Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Oh No He Didn't...


Rav Chaim Kanievsky is back in the news. A grandson, Rav Yitzchak Koldotzki, relayed the view of the "Sar HaTorah" about reopening the yeshivos. Rav Chaim said that every effort must be made to reopen them. He added that this must, of course, be in coordination with the Health Ministry. And then Rav Koldotzki added as follows:
"למרות שמגיעות אליו הידיעות שיש מאות נפטרים כאן בארץ, גם צעירים ללא בעיות רקע, בכל אופן אומר רבי חיים שבלי שיפתחו את מוסדות הלימוד אנו נמצאים בסכנה יותר גדולה, כי זה מה שמגן עלינו"
"Although the information has reached him that hundreds have passed away here in Israel, even young people with no prior health problems, nevertheless Rav Chaim said that if the yeshivos are not reopened we are in even greater danger, because this is what protects us."

After Bnei Brak had the highest rate of infection in the entire country, with tragic deaths of both old and young people, he is still claiming that yeshivos protect from coronavirus?!

I would like to reiterate that I don't think that Rav Chaim should be criticized. Based on how he appears in videos, it seems that one can judge him favorably and conclude that he is no longer in full possession of his faculties. What should be criticized is the society that nevertheless elevates him, and others like him, into oracles that should be followed on matter of great importance.

49 comments:

  1. Natan and his weekly RCK bashing charade continue....
    One can only explain this obsession as you describe RCK in your own words: "he is no longer in full possession of his faculties"
    One usually faults others with the very issue that plagues themselves.....
    Dozens have already pointed out the fallacy of this broken record bashing ritual. Natan seriously, has the virus infected your thinking or is just the cabin fever that has possessed you?

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    Replies
    1. Yochanan SteinbrennerMay 6, 2020 at 7:14 AM

      Hey Ron,

      If the yeshiva world is going to pitch slow and underhand, it's perfectly reasonable to swing at them.

      Delete
    2. Only in the today's age of gadol worship could a perfectly reasonable non-critique be read as a "bash." We've seen this before, and it isn't pretty.

      Oh, and look up the word "charade." I do not think it means what you think it means.

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    3. RNS : it might be interesting to assume that RCK has control of his mental capacities (as he made a siyum on kol hatorah kula before pesach), and that he knows all the gemorahs and rishonim that comment on תורה מגנא ומצלא, in which case perhaps you can discuss his shita and a possible explanation why he decides to close yeshivas when the danger passes a certain threshold and open otherwise. It might be beneficial for all of us

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    4. Did RNS get you all riled up Ron? IF RCK and his minions issue statements / commandments which will lead to their followers getting sick while also putting others, who are not RCK's or his minions' followers in danger, then RCK and his minions deserve all the criticism that RNS throws at them. Get it straight: RCK and his minions are NOT the experts on Corona; they are amateurs playing deadly games with other people's lives. The medical authorities are the experts here and no amount of Da'as Torah is going to change that. Your pathetic attack on RNS is oh so typical of the arrogance and ignorance of the Haredi set who puts their store in the amateur hour known as Da'as Torah. RNS is doing a public service in exposing the dangerous mind set of some Haredim who fall for this nonsense. It is the same dangerous mind set that forces some Haredim to live in poverty (while forcing their wives and children to come along on their ruinous journey). It also means that others have to pay for the Haredi lifestyle, while defending the country against our existential threats for a group of people (some Haredim) who disdain these actions. So if RNS did get you riled up all I can say is GOOD! You lack the logic and powers of reasoning to see how dangerous RCK and his minions' actions / statements are to the Haredim and Israel in general. Have a nice day.

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    5. "RNS : it might be interesting to assume that RCK has control of his mental capacities (as he made a siyum on kol hatorah kula before pesach), and that he knows all the gemorahs and rishonim that comment on תורה מגנא ומצלא, in which case perhaps you can discuss his shita and a possible explanation why he decides to close yeshivas when the danger passes a certain threshold and open otherwise. It might be beneficial for all of us."

