Saturday, February 6, 2021

The Angst of Jonathan Rosenblum

Jonathan Rosenblum has penned a truly remarkable article in Mishpacha magazine. But first, some background.

It must be close to twenty-five years ago that I developed a relationship with Jonathan Rosenblum. Nosson Slifkin was a young, very idealistic yeshiva student, passionate about charedi ideology (which he believed to be The Right Derech) and greatly pained by the animosity towards the charedi community. I wrote an essay, explaining why nobody should resent the charedim for not serving in the IDF, which was well-received by many and which I later published in my unfortunate book of charedi ideology on the parasha, Second Focus. I decided to send it to Jonathan Rosenblum, the preeminent ambassador for the charedi world that I greatly respected, and we became friends. Over the following several years I enjoyed much hospitality at his home, both before and after I got married.

It was probably around the year 2000 that I started to have some misgivings about various aspects of the charedi community. I don't remember what they were, but I remember expressing this in a conversation to Jonathan. He agreed, but said that since the charedi community produced such towering figures as Rav Moshe Shapiro and Rav Aharon Feldman, it is vindicated.

And then, a few years later, my books were banned.

Like many people, Jonathan was devastated. As he put it to me, he woke up one day to find that his rebbe of many years considered his views heretical (for he too believed that the world is millions of years old, and did not believe in spontaneous generation). He told me at the time that he cancelled a lecture tour because he just didn't have the stomach to defend the charedi world. He went to great effort, behind the scenes, to try to reduce the harm that was being done, including urging Rav Aharon Feldman not to write his notorious article defending the ban. 

Unfortunately, our goals were not precisely aligned. Rosenblum's priority was to stop the harm being done to the charedi community, not the harm being done to Nosson Slifkin or his books' readers. He joined with certain members of the Kamenetzky family in urging me to print a partial apology in the Yated, as a tactical move in order to calm things down. Rosenblum was very angry with me for instead listening to my own rabbinic mentors, who advised me that it was not worth compromising my honor and integrity for what would probably be a futile endeavor anyway.

But what really caused me tremendous pain was when certain of my opponents gleefully shared a recording of a lecture that Rosenblum gave at the Discovery Institute (not Aish HaTorah's Discovery). He chose to take the Gedolim's side, explaining that the problem was that I refuse to listen to anyone (by which he was apparently referring to himself and the Kamenetzky family), and that I was arrogantly considering myself on a par with the Rambam (which was, of course, utterly false; the problem was that I was presenting Rambam's position). He also falsely claimed that the Gedolim were objecting to the "tone" of my books rather than the underlying positions, and that I had "easily and casually dispensed with" Chazal's supernatural knowledge of science, which he insisted they possessed.

I was utterly devastated by this betrayal of the truth and of our friendship. It was one of the worst moments of that entire horrible period. I sent Jonathan a letter, protesting this slander, which he didn't respond to. And that ended our relationship. Nevertheless, despite his publicly closing ranks with the Gedolim, Rosenblum had clearly been very, very disturbed by what had happened.

Over the years, Rosenblum's disillusionment with the charedi community became ever more apparent. He wrote a number of articles for Mishpacha magazine in which he put forth some incredible critiques of the charedi community. First he nailed a key problem with the charedi community that its insularism came at the cost of "a diminished Klal Yisrael consciousness." Then he compared mass kollel to toxic chemotherapy. Next, he called for wholesale reform in the charedi way of life vis-a-vis Torah study. In another article, he plainly stated that we all desperately need charedim to get academic education and professional employment. He reiterated the need for far-reaching change in another article, which he concluded by stating that the charedi community fortunately has Gedolim who are up to the challenge of making such reforms; I'm sure I cannot be the only one who felt that this obvious lip-service bordered on sarcasm. 

Not surprisingly, the charedi response to Covid has been particularly gut-wrenching for Rosenblum. In his latest article, Whatever Happened To Kiddush Hashem?, he expresses the great angst in which he now finds himself:

"It has been a very bad week for me. Over 40 years ago, my new wife and I joined the chareidi world. For 30 years, I have been a sometime spokesperson for that community, at least to the outside world. And suddenly, I find myself wondering whether I understand anything about the community, or at least a major swath of it, and its mindset."

The cause for his angst is, as he proceeds to describe, the utter contempt for the rest of society that certain elements of the charedi community have shown with their disregard for Covid restrictions and their hostility to those who attempt to impose them. He describes a range of phenomena, from the attacks on the police committed by a violent minority, to the all-too-familiar stories of charedim on airlines completely disregarding the instructions of the flight crew, this time with regard to refusing to wear masks.

