Gedolim Cards: The Uncensored Set

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53 Responses

  1. Mo says:

    Surprise ! Gedolim at an advanced age don’t look like they looked in their youth. Surprise ! Older people dress differently than younger people. Surprise ! Times change, people change, styles change. Surprise !

    You could make a similar page about leaders of other nations and faiths and some of the same phenomena would be noted.

  2. Calev says:

    Fascinating!

  3. Jewish Observer says:

    is it possible to ban a picture?

  4. Dr. Yitzchok Levine says:

    These pictures are up on my web site.

    For the recond, none of the pictures of these Gedolim taken in their youth show them with a beard. The only persons in
    these pictures with beards are members of the hanhalla of the yeshiva which the young men attended.

    YL

  5. Steve Brizel says:

    Fascinating pictures-Don’t bet on them ever appearing in any hagiography/biography of any Gadol. How about allowing some
    comments on these pictures and a recently re-banned book?

  6. Aryeh says:

    I don’t know, to me most of those pictures look like those of normal yeshiva bachurim.
    Nothing radical or thought provoking. Naturally, they don’t have beards. It would be kind of naive to think that Gedolim had long white beards in their 20’s.

  7. Steve Brizel says:

    Aryeh-WADR, look at the clothing and headgear. Do you really think that these pictures can be compared with what some call the “penguin suit” attire of today’s average yeshiva bachur?

  8. Daniel Weltman says:

    Aryeh, have you ever seen a modern day lakewood bochur wearing a light tan suit? or a light grey hat?

  9. Michoel says:

    Scandal of Scandals! The Chazon Ish once sent a bachur to YU, scnadla of scandlas, Rav Aron Leib Shteinman didn’t have a beard 80 years ago. The sinister subversion of Artscroll propaganda is finally coming out!So what! Maybe Rav Eliyashiv didn’t have a beard either. I am very underwhelmed.

  10. Bob Miller says:

    We should be all be happy that yeshiva world fashions did not change in the same direction as college world fashions over the last 50 years.

  11. anonymous says:

    Rabbi Adlerstein –

    Your efforts to poke fun at the Yeshiva world in your own public forum is not very admirable, to say the least, and being coy or sly doesn’t make it any better. I am sure you can get your ten minutes of fame by picking on someone else. Please leave us alone.

  12. Jewish Observer says:

    “Don’t bet on them ever appearing in any hagiography/biography of any Gadol”

    You would actually win that bet, as many (of not all) of them already appear in Hebrew language books, including the (haredi based) biographies of Rabbis Chodosh, Brody, Skop, Kagan, etc. In fact that is probably the source of most of these.

  13. SephardiLady says:

    Who is poking fun? The pictures are a pleasure. What is sad is the historical revisionism that is so prelevant which makes it near impossible for many young people to imagine that Moshe Rabbeinu himself wore anything less than a black hat.

  14. Moe says:

    I’m not so surprised, but I do appreciate the pictures. It makes the gedolim stories more real and personal.

    As was said, it was a different time and place. I’m sure the Rambam didn’t wear a white shirt and black pants. It is certainly not a precedent for non-conformity. In fact, in all the pictures they appear to be wearing similar styles. Of course, if there’s an agenda in citing these examples then none of that is relevant.

    I’ll add that I firmly believe if the Rambam was alive today he would wear a white shirt and black pants. Then again, he might where something similar to what Chacham Ovadiah Yosef wears.

  15. Pinchas Giller says:

    Beautiful and poignant. And how many of those handsome young men in the group pictures did not survive to have the option of hadras panim zaken?

  16. S. says:

    >I’ll add that I firmly believe if the Rambam was alive today he would wear a white shirt and black pants.

    Probably. What sort of hat do you think he’d wear? How about a nice black knit kippah?

  17. Chareidi Leumi says:

    Probably. What sort of hat do you think he’d wear? How about a nice black knit kippah?

    It definitly would not be a big white breslev one. 🙂

  18. mnuez says:

    Moe, you gotta be kidding me about that Rambam comment. Seriously.

  19. ABS says:

    Has anyone thought of publishing photographs of the
    many[most?] Litvish rebbetzens who,
    until well into the 50s and 60s, didn’t cover their hair?

    Now THAT would be something to make a song and dance of!

