Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Hitler's Rabbis Return

As you may remember, last year I reported about the dangerous antics of Rabbis Yaron Reuven and Yosef Mizrachi. First, they created a video in which they declare that fourteen rabbis (including yours truly, but also such luminaries as Rabbi Sacks ztz"l) are evil heretics who are worthy of execution. Then Reuven declared regarding a student who had asked challenging questions in his lecture that "it's my job to destroy him - if it was legal, I would kill him." All this might be just silly and amusing, were it not the fact that Reuven and Mizrachi count violent criminals and unhinged people among their devoted followers, and suck in many others

Then, they did something even worse. Reuven published an appalling video in which he declared that it was understandable that Hitler wanted to exterminate the Jews, since they morally corrupted German society and destroyed the economy. This false and horrific claim was gleefully picked up by antisemites of various kinds as proof that even Orthodox rabbis acknowledge that Hitler was justified in hating Jews. Yosef Mizrachi also published a video in which he refers to Mein Kampf in order to claim that Hitler hated us "because we went away from Hashem" and thus "technically we brought it upon ourselves."

(Someone made a video with extracts from all these lectures, which Reuven managed to get deleted from YouTube - I can send it to you if you email me, and I would appreciate it if people can find ways to share it.)

And now, Reuven and Mizrachi returned with another way to harm the Jewish People. One prominent rabbi that these little jackals are particularly jealous of and despise is the very successful Rabbi Efrem Goldberg of Boca Raton Synagogue. Yesterday, Rabbi Goldberg hosted an important event about celebrating solidarity with Israel, which included Pastor Mario Bramnick. Reuven and Mizrachi saw an opportunity to attack Rabbi Goldberg, and started campaigning about how Rabbi Goldberg is inviting "proselytizing Christian missionaries" to his synagogue. One of Reuven's associates even faked a letter from Rav Hershel Schechter condemning the event. And other followers sent graphic death threats to Rabbi Goldberg.

Unfortunately, even some decent people have been misled into thinking that there was something improper about the people invited to the event. (Note that I am not getting into the political aspects of the event, which are an entirely separate matter.) The claim goes that since Mario Bramnick has issued statements about how he would like to see Jews convert to Christianity, surely he is clearly a missionary and must not be invited to synagogues.

On the face of it, this may seem like a reasonable claim. But if you understand more about Pastor Bramnick, and about religion, and about history, then you realize that this claim is not only baseless, but also dangerous. 

I discussed the matter with Rabbi Yitzchak Adlerstein, who has been working in matters relating to other religions on behalf of the Wiesenthal Center for many years, and he put it as follows: Mario Bramnick was vetted extensively, and shows no sign over many years of engaging in missionary activity directed at Jews. Like all good Christians, he would like to see everyone in the world accept Christianity. But what is important to us is not what he would like, but what he does. And what he does is run a very large network of Hispanic churches that teach people to be good and to be warm and supportive towards Jews and the State of Israel. In this day and age, that is of crucial importance.

Rabbi Sacks, ztz"l, was an extraordinary teacher and ambassador of the Jewish People. Rabbi Efrem Goldberg, shlita, is a tremendous asset to the Jewish People. Pastor Mario Bromnick is a crucial friend to the Jewish People.

Yaron Reuven and Yosef Mizrachi, on the other hand, are a menace and danger to the Jewish People.

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  1. Strong disagree here. One cannot separate what he does form the motivations for what he does. If someone's stated purpose is too see all Jews convert to Christianity, then their actions to ingratiate themselves with the Jewish people should be seen in that light. Accepting that assistance, then giving these people honor, absolutely sends the wrong message.

    1. I don't understand why it is impossible to cooperate with someone with whom one disagrees.

    2. I don't know anything about this Bramnick person, but a fundamental tenet of Christianity is the desire to spread their religion to, well, everyone (they call it "evangelism"). Given that fact, and our certain knowledge of that fact (they don't hide it; that's kind of the point), is that a reason not to accept their support and cooperation when they are without question the best friends the State of Israel has on the world stage?

      Moreover, their ardent support for Israel does not even spring from the "goodness of their hearts". It comes from a-whole-nother idea in their religion their associates the return of Jewish people to our homeland with the coming of their messiah (and their desire to hasten that). So is that a reason to disqualify them? Should we only accept help and support from those whom we perceive to have the "right" motives?

    3. Christian support from Israel primarily comes from Bereishis 12:3. Hashem says to Avram:
      וַאֲבָֽרְכָה֙ מְבָ֣רְכֶ֔יךָ וּמְקַלֶּלְךָ֖ אָאֹ֑ר וְנִבְרְכ֣וּ בְךָ֔ כֹּ֖ל מִשְׁפְּחֹ֥ת הָאֲדָמָֽה׃

      I will bless those who bless you
      And curse him that curses you;
      And all the families of the earth
      Shall bless themselves by you.

      This is why people like Mario Bramnick who do nothing to missionize to Jews believe that the other nations are supposed to be in support of Abraham's children.

      Yehoshua, you presume much when you say it's his "stated purpose." For example, I desire to see all trinitarian Christians become true monotheists. But would that be my "stated purpose" in helping restock the local soup kitchen?

    4. Micha: People that donate to soup kitchens do not do so believing that there being food in the soup kitchen is a precondition to all trinitarian Christians becoming true monotheists. By contrast, to many evangelicals, the connection between the resettling of Israel by the Jews and the return of Christ are intertwined.
      I will also add that this Mario Bramnick is a total nutjob, who prophesied about the continuation of the Trump presidency for another four years even after last January 6th. Such people should not be guests of honor in our shuls, period.

    5. Prophesied? Or just predicted?

    6. R' Goldberg has gone thru this before:

    7. Seriously. Seriously? We're talking about a rabbi who actually spouts Nazism, Blood Libel, and other Jew-hating genocide-promoting evil and all you can say is "That Christian someone else likes is a Christian"?!?!

      Worst whattaboutism I have seen in ages.

  2. The love fest between Evangelical Christianity and Zionism is out of control and dangerous. What used to be a small non consensus activity of R S Riskin has been going mainstream. This will inherently influence Judaism in horrible ways, brand Jews with some of the horrible traits that are common among evangelicals, and is also hurting Israeli ties with many Jews. We should invest more on build more bridges with unaffiliated Jews (Netanyahu and dermer's policy is short sighted).
    There is no place for any if this in our communities or shuls.

