Sunday, July 10, 2022

Hooray, a Hateful Leader is Rising!

There's a change in leadership coming for the American yeshivah world.

Rabbi Yair Hoffman writes for the Five Towns Jewish Times and The Yeshivah World. He has said some very strange things (such as that on seder night, one should place one and a third matzos in one's mouth, chew without swallowing, separate them into two equal-sized balls in each cheek, and swallow first one and then the other, all within two minutes). Still, he's a popular writer. And this week, he wrote an article titled "Shiurim Attract Eclectic Communities From Lakewood To Teaneck." Whose shiurim are these? They are from a Lakewood Rosh Yeshiva, a son-in-law of Rav Schnuer Kotler zt”l - Reb Gershon Ribner.

Rabbi Hoffman proceeds to describe how Rav Ribner is "one of the leading Gedolei Torah," who has authored numerous seforim with profound shiurim and chiddushim. But because he sees the dire need for "true Torah hashkafa," he releases a wide number of brief shiurim on all kinds of topics, at the website RebGershonRibner.com. Apparently there are over 2000 downloads daily!

Impressive. So, what sort of things does this Gadol baTorah say? 

Well, I was sent a few links. There's one titled "Do yeshivaleit join rallies to protest Get Refusers?" in which he explains that one of the main reasons why they don't is that, very often, it's a situation where the wife is a feminist who wants to be able to go out and do things on her own or with her friends, whereas the rabbonim understand that the husband is being loyal to halachah, which says that a woman is obligated to be in the home. Then there's the support he gives to men who are falsely or accurately accused of sexual abuse, where he advises the latter to move to a new town where nobody knows about their history, though he adds that if they want to sincerely apologize, their victims are obligated to accept their apology.

In a recent shiur, however, this leading Gadol B'Torah sings the praises of the person that he in turn considers to be the leading Gadol B'Torah: Rav Elya Ber Wachtfogel of South Fallsburg.

If you're part of the American yeshivah world, you've certainly heard of Rav Elya Ber. He is known not only as a brilliant lamdan, but also for his zealous approach to community issues, such as insisting that the charedi community should not join the World Zionist Organization even just to gain funding. And if you're a reader of this website, you'll also recognize his name. Rav Elya Ber was the primary driving force behind the infamous ban on my books, but he's also been of interest for several other things - backing those opposed to the MMR vaccine, and declaring that Covid was a punishment for those who use the internet to learn about the misdeeds of others.

So, Rav Gershon Ribner is thrilled to describe the greatness of the Fallsburg Rosh Yeshivah. And he is very excited to talk about what to expect as Rav Elya Ber's authority spreads. In this shiur, titled "Changes to be anticipated under HaGaon R' Elya Dov's leadership," he enthusiastically declares as follows:

"The Fallsburg Rosh Yeshivah hates any Rav or any Torah figure that has a touch of modernity to him. He hates that. He is kol kulo mesorah and doesn't have any touch of modernity. I'm not talking about if you trim your beard. But if you are pro-WZO (World Zionist Organization), he is finished with you. Or if you are pro-Slifkin, or you're not hot and angry against Slifkin, he is finished with you, he is not going to be working with you."

I was flattered and amused that nearly eighteen years after my books were banned, I'm still a litmus test for Torah True Jews. But I was a little disturbed at how someone proclaimed to be one of the "leading Gedolei Torah" with popularity from Lakewood to Teaneck is praising his revered Gadol Be'Torah as someone who "hates" any Rav that has a "touch of modernity." Celebrating someone for hating other rabbis?

I guess it's something to get us in the mood for the approaching Three Weeks.


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128 comments:

  1. Ribner also said some disturbing and denigrating untruths about R' Soloveitchik which R' Rakeffet devoted some time to refuting. R' Rakeffet found it especially ironic, as R' Schneur Kotler was a talmid of R' Soloveitchik.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "R' Schneur Kotler was a talmid of R' Soloveitchik."

      Wrong. But according to rumor R' Soloveitchik referred to RSK as "my only friend".

      Delete
    2. "Talmid" may be an exaggeration but he did sit in the Rav's shiur at the recommendation of his father for a period of time, as reported by Rakeffet and others.

      Delete
    3. According to Rabbi Rakeffet, Rav Shneur Kotler was in the Rav's shuir (possibly for a short time, I am not sure). This may or may not qualify as being a talmid. Rabbi Rakeffet learned in the Rav's shuir and in Rav Ashton Kotler's shuir.

      Delete
    4. Is Rav Ashton Kotler related to Rav Ashton Kutcher?

      Delete
    5. "Wrong."

      馃檲馃檴馃檳

      Delete
    6. Ephraim July 13, 2022 at 8:01 PM, ' "Wrong." 馃檲馃檴馃檳 '

      Who's wrong? About what? And have you proof? And what is it?

      Delete
  2. I'm wondering who gives these clowns money to keep "learning". Or are they independant by selling books and shiurim ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There's a market for extremism.

      Delete
  3. And the elections as well...

    ReplyDelete
  4. One of his son's is off the Derech due to rationalism. That might put that remark in context.

    Ash

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    Replies
    1. Because of this blog specifically?

      Delete
    2. I believe the Baal hablogs books started him off.

      Ask him yourself.
      https://twitter.com/shneur_ribner

      Delete
    3. Previous comment is by ash

      Delete
    4. "I believe the Baal hablogs books started him off."

