No Winners in the Torat Hamelech Controversy

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13 Responses

  1. Harry Maryles says:

    When prominent rabbis give approbation to a racist book, it grants it an aura of Halachic legitimacy it might not otherwise have. One could argue that a book by a relatively obscure and IIRC controversial author that no one would notice is now given a respectability that a) it doesn’t deserve and b) raises awareness of this now ‘approved of’ Psak to the level of falsely yelling ‘Fire’ in a crowded theater. Perhaps that is what the concern was.

    Many people are saying this was done just to humiliate the rabbis. I’m not sure that is true. Remember that Rav Yosef’s own father, Rav Ovadia Yosef, had some less than flattering things to say about his son’s approbation.

    In any case the whole controversy could have been avoided if they would not have refused to come in voluntarily when they were asked to explain why they signed on to that book. The entire ‘interrogation’ lasted about a half hour in one case and about 2 hours in the other, IIRC. Was it really worth it for these rabbis to make an issue over it?

  2. Norbert says:

    I have not read Torat Hamelech, and cannot comment on its contents. But…

    This is like saying, I haven’t read the such and such but i feel educated enough to talk about it even if I really do not know anything about it.

    I consider that a very scholarly approach *mind the sarcasm*.

    The rest of the article therefore is a speculation about hearsay and unfortunately another, maybe unintentional, attempt to divide the community.

  3. dovid2 says:

    “have refused to come in voluntarily when they were asked to explain why they signed on to that book.”

    Does one owe police an explanation why one likes or approves of a book? Yes, in a police state. As to the high profile this book achieved, it was due to police’s high-handed measures which you so warmly seem to approve when it is targeted at those outside your ideological camp.

  4. dr. bill says:

    You ask: First, the theoretical: “Under what, if any, circumstances may the Torah itself be subjected to police investigation for ideas that do not conform to the current standards of political correctness.”

    And you then continue ostensibly with a comparison: “That possibility is not far-fetched. References to the Torah’s prohibition on male homosexual relations could land one afoul of university speech codes at some of America’s more prestigious universities.”

    An irrelevant question followed by a yet more irrelevant comparison. They are being interrogated over illegality not political correctness. one can legitimately debate what ought happen when halakhic obligations run counter secular law. however, that is not the situation. the situation here concerns legality not political correctness and, as we see a questionable halakhic basis to boot.

  5. Steve Brizel says:

    Yasher Koach to a 100% on point article-“Incitement” statutes, for anyone who follows Israeli politics, are almost exclusively used by the Israeli criminal justice system against settlers, RZ and at times Charedim, for voicing views that are anathema to the secular Ashkenazi left. One almost never sees the same statutes used against Israeli leftists whose POV are the basis of the BDS movement.

  6. Yoram says:

    I saw a video of the debate with the other rabbi from 20 years ago and he indeed did
    cite many halachic sources to back up his view. It is not true to say that he argued for his halahcic position using Agadeta.

  7. DF says:

    Many Jewish customs and beliefs are taken from aggadic statements. The very idea that there are 613 commandments, in fact, is itself only a statement of aggadah. It is true that we have a legal principle of “ain limedin min hamidrash”, that we do not learn practical law from aggada. But anone learned can tell you this principle is honored in the breach as much as it is followed. When it comes to matters of hashkafa/outlook, especially – and the halachic entirety of Torat Hamelech depends on a certain hashkafa – the viewpoints of religious Jews are very much influenced by aggadah

  8. Yoram says:

    Rav Hai Gaon,Rav Sherira Gaon and other Geonim state that Aggadoth may not be used to arrive at practical, operative conclusions of any kind. The rabbi who debated Mr. Rosenblum correctly only relied upon halachic sources to arrive at his practical conclusions.

