Wednesday, November 9, 2022

A Model of Rabbinic Leadership

If you want to see what an actual great Torah leader is like, then Rav Eliezer Melamed, shlita, is a wonderful example. In his latest essay, he demonstrates an aspect of what leadership is about: presenting an overall vision for the nation. Here are some choice extracts (bear in mind that this is translated from Hebrew, and some idioms and nuances are lost in translation):

"The identity card of the People of Israel is the vision to establish in the Land of Israel a great and blessed nation that adheres to the values ​​of faith, charity and justice, and brings blessing to all families of the world... In order for us to fulfill the great vision, God gave us the Torah, so that in the light of its guidance and commandments, we can engage in the improvement of the world, and establish state institutions committed to imparting the values ​​of truth and goodness....

"By the grace of God, by means of the self-sacrifice of the pioneers and soldiers, the State of Israel was established, and inspired by faith and Torah it is growing ever more prosperous, and we have a wonderful opportunity to be partners in its further development. I will attempt to illustrate the path to the realization of the vision, in the light of the guidance of the Torah.

"Work: In the Torah, we learn about the enormous value of work. Our forefathers worked diligently, and were blessed. Even when Jacob our forefather had every reason to neglect his work, he continued to work diligently and faithfully, and was privileged to rejoice in his labor. Numerous mitzvot and halakhot instruct us to respect an employee and his work. The more we are able to educate towards the value of work, the more diligent and loyal labor force we will have, and blessing will increase...

"Science: The Torah relates to science with great respect, to the point where it is said that a person who lacks one of the world’s wisdoms, lacks ten countermeasures in the Torah (Rabbi Kook in the name of the Gra). The sciences reveal the divine wisdom in the creation. In addition, science is extremely beneficial to man for his well-being and health, and its development encompasses the value of work, and the settlement of the country. Therefore, in a proper Jewish education, the study of the sciences must be greatly encouraged, each student according to his ability. Highly talented students who can engage in the development of science for the sake of increasing knowledge, and for the benefit of the lives of individuals and society must also be encouraged. As a result of such an education, we can hope to raise more scientists who can contribute to humanity, and even workers in other fields will be able to deepen their understanding of their jobs, and develop them. As a result, everyone will be able to enrich their work with new ideas, grow to be outstanding employees, and contribute to society as a whole. 

"Torah Study: In order to fulfill all these values, there is a mitzvah to set times for Torah study, for by doing so, we revisit and learn all the mitzvahs dealing with honesty and truth, and the value of work and creativity. From Torah study, we can also draw inspiration to develop new ideas, and find solutions to complicated problems. To this end, special attention must paid that the study of Torah indeed be the Holy of Holies: on the one hand, of most important status, and on the other hand, a fountain for all, in a way that Torah does not supplant the status of work and science, but strengthens them."

It's not just Rav Melamed's particular views on the role of Torah, science and work which are refreshing. It's also that he actually has and articulates an overall vision, and thinks about what is required for it to be fulfilled, and how it would work out for the entire nation. This is the kind of thing that certain other significant sectors of Orthodox Jewish societies simply never talk about. They don't even have a plan for their own society, let alone for the country. We are blessed to have such people as Rav Melamed.

 

NOTE: You can purchase Rav Melamed's works in Hebrew at this link and in English at this link. They are also freely available online and there is even a special Android app with them.

110 comments:

  1. " It's also that he actually has and articulates an overall vision, and thinks about what is required for it to be fulfilled, and how it would work out for the entire nation. This is the kind of thing that certain other significant sectors of Orthodox Jewish societies simply never talk about. They don't even have a plan for their own society, let alone for the country. "

    This is key.
    What will follow is an attack or critique of Rav Melamed without providing a vision for the country. And no, "If you value your life, vote Gimmel" and "neither Herzl nor Kook" do not constitute a vision.

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    1. Fickler on the goofNovember 9, 2022 at 10:07 PM

      Mr Slifkin. You start with your own desires about how things ought to be in life, then you go looking for who espouses them. Then you say, he is the daas torah!

      Let's play doctor. Someone has a scare. Should they A) think about their own preferences for life style or medicine and find a doctor of similar view or B) look for the best doctor they can find and listen to his ideas no matter if they like or despite, say, dieting and exercise?

      Exactly, the first way kills you way faster than the second.

      I'm not opining, sir, regarding the issues, but what I am saying is that your method for deciding who is the best is flat out silly.

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    2. The doctor is a great example. Everyone chooses which sort of doctor they go to, in terms of the worldview - do you go to a doctor of Western medicine or an Eastern-style healer?

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    3. Fickler- have you ever heard of patient centered care?

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    4. "do you go to a doctor of Western medicine or an Eastern-style healer?"

      After many yeas of struggling with a wide range of chronic health problems, I changed my diet and started supplementing thyroid, after which all of my health problems went away and my mood, and thus marriage, improved immeasurably. Most of my dietary changes are not according to official advice, and many are the precise opposite. No doctor agreed with me that I needed thyroid and I have not been to a doctor in for the last three years. Hundreds of thousands of people like me are doing similar things and realising that by ignoring official medical advice and following crazy kooks on the internet they can greatly improve their quality of life. Meanwhile, in mainstream society, obesity just won't stop going up, along with depression, anxiety and numerous other indicators of ill-health. And now excess mortality is up around 10% in most western countries, post Corona, and no-one in charge knows why or what to do about.

      So, to reiterate my question in the other thread, if you were in a society that was in an advanced state of Lysenkoisation, what would be the signs? What then of your Science?

