Sunday, May 14, 2017

Who is Engaged in Politics, and Who in Prayer?

Recently I was forwarded a disturbing newsletter from Yeshivas Toras Moshe. It presented a Q&A which was held with the Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi Moshe Meiselman (author of the notorious Torah, Chazal and Science), at the yearly Shabbaton. I present it here in full:
Question: Why is it that there seems to be a lack of hakoras hatov to the State of Israel and the Armed Forces when they have provided a safe environment for Yiddishkeit without any fear of persecution?

Answer: If this question is about why we don't say a “mi sheberach" for Medinas Yisroel or the IDF on Shabbos morning out of hakoras hatov, I have one question.

I have davened in many shuls in the United States throughout my life. But in no shul have l heard a “mishebeirach” said for the local police department or local fire department. Don’t we have tremendous hakoras hatov for these people? Don’t police officers and firefighters put their life on the line every day so that we can be safe and secure? Just imagine New York City without the New York City Police Department. New York would become an absolute jungle.

When the Allied forces were battling Hitler in Europe, no one suggested that we make a “mi shebeirach” for the Allied forces even though our hakoras hatov for them was overwhelming. Of course we have tremendous hakoras hatov for the various people who provide services that keep us safe. But that doesn’t mean that they all deserve a “mi shebeirach” in shul.

The fact of the matter is that saying the “mi shebeirach” for Medinas Yisroel and the lDF is a purely political gesture. It is a form of a pledge of allegiance where everyone must stand up at attentions and be absolutely silent. It is not a tefilloh.

Contrast this with how these shuls recite the Av Harachamaim for the kedoshim who died al Kiddush Hashem immediately before—it’s non-stop talking and schmoozing until the gabbai asks for silence before the “mishebeirach” for the Medina.
In light of the fact that Rabbi Meiselman's teachings reach many hundreds, even thousands, of students and readers, I think that this requires a response.

Let’s begin with the last paragraph. It’s rather disturbing that Rabbi Meiselman makes such a crass generalization. It is simply not true to generalize that the shuls that pray for Israel and the IDF engage in “non-stop talking” during Av harachamim. (UPDATE: One wonders how many Zionist shuls Rabbi Meiselman is even familiar with, since he mistakenly claims that the prayer for the state is recited after Av harachamim.) And even if there are those who do so, is this due to a formal policy of not expressing care about the martyrs of Jewish history?! Of course not; it’s because these are shuls in which talking during davening is, unfortunately, simply the norm. Those people probably don’t even know what Av harachamim is about. The prayer for Israel and IDF is one whose nature they understand, and furthermore, which deals with matters of current relevance, so naturally it is given greater respect. Rabbi Meiselman’s gratuitous and nasty swipe, and attempt to equate such people with those who have a deliberate policy of formally acknowledging the sacrifices of the IDF, is entirely out of place and out of line.

Rabbi Meiselman claims that while he doesn’t believe in reciting a prayer for the state or the IDF, he certainly has hakaras hatov for “the various people who provide services that keep us safe.” One wonders if this is really the case, or if he is simple paying lip-service to it for his audience. Has he ever spoken in his yeshivah about the gratitude that they must have for the IDF, other than in the context of explaining why they shouldn't pray for their welfare? I doubt it.

Rabbi Meiselman (front left) at the Satmar rally
Recall that Rabbi Meiselman sat on the dais at the notorious Satmar-led protest in Manhattan, where the speakers described Israel as an "evil regime" and spoke about how “the very existence of the state is a rebellion against God” and about how “the [Israeli] army was founded on murder and blood spilling.” And in his own yeshivah, students have been taught that one should not have any hakaras hatov to the State of Israel, because whatever good it does for Torah Jews is no more significant than a terrorist throwing candy to the last surviving child of a family that he has murdered.

Let us address the main argument presented by Rabbi Meiselman, which is that praying for the welfare of the state and for the armed forces is a “purely political gesture” and "is not a tefilloh." This is simply false. There is a long Jewish tradition of reciting Hanosen teshuah lemelachim, which prays for the welfare of the government. The prayer for the State simply reflects the unique Jewish nature of the State of Israel; furthermore, it's not as though Rabbi Meiselman is advocating saying Hanosen teshuah instead!

Now, it’s true that Hanosen teshuah was not recited in every community. Still, it was recited in many communities (including, undoubtedly, communities from which many talmidim in Toras Moshe came). In some cases, the reasons for its recital may indeed have been political in motivation, but there are also certainly traditional Torah values behind it. Yirmiyah says, “Seek the welfare of the city to which I have exiled you, and pray to Hashem on its behalf; for in its prosperity you shall prosper” (Jer. 29:7). Chazal say "Pray for the welfare of the government, for if not for its fear, people would swallow each other alive" (Avos 3:4). Jews, like everyone else, require a government, and they should express their need and gratitude for this.