      Fascinating. That would be a first that I heard of. More often the 'start' is whatever kind of unhappiness; the intellectual 'basis' fills in later. And even the intellectual component, when surrounding the Baal hablog's books, normally come from the perceived closed-mindedness of his opponents. That repelled people. Early on there was a fabricated story or two that the books themselves made someone go OTD, but that was summarily debunked. The books are all about the compatibility of Torah, (according to the opposition that is a treif watered down Torah but still nowhere near going OTD), and science. Till now there was no documentation at all of his books as opposed to the reaction to them, of them sending anyone OTD.

      My interest is piqued.

      Delete
    5. Yeah, he has two sons otd - I’m the second one. But why tf are you doxing my brother?? That’s not very nice of you.

      Delete
    6. No one is doxxing him - it's legit in his Twitter.

      Delete
  5. While he certainly has a number of close-minded views, he actually comes across (in person) as quite open-minded. And one cannot deny that he is brilliant, extremely creative and an out-of-the-box thinker.

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  6. ” I guess it's something to get us in the mood for the approaching Three Weeks.” as he smoothly puts down random Jewish people on an online blog.

    You might be correct. Some of these people have written or approved of certain articles that might be incorrect. However, your response shows your true colors. An “Ohev V’rodef Shalom” seeks peace. You seek Machlokes. I do hold of many of the things you’ve accomplished, but this article really made me nauseous.

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    Replies
    1. Let me get this straight. Applauding the hatred of rabbis with a touch of modernity does not make you nauseous. But bemoaning that someone applauds the hatred of rabbis with a touch of modernity does make you nauseous.

      Delete
    2. You possess much more than a "touch of modernity," rationalist. You go to great lengths to "debunk" or challenge Talmudic statements, to amateurish effect. It would be refreshing if you actually went to even modest lengths to explore the historical origins of the scientific assumptions that pass as factual today and are thus completely unexamined by all but a few. Instead, they are holy writ to you.

      Hashem himself is said to hate things. It's not hard to find sources, whether in Tanach or the Talmud.

      Mishlei 6:

      16 There are six things that the Lord hates, and the seventh is an abomination of His soul;
      17 Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood;
      18 a heart that thinks thoughts of violence; feet that hasten to run to evil;
      19 [one who] speaks lies with false testimony and incites quarrels among brothers.

      Interesting...

      Delete
    3. Ah. The quick biting comeback. You didn’t read what I wrote carefully. I happen to respect you, and I unfortunately don’t have that much respect for these other “leaders”. However, your article reeks of immaturity. Yes, many people say, write, publish, etc stupid and incorrect information. They doesn’t mean you have to respond as you did. Who’s the bigger man?

      Additionally, I never wrote that their comments don’t make me nauseous. I just don’t read what they write. I would much rather you stick to Divrei Torah or fascinating facts.

      Delete
    4. Shimshon, again you throw out the ignorant talking points you love to parrot.

      I wonder which "unexamined" scientific assumptions you have in mind. That the earth is not flat, perhaps? Maybe you would care to enlighten us with your deep knowledge of the history of science. (Sorry if "enlighten" is a bad word for you, given its historical and philosophical connotations, but I'm sure you get the gist of the request).

      Delete
    5. The assumptions behind the accepted value for the diameter of Venus.

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    6. Dovid, assumptions are baked in many aspects of what passes for science. Just the "science" behind carbon dating is foolish, if even in historical times, the CO2 levels vary as much as we are told. Who is to say they don't vary more in the past, assuming such a past exists? That's just the start.

      As someone who worked in the space program, it's all "standing on the shoulders of giants," or more accurately, it's "turtles all the way down." Even when studying real phenomena (like Electron Drift, which I was involved with), all sorts of assumptions are baked in. The specializations are so fine that no one bothers to question the assumptions the specializations are based on.

      This is to say nothing of the "reproducibility crisis" that is very real and documented and affecting many hard disciplines now. It doesn't matter that MRI machines and CT machines work. This is no longer science, but engineering. Which is many decades old.

      Dovid, it's your job to examine. You can choose not to. Regurgitating what I learned to an unreceptive audience accomplishes nothing.

      All you can do is throw my words back at me? Immaturity? Are you too afraid to call me retarded, so that's the best you can do? It's just a word Dovid. And it's a comment, not an article.

      Delete
    7. Shimshon, what a bizarre response.

      First, your initial statement was clearly intended as an attack ("if such a past exists at all") on the entire rationalist edifice of the scientific method - a combination of believing our eyes and basic logic. Yet the best examples you can come up with to undermine its foundations are about the diameter of Venus or some potential inaccuracies in carbon dating? That's just pathetic.

      As for your final paragraph, I don't even pretend to know what that's all about. I'm an interlocutor, not a therapist.

      Delete
    8. Since I've seen a few confuse the commenter "Dovid" with me, "Dave," I want to make clear that we're different people, and as I've mentioned before, I do not engage with a m'charef u'migadef who refers to, in his words "Talmudic talking points."

      Delete
    9. Dave, I haven't seen anyone confuse us. I rarely comment, and I'm typically on the same side of arguments as you are.

      Delete
    10. Dovid,
      I *think* the final gibberish paragraph that you could not decipher has to do with some grudges he is nursing against me from a previous thread (and he included it because he thinks that you're me). But I'm not trained in the psychological sciences myself, so I can't say with certainty.

      Delete
    11. "You didn’t read what I wrote carefully."

      Ok. Sounds honest and sincere. But I don't believe that you wrote carefully enough. You wrote, "However, your response shows your true colors .... You seek Machlokes....
      That has the makings of a fundamental criticism, rather than "be bigger." Certainly where the situation is conducive for it being taken that way.

      So I think your subsequent comment is true but the first wasn't written well, and received the response that it received.

