Sunday, May 10, 2020

"In Praise of Rav Chaim"

The following just appeared in the US edition of Yated Ne'eman:
In Praise of Rav Chaim
Opening summer zman for Yerushalayim's Mir yeshiva via conference call, Rav Eliezer Yehuda Finkel spoke to thousands of talmidim about Rav Chaim Kanievsky's greatness and his inimitable guidance of the Torah world during the current crisis.
"Boruch Hashem, the hashgocha has left us nevi'ei emes including the great luminary, the wonder of the generation, the master of the entire Talmud who would be a member of the Sanhedrin if it existed, the prince of Torah whose words are all divrei kabbolah and who has no knowledge of external affairs," he said. "All his words emanate from ruach Hashem and the Torah within him is divrei Elokim chaim vekayomim la'ad."

It's hard to imagine how someone could be so wildly off in describing Rav Chaim, especially after the events of the last two months.

No, Rav Chaim's words do not emanate from Ruach Hashem. That's why he mistakenly made a bracha levatalah on an obvious fraudster pretending to be an African King. That's why he signed a letter attesting to the righteousness of Elior Chen, who was revealed to be one of the worst child abusers in the history of Israel. And that's why he issued the infamously terrible guidance for yeshivos to stay open at the outset of the pandemic, thereby being a factor in the enormous sickness and death toll of the charedi community - according to Aryeh Deri, 70% of all coronavirus cases in Israel. "Inimitable guidance of the Torah world during the current crisis," indeed.

How can the Rosh Yeshivah of Mir make such an absurdly false evaluation? If you look at another mistake that he makes, you can see where he goes wrong. He praises Rav Chaim for having "no knowledge of external affairs." In charedi Daas Torah culture, being completely sheltered from the world is seen as a praiseworthy quality that empowers one with unique wisdom and insight. But in reality, and in traditional Judaism, it's just the opposite.

It's ironic that Rav Finkel claims that Rav Chaim would be a member of the Sanhedrin if it existed. Because exactly the reason for which Rav Finkel sees fit to praise Rav Chaim is the reason why he would not be qualified to be a member of the Sanhedrin. Rambam in Hilchos Sanhedrin 2:1 states that we only appoint to the Sanhedrin scholars who possess broad wisdom, specifying that they must possess knowledge of the sciences and other intellectual disciplines. Ignorance of external affairs is not a basis for guiding the community - it disqualifies one from it.

Woe to the community that has thousands of yeshivah students hearing their Rosh Yeshivah issue such mistaken words about rabbinic leadership.

76 comments:

  1. "How can the Rosh Yeshivah of Mir make such an absurdly false evaluation?"

    Because there's also much counter evidence indicating such. This is found in what's known as "kool-aid" chareidi literature.

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  2. Well, this answers the question I asked in a comment on this Blog 2 weeks ago. I wondered whether the disastrous results of this crisis would be an "Aha" moment for the Haredi world in which they would either question the entire concept of "Daas Torah", or at the very least reassess the criteria to be a Gadol.
    Looks like neither happened, in spite of the terrible death rate within their own community, there was no lesson learned.


    Interestingly over Shabbat I head a shiur form a senior well known Rabbi in Israel who was discussing whether someone who infected another person with the Virus was Chayiv Nezikin, he seemed to be of the opinion that as "אדם מועד לעולם" someone who did not wear a mask or entered a shul while infected with this disease, even if he was not aware that he had it, would be Chayiv for any damage that occurred.
    I wish that I had the opportunity to ask whether a Psak to keep Yeshivot open would fall in this category, but that is question he would not have been able to answer in a public forum.

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    1. You or the rabbi have obviously not learnt bava kama, on daf נו. We see גרמא בנזיקין פטור

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    2. The truth is that it hasn't been disastrous. 254 people died in the entire country in two months. No thanks to the Charedim, obviously, but that's not going to make anyone go 'Aha'. Even the Charedi communities in Chul that have been hit badly don't look so bad compared to those around them because of their lower average age. The death rate have among Charedim in the UK is lower than that for Jews overall, despite mainstream Anglo Jews being exactly the kind of people who take social distancing super-double-plus seriously.