  20. Yungerman says:

    99 percent of yeshiva boys have seen these pictures . No chiddush at all .
    Rabbi Alderstien , your point is bankrupted by one fact . None of the gedolim pictured ever decried what you refer to as “the increased uniformity and regimentation etc. ” . With all due respect , what do you understand better than them ?
    Also , every bochur in those picturs looks… exactly the same . All with the same gray/white hat etc. ( though Rav Schach was wearing a funky tie ) . Seems uniformity(?) is an old story .
    [At any rate the so called modern dress was started by the Alter from kelm to facilitate the shidduchim of the yeshiva liet . Because of the haskala , the girls (pre Bais Yacov era) began to look down on the boys because of their comparatively shabby dress (compared to the maskilim ). Eis laasos lashem etc..]
    As mentioned above these pictures are commonplace among bnei tora and can be found in all of the gedolim books inc. artscroll .

  21. Jewish Observer says:

    “the so called modern dress was started by the Alter from kelm to facilitate the shidduchim”

    to add to what Yungerman said…this modern style of dress was a departure from heimishe mode of even then…let us not think that these Western styled bochurim represented the maintream charedim of that time. When the Slabodka bochurim arrived in EY to learn in Hevron, they were not immediately accdepted as “our type” by the old yishuvniks.

  22. Steve Brizel says:

    Take a look at the new Feldheim hagiography of R A Kotler ZTL. You will be hard pressed to find pictures of that sort among the many pictures therein.

  23. Harry Maryles says:

    Your efforts to poke fun at the Yeshiva world in your own public forum is not very admirable, to say the least, and being coy or sly doesn’t make it any better. I am sure you can get your ten minutes of fame by picking on someone else. Please leave us alone.

    This comment is typical of the kneejerk response by members of the RW Yeshiva world. Wh says Rabbi Addlerstein was being critical of today’s dress. He was only commentinting on What the Gedolim of Yesteryear looked like.

    The fact happens to be that it wasn’t just that the Bachurim then wanted to dress more “modern”. It was in fact forbidden by the many RYs of old to do so. Many Bachurim that wanted to grow beards were forbidden to do so in part because of Yuhara. The RYs of that time were also a lot more sensitive to what the world outside of the Yeshiva thought of them. They wanted their Bachurim to look “normal”, not different.

    That the RYs of today don’t care about looking “normal” anymore does not inform us about what a Ben Torah should look like. I prefer the older, pre-WWII model.

  24. Michoel says:

    Steve,
    Are there some pictures of people dressed that way? That is enough to upshlug the Artscroll conspiracy theorists. How many people owned cameras in 1930 and how many owned cameras in 1960? Of course there are many more pictures from the later period.

    Harry,
    It could be that the comment you quote is over-reactive. But it is clear that Rabbi Adlerstein thinks these pictures will be seen a big chidush to your average charedi Jew. I just don’t see that as true at all. Every kollel guy in Lakewood can look in his breakfront or family photo album and see his Zeidy dressed that way.

  25. Edvallace says:

    Harry,

    “This comment is typical of the kneejerk response by members of the RW Yeshiva world.”

    Is your comment typical of the stereotypical hatred of the MO toward Hareidim?

    For the record I didn’t agree with that comment [I actually have no idea what Rabbi Adlerstein was trying to say] but I think your comment is a bit strong to say the least.

  26. Yitzchok Adlerstein says:

    With all the speculation about what I was intending to say, I figure I would weigh in.

    I did find the pictures interesting – and so did other people I sent them to, all of them within the haredi orbit. (That is where I live!) Sure, we’ve seen pictures like them before. The novelty was seeing all of them together, having them leave a collective impression. (For some reason, readers glossed over the other elements that would be novel to most people in the haredi and non-haredi worlds, like the presence of Zionist cells within Volozhin populated by people like Rav Moshe Mordechai Epstein and lots of others.)

    No, they do not speak of uniformity. There is far more variety in their dress than there is today. I didn’t pass judgment on whether this was good or bad, but pointed to the likelihood of readers arriving at different conclusions. (My own opinion, for what it is worth, is that a good part of that move was justified, and shows a healthy ability of the Torah world to react to changed conditions. The first priority is protecting our own. I don’t want my kids dressing with all the freedom I had a generation ago. I’m proud that two of my oldest – who do not always wear what one commenter called the “penguin suit,” did make a point of wearing white shirts and dark pants specifically when on campus at UCLA Law School, because they understood the need for the protection that comes from a uniform. Yes, I do object to some of the more extreme manifestations of uniformity.)