Praying for the welfare of the state is certainly a traditional Jewish concept. This would be at least as true, and surely even more the case, if the country is the Land of Israel, its inhabitants are mostly Jewish, and the government is that of a Jewish state!

Now let’s turn to the prayer for the armed forces. R. Meiselman claims that just as we have gratitude for the New York City police and fire brigade, yet we do not recite prayers for them, the same should be true for the IDF. Yet is this comparison not shallow? The IDF’s entire purpose is to protect Jewish lives from their enemies who seek to annihilate them, and they risk capture, torture and death, r"l, to do so. When someone’s child joins the police force or fire brigade, their parents don’t stop sleeping at night.

Rabbi Meiselman further claims that nobody ever suggested that we should make a misheberach for the Allied Forces in World War II. Can he really not see a difference between other nations fighting primarily for their own reasons, and our own brethren fighting to protect us?!

Furthermore, in any case, Rabbi Meiselman’s claim is simply not true. In 1942, none other than Rav Yosef Zvi Dushinsky, successor to Rav Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld as Chief Rabbi of the Eidah Charedis, discussed this very question (Shailos U’Teshuvos Maharitz 47). He was opposed to creating any new form of prayer, but stated that Hanosen teshua should suffice, which, he says, “is the minhag of all the Jewish people.”(See Rabbi Dr. Joseph Tabory, The Conflict of Halacha and Prayer.")

In the past, leading figures in the charedi community have indeed ruled that one should pray for non-Jewish armed forces. In 1918, to mark the first anniversary of the liberation of Jerusalem from the Turks by the British, the Vaad Ha-Ir Ha-Ashkenazi (precursor to the Eidah Chareidis) called on all the shuls and yeshivos “to thank Hashem for the redemption, and the salvation,” and to say the prayer of Hanosen teshuah on behalf of “George the Fifth, yarum hodo (may his glory be increased)” and a misheberach for General Allenby.

Another example is especially striking. During the first Gulf War, both Yated Ne'eman and Hamodia reported that Rav Schach and the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah had ruled that the charedi community should pray for the welfare of the coalition forces. The Yated was careful to note that this was a matter of following the tradition of praying for the state. The ruling was to use the traditional text of Hanosen teshuah, mentioning “the government of the United States and its partners.”

Note that the charedim were willing to pray for the success and welfare of Syria and Saudi Arabia - but not of Israel! This clearly demonstrates that such wars do indeed qualify for formal religious expressions of concern, but anti-Zionist politics prevents such concern from being expressed for Israel. Another example of this is with the charedi anti-draft rally in New York, in which they didn’t express their gratitude to the IDF, but they thanked the NYPD!

Rabbi Meiselman's claim that praying for the welfare of the state and for the armed forces is a “purely political gesture” is entirely false. As we have seen, the reverse is actually the case. Such prayers are a traditional part of Judaism, being extremely suitable expressions of concern and hakarat hatov. It’s the opposition to these prayers that is purely political. 

It is a tragedy that so many boys from homes which reflect traditional Torah values end up in Toras Moshe and are indoctrinated against them.

73 comments:

  1. I seem to be missing something. Why should a rally in America, comprised of Americans, express gratitude to the military of a foreign nation?

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    1. 1. Because it was a rally about the IDF.
      2. The point is that they express gratitude to those who protect them, as long as there are no political reasons not to do so.

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    2. 1. because, but for the courage and skill of the IDF they and their brethren would not be safe when they are in the State of Israel and also when they move about the world (Entebbe)
      2. because the soldiers of the IDF do what these men seem not to have the courage to do.

      Also, how is it that a man can look himself in the mirror and know that other men protect his wife, mother and daughters by doing service he shirks form and yet not even thank them? - Marc, Cherry Hill, NJ

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    3. I wonder if one of the supporters of R. Meisleman would recount what he has done to demonstrate his "hakoras hatov" in support of the US military and his local police, since I expect he also failed to actually serve in those organizations. For example, did he organize support for the families of police or service members killed or wounded in the line of duty? Marc, Cherry Hill, NJ

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  2. No mention of the straw man that Meiselman explicitly sets up in the very first sentence of his response?

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    1. Exactly. He just avoids answering the question by rephrasing it. I wonder how many people stop being frum because of repulsive polemics like this "answer"?

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  3. Personally, if my kids are in the NYPD I would worry for their safety. I'd be proud of their choice to join, but worried. And it's been an MO practice to have a mi sheberach for the US military over the last 10 years. I'd be surprised if their were no such tefillos during WWII.

