Wednesday, May 12, 2021

The Denial of Physical Reality is From the Top

When I first posted about the charedi ideology of denying the reality of the laws of physics, many people didn't believe me. In a subsequent post, I elaborated further about how this is indeed the case, whenever things are not of obvious urgency and the necessary efforts are bothersome. The Meron tragedy was one example of the dangers of a mindset that doesn't take science seriously. In the comments, someone gave another disturbing example, recounting how a young father in Kiryat Sefer was killed by a forklift that he was operating as a result of his completely disregarding all the safety regulations that were printed on it - and the local rabbis described it solely in terms of an incomprehensible Act of God that requires the usual vague teshuvah. But now, Dr. Marc Shapiro sent me a rabbinic responsum which is so extreme in its content and ramifications that it caught even me by surprise.

The responsum is from Rav Yitzchok Zilberstein, a member of the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah and one of the most prominent poskim in the charedi Litvishe community. He is widely respected as a halachic authority in both the Israeli and American charedi world. And, unlike with Rav Chaim Kanievsky, nobody would claim that he is utterly disconnected from the world, manipulated by others, or of declining mental faculties. Furthermore, this is a practical halachic responsum, not a mussar polemic. Thus, what he writes is extremely significant.

The circumstances of this responsum, written back in 2014, is one of the Gaza conflicts. The questioner is dealing with the extremely difficult situation of waking his children when the siren sounds and evacuating them to a safe room. This causes immense hardship for the children and families. And the questioner is asking whether he can just let them continue to sleep in their rooms.

Now, there can be room for a cost-and-benefit analysis of whether the degree of risk from rocket attacks is is significant enough to offset the vastly smaller but guaranteed damage from waking and moving them. But this is not at all the angle taken by Rav Zilberstein in his response. 

Instead, incredibly, Rav Zilberstein addresses the question solely from a standpoint of hishtadlus. He begins by establishing that it is God Who protects Israel, though we are obligated to perform hishtadlus, which includes a halachic requirement to act safely. However, such obligations are only incumbent upon adults, since only adults are obligated in mitzvos. And so there is no halachic reason to wake children, since they are exempt from hishtadlus!

He adds a supporting reason, that since they are without sin and studying Torah, they may in any case have no reason to take safety precautions, since they are in any case protected from harm.

This is probably one of the most shocking things that I have ever seen, but it's really only the inevitable consequence of the Desslerian approach. There is no independent reality of rockets. There are only spiritual obligations, the neglect of which can lead one to be punished, possibly in the form of rockets. And since a child has no such obligations, he does not need to do anything, and the threat of rockets is meaningless.

The ramifications of this are truly staggering. 

 

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98 comments:

  1. 'widely respected' tells me how little you know of the Charedi community from the inside.
    Any Charedi yeshiva person who hears his name, gives a smile. He is known for his quirky ideas and strange comparisons. Rabbi Zilberstein's name on a psak halacha means very little in the actual Charedi world. Only those who believe newspaper ads and street signs wouldn't know that.

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    1. Never heard of him regarded as a "prominent posek", maybe he is for his own community. His seforim are definitely not regarded as serious halachic works. They are treated as "fun" seforim, sort of like RCKs "Derech Sicha" and other seforim of that nature. Not that there is anything wrong with that, just they are not meant to be used halacha lemaaseh (and does it not say as such at the beginning of the sefer?)

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    2. " 'widely respected' tells me how little you know of the Charedi community from the inside.
      Any Charedi yeshiva person who hears his name, gives a smile. He is known for his quirky ideas and strange comparisons. Rabbi Zilberstein's name on a psak halacha means very little in the actual Charedi world."

      Care to elaborate?

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    3. So you're saying that the charedi community knows that he's not to be taken seriously, and gives ridiculous rulings about life-and-death issues, and yet *still* appointed him to the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah and the position of Rav of Maayanei HaYeshua hospital? That makes things even worse!

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    4. No, I am sure he is a great talmid chacham, just that this sefer is not meant to be halacha lemaaseh.

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    5. @happygoluckypersonage Really? Then his books should be banned and pulled from stores immediately. This psak involves life and death!

      Anyway "fun" halachic books make a mockery of the halachic process and should have no place in our literature. Can you imagine the chillul hashem if a non-frum Jew stumbles upon this? I've seen the book myself and always wondered why the answers were so silly.

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    6. His books are not "rulings" or "responsa". Everybody knows this. The article should make this clear.

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    7. Weaver, cool your jets. As I said, I don't think this is a halacha lemaaseh sefer. Can you imagine the chillul Hashem if a non-Jew stumbles upon a page of Gemara? I can think of stuff there that's much worse.

