Monday, June 4, 2018

Satanic Obsession: Religious Israel-Haters

If you thought that radical religious anti-Zionism is solely the purview of a few crazed chassidim in Neturei Karta, you are tragically mistaken.

A glossy new book has recently been published: "The Empty Wagon: Zionism's Journey from Identity Crisis to Identity Theft." It seeks to persuade religious Jews - especially charedim - into an extreme anti-Zionist approach. The author is Rabbi Yaakov Shapiro, who is not to be confused with the Rabbi Yaakov Shapiro who authored the fabulous book Halachic Positions. This Rabbi Yaakov Shapir, breaking the popular image of Israel-haters, is highly intelligent and well-read, the rabbi of a shul in Bayswater, Long Island, and a Litvak, though he is also a grand-nephew of the Satmar Rebbe. He used to anonymously operate the creepy website FrumTeens, in which he infamously quoted (or probably misquoted) the Chafetz Chaim as saying about Rav Kook, "Kook, Shmook."

Today, Rabbi Shapiro is involved with the anti-Israel website modestly called True Torah Jews, which advocates for the State of Israel to be dissolved. This group is not affiliated with Neturei Karta, but when you reach this level of hatred for Israel, the differences between the two become rather minimal, as the site itself points out. Rabbi Shapiro has also joined up with notorious Jewish antisemite Gilad Atzmon. Aside from his growing following among Jews, his website and videos are, of course, welcomed by a broad spectrum of Israel-hating non-Jews, who are eager to hear that "real" rabbis also hate Israel. A video of his about how Jerusalem should not be recognized as the capital of Israel received over 1.7 million views.

If you want a taste of Rabbi Shapiro's perspective, take a look at this revealing post from his blog, in which he explains, based on the writings of Rav Elchanan Wasserman, how Zionist Jewish leaders actually have the souls of Amalek, and how they are empowered by Satan. In contrast with mainstream Judaism for at least the last millennium, which downplays Satan as an independent entity, Rabbi Shapiro follows the lead of the Satmar Rav and Rav Elchanan in being rather obsessed with Satan, and attributing great power and effective independence to him.

The following paragraph, in which Rabbi Shapiro explains why one should (theoretically?) engage in physical confrontation with the Zionist leadership, is extremely surprising in its theological perspective:
Rav Elchonon explains... that there are two types of threats against the Jews – one is where we are put in physical danger, where our enemies want to kill us, like the Persians did on Purim. The other is where we are not in danger, but the Torah is. Where they want not to harm us physically but to harm the Torah, i.e. our observance thereof. Like with the Greeks did on Chanukah. The difference between the two types of danger is that physical danger comes from Hashem with the goal to make us do Teshuva. Therefore, when we are in physical danger the proper reaction is to do Teshuva, so that the objective of the danger will be been met, and the danger will go away. But Hashem does not threaten the Torah – when the Torah is threatened, that is the Satan doing it (of course, Hashem controls the Satan as well, but He sometimes gives the Satan permission to wreak havoc in his Satanic way). In such a case, doing Teshuva alone will not help, since obviously the Satan’s goal is not for us to do Teshuva. On the contrary – he wants us to violate the Torah. In such  a case, the only solution is to go to physical war against our enemies with Mesiras Nefesh to the death. And this nullifies the Satan’s power.
I find this astonishing from any monotheistic standpoint. First of all, who cares that Satan's goal is not for us to do teshuvah? Why do his goals matter - isn't it only Hashem's goals that are relevant? Secondly, surely any power that Satan has is only because God has given him power. And God has presumably only done so because the Jewish People have not been acting properly. So surely if the Jews do act properly, then God will no longer allow Satan to act against us! How on earth, from within their own theological worldview, can they claim that Hashem would rather that we engage in physical warfare than davven and learn Torah and do mitzvos?!

Besides from the questionable breaches of monotheism in their Satanic theology, there is immense irony here. Creating innovative frameworks for the laws of war based on Biblical parallels is exactly the crime of which Satmar accuses Religious Zionists! 

Even more ironic is Rabbi Shapiro's list of the Four Signs of Amalek:
a) We know that Amalek is different than other enemies of the Jewish people in that they actually claim to be the real Jews, the way Esav held he was more of a real Jew than Yaakov
b) The fundamental characteristic of Amalek is that they glorify war and warriors.
c) Amalek tries to “improve” Yaakov to become more like Esav, and by doing so, claims that Yaakov will be a better Jew
d) Amalek tries to take the Jews out of the Bais Medrash and make them into warriors

Talk about Kol haposel bemumo posel... this is a perfect description of Rabbi Shapiro! To wit:
a) He and his associates proclaim themselves to be the only True Torah Jews;
b) They are constructing a theology to justify and glorify physical warfare (against other Jews!);
c) They trying to "improve" the rest of the Jews to become True Torah Jews like him;
d) They are trying to take the Jews out of the Bais Medrash and make them into warriors!

The tragedy is that there are intelligent, modern Jews who go for this. Satmar's hatred of Israel is alive and well, and is endorsed by not a few figures outside of Satmar. At the notorious Israel Hatefest organized by Satmar in Manhattan a few years ago, at which speakers described Israel as an "evil regime" and spoke about how “the [Israeli] army was founded on murder and blood spilling,” sitting on the dais were Rav Elya Ber Wachtfogel of South Fallsberg, Rav Aharon Schechter of Chaim Berlin, and Rabbi Moshe Meiselman of Toras Moshe.