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  4. One must keep a few things in mind and this all makes perfect sense.
    1) Chareidism is a reactive ideology. It was innovated by the Chasam Sofer, zt"l, as a reaction to the rise of Reform and the Haskalah. It continues until now to define itself by reacting not to the outside world but, just like when it was invented, to the non-Chareidi Jewish world. Any value or trend embraced by the majority of Jews, religious and not, is automatically rejected as an anti-Torah value and a base of opposition is built to buttress that rejection.
    2) Chareidi religious values are THE Torah values. Any non-Chareidi religious group that embraces or understands a specific value differently from the Chareidi community is getting it wrong because it were getting it right it would understand the value from the Chareidi prespective since it's THE proper perspective. (The code word for this is "the mesorah")
    3) Any common values that nevertheless link the Chareidi community and the rest of us are usually Chareidi values adopted by the non-Chareidi sector, except that we either don't realize they are Chareidi values or that we do but still deny that obvious truth.
    Thus Zionism, embraced by pretty much all non-Chareidi religious Jews and much of the non-religious community, is automatically an anti-Torah value. An entire ideology is built up to promote anti-Zionism, hatred of the State of Israel and disparagement of its supporters as being musguided, ignorant or evil. Rav Meiselman is simply following this process to its natural conclusion. We can show hakaras hatov to the NYPD because it's a Torah (read: Chareidi) value but not to Israel because that is an anti-Torah value. Syrians and Saudis fighting against Iraq can be the recipients of our prayers but not Israelis.
    There is no reasoning with a philosophy that includes the principle that thou shalt reject all thine opponent's arguments without even having to hear them.

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    1. Or to put it another way, the Czar deserved our prayers but Begin did not.

      As R' Ahron Soloveichik pointed out, any criticism of Israel can be easily corrected by looking at a single pasuk in Melachim Bet, about Yeravam HaSheni.

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    2. And that's another reason they don't teach Navi in their yeshivos.

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  5. http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/news/israel-news/1275257/mk-lapid-burning-idf-soldiers-effigy-lag-bomer-video-photos.html

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  6. Considering the great importance the Talmud places on Hakaros Hatov (look at the Midrashim regarding Moshe's involvement in the first 3 Makot, for example), I'd say that anyone who has to find an excuse for not showing Hakarot Hatov is probably a pretty lousy person and doesn't deserve even the slightest respect. Actually, I have much stronger feelings regarding such disturbed individuals, but I'm trying to keep it short.

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  7. In some of his points Rabbi Meiselman is correct; I have been to many shuls where there is a serious decorum problem throughout davening, the only time the room is silent is during the prayer for the state of Israel / IDF, it is given significance above almost any other part of the tefilla (the same could be said about the Prayer for the Queen when I was growing up in New Zealand, people stood respectfully for that short prayer, but would talk through almost everything else).

    I also remember a shiur once from my Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi Brovender, where he said that there is a big difference between the prayer for the State and the Mishaberech for the IDF, the former he said was basically a political statement, albeit a statement that he agreed with. If I recall correctly, he even showed the difference by reciting the prayer for the State in modern Israeli pronunciation, but the Mishaberech for the IDF he would pronounce with Ashkenazi pronunciation ("Saf" instead of "Taf") which was the pronunciation he used in Tfilla.

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    1. Just to play Devil's advocate: This is not from any halachic authority, but a gabbai in my schul once argued that a Mi Sheberach for Israel is more justified than one for the IDF. His reasoning was as follows: If the IDF would be commanded to do something which is against halachah, they would be obligated to do it (taking the Disengagement as an example).

      He didn't take into consideration that most of the time, the IDF soldiers are endangering their lives to keep the populace safe, which is of course fulfilling לא תעמוד על דם רעך--and they're doing that constantly.
      --Yehudah P.

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    2. The Tefillah for the Medina actually includes a line for the soldiers as well.

      One person in my shul calls out "l'tova" whenever they say "b'chol maasei yideihem" in the IDF prayer, obviously having disengagements and the like in mind. I agree with the sentiment, but not the change.

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    3. Nu, we always have more kavana when it's something we can relate to.

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    4. "One person in my shul calls out "l'tova" whenever they say "b'chol maasei yideihem" in the IDF prayer, obviously having disengagements and the like in mind. I agree with the sentiment, but not the change."

      Many serious authorities require making such a change. Rav Goren, of course, stopped saying the prayer for the state altogether.

