Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Anonymous Enemies and Friends

Within the last day, I received two anonymous communications.

One was from a person who named himself as "The Torah Coach from Volozhin." His email, sent to me and to several other people I know, included the following:
One of the most cloudy areas in today’s world is regarding the correct ideology about the Authority and Kedushah of Chazal and our other great Sages throughout the generations. We are surrounded and sometimes infiltrated by “scholars” who would like to lower the correct level of Chazal in our eyes. And yes you can be assured that they have a wicked agenda in their attempt to do so.
The Torah Coach from Volozhin has a solution to this problem:
A few years ago an amazing anthology on this subject was printed under the name “Haim BeEmunatham”. This anthology is collected from 100’s of seforim over the ages which discuss these issues. It is absolutely a must-read for every authentic Jew as especially those that are in any Chinuch position.
Since this very important work is almost impossible to find at your local Seforim store, we are including it here. Please take the time to read it, digest and incorporate it into your life. Get it here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1_ZDQZczx7cpXK6H1LhRDxl7CGbLAl3OF/view?usp=sharing
Have a great day in Torah and Yiras Shamayim
The Torah Coach from Volozhin 
Now, long-time readers of this website may recall that the notorious Chaim B'Emunatam is one of the most dishonest works ever written. Written by Reuven Schmeltzer, one of the engineers of the ban on my books, it distorts and even edits the Rishonim so as to claim that nobody ever said that Chazal made scientific errors, and that it is heretical to do so. So I replied to him as follows:
Dear Anonymous "Torah Coach from Volozhin,"
If, as you claim, you are concerned about the honor of great Torah scholars, how can you recommend this sefer? Perhaps you have not read it carefully, but I have never seen a book which shows more DISrespect to  great Torah scholars. The author of this book actually re-arranges the words of Rambam in order to distort their meaning! And he slanders the writings of Rav Shimshon Raphael Hirsch! And he disregards countless Rishonim whom he doesn't like!
Attached is a critique of the book, in both English and Hebrew, which details many of the problems with it. I trust that you write to all the people that you recommended this book too, and tell them that you were unaware that the book actually demonstrates tremendous disrespect to our greatest Torah scholars among the Rishonim and Acharonim.
Best,
Natan Slifkin
The reply was swift in coming:
I know you Slifkin.  I read chaim bshakrusom.  You are not an authentic jew.  You are an authentic elephant rider.  You are also a certified supreme idiot and ignormous. A bum and a scum. Go to Africa  leave judaism to authentic jews. It is forbiiden to debate anything with  with you. Dpaker Tfei  Maybe Sid Leiman will talk with you i will not. 
How charming!

It was slightly unpleasant to receive this correspondence. Subsequently, I was informed of another anonymous communication, received by the museum foundation office. Sent by way of a charitable foundation that disguises the source of the donors when they so request, it was a five-figure contribution to The Biblical Museum of Natural History!
I think that the latter anonymous communication more than made up for the former! Thank you, whoever you are!


UPDATE: It wasn't too difficult to discover the identity of the Torah Coach from Volozhin, because his email address, therabbicoach@volozhinyeshiva.com, revealed his website, where he is announced as Rabbi Yehoshua Skolt, leading disciple of Rav Avigdor Miller and chavrusa of Rav Chaim Kanievsky. I have no idea if they would describe him in the same way.

43 comments:

  1. As Rav Hirsh wrote:
    "Any replies written anonymously or signed with a fictitious name will not receive any consideration from me. One who lacks the courage to sign his true name to his views must be aware that what he is saying is meaningless and that he therefore cannot expect others to take notice of it. Let the anonymous gnats buzz happily in the sunny meadows. I certainly do not want to spoil their pleasure."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am somewhat unusual in that I comment on both Judaism sites and on political sites on the internet using my real name. I figure I should own what I write.

      Delete
    2. He may well reply:

      I see a child enveloped in flames.. I see the child. I rush in. Should I first ask my neighbor whether he, too, sees the child? Should I worry whether, in my haste, I am jostling someone, or perhaps hindering the salvage of the building by running in? Perhaps I am causing a draft, fanning the fire?