      I can't think of any possible explanation, and I don't believe that one exists.

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    6. So how do you explain that he said what he said?

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    7. RDNS,

      "I can't think of any possible explanation, and I don't believe that one exists."

      you can't possibly be serious in assuming that because you can't think of an explanation, therefore it is "rational" to believe that none exists.
      you wouldn't know how to develop a cure for covid-19, and you couldn't even begin to articulate the mathematical problems that arise from quantum theory, yet you don't allow your lack of knowledge to convince yourself that covid-19 must be incurable, and quantum theory is bunk.
      the gap in scientific knowledge and understanding between yourself and virologist or a theoretical physicist is orders of magnitude less the gap in torah insight between yourself and someone such as RCK, so how can a rational person conclude that if you can't think of an explanation for something that RCK said, then it is reasonable to conclude that none exists?

      BTW, i am not taking a position on the actual issue, as it is likely that both you and the media that you rely upon, are poorly informed on RCK actual views. but assuming that you believe that you have access to his actual views, then the logic of your above sentence is astounding!

      a neighbor

      Delete
    8. "I can't think of any possible explanation, and I don't believe that one exists."
      So if you can't think of something and you don't believe something exists, so it ceases to exist?! What the...???!!!
      Natan, your 'rationalism' has become a religion where beliefs are it's core philosophy.

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    9. "So how do you explain that he said what he said? "

      Come on. Look at the videos.

      Delete
    10. OK what about r Gershon Edelstein? How do you explain his understanding of תורה מגנא ומצלא based on the gemorahs and rishonim? Is it impossible to hold Torah protects in a physical sense?

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    11. Allow me to clarify. What I meant was that I can't think of any way to reconcile saying that "yeshivos protect from coronavirus" and "yeshivos should close during severe coronavirus."

      Delete
    12. Ron just ask Rav Kaniefsky to stop making false statementst that are harmful to society. If he stops, Slifkin will have nothing to critique. Don't shoot the messenger. Address the issue.

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    13. It's hard to overstate the influence R' Yosef Dov Soloveitchik had over Yeshiva University, or the awe and respect he is accorded there.

      But after about fifty years of teaching there, he began to fade- physically and, more importantly, mentally. And so he quietly retired to his home in Boston.

      But by the time I started learning at YU, he had been gone for over five years. And everyone accepted this. "He should have a refuah shelema" (and, toward the end, "Hashem should have rachmanus on him") was appended to his name, but we all knew he wasn't well and not of sound mind. Students would go visit him, talk in learning with him, but never ask him questions. No one ever thought it "disrespectful" to mention this. Life is life.

      But we live in a perverse age. I remember how Benny Lau was attacked when, at the end of R' Ovadiah's life, he mentioned the Gemara about the death of R' Yehuda HaNasi.

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    14. Allow me to clarify. What I meant was that I can't think of any way to reconcile saying that "yeshivos protect from coronavirus" and "yeshivos should close during severe coronavirus."
      ...

      Have not seen the videos, but surely it means that when there is no shechiach hezeia torah protects

      Delete
  2. They turn them into Greek oracles, manipulating them or worse. RCK needs to retire and be replaced with someone who can actually handle the situation. The best time to reopen the yeshivos is when there is no coronavirus.

    I do not think that "cancelling yeshiva is more dangerous than coronavirus" because the world would be destroyed without constant Torah study. Rather, I prefer the approach of the Mishnah, (Ethics of the Fathers 1:18), where we find a statement which says: “On the basis of three things is the world sustained—on truth, justice, and peace.”

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  3. It's worth noting that general access to Rav Chaim himself was stopped as of March 12.

    https://vosizneias.com/2020/03/12/closed-home-of-rav-chaim-kanievsky-shlita/

    Presumably, that decision was made by his closest aides, so I wonder whether it is another example of their not REALLY believing that Torah protects, at least as it applies to Rav Chaim, who is not only their mentor, but source of power.