Indeed, the generally appalling charedi response to Covid has been the cause of a tremendous crisis of identity for many people in the charedi world. I've received several communications from people in the heart of the charedi world who tell of their utter shock and dismay at the things that they see in their community, and how they are questioning their place in it. But especially telling is how Rosenblum says he dealt with his angst:

My only solace came when I mentioned how disoriented I'm feeling to my rav, a major talmid chacham and respected dayan, and he expressed the same feelings, despite having been raised from birth in the heart of the Israeli chareidi world.
How much of a comfort it is to see that major figures in the charedi world also realize that their society is broken? Sooner or later, will one of them be brave enough to publicly observe that the Emperor has no clothes?

Rosenbum sees the same fundamental and dangerous problems with charedi society that the rest of us see. He says that he wonders whether he understands anything about the community and its mindset; but one cannot but wonder if he problem is that he understands it all too well. I don't know whether he stays in the charedi world because he is too invested in it (especially with children and grandchildren in that world, it's not easy to leave), or because he still feels that, despite all its structural, deep, far-reaching problems, it is nevertheless the best place to be. Either way, it's a good thing that he stayed in it, because he is thereby able to write about such things in Mishpacha magazine.

 

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80 comments:

  1. Years ago, my son-in-law told me that the secret agenda of the Mishpacha magazine is to hollow out the charedi world from within by putting on a mask of frumkeit while showcasing secular and working people as admirable characters.
    I have come to agree with his suggestion and believe that articles like the one you discuss here are part of the "conspiracy," written as they are by "one of us." Whether Rav Rozenblum realizes he is being used as a Mishpacha kiruv" tool I don't know.

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    1. First off, a working person is not admirable? It depends on his life views and goals. If its all about making money, it's not admirable. If it is about supporting a family, that is a Torah ideal. Perhaps that is what you really meant, but it is always good to clarify things.

      Secondly, regarding the topic at hand, moving on in life is admirable. Holding a grudge forever and ever is not healthy. I admire those who wrote books that were met with controversy, yet who moved on and didn't get stuck. Moving on is a sign of a grownup who is spiritually and physically stable.

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    2. To be certain Mispacha may be more open minded. Which may explain the backlash in the form of Ami. But even in its heyday the Jewish Observer published articles by Norman Lamm and include pictures of women. (And if you looked very closely at the ads for a certain seltzer brand you'd see a not very modest pixie.)
      The point is that RJR and many people above a certain age remember when a good percentage of Chareidim were normal. Those Charedim I know/knew who were born 70-100 years ago often indicate to me their astonishment at the craziness of the younger generation. They taught me the word "fahrfrimt". None of them are/were Zionists or held college degrees. Their Charedi credentials are unimpeachable. But like RJR they look around & see a world that is foreign to them.

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  2. Worrying about chilul Hashem always seems hypocritical to me. Instead of the PR ramifications, what about the moral issue itself? Do we think something is wrong only because we cant hide it?

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    1. The rambam in Mitzvah #9, the mitzvah of קידוש ה׳, includes actions that are not otherwise remarkable, were they not coming from an אדם גדול. For instance, a big rabbi taking from a store and paying later, even though there is technically nothing wrong with it, will make a חילול ה׳ if done by a big rabbi.
      In this case, the "חילול ה׳" aspect should work even if the charedim think that COVID is nothing to worry about - if you are doing something that _everyone else_ thinks is a danger to society, even if they are wrong, you shouldn't do it because it will make a חילול ה׳. This is the claim.
      I shouldn't be coming from JR, because he (I assume) believes that COVID is actually dangerous, so he shouldn't be complaining about the חילול ה׳, rather about the widespread danger.
      But the truth is that it is *also* a חילול ה׳ - any עבירה done by someone who purports to be frum is an extra level of חילול ה׳.

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  3. Natan, I always wondered what your obsession with Mishpacha and Jonathan Rosenbloom was about. Disgraceful how you air your private vendettas in public. I don't see how this isn’t an open violation of forbidden speech.

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    1. How on earth is it "forbidden speech" to point out a *public* lecture which he gave (and put online), and to explain that his claims were slanderous, and to describe how I felt about that?
      (And might I add that most of my posts about him are not "airing a vendetta" but rather praising what he writes!