    When I saw isolated pictures like these before in various seforim, I read them – as one commenter did – as part of the influence of Kelm, and perhaps those coming from Westernized countries like Germany. When you look at the entire set, however, I don’t think you can maintain that position, given the diverse backgrounds of the different gedolim.

    No, there is no Artscroll plot to subvert history. If there is, I’m in trouble. My one published sefer was published by Artscroll, and I’m involved in an ongoing project of their’s. I am an Artscroll fan.

    WADR to Yungerman, how do you deign to make an unsubstantiated claim like “none of the gedolim pictured ever decried what you refer to as ‘the increased uniformity and regimentation etc? ‘” How would you know what they decried? Did you speak to all of them? I’ve been around long enough to have heard from Torah greats what they decried and, for various reasons, could not combat. (A relative who was close to Rav Shach zt”l once complained to him about certain behavior, and why Rav Shach didn’t end it. Rav Shach responded, “They don’t let me!”)

    The part of the discussion that saddened me were the comments of “anonymous.” By writing about his equally anonymous “us,” he and his ilk point to these Torah luminaries as if they were “their” property, as if they all resided only in “their” world. The damage that these kanaim have done in the last few years in diminishing kavod HaTorah (while foolishly believing that they are protecting it) is beyond description. Thsese people –declining constantly in influence – continues to keep their heads planted in the ground as they ignore the thousands upon thousands of people between the right of the MO world and the left (I hate calling it that!) of the Yeshiva world, whose numbers swell with each new provocation. The latter are people who daven, learn, and send their kids to the same schools and kollelim as Mr Anonymous – but march to different drummers within the same Torah world. They may or may not believe in dinosaurs (I do), the possibility of accepting a guided form of evolution (I do), or reject a sanitizing of history (I do for myself, and my grown children, but not for younger children and those within more sheltered communities. I draw the line at stating non-truths, like Yated’s policy of reprinting each year a story it knows to be false about Rav Kook and the dedication of the Hebrew U campus.) They do cherish the byword of Rav Yaakov zt”l – Man darf zein normal! (One should be normal), and reject the ongoing campaign to delegitimize his mesorah. They no longer care too much about what Mr Anonymous and his chevra think.

  27. ABS says:

    Comment by Michoel — March 26, 2006 @ 5:38 pm
    Every kollel guy in Lakewood can look in his breakfront or family photo album and see his Zeidy dressed that way.
    ——–
    Every Kollel guy in Lakewood????
    What percentage of Lakewooders do you think are true Litvak ben Litvaks??
    I’d be surprised if it was 20%.

  28. TzviNoach says:

    One thing I noticed about the pictures is that not a single one of the gentleman pictured, neither the future gedolim nor their friends, appears to be wearing payos. This aspect of the “uniform” seems to be a very recent addition, which has now become almost de rigueur in litvishe yeshiva circles.

    I find it striking that while hardly any of the rebbeim in my sons’ yeshivos wear payos, almost all of their sons do. And as someone struggling to, as Rabbi Adlerstein quotes from R’ Yaakov, “be normal” within the “haredi” world, I find it troubling as well. Is this something to accept and embrace as part of the need to set us apart? Does it represent aspiration to a higher level of sanctity, as embodied by some of the tzadikim who look like this? Is it a meaningless copycat act? Or does it speak of an unhealthy focus on externals?

    In other words, would the RAMBAM’s sons wear payos today?

  29. S. says:

    >I just don’t see that as true at all. Every kollel guy in Lakewood can look in his breakfront or family photo album and see his Zeidy dressed that way.

    Do you really think most kollel guys in Lakewood’s grandfathers were Litvishe yeshiva bachurim 70 or 80 years ago?

