Sunday, August 2, 2020

When Rabbis Speak "Heresy"

What does one do when a rabbi says or does something deeply religiously problematic?

In numerous videos, Rabbis Yosef Mizrachi and Yaron Reuven have made their approach clear. People should be alerted to the problem. The guilty rabbis should be denounced as heretics and as wicked resha'im. It should be declared that it is a mitzvah to hate them. One must not learn anything at all from them. They should be declared deserving of execution.

I'm involved in a campaign to get Mizrachi and Reuven de-platformed for this (along with Reuven repeatedly publicly endorsing Hitler's reasons for hating Jews). Which includes, especially, Reuven no longer being declared "a rabbi in good standing" with the RAA (Igud HaRabonim). But, as one person connected with the RAA argued to me, rabbis declaring other rabbis to be heretical is hardly new. Is there really something novel about what Mizrachi and Reuven are doing?

The answer is yes, what Mizrachi and Reuven are doing is indeed novel. And wrong. And dangerous. And while for those who are seeking to be tolerant of diverse approaches, "novel and wrong" is not necessarily enough reason to de-platform them, "dangerous" is (or should) most certainly be adequate reason.

Historically, there have been numerous cases of rabbis saying things that others considered deeply religiously problematic. Traditionally, however, the Jewish and rabbinic community generally looked at the Big Picture. Exactly how religiously problematic and dangerous is the doctrine? What is the net effect of this rabbi on Judaism? Depending on the answers to these questions, the offending statements or actions might be overlooked. And even if, after this analysis, the offensive statements are worth condemning, this too is done proportionately.

With Mizrachi and Reuven, on other hand, they go to a crazy extreme. If they don't like a statement that a rabbi has made, or an action of his, they don't just consider it wrong - they rate it as absolute heresy. And they say that this negates everything else about the rabbi. And that it turns him into a wicked a person who must be hated and rated as a rasha to the extent that they are declared deserving of violent punishment and execution.

Rambam introduced vastly more radical theology than the rabbis on the "blacklist," for which there was a good deal of opposition - and yet Ramban (who was vehemently opposed to parts of Rambam's theology) successfully convinced others to let it go. And one of the most zealous crusades in Jewish history, that of Rav Yaakov Emden against Rav Yonasan Eybeshutz (where the central charge is likely correct!) is not held up as a model to be emulated. The accomplishments of these "heretics" and their general benefit to the Jewish people means that their problematic statements are either to be proportionately criticized, disregarded as non-threatening, or even overlooked.

Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis is the Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom. This follows an immensely successful career as rabbi of several synagogues. He has created schools and community kollels and education programs that reached many thousands of people, along with the extraordinary "Shabbat UK" project.

Why do Mizrachi and Reuven condemn such an outstanding rabbinic leader as an evil heretic worthy of execution? Because he also said that while the Torah prohibits homosexuality, there should no bullying of LGBT+ people in Jewish schools, and worked with a pro-LGBT group to produce a guidance booklet for teens. Now, people might object to this and see it as a quasi-legitimization of Torah prohibitions. But when he explicitly states that these are nevertheless Torah prohibitions, is it really appropriate to denounce him as "a heretic, a hater of Torah, a cancer"?!

There's another justification that Reuven gives for his attacks on Rabbi Mirvis. In an interview about mental health, Rabbi Mirvis said that there should be no stigma about mental health challenges, and named several Biblical figures, such as King David, who suffered from them. Now, King David is revered as one of the greatest Jews in history. The normative approach of countless rabbinic authorities was to justify David's actions with Batsheva. Chazal explicitly stated that "anyone who thinks that King David sinned is making a mistake." And yet, Abarbanel says that David sinned grievously, with the crimes of murder and adultery!

Which is worse - having mental health challenges, or being an adulterer and murderer? Obviously, the latter. And yet, nobody declares Abarbanel to be a rasha and heretic whose every work must be destroyed. Why? Because, even for those who find his statements about King David to be deeply objectionable, the statements are not actual heresy. And they look at the Big Picture. Abarbanel is a respected authority who authored thousands of pages of commentary. You don't entirely negate him for a single problematic idea!