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  4. Rosenbloom was correct. Sometimes doing whats good for peace overrides being right. The fallout from this saga has been enormous and mostly not positive. It has lead to years and years of people airing their grievances on this blog openly violating the laws of prohibited speech. Nothing positive for Judaism has evolved besides anger and resentment at the religious community festering.

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    1. Well, you're assuming that people resenting the system of rabbinic authority in the charedi world is a bad thing.

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    2. Well said, Dovid, and sometimes doing what's good for peace simply allows the problem to get worse until it's intolerable.

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    3. So you're saying that the original banners of the book should have stayed quiet, right?

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    4. Nachum, he may have a point. Rav Steinsalz never wasted much time defending himself- he even offered people their money back. And then he went back to work. It's clear that he was victorious. Even those who learn from competing ש"ס translations should feel indebted to Rav Steinsalz.

      That being the case, it appears to me that Rabbi Slifkin has not been on the defensive in regards to his more recent books- כן ירבו.

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    5. @Ephraim, it's fantastic to hear from someone who describes himself (below) as an old timer. I'm not that old, but old enough to know that RNS's ideas were accepted within the Chareidi world till the ban. As to whether he should have reacted like RAS, RNS's work was different than those of say, RAS, RNK,RYYR & RAH, that those were providing new innovative informational/inspirational literature whose retraction would would bring us back to immediately previous to their banning, which, arguably, was a loss but not a terrible one. RNS's writing, on the other hand, was only the most recent part of an ongoing effort of reconcilliating Torah & science--an effort that the Kiruv world considered indispensable. It was the bread & butter of keeping many in the fold. Were he to recant, a whole category of potential Baalei Teshuvah would become inaccessible. And even more basically, he would confirm the lie that the views of some 30-40 Maatikei Shmuah were heretical, & afra l'fumeih were he to do that.

      To put it (i.e., part of the above) in other words, RNS tells us that he was able to opt out of the Chareidi camp because he was at a stage in life where he wasn't that heavily invested in it. Others who perhaps agreed with him were to heavily invested in the Chareidi camp to leave. Similarly, other banned authors weren't, in a certain sense, heavily invested in their works and knew that Orthodox Judaism would survive their retraction. Whereas RNS's work (as written by his predecessors) had the heavy investment of large swaths of Orthodox Judaism and there was no smooth way to disengage from it. Ultimately some sort of a disengagement did occur, but quite a costly one. (I'm thinking, by the way, that it would have been more costly had he recanted. But that's for another time.)

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  5. to be haredi , at least in Israel , you must drink the Koolaid....

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  6. You do realize that some Jews in the modern camp have the same exact reaction: They are questioning their place in the modern "educated" frum community when people in this community blindly follow public health experts who have been wrong -- over and over again, and with disastrous results -- during this pandemic.

    I personally have never seen so much irrationality in my life among so-called educated people, which makes me seriously question the effects of education on one's ability to think rationally and independently.

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    1. Please provide concrete examples. From what I've seen over the past 11 months, such claims boil down to one of the following:

      1) statements taken out of context
      2) misunderstanding of what was said
      3) outright lies on the part of the scoffer

      I'd love to read of examples that are explained some other way, such that there might be some validity to the claim of so-called skeptics.

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  7. I can’t comment (and I don’t think anyone else can either) about the actual relationship you had with JR as that was between you and him, however, putting that aside you are actually portraying him in a positive light. He feels for many likely reasons that overall chareidi Jewry is the best of the options yet he still doesn’t hesitate to share its shortcomings, which I’m sure the overwhelming majority (though often silent) of chareidim realize anyway. this way it’s more likely to effect change than attacking and writing on blogs.
    As to the issue of “tone” of your previous books I actually also heard this from one of the main players of the time. and tbh although I don’t know if it was your intention, there are parts of your writings that sound very dismissive of other views and that your approach is the only true approach. this negates others which causes people to lash out back.

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    1. "there are parts of your writings that sound very dismissive of other views and that your approach is the only true approach" I've heard this before and it's hilariously hypocritical. I'm the one freely acknowledging that my opponents' views exist, are legitimately sourced, and giving them voice. They are the ones claiming that the rationalist approach of the Rishonim is illegitimate and heretical and should not be mentioned.

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    2. Not to mention that the whole "tone" thing is a red herring, because most of the gedolim involved (including Rav Elyashiv) didn't read the books and were objecting to the very notion that Chazal could be mistaken in science, not the tone.