    This doesn't mean that I think that mizrachi and Reuven are good people. They are not.

    1. "the horrible traits that are common among evangelicals,"

      Um, care to name some of those?

      "and is also hurting Israeli ties with many Jews"

      You mean the Jews that are predisposed not to support Israel in the first place? It's much wiser to try things that are possible.

    2. Nachun - yes. I mean those exact Jews. I rather building bridges with them. The ones that question Israel's policies. The ones that want to know why there isn't a section for them at the kotel. Yes those. They are בשר מבשרנו.

      As for evangelical bad traits - in usa much evangelicalism is more about christian nationalism and less about religion. The religion that has historically been a source of hatred of Jews has not changed much. It's still full of hatred.

    3. OK, I get it. You're one of those. Not that you answered my first question with anything other than stereotypes from Czarist times or something, I note. Which is typical, but still wrong.

      And you're fooling yourself if you think that the disconnect between leftist American Jews and Israel has anything to do with the Kotel or that it involves merely "questioning Israel's policies." (And even if it did, so what? Is Israel supposed to change its policies?) Many, thank God, don't need bridges built. The rest are beyond hope, absent a massive political shakeup on their part.

    4. I guess I am one of those. In fact, I wonder if all that christian supposed love for Israel is merely a way of identifying with the majority Jewish in Israel is just another manifestation of their hatred.

      I'm not blinded to think that making room for liberal Jews at the kotel is the answer, or that it was ever the real problem. But I want to reach out to those jews. If those liberal Jews are turned off by making friends with evangelicals, I will gladly sacrifice friendship with evangelicals.

      Let's not forget that mainstream halacha views Christianity and yes also protestant Christianity as avida zarah. Rambam forbids hosting them in Israel, even arai.
      What was once a minority view of R S Riskin and R M Soloveitchik has gone mainstream in Israeli DL tzibbur. Keren yedidut etc. It's all wrong and needs to be repulsed.

    5. "Let's not forget that mainstream halacha views Christianity and yes also protestant Christianity as avida zarah."

      No, it doesn't.

      "Rambam forbids hosting them in Israel, even arai."

      The Rambam's view of Christianity is not at all mainstream.

    6. Nachum - I don't know where you are getting your information from, but our history is filled with countless people who gave up their lives not to convert to Christianity. The סוגיא דעלמא considers it Avoda Zara. I have never seen a claim that they were wrong because it is not AZ.
      It may be shituf, which may not be a problem for Gentiles. But for us, it has the complete טומאה of AZ.

    7. @koillel nick This "love fest" as you put it, started long before Rabbi Riskin entered the picture. It was there since practically the creation of the State of Israel. There's a law in Israel against missionizing, yet it is not uncommon to find missionaries working in Israel, even talking to children. This is because of an unspoken agreement between Israel and evangelical Christians: You give us money and we let you work in the sidelines. If you overstep too much or go too public so that someone complains, we'll give you the boot (as was the case with God TV). It sounds conspiratorial, but that is the reality here.

    8. Zichron: I'm not an ignoramus. It is avoda zara for *Jews*. It is generally not considered avoda zara for non-Jews, which is what is at issue here.

    9. @koillel nick:
      Look up:
      תוספות סנהדרין סג:
      רמ"א או"ח קנו ויו"ד קנא,א בד"מ
      ש"ך שם ז
      מור וקציעה רכד ושאלת יעב"ץ ח"א מא
      שו"ת יהודה יעלה יו"ד קע
      תבואות שור יו"ד ד,א
      יחוה דעת כרך ו ס
      בנין ציון סג
      Is this not mainstream enough?

    10. @jew well
      I know all these sources. And I know about the question of shituf by Ben noach. I also know that majority of poskim understand Tosfos to be referring to swearing, and not just about the actual shituf.
      Furthermore, even those holding that shituf is permitted for a goy, still maintain that it is avoda zarah for a Jew.
      Shulchan Aruch forbids wine of a goy - behanaa.
      You cite Rav Ovadia - yet his teshuva is referring to praying for a sick christian. In his other teshuvos, about entering a church, or selling crosses (yabia omer 7 yd 12) he decides that Christianity as avoda zarah. As does R Moshe feinstien in Igros Moshe 3 yd 162.
      Once we're at it, see R Ovadia Yosef's speech given in yad maimon published in massa Ovadia vol 1 by mosad harav kook. He argues that one of his reasons for permitting land for peace is that we are not doing proper kivush conquering of Israel as we do not have the ability to destroy churches.
      Some attempt to differentiate between catholicism and protestantism. R Asher Wade argues that the vast majority of protestants believe in a physical form of god. Hence they are also avoda zarah.
      So yes, mainstream view is that Christianity is avoda zarah. There is a minority view that non Jews can serve shituf, yet as far as Jews are concerned it is still avoda zarah with all the applicable laws.

      Just a few years ago, many rabbis in Israel forbade receiving money form keren yedidut. They included R Elyashiv and R Dov Lior.

      @harel - I don't know much about the history of the Zionist connection with evangelicals. But I should've specified religious Zionism. What was once uncommon, has gone mainstream.

    11. Nachum1 - we are not gentiles. As far as we are concerned, there is no difference between christianity and any other AZ. We need to keep just as far away from it.
      The idea of Goyim not being forbidden to worship Yoshke is a red herring. It is only relevant when talking about לפני עור. It is still forbidden to enter a church, for example.

    12. So the Rama is not mainstream anymore.
      Yes, it is Avodah Zarah for a jew (and that's why the wine could be assur behanaa - the Rama doesn't argue on that point, he says they're not menassech. Same for Rabbi OY, and maybe also for Rabbi Feinstein, I don't have access to his sefer right now), but not for a non-jew, which is sort of the point here.
      I don't see any reason to differentiate between catholics and protestants, but many jews used (and may still) to believe in a corporal G.d (see Raavad in Teshuvah 3,7), so according to your rabbi Wade they are 'ovdei 'avodah zarah, which is an interesting claim the Rambam himself never made. No, the Rama is not a ''minority view''.