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  8. In an alternative reality, this might have been the Rabbi's response:

    I appreciate the question. It is a source of great pain for me personally, and a source of shame and embarrassment for the Chareidi community, that you even have to ask it. Because of course you're right, there is a lack of gratitude, both for the State and for the IDF. The Torah implies that we're supposed to be grateful to the Egyptians for hosting us: "Do not oppress a foreigner... for you were foreigners in the land of Egypt." This goes for the people who enslaved us. All the more so, al achas kama v'kama, for our own brothers and sisters, our fellow Jews, from whose efforts we're able to live a beautiful life of Torah and mitzvos in Eretz Yisroel, we're obligated not only to be grateful, but to participate in these physical efforts. We say "Ein kemach, ein Torah." Well, "Ein Medina, ein Torah b'Eretz Yisroel." What is the alternative to Medinas Yisroel? Would we have the British rule over us? How about the Palestinians? Hamas? How well do you suppose that would work out? How many thriving Torah institutions do you think we'd have to send our children to? Without Medinas Yisroel, we would be treated as strangers in our own land, guests in our own home. It is a mitzvah to be mis'chazek the State! Which means more than a symbolic "misheberach" (though symbolism is important too). It means getting out there and working to make this a stronger society - economically, militarily, socially and ethically. And yes, that means eventually leaving a full-time beis midrash life and taking our Torah values to the workforce. It means taking our Torah values to the army. True, a "state" is a political structure, not a person. But the army is made up of our brethren, who are being moser nefesh on our behalf. And why should it be "on our behalf"? Are we not "acheinu kol beis Yisroel"? Are we separate from our brethren, that we think we are somehow exempt from this task? The Torah tells us to be "noseh b'ol chavero." When you see your brother under his burden, you take up that burden with him! It could not be a more basic Torah principle. What if I saw my brother struggling, and instead of helping him physically, I decided it would be better if I headed to the beis midrash and learned on his behalf? How do you think he would feel? If you are so worried about the army being not frum enough, then join a frum unit! And if that isn't frum enough, then work to make it more religiously conducive! If you're worried bochurim leaving the beis midrash, how about you offer your mekom kevua to a secular kid who's never had the zechus of learning, and you take 2-3 years of your life and dedicate it to protecting Am Yisrael in Eretz Yisroel. Let your secular brother be in the "cheil beis hamidrash" for a change. Want to have a positive hashpa'a on your people? Try that! Try NOT just sitting cloistered away, wanting nothing to do with secular people, doing everything you can NOT to participate in society, NOT to help in the physical protection of the country - the gift Hakadosh Baruch Hu has so generously bestowed upon us. Try NOT biting the hand that feeds you, and rationalizing your non-participation by calling the state and its army - your own people, working on your behalf - "Amalek" or "Nazis," or "chardakim," or living in some paranoid reality where somehow the State and the army are the worst things ever to happen to Torah. The reality is just the opposite! (Oops, too long - wrap up ahead...)

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  9. (Concluding the Rabbi's alternative response...)

    How many charedim who trot out the "I don't believe in saying a misheberach" line are wearing "Thank you IDF" bracelets? Not a lot! How many of their Rebbeim or Roshei Yeshiva are sending their kids to the IDF? Not a lot! We have to start leading by example. Don't make yourself "patur min hamitzvah." Get out there. Help. Do. Participate, along with everyone else. Want to see more gratitude in the Chareidi community? Cultivate more participation, and the gratitude will follow. Because you love what you give to. "Hav" and "Ahava" are bound up together. And that, dear Talmid, is my answer to your question. In short, you're right, and it's up to us to change it.

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    1. Gratitude for the IDF does not have to involve joining it as the environment is very Eisav like.

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    2. "And if that isn't frum enough, then work to make it more religiously conducive"

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  10. pardon my skepticismMay 15, 2017 at 2:22 PM

    "Those people probably don’t even know what Av harachamim is about. The prayer for Israel and IDF is one whose nature they understand, and furthermore, which deals with matters of current relevance, so naturally it is given greater respect."

    Your desperation here to rationalize away the criticism is palpable.


    "Yet is this comparison not shallow? The IDF’s entire purpose is to protect Jewish lives from their enemies who seek to annihilate them,"

    Um, right.
    That's why the IDF demands that female soldiers davka serve in combat units with men -- to protect Jewish lives.

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    1. Actually RDNS's point about the Tefillah for the Medinah differing greatly than the standard Av Harachamim is correct, and I had the same thought before I even saw he wrote it. Be honest. Tefillah means more to people when it is focused on something happening in the here and now. If it weren't that way, it wouldn't be necessary to have a special shir Hamallos after davening for a specific sick person or a tense situation.

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    2. It is possible for the IDF to do things with which you disagree - or even things which are incorrect - and still have saving Jewish lives as its core purpose.

      I don't dispute the potential legitimacy of this specific concern, but as we're currently seeing in a somewhat different political context, if you criticize every single thing about someone or something, even the occasional justifiable criticism gets ignored.