Rabbi Daniel Korobkin and Rabbi Efrem Goldberg are prominent rabbinic leaders of huge communities and are highly respected community rabbis. During their illustrious careers, Rabbi Korobkin had an interfaith dialogue session with an Imam, and Rabbi Goldberg invited a Christian motivational speaker. Sure, some might object to this. But according to Mizrachi and Reuven, it's not merely objectionable; it means that they are wicked heretics who deserve execution! And Rabbi Korobkin's session that was hosted and advertised by the RCA. Which according to Mizrachi and Reuven's logic, means that the RCA are also wicked heretics. It's endless!

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks was Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom for twenty years. He is the ambassador of the Jewish people to governments and leaders worldwide - and is astoundingly good at it. Anyone politically savvy knows how blessed our nation is to have such a gem. And the reach of his profound writings and lectures is incalculable. He is the author of over twenty bestselling works on Judaism, as well as translations of the siddur and machzorim.

Twenty years ago, one of his books included a radical claim that Judaism does not have a monopoly on spiritual truth. This was harshly opposed by certain rabbis, and Rabbi Sacks was summoned to a meeting with the Beis Din of my home town of Manchester. It so happens that this idea has more support in traditional Judaism than is commonly assumed, though Rabbi Sacks went far beyond any previous formulation. And Rabbi Sacks rewrote the offending passages in the subsequent edition. No other Orthodox rabbi in the world (with the exception of the Mexican lunatic Isaac Betech) sees fit to maintain a campaign against Rabbi Sacks, one of the most prestigious and impactful rabbis in the world, due to a few retracted paragraphs written twenty years ago. But for Mizrachi and Reuven, this minor aspect of his career is enough to repeatedly mock him and denounce him as an evil heretic who deserves to be stoned to death!

Another crime of both Rabbi Sacks and myself was to argue for a non-literal approach to Creation. But even the most zealous of the charedi Gedolim who condemned my work didn't come close to making the kind of statements about me that Mizrachi and Reuven make! Reuven seeks to justify his tirade against me by invoking Rav Elyashiv; but Rav Elyashiv didn't engage in the kind of speech that Reuven does! And with good reason - they knew that (A) these approaches were presented by distinguished rabbinic authorities in our history, and (B) at the end of the day, such approaches are not actual heresy, and certainly don't render their advocates as worthy of the death penalty!

And while the "crimes" of Rabbi Sacks and Rabbi Mirvis and Rabbi Korobkin and Rabbi Goldberg are a tiny aspect of their work, the crusading against such "heresy" isn't a small aspect of the Mizrachi/ Reuven approach. It's something that they push again and again and again as a fundamental religious duty. And just as these two are recent returnees of Judaism, with no real scholarly credentials, but claiming legitimacy as crusaders against evil, likewise they inspire other ignorant people to attain Jewish value by denouncing and hating others.

Still, even after all this, a person could argue that Mizrachi and Reuven should not be de-platformed. If we are saying that people should be tolerant of opinions to which they strongly object, then shouldn't we likewise be tolerant of Mizrachi and Reuven?

The answer to that is that Mizrachi and Reuven are not merely objectionable. They pose a clear and present danger to the community.

In the Mizrachi/Reuven approach, someone whom they have rated as a heretic is not merely declared to be treife; they speak about how the people must be actively hated and are liable for the death penalty. Mizrachi says that he would like to throw them head-first through a window. And anyone who defends and/or associates with these "heretics" is likewise to be hated and declared equally evil and worthy of violence and execution.

We've seen where this leads in Israel, where the overly heated rhetoric in the Ponovehz yeshivah led to pipe bombs and riots in the yeshivah, and the Rav Shmuel Auerbach feud led to an unstable individual breaking into an elderly rabbi's home and beating him up. And those incidents were due to an isolated area of disagreement; Mizrachi and Reuven are creating a whole religion based on hatred. Reuven's Tisha B'Av video, titled "Stop Hating Each Other," was mostly about why the 14 rabbis on Mizrachi's blacklist are reshaim that people have to hate!