  9. Avi Keslinger says:

    You write: “I found myself increasingly shocked by his willingness to rely on quotations pulled from the aggadata sections of the Torah to reach legal conclusions, which, if implemented, would have immense implications for Jews around the world and his confidence that we live in an era in which Jews can say and do whatever they want in the Land of Israel without fear of how those words and actions will be received by the gentile world.
    As Torat HaMelech deals with the laws of war (although, as Rav Avraham Giser pointed out, the author fails to say who has the right to give the appropriate commands), they might agree, as US actions in Iraq and Afghanistan have shown. In any case, we should stop being afraid of how the Gentile world will react when conducting halachic research. I am reminded of the joke about two Jews who were sentenced to go before a firing squad in the Soviet Union. One said “I am entitled to a last meal”. The other implored “Don’t make trouble”. You yourself point out the references in the Tora to wiping out Amalek and the prohibition against homosexual acts. Should we censor the Tora? Should we refrain from saying “asher bachar banu” out of fear of Gentile sensibilities?

    As for using aggadic material to reach legal conclusions, Rav Kook himself held that this is legitimate. Indeed, there are those who say that Chazal used the medium of aggadata to convey political and social statements. One may dispute this but there is no place for shock.

  10. L. Oberstein says:

    Nowadays, no one is isolated. Words spoken in candor can be filmed without consent on a cell phone and circulated world wide in moments. The settlers have good reason to be nervous . The government of Israel is facing international isolation and has really big issues to deal with and who knows if Israel and Turkey will make up or if it will get worse, what about Iran? Will Egypt cancel the peace treaty? Those on the West Bank are viewed by most Israelis as a couse of trouble not as the vangard of the future. I don’t know what the future will bring, but , I doubt if there will be a comprehensive Peace treaty soon and the settlements may stay for a long time, but at least verbally, the government is ready to give most of the land back. i do not know if they mean it or not, but that is the game plan and those who oppose any withdrawel are viewed as a problem, not as a solution. Torat Hamelech should never have become big news and it won’t matter much what this rabbi writes. Israel is facing so many problems that no one is going to forcibly uproot anyone in the near future as there is no Palestinian partner to surrender to. Who ever heard of the victors surrendering to the losers anyway?

  11. Mike says:

    The Rav with whom Mr. Rosenblum debated is a great talmid hacham and did not say anything which was not very well-based using incisive halachic analysis. The fact that his conclusions were “further to the right” politically does not disprove their validity.

  12. Ahron says:

    >>>Harry Maryles, July 22, 2011 at 7:47 pm: “In any case the whole controversy could have been avoided if they would not have refused to come in voluntarily when they were asked to explain why they signed on to that book. The entire ‘interrogation’ lasted about a half hour in one case and about 2 hours in the other, IIRC. Was it really worth it for these rabbis to make an issue over it?”

    Let’s think about that…..

    “Rabbi….uhhhh, Maryles? Rabbi Maryles, we’ve recently received some information from a confidential informant, documenting that you’ve been publicly mulling over some pretty controversial topics on your blog lately.

    “These provocative conversations were taking place where everybody can read them, and apparently included your approval of a controversial book. As you know, we here at the Chicago PD are tasked with protecting the public, and we need to intercept potential threats to public safety before they pose a manifest danger. And we don’t like to see folks giving public endorsement to books like that.

    “Accordingly, you’ll need to come down to the station for questioning by our detectives. Sgt. Snyder and I have been told that this shouldn’t take more than about 2 hours. We’re confident that a civic-minded man such as yourself would agree that refusal isn’t in your best interest…”

  13. Yehoshua Friedman says:

    The issue is not Torat Hamelech nor is it settlements. The idea that the prosecutor and the police would have waited for the RZ community to deal with the subject themselves was never on the cards. The prosecution, who consider themselves Supreme Court candidates for the future, want to show that they are on the correct side of things by showing the religious sector who is boss. The RZ are the biggest threat to the establishment because, unlike the hareidim, in addition to having a high birthrate, they participate in all aspects of life in the country, the army, literature, media, economics etc. According to the left, they must be broken at all costs. That and not peace and security was the cause of the expulsion from Gush Katif, and that and not lomdus in some sefer was the reason for the interrogations.

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