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    5. The amount of times me hearing out "crazy kooks" has yielded me better results than medical advice are too many to count. Antidepressants made me feel worse, and one of them caused me to break out in month-long hives for the first time in my life. Unapproved psychedelic substances combined with unscientifically proven somatic self-therapies have yielded me clear results, but R' Slifkin has informed me that these are dangerous (surprisingly, everyone of the dozens of people I've done it with are fine, and any ceremonial leader with half a brain tells you the contraindications). A Chinese doctor manufacturing her own unlabelled creams and teas produced immediate results in my brother's severe eczema that had worsened for years under the guidance of Western doctors, which ultimately cured him. The list goes on. Thankfully, I ignored RDNS's blanket "BE SMART. GET VACCINATED" recommendation as well, since I had the brains to realize how silly this was given my age, health, and overall lack of confidence in a highly politicized drug being pushed by hysterics.

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  2. I don't see how there will be many gedolei Torah with his outlook if the talented are encouraged to study science and Torah is a subsidiary to secular studies and work.

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    1. If someone wants to be a Gadol, that's wonderful. But that's not the הדרכה to the nation. That's not the ideal for everyone. It's important to have Gdolim. But it'd also important to have Torah learning yids in all positions, to establish an ideal society. מה שליבו חפץ, slays with a לימוד יומי snd s connection to Torah

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    2. During the Golden Age of Spain people were encouraged to have a profession and they certainly were encouraged to study general wisdom and they were involved in the general culture. Nonetheless we all know they produced great Talmidei Hakhamim in every generation. It is possible!

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    3. How many gedolim are produced by the Charedi Kollel for all system? (There are some, but very far from everyone).

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    4. By definition there are never "many" gedolei Torah. Except today, I suppose, when everyone's a "gaon."

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    5. " if the talented are encouraged to study science and Torah is a subsidiary to secular studies and work. "
      He didn't say that.

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    6. @Nachum
      R Amital zt"l once commented something like "I was at a conference and everyone was introduced with Harav Hagaon. Turns out we're living in the geonic era!"

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    7. Many years earlier, Herman Wouk commented that "gaon" had become like "PhD"- there are a lot more than there used to be, but it doesn't quite mean the same thing as it used to.

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    8. Nachum - its true that a lot of doctorates aren't worth much these days, especially when you can get them in fields like "gender studies". And we don't even need to mention watered-down or completely non-existent standards that affirmative action/reverse racism has brought into society, nowhere more so than Academia. BUT, a lot of "doctorates" from back in the day in Europe weren't much more than just basic college degrees. They may have been in real fields, but you didn't need a bachelors and a masters first, like one needs today. (For whatever it's worth, man, there you go.)

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  3. Many talented and intelligent religious people have done bothTorah study, general studies and work.Those who are interested ,have the ability, and the means will pursue Torah studies as their main priority.I have seen both.

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  4. Unfortunately, respecting science is not a good idea in a society where Lysenkoisation has occurred or is occurring. Example: Rav Melamed recommends women who want to space children use the contraceptive pill, and, if they start having problems, to just keep trying different pills until they find one that works. This approach has devastating consequences for untold number of women in terms of their physical and mental health, and there is an easy and safe alternative in the form of the diaphram. But Big Pharma told Rav Melamed that it's all fine, and because he believes in Science, he believes them. (Of course, the ancillary reason is that he believes in the Zohar and thus its concept of spilling seed, which - since the proofs that the Zohar is fake are so blindingly obvious and conclusive to any marginally intelligent person - itself kind of makes a mockery out of his claim to believe in even basic logic and evidence, let alone science). Many such cases, unfortunately.

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    1. So you're going to condemn Rav Melamed due one of his decisions?
      And what the heck does Lysenkoism have to do with anything? Heck, Lysenkoism pretty ceased to be an influence by the time Rav Melamed was born?

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    2. While numerous passages from the Zohar were shown to postdate Rashbi, that does not disqualify the approach that the core material of the Zohar comes from Rashbi himself. As the Zohar was passed down through the ages marginal notations may inadvertently have been subsumed into the text itself. That doesn’t disqualify the entire Zohar.

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    3. It's a borrowed term, in the same sense that one may describe a fit of cultural lunacy as 'Maoist' or an authoritarian tendency as 'Stalinist' or a Right-Wing extremist movement as 'fascist'. It refers to any society in which the concept of Science as an authoritative arbiter of truth has been politicised and/or corrupted by powerful institutions so that it gives consistently bad results.

      As for Rav Melamed's advocacy for contraceptive pills, I do not think this is a minor issue at all, but in fact there are even more serious issues where Rav Melamed's uncritical reverence for Science has led him to make other disastrous rulings. There are literally thousands of children in Israel with serious developmental delays because Rav Melamed told their parents to lock them up at home and mask them, and I can go on.

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    4. "While numerous passages from the Zohar were shown to postdate Rashbi, that does not disqualify the approach that the core material of the Zohar" blah blah blah

      No-one actually believes in this "approach". (The Chasam Sofer probably did, and also Rav Kook, but no-one today). This entire "approach" is just how people who have basic critical thinking skills and a little bit of education deal with the reality that their rabbinical leaders don't.

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    5. Baby and bathwater. You don't like one decision, so you discount the whole approach?

      You seem to be OK with empiric understanding and logic when you decide that the tradition that the Zohar is Tannaitic is false; do you devalue empiric understanding and logic with regard to the natural world? Howzabout this: acknowledge that you agree with R' Melamed and others that science is not a thing to be feared and shunned, and then point out that "Science" is not a monolithic entity - and certainly not as applied to different societies and subcultures - and you might disagree on certain aspects, like the use of contraceptive pills in certain communities of chareidi women. Even if this is not a "minor" issue, it absolutely is only a small part in the greater whole of "oh yeah, natural laws exist, and we function within them."

      [By the way, your belief that the Pill has caused "devastating consequences for untold number of women" is either ridiculous hyperbole based on anecdotal -ie nonscientific - data, or is true and based on scientific studies. So you use the methods of science to undermine science itself?]

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    6. " in the same sense that one may describe a fit of cultural lunacy as 'Maoist' or an authoritarian tendency as 'Stalinist' or a Right-Wing extremist movement as 'fascist'."

      You're being very silly.

      " I do not think this is a minor issue at all"
      Who said it wasn't a minor issue? It's still just one issue.