Reuven is Mizrachi's protege, and takes his mentor's craziness even further. What's the next level of craziness going to be? It's not like the zealous rabbis of history, who were teaching their own small group of disciples. Mizrachi and Reuven share their incitement on YouTube and Facebook, reaching hundreds of thousands of people of all types, including the most unstable individuals. Mizrachi has already described, on more than one occasion, how certain followers of his would like to commit violence against those that he has targeted. Are we just waiting for it to happen? And then will we claim that we couldn't have seen it coming, that we couldn't have done anything about it?

The zealotry and violent rhetoric of Mizrachi and Reuven is not merely "just more rabbis squabbling." It's a dangerous usage of modern technology to spread a new approach to Judaism of mass-scale violent fantasies, delegitimization and incitement to violence. It must be stopped.


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62 comments:

  1. Well written. I do hope, that Reuven and Mizrachi lack the following to match their platform; a platform that I agree should be taken away.

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  2. On a side note do you know specifically to which mental health issues Rabbi Mirvis might have been referring to with regards to King David?

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    1. He probably got confused with King Saul, who certainly suffered mental health issues.

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    2. Both King Saul and David suffered mental health issues. But Saul suffered a lot more. And David was a murderer and adulterer, but he did asked for forgiveness.

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    3. 1 in 4 people suffer mental health issues according to the WHO. https://www.who.int/whr/2001/media_centre/press_release/en/

      I wonder if its increased over the years? Or always plagued humanity. I'd assume the latter.

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    4. I thought King David just feigned insanity while staying by Achish, the king of Gat. That way, they wouldn't suspect that he was the one who killed Goliath. Where do we see King David exhibiting mental illness?

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    5. By the way, the Gemara, in trying not to make David an adulterer, actually describes him as a rapist. Which is probably pretty close to the truth of the story.

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    6. I think your technically right, but does it matter? A crimes a crime.

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    7. Rabbi Natan...I wonder if you will get any of the Onesh for Lifnei Iver for your re

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    8. ..readers calling Dovid Hamelecg an adulterer and rapist.

      This blog is sinking into the mire

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    9. Baal Ha Boss, why don't you look up the Gemara?

      It's a simple halakhic question: If adultery was involved (as the Gemara assumes there was), then halakhically, David would be forbidden to marry Batsheva afterwards. Asur labaal, asur laboel. The Gemara answers that it was rape (which need not be of the "gun to the head" variety to be rape), and so it was OK for them to marry.

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    10. I learned that King Saul was bipolar and as we see from all the Tehillim he wrote, King David suffered from depression.

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  3. RNS I am interested in your view about:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yAK1EG9rpHM
    Do you think this is heresy (see Rambam Yesodei Hatorah 1:3)?

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  4. This is getting old fast. Instead of filing an old fashioned law suit, I read more and more this and I am getting to the point, I do not want to come to this site because I will read endless bellyaching. You do not need to deplatform or whatever. Sue them. get a legal injunction against them as well as compensation and be done with it. Maybe the next time I come over to this site, it will something interesting to read and not read about two idiots that make Judaism look foolish and backwards.

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    1. I have to agree. So many posts on one topic is veering close to obsession. Just let it go. If there's an actual physical danger, do what you can to prevent it and be careful, but otherwise this is devolving into heresy-hunting, which should be avoided. (Or you are cloaking it as heresy-hunting, but I'm not sure if that's better or worse.)

      Also, no one should be banned from anything. That's what the crazies are doing in the US now. Everything, so long as no one gets hurt, should be out there and open. That's freedom.

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    2. So do you wait until someone gets hurt, or do you try to prevent someone from getting hurt?

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    3. You don't prevent people from getting hurt by trying to shut people up. Just the opposite, in fact.

      Little known fact: Many Nazis were locked up for "incitement" and "hate crimes" in the 1920's. They used it to turn themselves into martyrs and further their cause.

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  5. I agree with you in principle and practice. I'm illiberal in my opposition to bigots.