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    3. Shmuli, The Rav has not only has learnt and taught Bava Kama (kind of essential if you are a Dayan on a highly respected Beit Din), and spent almost an hour explaining the difference between "Grama" and "Grami", and which category a person who infects others would fall into (and whether there is a difference between infecting someone by talking to them without a mask, as opposed to touching a surface which they touched later). But feel free to make as many assumptions as you want based on almost no information (Can I make an assumption that you are Haredi and are trained to automatically make negative assumptions about others?)

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  3. I think you missed the point. The story was also reported by בחדרי:
    ראש הישיבה אמר בדבריו: "ברוך השם השגחה השאיר לנו נביאי האמת, המאור הגדול, שארית הפליטה, מופת הדור, מרא דכולה תלמודא, אם היה היום סנהדרין, הוא היה אחד מהם, מרן שר התורה שליט"א, שכל דבריו דברי קבלה, אין לו שום ידיעה חיצונית".

    ראש הישיבה הוסיף, "אין לו שום שייכות לעולם הגשמי, ולכל ענייני העולם מסביב, וכל דבריו זה מסורה מרוח השם, ותורתו אשר בקירבו, שהם דברי אלוקים חיים וקיימים לעד".
    https://www.bhol.co.il/news/1096793

    Come on! Everyone know that lack of worldly knowledge is a disqualification of Sanhedrin membership. Of course, the esteemed Mir RY knows this. (Consider: For years, the Chazon Ish was popularly lauded for his contributions to brain surgery- and now his protege is being praised for the very opposite.)

    Do you get it? There was an agenda in the speech. The RY carefully crafted his words. He didn't add a ודי לחכימא ברמיזא- that would give himself away. But he found a way to praise the Gaon Rav Chaim- and at the same time obliquely indicate that Rav Chaim is not a posek nor a leader who should be consulted for practical matters. And those are not his words. They are the words of Rav Chaim himself who has repeatedly insisted that his answers to שאלות are just theoretical and not to be taken הלכה למעשה. (RCK, though prolific has never published a volume of שו"ת.)

    So when the Mir RY throws an obvious תרתי דסתרי by juxtaposing Sanhedrin with hyper-insularity he was in fact indicating that RCK should not be consulted in worldly manners. But at the same time, the RY made sure not to in any way insult the גאון שר התורה. His audience- at least those with a passing knowledge of the רמב"ם must have been taken aback by the idea that someone so withdrawn could ever be in the Sanhedrin. At that moment the seeds of doubt were planted.

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    1. That logic appears as logical as Boris Johnson's easing the lockdown advice...but I have been out of yeshiva for a long time so maybe this is just Da'as Baal Habayis speaking...

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    2. interesting diyukim.
      hope you're right.

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  4. Everybody is mistaken except for Dr. Slifkin. How is it the "mistaken" ones have hundreds of thousands followers and growing unlike "never-mistaken" one?

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    1. @Lazar That's like saying since Islam and Christianity have so many followers, it must be true!

      ... No, truth does not weigh itself in numbers.

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    2. Hitler had tens of millions of followers. Stalin had tens of millions of followers. Mao had hundreds of millions of followers. Jesus of Nazareth still has billions of followers. False gods tend to have lots of followers.

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    3. Go ask the pope....he has more followers than RCK. So does that make him correct in all he says?

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    4. I haven't stopped laughing after seeing Lazar's comment. I would guess that he is Haredi that follows blindly the Haredi line and thinks his "Gedolim' are infallible. A bit like the pope, really. He has no concept of critical thinking. The Haredi world is stumbling into the netherworld of various sects of the world. JUst like these sects, they are false prophets.

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    5. I have 573 followers on twitter, Kim Kardashian has 64,768,617.