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    8. This is insane. No prophet told us that we will be protected. We need to take action against these Arabs.

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    9. @Weaver "Anyway "fun" halachic books make a mockery of the halachic process and should have no place in our literature. Can you imagine the chillul hashem if a non-frum Jew stumbles upon this? I've seen the book myself and always wondered why the answers were so silly"

      This pretty much sums up this blog.

      However, if R' Natan would stick to presenting facts without his foregone conclusions (in the halachic realm) and attacking 'Chareidim' (I'm from the US and am not used to that terminology - here it's Yeshivish and MO) this site would be made great again.

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    10. So what if it's not halachah lemaaseh? The sevara he says seems like shtus unless you have an extra view of hishgachah/hishtadlus. Is he saying shtus?

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    11. Someone who thinks Moeztes membership actually means something, knows diddly squat about the Charedi street. Rav Zilberstein himself does not think his membership there is meaningful. Since the early days of the Mo'etzes, decisions were not made in any democratic method. It was always known who is really in charge. When it was Rav Shach, the others understood it, and when it was Rav SHteinman, the others knew it. There was no real discussion or exchange of ideas between the members. It was self-understood to any Charedi.

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    12. For an actual serious analysis of the topic of danger vs bitachon and Chazon Ish's view see Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer - Shomer Pesa'im Hashem ("God Watches the Fools") and the Novel Coronavirus - RJJ The Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society 2020 and also his source here: http://bneitorah.org/PDF/Shabbat/RavRubin-SHABBAT-Bitachon-vSakana.pdf

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    13. "Someone who thinks Moeztes membership actually means something, knows diddly squat about the Charedi street." This makes things even worse. The charedim have set up an organization for ultimate rabbinic authority and yet they all know that it is utterly meaningless?

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    14. Bruce, the Moetzes is not by any means "ultimate rabbinic authority".


      As we see in this thread, people have some really, strange, almost cartoonish misconceptions of chareidi society. Like that the Moetzes is the "ultimate rabbinic authority", akin to some sort of modern-day Sanhedrin.

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    15. Ok, so why don't you share with us what the Moetzes purports to be.

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    16. The moetzes is a political organization, it is definitely NOT the Sanhedrin HaGadol.

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    17. A political organization which does what, and consisting of whom?

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    18. Uh, it tries to get chareidi politicians elected. Who will presumably work in the interests of the chareidi community.

      The reason why it's a unified council of rabbis is because that gives the chareidim much greater political power, than if all the rabbis psuhed for their own preferred candidates.

      Delete
  2. Shaila: "It is 1943, and the Nazis are closing in on my village. Should I try to escape?"

    Teshuva: "You should, but don't worry about your children. They don't need to do hishtadlus, and besides, they are without sin and may be studying Torah, so they may in any case have no reason to take safety precautions, since they are in any case protected from harm."

    Questioner: "Shkoyach!"

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    1. The Satmar Rebbe Joel Teitelbaum and his followers used every means at their disposal to escape the Germans during the Holocaust, including collaborating with (yikes) Zionists.

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  3. I have two questions about this.

    1) Do adults have no halachic obligation to perform hishtadlut *on behalf* of their children? I admittedly don't have a secret peephole into my neighbors' kitchen but I'm pretty sure they feed their kids so they don't die.

    2) Does Zilberstein deny the existence of Torah-studying children who have ever been harmed?

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  4. Sorry, you will need a better source than a queer shtikel Torah in "Aleinu Leshabeiach" to prove that mainstream chareidi poskim pasken....

    that parents don't have to protect their children from imminent life-threatening situations.

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    1. I think it's obvious to all that this is not a mainstream charedi view. But at the same time, it's the consequence of a mainstream charedi view.

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    2. It's not from "Aleinu Leshabeyach."

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    3. Dave, you want to talk about "consequences" of views? How about consequences of mainstream secularist views, like I described in the previous post. Consequences like chillul Shabbos, mishkav zocher, kefirah b'kol HaTorah? Minor quibbles, I know.

      Secondly, as I said, I don't believe it's lemaaseh. What sefer is it from? Can somebody who has this sefer on hand please check the front?

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    4. Ok, looks like it's not even a sefer put out by him, it's a kovetz of "ליקוט משעורי וחידושי מורינו הרב הגאון יצחק זילברשטיין שליט"א". As I suspected, not halacha lemaaseh. Now if he would write this reasoning in a serious teshuva sefer (which he doesn't have AFAIK), that would be something else.