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    3. Don’t get me wrong I like and appreciate your material and im not denying the fact that you give them a voice but perhaps the way you write about their opinion gives it away.
      if you’ve heard it many times before did you ever try finding out why so many people say it.
      I can’t speak for R’ Eyashiv but I do know for a fact from one of the main Rabbis that were against your books that what bothered him was the way you wrote and disqualified the other approach.

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    4. No, Rabbi Slifkiin, your books were not rejected for the nonsensical straw man you constantly prop up. They were rejected because you present a silly and superficial face to the deepest ideas of the Torah and creation. No one bothers to explain this any more because you have shown yourself to ba a vindictive and dishonest person.

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    5. I'm not disputing that he said that, but it makes no sense. HE is the disqualifying the other approach, not me.

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    6. Waltet, you can choose to rationalize it however you want, but the Gedolim involved made their positions clear.

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    7. they claimed of torah learning you have is incredibly superficial (i know because you and i have conversed many times) and you were disagreeing with people who were (at the time, they are no lomger alive) the worlds greatest experts on this subject. that you didn't understand the rambam and were misrepresenting his views. tliving hat was apprently what JR small was trying to tell you as well. ittle amoun the minimum qualification to be entitled to an opinoin on what rambam trully means, is to be abne to relate everything that he wriets to his source in chazal, and to be able to reconcil the numerous apparent conioadictions in his writings. tyou lack these minimum qualifications, and therefore it is silly to pretend that you can disagree with men who are completely out of your league and do have these qualifications.

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    8. Certainly some of them would have creatively forced Rambam into their viewpoint; after all, there are always those who claim that Rambam was secretly a mekubal, etc. But Rav Elyashiv was perfectly honest that he was objecting to my accurately presenting the views of Rambam and others. "They could say it, we cannot."

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    9. lol yes rav moshe shapira had an amazing explanation of how his view fit with rambam and rabbeinu avraham ben harambam and everyone else, he just decided to keep it a secret and take it with him to the grave, even though half his talmidim were begging him to justify his position!

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    10. For the record, the Talmidim of Rav Moshe Shapira did not need to beg him to justify his position, as all those who know how to learn were able to discern the superficial and distorted views of Torah promulgated by Rabbi Slifkin in his books and other writings. The only reason they don't write of this publicly is because there would be no benefit - Rabbi Slifkin in the heat of his irrational and never-ending vendetta would take one or two poorly-worded sentences to mock and ridicule the author, his rebbeim, his friends, relatives and their pets on this site.

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    11. @RNS, I appreciate all of your material and I think you correctly identify the shortcomings of Charedi society. However, I do understand why people sense a dismissive tone. It's not just a fallacious boogyman. It's a sense you get from when you read or listen to someone; your disdain pours out of your words.

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    12. @Waltet, you're too funny. Rav Moshe Shapira called all his talmidim to his house one Motzai Shabbos because they were all bewildered as to his stance. He tried justifying it to them but was unsuccessful. Then he tried explaining it at a private shiur in London - a certain very famous talmid of his was there, and wanted to justify his position, but just couldn't make sense of it. Then his beloved talmud Reuven Schmelczer published Chaim B'Emunasam, attempting to justify his position, and it was a joke.
      The bottom line is that Rav Moshe's position required him to dismiss various Rishonim as forgeries, describe Rav Hirsch's approach as kefirah, and fail to confront the Rishonim and Acharonim on the sugya in Pesachim 94b.

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    13. @Big Mouth, I challenge you to identify any such sentence in my original books that were banned. And certainly there was nothing remotely as dismissive as there was in the language of the ban vis-a-vis the approach of Rambam and Rav Hirsch!

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    14. It’s been many years since I read your books and I unfortunately lost them in a move but I’ll be happy to provide you, either here or personal email examples of what people are talking about.
      I’m not supporting the ban but im sure you realize when people feel under attack they swing hard and say more than what they mean to balance the issue.
      think about it Rav Hirsch’s writings were never banned as well as Rabbi Aryeh Karmel who also wrote things contrary to their mehalech. They left alone Schroeder and Aviezer and many others who embarked on similar paths as you.
      It’s been a long time and most no longer care for whatever reason but I think the point is clear

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    15. Perhaps you just don't get it. We don't need Rav Moshe Shapira to explain why your ideas are far removed from Torah and G-d, not to mention common sense...