    13. Jew well,
      Rema proves my point. He says the reason is that they no longer offer libations. Not that they are not az. He also allows renting a home to them as they don't commonly do the az in the homes, except the ceremonies when they die, so that assumes that it is actually az. Just not done at home.
      All this lines up well with the opinion that Rema didn't allow shituf, just held it was not lifne Iver on swearing.
      As for the physical part, yes mainstream Judaism does not accept a corporeal god. Definitely by the time Rema came around. And though some geonim and early Rishonim accepted a corporeal God, it's not the same. It's not some heavenly being who came to this earth in a physical being.
      According to your reading, with both shituf and corporealism ok for goyim, then there is no such thing as avoda Zara, and there never has been.

    14. @koillel nick
      Your reading doesn't work for Yoreh Deah 151. See Pischei Teshuvah there 144,2 and Shoel Umeishiv Tinyana 1,51.
      The fact that it's not Avodah Zarah for them doesn't make the wine permissible, as it still is for us. Same for going to church or selling crosses.
      I'm disappointed, you said you were aware of these sources, but you clearly didn't read the Teshuvas Yaabetz, where he clearly says which Shituf is Avodah Zarah, and which isn't.
      Corporealism might be heresy/apikorsus, but it isn't Avodah Zarah, even for jews and even according to the Rambam.

    15. Jew well - you seem to be living in an alternate reality. We are all Jews, as is Rabbi Goldberg. The Shul that we are talking about is presumably also Jewish.
      For all of us, Christianity is repulsive. It is AZ. (If it is true that the pastor is Jewish, your entire point is doubly moot) We are the ones that are discussing it, and we should be disgusted by the idea of something as abhorrent as AZ entering a Shul. We should not be looking for assistance from them or trying to join them in any organization.

    16. @zichron devorim
      I wasn't answering to you, but to Koillel nick extravagant claims that mainstream halacha views christianity as Avodah Zara for gentiles, that the Rama is a minority view (or that he never meant what he wrote in the first place), and that this rabbi Wade I never heard of is the one who defines the majority view, even though his claim is at odds with all that has been written on the subject.
      I myself am no more comfortable than you or him with evangelic christians of the far-right, and I also think it's a mistake to tie ourselves to that lot.
      But all of this is political, and doesn't allow anyone to comment on the rabbi's integrity. Plus, Rabbi slifkin expressly wrote he doesn't want to discuss the political aspect of this affair.
      If he's a jew (but no one here brought any proof for this) then the gate of the synagogue should never be closed before him, but it's absolutely forbidden to let him speak there about christianity.

    17. Kollel Nick - You think we should be more friendly to leftist Jews bc they share our blood, rather than with Gentiles who support us, bc they are *not* our blood. I doubt very much many of these leftists actually are in fact Jewish, but such comments are anyway racist. We don't reject people just because they don't have the same "blood" or skin color as us. Your comments would not be out of place in a meeting of the Aryan Brotherhood.

      In the second instance, your comments show naiveite in the extreme. Our worst enemies during communist Russia were Jews, our "blood" brothers. Would you have preferred to make overtures to them, rather than the righteous polish saints who risked their lives to save us??? Come on. What are you thinking!?

  3. "Strong disagree here."
    Clarify. You disagree with R. Goldberg's involvement in an event that the pastor participated in? (Or was the FL gov's involvement toxic too?) Or do you agree with Reuven's and Mizrachi's over-the-top hyper-condemnation?
    Should Reuven and Mizrachi have been less sensational and more respectful in their disagreement?

    1. I disagree with the analysis of the writer of this blog, that this event was a good idea.
      And R' Goldberg was not merely "involved" in it; he hosted it in his shul.

    2. The substance of the post should have been with Reuvein and Mizrachi not just being "sensational" but potentially dangerous, using rhetoric that engendered R Goldberg getting death threats.

      Whether or not the event was a good idea is both secondary and very debatable.

    3. I definitely would not identify with the tactics or message of either Reuven or Mizrachi.

  4. I don't care for the Wiesenthal Center. I visited their headquarters in LA many years ago. There was a massive statue of a completely naked male as we ascended the stairs. What part of that is Jewish?

    I didn't see any mention of G-d or religious Judaism. It was about the sadness of it all and various events, but not much more, as far as I could tell.

    A Jewish courier (no kippah) that I spoke to did not believe in basic Jewish concepts. Since then I lost any interest in them.

    1. Well, the Wiesenthal Center's business, like that of the ADL, has long since moved on from its stated mission (if indeed it ever followed it) to making heap big government grants in "sensitivity training." The results should be obvious.

      That doesn't mean that Adlerstein doesn't really, really know what he's talking about here. He probably deals with more Christians leaders than almost any Jew.

  5. I agree with R Reuven on this one. It was terrible to bring this missionary with Christians to shul. Look up Bramnick on YouTube.

  6. One can disagree with both. Rabbi Goldberg could be doing something wrong, even as Mizrachi and Reuven are who they are.

    If there would be a practical benefit to working with an evangelical on a specific task, I would understand the person who looked past the evils of evangelist xtianity (the evil is the Avoda Zara, besides the other bad middos of the American evangelicals, including hypocrisy and nasty extremism).
    However that is not the case here. They are trying to make public statements and expressions, ignoring that the same even produces a statement that accepts evangelism as our natural partners. This is an issue of an inner connection with their ideals, not pragmatic partnership.

    1. The first letter of the Greek word "christ" (χριστός, meaning "anointed one, a literal translation of "mashiach") is Chi (pronounced like a Hebrew khaf), which looks like an English "X". Hence, "X" is an abbreviation of the entire word "Christ", as in Xmas. Thus, the proper way to write "Christian" is "Xian," not "Xtian."

      And it also doesn't make you more frum (or secular) by using it, as it's a perfectly acceptable way of abbreviating the word even with the Church.

    2. As far as a "practical benefit...on a specific task" - I would consider supporting the State of Israel a specific task, and gathering allies for this a practical benefit. We know that Israel continues to lose the PR war. Having a large segment of the Christian population be immunized against this is rather helpful. (Even if PR aside, the Israeli gov't might do what is necessary, we know that world pressure can and does change some things...)