Rabbi Shapiro's hateful book sold out its entire first printing in just two weeks, and is already on its second printing. The obligation for the rest of us is to urge bookstores not to carry it. And to protest the spread of Satmar views into the rest of the charedi community.


(Hat-tip to my friend JF. Don't forget that you can subscribe to this blog via e-mail using the form on the right of the page.)

84 comments:

  1. The way you describe Rabbi Shapiro he seems to be a believer in Manichaeism, which puts him in the category of an Oved Avoda Zara with all that implies. BTW, Shapiro when he was blogging on Frumteens he had extended post claiming to show that there were only a finite number of numbers between 0 and 1, since infinity doesn't exist. It seems his knowledge of Yiddishkeit is coextensive with his knowledge of mathematics.

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  2. Why can't Satmar style thought be a valid stream in Judaism based on kabala ideas?

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  3. "they actually claim to be the real Jews"
    Shapiro is affiliated with "Torah True Jews"

    "Amalek tries to take the Jews out of the Bais Medrash and make them into warriors"
    Shapiro calls for "physical war against our enemies", since he denies the efficacy of תשובה*. (Has he been listening to too many heaven voices lately? See חגיגה טו)

    "Amalek tries to “improve” Yaakov to become more like Esav, and by doing so, claims that Yaakov will be a better Jew"
    Shapiro used FrumTeens to teach kids to hate other Jews, and thus become better Jews.

    "The fundamental characteristic of Amalek is that they glorify war and warriors"
    Fundamental? What about:
    הוא "עדינו העצני" כשהיה יושב ועוסק בתורה היה מעדן עצמו כתולעת ובשעה שיוצא למלחמה
    היה מקשה עצמו כעץ

    Other the other hand, the גר"א identified בעלי מחלקות as עמלקים.

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  4. Hillel Silvers -June 4, 2018 at 8:50 AM

    Yaakov Shapiro is saying Leshon Hara and both Am Yisral and Eretz Yisrael!
    He is reliving the "Chet Hmarglim"

    SAD!

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    1. Not only that; but the "asifa" in Nassau Colliseum, was on the first day of week of Parshas Sh'lach!

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    2. I hate the idea of defending this guy, but surely he opposes just the state of Israel, not the Holy Land itself.

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    3. And that doesn't make him a prize shmuck?

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  5. Looks like according to "Rabbi" Shapiro, Yitzchak Avinu would also be classified as Amalek, as he wanted initially to give Esav the bracha of gashmius because he wanted Esav (and thought he was worthy) to assume the mantle of the political/military leadership of Bnei Yisrael. In other words, he thought Esav was as much a "real Jew" as Yaakov. Only when Yaakov demonstrated to Yitzchak through his subterfuge that he also possessed the necessary skills of cunning and deception and was not simply an "ish tam" did Yitzchak give him the blessing instead.

    The State of Israel is a fact, its continued existence and flourishing clear evidence of HKB"H's "psak halacha" on that question. If "Rabbi" Shapiro desires it to be a Torah state, he should pick his ass up and go there and agitate for regime change from within.

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    1. Clean language, please...

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    2. If you're referring to "ass", I was merely saying he should be like Avraham Avinu...
      וישכם אברהם בבוקר ויחבש את חמרו

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  6. Its not hatred of Israel, its hatred for the government of Israel -another matter entirely. They love Eretz Yisrael as all true Jews do.

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    1. Oh, then that's totally OK, then.....

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    2. Actually they negate pretty much everyone who disagrees with them. And there's a difference between hatred based on clear unabiguous sources, and obsessive pathological hatred based on a flimsy non-traditional idiosyncratic hyper-minority opinion.

      By the way, they don't hate "the government", they hate ALL governments- even if the Satmar Rebbe were prime minister (or dictator.)

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    3. Hamas doesn’t hate Jews, only the Zionists. They love Jews, like all true Muslims.
      Do you believe everything you’re told?

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    4. They love the theoretical E. Yisrael, Yerushalayim shel Malah, not the real one on this earth, Yerushalayim shel Matah

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    5. Fozzie, If it isn't okay can AE call out the double accusation that they hate the gov & the Eretz?
      Ephraim, Of course they're pro other govs. TTJ is hoping for a gentile gov in Eretz Israel.
      Kikes, I'll walk through the Satmar ghetto like a Chiloni & you walk through Beirut like an Jewish anti-Zionist.
      Kira, Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows!... – not you:)

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  7. Always be suspicious of anyone who calls themselves "TRUE...."

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  8. Thank you.

    The evils of leftist anti-Semites like Sarsour, Mallory, and Cullors get lots of play in American Jewish media but they have never organized any anti-Israel protests anywhere near the size of the Satmar hate activity, nor do they have support from any mainstream Jewish organizations. These mainstream Jewish organizations do not take any effective action against these extremists of the right.