  30. Yungerman says:

    Rabbi Alderstien , the gedolim could not always control everything but we always knew where they stood . They were roshei yeshiva and certainly had influence in their makomos . This is not to be misunderstood as to mean that they felt that their is anything wrong with not dressing ” yeshivish ” etc. but it’s obvious that they were comfortable with the ” uniformity ” of the yeshiva world . [ eg. with regards to artscroll translation of the talmud , although R’ Schach defered to Rav Gifter with regard to coming out against it , he certainly let it be known how he felt ].
    At any rate see R’ Yerucham Levovitz Ztzl in parshas bamidbar on the degalim . He has a very good piece on the need for both uniformity and individualty. Individuality rarely has anything to do with chitzonios .

  31. Shragie says:

    Imagine, the people in the picture put very little emphasis on chetzoniyus (outward peripheral paraphernalia ) and yet somehow they excelled to be our revered leaders.

  32. Michoel says:

    S,
    Between their two grandfathers, uncles, wife’s grandparents etc, they have a few family members that were Litvish Yehsiva bochurim. Why not?

  33. Steve Brizel says:

    ArtScroll publishes nice Siddurim, Machzorim, Mishnayos and a “elucidation” of Shas that is of enormous help to those who need it. I think that it is fair to note that its hashkafic slant leans towards the Charedi world and rarely has something praiseworthy to say about the RZ/MO world. Its view of the Holocaust is that despite the fact that 6,000,000 Kedoshim died, the yeshivos survived. It has not come to grips with the fact that there is a sovereign State of Israel. In at least one volume, a picture that included RYBS has been doctored to remove RYBS, despite the fact that RYBS raised funds for Lakewood and Chinuch Atzmai. This trend is also present in a recently produced hagiography of R A Kotler ZTL as well. One sees nothing positive about Religious Zionism, Modern Orthodoxy or Yeshiva University/RIETS. IMO, that is revisionism of history on a grand scale.

    Except for the volumes on RYK and R EE Dessler, Zicronam Livracha, the hagiographies are a long boring drone-the subject was a child prodigy who held from every conceivable chumrah and who never told a word of Lashon Harah. One sees zero about the obstacles within their families or society that the Gdolim overcame to become Gdolim.

    The hagiographies/biographies are particularly apt examples of this trend. (It is noteworthy that those authors whose views who seek ArtScroll distribution assistance without allowing for editorial control such as R B Wein or R D A Twerski publish under an ArtScroll imprint-Shaar Press. )

    I found Making Of A Gadol (“MOAG”) ( I bought the revised edition long before it was rebanned) fascinating. One sees the struggle to overcome the powerful forces of Haskalah, secular Zionism and the growth and dispute over the propriety of Mussar in yeshivos discussed in amazing detail. The Amkus of Talmud Torah described therein and the relationships described with the Gdolim therein should be required reading for anyone wondering why some talmidim complain about a lack of a relationship with a RY, Mashgiach and rebbe. One also sees the the growth of Volozhin, Brisk,Telze, Mir and Slabodka and the fact that some talmidim of R Y Salanter and The Alter of Slabodka openned schools that had some secular studies as well as schools for women.One also sees much backrground material on all of the Litvishe Gdolim of that era-many of whom have much influence on the way that Torah is learned
    and taught today. MOAG should be read it carefully with the footnotes and excurses . Although MOAG needed a better editing, it is far superior to any of ArtScroll’s works on the subject and time period.

  34. Steve Brizel says:

    It is simply wishful thinking to say that every Kollel guy in Lakewood can point to such pictures. Anyone with even a passing familiarity who is learning in Lakewood and its kolleleit will find talmidim therein with all sorts of Yichus-BTs,MO, Litvish and Chasidish.

  35. Steve Brizel says:

    I would add that it is fair to state that ArtScroll looks over its right shoulder-in terms of conten and hashkafa. That’s why R D A Twerski’s book on abuse and “Off The Derech” were published elsewhere. It may very well be that ArtScroll views the Charedi world as a prime business source and does not want to alienate that source,even though it seeks MO funding for many of its ventures such as the Shas which was funded for by both Charedi and MO sources. Ktav continues to be one of the main publishers for RYBS’s philosophical works and similar works. If you want to see how this affected the Schottenstein Shas–look at the treatment of the sugya of the three oaths in Ksuvos — the entire “elucidation” has a frame of reference that leaves the reader thinking that we are living in pre WW1 Europe in some shettl. The Enclyclopedia Talmudis presents the sugya in light of those Achronim such as the Ohr Sameach and others who viewed them as non-obligatory as a result of the Balfour Declaration and others who viewed them as inapplicable altogether. Of course, the claim voiced posthumously only by ArtScroll without a source that R Zevin ZTL retreated from a positive view towards the founding of the State of Israel has been discussed by many others as well.