    3. The word 'support' is vague enough to be meaningless.

  7. Speaking of Hitler, you neglected to mention that Mizrachi infamously claimed that very few Jews were killed in the Holocaust, as the victims were all really children of intermarried Jewish fathers and not Jewish. This is, of course, nonsense on stilts- even among assimilated German Jews there was extremely little intermarriage, and of course most of the victims were from the much more traditional Eastern Europe- but it didn't stop the Holocaust deniers from lopping off the second half and seizing on to it- they still do- as "Rabbi admits that Holocaust didn't happen!"

    (In fairness, of course, Mizrachi, as his name implies, comes from a background where the Holocaust is somewhat abstract. But that in no way excuses his idiocy.)

    1. Ignorant Reuven spouts nonsenseJanuary 23, 2022 at 9:26 AM

      Mizrahi and Reuven seem unaware that less than 10% of German Jews were intermarried (this fact comes from meticulous German records), and the intermarried ones were EXEMPT from the deportations from 1941-1944. They received *better* treatment than the Jews who did not stray.

  8. This is a disappointing irrational take.

    Mizrachi and Ruven are idiots.
    Bramnick is an idiot.

    They are of the same breed of idiot. Sociopathic narcissistic grifter charlatans.

    It is ok to acknowledge both facts.

  9. You make it an obscene notion that a holocaust could have been due to am yisrael straying from Torah.(perhaps not worded exactly so, but clearly your emphatic intent).

    I hate to be a bearer of bad news, but the Torah is full of warnings about what will transpire to the am hanivchar if they stray. It is historically factual that during the years (and decades) leading up to world war II there was intense and widespread betrayal from Torah and the old traditions throughout Europe.

    Does that excuse Hitler? G-d forbid. Its no different than Haman, Nevuchadnezzar, etc - where the psukim and Talmud gives us spiritual reasons for why those events occurred.

    But those monsters chose to do what they did. Rambam discusses this extensively in his Yad Hachazakah, if you would like to learn more about it, look there.

    Straddling the fence by agreeing to the principles but refusing to recognize them even slightly when they stare you straight in the face is the mark of the two-faced, insincere wishy-washy ones.

    1. Levi, I think it's more a matter of the extreme lack of sensitivity that these speakers showed speaking about the Holocaust this way. There are still thousands of survivors who relive the trauma daily. And here you have this smirking young guy, who comes from a completely different community that was barely affected by the Holocaust, smugly mocking those communities that were decimated in the most horrific way. Even if he's technically correct.

      In fact, it reminds me of a fairly recent event, in which a horrific tragedy happened to a certain Jewish community, and a certain blogger (who shall not be named) from a completely different community took it upon himself to write about ten articles mocking that community and recounting all their sins that led to the disaster. He had the great sensitivity to do this while the families were still sitting Shiva. Of course, I'm sure it was only with the best intentions.

      Still, I agree with your broader point.

    2. No, you're missing the point. When Reuven/ Mizrachi speak about the Shoah being a punishment for sin, it's very different from standard theological talk. Reuven/ Mizrachi claim that Hitler himself correctly identified the sin, and that's why he hated Jews. But the "sins" that Hitler spoke of were false accusations. No, Jews did NOT destroy the moral fabric and economy of Germany.

    3. DNS, I watched the clip. THE POINT HE IS TRYING TO MAKE is actually in line with "standard theological talk".

      (Btw, degrading a discussion of schar v'onesh to "standard theological talk" is unsavory.)

      He is amazed how hitler ym"sh wrote things along those lines (Jews betrayed G-d, etc).

      Perhaps he could have been clearer, but his intent - based on what he says and what else he says leading up to and after said remarks - demonstrates this.

      If we could all give people a little more space, a little more leeway, more judging to the side of merit, not, well he said this, or what about xyz, we would be happier people.

    4. I'm willing to be he never read anything by Hitler. Because Hitler never wrote that.

      Nietzsche blamed Jews for creating Western morality. (He didn't like Christianity either, as, in his view, it imported that stuff from Judaism.) Hitler wasn't a philosophical genius, but he had that same sort of Teutonic myth Wagner liked to promote. In his mind, the Jews were a foreign Asian race that were a stain on that. And they were responsible for Germany losing World War I. (A complete lie.) And for Communism, although Hitler was a socialist himself (and was an ally of Stalin), so that was kind of opportunistic, and also a lie.

      I imagine there's some place for Jews to look at pre-Holocaust Germany and wonder if it's wise for them to be at the forefront of revolutionary economic, political, sexual, or social movements. (As they were.) But that wasn't what Hitler was blaming them for, and Mizrachi is way off as well.

      It is helpful to read Ben Hecht here, by the way, in his memoirs of his time in Germany in the early 1920's, when Jews were indeed at the forefront of those movements, and no one said a word about it.

      Oh, one other thing: If you're looking for supposed sins of pre-war Jews, the most obvious thing that jumps out is lack of aliyah. Modern Zionism was over fifty years old by that point, and over seven million Jews remained in Europe. Guess what country was spared the Holocaust.

      (Although, to be sure, the Americas and British Isles were also spared. So take your choice.)

    5. Here is RNS complaining about "standard theological talk"

    6. Happy, as much as you are trying to be a little bit of everything - stay counterrationalist but still agree that these two personalities are detrimental - your analogy up top here is very very flawed.

      If it is true how these two are being portrayed, that they say that "Hitler was right and the Holocaust happened because the Jews brought down the German economy and the Jews therefore deserved it" - this is a far cry from "the technical reason this happened was not permitting safety inspectors." One side makes a grand moral fallacious statement, serving only to tear things down while the other makes a pointed statement - yes, serving as a pointer into societal politics - with the goal of bringing that society into adulthood!

      And we know you know this, you are just being inflammatory.

    7. Yosef R, as much as I enjoy engaging in discussions with you because you are one the most reasonable "rationalists" on this site, I am puzzled by your accusation that I was being inflammatory.

      You can see that I was responding to Levi, who was saying that it's perfectly fine for Mizrachi to give public speeches about how the Holocaust was a punishment for the sins of the European Jews, since that's just the correct Torah perspective. My response was that even though that's correct, it's still wrong for Mizrachi to talk the way he does, because it's extremely insensitive to the survivors. There are more sensitive ways to give over that message. You can see that even RNS agrees with me here Look at "Second, and this is the most crucial point..." He even criticizes R' Ovadia Yosef for it!