      Delete
    12. Shimshon July 10, 2022 at 3:17 PM
      "You possess much more than a "touch of modernity," rationalist"

      Yes or no, but this is a distraction. The statement under consideration is ""The Fallsburg Rosh Yeshivah hates any Rav or any Torah figure that has a touch of modernity to him. He hates that. He is kol kulo mesorah and doesn't have any touch of modernity." Respond to IT.

      Delete
    13. "Yet the best examples you can come up with to undermine its foundations are about the diameter of Venus or some potential inaccuracies in carbon dating?"

      No, I said to look into the history of the derivation of the diameter of Venus. You are not looking into it. Fine.

      Grudges are pure projection on your part Dave. I don't care what you think of me. I do think it's amusing and childish coming from one who partakes of so readily of current events and spreads lies about them with such glee. The alarmist leftist media slant is not enough for you. You have to LIE about easily verifiable facts.

      Point noted about the distinction between the two of you. You two do share a similar tone as well.

      "...a combination of believing our eyes and basic logic..."

      Given the level of argumentation I see here, I can believe that. Having come of age steeped in the entertainment business, I know a thing or two about the eyes being deceived. Funny that the Torah warns us repeatedly about such. You Vulcans and your logic. I liked Star Trek too, as a child and even young adult.

      I don't see the point of engaging me either way, Dovid or Dave. My remarks were directed at the proprietor, not you. He chose not to respond. Why do you feel the need to?

      More to the point of what I said, or rather quoted, was that sowing such discord is...hated. I care about abortion, but this issue I have rather less to say on it besides the curiosity of how one who sows hatred is amazed when the man who made you a cause celebre is noted for his role in that years later. This is worthy of noting why? To stroke your ego?

      This post does nothing but stir a cauldron of hatred against someone (or someones) that is not really necessary. There was an actual pedophile residing in Israel who was arrested in Canada recently for crimes committed decades ago. He's got a black hat and a beard too. May we all see justice done. That is real outrage. This is just outrage porn. But amateur. The left does a much better job.

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    14. Anonymous, I did. What is the point of this post? To sow more hatred? To stroke the ego at being mentioned by him? Is the rationalist an intersectionalist too?

      Delete
    15. This article is not about "random Jewish people" - however, the disparaging comment about any rav who has a touch of modernity sure was.

      Shimshon, Hashem is not basar v'dam like us. Hatred and anger need to be avoided at all costs.

      Delete
    16. Shimshon July 10, 2022 at 10:52 PM, "Anonymous, I did."

      For the record, he didn't. And tell him good bye from me.

      Delete
    17. MV, what is the point of this post other than to stir hatred and anger?

      "Respond to IT."

      Ok.

      As far as modernity, that depends on how you define the word. One can benefit from whatever our contemporary time offers and still not be modern ("I'm not talking about if you trim your beard."). It's not a false dichotomy of the Amish way or the "modern" way.

      There is in fact a "modern" hashkafa that lends much greater credence to "science" (which itself is a very amorphous term) than is justified even when just considering the history of science alone without noting how it interacts with our mesorah, and then uses or misuses claims made in the name of science to question or even jettison parts of our mesorah that are juvenile. Would that Slifkin fixed his gaze so fiercely on scientific claims and their derivation to understand them a tenth much as he thinks he understands our mesorah because of the possession of some learning and a piece of paper. He doesn't. No one here does. You can make fun as much as you want of things you don't understand. You can't possibly understand what you have not investigated beyond seeing some pixels on a screen.

      Seriously. Dovid speaks of seeing with his eyes. What have you seen Dovid? Very little, if anything that wasn't rendered on a screen. You are vicariously seeing through the eyes of others. The one thing you are certainly not doing is using your own eyes to decide anything. Such is the nature of your logic too. All of you rationalists. Vicarious and empty. Such is the "modern" hashkafa.

      Do I think we should hate such? To the extent "modern" can be defined as apikorsus, that does seem to be called for. Even if there is machlokes on whether or not participating in the WZO is across that line, there seems to be wide agreement that a line exists.

      Delete
    18. Shimson,
      This article didn't stir any feelings of anger or hatred in me. If that was your reaction, I would ask myself why. I would say the article's purpose is to shed light on some problematic beliefs by increasingly influential names.

      Delete
    19. Shimshon, you think the ruminations of Mr. Spock are a relevant rendition of the principles of the scientific method?

      You are too much. The ludicrous confidence with which you make these stupid comments is really quite something to behold.

      Delete
    20. No Dovid, you sound like Spock, not me. You are the one who said "a combination of believing our eyes and basic logic," not I. You are clearly not intelligent enough to follow what I am saying.

      Delete
    21. This article is not about "random Jewish people" - however, the disparaging comment about any rav who has a touch of modernity sure was.

      MV, it is clear that it is not about "any rav who has a touch of modernity". The only example of "modern" rabbi provided is Slifkin, and given the history the use of the word modern is applying to that context and nothing else.

      Who said I am angry or full of hate? You impudently demanded I respond to something. Are you not entertained?

      Delete
    22. Shimson, the following comment by R Ribner regarding R Wachtfogel is *not* about "any rav who has a touch of modernity"?
      ""The Fallsburg Rosh Yeshivah hates any Rav or any Torah figure that has a touch of modernity to him. He hates that."
      I'd ask you to entertain me with your interpretation but I'm not that interested.

      Delete
    23. "Who said I am angry or full of hate?"

      Now that you asked, let's say this gently: everyone including your sycophants. Except that they say it quietly so it shouldn't interfere with their own programs to win some of the arguments.

      It's a pity that someone with scientific experience also raves with unstoppable mania.

      Delete
    24. MV, clearly, Slifkin was singled out by way of explanation for context. What do you think it means in the context of the quote? You didn't write this comment: "Seems funny for someone who hates modernity to have an internet site..." But it may as well have been written by you. It is clear that "modern" as used means something, even if you don't agree with it.