    I do have to say that:-

    (A) your rose tinted vision of the past is ahistorical. For example:

    1) the Eybeshutz-Emden controversy - a career ending fight over the correct interpretation of some komeias (even if he was right!). In fact, Rav Emden's Megilas Sefer is a fascinating chronicle of endless offence taking, back stabbing, politicing, and scheming.
    2) the Satmar Rebbe on Rav Kook - "ish tzar va'oyev." He saw him as a kind of anti-Christ incarnate, and blamed him for the Holocaust. The Satmar Rebbe also had politically motivated bruising (literally) encounters with Rav Moshe Feinstein.
    3) Rav Shach on Rav YB Soloveitchik (threatens the Jewish nation representing a decisive schism between Haredi and MO Judiasm), Rav Steinsaltz (ein tocho k'boro), the Lubavitcher Rebbe attempted complete cherem)
    4) The London eruv, where one respected Rabbi accused an individual who used the Eruv of being a mechallel shabbos b'farhesya and rejected his candidateship for being an Ed at a chuppa.
    5) The Vilna Gaon vs the Baal HaTanya. Complete Cherem, no quarter given.
    6) The various fights of the Netziv against his father in law's family regarding Volozhin yeshiva (mainly over money).
    7) The various fights between scions in Ponovezh yeshiva (mainly over money).
    8) The... significant controversy... over Gateshead yeshiva in the mid 1980s (mainly over money).

    etc. etc.

    (B) based on past experience, I don't trust your personal judgement about what you consider beyond the pale.

    For example, I fear you would accuse me of being an existential threat and an enemy of the Jewish people for holding the view that not every single one of the 183 Palestinian fatalities occurring on the Gaza border with Israel during the 2018 and 2019 protests was entirely necessary and justifiable, or that civilian settlement in hostile areas diminishes Israel's security.

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    1. I don't think RNS would accuse you of anything. I do think your thinking is flawed. Palestinian terrorists should not be treaded fairly nor subjected to the Geneva code. They are terrorist and they deserve whatever they get. 

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    2. You know for sure all 183 were terrorist. That's a... maximalist claim.

      I know different. One, for example, was a wannabe nurse hit by accident. Accidents happen in war - I make allowances for this. The shocking thing is that this lethal accident happened when an inhumane incompetent authorised the use of a sniper rifle as a non lethal crowd control weapon, aimed at the ankles of some guy in an orange shirt who wasn't posing a threat ostensibly for the sole purpose of pour encourager les autres.

      You can look at https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/30/reader-center/gaza-medic-israel-shooting-video-investigation.html if you want the truth, or Mishlei 26:4 if you don't.

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    3. That's funny. Using "my times" and "truth" in the same sentence.

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    4. Yes, Yechiel, you are right. Literally everything in the NY Times isn't true, including the video, the pictures, the social media posts, and the various changing reports from the Dover Tzahal. That's a real gotcha, Yechiel, and you can now carry on with life with an untroubled and serene conscience, entirely sure that the young woman wasn't clearly wearing medical regalia, and was actually a heavily armed terrorist who was about to take a life. Heck, despite the evidence, she was truthfully a man wearing body armour and a balaclava and wielding a great big weapon.

      Mishlei 26:4 beckons.

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    5. "The Vilna Gaon vs the Baal HaTanya."
      The Vilna Gaon's cherem was against all chassidim. The cherem was administered in 1772 or 1777, while the Tanya was first printed in 1797. Chabad wasn't really a distinct stream of Chassidic thought yet when the cherem was issued.

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    6. Good thing you weren't around during World War II. Do you know how many times the Allies messed up or even deliberately killed innocent civilians? War isn't pretty.

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    7. Yehuda P: What I'm really getting at is the absolute refusal of the Gaon to even meet with the Ba'al Hatanya.

      Nachum:

      I'm glad you didn't set the bar at "at least we are better than the Nazis" but implicit in your point is the suggestion that the WW2 Allies were unimpeachable, or at least set the highest possible attainable moral standard.