      "There are literally thousands of children in Israel with serious developmental delays because Rav Melamed told their parents to lock them up at home and mask them"

      You're being very silly. Masks are harmless. Lockdowns were limited. There aren't "literally thousands of children in Israel with serious developmental delays". You tend to exaggerate, one mainstream psak you don't like renders the posek beyond the pale. That's an exaggeration. We still live a free society where minority of opinions, whether correct, crank or crackpot can voice their opinions. There is no Lysenkoism. That's an exaggeration too.

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    7. @Yosef R

      "So you use the methods of science to undermine science itself?"

      It's not in my means to use the scientific method to undermine science itself. I can't just buy a lab, a few thousand test subjects and run medical trials on all the drugs that are on the market. What I do know is that there is a thing called the 'replication crisis' in which the majority of published and peer reviewed studies in an alarmingly large range of fields turn out to be non-replicable and thus worthless. I know there is a thing called 'regulatory capture' in which regulatory agencies in fields where there is vast money to be made come to work for the companies they are supposed to regulate. I know that the human body is a very delicate thing which we don't understand (for example, the placebo effect for which there is not even a plausible working hypothesis for how it could work).

      Now, how would I know if I was living in a society undergoing a process of Lysenkoism? Well, maybe if there was a virus, and existing pandemic plans developed over decades were thrown in the bin, and some bonkers new concept of mass containment was tried with across the board support from the medical establishment, and it didn't work anywhere, and then we were all supposed to just let bygones be bygones, because it was 'limited' or something. That might be a clue. But that's science fiction.

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    8. " it didn't work anywhere"

      Define "didn't work".
      Define "anywhere".

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  5. I don't know if I have posted this here in the past, but I believe it's relevant:
    I have a book, “Off the Derech”, by Ms. Faranak Margolese. The subject of the book is about Orthodox youth going “off the derech”, and choosing not to lead religious lives. At one point (pp. 202–203), she cites an interview with Rabbi Berel Wein, who makes a very interesting observation:

    “To a great extent, I think one of the greatest problems that Orthodoxy faces is that it doesn’t promise anything. It should. On an individual basis perhaps it does; but [not] on a national basis. I mean let’s say everybody would vote for the Orthodox parties tomorrow. What would be its platform? What are we doing to do? We have no idea.

    The Torah [has ideas], but someone has to articulate them. What’s our attitude toward the poorer section of society? Toward the Arabs? Toward anything? So now the attitude is: do Torah and mitzvot. But doing Torah and mitzvot is not a foreign policy and it’s not a domestic policy either. We don’t promise anything to anyone…We don’t say that we are going to fix the world; we don’t say these things even though it is part of our heritage, even though that’s part of the Torah. We don’t express it. It could be the reason we don’t is that we have been under attack for so long; we have been a minority within a minority so we can’t afford grandiose dreams. But I think that if we don’t express grandiose dreams, we doom ourselves to remain the minority within the minority.”

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    1. This may be part of why the focus for many people (most notably Lubavitch but not only them) is that the goal is To Bring Mashiach. My wife related that in one high school class she taught there was a girl who literally prefaced a question with, "Since the goal is to bring Mashiach..." My wife carefully responded with something along the lines of how there is an immediate goal of doing mitzvos simply because Hashem commended us to do them today, and then answered the question. (And yes, I recognize that my wife's answer feeds into R' Wein's point.)

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  6. Short general statements may sound good, but the devil as always is in the details. R'Melamed for example was advocating fake giurim when the "ger" does not need to have intention to keep Torah and mitzvot. R'Melamed may be a nice kind person, but the models of rabbinical leadership must first adhere to the Torah and mesorah.

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    1. "giurim"
      This post didn't discuss giur. Do you otherwise agree with Rav Melamed?

      In any case, you've misrepresented R' Melamed's opinion.



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  7. This is a standard DL vision that has been around for a hundred years. It's not a chidush of Rav Melamed and is an old well known story. The practical implementation is also a well known story. Enough has been said and written on the subject.

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  8. RDNS's model of rabbinic leadership is the one that follows his own views...

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    1. Aw c'mon! It is for most people.

      We create our leaders in our own image.

      Ever show visitors the "shul you don't go to"?

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    2. I think this Rav is amazing, I have a lot to learn from him, but that someone like Rav Moshe Feinstein wasn't a model, or Rav Elyashiv wasn't a model? Specifically this rav is the model?

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    3. Rav Moshe and Rav Elyashiv were poskim, not community leaders.

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    4. U think Reb Moshe wasn't a leader? But even if not, take your pick. Reb Shach?

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    5. RMF was absolutely a community leader.

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  9. I have nothing against this rabbi personally, and perhaps he is really l'sheim Shomayim, but unfortunately it is people like this who caused and encouraged most of klal Yisroel to abandon the Torah, by elevating secularism above the Torah. Remember, the maskilim also had many rabbis, talmidei chachomim, who said the same thing, elevating work and science above Torah and Mitzvos. It didn't end well at all.

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    1. It all goes back to the Rav Kook himself and his teachings. Anybody can see for himself by studing what he wrote. This shitah worships the chilonim and the medina. It's a fantasy and a fraud that is מעביר עם ישראל למולך to advance their messianic agenda. With leaders like we have, and that goes for all groups and sects, a secular state maybe the only option.

      At the source of this shita is the understandable frustration at the irrelevance of the religion to modern life. But their's has not been the solution either. It may work for a minority, but a disaster for the nation.

      Incidentally, that frustration at the irrelevance of Judaism also was the moving force for the invention of the Zohar and the continuous development of the Kabbalah. Kuzari was the foruner of it with his elevation of Israel above other humans in trying to give meaning and justification to a dispised faith.

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    2. The general rabbinic leadership did not successfully relate to many religious Jews. That is partially responsible for the great amount of people leaving religious practice. Look how today the Chareidim ,DL and others go out of their way to try to relate to non religious people,and justifiably so.So כל הכבוד that we have Rabbi Melamid.