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    5. He has published several articles in Assia and other "serious" journals - mainly on medical-halacha see: https://cse.google.com/cse?button=%D7%97%D7%A4%D7%A9&q=%D7%99%D7%A6%D7%94%D7%A7+%D7%96%D7%99%D7%9C%D7%91%D7%A8%D7%A9%D7%98%D7%99%D7%99%D7%9F&cx=015758447251452153599%3A0_e_igd6nn8&lr=lang_iw&cof=FORID%3A0

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  5. So why do charedim take their little children to the doctor? They aren’t chayav in that hishtadlus either.

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  6. So why do charedim take their little children to the doctor? They aren’t chayav in that hishtadlus either.

    ReplyDelete
  7. To make yourself appear reasonable you claim that a cost-benefit analysis might have made sense. What a joke. You've spent the past year attacking religious Jews whose response to Covid - now proven beyond all doubt to have been the correct one - was entirely based on cost-benefit. You didn't want to admit it, all you wanted to do was beat the drum of "science." Suddenly now you've woken up to realize there are different forms of calculus?

    Give us a break.

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    Replies
    1. The correct response to covid-19 according to you was to fight against social distancing at every turn?

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    2. Which is why the chareidi death toll due to covid is 4 times that of the non-chareidi population?

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  8. "Sderot: 7 injured, including 6 year old in critical condition"
    Headline just in. Ay....it's A stira.

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    1. Bomb Shelters are also dangerousMay 14, 2021 at 3:10 PM

      Adraba, its a raya to Rav Silberstein! Didn't you read the news? The kid died from being IN the bomb shelter because the rocket penetrated the steel plated window! In fact, it turns out that a number of the Jewish injuries and even fatalities are elderly people getting seriously hurt ON THE WAY to the bomb shelter.
      https://www.theyeshivaworld.com/news/headlines-breaking-stories/1974403/indirect-casualties-2-israelis-die-from-injuries-incurred-on-run-to-bomb-shelters.html
      Just blindly accepting what the government says is necessary for safety without stopping and using your head is also irrational.

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    2. Bomb Shelters are also dangerousMay 15, 2021 at 10:50 PM

      Just to follow up with the latest from the Times of Israel:
      https://www.timesofisrael.com/liveblog_entry/ambulance-service-says-it-has-treated-46-israelis-since-midnight-amid-gaza-rockets/
      I quote:
      "The Magen David Adom ambulance service says it has provided medical service to 46 people hurt since midnight, including seven wounded by shrapnel from rockets fired by Palestinian terrorists in Gaza — one of whom was killed.
      MDA says 33 of those were hurt while running to bomb shelters; another 24 people have been treated for shock."

      That's right. More people have been injured running to the bomb shelter than have been hurt by the rockets.
      If you don't treat going to bomb shelters as an obligation of hishtadlus but as the actual thing which is going to save your life, then you will panic and run for the shelter as if your life depends on getting there. This is the cause for the injuries. Some of these injuries have been life-threatening.
      Rabbi Silberstein's approach to hishtadlus is clearly the safer one here.

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  9. As I said in the previous post, one can just as well say the inverse, that among more modern/secularist rabbis, the disparagement of the Torah and Halacha starts at the top.

    Thus the psak of the great gadol, Rabbi Norman Lamm, about women forming a minyan. Or Rabbi Yuval Cherlow saying that many parts of the Torah were written by prophets other than Moshe. Or Rav Kook saying that Adam and Chava weren't real people. Or Rav Kook saying that if one's personal ethics are inconsistent with halacha, he should follow his personal ethics. Or Rabbi Kaplan denying resurrection. Or Rabbi Sacks saying YETZIAS MITZRAYIM didn't happen as stated. Or putting "Torah" on the same level as "Mada".

    The ramifications of these are truly staggering. I'm not saying they are incorrect, it's possible that they are correct and are supported by proper sources. Just saying that there should be no surprise if such a worldview would lead people to abandoning the Torah completely.

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    1. An argument could easily be made that convincing people that the laws of physics, economics, and reality in general don't apply to them has worse consequences than your examples above.
      Like, I don't know, writing a "non-halacha lema'asah sefer" claiming that you don't need to protect your children from falling rockets, work doesn't matter, the entire world is conspired against us, etc., etc. Lol.

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    2. "Thus the psak of the great gadol, Rabbi Norman Lamm, about women forming a minyan."
      You're distorting facts. He never issued such a psak.

      "the top."
      Don't be silly.

      "Or Rav Kook..."
      If you had respect for Torah & Gedolei Torah, you wouldn't say such things.