      Anonymous, which sycophants are those? Mania sounds like so much projection. Do I sound like I am trying to win anything? Regarding science, all I said and say is, be as meticulous in analyzing what passes for science as you are in deconstructing our mesorah. No one here did, does, or will, even when given a specific example to explore. Instead, it is taken as an argument in support of a claim, and discarded like the convenient straw man it wasn't intended to be.

      Delete
    25. Shimshon, "Mania sounds like so much projection."

      Amazing! This incredible comment is just too delicious.

      Delete
  7. "The Fallsburg Rosh Yeshivah hates any Rav or any Torah figure that has a touch of modernity to him. He hates that. He is kol kulo mesorah and doesn't have any touch of modernity. I'm not talking about if you trim your beard. But if you are pro-WZO (World Zionist Organization), he is finished with you. Or if you are pro-Slifkin, or you're not hot and angry against Slifkin, he is finished with you, he is not going to be working with you."
    These two "gadolim" are open, running sores on the body of Yiddishkeit. These are the guys who are keeping Moshiach from coming.

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  8. In this quest for purity, supposed pure mesorah of rejecting modernity, the same person will ignore his mesorah of davka interacting with those who were more modern. Rav Aaron Kotler was no way as extreme as his students. He had a working relationship with plenty of rabbis that had much more than a touch of Zionism or modernity. Rav Aaron Kotler worked with Rav Eliezer Silver, R YB Soloveitchick. And it wasn't just about issues of pikuach nefesh. Rav Aaron also gave a hesped for Rav Herzog.
    So davka a proper mesorah for a person without modernity in his worldview, is to draw on R Aharon and say we do work with moderners. Rav Aharon himself seems to have done that. According to Mravin Schick's recollection, when he was challenged about wanting to. Say a hesped for Rav Herzog, he responded that his shver, R Isser Zalman said a hesped for Rav Kook, so he would say a hesped for R Herzog. This is mesorah.

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    1. Not to mention that it is entirely possible that Rav Kook and Rav Hertzog knew more than Rav Isser Zalman Melzter and Rav Aaron Kotler respectively.
      Oh, and RIZ"M was borderline mirzrachi, another fact that has been airbrushed out of chareidi history.

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    2. Koillel Nick, you're attempting to retroactively whitewash RAK so that his students today appear (to detractors) "extreme", whilst he himself is portrayed as broadminded. It's a nice little trick to avoid having to tangle with RAK's legacy, which is why PS happily proclaimed "excellent point!" But it's quite false, of course. RAK was every bit the "extremist" his students are, and more so. That he worked with others when he needed to means absolutely nothing.

      Gersh P.

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    3. Gersh - That is my point. RAK was extreme in his views. I'm not denying that. I am pointing out that he worked with "moderners" on many issues, such as RYBS on Chinuch Atzmai. I don't have a problem with people that have a view that others would call extreme. I am challenging the "mesorah" of "he is finished with you; he is not going to be working with you." Students of RAK should be stating that they DO have a mesorah of not writing people off. They DO have a mesorah of working with "modern" rabbis for chizuk of Torah, they DO have a mesorah of saying a hesped for "modern" Gedolim. But they don't. nd that's because they don't really use mesorah.

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    4. Koillelnick, the statement explained by way of example what is meant by "modern." It was clearly not all rabbis you consider modern. Slifkin is not a proxy for all modern rabbis, but rather rabbis of a certain type of hashkafa. This is nothing new.

      Delete
    5. Or rabbis who support joining the WZO, like Rav Shmuel Kamenetzky.

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    6. Shimshon -
      1. When I write modern, I meant modern 诪诇专注, in Yiddish.
      2. I assure you that R Wachtfogel would not work with a YU RY on any project, even if it's an apolitical one that promotes Torah learning.

      Delila - you bring up an interesting name. The joining WZO argument can go both ways. It's a continuation of the Yekkish/ Hungarian Austritt discussion . There was never a clear hachra'ah. Joining WZO for R Kaminetzky and others is merely a way to affect money allocations. But here is another argument. R Kaminetzky was involved in a very controversial hetter for a woman to remarry without a gett. He ended up being alone on this one. Rabbis, including R Wachtfogel publicly condemned his position. Yeshivish mesorah, is to run a rabbi out rabbis who do similar acts, as in R Shlomo Goren. Yet this didn't happen here. After the harsh condemnation, it rolled onwards and aguda continued like nothing had happened. Had a modern rabbis told the woman that she can remarry, in the same exact situation, the backlash would've been much sustained. This is not a an 诪讞诇讜拽转 讛驻讜住拽讬诐 situation. Yet here the politics of being yeshivish vs modern overules anything else.

      And this is is the argument here. R Wachtfogel won't work with a Zionistic modox rabbi, because it's not his pure hashkafa. But he will work with someone whom he believes allowed a married woman to remarry without a gett, since the hashkafa is still pure.

      Delete
    7. There is a clear difference between Goren and this story.
      Goren did not just permit mamzerim to remarry. He undermined a few Batei Din on the way, with no authority. He also sold the pesak for the job of the Chief Rabbinate, announcing that the piskei Halacha of the Chief Rabbinate were for sale, a most dangerous position.
      The idea that it was just the pesak that was the problem is belied by the history.

      Delete
    8. Both cases were interfering with other batei din. R Goren had written a kuntrus arguing his position ears earlier. So he ha a plus in the balance here.
      You are also proving my argument. The permitting of a mamzer in questionable situations, is less serious than political identification.