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  5. The truth about Da'as Torah

    The modern mystical doctrines of Daas Torah is a mystical concept mostly held by the charedi community which solely relies upon the guidance of the [charedi] gedolim, the “great ones,” who embody Torah wisdom. However, since Chassidim say that their sages should lack "knowledge of external affairs," the gedolim were frequently wrong in matters of the ensuing crisis. Is it anti-Chassidic to acknowledge that the modern mystical Daas Torah does not extend to knowledge in the medical field?

    Interestingly enough, but to the surprise of many, the Jewish physician Rambam felt that the Sanhedrin leadership should consist of a wide body of knowledge, including knowledge in both philosophy and the sciences. He writes that “a man should never cast his reason behind him, for the eyes are set in front and not in the back.” Thus it is difficult to imagine that RCK would fit the bill as a member of the Sanhedrin today, if it existed.

    Especially since RCK claimed that "cancelling yeshiva is more dangerous than coronavirus" since the "Torah protects" [people from coronavirus]. But nothing could be further from the truth. Yes, the Torah binds Jews together for over a millennium. But it does not [and cannot] protect people, as if it were a magical artifice. This superstitious notion is no better than the belief that amulets work or that red bendels, mezuzahs, and lucky charms protect. Try igniting any one of these items and they will surely burn. If they are incapable of protecting themselves, how much more so are they incapable of protecting humans (other than for psychological reasons). Similarly, when the Jews began to attribute magical attributes to the inanimate, symbolic copper snake, which was a symbol of physicians, the caduceus, King Hezekiah found it necessary to dispose it (II Kings 18:4).

    Truth be told, G-d alone protects as it is illogical to suppose that anything is all-powerful as Elohim because G-d is more powerful than anything else.

    G-d said: "Let no one be found among you who... [is] a soothsayer, a diviner or sorcerer, one who casts spells, one who consults ghosts or familiar spirits, or one who inquires of the dead” (Deuteronomy 18:9, 10). Instead, “you must be wholehearted with the L-rd your G-d” (verse 13).

    Thus da’at Torah guidance does not extends from personal to the political arena and certainly not to every aspect of life. They do not know what is best for the majority of us Torah Jews, and it is not wrong to disagree with them in a life or death situation.

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    1. "Thus daat Torah does not extend from personal to the political arena.."

      Sorry Turk, but there is a long and storied history (emphasis on "storied") of traditional Jews looking to their rabbinic leaders for all kinds of personal advice and guidance. Especially if they are close disciples of a rabbi. The Talmud is full of them.
      And the same goes for the political realm. The Talmud records the initiative Rabban Yochanan ben Zakkai took in negotiating with the Roman general besieging Jerusalem. Certainly a life-and-death situation if there ever was one.

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    2. @Jewish Observer,

      Thank you for reading my comment, though I think you missed the point. I agree with you that rabbinic leadership has always been responsible for guiding the community. Indeed, Maimonides writes in Hilchos Sanhedrin 2:1 that the members of the great Sanhedrin possessed a broad knowledge of many subjects.

      However, the general leadership of the chareidi Gedolim has failed in leading the chareidi community in the current crisis, along with discouraging a secular education and serving in the IDF, leading the community to eventual economic ruin. It is not [and cannot] be a facet of good leadership and as a result, the rest of us Torah-Jew are not obligated to accept their views on daat Torah.

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    3. JO: Did RYBZ have daat Torah? Did he do right? The gemara leaves it as an open question.