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    3. I have great respect for these Rabbis. My list is much less of a distortion than the one in this post, about "mainstream chareidi poskim".

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    4. Which R Kook are you dissing? Is this R Tvi Yehuda or his father? If the latter, you should wash out your mouth. What a chutzpah.

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    5. What, it's okay to attack the father??

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    6. I assume the reference is to Rabbi Kook the Elder. See Marc Shapiro's less convenient work https://seforimblog.com/2020/08/response-to-criticism-part-3/ quoting Shemonah Kevatzim 3:66). He doesn't say what @happygoluckypersonage says he says, although there is a conceptual link.

      No less a Charedi than Rav Elyashiv is quoted in the same piece as rendering the pre-sin state of Adam as "an existence
      entirely exalted from any type of humanity that existed after the sin" Leshem Shevo ve-Ahlamah: Sefer ha-Deah 85b.

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    7. Observer, please relax, I am not dissing anybody. I have nothing but the greatest respect for these Gedolim. I am not even expressing an opinion as to whether they are correct, after all, who am I, compared to these giants??!!

      I am just making the simple, but obvious point that the secularist worldview they express has the downside of causing many people to abandon the Torah completely. That doesn't mean they were wrong! And it doesn't mean that somebody with the secularist worldview must necessarily abandon the Torah, as these Gedolim obviously didn't! Just that such a worldview, even if correct, has the unfortunate CONSEQUENCE of causing many people to abandon the Torah.

      For Rav Kook, I have the receipts: See
      https://seforimblog.com/2010/10/marc-b-shapiro-new-writings-from-r-kook/
      https://seforimblog.com/2009/01/marc-b-shapiro-thoughts-on/

      As to the general problem of laws that trouble the ethical sense of people, we find that it is R. Kook who takes the bull by the horns and suggests a radical approach....It is R. Kook, after all, who famously says that fear of heaven cannot push aside one’s natural morality

      What R. Kook is saying is that the entire story of the creation of Adam and Eve is not to be viewed as historical. Rather, it is a tale that puts in simple form a long development of man’s intellectual and spiritual nature.

      Again, these may very well be wonderful, correct ideas. Who am I to judge? But the ramifications are truly staggering. And we shouldn't be surprised if such a secularist worldview (as in based on secular ethics, intuitions, and knowledge) leads people take the Torah and Mitzvos less seriously, and ultimately abandon them.

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    8. @Happygoluckypersonage:
      Any source for your statement about Rabbi Sacks?

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    9. For Rabbi Sacks, see his debate with Dawkins.

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    10. Happy,
      You're being ridiculous. One could say (as some did) that the Rambam was leading people astray by insisting on God's incorporeality. This would lead people to having a lesser view of God. So what. If it's the truth, it's the truth. Your social commentary and speculation is an irrelevant sideshow.

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    11. Observer, for sure. But you could say the same thing about the "chareidi ideology" and Rabbi Dessler's mussar shtiklach about hishtadlus. If it's the truth, it's the truth. Rabbi Slifkins social commentary and speculation is an irrelevant sideshow. What's good for the goose is good for the gander.

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    12. The problem with R' Dessler's approach isn't the social commentary. The problem is that it's an extreme position, which is apparently in opposition to that of many Rishonim. The example with R' Zilberstein is a good illustration of how absurd (and obviously kneged halachah) his position would seem to be.

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    13. Observer, all the things I quoted are also extreme. Very, VERY extreme. At least from the my and my community's point of view. "Extreme" is, of course, subjective. What is extreme to me is not extreme to you, and what is extreme to you is not extreme to me. I agree that R' Silberstein is extreme, but I don't think it is in any way, shape, or form the inevitable consequence of R' Dessler or other chareidi Gedolim. Plus it is just a pilpul, not halacha lemaaseh.

      Also, Rabbi Dessler would argue that he is actually coming from the Rishonim and Chazal, and brings proof to such in his sefer. Who am I to dispute him? Just like I can't dispute R' Kook, R' Sacks, R' Lamm. Who doubtless think they have solid support in Rishonim as well. Although my own rebbeim would vehemently disagree.

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    14. Plus, the whole point of this post is to say the problem with R' Dessler's approach IS the social commentary. That's what I was commenting on, and saying you could have an identical social commentary about the secularist approach, except with chillul Shabbos rather than forklift driving.

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    15. I don't think that's the "whole point of the post." On the contrary, the problem is with the shitah itself.