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    16. NS,

      "Rav Moshe Shapira called all his talmidim to his house one Motzai Shabbos because they were all bewildered as to his stance. He tried justifying it to them but was unsuccessful"

      now you have abandoned all semblance of rational debate, and entered the territory of bizarre conspiracy theories. R' moshe never called together all of his thousands of talmidim for anything, ever. In addition he did not publicly address why he felt what he felt about your writings. Inter alia it was evident to the majority of his talmidim why your writings were not consistent with his deep and profound understanding of the rambam
      .
      Sort of like a high school student who was certain that Einstein was mistaken about general relativity because of something that he had read in "the child's world encyclopedia". You wouldn't expect Einstein to debate him, or call together his grad students to defend his position.

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    17. "Rav Hirsch’s writings were never banned"
      That's because they weren't published in the first place! ArtScroll left them out of Shemesh Marpeh davka so as not to have it banned!

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    18. "I’m not supporting the ban but im sure you realize when people feel under attack they swing hard and say more than what they mean to balance the issue." Okay, fair enough. But I didn't delegitimize other viewpoints; I just explained why, rationally, they don't work. Which may be why they felt "under attack."

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    19. "R' moshe never called together all of his thousands of talmidim for anything"
      Not all of them, just some of his closest talmidim. I guess you never heard about it, because you're not one of them.

      "In addition he did not publicly address why he felt what he felt about your writings."
      Well, of course he wrote his famous letter, which was completely lacking in reasoning. Presumably he didn't give any public address explaining the reasoning because once he saw that even his talmidim didn't get it, he realized it would be futile.

      "Inter alia it was evident to the majority of his talmidim why your writings were not consistent with his deep and profound understanding of the rambam." Well, apparently not his talmidim who consulted with him and put forth his views in writing with his approval, such as Reuven Schmeltzer.

      If Einstein said something merely based on his authority, without being able to back it up or explain it in the face of numerous challenges, it would be rejected.

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    20. The fact that Natan responds to every anonymous poster on this blog to refute every indication of his tone being combative is proof enough that he indeed has a combative nature and engages in tone lacking refinement and respect. Ironic that this even needs to be pointed out.

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    21. Gosh, I just can't win. My opponents have no forum in which they open themselves up to questions and criticisms. I have a blog in which anyone can come, even anonymously, and present questions, challenges, criticisms, condemnations, and insults. But if I respond, then it shows that I have a problem in being disrespectfully combative!

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    22. To all the people claiming that R' Shapiro either didn't need to explain how he fits with the Rambam because it was so obvious - does this obvious explanation address Rabbeinu Avraham ben HaRambam? Or am I taking this claim more seriously than it deserves?

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    23. Haha, Yankel, you are either joking or a fool!

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    24. Rabbi Slifkin, Rav Hirschs’s books are readily available and open to being banned if people saw fit; yet for obvious reasons they didn’t. If you read his letters his approach and opinions are even clearer btw. Plus, Rabbi Karmel has plenty written as well as the others mentioned all of which were not banned, only simply told that’s not our mehalech. The point people are trying to say, and maybe the right people didn’t tell this to you decades ago is that even if you quote the other mehalech the way it was written and as you often continue to write has a dismissive tone which is taken to negate the other approach. Just read the other posts here from people that support you (including myself) and you see the way people see your work.

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    25. Natan, you and Trump always trying to "win". How about having some humility, concede that you love to argue and attack your opponents and those who espouse different beliefs than yourself.

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    26. @RNS, Im not referring to your books such as challenge and camel etc. I can't even find anything contraversial in them to be honest. I'm referring to your blog posts.

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    27. @CharediZionist, Rav Hirsch's letters on this topic were not even published in Shemesh Marpeh, because they were "problematic." Rav Carmell never wrote about Chazal being mistaken about science. Look, you are like many others who would like to think that I was banned for my "tone," but the Gedolim made it perfectly clear that they were objecting to the shittah itself.

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    28. @Yankel, if you think that I took any pleasure in falling out with Jonathan Rosenblum then you are out of your mind.

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    29. Rav Moshe's Talmidim worship the very ground he walked on in a rather obsessive manner.

      I know of one another Sugyah where he developed a most brilliant explanation of something that, actually, is a To'us Defus.

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    30. Let me try to clarify please. There’s no doubt they disagreed with your content. The question is why the ban. They don’t ban everything they disagree with. The answer is that If a Gadol complains about tone then the opposite what they want will happen; an approach they disagree with or don’t hold of will get more attention. Therefore they come out against what they don’t hold of but what caused the ban was the tone. Which is why many of them were open to an official “partial apology” on your part.