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  6. So, speaking of the orthodox jewish response to events based on rationality:
    RCK has followers who die because they follow his advice and jump off of a pandemic cliff. He continues with his little private minyan, and does just fine, b"H.
    Two thousand years from now we will be praising the wisdom and leadership of the GREAT GAON who lost [24,000 students] because [they must have had a sin because they died, right?] they followed his leadership [as he pushed them off of that cliff with his leadership]. We have to fix ourselves in this time, of course, because that's the message that we always have, blaming ourselves. There will be a period of mourning that restricts all sorts of things that have nothing to do with anything, well beyond what anyone ever wrote down, expanding the restrictions each generation. All hiding the fact that it was "our fault" for not being sensible as a nation regarding how we view leadership, followership, religion, or sensibility. #JewishRationalism

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  7. Much like the obituaries for famous hollywood types, politicians, and comedians, press releases like this have been written years before and they just spit them out according to some appropriate schedule.

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  8. RNS I used to daven for you in refa'einu, that you may have a refuas hanefesh for your very bitter soul. I'm starting to wonder if your place in shemoneh esrei has relocated to v'lamalshinim.

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    1. and you also believe in all the falsehoods that dominate the Haredi world? Count me then in your prayers.

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    2. Woe is me that i dwell in the tents of Kedarlaomerite.

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  9. It is very very sad to me that charedi Judaism has lost any understanding of leadership. May we find new leaders soon.My parents who upheld Torah after the Holocaust did not worship Rabbis EVER. Why did this painful stupidity come to pass. .

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    1. Couldn't agree more. The Jewish world in general, and the Charedi world in particular are suffering from a lack of leadership.

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  10. I recall seeing the video of Rav Chaim Kanievsky making the Bracha Levatala. Unfortunately it's no longer available on YouTube.

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    1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K8CeKds5peM

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  11. Where are the likes of Avrohom Gordimer, the self proclaimed defender of the Mesorah who takes it upon himself to call out the Open Orthodox for every perceived violation of norms - big or small - but is eerily silent on deviations from the Mesorah in the Charedei world?

    This is not even borderline avodah Zara anymore. It’s actual avodah Zara. Turning human beings into Deities is a far more radical departure from the Mesorah than anything the open orthodox do and it should be called out.

    It’s bad enough in its own right, but when it leads to harm and death as it has in this crisis, all the more so that we have to call it out for what it is.

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  12. The picture reminded me of an important piece of history:

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=n_ZoseMPXfE

    Yashir koyuch

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  13. Classic case of those who say "of what use are the Rabbis who just sit and learn Torah" Talmud says such people go to Hell.

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  14. Rav Finkel shlit"a is a choshuve Yid, a nice man, but he is young, lacking in life experience, and sometimes it may show. I don't think students there (for the most part) see him as the intellectual head, or the greatest talmid chochom of Mir, I think it is more like he is the administrative head of it, the fundraiser, the man who needs to travel a lot. They needed someone to do that, it is important, and he was chosen. But he is not seen as an oracle of Daas Torah, as other senior gedolim might be.

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  15. It is a vicious circle:
    The system is raising such gullible people who praise such man-made idols who will create such a system who will raise such gullible people who in turn will praise such man-made idols etc.

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  16. Did you ask the Rav what he meant and clarify before you publicly interpret it in a foolish way? It's a pretty safe assumption that he is fully aware of the gemara and Rambam that says the Sanhendrin members need worldly knowledge. Pretty strong chance he said these words despite that for whatever reason

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  17. This blog, once upon a time, could well have been named

    The Anti Moshe Meiselman blog

    Sadly it can now be renamed

    The Obsession With R Chaim Kanievsky Blog

    Having attended your lectures and bought your books, I feel this blog needs to rediscover itself and start posting about animals - your expertise - and lay off on the tirades you seem so obsessed with at present.

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    1. Natan has defined himself not by what he has to offer, but by what the chareidim lack. Sad, but if one digs deeply into his books shockingly one can actually find this very same concept. Attacking Chazal for what they supposedly didn't know instead of presenting the scientific knowledge that they actually did have. Same idea different 'players'. It's a certain immaturity that permeates his posts - that gotcha attitude.

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    2. And Ron thereby reveals himself as someone who hasn't actually read my books!

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    3. You sound like the meraglim- let us decide what is best for klal yisoel, they said, not heeding G-d's words. And so that whole generation perished. Following a false line falsely can only bring catastrophe.