  36. Aryeh says:

    I still don’t understand what all the noise is about. You want to have payos? Have them. You don’t? Don’t have them. Why should it bother you that everybody else has them or doesn’t have them? On the other hand, non-conformism for non-conformism’s sake is also wrong. If the uniform is to wear white shirt and black pants, wear white shirt and black pants. That’s not a tragedy. And even if you think that it’s unnecessary, it’s not wrong. I remember once driving into Lakewood (I don’t live in what’s called a “yeshivish” community) and feeling dressed out of place. Not a big deal. And if I would move there, would my wardrobe change? Yes, probably. But then again when I visit my relatives in Shomron, I don’t put on my black hat. The point is all these small things are not worth the noise that’s made out of them. You hear a lot of muttering: “yeshiva guys are superficial, blah, blah blah.” Superficiality is a function of being human, just like all the other yetzer haras. Peer pressure exists outside of yeshiva too.And people make avoda zara’s out of everything, out of the way one dresses, out of how much money one has, out of the prevailing secular culture, out of being a good Israeli etc. etc. And the Roshei Yeshiva are not all-powerful beings that can change human nature. So don’t focus on your chitzonius or other people’s chitzonius. Instead of bewailing other people’s failings, work on your own penimius. V’haEmes Yoreh Darko.

  37. S. says:

    >Between their two grandfathers, uncles, wife’s grandparents etc, they have a few family members that were Litvish Yehsiva bochurim. Why not?

    Because comparatively few Orthodox Jews have actual Litvish ancestry. Assimilation and the Holocaust ensured that. Most Israeli and American yehivishe people are not descended from actual Litvaks, and most didn’t have parents and grandparents who learned in the great Litvishe yeshivos. That fact is obscured by the fact that the great yeshivos today are the heirs of those Litvishe yeshivos insofar as they were founded or run by real Litvaks. Many, many people who think of themselves as Litvaks today are nothing of the sort.

  38. Michoel says:

    There are a very good number of people in Lakewood that have grandfathers that learned in Torah V’daas, Chaim Berlin, Lakewood, Ner Israel, Beis Hatalmud, Tiferes Yerushalayim and maybe others I can’t think of at the moment. The exact percentage, who knows. Everyone in Lakewood knows that yeshiva students once wore grey suits and no peyos. It is not a deep dark secret.

    Where their yichus was from before that is irrelevant.

  39. Steve Brizel says:

    Michoel-FYI, there are many talmidim in Lakewood whose fathers learned in RIETS.

  40. mycroft says:

    Steve:

    “Of course, the claim voiced posthumously only by ArtScroll without a source that R Zevin ZTL retreated from a positive view towards the founding of the State of Israel has been discussed by many others as well.”

    Worse is that Art Scroll when it translates Moadim bhalacha leaves out an occasional phrase-when it is pro Zionistic. Eg. when Zevin discusses whether one has to do kriyah on seeing arei Yehuda-doubts it now-written circa 1964 before the 6 day war-that there is a State of Israel and Ahrei shezachinu bcach. Art Scroll leaves out the Ashres Shezachuinu….

  41. Dan Mandel says:

    Steve,

    “I think that it is fair to note that its hashkafic slant leans towards the Charedi world and rarely has something praiseworthy to say about the RZ/MO world.”

    I don’t work for Artscroll so I’ve got horse in this race but I don’t think it’s hard to see why they have little praiseworthy [or negative for that matter] to say about the RZ/MO world. THEY DON”T AGREE WITH THEM! Why in heavens name would they praise an ideology that they disagree with?

    “Its view of the Holocaust is that despite the fact that 6,000,000 Kedoshim died, the yeshivos survived.”

    Really? Where’d you get that idea from? They published many books on the holocaust treating every imaginable aspect of it and this is what you decided “their” opinion is?

    “It has not come to grips with the fact that there is a sovereign State of Israel.”

    This statement is blatant nonsense. They are well aware of the existence of the state of israel but they don’t view it through the same lens as the RZ?MO world and give it little credence in terms of being a “Jewish” state. Therefore, they don’t push that angle.

