Friday, October 27, 2017

Who Flocks to Yosef Mizrachi?

The Gemara says, Lo lechinam holech ha-zarzir etzel ha-orev, elah mipnei shehu mino. The starling does not flock with the crow for nothing; it does because it is of the same general kind. (Starlings often roost amongst jackdaws, which, along with ravens, rooks, and similar birds, are members of the crow family, and starlings are themselves indeed closely related to the crow family.)

In a recent class, “Rabbi” Yosef Mizrachi illustrates the Gemara’s principle with an example that brings him great joy. He describes how Slifkin was the first to defend (Rabbi Joseph) Dweck (the London scholar who was embroiled in a controversy over some of his teachings). That’s because, gloats Mizrachi, following the Gemara’s principle, Slifkin and Dweck are both resha’im! He happily adds that anyone who enjoys my material on the internet is going to go down to Hell with me. (You can watch the two-minute video at this link, if you are feeling masochistic.)

Yet his delirious joy is based on something that never happened! I did not write any post at all in defense of Rabbi Dweck during the controversy over his teachings. That was for the simple reason that, as I stated explicitly, I had not heard any of Rabbi Dweck’s lectures and could not comment on them. So Mizrachi’s argument is a complete fabrication!

What I think he has in mind is that several months before the Rabbi Dweck controversy, I wrote two posts to defend the honor of the sixteen rabbis that Mizrachi trashed (with ridiculous lies and insults) after they criticized his crass and perverse teachings. I knew many of them, and I condemned Mizrachi’s slander of them, and explained why their critique of his teachings was entirely justified. I added that I didn’t know Rabbi Dweck (one of the sixteen that Mizrachi slandered with particular venom), but that in light of his outstanding biographical information, it seemed unlikely that Mizrachi was correct in describing him as a “wicked monster” who is “the biggest enemy of the Jewish nation.” But the post was as a defense of the letter of the 16 rabbanim, several of whom are my personal friends. It was they to whom I flocked. So Mizrachi’s entire point is a non-starter, unless he wants to claim that I am of the same kind as the 16 rabbis!

(Incidentally, while Mizrachi describes me as “making fun of the Gemara,” my crime was actually quoting the view of Rambam and others that not everything in the Gemara is scientifically correct. Perhaps Mizrachi should clarify whether he considers Rambam to be “making fun of the Gemara.”)

But it turns out that Mizrachi has an excuse for not reading what I actually wrote, either in my books or on my blog. He says that since I am a rasha, it is forbidden to look at me, to listen to my voice, or to read my words, in case one absorbs my evil! (Someone should attend his class with a picture of me on a T-shirt.)

The Gemara’s point about starlings going to ravens isn’t illustrated by the fabrication that Mizrachi creates. But if you want an illustration of the Gemara’s principle, there would seem to be a great example: that of Yosef Mizrachi.

Who flocks to Mizrachi’s classes? I know one very fine person who is, inexplicably, besotted with him. But many of his most devoted followers, those who flock to defend him, seem to be of poor character – hateful people, willfully ignorant people, crass people, violent people, people who gloat at the suffering of others.

And here’s the ultimate kicker: Mizrachi himself has boasted of criminals and murderers who are followers of his! He once proudly described how he has a devoted follower who wanted to actually murder one of his critics! 


Lo lechinam holech ha-zarzir etzel ha-orev, elah mipnei shehu mino. 


(On a more serious and important note, if you missed the post with Chicken Wars monograph, check it out at this link.)

31 comments:

  1. It is VERY difficult to say that you are not doing "lashon harraa" in some way!
    I expected more!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mizrachi is a dangerous man, who preaches hate and divisiveness. There is certainly no issue calling him out.

      Delete
    2. how would you suggest that one go about warning of a fraud and swine who represents himself as a rabbi to the ignorant and confused? Moshe ben hayim Israel

      Delete
    3. Just because you wouldn't call out someone who slandered you doesn't mean RNS has to be quiet when he is a victim of slander. Open your Chafetz Chaim and learn the halacha.