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    4. Ron, as someone who has read his books, I don't agree with your description at all.

      On the contrary, his books are great...I wish the blog featured more of that, and less of this RCK stuff.

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    5. @Baal Ha Boss while I have yet to read Rabbi Slifkin's books, I hope to be able to in the future, and I second your motion - I really enjoy Rabbi Slifkin's posts on animals.

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    6. I have read a few of his books. While I enjoy his study on animals, I think it is important to review RCKs’ leadership in the ensuing crisis, sons not to repeat it.

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  18. @Ron Contrary, but to the surprise of many, RDNS does not hold any contempt for Chazal or charedi community. A careful reading of his books [and blog] proves this. I do not have the time to do so. You can actually read his books and see for yourself.
    Have a nice day.

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  19. A few decades ago, a famous Chassidic Rebbe took a son in law who completed Shas even though he was (gasp!) cleanshaven. The Rebbe explained, the missing beard can be remedied in only a few weeks, but a bearded fellow without Shas will take a looong time to get that straight. R Finkel is thinking that RCK's Torah knowledge puts him ahead of everyone else for candidacy in the Sanhedrin.

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    1. I think that this is where your ignorance of secular knowledge becomes obvious to all.
      All valued knowledge takes time to acquire and all skills take practice and experience.
      Just that some people don't value things they are not familiar with.
      I think the Lubavitcher Rebbe had a story about that, no? Two guys with rocks on their backs...

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    2. One man carries rocks for a livelihood. Give him emeralds, and all he sees is more rocks.

      Another carries diamonds with devotion and care. Give him the emeralds, and he exclaims, “What beauty is here!”

      Only one who values his own heritage is able to appreciate the beauty that others hold.

      from a letter to Rabbi Jonathan Sacks in his youth.

      from here: https://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/9128/jewish/Diamonds-and-Emeralds.htm

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  20. Natan, I have actually read many of your book. The earlier ones as well as the more recent ones.
    You have completely lost your moral compass. It's as if the instinct of attack so predominantly displayed in the animals you have studied all your life, have prevailed over your more humanistic side.

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  21. https://www.timesofisrael.com/qa-how-did-israel-keep-its-death-toll-so-low-and-does-it-now-risk-a-new-spike/
    https://www.timesofisrael.com/its-not-over-and-uncertainty-abounds-but-israels-covid-19-stats-are-stunning/

    The usual YA

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  22. One of the ironies of the speech is that Rav Eliezer Yehudah Finkel זצ"ל related that Rav Chaim Ozer זצ"ל told him to stay in Europe. He said, "Thank God I disobeyed him!".

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  23. Until NS presents a coherent philosophy that actually aligns itself to rationality, and ties himself to an existing set of Jews who follow it, he's merely bashing his opposition. And the more he bashes, the less they care.

    Don't tell me "his books." His books contains a mangle of opinions cherry-picked over centuries that do not necessarily tie together coherently. Are you really going to argue his torah m'sinai hypothesis that he has in his Creation book?

    More pointedly: If you took his completed work(s) and presented them to any one of the people who he actually quoted, would they agree with the sum of the parts?

    Don't talk to me about haskamot, because that would be a complete sham.

    NS's religion isn't any more RATIONAL than R'CK. Disprove my statement.

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    1. Are you suggesting that RCK's views are more rational than RDNS?

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    2. That was... a strange accusation. While I have no idea how Rambam or any of the other medieval rabbanim would react to the very idea of dinosaurs or the Red Shift or carbon dating or glacial coring or the presence of llamas, hippos, peccaries, and other animals with one kosher sign, or knowledge of zoological taxonomy and the lack of true evidence for cryptozoological species or a real olive or an actual elephant or anything else discussed in RNS's books, but they appeared to me to be rather consistent and uniform. A mangle of cherry-picked opinions? Sure, they are opinions that modern "traditional" yeshivish folk are unfamiliar with or have understood differently, but they are generally the same group of commentators. Not that that matters anyway - have you ever been to a shiur? EVER? Maggidei shiur always "cherry pick" random comments and peirushim to help their pilpul fit together. Have you never heard a line similar to "and with the interpretation of Rabbi YYY we can now understand the contradiction in the Tosfos" or some such.