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    1. Mainstream Jewish organizations like OU are supporting of Israel and don't support Satmar anti-Israeli policy. As for "effective actions", do you have a problem with freedom of speech and religion? Satmars are Torah-observant Jews and they have right for their theological views. As a matter of fact, from theological standpoint there is no clear cut conclusion of Halachic permissibly of a state before Mashiach time.

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  9. Honest and naive question here (as I have no connection to the Hareidi world): What proportion of the Hareidi public -- let's say Litvish plus Chassidic to simplify -- is anti-Israel to the point that they believe that here should be no Jewish state? Is this a majority view in that community?

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    1. Yes, a minority view. Only Satmar and its Hungarian satellites (Muncazs,Pupa, Sighet) believe in this. Virtually all other Chasidic groups have made peace with reality. They're simply non-Zionists.

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  10. "sitting on the dais were Rav Elya Ber Wachtfogel of South Fallsberg, Rav Aharon Schechter of Chaim Berlin, and Rabbi Moshe Meiselman of Toras Moshe."

    IIRC, that protest was about the fact that the government was trying to conscript yeshiva bochurim. I don't think that these roshei yeshiva want to do away with Israel altogether. They went to join Satmar in outrage that a Jewish government was pulling students out of the study halls.

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  11. Sick, but not surprising. From VIN yesterday:
    ...Men and boys of all ages traveled to the Nassau Coliseum from Borough Park, Williamsburg, Kiryas Joel, Lakewood, Montreal and beyond going through metal detectors to ensure security at the event which was also patrolled by members of the Nassau County Police Department who circled the venue on horseback...

    ...Among those who spoke at the event were Rabbi Moshe Sternbuch, head of the Eidah Charedis in Jerusalem, Rabbi Getzel Berkowitz of the Kiryas Joel Beis Din, Rabbi Shmaye Lev of the Satmar Beis Din in London and Rabbi Yaakov Koppel Schwartz of Israel. The Satmar Grand Rebbe, Rabbi Aron Teitelbaum, spoke for well over an hour about the dangers of Zionism and announced the creation of a new foundation called Shekel Hakodesh which would provide financial relief to Israeli schools that do not accept government funding...

    Now I daven in a "right wing" shul in Flatbush. The Rov of my shul would never speak out against any of these "Gedolim" (I put it in quotes because while they are gedolim in their learning, the harm they are doing is immeasurable IMHO). Partly because RW rabbeim are also indoctrinated into this nonsense, and will not take a stand. The Zionism of today is so different from the Zionism of the last century, that it's laughable to make the comparison. (Just like the Chasidim and Kollel of this century is totally different from last century). There is virtually no one who will be brave enough to stand up to these people. Partially because they create armies of thugs, blacklist students from Yeshiva (they can't come here, the hashkafos are crazy) and create cult-like mentalities.

    What I'd like to know is why instead of setting up funds to counteract the government funding (The Israeli government is likely responsible for more Torah in this generation than ever, just saying), they should raise funds to support their own failing system and poor.
    If I see one more morning mad-lib letter shoved in my face, I'm going to lose it. BTW, what I mean by Mad-Lib are letters signed by Rabbeim that look like this:

    "My fellow Jews and Brothers, I am a poor Yid from Benei Brak. I am a Sofer Stamm (always a sofer!). I have___ (insert number from 6-18) children. (Insert number from 1-5) ___of them are learning in Kollel, and while renting a small apartment, my wife and I had a Torah true lifestyle. Then Rachmunus! After child number ___, my wife had a nervous breakdown. While I tried to help her by helping with the laundry once a week, her medical bills started to pile up. Then, we realized that 3 of our girls, who had been happy children, were diagnosed with____!
    Then on top of that,our landlord who we thought owned the apartment turned out to be a fraud, and we were being sued for (insert $ amount here)___ for back rent.
    With nothing but Bitachon, we were lucky our two oldest became engaged. We took out G'mach loans to pay for the first wedding and apartment, but we now are over $100,000.00 in debt. And my wife is now expecting again with (Circle one: twins, triplets, sextuplets), one of whom is diagnosed with _____(insert genetic disorder of your choice). Having no choice, I spent my last few thousand dollars, not on my family, but to buy a ticket to the United States and a hotel so I could come to you. PLEASE HELP!!!
    Rachamim, sons of Rachamim! May Hashem Give you Mazal, Bracha & hatzlacha...if only you can HELP ME!

    Maybe instead of fighting the "Evil Zionists" you could clean up your own house, just a little bit?

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    1. "because while they are gedolim in their learning..."

      Really? How do you know? I see no proof of that, and actually highly doubt it.

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    2. I consider anyone who can learn a blat of gemorah better than me (most people, even with my Koren) a gadol. I guess they have a better understanding of Muktzah? IDK. Does learning make you a gadol? They are cretianly better fund raisers than me, and that, CZL, is the mark of a Gadol, LOL!

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    3. hotel

      actually in the basement of the private hotel sardined in with other collectors, courtesy of the frum magnate who occupies the rest of the hotel.

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  12. The inovcation of a independent satanic force, which is full minut, is an inevitable result of maintaining an anti-zionist stance in the face of the clear signs of divine favour for the zionist project. The source of this view, as with everything vile and disgusting in orthodox Judaism, is the Zohar and the ravings of the Ari. But it gets worse, did you read to the end of the Gilad Atzmon article?