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    3. You aren't a skeptic, you're an idiot. Sorry to Rav Natan, but sometimes one must call out a spade as one sees it.

      That's why the IDF demands that female soldiers davka serve in combat units with men -- to protect Jewish lives

      This does not happen. Ever. Female soldiers demand to be allowed into combat units.

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    4. avi,
      if you mean that the girls who serve in combat units volunteer to be in that position, you are correct, but that is completely irrelevant to skeptic's point. if you mean that the idf is not aggressively promoting the idea of girls in combat, but merely begrudgingly responding to a demand, you are the idiot, as clearly you are completely out of touch with reality.
      (signed: seren miluim, who just got home from miluim)

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    5. It's not irrelevant to his point. It is his point. He was making it to bash the IDF, and he was wrong.

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    6. pardon my skepticismMay 16, 2017 at 1:00 PM

      To PN2:

      You just moved the goalposts from "the entire purpose" to " core purpose". But those are two very different things.

      As an analogy, would you support an army whose "core purpose" is to defend the civilian population, while on the side, they also take every opportunity to engage in genocide by murdering as many innocent civilians of the neighboring enemy nation as they possibly can?

      Chareidim believe (with much history to back it up) that one of the major objectives of the IDF mandatory draft is to "integrate" "socialize" all segments of the population --Chareidim included-- into mainstream Israeli society.

      It doesn't have to be "its core objective" in order to make the IDF into the mortal enemy of Chareidim for that reason alone. This "side-agenda" of the IDF is an existential threat to the Chareidi way of life in Israel.

      Just try to understand the issue from their perspective.

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    7. I think your distinction between the IDF's "entire purpose" and "core purpose" is a rather weak play at semantics. However phrased, the primary goals of the IDF are clearly to protect Israel and to save Israeli lives.

      Are there other goals? Probably - some noble (such as having as much as its citizenry as possible involved in the defense of the country), and some less so. But if, as you suggest (I point I do not concede), the Chareidi way of life is existentially threatened by Chareidim assuming their basic responsibilities for klal yisrael, then correcting that underlying anti-Torah selfishness would be very good for both Chareidim and all of Israel.

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    8. @Anonymous,

      My point is that the IDF does not insist (a synonym of demand) that women serve in combat units with men. They allow it. They may encourage it. They do not "demand ... davka" that it be so. If no women volunteered, Mr. Skeptic would have us believe that they would be forced. This is so far from true as to show the clear contempt in which he holds the IDF.

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    9. Oooph -
      Av Harachamim was written in memory of Jews killed almost 1000 years ago in the crusades, people might connect it to the holocaust, but that isn't what it's originally about. Which brings to another point about how the Zionist rabbinate added prayers (recited in all communities) in memory of the holy victims of the Holocaust while Haredi rabbis can't bring themselves to do that... It might be concealed but it comes down to the question of coping with reality...

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  11. As with any debate there are some valid points on both sides. As "Pardon" wrote your justification for showing more respect for the tefilah lmidina than other parts of davening is desperate bordering on insulting to both your readers and the people you are trying to defend.That said Rav Meiselman attending that satmar chillull hashem rally is completely indefensible.

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    1. ... And sometimes the truth is entirely on one side. Yekum Purkan is a Mi-Shebarach which has been obsolete for 800 years, and we still say it. Many say a mi-shebrach related to 17th century pogroms, based on the highly dubious premise that "talking in shul" caused/would have stopped the Cossak revolts. To do all that, yet still attempt to claim with a straight face, for one ridiculous reason or another, that we "can't" do the same thing for Israel, is just nonsense. The yeshiva world is many things, but intellectually honest it isn't.

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  12. Rabbi Slifkin - a very minor point. I don't understand why you would say "Chazal" instead of "R' Chananya Sgan HaKohanim." Isn't preferable to have davar besheim omro?

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  13. Reciting a public tefilla for the U.S. Armed Forces may not be a universal minhag in the U.S., but it is by no means out of the mainstream:
    https://www.ou.org/judaism-101/prayers/prayer-safety-american-military-forces/

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  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  15. Reposting to Correct Typo:

    Developing Ben TorahMay 17, 2017 at 3:18 AM
    As a Student of Torah Moshe who actually attended the Q&A, I want to note that the things Mr Slifkin Purports are taught to us in Toras Moshe are simply not what's actually taught to us by any Rebbe, Hanhalla Member, etc. We are never taught any form of hatred or lack of appreciation towards the State of Israel. This is a slanderous lie, as are many other things mentioned in this article of which I won't go into detail- Mr Slifkin doesn't deserve it. Mr Slifkin should apologize immediately to the Rosh Yeshiva, the Rabbeim and the Talmidim.