      Disagree if you like, but don't make things up.

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  24. To me, the big question is: if it turns out in the end that severe Corona restrictions did not save any more lives than light restrictions (factoring in deaths caused by severe restrictions,e.g. suicide, etc.), will RDNS publicly apologize for accusing R'CK of causing deaths? Or will he just move on to the next topic, like Leftists tend to do when proven dead wrong?

    Andy

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    1. Turns out that the severe Corona restrictions have so far saved thousands of lives, even when you factor in other deaths that were prevented or caused by the restrictions.

      Take a look at the graphs at this page which compare average number of deaths in April compared to deaths in 2020, turns out that almost all the countries that did not implement early sever lockdowns had significantly more deaths in 2020 compared to previous years.

      https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/04/21/world/coronavirus-missing-deaths.html

      Feel free to publicly apologize to RDNS whenever convenient, or will you just move on to the next topic like Anonymous commentators do when proven dead wrong

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    2. I accuse RDNS of being too quick to publicly attack R'CK with the charge of causing deaths. None of us knows what the ultimate outcome will be as regards whether severe restrictions save lives.

      Such a serious and vicious public attack, stated with such complete certitude so early on, was wholly irresponsible, regardless of the ultimate outcome. I therefore stand by this criticism, regardless of the ultimate outcome.

      And I think if RDNS ends up being wrong, he should publicly apologize.

      So I did not just move on to the next topic; and my name really is Andy :-)

      Andy

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    3. One more point: I just saw some relatively recent articles that talk about the terrifying possibility that deaths from hunger, as a result of economic disaster brought on by severe Corona virus restrictions, might kill more people than the Corona virus itself.

      I fully admit that I don't know if this will come to pass (I hope not!). But how can you be so sure that it will not??

      Andy


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    4. First of all, the results are already in. Bnei Brak suffered worse infection rates than anywhere else.
      Second of all, even if by some miracle that hadn't happened, RCK would STILL have been wrong to go against medical experts. The obligation to follow medical experts is not because they are definitely correct; it's because they are most likely to be correct.

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    5. So you see the future, and you know that a second round of Corona won't cause more deaths to groups that didn't gain herd immunity in the first round.

      And you see the future, so you know that severe restrictions won't end up causing more deaths than they save, due to hunger brought on by a destroyed economy, suicide, overdose, etc.

      Because you would need clairvoyant powers in both areas in order to responsibly state right now that someone caused deaths by not implementing severe restrictions fast enough.

      You write of over-confidence in rabbis' decisions. One can also be over-confident in the current opinion of epidomologists and decisions of public policy makers.

      Andy

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    6. Please avoid the straw men. I was silent about whether severe restrictions should have been implemented. My family and I have followed them to a tee. (I am thank G-d one of the fortunate ones who didn't lose his income.)

      My comments were focused on one issue only: whether it's fair/ responsible to announce to the world right now that someone who delayed in implementing severe restrictions caused deaths; a charge that is among the worst things that you can say about another human being.

      I ask you to respond to this specifically; no straw, please.

      Andy

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    7. "And you see the future, so you know that severe restrictions won't end up causing more deaths than they save, due to hunger brought on by a destroyed economy, suicide, overdose, etc."

      Don't pretend that Rav Chaim's position was based on that. It was based on what he said: A belief that yeshivos protect from contagious diseases.

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    8. More straw. I never pretended to know what R'Chaim's position was based on; I haven't spoken to him, and don't trust many who say they did.