      Since that's what I was responding to, my analogy was flawless and on point.

      Now, if you think it's perfectly fine for a young Sephardi gentleman (rabbi?) to give smug speeches about how the European Jews deserved the Holocaust for their sins, then I agree, it wouldn't be hypocritical for you to enjoy ten articles mocking a community that just experienced a horrific tragedy, and recounting all their failings that caused it. Written by a blogger from a completely different community, while the families are still sitting shiva. But something tells me you are a sensitive person who doesn't think it's perfectly fine in the case of the Holocaust.

    8. Nachum,

      Did you just use the words "Ben Hacht" in the paragraph immediately preceding "if you're looking for supposed sins of pre-war Jews...."? Did you ever actually read his Perfidy?

      The secular Zionist founders bent over backwards to block Jews seeking to escape the Holocaust from making Aliyah.

      Oh, and by the way, when you talk about "supposed sins" would you include things like profaning Shabbos and not believing in G-d? Because those things were rampant leading up to the holocaust.

      The point is that not only do you not know what you are talking about, you are also highly confused.

    9. "No, Jews did NOT destroy the moral fabric and economy of Germany."

      How can you say this? Have you researched the subject? German Jewry were, for real, heavily involved in businesses that pimped moral degradation.

    10. Shimshon, reliable source or any source? And this ruined the economy? And the gentiles were less prominently involved?

    11. Yes, I've read Perfidy. It's clear many people who cite it haven't. They certainly haven't read Child of the Century.

      So lay off the insults, hmmm?

    12. And they haven't read the interview with Hillel Kook with Wyman where he says that Hecht, as a playwright, was prone to drama & not 100% reliable.
      And they haven't read Hecht's Guide for the Bedevilled. And they haven't read his unjustified accusations against the owners of the Titanic.
      And they don't know why Hecht was thrown off the air in the 1950s. (Okay, that's an ad hominem, but what the hell)
      And they haven't seen Hecht's movies, which provide an insight into his cynical mentality. The most common theme in his work is how everyone is corrupt and dishonest. That how he judged at people.

      Hecht did a lot of good work. He was also a master story teller, and an unreliable journalist & historian. Hecht engaged in outright lies when he wrote in Perfidy that Fülöp Grünwald & Fábián Herskovits were killed by the Gestapo. Both were notable members of the community, and both outlived Hecht.

      The Zionists were a mostly ineffective crowd who didn't do enough (and who did enough?) to save Jews. They had little power, resources & influence to engage in mass rescue. Though they did try, and rejected any notion that a "cow in Palestine" was worth more than the doomed Jews of Europe.

      And do you REALLY want to open that can of worms? Do you? When Eretz Yisrael became a land of refuge for those fleeing Russian pogroms, who in the Yishuv opposed their rescue?

    13. Mr. Anonymous,

      It is possible to do your own research. That being said, I cannot find it now, sadly, as I must've accidentally deleted, but I had a fascinating source document from the British Embassy in Berlin documenting quite well, in English, the unbelievably extensive domination of Jews over the entire Weimar German economy, and the resentment that this engendered among actual Germans, and what that means vis a vis the Nazis.

      One of things Rabbi Reuven says is that while charging goyim interest is permitted, the kind of heavy interest rates charged by payday lenders (and the like), is not. These businesses, which have a significant Jewish, and particularly Orthodox, involvement in America if not outright domination, will bring nothing good on the purveyors of these loans in particular, nor on Jews in America in general.

      The idea that Jews, all Jews, particularly the ones that are reported on in the news, even the so-called frum ones, as politicians, titans of industry, or otherwise, in America today, or in pre-War Germany, are paragons of moral virtue, is a sick joke. It makes a mockery of our mesorah and why very bad things happen to us. Whether Hitler pointed it out or not. If the British could, why could or would he not?

      Is there nothing Slifkin is not expert in or unqualified to opine on? Is it reasonable to make a sweeping statement like he has?

    14. Ephraim - Ben Hecht is an awesome writer, I love his turns of phrase and his slight digs at everyone. His narrative is too smooth to be true, but it is definitely an entertaining read.
      For many Yeshiva Bochurim, it is the only literature we are exposed to. Otherwise it's John Grisham and the ingredients on the corn flakes box, both of equal literary competence.

    15. Hecht was thrown off the air because his interviewing style was bizarre. He'd alternate between not letting his guest get a word in edgewise and letting his guest talk for a half hour straight and not say a word himself.

      One biographer of Hecht describes his memoir as "the best work of fiction he ever wrote."

  10. I was at the event. Anyone critical of it without having attended, has no clue what they are talking about. Mizrachi & Reuven are just rabble rousers and make millions spreading lies and idiocies online.

    If you came to the event and listened to the speakers you would know instead of just guessing.

    1. The issue is not what was said, or not said, at the event. The issue is the wisdom of giving honor to such people.

  11. Interesting to read all these remarks - plus the thoughtful article. I spent 20+ years in Pastor Bramnick's world before becoming a spiritual nothing for eight years. Then over several more years, I gravitated into Torah observance. That was 22 years ago. I believe I occupy a qualified position to speak to the issues here, having lived deeply on both sides.

    I watched a number of Rev. Bramnick's videos. He's 100% a missionary. I speak his language. I read between his lines. With respect to R' Slifkin and the other commentators, you don't. So you hear what you hear selectively. What's also missing in this whole hulabaloo is that Pastor Bramnick is a Yid. He's more a Jew for Jesus than Jews for Jesus. He has learned what I and thousands of other Christian leaders learned about 25 years ago - that the Jews welcome Christian Zionists as newfound and needed friends. They welcome the largesse of pocket, as well. A lot of evangelical $$ is funding various Jewish programs. What's less known is how much evangelical funding flows to support outreach by the messianic community. Evangelicals today don't have to directly missionize. The indirect approach is far more effective. So big names like John Hagee, Michael Huckabee, Pat Robertson, Mike Evans and even Mario Bramnick can disavow direct missionary involvement.