      “‘But,’ you might ask, ‘what if you are too late? What if the building collapses on top of the child in a roaring conflagration before you reach it?’ To this I reply: ‘Were I to be buried under it, I would at least have done my duty.’” (Rav Shamshon Raphael Hirsch, Letter Nineteen, The Nineteen Letters)

      Delete
    3. @Ari, where is that from? thank you

      Delete
    4. Didn't R. Hirsch himself write "The Nineteen Letters" anonymously?

      Delete
    5. To Charles Hall - you obviously have no idea how many left wing activists troll political sites looking for people who make right wing comments, so that they can report it to those people's HR departments. (Their company is usually attached to the commenters name.) You'd think the HR departments would brush that stuff off, but they don't, they are very skittish, and they usually react by stopping or at least intimidating the employee from commenting. This phenomenon is very well known to the employment law community.

      So, not much bravado for a lefty like you to use your real name. You don't have people trying to get you fired for exercising free speech.

      Delete
    6. Says the guy who makes his bed with the alt right, defends nazis and says we shouldnt be so mean as to call them holocaust deniers. Get lost DF.

      Delete
  2. It's curious how his first communique is well-written and most probably reused for every preaching of the "Haim Be'emunatham", while the follow-up reply is far less loquacious and would certainly lose points on any English test.

    I'm still trying to figure out how it got sent to you. Unless the "Torah Coach" was hoping to get a rise out of you. It's like the nudnik who tried to win 400 zuz making Hillel angry.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. and ended up getting rather angry himself

      Delete
  3. What a lovely person!
    Who WOULDN'T want his son coached by such a delightful Ben Torah! Imagine the middos one could learn!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That bothers me more than the actual debate about the infallibility of Chazal or the Rishonim.

      Resorting to such ad hominems makes that side's arguments weaker, not stronger.
      --Yehudah P.

      Delete
  4. It's very sad when even bitter ideological enemies can't be at least somewhat civil in their correspondence. Calling someone a "certified supreme idiot" and "a bum and a scum" is just, I don't know, low class.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Poor guy doesn’t even realize that it’s people like him with attitudes like his that are the definition of Sinat Chinam and what is indeed stopping Moshiach and the Binyan Bait Hamikdash. (see the Netziv’s explanation of what Sinat Chinam was at the time of the Churban. He explains that Sinat Chinam, at the time of the Churban, was people who looked at other RELIGIOUS Jews and disqualified/hated them simply because their practice of Judaism was just different than their own).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Guys here in the past have demonized with the most vociferous attacks
      But if anyone else does it - it sinat chinam


      Wow you guys got it down pat-and with a straight face

      Delete
    2. Can you point to examples where people, versus ideas, were attacked vociferously?

      Delete
    3. Having said that ,we should all agree that it was rather rude and crude

      Delete
    4. Ok you need to pay attention, the Rabbi said to Rabbi Slifkin in his post “you are not an authentic jew”. Two wrongs don’t make a right and if anyone else in the past had said similar things about other jews in this blog then that doesn’t make them any less guilty of Sinat Chinam according to the Netziv. But you’re free to disagree with the Netziv and believe what you want, I’m just calling them as I see them.

      Delete
    5. There's no crying in baseball, Chaya.

      Delete
  6. Avraham From YerushalayimMay 10, 2018 at 8:59 AM

    Special thanks to the Torah Coach from Volozhin and to Rabbi Slifkin for the link! Since Rabbi Slifkin had mentioned that book a few years ago, I have been trying to find a copy. I was very interested in seeing for myself the distortions that rabbi Slifkin quotes. I contacted Reuven Shmelzer, but when I told him that I a somewhat of a Slifkin fan, he refused to help. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  7. There are some people from whom I would prefer to be called "a supreme idiot" as opposed to "this guy is a genius and I agree with everything he says".

    ReplyDelete
  8. "You are an authentic elephant rider."

    I like that. Has sort of an a-peel to it!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Why did someone who believes "It is forbidden to debate anything with with you" send you a clearly provocative email inviting such debate? Odd fellow.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I've just started reading your English critique. Fascinating.

    The first issue you note, Shmeltzer's distortion of the Rambam, is so mind-boggling that I have to stop reading and process this.