    Unlike the Zionist and ‘anti’ who seem devastated by me turning my back on the Jews and Judaism, Rabbi Shapiro didn’t show any remorse from my drift away. For him, Judaism is a God oriented affair. The Torah and the bond it requires with God are demanding tasks. If you are not willing to believe in The Shem and take on all the commitments involved, don’t be bothered - set yourself free. And in practice, the freest Jew, the one brave enough to look in the mirror, to reflect and criticise, is apparently the most pious one-an orthodox Rabbi. I am relieved, but somehow I knew it all along.

    Assuming that is in any way accurate, Shapiro is not only a min, but an outright kofer.

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    1. 'Ravings of the Ari????' Hamevaze Talmud Chacham Ein Lo Chelek Baolam Haba. R Slifkin, please delete the previous comment.

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    2. Ironically, the ravings of the Ari contain many disparaging remarks against talmidei hachamim.

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  13. The Satmar Rebbe would be appalled by this nephew of his (and by the pro-Iran fringe of the NK), He never wanted to give ammunition to anti-Semites.  He -- correctly -- considered those non-Jews who are anti-Zionist to be actually anti-Semitic.

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    1. Too late!

      אַבְטַלְיוֹן אוֹמֵר, חֲכָמִים, הִזָּהֲרוּ בְּדִבְרֵיכֶם, שֶׁמָּא תָחוֹבוּ חוֹבַת גָּלוּת וְתִגְלוּ לִמְקוֹם מַיִם הָרָעִים, וְיִשְׁתּוּ הַתַּלְמִידִים הַבָּאִים אַחֲרֵיכֶם וְיָמוּתוּ, וְנִמְצָא שֵׁם שָׁמַיִם מִתְחַלֵּל

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    2. True. But some of his positions can be easily distorted by anti-Semites:
      * The Zionist media lied about the Six Day War to make it sound like the victory was miraculous
      * The only real miracle was that the rabbis (i.e. everybody but the SR) were seduced by Satan into believing the victory was miraculous
      * Those secular Jews who became בעלי תשובה in the aftermath of the war, were not true בעלי תשובה.

      Can one negate all of Jewry without being an anti-Semite? Yes. But so what?

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  14. I remember Frumteens as the site became popular as result of the whole sheital affair years ago. I, as well as others I know were active or at least tried to be active on Frumteens but it was almost impossible. For one, the Moderator would often misquote many famous and poplar gedolim. Even the Chafetz Chaim was misquoted. Furthermore if people tried to debate the moderator their posts were either deleted or tampered with to make it look like the "zionists" had no argument (just ask grend123).

    Before TrueTorahJews existed the site was jewsagainstzionism.com. In fact if you visit jewsagainstzionism.com the site will redirect to TrueTorahJews. The site used to and still does misquote the gedollim to make them extremely anti-zionist. In addition, they even had a post on their site warning visitors to Israel that Israeli doctors are known for harvesting organs and they should stay away from Israeli hospitals.

    As a result of jewsagainstzionism, I started jewsforzionism.com. My site is now over 10 years old and is in need of a serious update but it was intended to counter the ridiculous claims of jewsagainstzionism. The main argument against jewsagainstzionism, satmar, and truetorahjews is that the Satmar Rebbe was a das yachid and almost no posek or halachik authority whether the Chafetz Chaim or the Chazon Ish held his position regarding the three oaths and its halachik relevancy for today. In fact if you do a search for Chazon Ish and the State of Israel you will get one of the articles that I had permission to reprint about a conversation that Rabbi Zvi Yehuda had with his rebbe the Chazon Ish regarding the State of Israel. I recommend everyone read that article.

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    1. Daas yachid...how about rav ay kook and rav yisschar tiechtal ...google circus tent 3 oaths and you will find the exact sources and photo...

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  15. He sounds like a real piece of work. Funny about frum teens. I was never into it and didn't know that he was a moderator. Years ago, I found the site weirdly Satmar-ish for a website for frum kids on the internet.
    Rabbi Grylak of Mishpacha has been pushing back at the most deranged protestors, ever so slightly. Did you see his editorial about 3 weeks ago- an open letter to the kid with the yellow star?

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  16. The following was posted to the Facebook post of this article by Malky Wigder:

    I encountered Shapiro when I was a kollel wife in Lakewood, trying to get out of an abusive marriage. After he gave a speech in Lakewood, my then-husband essentially forced me to discuss my "issues" with him. What followed were some really disgusting behaviors by this man, utterly inappropriate not only for a rabbi and a religious Jew, but for any decent person. These behaviors included sexual harassment and repeated attempts at exploitation of both myself, an innocent kollel wife in a very vulnerable situation, and my sister who was a teenager at the time and experiencing challenges of her own. This is not the place to go into detail about his behaviors, but just seeing his face makes me want to throw up, and I think people should know who he is. He also told me many stories about his exploits with at-risk teens who hung around him, some of whom were entrusted to him by their parents. Shapiro is a sick pervert and shameless baal aveira.