    “This trend is also present in a recently produced hagiography of R A Kotler ZTL as well. One sees nothing positive about Religious Zionism, Modern Orthodoxy or Yeshiva University/RIETS. IMO, that is revisionism of history on a grand scale.”

    Again, why would they write positive things about a movement and ideology that they strongly disagree with? Funny, last I checked there was nothing in Jewish Action that was positive about Lakewood Yeshivah although so many ex-YU’ers now study there? I’ve never once seen the Young Israel publications discuss the need to support Mir, Lakewood, Ponoveizh or any other black hat Yeshivah. Nor do I have a problem with that. They should support whatever fits their ideological bent. Why have the rules changed for the Hareidim?

  42. Boruch Horowitz says:

    One of the previous commentators made reference to the opinion of one of the Gedolim regarding the Artscoll Talmud. I was unaware that there was originally any opposition to its publication, and I do not know what the issues may have been. However, I can understand that there were chilukei deios(differences of opinion), in light of the fact that there were some Haskomos missing from both the English and the Hebrew editions. In any event, these Gemoras were approved by many Gedolei Torah, and were enthusiastically accepted by Daf Yomi learners, many of whom can attest to its enabling them to finish Shas.

    I think that this is a good illustration of a healthy diversity of opinion which exists within the Torah community. Regarding the specific issue of the Artscoll Talmud , R’ Yaakov Kaminetsky encouraged this project at a time when Artscroll’s editors had not yet conceived of the idea. There was also a standing ovation given at the Siyum Hashas by the thousands of the event’s participants following the Noverminsker Rebbe’s mention of how the Schottenstein edition had facilitated additional Talmud study.

    R’ Shimon Schwab has stressed the validity of different derachim(approaches) within the Mesorah: e’ilu v’eilu divrei Elokim Chaim. There is more than one equally valid and legitimate means of Avodas Hashem contained in the Mesorah(tradition). As Rabbi Adlerstein aptly put it, there are many people who are just as much a part of the Torah world, but who “march to a different drummer”.

    Part of what is responsible for the difference in derachim, is the different needs of dissimilar people and communities– k’shem sh’ein partzufeihen shavos, kach ein deioseihem shavos. In my opinion, awareness and acceptance of the complexity of the makeup and needs of different people and diverse Torah communities, is a prerequisite to understanding the responses of different parts of the Torah World to some of the recent much-discussed issues and events which have occurred over the past two years. The ideal approach in each instance should take into consideration the different needs of these somewhat diverse communities.

  43. Steve Brizel says:

    Dan- (1)ArtScroll views itself as helping portray and sell Torah true Judaism despite the fact that many Gdolim disagreed with the hashkafa of the Charedi world. It acts as it it has patented what it and is not Torah true Judaism., when in fact its publications in many areas present a very one-sided view of halachic and hashkafic issues that still are debated and discussed and with no clear resolution in sight.(2) ArtScroll’s hashkafic view of the Holocaust can be fairly summarized as Mipmei Chatoseinu. That is one perspective. OTOH, Kol Dodi Dofek by RYBS is an equally valid perspective of what we should be doing-building a state and rebuilding Jewry, as opposed to wallowing in guilt/theodicy-wracked notions. (3)I believe that your comments re the alleged lack of religious significance to a sovereign Jewish state fairly state my issues with ArtScroll’s perspective on the issue. (4)Jewish Action has never engaged in bashing of any Yeshiva. Find me one article in which itbashed any yeshiva. It is not a house organ for YU or RIETS, despite your claims to the contrary. (5)It is well known that RYBS supported and encouraged many of his talmidim to support both Lakewood and Chinuch Atzmai. The denial of that fact in ArtScroll and other Charedi oriented hagiography/biographies and history is revisionism, no less,no more.At least Amos Bunim’s bio of his father mentioned RYBS and his speech at the Chimuch Atzmai dinner and his fund raising for both Lakewood and Chinuch Atzmai.

  44. Michoel says:

    Steve,
    “Michoel-FYI, there are many talmidim in Lakewood whose fathers learned in RIETS.”

    By you also, im yirtzeh Hashem!