    Crucially, for me, this makes an absolute mockery of his Haskomos.....

    ReplyDelete
  11. What is wrong with riding an elephant ? I am confused... actually what is wrong with riding any animal ?

    ReplyDelete
  12. What is wrong with riding an elephant ? I am confused... actually what is wrong with riding any animal ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. With regards to "any" animal, I guess it must be said that Haza"l suspected camel riders of ulterior motives in their chosen means of transport (Nidah 14a). "Camel rider" would therefore have been a much more literate insult. But I guess elephants are better associated with Africa ("Go to Africa") and thus a better fit for the author's racism.

      Delete
  13. Like the many periodicals on shul tables, this guy had to resort to the thing I hate most about Jewish writers who think they are Dr.Suess. "A bum and a scum?" Lol! Although IDK if elephant rider is an insult. Sounds more like a funky 1970's comic hero who Marvel Comics could use as a new Avenger!

    ReplyDelete
  14. please post a picture of this person.. he wanted to remain anonymous, its only fitting we should know who this wicked person is

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nothing more crazily fervent than a "convert".
      From one extreme (reconstructionist) to the other (charedi).
      Poor sad wandering lunatic.
      I almost feel sorry for him.

      Delete
    2. Can I just ask.. how "ignormous" are you really? You always seem to be regular human size in pictures

      Delete
    3. Is that this guy's website or blog (or something)? It is utterly incomprehensible. It says this person (Joshua Scult) is "unable to obtain smicha" but he presents himself as a "Rabbi Bearmant"? (Or Beartmant? Or Beartman? Or Bearmont? The name is actually spelled 4 different way on one page.) It reads like the ravings lunatic.

      Delete
  15. give credit where credit is due
    you are an authentic elephant rider.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Why is everybody focused on the first anonymous message. I think the second one is more noteworthy

    ReplyDelete
  17. A blast from the past. That's one book that should have been banned. The irony.

    But that intended slur may be a good promotional line for your next Safari Tour - Rabbi Dr. Natan Slifkin - Elephant Rider. You can sell T-Shirts to benefit the museum. And don't forget the cape!

    Though I admittedly loath the idea of domesticating or trapping and using those big, beautiful, loyal, smart and deeply feeling animals who are believed to have consciousness (a human-like sense of self) simply for the human pleasure of riding them.

    On second thought, you're better off finding another promo line. I know! How about "The Zoo Rabbi"?

    -Michapeset

    ReplyDelete
  18. Since the rise of their internet, all that is necessary to publicize an opinion is some electricity. The idea that a foolish email is meaningful is an anachronism, a throwback to a time when people found it harder to develop wacky opinions.

    If you want some more similar information go to whale.to and follow some of the links there.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Too many people claiming to be chavruta with Rav Chaim Kanievsky.

    Someone should ask RCK and list them on a ?website? Or do other research.

    2. Make sure RCK lists his now most famous chavruta, former resident in a "Ramle" type institution.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Make sure RCK lists his now most famous chavruta,
    ..
    ..that was his father

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The now most famous recently finished a worldwide trip that included Amsterdam, South Africa, Namibia (or was it Rhodesia Zambia?), and maasiyahu.

      Delete
  21. The guy is a real nebuch. A little bit of a meshugana as well...On his zivug sheini now... While he lives in Neve Yaakov (officially?) he spends most of his time (including sometimes sleeping) in a small apartment in the Geula area of Yerushalayim where his "Torah Coaching" takes place...

    ReplyDelete
  22. Notice how the "coach" did not actually dispute any of your points. He just lashed out at you with ad hominem attacks.

    ReplyDelete
  23. You failed to mention his "kuntres"
    ושנא את הרבנות
    It is a vicious work filled with lashon hara and motzie shem ra about people in the rabanut

    ReplyDelete

Comments for this blog are moderated. Please see this post about the comments policy for details. ANONYMOUS COMMENTS WILL NOT BE POSTED - please use either your real name or a pseudonym.

The Origin of Aggados

Following is a fabulous extract from a letter by Rav Shimshon Raphael Hirsch to Rav Hile Wechsler. He addresses the claim that Aggados do no...