      I honestly do not understand this defense that "it's just pilpul not halachah lemaaseh." If the premise is shtus then the "pilpul" thereafter is shtus. I'm not saying it's shtus, but that's slifkin's position, so you can't defend a shtikel torah by saying it's just pilpul. If you think the premise isn't shtus then make that argument, not that it's just a shtikel torah. "Just a shtikel torah, not lemaaseh" isn't a license to say nonsense.

      I don't doubt some Rishonim can be construed to support R' Dessler, but I am far from certain that he was expert in a major set of Rishonim, e.g., Morah Nevuchim, Duran, Albo, in which case his "ruling" is weak.

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    16. No, the post is not just bothered by the "shtus" as you call it. The post is mostly bothered that the "ruling" is dangerous, and representative of an entire dangerous chareidi philosophy (in the author of this post's mind). So I said that chareidim would not rely on it, as it's not a serious halacha sefer. So, no danger.

      As for whether it is actually shtus, I don't know, and I would never call it that, but it seems very extreme and unusual.

      I am far from convinced that the any of the rabbis I quoted above were experts in all of Rishonim and Chazal either, but what do I know? They were Gedolim, I am not. Since my rebbeim are more trusting of Rabbi Dessler, I am as well. And when I read his sefer, and I read the Moreh or Sefer HaIkkarim, I am not at all convinced that there is any contradiction (admittedly, I am biased, but so are you, so is everybody). And I can easily find Rishonim and Chazal who I think support him, as he himself brings.

      But the ideas I mentioned from the rabbis above strike me as very extreme and spiritually dangerous, regardless of whether they are correct.

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    17. The fact that the sefer is not halachah lemaaseh is no defense. You may not write whatever you want in the name of pilpul.

      Your rebbeim think R' Dessler was an authority on MN? Much more likely they think that such expertise is irrelevant; hence, in my view they just aren't experts. I don't see how any objective observer *can* consider them experts when they are close to completely ignorant of an entire genre of the Rishonim regarding these subjects.

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    18. I did not defend it, and I don't know why it needs a defense. It's just a strange shtickel Torah, allegedly said by somebody much greater than me. Why do I need to defend it? Must I defend every strange shtickel Torah in existence?

      As for MN, I have no idea if Rabbi Dessler was an expert in MN, but he quotes it occasionally, so it seems he was not completely ignorant. Maybe he is ignorant of your favored interpretations. What I do know is that is an expert in many other areas of of Torah, and it would SEEM to me (but who am I to judge) that he is a greater expert on those than most secularist Rabbis. And this is what my rebbeim hold as well.

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    19. As I said before, I am far from convinced that the more secularist Gedolim knew any more Torah, in sum total, than the chareidi ones. When I read Rav Kook, it seems he has amazing knowledge. When I read Rav Dessler it seems he has amazing knowledge. Why should I trust Rav Kook more? Why should I trust Rabbi Sacks more than RCK? But I have my rebbeim, who were talmidim of talmidim of chareidi Gedolim, and they trust them more, so I do as well.

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    20. Off the top of my head, R' Dessler quotes a MN with the words iirc: I "heard" it says kach vkach in the MN (in the intro!). Also, iirc it was misapplied too. RSZA betrays how little he was holding in the inyan of Chazal vs. science. It's unheard of to catch RSZA not holding in something in an area of halachah or anything else he was proficient in. Any knowledgeable charedi would freely admit this. This is the case for Charedi gedolim with few exceptions (e.g., R Meir Simchah, perhaps R' Chaim etc.)

      You're supposed to argue that the charedi Gedolim for x reason didn't "hold" of learning those seforim, not that they actually *knew* them. The BT position is to naively assert that of course they knew kol hatorah kulah, including obscure philosophical texts of the Rishonim.

      Mentioning R' Sacks here makes me think you have no idea what we're talking about. He's nowhere in the league of anyone else under discussion.

      And what in the world is a "secularist rabbi?"

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    21. @happygolucky

      I believe you are misrepresenting Rabbi Sacks. In the debate, when prompted by Richard Dawkins on whether the splitting of the sea was literal or allegorical, Rabbi Sacks responds "Totally literal." When asked if he believes God intervened, he says "Of course."

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    22. Observer, I will have to check Rabbi Dessler, to see if there are further references.

      But it doesn't matter. Suppose he had never heard of MN. Who is to say that is the most important work in Jewish hashkafah? Sorry, I am not going to automatically trust someone more, just because he was holding in MN. Shas and Medrash and Rashi and Ramban and and Tanach and Chovos Halevavos and Mesilas Yesharim, etc, etc, are absolutely packed with Jewish haskafos. And R Dessler definitely knew those like the back of his hand. I don't agree MN is more important than all those. Unless, of course, you are already a "rationalist", and you privilege "rationalist" sources.