  45. Steve Brizel says:

    Michoel-I would be proud to have a son or son in law learning in any of the Yeshivah Gdolos in the US ranging from RIETS to Lakewood and in EY from Gush to Mir or Brisk. We all perform the same mitzvos and learn the same Masectos, Rishonim, etc , albeit with different nuances here and there. Lulav HaGazul and Shnayim Ochzin are the same wherever they are learned. The Brisker Derech is an overwhelming popular derech halimud. Where we differ-it is on issues of hashkafa. I am always fond of saying that noone should bash either the Mir or RIETS until one spends some time learning in the Beis Medrash. Such an experience, which I highly recommend for anyone, goes a long way towards reducing the urban myths that we bave allowed to influence our opinions of other Jews.

  46. Bob Miller says:

    It’s interesting to see how often the discussions at cross-currents.com and the like converge on one issue (“Topic A”) regardless of the original topic. All the usual players on all (both?) sides relish an opportunity to get their licks in. I’m not immune to this temptation either!

  47. Michoel says:

    Bob,
    I noticed that also. I am not convinced that the net effect of blogs is greater unity and understanding.

  48. Boruch Horowitz says:

    Michoel and Bob,

    You have a good point regarding the ultimate purpose of blogs in general. I am relatively new to blogging so you might be correct in questioning how one measures if real changes are made through these forums.

    I think that Cross Currents fulfill its purpose of having people [become] aware “of diverse views representing a traditional Jewish perspective” and [developing] “a more balanced and nuanced perspective than that which you find in the general and Jewish media”. (from the “About Us” page).

    In general, I feel that open discussion, with a sensitivity to Kiddush Hashem is healthy for the Frum society. Certain things will become public knowledge in any event in today’s information age(check out the other Jblogs). It is becoming increasingly hard to hide all of “our dirty laundry”. Whether correct or not, the positives and negatives of our community which are discussed in the Letters to the Editor of the Jewish Press, for example, are read by a large audience, including one ardently-Zionist Christian congregation in the Midwest which has the distinction of its entire membership subscribing to that paper! Certainly, forums such as Cross-Currents can serve as a unique opportunity for the Torah community to exchange ideas, and present these issues in the most positive way possible.

    In the few comments I’ve made, I’ve reviewed them to make sure that notwithstanding the fact that I an expressing my honest ideas and feeling, the comments are fair, balanced, and sensitive to darchei noam and kovod hatorah. I am sure everyone–myself included– could do better in this regard, but I think that all bloggers, no matter their POV or the blog to which they are posting to, should keep these responsibilities in mind when posting.

  49. anonymous says:

    I am not sure what the whole ruckus is. These gedolim look exactly like yeshiva bochurim today. The only difference is that there was a different color hat that was popular. They are all wearing hats, white shirts, primarily dark suits and ties. They are not wearing tan pants and polo shirts. They look more like Ner Yisroel bachurim than YU guys.

    I think this supports the “penguin suit” more than anything else. If you think that yeshiva bochurim don’t know style like these gedolim did than you know too many 30 year olds who are poor and not enough 20 year olds who are dating.

  50. Ron Coleman says:

    Imagine, the people in the picture put very little emphasis on chetzoniyus (outward peripheral paraphernalia ) and yet somehow they excelled to be our revered leaders.

    How can you say that? They are all dressed quite nattily. They look, in fact, far nicer — far more concerned with chetzoniyus, arguably — than today’s chareidi bachurim and yungerleit, whose cheap black suits and tieless white shirts may be described as a somewhat more dignified than the equally thoughtless and unpressed “uniform” of non-chareidi young men (e.g., t-shirts and jeans). On the contrary, the young men in these pictures are well put together, and accepted upon themselves the responsibility, evidently, to make a “nice impression” in the world, as we are told the Alter wanted them to do.

  51. Ari says:

    For those interested in the problems with writing sfarim in foreign languages and learning from Artscroll, see my article in Tchumin 17 on the topic.

  52. anonymous says:

    They look, in fact, far nicer—far more concerned with chetzoniyus, arguably—than today’s chareidi bachurim and yungerleit, whose cheap black suits and tieless white shirts

    I think that yeshiva bochurim today do dress well – if they have the money. If they don’t, they have cheap non0pressed suits. It’s a class issue and not a old time/current yeshivish issue.

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