      I wasn't around during WW2, but Winston Churchill was. Churchill was sickened by the RAF bombing of Dresden, which he described in a memo to his air force chiefs banning any further raids as "mere acts of terror and wanton destruction" British POWs brought in to help describe that among the adult civillians, hundreds of young children and babies were either roasted or asphyxiated to death in underground bomb shelters surrounded by flame. Churchill didn't say "War isn't pretty". (Stalin would have). When he saw something that was not right, he corrected it. He didn't assume that all the inhumanity was inevitable. By way of context, at this point, British armed forces were taking around 500 + casualties per day pushing into Germany in Operation Veritable. And yet he intervened.

      Israel can do better than Dresden, and I will say without qualification that Israel does do so much better than Dresden.

      But is better than Dresden enough?

      Even without the benefit of hindsight, is the specifically Israeli tactic of shooting at people's ankles wise and proportionate? Literally no other country polices riots this way. An example of Israeli "yiddisher kopf" creative ingenuity that no other country has thought of; or of crude brutality which no other country stoops to?

      Maybe we could do better? How do you know a priori that this is the best possible outcome achievable? At least be open minded enough to hear the question!

      I wish committed Zionists took their heads out of the sand without reflexively challenging the good faith and genuine concern of people like myself who raise these issues. We aren't traitors, we don't support terrorism, we simply genuinely care about unnecessary suffering.

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    8. My point is that they *happened*.

      You do know, by the way, that most of the stories about Dresden were Nazi propaganda, right?

      You know what happened after Dresden? Hiroshima and Nagasaki. You know what else happened? Allied mass shootings of concentration camp guards.

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    9. Nachum: you exculpate every murderer and rapist, every antisemite, from the Egyptian Pharoah onwards to Hamas today. It just happened.

      I assume adult humans have moral agency for their behaviour, and I apply that standard consistently.

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  6. Rabbi Mirvis has been condemned by Rabbi Sternbuch (also an English rabbi). Why are you straddling the fence on this. Give us your opinion on this. Do you also think our ovos had mental problems?

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    1. Fascinatingly, even R. Sternbuch - a great zealot who has denounced Rambam's approach as heresy - only said that R. Mirvis is no longer "part of the charedi community" and did not go as far as calling him a heretic.

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    2. Did the Avos have mental health challenges? I have no idea, I never met them. I don't see why it is a priori out of the question. People have all kinds of health challenges in life, why would the Avos be immune?

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    3. So R Sternbuch would also call you no longer part of the chareidi community, not that you or rabbi mirvis ever were. And not being part to R Sternbuch equals being a heretic.
      The question is not that. Maybe they had health challenges at some time, but anything written in the torah or midrash about them cannot be contributed to that.

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    4. Because our torah is not a story or history book but a text book. We are here to learn from it. Everything mentioned that they ever did they did with perfect knowledge and reasoning. Like a hava amina in a gemoro is not a mistaken meaningless sevoro, even though it is considered wrong. For instance that the chaluzim left the women and girls alive they had reason for it and it wasnt just a mistake on their part. The same with everything in the torah. Nothing there is a foolish mistake from someone suffering from mental problems.

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    5. Well, that's an old machloket. My own rebbeim pointed out that as all of us are imperfect, it's very difficult for us to learn from perfect people. Far better that we see the Avot for what they were, human beings, and learn from that.

      Lots of people in the Torah make lots of foolish mistakes.

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    6. R. Sternbuch [said] ... is no longer "part of the charedi community"

      This is *huge*. When and where did he say this? AFAIR, rabbinic condemnations were always black and white in the sense that all Jews were obligated/expected to abide by them, bar none. Never did they concede that other Halachic factions might have a legitimate view. I think that with the rise of the computer this was forced upon R. Sternbuch, and might be a harbinger for the future.

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    7. Chaim... the entire Talmud is disagreement between our earliest sages on halachic issues.
      Judaism has gone very much off the rails since then, since as you demonstrate, the idea that one can allow other opinions to be considered has gone out of fashion in the orthodox world.

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    8. Neither R.Sternbuch or CR Mirvis are English.

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    9. The default of the stated opinion of a Talmudic authority is that it is binding on all until an opposing authority disagrees.

      For every time that rabbis do not accept anyone to disagree with them, they do accept it several times.

      Neither R.Sternbuch or CR Mirvis are English
      false

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    10. Incidentally both r shternbuch and mirvis are semi south African...