      As for RSZA, what are you talking about? Where did he "betray" how little he was holding? When that author asked him about R Avraham Ben Harambam? But if you want to judge Gedolim's knowledge by certain things they said, I would be able to exercise absolutely scathing judgement against the Gedolim I mentioned above. One "betrayed" his ignorance by saying women can form a minyan, another by saying Adam and Chava weren't real, another by saying the Torah wasn't written by Moshe etc. But that would be absolute chutzpah.

      As for R sacks, many people called him a Gadol. But he is not in the league? Fine.

      What is a secularist? I defined it above. Somebody who highly values secular knowledge, ethics, and intuitions. The opposite of chareidi.

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    23. MK he said there were no real miracles.

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    24. Observer, when I say highly values secular knowledge, I mean for it's own sake. I wouldn't consider GRA and Chasam Sofer secularists just because they reportedly studied secular knowledge.

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    25. @happygolucky

      Can you provide the minute and second of the debate when he said that? That directly contradicts the quotes I mentioned.

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    26. MK, that was exactly my point. He says Krias Yam Suf, the pinnacle of the miracles of Yetzias Mitzrayim, has a "simple scientific explanation". This is (seemingly) a denial of real miracles.

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    27. MK, looking at other things Rabbi Sacks has written, I am convinced he very well may have believed in real miracles, like a good Jew should. But he dissembles very cleverly, avoiding saying one way or the other outright, see here https://rabbisacks.org/covenant-conversation-5770-beshallach-miracles/

      However in his debate, he is definitely saying outright that it was completely natural. I think we could say it was "for the purpose of the debate".

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    28. @happygolucky

      But he says that God intervened. Otherwise, it would not have happened. That is a miracle. That he explained how this works via nature does not detract from the miracle, anymore than the Torah saying an east wind blew it detracts from the miracle. Your original comment was that he says Yetziyas Mitzrayim did not happen as stated, and I just don't see how that's the case.

      Delete
    29. MK, the natural explanation is against how the Torah states it וְהַמַּ֤יִם לָהֶם֙ חֹמָ֔ה מִֽימִינָ֖ם וּמִשְּׂמֹאלָֽם. It also says וַֽיְהִי֙ בְּאַשְׁמֹ֣רֶת הַבֹּ֔קֶר וַיַּשְׁקֵ֤ף אֶל־מַחֲנֵ֣ה מִצְרַ֔יִם בְּעַמּ֥וּד אֵ֖שׁ וְעָנָ֑ן וַיָּ֕הָם אֵ֖ת מַחֲנֵ֥ה מִצְרָֽיִם׃
      כהוַיָּ֗סַר אֵ֚ת אֹפַ֣ן מַרְכְּבֹתָ֔יו וַֽיְנַהֲגֵ֖הוּ בִּכְבֵדֻ֑ת וַיֹּ֣אמֶר מִצְרַ֗יִם אָנ֙וּסָה֙ מִפְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל כִּ֣י יְהוָ֔ה נִלְחָ֥ם לָהֶ֖ם בְּמִצְרָֽיִם. This is not a dramatic wind tide. You may wish to say the pesukim aren't literal, but then I'm definitely right, he is saying it didn't happen as stated.

      Besides for that, it is against the mesorah of ALL of Chazal, as you can see in Gemara, Medrash, some of which Rashi brings, that Krias Yam Suf was a literal, unnatural miracle, as stated. Also, it is that it is against the standard commentaries who all affirm that it was a literal, unnatural miracle, as stated (I say standard commentaries because those are the ones I saw).

      Delete
    30. Observer, I checked Michtav M'Eliyahu. There are actually numerous references to MN. I then checked Alei Shur, another popular chareidi hashkafa sefer. Also has numerous references to MN. I then checked Or Yechezkel. Also had numerous references to MN. For good measure, I flipped open one of the seforim from Rav Shimshon Pincus, the ultimate chareidi anti-rationalist. Even he had at least two references to MN in the sefer I saw. All of them very influential chareidi baalei-machshava.

      So, this doesn't mean they were experts in MN. But it totally puts the lie to the idea that they were "close to completely ignorant of an entire genre of the Rishonim regarding these subjects."

      Delete
    31. @happygolucky,

      None of those Pesukim conflict with Rabbi Sacks's explanation. You are jumping through hoops. It's okay to admit you accidentally misrepresented Rabbi Sacks.

      Delete
    32. MK they absolutely conflict with saying there was a simple scientific explanation.