      Delete
  2. It seems like this article is trying to say Birds of a feather flock together. That's interesting considering how dozens of Rabbis like Rabbi Eli Mansour, Rabbi Meyer Yedid, Rabbi Yaron Reuven, Rabbi Aharon Bassous, and many more all say that Josef Dwek is misleading, Tref a Rasha and worse. All who took the time out to condemn him and warn people to distance themselves from him like Korach. Videos can be seen by searching their names and Dwek on youtube. Apparently some people still respect Dwek. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KjGl4Ep2B5U

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This post is not about Rabbi Dweck.

      Delete
    2. This post points out that Yosef Mizrachi is internally inconsistent. Never did RNS say that he agrees with the birds of a feather principle.

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    3. Well, actually, as someone who heard Rabbi Mansour's criticism of R Dweck here...

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-M0thSCnEu0

      ...I suggest you listen yourself and make up your mind.

      The first thing that is clear to me is that on the whole RD does NOT say that Dovid and Yonasan had a sexual relationship. He reiterates this several times. Anyone who denies this has not listened to the recording. He also concedes the sexual revolution brought "a lot of junk with it". What is clear is that
      (a) R Mansour did not hear the lecture properly
      (b) Mizrachi (I will not dignify him with the title Rabbi) is at best, an idiot who by his own admission has limited comprehension of English, or at worst, is a disingenuous liar who deliberately misrepresented what Dweck said.

      Moreover, Mizrachi does not realise but he is actually mocking Dweck's quotation of the Pesukim. So Mizrachi will have a tough time learning the Nach itself!

      Delete
  3. I'm a big fan of this blog and it's author and his work, from whom I've learned many things. I've also been inspired to pursue my own interests in learning Torah.

    That having been said, I think there is more than enough material from Mizrachi to criticize without having to get into anything about his "followers."

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  4. Mizrachi is so beyond the pale, I sometimes wonder if we ought to respond to him at all.

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  5. WHy not debate Rabbi Mizrachi? He loves debates!

    ReplyDelete
  6. how about we just learn Torah without name-calling?
    It is indeed possible to disagree with someone's opinion WITHOUT name-calling and character assasination

    ReplyDelete
  7. Who flocks to Mizrachi’s classes? I know one very fine person who is, inexplicably, besotted with him. But many of his most devoted followers, those who flock to defend him, seem to be of poor character – hateful people, willfully ignorant people, crass people, violent people, people who gloat at the suffering of others.

    This is the kind of think that Mizrachi would say about others. Let's not commit the same fallacy, IMO.

    Here is an easier explanation: an element of popular religion is team selection: here are the good guys (our team); over there are the bad guys (other team). Add in that a lot of religious conviction revolves around finding the easy or magical solution to your problems (e.g. segulos), and it is easy to understand why someone like Mizrachi can appeal to both elements.

    You generally are appealing to a view of religion as a (sometimes mundane) source of help in the struggle of everyday life. This view was not appealing to large numbers of people in the Rambam's day and it is probably no more appealing today.

    This will kill my comment for lots of people, but I think that a similar analysis applies to the Trump phenomena in the US.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. David,

      I'll refer you to a discussion I myself had with his followers on a video concerning Dweck, Mizrachi and Mansour.

      Ariel Rom
      So then how can anyone think it would be okay for 2 adult men to sleep in the same bed.

      ME
      What has this got to do with the lecture? R Dweck described the men kissing and caressing in a nonsexual manner. That is not the same as sleeping in the same bed.

      Ariel Rom
      you're a fucked up liberal fool

      ME
      This is really sad. The first thing I did when I saw your rude idiotic response was check to see if you are a Youtube follower of that rude, idiotic Yosef Mizrachi. Surprise surprise, you are! His response to Dweck in this video is so foolish he either didn't listen, didn't understand..... or is a liar. Now, re-read what I have written and try again with an adult response.

      Ariel Rom
      yet every major Rav in the world has put Dweck the lager in on a religious ban. It's not simply Rabbi Mizrachi it is the entire senior religious community leadership. Are you suggesting Dweck is above them all and that Deeck had the authority to change the Torah and it meaning. Typically liberal, so I guess you will start your own religion now; because what Dweck teaches isn't Judaism. And yes I have fear of heaven enough to know to your mentality to back a heretic makes you a fool and less than a dog

      Delete
    2. There are annoying people everywhere. And the few people who you argue with are not a random sample of his supporters. Finally, I think that pretty high percentage of Orthodox have a negative view of homosexuality.