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  7. What a fantastic essay! Yes, Mizrachi and Reuven must be stopped. They are clearly fanatics and want-to-be-cult-leaders. They give Judaism a bad name. This is not what Judaism is about at all. I have written twice now to the RAA about it.

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  8. I think Rabbi Mirvis comments are foolish to say the least.
    He certainly is not a psychotherapist and he has no authority to say that.
    Any psychotherapist knows that you don't do a psychoanalysis without meeting and having consent from the individual.
    Tehilim was written with Ruach hakodesh which makes his analysis laughable.

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  9. Interstingly I learned about the existence of the rapper Wiley and Yaron Reuven both for the first time on the same day. I must be living under a rock.

    At any rate, See this article:
    https://forward.com/news/451636/mizrachi-reuven-death-threats/?gamp&__twitter_impression=true

    They're not rabbis. It's some kind of business.

    From the article it seems that niether mizrahi or reuven seem to have smicha. They're "former businessmen" who decided to "dedicate [their] lives to help others"...

    Basically They saw an opportunity to make a good cash as Internet preachers. They're laughing all the way to the bank. They wouldn't be noticed without the provocative hate. They have nothing else to offer to make them stand out. No scholarship, no communal achievements, no humanitarian achievement. Just bile. And it sells. And they're loving it! I don't understand how no one else sees this.

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    1. But they're both entertaining speakers--maybe because of these provocative statements.
      If I would try to give internet lectures, I would only get around two people to listen to me (how do I know? I started giving shiurim in my synagogue. How many attend? The same two people, all the time!)

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  10. I would take your fulminations more seriously if you hadn't previously called for Rabbi Shafran to de-platform himself.
    http://www.rationalistjudaism.com/2012/01/when-saying-sorry-is-not-enough.html

    Or referred to Adopt-A-Kollel as Adopt-A-Disaster.

    http://www.rationalistjudaism.com/2014/03/adopt-disaster.html

    Or railed against Modern Orthodoxy for having the nerve to donate to Chinuch Atzmai.

    http://www.rationalistjudaism.com/2016/09/modern-orthodoxy-fails-again.html

    Now you're appealing to which community, exactly, to throw out Rabbi Mizrachi? It's almost as if you're just an embittered ex-charedi who can't stop looking over his shoulder at the community he supposedly left behind.
    (It happens that I largely agree with you on this issue. But you're the worst possible messenger for this.)

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    1. I have the naive hope that people will have the maturity to evaluate this campaign based on its content - what Yaron Reuven is doing - rather than based on the person pointing it out. But you're correct, many people don't have the maturity to do that. It would certainly be better if it was someone else pointing it out. Alas, while many rabbis agree with me, most are too afraid to get involved.

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    2. Afraid? Wasn't it the Brisker Rav who said that a rav whose community doesn't want to get rid of him isn't a rav, and a rav who lets his community get rid of him isn't a man?

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  11. Would the rabbis who pashkevilled YM agree to do the same to YR?

    -----

    Which is worse - having mental health challenges, or being an adulterer and murderer? Obviously, the latter. And yet, nobody declares Abarbanel to be a rasha and heretic whose every work must be destroyed. Why? Because ....

    Without disagreeing in general with your point, I'm thinking we know that Abarbanel's comments aren't having lasting negative impact. Was it necessary to oppose them when they first appeared? We'd have to know the history of his time. Today I don't see opposition necessary, the Talmudic interpretation being popular enough. But if someone today would merely repeat (but emphatically) Abarbanel's view as if it was the main view, he would feel the heat. I know I'm coming close to "they could we can't", but by STORC we could!- and leading rabbis had done so just a few years earlier.

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  12. 1) Why was Dror Cassuto on the list? He seems a harmless Breslover rabbi. I would love to know what "kefira" he supposedly said.

    2) You thank Isaac Betech in your Camel Hare Hyrax book. Do you plan on removing that thanks?

    3)Excellent post. I just don't agree with deplatforming at all. It's a violation of freedom of speech. Even conspiracy screaming lunatics such as Yaron Reuven and Alex Jones deserve to have a platform.