      Delete
  10. I could never understand why Rabonim spend a lot of time researching the Halochos, publish them in a Sefer, then write 'dont rely on this for Halocha.'

    Now I understand.

    ReplyDelete
  11. The question that was being asked was quite obviously coming from someone who personally wasn't all that worried and didn't think that the risk was great enough versus his discomfort to require him from a rational perspective to wake up his kids in the middle of the night. There are many people who live in the safer areas of the country who don't run to the shelter every time an alarm sounds. (I wonder if you went running to your safe room two days ago when an air raid siren went off in Bet Shemesh!!!).

    The questioner was inquiring whether "Halachically" he would be required to run for shelter and the answer was negative. It goes without saying that the intention of Reb Ziberstien was not to issue a blanket Pesak for no one to go to shelters.

    I once read a most profound book by an author who showed great promise in his younger years. I quote "Finally King Chizkiyohu. Amazingly he feels that even to sing would harm his faith etc he dares do nothing but sleep and simply trusts in God to win his battels". How eloquently put.

    ReplyDelete
  12. What Zichron Devorim wrote is mostly correct. Nobody I've encountered in the Chareidi community assumes Rav Zilberstein's works such as Aleinu Leshabai'ach and Chashukei Chemed are meant as pesak halacha. They are creative pilpul and not 'halacha lemaaseh'. Personally, I was worried when I first saw these seforim that a small minority of people might not realize their intent. It is not my place to criticise a gadol batorah, but the phrase "Chachomim hizoharu bedivraichem" does spring to mind. I don't have a copy myself, but perhaps there is a disclaimer at the beginning of these seforim?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't have any personal friends that are known as "Gedolim" or invited to join the Moetzes. But not one of them would ever write something so stupid about so serious a matter, even as part of "creative pilpul."

      Delete
    2. Um... I think advocating for the killing of all Palestinians. counts as what you're talking about. A very serious matter. I will of course not use the word "stupid" when talking about Gedolim like Rabbi Lior.

      Delete
    3. um...
      Very strange, it doesn't look at all like Rabbi Zilberstein, the chareidi posek who advocates for vaccination and urges people to call the doctor on shabbos.
      It's true that his 'halachic' books are somewhat funny and strange, they are meant as though provoking conversation openers, not as real rulings. But even there I don't recall seeing anything like this. I prefer to reserve my judgement.
      At any rate, the bottom line is:
      If you see a 'teshuvah' on life and death matters that fits (along with the question!) on a single page, don't take it seriously.

      Delete
  13. Just now: "The rockets either fell in open areas or were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system. In Ashkelon though, one of the rockets scored a direct hit on a home, causing extensive damage to one of the bedrooms. A child had been sleeping there moments earlier and was whisked to safety when the sirens sounded." Thank God the parent hadn't consulted Rav Zilberstein.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I suppose Rabbi Zilberstein would argue that no rocket would have landed there while the child slept.

      Delete
    2. We should be putting sleeping charedi children all over the country for protection.

      Delete
  14. When you speak of "independent reality of rockets", keep in mind who is responsible for those rockets: Rabin, Peres, and Sharon. Whatever they did beforehand for the state (in the case of the latter two, quite a bit; for the former, not very much at all) all pales into nothing compared to the utter path of folly they all went down in their final stages.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are unfortunately correct about this.

      You are also deliberately avoiding the point of the post.

      Delete
    2. Because Netanyahu never had the gumption to actually use military force to effect lasting change in Gaza - on the numerous wars he has occasion to - we find ourselves reduced to this terrible war.

      Both sides have no goals, no plan, just endless posturing through the medium of a stream of nitrates and metals trucked into each others airspace. As a means of strategic communication, the clearest message it communicated is 'I have no really decisive threat.' It is inherently an escalatory message.

      The solution is a ground invasion, a battle like that which took place against IS in Mosul, accepting 2,000 military and civilian deaths for a purpose, and changing the facts on the ground for ever. Instead tens of Israelis and hundreds of their children die every few years for no good reason.

      Delete
    3. Yosef R - the post itself doesn't call for comment, its a misrepresentation of what R. Zilberstein said. As usual.

      Delete
  15. I don't know if it's true but I have heard that not a few of his "teshuvos" are for questions that were never really asked. He makes up the question so he can write his "interesting" answers. Again, I can't prove it but that's what I have heard

    ReplyDelete
  16. At least they are relying on Rav dessler and didn’t make it up themyas they go along

    ReplyDelete
  17. He is still alive and accessible, instead of passing judgment, why don't you ask him?

    ReplyDelete
  18. This article is a very fair criticism. Of one man. It's also an entirely unfair sectarian criticism of several hundred thousand other men and women.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You've hit upon Slifkins speciality.