      Delete
    9. Koillelnick July 12, 2022 at 11:17 AM, "...Yet this didn't happen here. After the harsh condemnation, it rolled onwards and aguda continued like nothing had happened...."

      A fine comment. But I would add, "...it rolled onwards and aguda [and everyone else to the right and the left] continued like nothing had happened...."

      Delete
    10. Who mentioned political identification?
      Goren sold a heter for personal gain. That was a terrible, dangerous thing to do.
      Goren undermined the Beis Din system in Eretz Yisroel for personal gain. That was a terrible, dangerous thing to do.
      Rabbi Kamenetzky sent a Shaala to Rabbi Greenblatt to help a woman in difficult circumstances, and endorsed the heter she received. He did not do it for personal gain, he only lost from that story. And he did not undermine any Beis Din system at all. No such heteirim are granted except by the greatest of the great, such as Rabbi Greenblatt or Rabbi Feinstein.

      Delete
    11. Please, the controversy around the Kamenetsky-Greenblat heter was coming out of my ears years ago. The interested can go to the Eidensohn blog, which has dozens of posts about it. Can we stick to this topic?

      Delete
  9. This did lead me to the Wikipedia page of his father, which includes this gem, citing an Artscroll/Jewish Observer publication:

    "At age 15 he rejoined his parents in Canada and then went to learn at Yeshiva University's Yeshivas Rabbeinu Yitzchak Elchanan in New York. Among his study partners were future American rabbinical leaders Rabbis Avigdor Miller, Moshe Bick, and Yehuda Davis.[4]

    A few years later, when the yeshiva added secular studies to its curriculum, Nosson Meir staged a protest, urging his friends to quit the yeshiva and go to study in the great yeshivas of Europe.[5] At age 17,"

    Well, that would be 1925-1927, which means he would have been in the high school, which had had a full secular curriculum since it was founded in 1916. Yeshiva College was established in 1928.

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  10. Seems funny for someone who hates modernity to have an internet site...

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  11. I would prescribe a deep breath and several grains of salt. R' Gershon Ribner isn't taken very seriously in the yeshiva world. He is little more than a curiousity. And R' Yair Hoffman's description of him as "one of the leading Gedolei Torah" is just silly.

    And BTW, R' Elya Brudny supported joining the WZO at the time and he is at least as influential as R' Elya Ber.

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    1. Thumbs up. R Ribner reminds me of R Miller and the following comment:
      Allison Josephs says on October 3, 2017
      Thanks for your comment, Aaron. I haven’t seen all the troubling writings you refer to, but I have seen some. And I went to my rav, very troubled as you are. He said his rav did not consider Rav Avigdor Miller a gadol, though he was a noted rav. But he said he was wrong in these areas. That doesn’t mean he was wrong about everything. He had many positive attributes, but he wasn’t infallible.
      https://jewinthecity.com/2016/07/does-the-torah-support-racism/

      Delete
    2. Hoo boy. Getting insights about the Lakewood world from commenters here is like learning about women of the wall from Bichadrei Chadrorim. In point of actual FACT, Reb GR's chaburos are widely distributed on whatsapp ( the chief mode of communication in yeshivah circles), he is an influential figure, and some schools actually bus their students in to visit him. So don't tell people "he's not taken seriously." True, he's not yet on the Agudah moetzes, but he is someone to be rechened with.

      Agreed that its silly to refer to him as a leading Gadol B'torah, and also agreed that REB is at least as influential as the other REB.

      RGP

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    3. RGR's speeches are widely disseminated, but they are laughed at. He is comic relief in the Yeshivish circles I hang out in. Nobody I know takes him too seriously, even as he is popular.

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    4. "Getting insights about the Lakewood world from commenters here is like learning about women of the wall from Bichadrei Chadrorim."

      You might be referring also to me (Anonymous July 10, 2022 at 10:10 PM) or only to Dov. But I'm in the Lakewood World all these years. The question is whether there is such a thing as a single Lakewood world. Lakewood is a community of 'immigrants' whose opinions and approaches were largely formed in their youths before they got here. Even boys raised here get their opinions from the immigrants. Likely that the dominant approach comes from Brisk so the wags say that RAYS is the RY of BMG. Of course Brisk advocates separation more than RAK. So RGR has a following from those predisposed to him. Let's say he has 2000 Chasidim. Lakewood is still much much larger than that. Another group enjoy listening to his brilliance and select what they like and pass on the rest. Another happens to just not listen to him for no particular reason.

      To say that whatsapp is the chief mode of communication in yeshivah circles, is an astounding oversimplification or just not true. You know that people who agree somewhat with someone are bothered by his inaccuracies more than those who don't. 讘专讘 讚讘专讬诐 诇讗 讬讞讚诇 驻砖注 讜讞砖讱 砖驻转讬讜 诪砖讻讬诇

      Gedolim's power, if that is the right word, is correlated to their involvement. A godol who for example joins the Moetzes is anticipating/expecting to be followed. The Moetzes was set up to be followed and obeyed. Same for one who writes open letters to the public, such as the CC. Or publicizes a Psak. Basically one who's working with a certain infrastructure. Whereas someone who says a Shiur to a pretty monolithic group and lets someone put it on line doesn't have that expectation, nor does the public feel a need to necessarily follow.

      This is not true for a Mufla Sheb'dor, who is listened to without all those things.

      ZD, a Ben Torah would word that differently.

      Delete
  12. We have to stop the trend that the only way to be orthodox is yeshivis. The strong modern orthodox way is the real way of Torah. The world is not black and white and it’s great that we have a blog like this that is not scared to say the truth like it is. The Torah wants us to be individual’s who seek and make the world a better place. Not a people who think that there is only on way for Torah and am yisrael.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Help those who find MO uninspiring and/or too easy. What do you offer them so they could escape from yeshivish?