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    1. This Jew hating swine is nothing but a modern day KAPO who is working hand in hand with our murderous Nazi Arab enemies to destroy our God given Eretz Yisroel,and besides this piece of human garbage is a well known pervert and filthy pig.
      CHAIM

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    2. Reb slifkin, hoaw doa you allow this spew of מוצי שם רע like the mukraking blogs?

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    3. I have done some research and I believe that this report is credible. And I think that we should more concerned about potential victims of a serial predator than about falsely defaming Yaakov Shapiro.

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    4. Then why don't you share that research? Throwing around the term "serial predator" is quite the serious allegation.

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    5. @Milton: Check the CC on this. If a person non-anonymously accuses someone else of causing harm, the listener must investigate to see if this is true because there might be another missing fact that might change the interpretation even if the accusation is true. You can't just ignore it and assume that it is false.

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    6. David,
      I'm not sure where you think I said otherwise. We should certainly investigate the claims. But R Slifkin used the term "serial predator" without providing any basis for that claim. Seems like he figured since he doesn't like R Shapiro anyway he can be cavalier with such terms.

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    7. There is testimony which I believe to be credible, coupled with longstanding rumors.

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    8. Testimony before what beis din?

      Agreed with Milton. if there's proof, there's proof. Until then, you have an internet comment from someone claiming she was in an "abusive" relationship, essentially "forced" to see a rabbi. So she's also saying her husband physically harmed her, or threatened her with harm? If not, then this self-described "innocent kollel wife" is extremely careless throwing around serious accusations.

      I think, RNS, by allowing this bit of personal innuendo against the character of RS, you damaged your case of attacking his philosophy.

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    9. If someone posted something somewhere it equally may be true or not true. Either way, it does not give anyone a license to spread loshon hara.

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    10. "So she's also saying her husband physically harmed her, or threatened her with harm?" Clearly so. What's so strange about that?

      Lazar, you seem much more concerned about the aveira of lashon hara than about people being, y'know, hurt.

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    11. Yosef Blau Jun 7 at 10:27 PM
      To: Yerachmiel Lopin et al

      I have known about Yaakov Shapiro for more than twenty years. He taught in a Yeshiva High School for girls and was let go for inappropriate behavior with students, though wasn’t enough specific information to pursue it further. Shapiro played the anti Zionist card claiming that he was attacked because of his ideology. Years later when he was “helping” at risk teenagers through frumteens on the internet and he was written up in Jewish Action I complained to the OU and again the answer was that he was been criticized because of his extreme ideology. He had been the rabbi of an Aguda shul and was fired there as well.
      Yosef Blau

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    12. Since Malky Wigder's original comment she put out a full post on FB with a lot more detail about Yakov Shapiro portraying him as a sexual assailant who needed to be pushed off. https://www.facebook.com/malky.wigder/posts/10214731936364798

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  17. I am not a big fan of Rabbi Slifkin, mainly because he calls out people who should not be called out (ie, R Chaim Kanievsky) but here he's right on target. Shapiro is a sonei yisroel of the highest caliber, as anyone who's read FrumTeens can attest. He is also one of the few rabbonim who has been kicked out of an Agudas Yisroel shul.

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    1. Wow. Didnt know he was kicked out of an Agudas Yisroel shul. He has so many Arab supporters though.

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    2. I'm not stating an opinion one way or another, but I don't understand why R' Chaim should be immune to being called out. If someone in a position of leadership errs, he opens himself to being called out. If what you mean is that R' Chaim CANNOT be called out, i.e. that he is incapable of error, that is a different story. Although of course that raises the question: if R' Chaim cannot err, what is Rabbi Slifkin calling him out about? Perhaps it is maaseh satan...

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    3. I don't believe R Chaim Kanievsky is in 'a position of leadership'. He never asked to be a so called leader. People may have chosen to call him their leader, but he has denied repeatedly that he is one. Other people driving you nuts the whole day while all you want to do is learn is not called a 'Postion of Leadership'.

      If people followed me around the whole day against my will, and then someone published negative accusations against me, I would be miffed, as I have not chosen to be placed in the spotlight. So too R' Chaim.

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  18. Once again you are pretending that it is Haredim who are the problem. What's about non-Haredi Israel haters, like those guys who said Kaddish for Hamas? The Haredim who oppose Israel are doing this on theological grounds whether they are valid or not, but those who support Hamas seem to be simply self-hating Jews.

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    1. For one thing, nothing Jewish is expected from self-loathing Jews. They don't believe in mitzvah obligations so anything goes. That's nothing new. They're often no different that gentile anti-Semites.

      But more importantly, read the earlier comment by Charlie Hall.

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  19. Why is this a rationalist issue? If anything, it would seem that a movement attempting to actualize a messianic vision of gathering in the exiles on its own, in the face of world opposition, would be the irrational side and those who prefer to wait for moshiach and in the meantime maintain the status quo of loyalty to our countries would be the rationalists. After all, didn’t Rav Hirsch subscribe to the latter view? And moshiach is not necessarily a supernatural process, indeed the Rambam describes it in quite a natural way.

    Or is this blog just a platform for all your views, whether having to do with rationalism or not?

    By the way I have read Challenge of Creation and other pieces by you and find them well researched and clearly written (although I don’t always agree with the conclusions). I’m surprised that you don’t review the important topic of redemption with/without a messiah with the same careful scrutiny. Instead you are picking on a few minor points about Amalek and the Satan while ignoring the actual question.

