Does Rabbi Yaron Reuven Speak The Truth?
Rabbi Yaron Reuven - the person infamously denouncing numerous prestigious rabbanim as heretics, and declaring that those who challenge his lectures deserve execution - claims that truth is very important to him. And he makes some very grandiose claims about his loyalty to truth and its results: "The amount of people that do teshuvah from our lectures every single day is more than almost every speaker in the world... Why? Because they like truth. And there's not many people that speak the truth." And just how much truth does Rabbi Reuven speak? According to him, 100%. "Everything I say is 100% true. If I ever said something not true, you show me what I said, and I'll fix it. Everything I say is backed up."
Unfortunately, but hardly surprisingly, this is not at all the case.
Here's one striking example. In one of his tirades against Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, Reuven claims that Rabbi Sacks said the heretical statement that "Yetziyat Mitzrayim was a parable." But Rabbi Sacks never said any such thing!
Reuven presents a video clip of Rabbi Sacks that he has completely misunderstood (or willfully distorted). In the clip, Rabbi Sacks is asked why there is a difference between Adam and Eve (which Rabbi Sacks explains as a parable) and the Exodus. Rabbi Sacks proceeds to explain why they are different. Now you might dispute his explanation, but one thing is indisputable: He does not state that the Exodus is a parable; in fact he explicitly explains why it isn't.
A friend of mine, Rabbi Scott Kahn, wrote to Reuven to point out that he falsified Rabbi Sack's position. You'd think that someone who is committed to 100% truth, to saying only things that are backed up, and to fix it if he made a mistake, would welcome the opportunity to issue a retraction. But instead, Reuven continually refused to admit that he was wrong, and eventually responded to Rabbi Kahn that since Rabbi Sacks is a heretic, anyone who seeks to defend him needs to "learn more Torah."
Clearly, Reuven is not interested in truth. As far as Reuven is concerned, if he rates someone as a heretic, then he can issue slander about him, and he doesn't need to back up his allegations.
Here is another example, which I find of more personal interest. In a recent lecture, Rabbi Reuven issues the following astonishing claim about me:
Natan Slifkin, shem reshaim yirkav ("the name of the wicked should rot")... he came out with a book about animals, pretty much saying that the Torah made mistakes, Chazal made mistakes. Rav Elyashiv, and many other Gedolei Olam, said... "These books should be burned, he is in public cherem permanently... you're not allowed to count him in a minyan, you're not allowed to do business with him, you're not even allowed to be within four feet of him!"
Of course I'm familiar with people falsely claiming that my books "pretty much" said that "the Torah made mistakes." But Reuven also issues an extraordinary lie that even I haven't heard before. Yes, the charedi rabbonim said that my books should be burned. But there was never, ever any cherem on me personally! I've never even heard of anyone at all claiming otherwise. In fact, Rav Aharon Feldman publicized an account of his meeting with Rav Elyashiv in which Rav Elyashiv was explicit that he was not saying anything at all about me personally, and was only banning the content of my books (since the rationalist approach of various Rishonim and Acharonim is forbidden to be studied):
Dear ***, My short visit to Israel last week was, among other reasons, to ascertain Rav Elyashiv's reason for the issur on Nosson Slifkin's books. Contrary to rumors, I did not travel on anyone's behalf.
Rav Eliashiv felt that the hashkofos of the books regarding Chazal and the age of the universe are forbidden to be taught, and this despite the fact that others, even great people (such as R. Avraham ben HaRambam, Pachad Yitzchok and, in our times, Rav Dessler and R.Shimon Schwab) may have said similar things. "They were permitted to say these things, but we may not," he said. In other words, the halacha is not like them.
Most important, Rav Eliashiv said that by his signature on the public announcement regarding the books he did not mean to rule that the author is a min or kofer. As far as he is concerned, Rav Eliashiv said, "the author could be one of the lamed vov tzadikim"; the books nevertheless are forbidden to read. He was surprised when he was shown that the announcement described the books as kefira and minus. He then dictated a statement to me,in the presence of his secretary, Rav Yosef Efrati, and one of his grandsons, which read as follows:
כוונתי כשהצטרפתי לקול קורא היתה רק בנוגע שהספרים אסורים לבא בקהל
or, "My intention when I added my name to the public announcement [regarding the issur] was only regarding that the books should not enter the Jewish community." The word "only" was meant to specifically exclude the implication that the author is a heretic.
With best wishes,
I don't care so much about people claiming my books to be heretical - it says more about them, and their disregard for the Rishonim and for truth, than it does about me. But claiming that the Gedolim ruled that it is forbidden to do business with me, count me in a minyan or even stand in my presence is a whole new level of slander. (I wrote to Rabbi Reuven, pointing this out and demanding a retraction; needless to say, I did not receive a response.)
But Reuven issuing this staggering falsehood does have a benefit. It provides irrefutable proof that for someone who claims to speak 100% truth, with everything backed up, Rabbi Yaron Reuven is actually... something else.
See too the earlier post: Laughable Lunatics or Dangerous Inciters?
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