Tuesday, November 26, 2019

The Impact of Rav Malinowitz

In ten years of writing on this website, I've never seen anything like the feedback that I received after my post about Rav Chaim Malinowitz z"l. The praise for my post that came in - not just online, but especially in private emails - was astonishing. Sure, there were also two people who complained - one that I was too critical, one that I was too complimentary. But the story of the role that Rav Malinowitz played in my life clearly touched people at a very deep level. Why?

Looking at the feedback I received, there seem to be three elements. One is that many residents of Beit Shemesh, who had only been aware of Rav Malinowitz through his political involvement, greatly appreciated hearing about a different side of him. It was a lesson in how people are complicated and we often have little idea as to what people are really about.

More significant, I think, is my account of how Rav Malinowitz believed that even views that one disagrees with should nevertheless not necessarily be banned from public discourse. Something can be objectionable to you, even theologically objectionable, but that doesn't necessarily make it beyond the pale. Note that I am using the word "necessarily" - of course there are things that are indeed beyond the parameters of acceptable Jewish theology. But in a world where people are seeking to draw these lines ever more narrowly, it was deeply inspiring for people to hear about a charedi Rav who sought to maintain the broad parameters that were traditionally accepted.

Finally, I think that what made the biggest impact was my account of how Rav Malinowitz was willing to stand up for me even at great personal cost. We hear lots of stories about the great Torah knowledge of various rabbis, and also stories of great acts of kindness. But stories about integrity - sticking firm to one's principles even at the cost of arousing the opposition of powerful people in one's own community - are apparently thinner on the ground.

May Rav Malinowitz's legacy be an inspiration to many.


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11 comments:

  1. There is always great talk about how this or that gadol only cared about "emes as he saw it". Funny then, how they all always seem to say the same thing!

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    Replies
    1. But if you read the prior post, he went up against what the others said in supporting R Slifkin.

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  2. Again I'm curious Rabbi Slifkin; by what metric does Rav Malinowitz zt"l deserve the title "chareidi Rav" if he supported your right to espouse your views to the public in opposition to wall-to-wall condemnation of those views in the chareidi world?
    Isn't it your view that the definition of chareidi is someone who deffers to "the gedolim"?

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    Replies
    1. It's a social group and he was part of it.

      Delete
    2. nuanced chareidi, I do not comprehend what you wrote. Jews (including chareidi Jews) can hold any opinion they like and still get into the gates of heaven so long as they keep all of the mitzvot as the rabbis explain them.

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    3. There are many Chareidim who didnt support the ban from rabbis to laymen. It's not like the ban was an article of faith. If it is then countless Ravs and Roshei Kollel and I suppose Roshei Yeshivos too would be kicked out.

      The usual YA

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    4. Somehow I suspect that Rav Malinowitz felt that he was chareidi in more than just the social realm.
      Did you know the rabbi, Davi Ohsie? Did you live in his community?
      If not, please refrain from commenting further about him.

      Delete
    5. nuanced,by what metric do you deserve to call yourself nuanced? you are insinuating things that aren't nuanced.

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    6. what concessions or other do you make that gives you nuance compared to a typical chareidi?

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  3. Rabbi Slifkin knows exactly what I mean. Rav Malinowitz was the perfect example of a nuanced chareidi -- which proves that the controversy over his books is not a chareidi vs. non-chareidi struggle-- as Rabbi Slifkin now claims.
    Rabbi Slifkin should be able to address this challenge by himself instead of allowing others to divert the thread into discussing irrelevancies.

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  4. there must be a further category: a 'sometimes' chareidi- sometimes giving precedence to traditional sources, sometimes to personal logic, sometimes to the Gedolim- in each case ignoring the other bases.

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