      In short, you are also wildly overgeneralizing from personal experience.

      Delete
  8. To call the followers of Mizrachi “violent people” is unwise (especially since most are not violent). I would advise to not include that in part of the description since it will invalidate your valid criticism, in the present and future, in the eyes of Mizrachi and his followers.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Could we compare the number of secular people who became Shomer Shabbos having listened to R'Mizrachi vs those who read this blog or the books of its author?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ends justify the means? Might makes right?

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    2. Please go ahead and make the comparison. Do you actually believe the grotesque and self-serving claims that Mizrachi has made hundreds of thousands of Baalei Teshuvah without any proof whatsoever? It is all a nonsense. Have you been to his 'Yeshivah'? Does it even exist?

      Delete
    3. I once heard a claim that one yeshiva's approach was more valid than Yeshiva University's because it has far more students. Someone wrote a reply...."well, last year 2 million people made the Hajj to Mecca...you had better convert to Islam!".

      Delete
  10. I do not know about whom he was referring but Abraham Lincoln once said, "I do not like that man; I have to get to know him better."

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  11. Nowadays, every respectable cult leader needs a posse---to get that respect.

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  12. The only place I ever hear or read about this rabbi Yosef Mizrachi is this website. I gather he may have some adherents, but clearly they are not your target audience. In short, I don't why you bother with him. Just ignore him.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. FWIW, he has 12K+ youtube subscribers. As to whether these posts move the ball forward, I don't know. This is not my favorite.

      Delete
  13. Excellent chicken article. 2 minor points.

    (1)You say (page 13) the netziv would permit breakel and all chicken breeds. However the netziv permits turkey based on wide spread acceptance and the breakel has not been widely accepted.

    (2) You say many others follow the shulchan oruch and rema in their adoption of rashi's stringency that a mesorah is needed to permit a new type of bird.

    Is there an implication that those who permit turkey/cochin have to disregard shulchan oruch, ?

    but as you say not all those who permit turkey/cochins say they are disregarding the shulchan oruch, there are those who say the shulchan oruch would agree that turkey/cochin is permited because of hybridization or long term observation.

    so really there 3 categories when it comes to turkey/cochin. (1)those who permit despite rema,(2) those who permit and interpret the rema as permitting and (3)Those who forbid and interpret the rema as forbidding.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. (1)You say (page 13) the netziv would permit breakel and all chicken breeds. However the netziv permits turkey based on wide spread acceptance and the breakel has not been widely accepted.

      I need to reread the article, but it certainly has been widely accepted that all breeds of chicken are kosher even though they differ from those in the past (at least ones that look chickens to the untrained eye). The Braekel thing is new (going both ways).

      Delete
    2. but it certainly has been widely accepted that all breeds of chicken are kosher
      ...

      silkie chicken is widely accepted as kosher ?

      Delete
    3. These comments were posted to the wrong post. I am re-posting them to the correct post.

      Delete
  14. I think the most important, and, I might add, obvious question here is - WHERE CAN ONE GET A T-SHIRT WITH A PICTURE OF YOU ON IT???

    ReplyDelete
  15. I am an ardent fan of this blog.

    I am an ardent fan of R' Mizrachi.

    I think the problem is most people who object to him only listen to snippets of his talks. Listen to a few hours of his talks and you will find him very mainstream but politically incorrect. He also relies on Kabbala a lot, which I find distressing, but is mainstream. In short, he is mainstream, funny, and very effective.

    He does, sometimes, say ridiculous things but usually admits mistakes and corrects them is subsequent talks. A rare quality he shares with R' Slifkin.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Why in the world is the concept of how many people a Rabbi inspired to make Shabbos observant a standard for a rabbi's legitimacy? If the reason the person keeps Shabbos is no different than the reason Jews danced around the eigel hazahav, why is their keeping Shabbos a good thing? Mizrachi inspires people based on a dogmatic approach of superiority and ownership of truth. If someone thinks they have a full understanding of a Torah concept, they are no different than one who says eileh elikecha Yisrael.

    ReplyDelete

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