    The indigenous messianic community of Israel is over 30,000 strong - with over 300 congregations and outreach centers along with 200+ websites aimed at Israelis. One particular group has a budget of $4mm/year to reach Hebrew speaking Jews, mostly through sophisticated online media. Tens if not hundreds of millions support these efforts. Who gives the money? The evangelicals. The same ones who dearly love, stand up for, and defend Israel. No one holds them accountable for the duplicity of their messaging and their investments.

    I stand on the sidelines here (having made direct contact with Rabbi Goldberg to convey my perspective) and I marvel at the polarized views of of Jews on this issue. On the one hand it's one of panic and outcry. I believe Rabbis Reuven and Mizrachi erred greatly to attack Rabbi Goldberg as they did. On the other it's the liberal call for understanding and cooperation. I do not believe Rabbi Adlerstein understood how to properly vet Pastor Bramnick.

    Shannon Nuszen of Beyneynu said it quite well yesterday:

    Enough said - for now.

    1. "The indigenous messianic community of Israel is over 30,000 strong - with over 300 congregations and outreach centers along with 200+ websites aimed at Israelis. One particular group has a budget of $4mm/year to reach Hebrew speaking Jews, mostly through sophisticated online media."

      That sounds like a lot of propaganda. 30,000, even if true, is nothing (and can be chalked up to a lot of born non-Jews, like Westerners and Russians), and I highly doubt it *is* true.

    2. It's hardly a secret that evangelicals want to convert everybody, including us. It's mainstream theology for most notzrim right? But in terms of welcoming pastors to speak, does it make a difference halachically if the pastor is technically a Jewish apostate? I couldn't find anything online about Bramnick having been being born Jewish, but looking him up on, it's possible.

  12. I see this ad and I wonder.
    A Rabbi's job is to encourage his congregants to strive to and reach higher spiritual levels, as well as to decide Halacha and to teach right from wrong. How does 'stand with Israel' comport with all of that?
    Imagine he invested this effort into something actually productive? Imagine he started a new Shiur Mishnayos, Ein Yaakov, Halacha, Biur Tefilla, or Kisvei Rav Kook. Would that not be a more productive use of his time and energy? Why waste energy on nonsense like this?
    Seriously!? Ben Shapiro?! Maybe they should bring Cardi B too?!

    1. Zichron, I'm surprised. Are you aware of what kind of programs are done to get people interested before you get them to come to a shiur? Unless you think that this program is inherently problematic--but you aren't saying so.

    2. I am not saying that this program is inherently problematic, although I might think it. It certainly seems problematic to me. But my point was besides that.

      I just think that the efforts expended on this kind of nonsense should rather be expended on actual Torah teaching. He will draw a smaller crowd, but quality above quantity (I don't mean the quality of the people, I mean the quality of the activity). Even if it is not a Shiur, rather an Oneg Shabbos, which is a Mitzvah in and of itself, it has more 'toichen' than Israel Israel Israel.
      If Rabbi's would see their job through the lens of spirituality, they would reach much more hearts. Without using gimmicks and nonsense, people would respond to it.
      As the Chafetz Chaim would say, a hot kettle means a warm bath, a warm kettle means a cold bath.

    3. @Zichron, then I think your critique isn't limited to REG & BRS. This is standard practice of the sincerest synagogue rabbis. Similar things are done in schools. Thanks for being hypothetical, but what actual experience do you have that you eschew 'gimmicks'? I do not believe the CC would use that metaphor in this context. But don't believe me. Ask your NON-local Orthodox rabbi.

    4. You're right that it is not limited to this Shul. I was once in a Shul and I saw a flyer for a meeting with an IDF general on the Motzei Shabbos before Selichos, captioned 'better than the movies'.
      I know that people need candy, but I don't understand why candy is the only thing on offer. If someone says a Shiur in a Shul like that, I fully understand that he should not say it in the same way he would say a Shiur in Ponovezh, but it should be a shiur. One can sell Toichen to a crowd, if it is packaged correctly. It doesn't have to be all candy.

      Reb Mendel Kaplan told a 'kiruv' camp to stop the focus on fun. His example, perhaps not so relevant nowadays, is to take the children vegetable picking instead of a constant focus on loud raucous trips to amusement parks. Empty kiruv is unhealthy.
      From what I have heard and read, Kiruv is not a simple undertaking. People get inspired from the most unlikely places. It is not at all clear that more people are inspired from kumzitz and concerts, games and social activities, than from the sincerity of the person teaching them. Humans work in surprising ways.

    5. @ZD: "I don't understand why candy is the only thing on offer."
      You're familiar with all their programs and know that this is all they're offering?

      @ZD: "Humans work in surprising ways."
      That's why you throw in a variety of programs.

      RMK ztz"l said something. And how terrible would he consider it if they keep going to amusement parks? But when will you find the sincerest rabbi who spends time on gimmicks? Camp is a captive audience. Even there the raucous things are beneficial.

    6. Because humans work in surprising ways, you do not need to resort to gimmicks. Gimmicks should be a last resort, because they are repulsive, cheapening the Torah. If that was the only way to do things, we would need to discuss it. But it is not. Which is why Chabad's menorah lighting, speeches about Israel's security needs, and Barry Sisters concerts are all mistaken ways of performing Kiruv.
      In many such Shuls, the majority of the programs and ideas are of the candy variety. And those that are not of the candy variety, are not marketed to those who need to be invited. The Daf Hayomi is for the person who is already committed, and is taught at that level.

      Even when candy works, it does not produce the same kind of commitment as teaching Torah does.

      RMK was making a point, I was not demanding anyone defer to his authority. I could have said it myself, but there is that thing called האומר דבר בשם אומרו.

    7. As you allude to - this was in essence a political gathering.

    8. Zichron, now I see where you're coming from. Thanks for clarifying.

  13. Rabbi Lawrence Kelemen in one of his “permission” books advocates the Shoah was punishment for the Jews straying from Halacha. ACJA

    1. Yes he does. And he brings 'respected Talmud Scholar' Rabbi Meiselman as as a source and back up for his contention that it is clear in the Torah that the Jews brought the Holocaust on themselves as punishment for assimilation. It is so simple according to Rabbi Keleman that I can't believe I didn't realize this before.
      (Hollow laughter)

    2. That the Shoah was due to Jews straying from Halacha--that's the standard explanation in large sectors of Orthodoxy, only that it's hushed to avoid provoking the PC, and of course those in too much pain to accept anything. It's incorrect to pin it on a particular rabbi.