      Delete
  13. He also gave a talk I. Which he said there was no intermarriage in prewar Europe.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, that's true. Even in Germany intermarriage was very low. That doesn't mean everyone was frum, of course.

      Delete
  14. Rabbi Slifkin,

    I listed to the shiur about agunos. Rav Schachter is my posek and I obviously find the shiur quite distasteful. However, I think it should be noted that this appears to be largely a question of facts.

    The questioner presumed, and Rav Ribner accepted, that these rallies are done by feminists. He said that freeing agunos is extremely important and that Torah-true bnei Torah will due whatever is halachically permissible to free an agudah when appropriate.

    Rav Ribner then returned to his factual assumptions/assertions that are not accurate - namely that the ones organizing the rallies are "feminists" and the women seeking gittin are "feminists."

    ORA follows Rav Schachter very closely and I remember seeing Rabbi Stern constantly asking Rav Schachter for direction. ORA has also been publicly endorsed by "right wing" rabbanim including Rav Moshe Heinemann and Rav Shmuel Fuerst. (Now I suppose that if Rabbi Ribner believes that voting in the WZO elections, something endorsed by members of Agudah's Mo'etzes and supposedly Rav Chaim Kanievsky makes you not "Torah true," so Rav Heinemann and Rav Fuerst might also not be "feminists," and ditto for Rav Schachter, but I wonder what Rav Ribner would say.)

    As I noted, this seems to be a case where a talmid chocham - Rav Ribner - simply doesn't posses the accurate facts and bases himself on hearsay. You can call this a refutation of Daas Torah, but given that it largely seems to be about facts, I don't think it is as bad as you make it out to be.

    [Rav Ribner wonders if embarrassing someone gets into a question of get m'usa. I didn't get that far when I learned Hilchos Gittin but I am deeply skeptical that Rav Ribner is correct. If Rav Ribner is incorrect, then his "Daas Torah" is wrong about Torah as well, beyond the facts, as mentioned above. However, I won't judge until I know more.]

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rav Schachter is off on the topic of agunos. Zionism and feminism are always a problem at YU. We tear that page out of his book and try to gain from the rest.

      Delete
    2. I'm not sure what you are saying. My understanding is that most cases where a husband withholds a get have absolutely nothing to do with feminist issues Rav Ribner described.

      Delete
    3. After researching it a bit, there is something to talk about embarrassing a husband being coercion. However, I am still very skeptical that this is accepted as halacha, and I'm still not sure I understand the arguments. I need to research more.

      Delete
  15. Rabbi Yair Hoffman's description of how to eat matza on seder night, and how much to eat, may sound ridiculous, but he is doing no more than quoting poskim on the matter, and as such can hardly be faulted. (It could be argued that the fact that we are expected to hold 2 kezaysim in the mouth at one is a proof that the kezayis is not as large as some of the poskim say, but Rabbi Hoffman's articles are collections of psakim, and not his personal psak.)

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hoffman is a legend in his own mind.

    ReplyDelete
  17. In my experience, the very popular online shiurim tend to be entertaining but not particularly intelligent . . .

    ReplyDelete
  18. Bleh.
    Why is this blog plagued by people who seemingly come just to try and defend their beliefs from a holier than thou, smarter than thou, and better than thou attitude? Enough quoting pesukim about how evil Rabbi Slifkin is or playing "gotcha". This isn't Tom and Jerry.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Your average semi-modern Charedi isn't really aware of the more outageous statements of people like R Wachtfogel. There's a vague community concensus that he is , if not a gadol, someone to be deeply respected and someone who is a vessel for da'as Torah. It's a cultural trend to lionize people who your neighbors lionize. Probably the same reason so many in the dati leumi community in Israel look up to R Dov Lior as a light of the community, despite the many horrible things he's said and written.

    ReplyDelete
  20. R Yair Hoffman writes about some very important issues to clal yisrael. Like how women's pencil spandex skirts ride up when they drop off their sons at yeshiva on their way to the gym and how disturbing this is.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is disturbing. If you don't grasp the seriousness of modesty, then you have what to work on.

      Delete
    2. Here's an old Buddhist story:

      Two monks, one older, one younger, were walking in the woods. They came to a stream where a young woman was standing, not wanting to get her kimono wet. The older monk, without pausing, picked her up, carried her across, put her down, and they all went on their separate ways.

      A little while later, the older monk sensed that something was on the young monk's mind, and he asked him what it was. The younger monk exploded: "I can't believe you picked up that woman! You touched her!" etc. etc.

      The older monk let him go on and then calmly replied, "I left the young woman back at the stream. *You're* the one who's still carrying her around."

      Delete
    3. That's how it is when you have a sex drive. Yehuda, Dovid, Solomon, and Shimshon all ran into trouble because of that. Rabbi Avika ran up a tree. When you get a sex drive, you'll understand. Until then, keep wearing your pink shirts.

      Delete
    4. You must be fun at parties.

      Delete
    5. Israel, I actually have a couple of pink shirts. Including a shabbat one. My spouse bought them for me. (She happens to be female).

      Delete
  21. He doesn't sound hateful. You sound hateful. He sounds good to me. And he doesn't protect sexual abusers. He tells them only how to continue on, with teshuvah and kapparah being the most important thing. Thank you for introducing him to me.

    ReplyDelete
  22. To Israel- Does he tell Rabbis who sexually abuse to go for therapy, to apologize to the victims and their families, to help the victims financially get therapy?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He did most of that in audio that's on his website. He didn't mention offering money for therapy, but that doesn't mean he would be opposed to it. It wasn't a comprehensive treatment on the subject. He was just offering the Torah view that anyone can do teshuva.