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    1. I'm glad to hear that you are shocked at the notion that you would be taught hatred or lack of appreciation towards the State of Israel. However, you are tragically mistaken about this never having been taught at Toras Moshe. Last year the Yated published in an article in which an alumnus proudly reported having been taught exactly what I wrote - "that one should not have any hakaras hatov to the State of Israel, because whatever good it does for Torah Jews is no more significant than a terrorist throwing candy to the last surviving child of a family that he has murdered." If you email me, I can send you the article.

      When I asked someone else there about whether this was widely taught, he claimed that it was only taught for advanced students who are ready to hear it. I guess you haven't been in the yeshivah for that long.

      The rally that R. Meiselman attended, in which speakers slandered the state and the army, is a matter of public record.

      Have you ever seen any expressions of appreciation for the state or the army, as R. Meiselman claims to have in this article?

      By the way, you seem to take the position that if you - a mere kid - believe someone to be corrupted in their middos/hashkafah, then you can strip them of their proper titles. Should I take this approach with regard to your Rosh Yeshivah?

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    2. 1) The way your Article was written, one can infer that this is something taught to All students. I've never heard any Students of Torah Moshe talking in such a manner.
      2) It's sad you're willing to say L"H based on the words of 2 people. Maybe they are misremembering or have a grudge for whatever reason?
      3) The rally was an "Atzeres Tefillah". Please respond with proof that speakers spoke against the "State of Israel" an not just against its actions or against specific members of the Goverment.
      4) Attendance at an event does not mean you agree with every word that every said.
      5) By the fact you're referring to me as a "mere kid" shows you have no problem disrespecting me- someone you don't even know. While I will not say anything derogatory about you, I certainly feel no need to Respect someone who says such nasty things about my Rosh Yeshiva. It's a personal attack on the entire Yeshiva and it's Alumni.

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    3. 1) I didn't write that it was taught to ALL students. But if you like, I can change it to "some students."
      2) It was reported in the context of praise for the strong hashkafah that is taught. I have no reason to doubt it. And I ask you again: Have you ever seen any expressions of appreciation for the state or the army in the yeshivah, as R. Meiselman claims to have in this article?
      3) The quotes are from media coverage of the event.
      4) Correct. Still, sitting on a dais at a Satmar-led rally against the government indicates a certain willingness to go along with such a thing.
      5) So you believe that this is the standard that should be implemented? That if you believe someone to be corrupted in their middos/hashkafah, then you can strip them of their proper titles. So, following your standards, I should refer to your Rosh Yeshivah as Mr. Meiselman, right?

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    4. 1) That would be better. Even better would be something along the lines of "some students claim they have been taught this at the Yeshiva".
      2) I have definitely not seen him say anything negative about the State of Israel or Tzahal. It is not something focused on at our Yeshiva or at many other Ulta-Orthodox Yeshivos, although if asked I am sure he would say he does have Hakaras Hatov. I do recall the Mashgiach expressing Hakras Hatov during a Va'ad.
      3)The Quotes I saw were just from the Satmar Rabonim.
      4)This wasn't a Satmar-Organized event even though over 10,000 attendees were Satmar. I happen to also have been at the Event and the clear focus of it was the Tehillim.
      5) I find it hard to show Respect for someone who Slanders another Jew in Public. This is not a Question of Middos/Hashkafa.

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    5. 1) I see no reason to indicate skepticism of the report.
      2) Exactly. In an article explaining why one shouldn't say misheberach, he claims that this is not about a lack of hakaras hatov. But he never actually expresses hakaras hatov.
      3) Right. And those were the quotes.
      4) I think you might be mixing up your rallies. This one certainly had significant Satmar influence.
      5) I too find it hard to show respect for someone who slanders another Jew in public. So should I refer to your Rosh Yeshiva as Mr. Meiselman? Or should I still refer to him with this title, even though I find it hard?

      Delete
    6. 1) Normally when stating something as fact one tries to maintain a very high level of certainty. "Seeing no reason to indicate sceptism" doesn't sound like a very high level of certainty. That being said, it is wholly up to you, the author to set the standards.
      2) This isn't an article written by him. It's a transcript of a Q&A that took place on a Friday night during a Yeshiva Shabbaton.
      3) There were many other Speakers. He didn't come to hear the Satmar Rabanim.
      4) I'm talking about the Atzeres Tefillah in Manhattan to say Tehillim for the Israeli Bochurim. "Satmar Influence" is very different than it actually being a Satmar rally. Again, when making such allegations it is highly important to maintain an appropriate level of accuracy at the very least.
      5) I didn't intend to insult you by not referring to you as "Rabbi Doctor Slifkin". I apologize. (Although it appears that when responding to comments you go by your first name...) It is a fair point that just because you don't agree with or even respect someone you cannot strip away their title. As an aside, I am not saying I don't respect you for sticking up for what you believe. There is, however, a much more appropriate way to argue with someone else's opinion than what you wrote here.