      Nit-picking the seemingly nonsensible comments from among the countless things any Charedi has ever said in any form and to any audience - disregarding whether those people in that particular setting were representative of Charedi Jewry as a whole or were acting on there own, and then setting them up as being primary examples of the mindset of anyone who follows what he calls the "Mystical path".

      Seriously, he actually quotes in the above post a story he found out about from a comment in the previous post, about an anonymous man who died in a forklift accident for not following safety instructions and uses that as an example that reflects Charedi Jewy as whole. What a joke.

      In a display of intellectual deceitfulness he on the other hand will always only quote from among the couple thought out non-Ultra-Orthodox intellectuals selective pieces which suit his agenda, and posts them as normative for someone whom he refers to as from the "rational" camp.

      In his new book Rationalism V Mysticism, (of which part one is pretty much a rewrite of his personal scandal with the Charedi community), he brings anyone who ever made a speech against him and his works however nonsensible they may have been and describes them as being representative of the Mystical Jew. He then goes ahead and quotes specific (well written) passages from among his backers as primary examples of the Rationalists.

      His entire approach isn't that different from someone writing a book in which Reb Moshe Shapiro is representative of the standard mediocre Mystic and Turk Hill the ultra rationalist, and then deciding between them which of the two paths have more merit. Anyone else he finds irrelevant to his discussion.

      Delete
  19. If such unbelievably mistaken responsa can be written on the important issue of pikuach nefesh, why should we listen to them at all even regarding basic halacha of shmirat shabbat or Kashrut? I'd think they will be just as unreliable considering their cognition on this issue...

    ReplyDelete
  20. "Rav Yitzchok Zilberstein, a member of the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah and one of the most prominent poskim in the charedi Litvishe community."

    His family background is Hasidic.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I have to say - you find it interesting what some Charedim believe. I do too, sometimes. However, I just watched an episode of "our planet" on Netflix, and its even more interesting to see what secular people believe as long as they're told its "science." You can make up, literally, any statistic you want, and these true believers will lap it up, even as they think the Charedi is the gullible one.

    It's just interesting, that's all.

    ReplyDelete
  22. A leaf does not fall unless Hashem wills it. How to reconcile this with free will is tricky. ACJA

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "A leaf does not fall unless Hashem wills it"

      The Rambam clearly says that this is nonsense.

      Delete
  23. Better Psak:
    http://lifeinisrael.blogspot.com/2021/05/interesting-psak-stopping-davening-for.html

    ReplyDelete
  24. Chovos Halevovos is a source for the denial of physical reality when it comes to Parnassah, advising never to change jobs because of difficulty

    ReplyDelete
  25. One of the foundational problems in the Charedi way of thinking is that all these terrible things are a punishment from Hashem for a particular action. When you realize that it's not a punishment your whole outlook will be different.
    It reminds me of the rov who told an atheist that 'the G-d you don't believe in, I don't believe in either'.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Here's a question on the topic of denial of physical reality, and I'd really appreciate an honest and thought-out answer. RNS, it would seem that according to your worldview, that which is caused by man's negligence can not be chalked up to "the hand of G-d", and can not be left to G-d to fix; nor can the belief that G-d will take care of the resulting problems be deemed "faith". I disagree. But in your line of thinking, I would assume that the state of our planet and its billions of inhabitants are in, at the very least, a "safeik sakanah" due to climate change. As I assume you do not claim to have all the expertise and knowledge in the sciences involved (correct me if I'm wrong) to be able to refute and disbelieve the countless scientists who believe so, and as they mostly claim that the problem is largely man-made, it would seem to follow that the most pressing issue of our time for ANYONE- would be this one. If so, how can you possibly be so occupied with the issues with which you are constantly busy, i.e. community issues, chareidi ideology, etc.- when literally every last person's life is at stake? And even if you are skeptical of the issue, isn't it at least serious enough to spend time and energy into researching the topic? Or posting about it to raise awareness or bring clarity? What would the Rambam say in your view? If it behooves all the chareidim and chareidi leaders to address issues of human negligence, until the point that they must come under constant blame for neglecting to do so, then how exactly do you "pattur yourself up" from the presumed responsibility of every person to relentlessly combat the most prominent issue in the history of the world? And if you are indeed doing so, I and all of your readers (I presume) would be very interested to hear how.

    ReplyDelete
  27. They have already found the true cause of the tragedy: smartphones and the Internet
    https://twitter.com/ReznikShaul/status/1395006369267425287

    ReplyDelete

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