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  13. Wow, an enormous amount of space is dedicated on this blog to denigrate Rabbi Mizrachi. Reading between the lines, the truthfulness of his message is what disturbs his critics, non of whom have actually listened to him.That's why the UK Chief vindictively approached the British authorities to try get him banned from entering the country. If Rabbi Mizrachi was not such a threat to peoples comfort they would simply ignore him.

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  14. Anti-semitic sites have no shortage of rabbies to quote to serve their purpose. Banning these 2 wont make much of a difference or at least this is what I think.

    Yakov.

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    1. Rabbi Slifkin is also concerned that one of the followers of Rabbi Mizrachi or Reuven will do something rash, like the person who murdered Rabbi Elazar Abuchatzeirah.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elazar_Abuhatzeira

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    2. I followed your link and nobody had agitated for the murder if the rabbi. Also, he isn't the best example of an innocent person, you know. Not sure where you see the connection.

      But yeah, if these 2 incte to murder then it's a legal issue, not a the one of censorship. The proper authorities should be put on the case.

      Yakov

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    3. "Anti-semitic sites have no shortage of rabbies to quote to serve their purpose"

      That is especially so considering they love to use fake quotes and even invent people no one has ever heard of.
      But yes, there are also many things they can quote from Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef ZT"L and others and twist them out of context to make it look as negative as possible. All as part of some mysterious secretive cabal that Yosef was supporting in order to harm white people because of our evolutionary programming. Right, Yakov?

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    4. @ student v

      I try to engage on substance, not sarcastic back and forth and I beleive that I'd made my views sufficiently clear. However, on account of these views being unconventional and initially difficult to comprehend, I'll repeat myself, but in somewhat different words.

      There is no smoke without fire and our history of persecution and umbicutous anti-semitism calls for self-examination. This is very simple and is no different that would be expected or recommended for any other nation or individual.

      Yakov.

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  15. "One must not learn anything at all from them. They should be declared deserving of execution."

    Uh you kind of lost me with that. "Deserving execution"??

    Am I missing something?


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    1. The paragraph begins
      "In numerous videos, Rabbis Yosef Mizrachi and Yaron Reuven have made their approach clear."
      You quoted THEIR approach, not RNS

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    2. These 2 grown men are saying that all of the 14 rabbis on their list should not be teaching anything and are deserving of execution

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  16. Shalom, Rabbi Slifkin.

    I have been reading your posts for quite a long time and I found them intellectually stimulating and enlightening. Still, I cannot but being bothered by the phrase "Mexican lunatic Isaac Betech". I know him personally for many years and he deserves respect, mine for sure, eventhough I do not agree with some of his ideas. That phrase was unnecessary. Keep up the good work.

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  17. Believing that our peoples greatest heroes and rabbis were perfect is dangerously close to Avodah Zara. only Hashem is perfect, only He is capable of perfection in all of the Uni/Multi/Verse.

    OF COURSE David Hamelech sinned, as did Moshe Rabbeinu! this does NOT make them any less great and worthy of looking up to. EVERYONE makes mistakes. every mortal being.

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  18. "In numerous videos, Rabbis Yosef Mizrachi and Yaron Reuven have made their approach clear. People should be alerted to the problem. The guilty rabbis should be denounced as heretics and as wicked resha'im. It should be declared that it is a mitzvah to hate them. One must not learn anything at all from them. They should be declared deserving of execution."

    R' Slifkin, this paragraph is written in a highly unclear manner. To someone who has been following this story on your blog, the correct meaning is decipherable, but the paragraph as written makes it sound like you are referring to Mizrachi and Reuven as the "guilty rabbis" and saying they should be denounced, hated, etc.

    Also, I might caution you against proudly describing your intentions toward Mizrachi/Reuven as "de-platforming". Obviously, their abhorrent rhetoric should be condemned and they should not be permitted to disseminate incitement to violence but, at least in the US, the notion of "de-platforming" has come to carry a highly negative connotation associated with suppression of legitimate free speech (most commonly by leftist activists against conservative speakers on college campuses).

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