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    3. "From Torah study, we can also draw inspiration to develop new ideas, and find solutions to complicated problems. To this end, special attention must paid that the study of Torah indeed be the Holy of Holies: on the one hand, of most important status, and on the other hand, a fountain for all, in a way that Torah does not supplant the status of work and science, but strengthens them."

      He's very clearly not elevating secularism over the Torah. He says Torah is "of the most important status". He is arguing that Torah is most important, but other things are important as well. Others may argue that Torah is the only thing important.

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    4. @happygoluckypersonage "Maskilim" it too broad concept. It includes many rabbis and talmidei chachomim who valued the science and encouraged people to learn Torah deeper and practice better, as well as those who used the science to elevate secularism above the Torah and encouraged people to abandon it.
      Vast of leading Rishonim were "maskilim" for some extent. (Rashba and Rosh were probably the exceptions.)

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    5. Actually, that's even worse. He says the value of Torah is inasmuch as it fulfills the values of work and science. "In order to fulfill all these values..." Torah and Mitzvos are a handmaiden to secular achievements. 

      Some other interesting quotes from the full essay
      "In recent times as well, the thought that if we obey God’s commandments we will be gathered to our land by a miracle..."

      Exactly like it says in the Torah and all the Neviim? And does he believe, like Satmar, that the War of Independence was not a miracle?

      "Only their sons who were willing to fight together with Yehoshua for the conquest and settlement of the land – without relying on a miracle"

      So he thinks the conquest of the land in the time of Yehoshua was without a miracle?

       "In addition, we must take heed that religious conservatism does not prevent creative freedom and responsibility to change and rectify the world.."

      A Shomer Torah rabbi, worried about "religious conservatism"?! Excuse me, what the hell?!

       This is like a regular maskilic essay, complete with "tikkun olam" lines. I don't know much more about this Rabbi than what Slifkin quotes, but the more he quotes, the worse it seems! But on the other hand, maybe he really has solid Torah hashkafas, and this essay is all in the spirit of "hora'as sha'a" and kiruv, to attract secularists to the Torah.

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    6. brodsky, you are correct, under that definition, the Gra or the Chasam Sofer could be a "maskil", in the same way the Rambam was a "maskil". But I am talking about the ideology of the haskalah that puts work and science before Torah and mitzvos, that says (like this essay) that Torah is valuable only inasmuch as it leads to secular achievements. This is part and parcel of the ideology that caused so many Jews to abandon the Torah. ר"ל.

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    7. "Torah and Mitzvos are a handmaiden to secular achievements."
      He didn't say that.

      "Exactly like it says in the Torah and all the Neviim?"
      Not exactly. Redemption via natural means is not a new concept. Take for example, the Gra's circle.

      "And does he believe, like Satmar, that the War of Independence was not a miracle?"
      Non-sequitor. He was talking about the development of the country in general, not just the wars.

      "So he thinks the conquest of the land in the time of Yehoshua was without a miracle?"
      He didn't say that.

      "A Shomer Torah rabbi, worried about "religious conservatism"?
      He didn't say that.

      "This is like a regular maskilic essay,"
      You haven't read much, have you?

      "But I am talking about the ideology of the haskalah that puts work and science before Torah and mitzvos"
      What does that have to do with Rav Melamed?

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    8. It is amazing truly sweet and heartwarming the extent that you will go to defend this rabbi, even totally ignoring the simple meaning of his words. Perhaps you are a talmid of his? If so אשריך ואשרי חלקיך, that you are willing to move mountains to be מתרץ דבריו אפילו בדוחק גדול. As I said, it is possible he is truly לשם שמים. But don't let me ever catch you complaining about Rabbi Meiselman's pshat in עטלף again!

      "Not exactly. Redemption via natural means is not a new concept." -But it's a new concept to deny the miraculous nature of the redemption. It is against the Torah, Neviim, Kesubim, and Chazal. But it doesn't matter, as soon as you agree the War of Independence was a miracle, you have already admitted to redemption via miraculous means.

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  10. " but unfortunately it is people like this who caused and encouraged most of klal Yisroel to abandon the Torah,"
    Wrong. People leave Torah for various reasons.

    "by elevating secularism above the Torah"
    He didn't.

    "Remember"
    You didn't.

    "the maskilim"
    Name them.

    " had many rabbis, talmidei chachomim, who said the same thing,"
    Name them.

    " It didn't end well at all."
    What didn't end well?

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    1. "People leave Torah for various reasons", oh yes, the haskalah had nothing to do with it! Nothing to see here folks! "He didn't"-he did. "Name them."- all of them. "What didn't end well?" - the haskalah, which this rabbi is seemingly a continuation of.

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    2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:%D7%9E%D7%A9%D7%9B%D7%99%D7%9C%D7%99%D7%9D.jpg

      The fruit of a poisonous tree...

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    3. HGL: You're not being clear. You throw out the words "haskalah" and "secularism" without defining them.
      Let's start at the beginning of Rav Melamed's vision:
      "להקים בארץ ישראל עם גדול ומבורך שדבק בערכי האמונה, הצדקה והמשפט, ומביא ברכה לכל משפחות האדמה."
      Do you disagree with this?
      Which one of the three values do you disagree with?
      Do you disagree with ערכי האמונה?
      Or הצדקה והמשפט?
      Or מביא ברכה לכל משפחות האדמה?
      Or do you actually agree with these values, but see them as insufficient and he should have included other values?

      Or do you disagree with how these values can be attained?

      Or perhaps, just maybe, you're reading something in his essay that's not there?

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    4. I don't disagree with that vision in the abstract, and I doubt any chareidi would. I disagree with how those values can be attained. They are not attained with secularists, mechalellei Shabbos, Reform Jews, kofrim in the Torah. They are not attained by following in the footsteps of the Maskilim. They are not attained by putting work and science above Torah study, as he does in his essay. They are not attained by denying the miraculous nature of the גאולה (even if he doesn't really mean that). And if we practically can't attain that vision without compromising the Torah, then we simply can't have it, it is not time yet.

