You know what's funny? In the intro to Natan's book he talks about his ideal of defining the differences between "rationalist" (sic) worldview and the regular jewish one, so that we can all recognize where each other are coming from, and respect each other better.

Then he puts up posts like this.

But if he gets ripped apart for the sheer ignorance, data mining, and superficiality of its analysis, he'll put up another self righteous pathetic snivel about how all the "sharks" are attacking him, but he's a martyr and will brave it out.

Quite the chameleon, our zoologist is.

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Ha ha. This post is SOO funny. Only an am ha'oretz d'oiraysa can be completely oblivious to the overwhelming amount of ma'amarei Chazal that teach about the protective nature of limud hatorah. I guess that's what's nice about having a modox readership. You can basically get away with murder and your readership will be none the wiser. Keep it up, Natan. Thanks for giving me another good reason to add to the list for why we need Kollel.

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Every time a soldier holding a gun gets killed it’s proof that guns do not protect. RNS logic 101.

How in heavens name do you *prove* that learning Torah on a bus doesn’t practically protect it? You are giving science a bad name.

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Mar 9·edited Mar 9

On the topic of Torah protecting, a lot of the disagreement comes from confusing the general and specific. Yes, generally speaking, the more aveiros Jews do, the worse off we'll be. However, the appropriate response to a direct, immediate threat is to take direct immediate real-world action.

(Incidentally, I always found the "What If" books fairly silly. They are more geared towards entertaining your family at the Shabbos table than containing real shailos and teshuvos. R' Zillberstein doesn't write them; they are adapted from a Hebrew source and edited.

The danger from the series however, is that people can get the impression that serious life questions can be easily solved with simplistic, cutesy answers from a medrash, as well as getting a distorted view of what serious psak actually looks like.)

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The amount of lies and half-truths in one post beggars belief.

I will quote one:

This fatalistic phrase did indeed originate in World War One, though it’s not clear if the Ohr Somayach was the original source.

Now nobody knows when it originated, it has not been traced to earlier than WW1. Does that mean it originated there? Of course not. But why not write something with no backing, when it's Charedim that are the topic?

There are more of these small half-truths, and twists of phrase. Just enough to make you think that he actually knows what he is talking about.

But as has been proven again and again - the only way the Slifkin characters of the world can hold their opinions is through lies. Not just outright bald-faced lies, but the kind of lying that permeates everything they say, with opinion and fact mixed together, misquotes and general dreikoperai.

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Iv'e only recently come across this blog. I distinctly remember the scandal that broke out when Slifkin wrote his book and how it was banned by many rabbis, and have I all but forgotten the affair since. I find it fascinating to rediscover Slifkin some 15+ years later in his present form.

The rabbis who banned his book stand vindicated. Slifkin was apparently indeed a wolf in sheep's clothes. Either that, or the ban on his books pushed Slifkin over the edge. (History is replete with authors of poisonous books who went off the deep end when they encountered resistance to their works). Even if so, this means that Slifkin was already on the brink at the time. All this should restore our faith in our rabbis when they take steps that can seem radical to us.

Since I don't plan on visiting this site too frequently I'll drop some quick observations and musings about Slifkin and his blog right here.

The name under which this blog operates is nothing but a veneer. It is a platform dedicated solely to maligning Chareidi Jews, Torah and Chazal, cleverly disguised as "Rational Judaism" . It has nothing remotely to do with that. A cheap gimmick.

Slifkin would like to have us believe that Chareidim are a recent invention of "radicalized" Jews. Hey Slifkin, it's the opposite. Jews always were Charedi. You think the medieval Jews wore Srugis? They were dressed in black and white (of the day) were sequestered in their own culture , usually in squalor, and lived lives completely dedicated to Torah. They did not join the culture around them. It's the "modern" Jews who broke the mold. THEY experimented with things like Haskalah , Zionism (even the religious variety), Modoxism and the rest. And most ended in abysmal failure.

Obviously Nathan Slifkin's only deity is science. He worships it. Science uber alles. He will give twisted interpretations beyond recognition to anything found in Chazal that contradicts science . And if he can't, he will simply discard the Chazal. He won't hesitate to say that Chazal were flat out wrong. This is what we call a kofer ((אפילו אומר על ימין שהוא שמאל ועל שמאל שהוא ימין and don’t bother arguing the point. The only thing I'll give him credit is that he posts comments that disagree and even attack him. He is not averse to a challenge. Granted.

The author's singular obsession with attacking Torah values at every turn borders on the insane. Post after post dripping with hate, snarky cynicism and ridicule show an unhealthy rage beneath the surface. Seek help.