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    31. They ban things that are a threat.
      They made their positions very clear: the shittos are unacceptable.
      They weren't at all open to a "partial apology." The Kamenetzky family eventually realized that and stopped asking me to make one.

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    32. Natan you've deluded yourself. You prepared yourself for milchama before the ban came out. You told friends exactly how you were going to be "mechanech" the Gedolim. What arguments you would present etc.

      You didn't expect them to stonewall you and shut down your "chinuch" operation. You've said from day one and continue to insist that you "know better"

      Your whole attitude was bring it on I will teach the Gedolim.

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    33. You obviously know more about the partial apology than me so I’ll leave it at that.
      True, they ban things that are threats but again, it’s the tone of your books (subtly and not so subtly) negating their opinion which made it a threat so they banned. But you don’t ban tone, u ban the things you don’t hold of so they told everyone it’s unacceptable shitos (which is what they think). But I’m telling you, on behalf of at least one of the signatures, if it would have just been a book with your mehalech nothing would have happened.

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    34. "Charedi Zionist February 8, 2021 at 7:09 PM

      ... If a Gadol complains about tone then the opposite what they want will happen; an approach they disagree with or don’t hold of will get more attention. Therefore they come out against what they don’t hold of ...."

      That isn't correct. They contact the author privately and persuade him in a dignified manner what to do. Likely he will cooperate especially since they do it in a kindly and friendly manner, plus that they are authorities that he respects at that point. (That's what they did to LM, but that's another story.) They don't publicly humiliate him. They don't join hands and blend in with those screaming that it is indeed heresy.

      By the way, see here:
      http://www.zootorah.com/controversy/scienceresponse.html
      I may share with you an additional comment in the near future. Kt.

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    35. Do I know LM and Kt?
      I’ll say again I’m not supporting the ban or what I think imho what should have been done. I am simply sharing a definite piece of information I have from one of the signatories who complained about tone and clearly said that if it would’ve just been a book explaining alternate approaches nothing would have happened even if they believe it is either actually heretical or can lead to kefira (since a full rationalist would not believe in the Exodus or Har Sinai etc).
      When RNS concludes that other explanations are wrong, even if he writes that it’s acceptable since some authorities follow that approach the Gedolim took issue and everything broke loose.

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    36. "Do I know LM and Kt?"
      I have no idea neither who you are nor whether you know LM. He wrote a book that won't be republished. (Kt stands for Kol tuv.)

      Do you have an actual "in" with one of the signatories? Do you know which sentences were problematic? Can you find out? And is the signatory speaking for himself or telling you his estimation/understanding of the rabbinic consensus? In charge #4 of the linked page, RNS says that no one ever offered clarification of this. Maybe you can change that.

      Also do you mean that a book published by Feldheim may present actually heretical approaches alongside Orthodox ones as long as the tone is ok, i.e., that no problems with the Orthodox approaches are mentioned?

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    37. Sorry I’m bad with abbreviations though if he’s a famous person I’m very curious.
      Now to answer-
      I do have an in and I know which sentences/parts but it’s been around twenty years and would have to reread the book and by now this point is moot.
      He was speaking for himself and some of the others and it was his opinion that deep down that’s what really bothered some (not all) of the others.
      I can’t speak for feldheim but I think it’s safe to assume that if it’s definitely heretical they won’t publish if the tone is ok but as long as there are enough opinions that it’s not heretical they are fine with it (and should be). Tone is obviously not a clear cut definition as it can vary based on many factors, which probably explains their initial consent.

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    38. He's not famous.

      The point isn't moot. It's under the carpet. I wish I could motivate you to seek clarification. And there's always the possibility that after reconsideration the reason of the time isn't as valid as it had seemed. Or it is. I'd really want to know.

      But anyway since criticizing the tone wouldn't be effective they allowed a lie that it's heresy and were unaware that criticizing the tone was by far the lesser of the two evils ....

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    39. Charedi Zionist February 10, 2021 at 8:52 PM
      ... I know which sentences/parts ...."

      Finally. So now please שים כה נגד אחי ואחיך ויוכיחו בין שנינו.

      BTW I find parts of your comments unreadable. Which is especially a problem cause otherwise they're good. Do you skip periods and commas sometimes?

