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Who Flocks to Yosef Mizrachi?
The Gemara says, Lo lechinam holech ha-zarzir etzel ha-orev, elah mipnei shehu mino. The starling does not flock with the crow for nothing; it does because it is of the same general kind. (Starlings often roost amongst jackdaws, which, along with ravens, rooks, and similar birds, are members of the crow family, and starlings are themselves indeed closely related to the crow family.)
In a recent class, “Rabbi” Yosef Mizrachi illustrates the Gemara’s principle with an example that brings him great joy. He describes how Slifkin was the first to defend (Rabbi Joseph) Dweck (the London scholar who was embroiled in a controversy over some of his teachings). That’s because, gloats Mizrachi, following the Gemara’s principle, Slifkin and Dweck are both resha’im! He happily adds that anyone who enjoys my material on the internet is going to go down to Hell with me. (You can watch the two-minute video at this link, if you are feeling masochistic.)
Yet his delirious joy is based on something that never happened! I did not write any post at all in defense of Rabbi Dweck during the controversy over his teachings. That was for the simple reason that, as I stated explicitly, I had not heard any of Rabbi Dweck’s lectures and could not comment on them. So Mizrachi’s argument is a complete fabrication!
What I think he has in mind is that several months before the Rabbi Dweck controversy, I wrote two posts to defend the honor of the sixteen rabbis that Mizrachi trashed (with ridiculous lies and insults) after they criticized his crass and perverse teachings. I knew many of them, and I condemned Mizrachi’s slander of them, and explained why their critique of his teachings was entirely justified. I added that I didn’t know Rabbi Dweck (one of the sixteen that Mizrachi slandered with particular venom), but that in light of his outstanding biographical information, it seemed unlikely that Mizrachi was correct in describing him as a “wicked monster” who is “the biggest enemy of the Jewish nation.” But the post was as a defense of the letter of the 16 rabbanim, several of whom are my personal friends. It was they to whom I flocked. So Mizrachi’s entire point is a non-starter, unless he wants to claim that I am of the same kind as the 16 rabbis!
(Incidentally, while Mizrachi describes me as “making fun of the Gemara,” my crime was actually quoting the view of Rambam and others that not everything in the Gemara is scientifically correct. Perhaps Mizrachi should clarify whether he considers Rambam to be “making fun of the Gemara.”)
But it turns out that Mizrachi has an excuse for not reading what I actually wrote, either in my books or on my blog. He says that since I am a rasha, it is forbidden to look at me, to listen to my voice, or to read my words, in case one absorbs my evil! (Someone should attend his class with a picture of me on a T-shirt.)
The Gemara’s point about starlings going to ravens isn’t illustrated by the fabrication that Mizrachi creates. But if you want an illustration of the Gemara’s principle, there would seem to be a great example: that of Yosef Mizrachi.
Who flocks to Mizrachi’s classes? I know one very fine person who is, inexplicably, besotted with him. But many of his most devoted followers, those who flock to defend him, seem to be of poor character – hateful people, willfully ignorant people, crass people, violent people, people who gloat at the suffering of others.
And here’s the ultimate kicker: Mizrachi himself has boasted of criminals and murderers who are followers of his! He once proudly described how he has a devoted follower who wanted to actually murder one of his critics!
Lo lechinam holech ha-zarzir etzel ha-orev, elah mipnei shehu mino.
(On a more serious and important note, if you missed the post with Chicken Wars monograph, check it out at this link.)