Talmud to the afterlife and reincarnation then that is another matter.

      Delete
  30. One of the Rabbis who signed off blamed a baby in his community being born blind on pornography. A community member protested and was excoriated, "Who are you!!!????".

    Mizrachi is nuts, but I do agree the Rabbaim who signed off on the letter are jealous of him - they'd much rather Mizrachi's followers listen to THEM!!

    ReplyDelete

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