      However, if you are impatient and you don't like the "we can't have it yet", it seems that that there are some rabbis and communities who are attaining that vision WITHOUT giving in to secularism and WITHOUT compromising the Torah (relatively speaking). Rabbis such as Rabbi Tau, Rabbi Ariel, Rabbi Aviner, who seem to go in a very different direction than this Rabbi Melamed (although unfortunately they too give too much sanctity to secular Jews, as did Rav Kook, but that is a comparably minor problem). They even banned his seforim! My optimistic vision is that sometime in the not-too distant future, there will be integration between these communities and the Chareidim, and the secular Jews will either be absorbed or disappear demographically, and you will have a full Torah Nation.

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    5. "They are not attained by denying the miraculous nature of the גאולה "
      That takes you out of the Gra's camp and puts you into agreement with Mendelssohn.

      ". I disagree with how those values can be attained. They are not attained... not attained...not attained...not attained.. And if we practically CAN'T attain that vision without compromising the Torah, then we simply can't have it, it is not time yet."
      " WITHOUT giving in to secularism and WITHOUT compromising the Torah..."
      Note the negativity.

      "My optimistic vision is that sometime in the not-too distant future"
      It would seem that you have no vision for the present. But that's not true. Your vision for the present is to sit and do nothing except complain when those who don't sit and do nothing, do something. It's not an original idea. It's been the default position of much of the Torah world for over a century. How did that work out?

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    6. If Mendelssohn believed in the miraculous nature of the redemption, as expressed in Tanach and Chazal, that just means he got one thing right. If he believed the sun rises every morning, then he got something else right. If you think the Gra denied the miraculous nature of the geulah, then you are just deluded.

      "Note the negativity...It would seem that you have no vision for the present"-.My vision for the future is a vision for the present as well - להגדיל תורה ולהאדיאו, to increase Torah and mitzvos. The vision of the Reform Judaism-loving rabbis you follow, who primarily care about the GDP, is the destruction of the Torah, whether they intend that or not.

      ..do nothing except complain when those who don't sit and do nothing, do something..." - Well, we engage in Torah and mitzvos while you and your mechallel Shabbos/Reform Judaism friends abandon the Torah and then complain about us. How's that working out for you? 😅

      "It's not an original idea. It's been the default position of much of the Torah world for over a century. How did that work out?"- Torah and mitzvos has been the default position for the Torah world for 3000 years, unlike your secularist philosophy. And the Shomrei Torah are now materially in a better position than they ever were! Looks like it worked out pretty darn well!

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    7. "The vision of the Reform Judaism-loving rabbis you follow,"
      Now, you're just lying.

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    8. "unlike your secularist philosophy"

      You keep saying "secularist". What is it?

      Delete
    9. ".My vision for the future is a vision for the present as well - להגדיל תורה ולהאדיאו, to increase Torah and mitzvos."

      And what does that mean in regards to ישוב ארץ ישראל? Or relating to broader society? If it means you ignore those issues and simply withdraw into the בית מדרש it means you have no vision in regards to such matters.

      "Looks like it worked out pretty darn well!"
      But you keep making a fuss about the broader Jewish world. And you kvetch about the מדינה. But you claim everything worked out? No, you don't believe everything is OK. The Charedi assessment of the State is mostly negative. So no, things haven't "worked out pretty darn well" according according to Charedi standards.

      Delete
    10. "Now, you're just lying.", -No either you are lying, or you are ignorant about what your rabbi(s) actually said.
      https://yhb.org.il/shiurim/revivim898/

      "And what does that mean in regards to ישוב ארץ ישראל?" -What it means is that it is the Shomrei Torah society (both chareidi and the non-chareidi Shomer Torah communities I mentioned) that has been building Torah institutions in Eretz Yisrael for the past century, both before and after the State. And also, it is only in the merit of Torah and Mitzvos that there is any ישוב ארץ ישראל whatsoever, since it is only in the merit of the Shomrei Torah the Jews have a legitimate claim to the land in the first place. 

      "If it means you ignore those issues and simply withdraw into the בית מדרש it means you have no vision in regards to such matters." - as I said, we are the ones building Batei Midrashos, not the secularists. They are building academic institutions to disseminate kefira. Besides for all this, did you ever hear of the dictum "first do no harm?". It is people like your leaders who are inflicting terrible spiritual harm on the Jewish people, conceding to secularism, in the name of a "vision" that they want NOW.

      "Or relating to broader society?" -What broader society? The mechallei Shabbos who as I said before, have no legitimate claim to the land? We are trying very hard to be mekarev them, and it looks to be paying off. Besides for that, we are on the path to demographically outnumber them, at which point, helping them do teshuva will be much easier.

      "But you keep making a fuss about the broader Jewish world. And you kvetch about the מדינה. But you claim everything worked out? No, you don't believe everything is OK." - Just because it worked out pretty well so far doesn't mean we don't have a lot of work to do. We can acknowledge the progress, and we can also acknowledge the continuing problems. Also, who is the one who is making a "fuss"? It is people like Slifkin who have been non-stop posting their hatred of chareidim for 15 years.

      "You keep saying "secularist". What is it?" - First tell me what "chareidi" is.

      Delete
  11. @Happygo 4:26PM

    You know what they say …The road to l’shem shomayim is paved with the best intentions. That depends of course on how you define l’shem shomayim, which in your case won’t end well at all for you either.



    ReplyDelete
  12. Success and growth happen organically, not because of a formally articulated "Vision". To the contrary, nobody makes grandiose "statements of principle" or "platforms" better than irreligious Jews, and where have all these "Visions" gotten them? Lakewood didn't became the biggest yeshivah in the world because of a "Vision". Satmar didn't become what it is today because of "Vision". The Sfardic resurgence of Shas didnt happen because of "Vision." And if you claim otherwise, well then, it pretty much kills your other claim that having a Vision distinguishes MO from "other sectors of orthodox society".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They all had a vision. What distinguishes the DL is that they have a national vision.