      Delete
    2. Sexual abuse involves manipulating and hurting people! It's not just sexual desire by which one violates
      sexual Halachic restrictions. It is just
      plain exploitation and destruction of
      human beings that will last a lifetime!




      Delete
  23. Remember how the left used to preach "tolerance"? Funny how we dont seem to hear that so much anymore. Probably because the hypocrisy of the most intolerant people on Earth asking others for tolerance eventually even got too much for them.

    So here we have our own blog host calling a rabbi "hateful". 谞讞讝讬 讗谞谉. Has our own blog host called orthodox Jews he disagrees with, "racists"? Check. Has our own blog host accused other Jews, who disagreed with him on Covid, as not caring about other Jews? Check. Has he accused other Jews of not thing rationally, and following blindly charismatic charlatans? Check. I can continue, but you get the point.

    So is R. Ribner a "hateful" person? Maybe, I don't know. But if so, it would be a clear case of 诪讻讬专 诪讬谉 讗转 诪讬谞讜, not to mention 讻诇 讛驻讜住诇 讘诪讜诪讜 驻讜住诇.

    Picks, G.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There's a world of difference between criticizing ideological or behavioral shortcomings and saying "Let's hate people!"

      Delete
    2. When the word "hate" is introduced by the person being critiqued, and the defender only sees that the one doing the critiquing says hate. Brilliant.

      Delete
    3. you can criticize all you want, but you should never glorify hate. Rav Ribner elevates hate as being something positive, while Rav Slifking criticizes from a point of concern, trying to improve, he has never ever called on anyone to hate.

      And that my friend is the huge difference, which I'm sure you can recognize if you just wanted.

      Delete
    4. There is this to note as well, in addition to the foregoing: R. Gershon Ribner was speaking of one individual. Whereas the blog host here routinely engages in negative stereotypes of entire communities of Jews collectively. Moreover, Reb Gershon Ribner addressed the issue on one occasion, whereas the blog host here engages in charedi-bashing on a regular basis. So I ask again: Who's really the hateful one?

      GPix

      Delete
  24. Rabbi Yair Hoffman said:
    “...one should place one and a third matzos in one's mouth, chew without swallowing, separate them into two equal-sized balls in each cheek, and swallow first one and then the other, all within two minutes)...”
    So the architect of our universe wants us to mimic the eating habits of this creature? What on earth could k’ zayis mean? Could it mean something reasonable like the size of an olive or might the architect of our universe desire that you commemorate our deliverance from slavery by taking on the chubby cheeks like that of below.
    https://images.app.goo.gl/DHcFapP8Z9cryHpZ8
    It makes all of his halachic pronouncements suspect. Why would anyone embrace any of his foolish halachic teachings?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rodents actually have cheek pouches built for this purpose. Humans, not so much.

      Delete
    2. I won't defend the position, but it might be of interest to understand some context first.
      The matzah we ate in Egypt had nothing to do with the dry crackers we call matzah. It was regular bread made from unleaved dough. At some point european jews stopped making these for Pessach, out of fear the dough could rise if it wasn't properly cooked, and instead started making these flattened, dry, overly cooked crackers.
      So with regular matzah it wasn't necessary to eat one and a half, even for an oversized olive - shiur.

      Delete
    3. I once tried to do this (after doing the mitzvah in the normal manner). It was impossible because I could not overcome my swallowing reflex. 诇讗 谞讬转谞讛 转讜专讛 诇诪诇讗讻讬 讛砖专转

      Delete
  25. @Israel
    All normal people have sex drives and in most of us that is normal. If we didn’t we’d be unable to fulfill the Mitzva of Pru U’Rivu. It appears that Yehuda, Dovid, Solomon and Shimshon had aberrant sex drives. It seems that for some unknown reasons, God chose those folks with abnormal sex drives.
    It seems that Rav Hoffman as well as many other “Gedolim” are obsessed with modesty. As for the rest of us, if we glance at a lady in a spandex skirt which might ride up ... who the hell

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's not obsession, it's avodah. Modesty is a fundamental of Judaism and humanity too. A century ago women didn't even show their ankles. I'm talking about gentile women. You have been desensitized.

      Delete
    2. Yehuda slept with a woman he thought was a prostitute exactly once some time after his wife died. That doesn't sound "aberrant" to me.

      Shlomo married hundreds of women for political reasons. We have no idea what his sex drive was.

      Shimshon married once, slept with a prostitute once that we know of, and then got involved with the wrong woman.

      Anyway. Every man alive has a sex drive, or should. The vast majority of them manage to keep it in check.

      Delete
    3. https://www.reddit.com/r/HistoryPorn/comments/pd8n9d/womens_fashion_styles_of_1922_1001x761/

      https://www.boredpanda.com/women-fashion-dress-history-timeline

      Delete
    4. Israel,

      That is a myth. They may not have shown their ankles but they revealed half their breasts. Go watch some old movies:) And prostitution was more accepted than today. The upper class didn't hide it

      Delete
    5. Movies? You are going by movies that were made by decadent secular Jews? I'm talking about the average lady in typical church going America and Europe (not Weimar Berlin). As for prostitution, that wasn't done on the streets because modesty was valued on the streets.

      Delete
    6. You are showing me drawings of the fashion crowd, not the typical person.

      Delete
    7. Thr average lady in typical church going America and Europe would have no problem in revealing half her breasts when dressing up posh. That was just the fashion. Not exactly Rabbi Falk. Get real. As for prostitution, it was much more acceptable and tolerated. Not sure what the streets have to do with anything. But in fact there was much more clear prostitution in the seedier streets of town then there is today.