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    7. 1) When someone reports something that he has been taught, and especially when this is published, I consider it fair to report it as fact. In fact, it has a greater degree of credibility than your claiming that such things are *not* normally taught!
      2) So tell me when R. Meiselman has ever expressed his hakaras hatov.
      3) No, but he sat on a dais with them. He wouldn't do that with Open Orthodox or even Modern Orthodox.
      4) Are you talking about the 2014 rally or the 2013 rally?
      5) Kudos to you for apologizing. I do not see anything inappropriate in what I wrote. I do see a lot of things wrong with what R. Meiselman said, and you haven't addressed them.

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    8. 1) The only reason I didn't write "never" is because I simply can't have 100% certainty on a negative. I'd assume he never said it, but I wouldn't state that as fact.
      2)Again, I can't recall a specific instrance. We did say Tehillim in Yeshiva most of last year, when the attacks to Soldiers and civilians were happening. It was done extremely seriously.
      3)I would make sure to verify that he didn't ever sit at a Dais with Modern Orthodox Rabanim. Highly Doubtful.
      4) I believe 2014. Didn't find much about a 2013 rally when I looked it up anyways.

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    9. 2) Right. So in practice, he doesn't actually show any hakaras hatov. (The tehillim were presumably due to the threat to civilians.)
      4) Right. So we were talking about different rallies. I was talking about the 2013 Satmar-led rally where he sat on the dais.

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    10. http://www.vosizneias.com/132880/2013/06/09/new-york-in-photos-thousands-of-satmars-demonstrate-against-israeli-charedi-draft/

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    11. regardless of the causes of the tete a tete, it is clear that developing ben torah has been taught that anyone of an ideology that hardcore haredism doesn't like can be stripped of title and made the butt of jokes. at least he did it to your face

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    12. Stupidest thing I've read all day. While I did apologize, I must note my initial reasoning: a slanderous statement made against my Rosh Yeshiva. I have never had less respect for someone just bc they have a different (non-Kfirah) opinion than I do.

      Actually, during that Q&A the Rosh Yeshiva was asked to define "Yeshivish". He replied that he doesn't know what that -: as long as you are keeping ד חלקי שלחן ערוך you're doing the right thing.

      I'm sorry you feel a need to call me "hard core" for defending my Rosh Ueshuva against things I believe to be untrue.

      As an aside, your crass language is definitely something to work on before attacking other peoples' character or actions.

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    13. Previous Response was to "Anonymous".
      To Rabbi Doctor Slifkin:
      Just because you have Hakaras Hatov doesn't necessarily require that you declare unless you are actually in the presence of Israeli Officials, Soldiers, or other people you appreciate. Not mentioning Hakaras Hatov to others doesn't mean you don't have Hakaras Hatov.
      Although for those who think Chareidim all don't have Hakaras Hatov, I personally know a former ToMo student who goes out of his way to thank IDF soldiers and give them something to eat/drink/smoke (Cigarettes) whenever he sees them.

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    14. How about for your chaver to actually JOIN the IDF and participate in defending all of you?

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    15. 1) There are many factors that prevent people from being able to serve.
      2) Does someone who lives in the US have a Chiyuv to Join the IDF?
      3) While we obviously have a tremendous amount of appreciation for the risk and hard work the soldiers undertake, we can't forget who actually is protecting us: Hashem. Obviously we must do our Hishtadlus. But the Question then becomes if the IDF doesn't need more soldiers is joining considered Hishtadlus?

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    16. DBT: >>your crass language is definitely something to work on before attacking other peoples' character or actions. <<

      What crass language? If your own language is so impoverished that you think "butt" is contemporary slang for buttocks (an anachronism which would make the centuries-old idiom nonsensical), rather than meaning "target," please let us know, because I've been butting my head against the wall trying to figure out the basis for your rebuke of Anonymous.

      RM [a different anonymous]

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    17. DBT: << I personally know a former ToMo student who goes out of his way to thank IDF soldiers and give them something to eat/drink/smoke (Cigarettes) whenever he sees them. >>

      Nothing says "thank you" like cancer.

      RM

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    18. To RM:
      Definition of crass: "lacking sensitivity, refinement, or intelligence."
      When Anonymous wrote "Hardcore Hareidism" did that not fit in the Definitiom of crass language? Why would you assume DBT is talking about "buttocks"?

      Delete
    19. To RM:
      Same argument can be made with giving them Food/Drinks: Heart Disease is a bigger killer than Cancer. Besides for the fact that giving Cigarettes saves from Withdrawal Symptoms, which can kill much quicker than cancer.