      Delete
    2. Yakov - Lakewood and Satmar also have a national vision. And I haven't even mentioned men like the Chazon Ish, the Lubavither Rebbe, and scores of others, and their myriad students carrying on their goals today, all who had national visions of their own, and who have all been wildly successful in their own ways. And NS claims orthodox society other than his currently favored MO, "don't even have a plan for their own society".Okaaaaaayyyyy....

      Delete
    3. "Lakewood and Satmar also have a national vision."

      No they don't. Their vision is communal, not national.

      Delete
    4. Ephraim - wrong. You *think* its communal, because you're not part of them. But their ultimate vision, even if they know its unattainable in reality, if for all Jewry to be like them (just like the Zionist goal is for all Jews to live in Israel.)

      Delete
    5. ". But their ultimate vision, even if they know its unattainable in reality, if for all Jewry to be like them "
      You slipped up there. You wrote "ultimate vision". Which by definition, has little to do with what to do right now. It says nothing about how to related to the broader Jewish community. It's not a vision.

      Delete
  13. Lawrence at Nov. 8,22 at 6:01 PM.A vision is a far reaching and encompassing goal. If your approach to Judaism does not relate to the needs of your constituents you have failed.Could it be, with all due respect, that the traditional rabbinate failed to reach many of the masses during the 19 th century? I remember as a kid in the 1950's in New York that having a Rabbi of a Shul speak English well was a big deal and was looked down upon in some circles. Giving a sermon ( דבר תורה) on שבת after or before קריאת התורה was looked down upon especially if it was in English.The Shiurim in Yeshiva were in Yiddish and the students mostly spoke in English. The Young Israel style of communal singing during the תפילת שחרית was considered radical. A lecture Friday night at the Young Israel synogogue on religious topics was innovative.
    Today these are accepted as normative.




    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not sure what you're trying so say, Reb Moshe. The 19th century was a long time ago. No doubt there have always been many people the rabbinate failed to reach, in all times and places. Not sure what you're trying to bring out.

      Delete
    2. Lawrence at Nov. 21,22 at 2:34 AM.I meant to point out that sometimes we see positive results from changes in our approach to improving religious observance much later. That change within Halachic parameters and sometimes even leniency for certain segments of the religious community can have even enormous positive outcomes.I gave some examples of minor changes that became normative later but we're considered significant or even radical at that time.

      Delete
  14. He is basically Reform! https://www.israelhayom.com/2020/09/25/female-soldiers-who-contribute-to-israels-defense-are-performing-a-mitzvah/ .............. https://rumble.com/v1dtblz-r-and-b-medical-war-crimes-49-erev-rav-eliezer-melamed.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You have a very strange definition of Reform. You also appear to be a crazed conspiracy theorist.

      Delete
    2. You have a very strange definition of Rationalist. You also appear to be a hate-filled jerk.

      Delete
    3. Rav Slifkin,

      You shouldn’t permit anonymous posts and adhere to the rules of your blog. It’s difficult to follow the threads. Who are you responding to in your 11/10 10:56AM response?

      Delete
  15. Yacov at Nov.9,23 at7:45 PM. Remember פרשת לך לך when G-d made a ברית with אברהם that his descendents will inherit the land of Canaan become a nation and He will be their G-d. עם ישראל, ארץ ישראל, תורת ישראל. Yes that is DL's vision.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is a vision, the way things ought to be. It only had a partial implementation in reality when applied by actual people. Given the reality of the human nature, there is no reason to think that it can ever be achived in its entirery.

      This realization is what is behind the umbiqutous belief in a supernatural redemption event - moshiach, mahdi, the second comming, changing the human nature through an ideological indoctrination, extermination of the problematic races, etc... This realization is the driving force of various sects of all religions. Kuzari, Kabalah, Shabttai Zvi, Baal Shem Tov, Breslov, Chabad, Rav Kook - are all driven by this deep existential frustration . This is how humane nature is and Jews are not unique, just more genetically advanced, which is why Abraham had the visuon. The lone rationalist Rabbi Hillel held that אין לכם משיח לישראל.

      Delete
  16. Ha, you dish out a childish insult and then censor the comeback. What a loser. No wonder so many people dislike you on your own blog!

    ReplyDelete
  17. One thing I will say in Rav Melamed's favour is that he is not a sex offender, which among Religious Zionist rabbinical leaders is already a major accomplishment.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Unfortunately there are many sex offenders in the Rabbinate, both the RZ World, as well as the Haredi community, not to mention non-Orthodox streams, and clergy in other religions.

      What does this have to do with the topic at hand?

      It is great that you think that being convicted of or supporting sexual abuse should disqualify someone from a rabbinic post. Would you like a list of recent senior rabbis, authors, politicians and other public figures in the Haredi community that have been convicted of sexual abuse or have openly supported sexual abusers?

      Delete
    2. I thought you don't even like Rav Tau. Why so saltly?

      Delete
    3. Not an appropriate comment. The human nature of DL or charedi rabbies isn't different and affects everyone. A deeper look into what this nature is will help, but will not set us free.

      I heard a Chabad rabbi explain that the sexual imagery of Kabbalah most accurately expresses the relationship between the neshomah and the the Almighty. I never believed this. It expresses soomething completly different, but this isn't the place to discuss it further.

      Delete
    4. Motti Elon
      Shmuel Tal
      Ezra Sheinberg

      People always jump to 'but what about Charedim', but there are dozens of 'gedolim' and not a pervert in the bunch. It's not like there's a really long list of big DL Rabbis to start with. If Tau turns out to be guilty, DL might as well just shut up shop.

      Delete
    5. @Yakov 4:56PM

      This seems as good a place as any to discuss the sexual imagery of Kabbalah. So kindly enlighten us as to what it correctly expresses that is completely different from whatever you think some folks incorrectly express about it.