      Delete
    40. Thank you for the compliment and I’ll be more careful with commas.
      If and when I get the books again I’ll be happy to provide examples.

      Delete
  8. Perhaps they stay because of a corollary to:
    ‘Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.…’

    Winston S Churchill, 11 November 1947
    KT

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  9. There will come a time where the Charidim will eat their own in the political and religious circle,similar to that of the Reformation in Europe between Catholic Church and the Protestant. Who will wind? My bet is on Chabad because it appeals to people on the outside with acceptable Messianic thinking similar to Christainity...just for the Jews this time, all others go away and wait to be slaves when the Messiah comes back for another round.

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  10. Kol hakavod for Mishpacha for printing it. It would be nice if one of the benefits of Covid turns out to be people opening their eyes to the farce of Chareidiism. Unlikely though.

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  11. I too had a relationship with RJR which also lapsed. I feel sorry for him. He is a double thinker which Natan Sharansky aptly characterizes in many of his books. Double thinkers exist in all societies where uniformity of thought exists no less in Charedi society than in a communist one. It’s unfortunate that a person as bright as JM chose to live such a life.

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  12. I too had a relationship with RJR which also lapsed. I feel sorry for him. He is a double thinker which Natan Sharansky aptly characterizes in many of his books. Double thinkers exist in all societies where uniformity of thought exists no less in Charedi society than in a communist one. It’s unfortunate that a person as bright as JM chose to live such a life.

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  13. We will see who will have more Nachas from their children and grandchildren - you or Rabbi Rosenblum

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    Replies
    1. What on earth would that prove? Avraham Avinu didn't have solely nachas from his children and grandchildren!
      But I'll tell you this. My children and grandchildren won't ever have to be ashamed of me for being arrested for ordering someone to beat an old woman to death.

      Delete
  14. To the credit of Jonathan Rosenbloom, he doesn't resort to the underworld of the blogosphere universe to attack his opponents as Natan Slifkin does. The big difference is his refinement. Natan is more like Trump bashing and attacking his opponents. Jealousy is also a factor as Jonathan Rosenbloom has written some of the biggest bestsellers in the religious world. Books such as Rav Dessler and Rav Yaakov biographies.

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    Replies
    1. Right, he attacks people in the Yated and Cross-Currents. See, for example, his infamous attack on Dov Lipman, and inadequate apology.
      Incidentally, I didn't attack Rosenblum anywhere in this post.

      Delete
  15. Rabbi Slifkin's books, I like to think, were instrumental in keeping me "on the derech" in high school (late 90's). I started following this blog several years ago, as a happily married mother firmly ensconced in the moderate-right wing of the frum community. I did not always like what I saw. Tone is important, and the tone of some of the blog entries struck me as extremely arrogant, condescending, and sometimes vengeful. I still follow the blog; I have resolved to pick the wheat from the chaff, and value the message over the very human and imperfect messenger.

    That said, my thought process over the years has evolved to produce this: that while I may identify (at least inwardly) more with the MO approach to Torah than with the Chareidi approach, if my children were to stray from my path, I would rather they stray to the right than to the left (obviously with the caveat that extremism of any sort is unacceptable). Torah is truth, and flawed though it may be, the Chareidi system has been far more successful in preserving clarity about and devotion to that truth than the MO world. If that should begin to change, I may change my mind. But unfortunately, I don't see a path for that to happen.

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  16. One of the coldest pleasures is to be abused for telling the truth and watch those who damned you later repeat your words. I wish that you had not had the opportunity to experience this.

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    1. כִּי בְּרֹב חָכְמָה רָב כָּעַס וְיוֹסִיף דַּעַת יוֹסִיף מַכְאוֹב

      Delete
  17. I have to say that there is no shortage of angst on show. Whether it all pertains to Rabbi Rosenblum is another matter. Lockdown is psychologically hard, and old traumas have never been satisfactorily resolved.

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  18. The Lubovitcher Rebbi keeps winning and Eliezer Shach keeps losing, and losing bad...

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    Replies
    1. כותב בכנותFebruary 8, 2021 at 11:49 PM

      How did you reach that conclusion? And what does it have to do with this post?