      Someone told a gadol hador that the the Shoah made him lose his emuna. The gadol answered, no, you weren't a believer even before. The Shoah is right there in the Torah. Nothing about it should make you lose any emuna. It's just the pain .... How's that for non-PC?

      What YM & RY are saying is something else, not for right now. Good Shabbos

    3. This is what happens when people don't learn Iyov

    4. well i'm curious as to what you think they are saying.
      Still, what you say makes sense. Nothing like blaming the terrible Shoah and all the deaths on your ideological opponents, the secular and reform jews. Very pretty. I guess it is all very simple. Stupid me for having trouble with it.

      (not to mention the strange parallel argument... "we died for their sins")

  14. Reuven and Mizrachi are not saying anything new about Hitler...years ago I read that Rabbi Avigdor Miller said similar things and of course our favorite Jews, the Neutari Karta. Having read Mein Kampf years ago, do not recall the quote about the Jews leaving Hashem...Hilter complained that the Jews have the world a good conscience among others. I wrote before that the people attacked by them should sue them for both libel and slander. A good punch to their wallets might mellow the double trouble twins in crime. Please send me the video at my email address nertalmid@yahoo,com

  15. This Pastor Bramnick?

  16. More on Pastor Bramnick:

  17. Just to make things clear. Beynenu is ONE PERSON. A very special person, with a guaranteed spot in Gan Eden, but one person - who also happens to be an ex-missionary. As such, her sensitivities and desire to negate people will not be the same as someone without her background. I believe that the opinion of someone such as Rabbi Adlerstein (who is perfectly well informed about Pastor Bramnick) is much more significant regarding the interests of the Jewish community.

    1. Or maybe your personal connection to R' Adlerstein, as well as your antipathy to Mizrahi and Reuven, are blocking you from seeing what is obvious: That this pastor has no business being honored in a shul.

    2. The nexus is well established in 'conservative' religious circles. It is a marriage of convenience. Ben Shapiro (who I believe was also at the event) has a huge following amongst evangelical types even if he is ultimately not interested in xtian beliefs. My take on it is that both parties are willing to set aside their obvious conflicting religious beliefs in the name of their common currency to attack their real or perceived enemies - Jew or Gentile. I'll be honest with you I have had many conversations with Rabbonim who don't understand supersessionism, they don't understand that from the gentile perspective, they have the patience to chip away at Jews and last but not least, they don't understand the 'end of days' idea that regardless, Jews will be confronted with the reality of the xtian messiah. It's a bizarre combination.

  18. Those two are hotheads who often sail dangerously close to the wind. The fact that they raise issues publicly which others don’t doesn’t make them incorrect, it is nothing more than that they are the only ones who would dare say that which others would love to but are too chicken to do so.
    That said, and, I say this with a large degree of questioning whether I should even be opining on the actions of Rabbi Goldberg, a rabbi of significance (his numerous shiurim - all available online, are tremendous), I am very uncomfortable with him having hosted this pastor or whatever you want to call him, in the name of supporting Israel. One has to question how far one goes to support the state which calls itself Israel. I can perhaps begin to see the argument were it to be a truly Jewish - meaning religious, state. But sadly, an overwhelming part of the state is anti-religious and anti-Torah. Therefore, the tweaking and setting aside of G-ds laws to allow, encourage and support those who generally trample all over them, has to be highly questionable.
    That is not to say that our G-d fearing brothers and sisters in Israel don’t need and deserve our fullest support nor is it to argue that the non-religious deserve to be tossed to the dogs r”l, but it is clearly impossible to argue that there are no boundaries, no lines which cannot be crossed in the quest to support the State of Israel which is carried out by some with almost religious fervour.
    Yes, there are always differing opinions. But the question has to be asked whether this sacrifice had to be made? Was there no other way this could have been done without the significant potential for harm which it has generated? Was this person of such huge significance that it was worth potentially losing a few Jewish souls r”l in the chase for a safer Israel? Or are there perhaps other issues at play here?
    There has to be a driving force behind a refusal of the organiser to seriously consider the issue which was raised and to take action accordingly. It could be that it was felt that the benefits of having this person as a significant attendee outweighed the negatives. But, other than claims that he is influential, nobody has argued that he actually brought something totally unique and invaluable to the table. So what else could be behind the decision?
    In his most recent email blast, Rabbi Goldberg has distributed an essay hosted on his website titled “A Time to Speak and a Time to Remain Silent”, in which he writes about the greatness of those who are insulted but remain silent. I have to say that I found it exceedingly puzzling how somebody could write 1400 words about remaining silent and believe that he still counts among “the insulted who remain silent”.
    It is unbecoming of me to spell it out in black and white, but I believe that his inability to recognise the contradiction between his words and actions to be somewhat of a pointer as to the mindset which led him into this stubborn insistence to always be right even when he is being ultra left.
    And in closing, although the difference is significant, I do at times wonder whether his opinions are not as alien, upsetting and hurtful to the Ultra Orthodox as the opinions of those two rabbis are to non frum and MO.

    1. " it is nothing more than that they are the only ones who would dare say that which others would love to but are too chicken to do so."
      No. It's the lack of proportion. There's a wide gap between hysterical condemnation & respectful disagreement.

      "But sadly, an overwhelming part of the state is anti-religious and anti-Torah."

      This is untrue. And I suspect you, on some level, know it too. Hence you used the ambiguous phrase "overwhelming part". What part is that? Why are the other pro-religious & neutral parts not overwhelming? I You could have been more clear with "the state is overwhelmingly anti-religious".

      " I have to say that I found it exceedingly puzzling how somebody could write 1400 words about remaining silent and believe that he still counts among “the insulted who remain silent”."
      This is untrue. It's only in the second half of the essay that he deals with remaining silent in the face of insults. Nowhere near 1400 words. (In context, your comment takes nearly 600 words.) In any case, he could have written 14,000 words and it wouldn't have mattered. Silence, in this context, means not responding to the person insulting. It does not meaning not saying anything.