    I agree with Rabbi Slifkin that Rav Chaim is himself likely unaware of what is happening around him, as evidenced by the Dirshu Siyum, where he was clearly confused by his surroundings and was not even allowed to speak to the attendees, even to give a beracha. (Instead, something was read, supposedly in his name.)

    No, this is not about Rav Chaim, but about the scoundrels who surround him and use him.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Shinever once said that all gabboim have in them a chelek of Gaychazi. Just sayin.

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  4. Yes, RCK said that Torah protects from viruses. And in his world they do, and that's OK. And to his followers, what he says matters to them. Just like Scotty needs 30 minutes to restart the warp engines after they are turned off and cold. You can't just go from "zero to sixty" with antimatter; get it?? And he won't be able to beam up the landing party unless he drops the shields; because of the physics of it; see? Because that is the rule of thump in that universe, and every universe gets to have its Infield Fly Rule. #context

    And. That's. OK.

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    Replies
    1. Yeah I try framing it that way often. But the issue is that this is our life too. It effects us.

      Imagine waking up one day and everyone around you acts as if they live in Starfleet Command. And you're like common guys, the lights and cameras are cut. But they keep going. How long would you stay sane?

      Delete
  5. RCK is totally controlled by his handlers, one of his sons and a grandson.
    These two are enriching themselves by controlling all the funds they are soliciting from faithful followers all over the world.
    RCK has no clue what happens to these millions, all he has to do dispense brochos. The money flows in, whether these brochos come true or not (like in the case of Covid19). Nobody blames a nonagenarian for not being on the cutting edge of medical knowledge, but he is very guilty for misleading a large group of unsuspecting followers.

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  6. Rabbi Slifkin: Just FYI, there is a video circulating of Rav Edelstein explaining that Charedim are more vulnerable to Midas HaDin at this time because their sins are considered intentional, while sins of those who have not received a Torah education are unintentional, and they are considered Tinokos Shenishbu, al pi Chazon Ish. You will need to adjust your critique of Charedi hashkafa accordingly.

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    Replies
    1. So anyone who isn't a charedi hasn't received a Torah education? Interesting.

      Delete
    2. In the video Rav Edelstein explained his inestimable logic as follows: Twas brillig, and the slithy toves Did gyre and gimble in the wabe: All mimsy were the borogoves, And the mome raths outgrabe.

      “We need to open the yeshivos, my son!
      The laws that bite, the chukos that catch! Beware the Jubjub, and shun The frum bandersnatch!” He took his vorpal sword in hand; Long time the manxome foe he sought— So rested he by the Tumtum tree And stood awhile in thought. And, as in uffish thought he stood, The Rosh HaYeshiva, with eyes of flame, Came whiffling through the tulgey wood, And burbled as it came!

      And who can argue with thinking like that?

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    3. Toyvel the MaggidMay 6, 2020 at 10:41 AM

      זאָל מען הערן צו דעם וואָס דער גרויסער חזון איש האָט געזאָגט פון א מענטש מיט א נאַרישן גויאישן נאָמען?

      Delete
    4. I dont consider many chareidim to have a 'torah' education either. It mostly is no education at all. It is about time someone got to down to this fact and decided what a torah education really is.

      Delete
  7. Oh yes he did!
    @panto?
    @acrossthepond?

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  8. Rabbi Slifkin: Just FYI, there is a video circulating of Rav Edelstein explaining that Charedim are more vulnerable to Midas HaDin at this time because their 'sins' because they are actually better people who Hashem is machshiv, not like the rest of the people who (like you) Hakadosh Baruch Hu only considers to be like brute animals, barely worthy of consideration, al pi Chazon Ish. You will need to adjust your critique of Charedi hashkafa accordingly.