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  20. SATmar Rebbe - notice SAT as in Satan. You may ask what about the M, that is not like the N at all. Actually, if you study the origin of alphabets, there are close links to M and N. From this we learn: Do not read Satmar, rather read Satner, or just The Sataner. An ACJA drash

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    1. "Satmar" is equivalent to "Satan lefanekha" (Satan is before you) in gematria.
      סטן לפניך = 309
      סטמר = 309

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  21. Rav slifkin, how do you allow such lashon hara

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    1. Isn't accusing Israeli doctors of harvesting organs also lashon hara?

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  22. caleb afendopouloJune 5, 2018 at 8:31 AM

    There is a discussion film between Gilad Atzmon and Shapiro on YouTube where they heartily agree about the Zionist state and all its evils.
    To me the amusing thing is that in the early 90's I met Atzmon when he was playing in a music studio with a friend of mine. At that time he was very anti-religious and to see him chumming up to Shapiro is amusing because in essence he probably hates him because Shapiro is purportedly religious and Atzmon is playing him.מין במינו אינו חוצץ

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  23. "a Litvak"

    Not a Litvak in terms of roots and descent, AFAIK. Though he is married to one I believe.

    A fedora and a tie do not a Litvak make.

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    1. Correct. Very, very few authentic Lithuanians left. R. Slifkin is undoubtedly using the term "Litvak" as if it were synonymous with "Yeshivish"

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  24. And the beat goes on:

    https://www.kikar.co.il/279638.html (article in Hebrew)

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  25. Who am I to judge others? Should I condemn someone who is might be plagued by Shedim, not supernatural beings, as I do not believe in such, but inner demons of the human psyche. Does one condemn the patient, or should we not rather be saddened by the unfortunate twist of events that shaped such a mind?
    Most mental health practitioners would agree that the worst thing you can do to a patient who is delusional is to confirm their delusions. Telling a patient who is struggling with good and evil that maybe they're possessed by a demon is the worst thing you can do. It's only distracting them from addressing what the real problem is. The primary goal of therapy is to reorient them to reality to aspiration to behave and act constructively and beneficially.
    The question is, is such a person contributing towards Tikkun Olam, particularly in the sense of overcoming all forms of idolatry, or does that person need deliverance from his own delusions or at least his narcissism? It seems that person is going to the extreme, not even allowing the utterances of the immediate disciples of the Geonim to be questioned when evoking the existence of shadow beings and devils.
    And as usual I turn to Maimonides for insight, and to justify the existence of evil, assuming God is both omnipotent and omnibenevolent, Maimonides postulates that one who created something by causing its opposite not to exist is not the same as creating something that exists; so evil is merely the absence of good. God did not create evil, rather God created good, and evil exists where good is absent (Guide 3:10). Therefore, all good is divine invention, and evil both is not and comes secondarily.
    Rabbinical scholarship on the Book of Job for example generally follows the Talmud and Maimonides in identifying "the satan" from the prologue as a metaphor for the yetzer hara and not an actual entity. Satan is rarely mentioned in Tannaitic literature but is found in Babylonian Aggadah.
    I lived my life that evil is not real, it is per se not part of God's creation, but comes into existence through man's bad actions. Human beings are responsible for their choices. As per Maimonides, I do not believe in the existence of a supernatural omnimalevolent figure. Adhering to rational theology, rejecting any belief in rebel or fallen angels, and viewing evil as abstract.
    Sure, there is right and wrong but no supernatural evil force at work that everyone can conveniently blame for one’s shortcomings. However, Jews and non-Jews have the free will to choose good life. Sure, we as humans find it impossible to know right from wrong at times, the ability to choose brings inner struggle, a critically important part of the human psyche, but that is why we have the law to inspire us, guide us and sure, that betrays my "mystical" side, but we are also granted the ability to reason.
    And the Olam Haba includes the ingathering of the exiled diaspora, the coming of a Jewish Messiah, afterlife, and the revival of the dead Tzadikim.
    Like Yirmeyahu I weep for the unfortunate situation Israel and Judaism find itself embroiled in, but do I have the other traits of Yirmeyahu that include not being afraid, standing up to speak, speaking as told, and going where sent? I doubt, I can ever match such greatness, but I will not remain silent.

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  26. I wonder why his YU connection is ignored in this post.

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  27. Unfortunately the extremist Satmar/Reb Elchonon Wasserman view gains traction because most people aren't bright enough to see the middle ground taken every other gadol towards the State of Israel - cautious optimism while criticizing as necessary. Even the most critical chareidi gedolim (e.g. Brisker Rav) NEVER said wild things like "the Satan is responsible for the State of Israel".

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    1. The brisker didnt speak קבלה לשון like the SR, .. if you read the meller books you will see they agree...

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    2. Ok, so it's every other gadol vs. Satmar/REW/Brisker Rav. (Though I notice that the Briskers seem quite at home in the evil State created by Satan. At least Satmar is consistent.)

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  28. This post is hilarious. I thought that book bans were bad. And I thought that people who have apparently never read a certain book aren't supposed to condemn it. Oh well.

