Discover more from Rationalist Judaism
Where Did Those Haskamos Go?
Readers of the new edition of The Camel, The Hare And The Hyrax (which, for those who ordered it online, should be coming any day now) may notice that the three haskamos (rabbinic approbations) from the first edition no longer appear. There are different reasons for the absence of each of them, and so I thought it worthwhile to explain why they are missing.
One was retracted out of deference to the Gedolim who banned the books. I don't have any complaints against the Rav who did so; he is a personal disciple of one of them, and therefore it was probably appropriate for him to do so.
Another was not retracted, but I myself no longer respect its writer as any kind of authority in such topics. A haskamah is not only an approbation from its writer to the book's author; it is also a testimony that the author has great respect for the judgment of the haskamah-writer. But this particular Rav considers it perfectly reasonable to say that the Chumash and Nach discusses animals from lands far distant from Eretz Yisrael, as well as making many other claims that are decidedly at odds with a rationalist approach.
The third haskamah was not retracted, and I maintain my respect for its writer. However, he and I have agreed that it's for the best to no longer include haskamos in my books, and thus to make it clear that they are not directed at insular charedim. Those people who won't read books without haskamos probably shouldn't be reading my books anyway!