      Delete
    6. " It's not like there's a really long list of big DL Rabbis to start with. If Tau turns out to be guilty, DL might as well just shut up shop. "

      Since when has there been denial that the DL community isn't free of this problem?

      Delete
    7. 'Since when has there been denial that the DL community isn't free of this problem?'

      Reading this blog you would think that it is.

      Delete
    8. I think you are in total denial about what it means if Rav Tau turns out to be guilty. I don't think there has a ever been a religious group in the history of the world which has had this large a proportion of its leaders exposed as sex criminals. (This is completely independent of whether or not you think sex abuse as a whole is worse or better in other communities).

      Delete
  18. Happy... Because Rabbi Melamed doesn't agree with your idea of what Torah is and how it should be practiced doesn't make him חס ושלום a כופר.How about R. J.B
    Soloveichic z"tzal, R. A. Lichtenstein z"tzal, R.Shachter etc.. Your Rov doesn't agree with them.That's the way it's been for ages. Follow your Rov and others will follow R. Melamid. This difference of opinion doesn't put R. Melamed beyond the pale.The Maskilim your talking about rejected basic principles such as the divine revelation of the Torah etc.. None of that going on here!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I didn't say he is a kofer or beyond the pale. My point was just that he has an ideology that degrades the Torah and legitimizes secularism and kefira, and thus contributes to Jews abandoning the Torah. The Maskilim I am talking about also didn't all reject divine revelation of the Torah (for example Hertz Wessley), and I'm sure many of them had the best לשם שמים intentions, but they legitimized and were ideological allies of a movement that was fundamentally anti-Torah, and thus contributed to countless Jews abandoning the Torah.

      Delete
  19. Happy.... at Nov. 10,22 at 11:28PM." (Melamed)...has an ideology that degrades the Torah and legitimizes secularism and kefirah and thus contributes to the abandoning of Torah."On the contrary, this approach is devoted to intensifying and inspiring religious people to be devoted to Torah by also appreciating the positive aspects of general knowledge and learning to reject the unacceptable .This approach,Torah and Madah, Torah with Derech Eretz ( the ways of the world i.e. including knowledge of science and other areas of knowledge),is a positive ingredient
    in developing the Torah personality.


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Happy....at Nov. 11,22 at8:01 AM."...but they legitimized and we're ideological allies of a movement that was fundamentally anti -Torah...." Really, Rabbi A. Lichtenstein legitimizes reform and is an ally to the Reform movement!? You really have run off the rails!

      Delete
    2. You are saying a fantasy, I am saying the reality. The maskilim also claimed everything you claim, yet the result was abandonment of the Torah. When you legitimize a secularist approach to Judaism, that is the inevitable result, no matter what flowery language you use to dress it up. And just one small manifestation of that is the much larger percentage of MO youth who go OTD compared to chareidim (link in previous post).

      Delete
    3. " The maskilim also claimed everything you claim"
      You don't know much about haskalah, do you?

      "When you legitimize a secularist approach to Judaism"
      You use that word a lot. What do you mean by secularist?

      Delete
    4. Ephraim, are you really challenging me to quote maskilim who said that? I don't think you want to go there! 😂

      I think you understand what I mean by secularism very well. How about this, what do you mean by "chareidi"?

      Delete
    5. "Ephraim, are you really challenging me to quote maskilim who said that?"
      You're being inconsistent. You earlier used phrases like "the maskilim" and "the haskalah"- i.e. making definitive claims concerning the movement as a whole. I reject those statements because there were Orthodox maskilim, and rabbonim who were involved, in a limited fashion, in haskallah. You often learn their seforim.
      That you can cite the worst of maskilim is unimpressive and doesn't indicate you know much about haskallah.
      (Certain citations betray ignorance. So if someone says "Uganda", it usually means they are ignorant of Zionist history. If someone mentions the abortion תשובה in the ציץ אליעזר, it probably means they've never learned anything else from that פוסק.)

      Delete
    6. "I reject those statements because there were Orthodox maskilim, and rabbonim who were involved, in a limited fashion, in haskallah. You often learn their seforim." - Huh?! This was EXACTLY my point! That people like Rav Melamed, who were ostensibly Shomrei Torah, were guilty of spreading the haskalah ideology and corrupting klal Yisrael. And they didn't necessarily know it at the time. I wouldn't be citing the worst of the maskilim, to the contrary, I would be citing beautiful flowery things that sound exactly like Rav Melamed, but contain the poison of the נחש הקדמוני, the legitimization of a secularist approach, that ultimately contributed to the abandonment of Torah.

      Delete
    7. @ Ephraim
      "That you can cite the worst of maskilim is unimpressive and doesn't indicate you know much about haskallah."

      Unfortunately it is you who is clueless about Haskala. Wessley wasn't the worst of the Maskilim by far, he was very much part of the more conservative group of early maskilim, including Mendelssohn, who shared the same ideology.
      Why don't you educate yourself, a good start would be The Jewish Enlightenment, by Feiner
      https://www.amazon.com/Jewish-Enlightenment-Culture-Contexts/dp/0812221729/ref=sr_1_1?crid=9B0O1SSRAWVW&keywords=jewish+enlightenment&qid=1668434611&sprefix=the+jewish+enl%2Caps%2C249&sr=8-1

      Delete
  20. Happy... at Nov. 12,22 :57 PM
    We are not in competition. Everyone follows their Rov and the path that fits for them.BHatzlacha!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think that not many follow their Rov. Pay attention to how many young chabadnikim smoke against the בקשה נפשית of their rebbe. This is just an example.

      Delete
    2. Yackov at Nov.13,22 at 1:26 PM.
      I'm not talking about following the Rov Because He's The Rov. I'm talking about a following a religious approach that You pick advocated by a particular Rov which fits for you. You choose.
      .