As pointed out by others, the irony is that the author is exactly the type of shnorrer he ridicules, just in a different form. His site and museum are listener/donor funded. Which means he is not producing any profit- making ventures, and is supported by others. It all boils down to a matter of values. We Chareidim value learning Torah and will gladly support it, while he and his supporters believe in the study of fossils and exploring exotic versions of Noah's ark. The Asian one versus the Christian one (do we need all this ? Do we not have Midrashim which are Torah Misinai to tell us about the Ark? SMH)

Deep down I feel sad for Slifkin. The before and after. The cute yeshiva guy from 20 years ago with a great future ahead of him, to the embittered scientist with a sneer on his face and a srugi. In the long run Slifkin will go down in the dustbin of history as a forgotten nobody, while the Torah world continues to live and embody it's great sages such as R' Y.C. Zonnenfeld, The Satmar Rebbe , R' Aharon Kotler , The Brisker Rov The Chazon Ish and so many others.

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Slifkin has dug himself into a deep and dark intellectual pit.

On one hand, he believes (presumably?!) God to exist, the Torah to be God's word, and Jewish people God's nation.

On the other hand, he wants us to be rational about real world problems. Such as whether Torah provides physical security.

However, he can't have it both ways - by the end of this comment you'll understand why;

Back to the issue at hand:

Does the Torah provide physical security?

Obviously not!!!!

(One need not think further than then the thousands of Talmidei Chachamim who were gassed in Auschwitz)

Indeed, not a single person reading this blog has the slightest doubt regarding the following question:

Does the Koran provide physical protection for Muslim people?

Obviously not!!!

However, Slifkin cannot approach real world issues about the Torah/Jewish people with the same level of clarity.

This is because Slifkin thinks that - whereas the Koran is fake and made up, the Torah is God's infallible word.

Rational Judaism is an oxymoron and Natan Slifkin is an intellectual hypocrite.

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Mar 9·edited Mar 9

Ok Slifkin what about Rashi on Avos 3:7 that says that if somebody is learning the Satan does not have permission to harm him...…Or the gemara about King David learning to protect himself from death?

See also Chagiga 12b, Bava Basra 79b.Bava Basra 7a

(BTW I own a Glock and a Kel-tec, practice MMA and workout and 'rationally" can protect myself better then you can. if you really believe what your saying I expect you to purchase a weapon and train.)

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Anyone remember what chaza'l say Chizkiyahu did when Sancheirev was coming?

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I was going to say something else, but Mecharker already beat me to it.

Torah protects. Mitzvos protect. Tefillah protects. Hashem protects. Without the Torah, Mitzvos, and prayer of the chareidim, the IDF would have been destroyed many times since 1948. Baruch Hashem, that He created the IDF to protect the good Shomrei Torah Jews of Eretz Yisrael (including those who are not yet Shomrei Torah, but will be, or will have Shomrei Torah children). But as the wise man said, just because you need a guard dog doesn't mean you have to become the guard dog!

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Natan, there are dozens of places throughout Chazal that are unequivocally clear that Torah and Mitzvos protects. In fact, not only is it in Chazal, but it's a recurring theme throughout Nach as well. When the Jews performed Mitzvos as they were supposed to, things went well for them. And when they slipped, we all know what happened. Only someone who doesn't really give a d@mn about the Torah and thinks that it was written by humans anyway or that Chazal didn't have a mesorah or Divine inspiration would attempt to wave away all the evidence.

And if you are looking for an explanation for the calamities despite people learning Torah, Chazal say that when the Jews sin and invoke Hashem's wrath, even if there are a minority who are doing His will, it is not necessarily sufficient as protection. So, in reality, the Chilonim and many of your DL are the cause of uptick in terror attacks (that is not to say that it's not possible that the Charedim themselves may be guilty as well - no one is perfect, and when Hashem sends a message, we are supposed to look inwards and not blame others. But the lion's share of sin definitely belongs to the secular and those entirely indifferent to Torah and Mitzvos)

It's beautiful that the army fights on behalf of the State, but based on reports of the sheer immorality coming out of there, it's possible that it is doing more harm than good.

See here where I wrote about this very topic a few days ago:


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A lot of synagogues in New York City have armed security guards, even though New York City is a very safe city compared to most other cities in the US (and in fact safer the almost the entire Western Hemisphere outside of Canada). When there is evidence for a threat, they are typically joined by New York City Police Department officers. Once we had only nine guys for a minyan, and it turned out that the NYPD officer was Jewish, so he made the minyan for us!

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Hashem is our protector

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I didn't say it was impossible that Rav Zilberstein said something like that, only due to RNS lack of objectivity due to his persecution he could very well have exaggerated.

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I don't think you're being fair, RNS. This was a kollel guy who only wanted to carry a gun for personal protection and the authorities told him he has to commit 45 hours of patrol. That's a major commitment, and while it's outside of official kollel hours, it still would cut into his non-kollel learning time. (Who has 45 extra hours a month anyway?!)

Remember, the real histadlus he planned would have been just carrying the gun for the few hours he's going to shul. (And whatever training he would need.) Had the gov't not made such demands on him, he may have received a different psak from RYZ. What if the gov't insisted this fellow take a six month full time course in gun safety, self defense, surveillance and community protection? Would you not agree that such hishtadlut would be excessive for what is a remote danger?

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Absent everything else, “addressable” bullets would be cool as heck!

I wouldn’t put it past our Israeli brothers to invent such a thing…

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