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    1. I never said that book bans were bad. Plus, I'm not advocating banning this book. Plus, I'm not condemning the book, I'm condemning the author. So it seems that, once again, you've completely misrepresented me. Oh well.

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    2. Something tells me that if Rabbis had urged book stores not to carry your book, you would have still referred to it as a ban.

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    3. You noticed the hypocrisy too, eh? Pretty glaring. I figured RNS just wanted to fight fire with fire (which is understandable.) The attempted distinction in the reply above, though - not buying it.

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  29. "Plus, I'm not condemning the book, I'm condemning the author."
    From the post "The obligation for the rest of us is to urge bookstores not to carry it."

    Also, Milton is right. If you're going to get all pedantic here, then you should stop referring to your books as having been banned. A bunch of Rabbonim simply paskened a halachic shaila and concluded they were kefira.

    (I'm not saying I like the book myself. I would actually prefer if you bothered to rebut it's claims rather than just getting all hysterical that evil Satmar views are penetrating the Chareidi community. If anything, you're simply confirming RYS's point in the intro: Zionists can't handle any criticism.)

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  30. Charedim handle criticism better? They hate being criticized. Who is anyone else to criticize the gold-standard-carrying charedi?

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  31. rebuttal to shapiro

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=edH2TfaHypY

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  32. I browsed some of R Shapiro's writing and strongly disagree with parts of it. The question is if his excesses disqualify his closer statements. I shared with friends your brilliant corollary of Rambam's adage to accept the truth even if it comes from nobodies, to reject falsehood even if it comes from big somebodies, and they very much enjoyed it. But back here, grant him to be even a nobody on account of his excesses, he might have the truth on other things.

    I find damning that on page 31 he acknowledges the assistance of master forger/liar/bungler RS

    Haters
    About Haters, even if hate is politically incorrect- there are circumstances where it is mandated by the Halachah. Rambam end hilchot rotzeiach, choshen mishpat 272:11, Biur Halacha OC 1:1 SV v'lo yitbayesh. Rambam (indirectly) describes 2 levels of sinners, maaminim and non-maaminim, and both should be hated. (But the maamin should be assisted; the non-maamin shouldn't be.)

    A glossy new book
    significantly, it is self-published

    he infamously quoted (or probably misquoted) the Chafetz Chaim as saying about Rav Kook,
    for a lively and often unpleasant discussion of this, see
    http://daattorah.blogspot.com/2012/05/chofetz-chaim-chazon-ish-rav-kook.html. While there, search {cntrl & f} especially for “Gorelick” where they claim that this R Shapiro's FIL heard it directly from the CC and repeatedly mentioned it.

    Rav Elchonon explains... that there are two types of threats against the Jews … I find this astonishing ….
    IIRC, REW bases this on the CC's view that we should have engaged in physical war against the Yev-sectzia (= [the anti-religious] Jewish section [of the Russian communist party]), so the CC's authority may also be invoked. But the point is less whether it is utterly exceptional to a monotheistic standpoint, and more whether it finds basis in the Hasmonean revolt and perhaps Kabalah—which the CC cites frequently. And according to this thinking, when G-d wants us to do Teshuvah & davven, he sends us the usual sign, when he wants us to have a physical war he sends a Satanic sign. And what is the rationale that we should engage in war instead of Teshuvah & davvening?... try the Chinuch & similar sources to see if they provide something. When a decent, qualified, learned, responsible monotheist says something that sounds like straight out of the NT, likely he has a source even if it isn't rationalist.

    At the notorious Israel Hatefest organized by Satmar in Manhattan a few years ago, at which speakers described Israel as an "evil regime" and spoke about how “the [Israeli] army was founded on murder and blood spilling,” sitting on the dais were Rav Elya Ber Wachtfogel of South Fallsberg, Rav Aharon Schechter of Chaim Berlin, and Rabbi Moshe Meiselman of Toras Moshe.

    REB, RAS, & RMM disagree plenty with Satmar ideology. The actual “hatefest” was about something they agree on so they *went. (See photos of this week's Satmar convocation for their own ideology. Only their own are there, no REB, no RAS, no RMM or anyone similar.) Regarding their *silence if certain statements were made by the Manhatan “hatefest” that they disagree with, and Chareidi silence in general, there is precedence from the CC remaining silent in the face of insults against RAYK as in the CC's SIL's letter in the link above, http://daattorah.blogspot.com/2012/05/chofetz-chaim-chazon-ish-rav-kook.html

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    1. "I find damning that on page 31 he acknowledges the assistance of master forger/liar/bungler RS"

      Who is RS? Reuven Schmeltzer?

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  33. Shulamith Waxman LebowitzJune 13, 2018 at 11:57 AM

    Please doing pair the Satmarer and R'Elchanan Wasserman זצ"ל in one phrase. The former left his followers high and dry after preaching the sin of going either to the U.S. or Eretz Yisrael. They went to their deaths, after he left on Kastner's train. By
    contrast Reb Elchanan, who was already in the U.S. to raise funds, insisted on returning to "be with my children". NO COMPARISON!

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    1. Absolutely. No matter how much I strongly disagree with and dislike Rabbi Wasserman's ZT"L views on zionism and Jewish statehood, he was someone worthy of respect.

