"In Praise of Rav Chaim"
The following just appeared in the US edition of Yated Ne'eman:
In Praise of Rav Chaim
Opening summer zman for Yerushalayim's Mir yeshiva via conference call, Rav Eliezer Yehuda Finkel spoke to thousands of talmidim about Rav Chaim Kanievsky's greatness and his inimitable guidance of the Torah world during the current crisis.
"Boruch Hashem, the hashgocha has left us nevi'ei emes including the great luminary, the wonder of the generation, the master of the entire Talmud who would be a member of the Sanhedrin if it existed, the prince of Torah whose words are all divrei kabbolah and who has no knowledge of external affairs," he said. "All his words emanate from ruach Hashem and the Torah within him is divrei Elokim chaim vekayomim la'ad."
It's hard to imagine how someone could be so wildly off in describing Rav Chaim, especially after the events of the last two months.
No, Rav Chaim's words do not emanate from Ruach Hashem. That's why he mistakenly made a bracha levatalah on an obvious fraudster pretending to be an African King. That's why he signed a letter attesting to the righteousness of Elior Chen, who was revealed to be one of the worst child abusers in the history of Israel. And that's why he issued the infamously terrible guidance for yeshivos to stay open at the outset of the pandemic, thereby being a factor in the enormous sickness and death toll of the charedi community - according to Aryeh Deri, 70% of all coronavirus cases in Israel. "Inimitable guidance of the Torah world during the current crisis," indeed.
How can the Rosh Yeshivah of Mir make such an absurdly false evaluation? If you look at another mistake that he makes, you can see where he goes wrong. He praises Rav Chaim for having "no knowledge of external affairs." In charedi Daas Torah culture, being completely sheltered from the world is seen as a praiseworthy quality that empowers one with unique wisdom and insight. But in reality, and in traditional Judaism, it's just the opposite.
It's ironic that Rav Finkel claims that Rav Chaim would be a member of the Sanhedrin if it existed. Because exactly the reason for which Rav Finkel sees fit to praise Rav Chaim is the reason why he would not be qualified to be a member of the Sanhedrin. Rambam in Hilchos Sanhedrin 2:1 states that we only appoint to the Sanhedrin scholars who possess broad wisdom, specifying that they must possess knowledge of the sciences and other intellectual disciplines. Ignorance of external affairs is not a basis for guiding the community - it disqualifies one from it.
Woe to the community that has thousands of yeshivah students hearing their Rosh Yeshivah issue such mistaken words about rabbinic leadership.