      Regardless, it definitely is not done with any form of malicious intent if that's what you're trying to imply.

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    20. >>Same argument can be made with giving them Food/Drinks: Heart Disease is a bigger killer than Cancer.<<

      No, it absolutely can't. If you don't have food and drinks you die very quickly. If you don't smoke you live longer.

      >>Besides for the fact that giving Cigarettes saves from Withdrawal Symptoms, which can kill much quicker than cancer.<<

      Nonsensical. Quicker, yes, but the chances of it occurring are virtually nil. People who die from falling out of bed also die much faster than those who die of cancer. Smoking is not safer than sleeping in a bed.

      >>When Anonymous wrote "Hardcore Hareidism" did that not fit in the Definitiom of crass language? Why would you assume DBT is talking about "buttocks"?<<

      Wait, you're accusing me of being off the mark in speculating (not assuming, read the whole post) that the yeshiva kid misunderstood the use of "butt" but you think he (you?) was really giving "hardcore" its unseemly meaning?

      I am not going to take up any more of the internet on this discussion because I seem to be arguing with either a troll or a juvenile.

      RM

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    21. Perhaps the "Yeshiva Kid" believes that calling him a subscriber of "Hardcore Haredism" lacks common decency and logic?

      Obviously as someone who already believes all "Yeshiva kids" are fanatics this may be hard to comprehend.

      The truth is, most of them are normal people and calling them "Ultra-Orthodox" or "Hardcore" as a way of saying "they're different so they must be fanatics" is a complete disgrace.

      There are enough people who hate us. They want us all dead and they don't differentiate between a "Modern Orthdox" Jew, a "Chareidi" Jew, or even an irreligious Jew. These slanderous attacks are the opposite of what we need right now.

      If Hashkafik differences cause one to feel disghust with a fellow Jew, they need to recalibrate their moral compass.

      Delete
  16. "developing ben torah," how about responding to the main points of the post? There is a traditional Torah basis to expressing hakarat hatov to the state (and k"v to the army) - why does your rosh yeshiva claim that it's just political?

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  17. I don't want to answer that Question. I think I can, but the best way to get a proper answer would be to call/email him and ask. Which, by the way, I hope was done before this article was published. The least you can do before attacking someone is to let them present their side.

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    Replies
    1. R. Meiselman doesn't implement such a standard.

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    2. Regardless of whether that's true (I can't speak for him), 2 wrongs don't make a right. Do you, Rabbi Doctor Nathan Slifkin, believe that such a standard isn't worthy of implementation?

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    3. I think that if people make public statements, one is entitled to critique these statements without consulting them first.
      (My problem with R. Meiselman is not that he critiqued me; it is that he did so based on completely fabricated claims about my life and my writings.)

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    4. Public Statements and private accounts relating to what is taught in Yeshivas Torah Moshe along with whether or not he agrees with the Satmar Rabonims statements are very different.

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    5. How so?

      (and in any case, may I remind you that it wasn't a "private account," it was published in Yated.)

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    6. Public Statement: Something said by the Arusha yeshiva on a recording, approved for publication by the Yeshiva, etc.
      Private Account: Something Claimed to have been said (by the Rosh Yeshiva) but not verified to have actually been said by the Rosh Yeshiva, recording, etc.

      Delete
    7. If you don't know for sure that something happened and repeat the claim, is that Ri'cheelus?

      Delete
  18. What I found to be particularly disturbing about the quote from Rabbi Meiselman was this: 'But that doesn’t mean that they all deserve a “mi shebeirach” in shul.'

    Actually, after reading that particular paragraph I wanted to shout out "yes, they all do desire a mi shebeirach in shul". But there are just so many hours in a day especially Shabbat, people get ansy, and in general it's a tircha d'tsibur. But to not think that they at least in theory deserve a prayer for their service was distasteful to me.

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    Replies
    1. Honest Question: Why doesn't the Mishebairach for "Kol Ha'Osek..." cover the IDF too? It's a very prominent Mi Shebairach and beautifully written.

      Delete
    2. Why are you asking davka about the IDF? Ask your same question about all mishebairachs for anyone/anywhere that is osek b'tzibur? I'm guessing it's because of the closeness that we feel to how these people specifically help us and our relationship to them.

      When you find out the real answer, let me know.

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  19. "Honest Question: Why doesn't the Mishebairach for "Kol Ha'Osek..." cover the IDF too?"

    You may as well ask that the bracha of Refoeinu covers the sick, and Acheniu kol beis yisrael covers anyone in trouble, so why say shir hamallos when someone is sick or RL lost/kidnapped? The answer is obvious. Tefillos are more meaningful when specific causes are highlighted, and when we know precisely what or whom we are praying for.

    ReplyDelete

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