      Please focus: was it fair/ responsible to accuse R' Chaim of causing deaths by delaying the implementation of severe restrictions? I.e., do you know beyond a reasonable doubt right now that severe restrictions won't bring on as many or more deaths through lack of herd immunity, or hunger, suicide, etc. due to a destroyed economy?

      That's a YES, or a NO.

      If the answer is no, wouldn't apologizing be the right thing to?

      Andy

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    9. Huh? Rav Chaim said explicitly what his position was based on.
      "Was it fair/ responsible to accuse R' Chaim of causing deaths by delaying the implementation of severe restrictions?" Yes, absolutely. No, I don't think that more lives in Bnei Brak would have been lost had the yeshivos been closed.

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    10. Subtle. You switch to the present and the past, while the future is the great unknown.

      So you can predict the FUTURE effects of herd immunity, and the FUTURE effects of a destroyed economy on hunger, suicides, overdoses, etc., and you therefore were correct in accusing R' Chaim of causing deaths. Correct?

      Interesting that you limit yourself to Bnei Brak. This is a worldwide pandemic and a global economy; what happens in each place affects the whole world. Is it fair to accuse someone of "causing deaths" in one place, if his actions might IN THE FUTURE end up saving just as many in a global sense? Shouldn't you at least clarify that, e.g."delaying severe restrictions caused deaths in Bnei Brak; but in the long term, in a global sense, it might end up saving as many or more than it killed".

      Wouldn't that be a much more truthful statement?

      Andy

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    11. So, you criticize Chareidim for ignoring factors that don't fit their narrative. Then you publicly accuse a man of causing deaths; and when confronted with future factors that might cause his actions to end up saving as many or more than they killed, you focus the discussion only on what's already happened. What's already happened might be a very small part of this huge Corona puzzle.

      But I've been guilty of the same thing. I guess all of us---Chareidim, you, me, all human beings---we're all guilty of cognitive dissonance.

      Andy

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    12. https://www.yahoo.com/news/no-spike-coronavirus-places-reopening-132442853.html?guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly9tLmZhY2Vib29rLmNvbS8&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAAD3GTQcx0TRJjRVQf2bUwbh_cyazi8R21Rff22NHFHbWI3gM2b0gOnyEF67GrDe9yJSVBAltTuGHL_pVhJ0wZjc_2AkU7EK_XuXOeFJXV0FiVS8x4OD_kiCFRLNUmhVQo-qni5GdYcZtdFLzH-pi2uQJ1oLQQ2cvUS_vZ0PQYCiq

      The usual YA

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  25. For those of you who like to keep coming back to Orthodox rabbis in Europe during the 1930s who told people to stay: it wasn't only Orthodox rabbis. Just about EVERY Jewish leader of every stripe was urging Jews to stay. Jabotinsky was screaming for Jews to get out while they could; but he was marginalized as an extremist.

    And even Jabotinsky was no no clairvoyant; he thought that the Jews could make some kind of alliance with the Nazis.

    Andy

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    1. The difference is there is nobody today who lives their life predicated on the notion that leaders of Zionist youth groups and Yiddish cultural organizations speak with divine authority that must be obeyed;. The same can't be said for chareidim and their rebbeim. So if they are going to make a claim of daas Torah, it is perfectly reasonable to point to its evident failures.

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    2. But plenty of people live their lives today based on blind faith adherence to Marx/ egalitarianism/ equality of outcomes. And this blind faith has caused the deaths, economic disaster, and misery of hundreds of millions.

      So even many who abhor concepts of Daas Torah, and claim rationalism and scientific rectitude, have fallen into grave error. This is a human problem, not just an issue for one group.

      Andy



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  26. Why I hate this blogMay 13, 2020 at 12:19 PM

    The context of Rav Finkel's comments was determining the aveirah for which corona was visited upon them. Rav Chaim is indeed very qualified for such a determination based on his immersion in Torah and not being influenced by secular ideals.

    In terms of being on the Sanhedrin, don't worry. If need be he'll study the little bit of general knowledge needed and he'll be on it, likely as the head of it by majority vote. You, on the other hand, won't be anywhere near it. Get busy.