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    Replies
    1. Actually, neither my words, nor the message of R Edelstein imply anything of the sort. His message is actually exculpatory and asking Charedim for introspection. These responses here just prove my point: it really makes no difference what Charedim say, they will be mocked in any case. How sad!

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  9. How is it that all of the carbon-based life forms with finite existence are so bloody sure what the limitless god of creation has to say on the matter. Makes you wonder.

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  10. There something else totally wrong not mentioned by you or RCK and that it is the hand of hashem that is closing the yeshivot not the virus. What that means is that hashem sees something totally wrong with the yeshivot and would rather be closed. This is totally lost on RCK and his chareidim. I cant understand why he doesnt understand this. With chanuka where the Greeks took over the temple the meforshim explain that the Kohanim didnt do their work properly. The whole of t'nach works on this system. Hashem doesnt do things for no reason. He is behind this not the virus. So before yeshivot are opened they should take a long hard look at what is wrong with them and there is plenty. In a further post I will perhaps elaborate. I must add I consider this truly shocking that a godol does not seem to accept that the hand of hashem is behind this. The whole world seems to have forgotten that hashem exists and is behind everything and this is a wake up call for many things. Yes we hear all the time blame everyone else like internet or other things. No we are to blame no one else. This idea of self righteous has to stop once and for all . We including the gedolim are all to blame and doing tshuva doesnt mean the simple things like loshon hora but more fundamental things like the yeshivot have to be changed. Everything the coronavirus has 'touched' has to changed. There is something wrong with everything which I may elaborate on further. Until the chareidim wake up to this and I cant see that happening I see no end. And even if it does come expect the next plague.

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  11. Is HaGaon RCK a posek? He's a prolific author of many fine ספרים- none of them (as far as I can tell) are שו"ת. Those volumes of so called שו"ת that are issued in his name are put together by other hands. Those volumes (the four that I checked) clearly indicate that they are not to be taken הלכה למעשה and the answers are merely theoretical- perhaps even off-the-cuff immediate responses.

    When a big name RY recently praised RCK saying the gaon is fully immersed in Torah exclusively and has no "outside knowledge" and has "no connection to the material world or to matters of the world around him"- was he implicitly criticizing the community for relying on RCK for practical matters?

    None of this is RCK bashing. There have been many Gedolim who were not Poskim & not decisors of community policy.

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    Replies
    1. I heard that description of RCK in the name of his father-in-law, Rav Elyashiv, specifically as a warning against consulting him on general klal issues.

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    2. That's fascinating. Do you have a source for that?

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  12. I don't understand why it's all or nothing. Can't the yeshiva bochurim learn at home? Or in fixed chavrusos? And can't the maggidei shiurim record their shiurim? And answer questions by phone? (Chas veshalom that they should use Zoom and WhatsApp and the Internet yemach shemo.)
    Davka we're looking for the best way to share infection?
    Im ein daas ein torah.

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  13. RNS, you are misinterpreting his words and using your misunderstanding to try to make him sound foolish (sefiras ha'omer is a particularly bad time to be doing that i would think). He is not saying Torah directly protects people from getting sick. He is saying Torah is vitally important to the world.
    Just like so many are saying we can't just keep everyone locked at home to prevent the virus from spreading because there are so many other side effects (like crippling the economy), RCK is saying the same idea that the "spiritual economy" is greatly suffering by closing yeshivos and they now must be re-opened despite the cost we'll incur from the virus.
    It's so simple I don't know why you keep ignoring this and so many here keep drinking your kool-aid

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    Replies
    1. He did not say "because Torah is vitally important to the world." He said "because Torah protects us."

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    2. Can you please explain your reference to the Omer? Seriously.

      And you got some chutzpah talking about Kool-aid.

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    3. "Torah protects us" can mean a range of things, including that it's vitally important to the world - which if that is what he means, I assume you 100% agree this (although you may argue at what point the cost outweighs the benefit). Why assume it means protects from getting the virus? You're putting words in his mouth, then using those words to build your condescending criticism.