      Rav Shach is not here any more, and his opinion is not relevant to us at all any more.
      But his job on the Lubavitcher Rebbe was his one great success. He made sure that his opinion became completely irrelevant. Now, there isn't any Charedi issue on which the LR's opinion can be quoted in any polite Charedi company. Go into Ger, Belz, Skver, Brisk, Lakewood, or any other Chareidi community and try and claim something in the name of the LR. You will be laughed out of the door. The Charedi parties never accepted his fuss about giving back land, the halachos that he invented (making Shavuos on a different date) are totally ignored in any Halachic discussion.
      The LR still exists, on the backs of busses in Israel, and in the fantasies of his shelichim. Besides that, Lubavitch is just another group of Jews, who are leaderless, and invent rituals to pretend they have a leader.
      The LR knew that most Gedolim of his time laughed at him. But his visceral hatred was reserved for Rav Shach, because he knew he was outmaneuvered over there. He tried to sneak himself into a leadership position in Israel for years, without even visiting there. But Rav Shach put a complete stop to that, BH.

      The dustbin of history will forget Lubavitch totally.

      Delete
  19. I'm sorry Rabbi Slifkin but some elements of this blog post violate forbidden speech.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What's with the useless and perhaps incorrect comments?

      Delete
  20. Jonathan Rosenblum didn't mean to disparage you in public. He did so because he was pressed into it, wrongly it may be.

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  21. Seems JR is still wearing the rose-colored glasses. He concludes:

    'Secondly, living in an insular community can also lead to forgetting that there are lots of other Jews out there to whom we are bound and for whom we bear responsibility. The chareidi passengers on the plane either forgot that or, worse, were never taught it in the first place.'

    Is JR naive or stupid enough to think that charedi Jews feel 'bound' to world Jewry? It's the third option: they don't give a fig. I guess it's hard for JR to admit that the community he's chosen to embed himself in and be a spokeperson for has shown itself to be utterly self-centered. The charedi community in Israel is probably one of the best examples of siege mentality.

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  22. R' Slifkin, did you infer something that wasn't implied?
    Rabbi Rosenblum wrote: "My only solace came when I mentioned how disoriented I'm feeling to my rav, a major talmid chacham and respected dayan, and he expressed the same feelings, despite having been raised from birth in the heart of the Israeli chareidi world.
    You then commented: "How much of a comfort it is to see that major figures in the charedi world also realize that their society is broken?"
    Now, that rabbi didn't necessarily say his society is broken. Perhaps he said it has problems, not that it's broken. Did he really MEAN broken? Maybe so! But you should make 100% sure you're not imputing anything to him that he doesn't think.

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  23. In the Discovery Institute speech referenced by R. Slifkin(linked below), Jonathan Rosenblum says that "I was personally torn asunder by this controversy" as some of the rabbinical signatories of the ban were his teachers.

    It is not easy to publicly speak about one's inner religious life, and Jonathan had then won me over for doing so, even though I also side with R. Slifkin on certain issues.

    I similarly respect the fact that he is open here in Mishpacha about his reaction to the charedi response to Covid, which is "gut-wrenching" as R. Slifkin puts it, something others do not do. See Minute 16 in the link below("Keeping Kosher: Jonathan Rosenblum at the Discovery Institute", 8/7/07; a separate excerpt, Episode157, "Deniable Darwin: Jonathan Rosenblum at the Discovery Institute", is also available online):

    https://idthefuture.com/158/

    More recently in May 2019, Jonathan Rosenblum was on a panel with R. Moshe Taragin of Yeshivat Har Etzion in Baltimore sponsored by Mizrachi and others . R. Moshe Hauer, now of the OU, referenced Jim Collin’s “Window and Mirror” leadership concept and asked them each to begin speaking about what they liked about the other community, and later about the weaknesses of their own community, an approach I found novel and refreshing. See link to the recording and to JR's Mishpacha articles where he discusses the panel:

    https://www.yutorah.org/lectures/lecture.cfm/923832/rabbi-moshe-taragin/the-complementary-and-conflicting-flavors-of-torat-eretz-yisrael-panel-discussion-with-yonoson-rosenblum/
    https://mishpacha.com/strive-for-what-binds-us/
    http://www.jewishmediaresources.com/2007/what-is-sinas-chinam-expressing-mutual-admiration

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  24. I listened to RJR's lecture. I want to add a disagreement with it on his actual claim of incompatibility between Judaism and evolution (minutes 26-30). He concedes that there's no problem with evolution per se, but with its claim of randomness, which is in conflict with the universe having an intention. But this is a straw man. Who is trying to make Judaism compatible with randomness? We reject randomness of course of course, and accept evolution. This he fails to address.

    ReplyDelete

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