      Delete
  21. The rabbi might be talking L'shem Shamayim, to encourage an audience which represents the values he is lauding. But there's a mixed message. Most of the time Torah is justified by its resulting vague, sweeping notions of improvement of the world, and establish state institutions committed to imparting the values of truth and goodness, teaching us that work is valuable, which will create a more dilligent work force, which will further create an increase in some sort of blessing, and respect for science is extremely beneficial for man and the settling of the country. He has so much to say in this vein. Is this not having the Torah serve other goals? Not a word about Torah being just plain valuable. (The problem being what he doesn't say.) ...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sounds like the view presented by most of the Rishonim, in which the purpose of learning Torah is to teach us how to lead better lives.

      Delete
    2. Part of the Torah, yes, but the the other part of the Torah is the relationship with God, which is totally and conspicuously ignored in the essay. See comments here

      http://www.rationalistjudaism.com/2022/08/fluffy-spirituality-vs-real-issues.html

      The essay is typical of Reform-Judaism "tikkun olam" rhetoric, with a Zionistic twist.

      Delete
    3. @Tali's, good good. At least you aren't saying like Ephraim. Then again, in our current atheistic immoral etc. world, you do better with the other opinions. RMF says that had the Rashba had more information he would have said differently. I would be so bold to say similar here, the many Rishonim would tell us to do what works best. Wild, eh?

      Delete
    4. If your values dovetail with those of gentiles, (even supposing that they are correct), if there is nothing distinctively Jewish about them, you have no red line preventing them from running you over.

      Delete
  22. Finally there's a moment where Torah is holy of holies, as long as it doesn't interfere with things that aren't holy. IMHO, this is the ultimate oxymoron. Doesn't the holy take precedence over the non-holy. If you want the non-holy to take take precedence, you're making * it * holy, and you're making the holy (faggetabout the * holy of holies *) into chopped liver,; . idiocy.

    ReplyDelete
  23. So at least on average he's saying that Torah is subsidiary to goals which at least at first glance haven't the slightest connection to spirituality. I'm happy for whoever finds his message inspiring –perhaps who are predominantly attuned indeed to the physical, I'm only speculating— but WADR for me it is hollow, shallow, and meaningless. ...

    ReplyDelete
  24. Full confession: I was not able to read the original Hebrew, but the few words translated in comments here did nothing to dispell my reservations. ...

    ReplyDelete
  25. Regarding that the rabbi has a vision at all, I'm again happy for whoever finds it inspiring. For myself I find it an artificial need, a replacement for other ways of 'Man's search for meaning' as Frankel would say. Is there only one way to live life fully? No one is full on all fronts/in all areas. You find your niche and you do your best. According to legend, a (bored, apparently) gentile said to a Jew some time in the past 50 years, you people are so lucky. You have what to do every moment of your lives. Worthy rabbi, thank you but no thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Rabbi Emanuel Feldman in his seminal critique of both Chareidim and MO as expressed by newcomers as-of-yet unaffiliated with either one, and hence less suspect of dishonesty, saying they are “Ready to be Orthodox but [there's] No Place to Go” - neither to the Chs nor the MOs, says that Chareidim have to their advantage a great sense of purpose in their lives, (which of course does not necessarily mean that their way of life is * correct *). That would be a reason why “certain other significant sectors of Orthodox Jewish societies simply never talk about” these things. They are, or believe themselves to be, already fulfilled. (On average, this is noticed by their children ....) https://www.feldheim.com/tales-out-of-jerusalem-1 pages 218-221. ...

    ReplyDelete
  27. Too many historic figures have had 'visions' and so many people had enough. Review the first few pages and the last page of Paul Johnson's History of the Modern World 1917-1984(?), where he sides with Popper not to buy in to 'visions'. ...

    ReplyDelete
  28. I also notice that the goals do not appear to have any altruism. They're limited to success and prosperity. Benevolence and living for something larger than the self, whether of the individual or the nation, are conspicuously (and I would think alarmingly) absent. They might be in the full article; at least I hope so. Why did you not include those parts? [End. When my comments were in larger chunks I couldn't get them through. Thank you for your consideration.]

    ReplyDelete
  29. The picture with Rabbi Melamed is more complicated than I thought. His father, Rabbi Zalman Baruch, seems to have a much more acceptable Torah hashkafa. About his son's meeting with Reform rabbi, he has this to say.

    https://www.srugim.co.il/509455-%D7%94%D7%A8%D7%91-%D7%96%D7%9C%D7%9E%D7%9F-%D7%9E%D7%9C%D7%9E%D7%93-%D7%9E%D7%AA%D7%99%D7%99%D7%97%D7%A1-%D7%9C%D7%A4%D7%92%D7%99%D7%A9%D7%AA-%D7%91%D7%A0%D7%95-%D7%A2%D7%9D-%D7%94%D7%A8%D7%A4%D7%95

    "דבר ראשון, מצד אחד צריך להכיר אותם כדי לדעת איך להילחם בהם בכלל. מי שלא מכיר לא יודע איך להילחם בהם. ובשביל לדעת את זה צריך להיפגש איתם. צריך לדעת על מה הם שומרים, ועל מה הם לא שומרים. מה הם רוצים. מה הקו שלהם. מה הכיוון שלהם. אז אני לא רואה שיש בעיה בלהיפגש עם הרפורמים כדי להכיר איפה הם עומדים. לא כדי לתת להם מעמד ולא לתת להם לגיטימציה. אלא לראות איפה הם עומדים".

    While not indicting his son, he justifies it as "know thy enemy"! Very different than the son's attitude! See here:

    https://yhb.org.il/shiurim/revivim898/

    The father also pushed for a gender-segregated youth movement as opposed to Bnei Akiva, which apparently Rabbi Melamed the son helped with. So, a more complicated picture. But, if anybody from that family is a great Torah leader, it is the father. See more here:

    https://he.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D7%96%D7%9C%D7%9E%D7%9F_%D7%91%D7%A8%D7%95%D7%9A_%D7%9E%D7%9C%D7%9E%D7%93

    ReplyDelete

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