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  34. Scathing review of Yaakov Shapiro book publishedJune 15, 2018 at 1:18 AM

    Scathing new review in big newspaper of Shapiro's book -

    http://www.5tjt.com/the-empty-wagon-a-review-of-r-yaakov-shapiros-attack-on-zionism/

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  35. Fellow travelers of Yaakov ShapiroJune 15, 2018 at 1:26 AM

    The focus here on Shapiro should not obscure the fact that there are others like him. One particularly active one is Yirmiyahu (Jeremiah ) Cohen, a resident of the Midwood area of Bklyn, who is a dedicated virulent propagandist for Natruna.

    If you do a search for yirmiyahu cohen you will see him in video and his writing. He seems to be very active with the online work of Natruna. He is a younger version of Shapiro in various ways.

    There was a rebbe by name of Kushner in Long Beach who influenced him and others.

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  36. The information about "Rabbi" Shapiro is completely true. I had a friend who worked for him in the early 90s when he ran his project reJewvenation - until she found out how "involved" he was with the kids he was claiming to "help". He came to speak at a girls camp I was working at in the late 90s and I tried so hard to get him stopped and didn't succeed. The person who invited him tried calling a couple of people to verify the information but couldn't verify it because he is a gangster and intimidates people into silence. It is a Mitzva to publicize this information to protect yourself and others from harm.

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  37. Let's see, Rav AY Kook ZT"L or some guy in Bayswater (who gave lots of terrible advice to teens). I wonder who knew more Torah.

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  38. "By Rabbi Yair Hoffman

    Rabbi Yaakov Shapiro’s “The Empty Wagon” is one of the most controversial books to hit the Orthodox world in decades. Its 1,373 pages deal with the reaction to the Zionist movement within the Orthodox Jewish world and attempt to debunk much of what the Torah community believes about Israel’s modern history.

    Most interesting to me is Rabbi Shapiro’s claim throughout the book that the Six Day War was not “miraculous” at all and involved no nissim whatsoever. Rabbi Shapiro attempts to back this up through Internet searches, citations of a few U.S intelligence reports, and quotes from the Satmar Rebbe, zt’l.

    I choose to believe other sources, especially Rav Chaim Shmulevitz, zt’l, the Mirrer rosh yeshiva.

    In Az Yashir we read the reaction of the nations in the aftermath of the exodus from Egypt: “Then the chieftains of Edom were startled; as for the powerful men of Moab, trembling seized them.” Rav Chaim Shmulevitz, zt’l, notes that this pasuk seems to be revealing some great chiddush or insight. Yet is it not obvious that when faced with open miracles people are startled and tremble? (Hagaddah of the Roshei Yeshiva of Mir, p. 226)

    Rav Chaim Shmulevitz answers that it is not. It is the nature of people not to change themselves even after seeing open miracles. “This explains why people around us now are not changing after seeing the open miracles of the Six Day War,” adds Rav Shmulevitz. This shmuess was delivered in June 1967 in the Mirrer Yeshiva in Yerushalayim. The Mir experienced an open miracle when a bomb that crashed through the ceiling did not explode.

    So there we have it. Rav Chaim Shmulevitz, zt’l, says straight out that there were open miracles. He also explains exactly why Rabbi Shapiro refuses to recognize the open miracles of the Six Day War.

    So who do we go with: Rav Chaim Shmulevitz, zt’l, or the author of this book?

    Reb Dan Waldman, who fought in 1967, recollects the following:

    “We had 200 planes. They had three entire air forces. Rabim b’yad me’atim — we had 2.5 million Jews; they had four entire nations. There were numerous miracles.

    “There was no feeling like it in the world. I remember soldiers saying that they will not liberate Yerushalayim from Shaar HaAshpa [Dung Gate]; they went in through the Lions’ Gate. Everyone realized that these were open miracles — chareidim in Bnei Brak and even the most secular people.

    “Hashem won us this war not in six days but in six hours. There were such nissim. The Jordanians knew that our planes were bombing those of the Egyptians. They sent a message to Egypt. Hashem made it that they changed the codes the previous day and did not inform the Jordanians. This was Yad Hashem. The complete destruction of the Egyptian Air Force in hours. This was Yad Hashem.”

    On a personal note, my entire family and I were in Yerushalayim at the time, and my parents, aleihem ha’shalom, never stopped talking about what happened in Yerushalayim that week. My mother and uncle were hit by shrapnel on their way to the bunker we stayed in while being shelled. The entire nation, both religious and irreligious, experienced nissim and niflaos — from the soldiers who liberated the Kosel to the Jewish families in the bunkers.

    Thus, the author’s abnegation of the opinions of gedolei olam, the bomb in the Mir miraculously not exploding, the experiences of soldiers and run-of-the-mill citizens, and my parents’ personal experience, leaves me with an unpleasant aftertaste.

    Throughout the book, Rabbi Shapiro attempts to demonstrate that the strongly anti-Zionistic view of the Satmar Rebbe, zt’l, was the same view of the gedolim of the past and the yeshiva world. In this reviewer’s opinion, his analysis is fundamentally flawed. To say that this premise is grossly inaccurate is a serious understatement."

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