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    4. Come on. Look at the context. What did you think he meant, that it protects us from meteor strikes?

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    5. Raymond, you have a nice approach, but I don't think it works. I would have liked to say RNS was making the same mistake with RCK that a lot of people made with another well known personality - of taking him literally, rather than seriously. But I'm afraid most likely RCK does probably mean Torah protects literally, and not merely that it is important, as you suggest. It is an unfortunate false claim of the charedi world, developed (not invented) primarily as a PR response to issues with the army. No segment of society is perfect, and this is one of the charedi world's weak points.

      (The applicability to the coronavirus, and whether or not there is in fact any reason to close the yeshivas, and why the reaction was so way overblown, is another matter altogether.)

      Delete
    6. "Come on. Look at the context. What did you think he meant, that it protects us from meteor strikes?"
      No, not protects in that sense either. The chareidi worldview is that without Torah, the world does not run properly (or taken to the extreme - will cease to exist). There are several sources that express this idea, it can obviously be debated how literal to take these sources. But that is their belief and people like RCK take it very seriously. So much so that he feels the overall danger to the world without full Torah learning is worse than the danger of people dying from the virus. Again, you may disagree, but it's not as childish and foolish as you are making it out to be.
      If you can show me that he actually said that Torah protects from getting the virus, I will agree to your points. But until you have reasonable proof of such, you should at the very least be open to the possibility that he means it the way I'm saying it

      Delete
  14. His counterpart is back too:
    https://www.inn.co.il/News/News.aspx/436302

    "צריך להבין משהו, בארץ ובכל העולם יש חרדים שמתו מהמגיפה יותר מכולם. ה'חזון איש' אומר שמי שאינו חרדי, כשחוטאים זה שוגג, חרדי שחוטא זה מזיד. מידת הדין פוגעת יותר בחרדים", אמר ודבריו הובאו באתר 'כיכר השבת'.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Reb Yitzchok is Reb Chaim's son-in-law, not his grandson.

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  16. Rabbi Slifkin, you should show this to Dovid Kornreich -
    https://www.kikar.co.il/358656.html
    Its an article about how the death rate among israeli chareidim is 10 times the rest of the population.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Whether he is in “possession of all of his faculties” at this time or not, is an open empirical question—one to which we might never know the answer. While making a Siyum on the entire Torah might suggest that he is at least in possession of SOME of his faculties, it is not proof that he has social awareness. Those are two independent cognitive and neurological channels. To put all of the important decisions (including life and death) of a large community in Israel and the U.S. into the hands of someone for whom being "all there" cannot be independently confirmed, is at the heart of the leadership void of the Chareidi community. Add to that, that any information that he is fed to comment on is filtered inbound, adds to how the whole parsha is horrific.

    Furthermore, the optics of all of the posted photos and video clips showing RCK without any gloves or facemasks on him or his handlers being totally oblivious of social distancing, is quite telling. Do his relatives care about exercising the caution when being around a 92 year old person? One would think, right? Or do they feel that the precautions that almost all of Israel is taking right now are merely narishkeit? Or do they all feel that RCK and by extension, his inner circle, are totally immune from any risk?

    Also, Ephraim is spot on. He is not and was never a Posek. Let's just be content with viewing him as the "Masmid of Klal Yisrael", and Dayeinu.

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  18. That's a little bit under the belt - Just because someone disagrees with you doesn't mean he is not in possession of his faculties!

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  19. Wow, no fear of being mevazeh a talmid chochom.
    Although I often agree with many of your points, I still think zehirus is called for when discussing a velts talmid chochom, who devotes his life to the tzibbur.

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  20. You've said multiple times lately questioning if RCK has his full faculties or stating to fade.
    I understand that he's shielded from the day to day events and is often given biased info about what's going on. But on what are you basing your belief that his mind is going or gone?
    Can you supply some quote or video link? Thanks.

    ReplyDelete

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