  19. A Jew would do well to read the Maine Kampf for himself and decide what is true and what isn't.

    1. Reading Mein Kampf is too unreliable to discover its contents. I'd rather use a statistically more rigorous method: 99.9% of things said about Hitler/Nazis on blogs or youtube is untrue at worst, and exaggerated at best.

    2. Blogs are poor substitutes for historical documents.

    3. Reading Mein Kampf without sufficent knowledge of the historical context and its author's way of thinking, is stupid.
      But Reuven did it anyway. And there he found how Hitler was right, because he wrote things which he wanted to read about the corruption of non-religious jews, and how Hitler really wasn't antisemitic at first, bu jews made him that way.
      But that's the same for you, isn't it, Yakov? That strange blend of Social Darwinism, Nietzcheism, and Eugenics does hold a strong appeal to you despite the antisemitism, doesn't it?

    4. Before the Nazis started killing Jews, they encouraged them to leave.

      Was Hitler a closet Zionist?!

      We don't need Hitler or Mein Kampf to know that when Jews stray, particularly en masse, tragedy follows. And pointing to the allegedly devout Jews of Poland...Reform had already made extremely heavy inroads to Polish Jewry. Besides which, when the storm comes, all are swept up.

    5. "Haavara Agreement"

      Ha'avara was a deal which gave the Nazis money, German Jews freedom, and Zionists "immigrant labour and economic support". The facts are told (perhaps sensationalized) in Edwin Black's The Transfer Agreement, Yehudah Bauer's (perhaps agenda driven) Jews For Sale and there's also an entry in Encyclopedia Judaica.

      Beyond the facts, there's interpretation. Some anti-Zionists defame the agreement as breaking the anti-Nazi boycott & as cooperating with the Nazi regime. Artscroll defames (quickly and with little context) secular/Zionist opposition to the agreement as another case in which secular/Zionist Jews opposed a rescue scheme.

      History may be bunk, but interpretation is bunkier.

    6. You do know that Hitler y"s lied, exaggerated, and expressed hateful paranoia throughout the book, right?

    7. Yes ofcourse, but not in everything, and that is the important part.

  20. Leaving the disturbed and hateful Mizrachi and Reuven out of the picture, it's entirely reasonable to question the Bramnick invitation.

  21. Irrationalist JudaismJanuary 13, 2022 at 9:02 PM

    Ruven is more extreme than Mizrachi. he is also quite thick, he talks complete nonsense. And they took opposite views on Walder - Ruven is giving a brainwashing talk "Chaim Walder: WHAT ARE WE ALLOWED TO THINK?" basically, he is running a cult, and so you can't think at all.
    Mizrachi , on the other hand, attacked Walder very badly.
    So i am not sure they can be compared. Also, Mizrachi expressed his regret for his holocaust denial comments.

  22. Mizrachi and Reuven are really dangerous people. They are not "real rabbis." Their rigid ideology is cult like.

    Yaron Reuven lives in Rav Goldberg's community yet he fights him. That is totally forbidden. A "real rabbi" would never do something like that. This is what the Halacha is, which he should know since he is a "Rabbi."

  23. Out of sheer morbid curiosity, I watched a couple of the YouTube videos posted by the “unhinged person” to whom R’ Slifkin links in his post. The experience was… edifying.

    Leaving aside the, uh, gentleman’s extremely peculiar speech patterns and unsettling mannerisms, the overall effect was that of watching an undeniably talented trained parrot.

    He has apparently learned to read Hebrew (which is impressive, as far as it goes, though it’s clear that he doesn’t comprehend what he is reading; for that he depends on the charming collection of Artscroll sefarim displayed prominently in the background), and peppers his ramblings about “false prophets” and “heretics” with frummie idioms often in an identifiably Sephardic pronunciation that clashes noticeably with his usually poor pronunciation of Hebrew words (for example, he typically talks about “HAW-shem” and the “TOR-uh”, but sometimes lapses into “to-RAH” and “par-ah-SHAH” and the like). I imagine these could only come from his mimicry of guys like Reuven and Mizrachi. The whole farce would be quite comical if it wasn’t so disturbing.

  24. I understood from statements of 2 of the leading European-American gedolim that when conditions allow, you can engage in a potentially dangerous leniency, provided that it has enough antagonists. They don't want the leniency at all, but for you their antagonism will keep you straight. It also means not to defend yourself too well lest you lose that straightening antagonism. And staying on your toes to get out if danger approaches.

    Among the lenient here is at least one wise responsible individual who (for those to whom this makes a difference) consults the gedolim. The gedolim do not allow him to publicize that they support the leniencies because of the nuance that the antagonism is also needed.

    Not everything you were taught to despise is without exception. An authority might be behind an exception.

    I have my doubts if this comment will go over well. Think about it.

  25. Irrationalist JudaismJanuary 15, 2022 at 8:54 PM

    Actually, I had read it a couple of times before I grasped what you are saying. That is very interesting. Unfortunately, it will be hard to find a source for this, but it ties in well with other things.

  26. Both are Israelis. That's what Israeli militaristic culture does to people.

    1. Yaron Reuven left Israel when he was a kid and was raised in the USA. So you are wrong.
      Even if he never left Israel, you'd still be wrong. Millions of native born Israelis disagree without you.

  27. I had a conversation with Pastor Reuven about this specific thing because I saw on his statuses he was smearing R Goldberg and then forged a letter against him. All I asked for is a halakhic source for what he's doing, needless to say he couldn't provide and just accused me of not caring about halakhah and advertised his YouTube channel

    1. I can't speak for Rabbi Reuven, but the fact that you disparage him openly here leads me to believe you were more interested in engaging in debate than in hearing whatever halachic sources he may be relying on. I would give you the cold shoulder too.

    2. You mean... On a rabbi's blog in which the specific post was talking about this "rabbi" who forged a letter from an actual hakham? Yeah you sure got me there

  28. Recent Youtube discussion on this very topic hosted by TenachTalk, a channel by former Christians who are now Noahides. Response is given by Rabbi Chaim Coffman. "Are we allowed to invite a missionary as a motivational speaker in an orthodox synagogue?"

  29. Further evidence Rabbi Mirvis, much like lehavdil, the Pope, is nothing more than a left wing social activist masquarading as a religious leader:


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