      I am talking about movies period. Not sure how Jews come into that.

      Delete
    8. This is an odd digression. Fashions wax and wane and there does seem to be a correlation to economic prosperity. The 1920s (aka Roaring Twenties) have very scantily clad women being more socially acceptable. But the 1930s had a noticeably more conservative look. There was never the case that prior to our times women always dressed modestly.

      Uriah’s Wife is just plain wrong about our forebears. I'm not going to bother looking it up, but I do remember learning that in the incident with Yehuda and Tamar that Hashem implanted in him an overwhelming urge such that resisting it was nigh impossible. That union had to happen to fulfill Hashem's plans. Dovid HaMelech asked Hashem to test him, and He complied. Calling their urges "aberrant" is kind of abhorrent.

      Delete
    9. The roaring 20s was the aberration. Prior to our times, since the advent of Xianity, modesty was the norm.

      Delete
    10. Clearly you have never learnt what they ancient romans got up to. Many cultures enjoyed mixed bathing without much clothing on. And traditional indian dress has never complied with rabbi falk. But keep spouting inaccurate kiruv stuff.

      Delete
    11. So Israel you basically admire Christianity…why not take that final step then…? You already worship sainthood….

      Delete
    12. American culture is disgusting as it centers around sex. Its just disgusting.

      Delete
  26. Yehudah was shamed and David castigated and punished.No excuses accepted.Didn't have to happen. Many commentators are very harsh in their treatment of them.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Shimshon you either accept the Midrash literally or not or you interpret it a la Maharal or Rambam. No indication on the
    text for your explanation.It could have happened in other ways.


    ReplyDelete
  28. Shimshon- You don't have to accept or "believe" in the Midrash. As per Rav Hai Gaon and other Geonim " 讗讙讚讜转 诇讗 诪讞讬讬讘讜转". See 讛专讘 讗诪谞讜谉 讘讝拽 in his
    sefer " 注讚 讛讬讜诐 讛讝讛" and "Mysticism vs Rationalism" by RNS.
















    ReplyDelete
  29. Yaacub, even so, neither of those reactions indicate an aberrant sexual desire. Being a powerful man and acting on a desire is not aberrant. It doesn't make it right, but it is far from aberrant. To use such a word is simply wrong. But it's easier to take me to task for what I said rather than offer some alternative explanation.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So in other words you’d be ok with trump having done what he bragged about back in 2016 to women and bragging he could get away with it because he’s famous….

      Delete
    2. What are you talking about? You must be marginally literate. First, I clearly said it wasn't right. Second, why do you introduce a modern political figure into this? You believe what you want about me, as you certainly will anyway.

      Yaacub, what does not having to "accept or believe" the Midrash have to do with anything? You choose not to, then I guess you have what to hang your hat on.

      Delete
    3. Shimshon, I agree. The behavior of David is not aberrant but morally very disappointing.

      Delete
  30. Give Rabbi Ribner credit. In response to a question from a husband who believes his wife isn’t a bar seichel because she is opposed to vaccines, Rabbi Gershon Ribner, shlita, said, “I don’t know anything in the medical field to know if she’s being a bar seichel or not. I’m not proficient in medicine. I give all my attention to being proficient in Torah law. So I wouldn’t know what to answer that.”

    The rabbi then proceeded to discuss how to handle shalom bayis when there is such a disagreement between spouses.

    https://rebgershonribner.com/clashing-with-an-anti-vax-spouse

    That's pretty good. We need more rabbis who don't pretend to have expertise in subjects in which they don't have expertise. Year hear that NS?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So, he’s just basically admitted that not everything is in Torah….what will his followers think..????

      Delete
    2. That is clearly not what he said or admitted to. The hatred here is really something to behold. It is so intense that it is carried over to the next post about locusts. There are those who could not resist making some sort of statement linking it to here. For example: "Well then I guess as per R Ribners remarks in your prior post R Elya Ber now hates R Schachter lol". Real clever Nahum. Even if true, what is the relevance to the post itself? Perhaps this Anonymous is the same one who responded to Nahum's comment, piling on?

      Delete
    3. "So, he’s just basically admitted that not everything is in Torah…."

      Not exactly. He just admitted that despite *his* knowledge of Torah, *he* doesn't know. Only for the 讙讘专讗 but he's not talking about 讘讞驻爪讗.

      Delete
  31. To Shimshon and Uriah's Wife- Rabbi J B Soloveichik said that from the Tanach we learn that even great people " fall". Their greatness is that they "get up" by doing Tshuvah (admitting their failure, making amends) and pursuing improvement of their
    behavior.













    .

    ReplyDelete
  32. This one is a gem, basically all professions are dishonest or immoral but it's ok to take their money. https://rebgershonribner.com/learning-in-kollel-on-bloodstained-money

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He's right though. The professions are dishonest. Each steals from the next, charging too much, inventing unnecessary work. Name the field - they all steal all the time. The more you try to condemn this guy, the more I find things to like.

      Delete
    2. So I guess you don't work for a living? If you really feel there is no honest profession, your priority as a religious leader should be to lead the way, correct what is wrong. Don't take their money and condemn them. Lakewood honors people who donate regardless of their background. This is an implicit endorsement but they look down on working people behind their back. Don't use the army's protection and the governments money and then condemn them to hell as charedim do in Israel. Besides do you really think bandh photo is doing something wrong by selling cameras as the rabbi stated?

      Delete
    3. Bad guess. I have worked for 40 years. I have been amazed how much dishonesty there is in every field including the ones people think of as noble.

      Delete
    4. If you let it in, there can be dishonesty in everything. It’s not a professional issue.

      Delete

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One Hundred Thousand!

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