    A certain great YU Posek once paskened for people that they can have Listerine thins on Yom Kippur, and realized his mistake after Yom Kippur, when he actually tasted it. People ate on Yom Kippur because he relied on information from someone else. No one disqualified him as a highly competent Posek. He erred; that's all. No woe to the community blah blah idiocy.



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    1. can you spot the difference between a one-off and a pattern of behavior?

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    2. "In terms of being on the Sanhedrin, don't worry. If need be he'll study the little bit of general knowledge needed and he'll be on it, likely as the head of it by majority vote."

      But that's not what the RY said. He implied that RCK is qualified to be on the Sanhedrin because he's disconnected from the world. I am also not sure whether
      a "little bit of general knowledge" is what's needed. (But these gaonim can learn in hours what the rest of us "geniuses" takes months.)

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    3. In spiritual matters, intent carries some weight - so many people may have been "oveir" fasting on Yom Kippur by accident. Their souls would not be so punished as it was in good faith.

      In physical matters, intent can go poke itself in the eye. People get sick and people die, and saying it was an accident does not help.

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    4. Everything he said was wrong. Look, if you hate this blog so much, why are you here? You know, you don't have to be here.

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    5. The Gra famously said that if one is ignorant of the sciences, his resulting ignorance of the Torah will be 100 times that.

      Someone please reconcile that assertion of the greatest scholar of the past 300 years with Rabbi Finkel's contention.

      And don't you have to know 70 languages to serve on the Sanhedrin, so that you can hear testimony in any language and understand it, instead of relying on translators? If so, how would any rabbi of the past 1000 years serve, seeing as they know only Hebrew, Aramaic, Arabic, Yiddish and Yeshivish?

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    6. ושידעו ברוב הלשונות כדי שלא תהא סנהדרין שומעת מפי התורגמן
      Rambam. But see source for the full context & see esp. כסף משנה & לחם משנה

      I'm sure there are plenty of rabbi who know four or five languages. I suppose today Hebrew, English, Russian & French would suffice. Maybe Yiddish too, but there are probably very few Yiddish speakers who can't another language.

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  27. Just see the opening chapters of Acts and you'll quickly agree that, at the end of Bayit Sheni, Jews lived all over the place, and spoke many languages. It wasn't just Hebrew and Aramaic. Many spoke Greek. A few, living in Rome, spoke Latin. Thus you'd have to admit that Sanhedrin members needed to know those as well. At this point, the only living people who could serve on the reconstituted Sanhedrin, language fluency-wise, are Popes.

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  28. And it's unusual to find a Torah scholar today who can fluently speak Hebrew, English, Russian and French. That might describe a Chabad guy raised in France, learning Hebrew from the Israelis there, spending time in 770, then getting posted to Moscow. But that's rare indeed, agreed?

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  29. I just read an interesting essay by a very well respected Chabad rabbi! Surprising as this may sound to some, I agree with everything this rabbi wrote!

    For example, the rabbi is a fan of Rabbi Abraham-Yitzhak ha-Cohen Kook. As it turns out, and as you will note if you read my comments, I too am a fan of Rabbi Kook and Rabbi Kook’s teachings. For example, Rav Kook taught — and this the relevant part — that:

    “As long as Orthodoxy maintains stubbornly; ‘No we shall concern ourselves only with the study of Talmud and the legal codes. But not with aggadah, not ethics, not Kabbalah, not scientific research, not the knowledge of the world, and not Chassidism, it impoverishes itself. And against this I shall continue to wage battle.” (Igrot, Vol. 2, Letter 602).

    This is an amazing find because not only does Kook emphasize the importance of Torah study, halacha, mysticism, and ethics, but he also considered it of immense importance to do 'scientific research’ and to have secular ‘knowledge of the world'!

    If only Chassidim in general and RCK, in particular, read more of Rav Kook.

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