News and Essays In and Out of Orthodoxy – Parshas Va’eschanan 5776

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186 Responses

  1. Tal Benschar says:

    CAMPERS RECEIVE A HANDS-ON LESSON IN THE TRADITION OF KOSHER SLAUGHTER

    The article said they were shechting quail and partridge, as well as ducks. Are the first two subject to a masorah of kashrus?  Are they that commonly available that they could be used at a demonstration?  I have never heard of either being offered for sale as kosher birds.  Maybe the got them from a local farm.

    • mycroft says:

      Dr Bill

      Re academic biography-obviously there has been none. However , Seth Farber’s book on the RAv has a great amount on the RAv and his attitudes lemaaseh. It is IMO essential to understanding of the Rav.

      Look what the RAv did rather than either chakirahs the RAv could have discussed while discussing an issue and certainly not statements that he might have made while old and already in at least the beginnings of his dreadful old disease.

      • mycroft says:

        “Both RAK ztl and his son were not responsible for the ultimate in lakewood honesty – photo-shopping the Rav out of the chinuch atzmoi dinner picture.”

        Photo shopping” is ultimate in lakewood honesty”

        Really? I’m sure I’d rank spme activities higher in the ultimate contest.

  2. dr. bill says:

    listening to the Rav ztl at the CA dinner reminded me of a unique and remarkable yiddish that i never hear anymore.  i did not know a recording exists.  i have read right-wing  accounts of the speech written years later and have read the Rav’s written version of the speech published a number of years ago (in yiddish); they are quite different.  since i have seen written versions of speeches by the Rav for which i also listened to a tape, i realize that the Rav did stick to a text, even closely.  for the eventual academic biography, i wonder if a complete recording exists.

    • Steve brizel says:

      Just what we need-academic spin and reviews and disagreements over obvious historical facts,the joint appearance documented for anyone to see and heat of RYBS and RAK.

      • mycroft says:

        that the Rav would help support RAK s mosdos everyone knows-but I find no evidence that RAK ever asked his talmidim to support mosdos that the RAv was involved in.

        it is also a clear historical record that RAK publicly attacked those who followed the Ravs positions eg SCA and whole bunch of others

        • Steve brizel says:

          All true but we know and have seen documentary proof of RYBS own support for BMG. Engaging in the game of who supported or did not support which position of  either RYBS or RAK ZL really doesn’t interest me and all too often descends to seeking revenge where none would be called for by RYBS and would certainly be an excersise in unwarranted posthumous spin.

          • mycroft says:

            That the RAv supported BMG is agreed. I find your accusation of ” unwarranted posthumous spin” particularly interesting.” It thus seems when one tries to make the RAv as one who did not differ with other RY it is an example of those following the RAv but when one points out how the RAv was different than many RY it is “unwarranted posthumous spin”-unless all  articles quoting the RAv or books supposedly quoting the Ravs positions are unwarranted posthumous spin how do you differentiate any true example from one that has a tape of his famous 1956 speech for Chinuch Atzmai from any other example? Why is bringing that speech alone not an attempt at “unwarranted posthumous spin”?

          • Steve brizel says:

            Who said anything about the speech not being considered? I merely opposed spinning of the speech without considering nuance  context and the excellent translation available to any listener. IOw a great speech to be viewed in its own right ad were all writings and shiurim of both RYBS and  RAK without engaging in Recriminations or revisionism such as bringing up other differences that were and are grossly irrelevant to the speech at issue. I thought that the entire dinner was a great example of Achdus.That was far more important than reiterating past differences which were irrelevant to the dinner at issue.

          • mycroft says:

            “. I thought that the entire dinner was a great example of Achdus.” That MO gedolim were willing to give money to chareidi institutions is not news

            “That was far more important than reiterating past differences which were irrelevant to the dinner at issue.”

            There were differences before the dinner and differences after the dinner-major differences. To imply one speech that the Rav praised a chareidi is not news nor would speeches where he praised MO talmidim also not be news worthy of comment.

        • Steve brizel says:

          Ask other colleagues of Dr Shapiro of their impressions of the book in question. I think that it I’ll behooves talmidim of either RYBS or RAK to engage in conduct that minimizes their mutual and different contributions to the growtht of Torah in the postwar US or that could even be remotely and reasonably seen as bearing a grudge or seeking revenge on their behalf. Seeking revenge and bearing grudges are viewed by many Monei HaMitzvos as Issurei Torah and not just midos tovos. That is quite different from prioritization of tzedaka which should be to those mosdos that had the most positive impact on shaping you as a Ben Torah or Bas Torah

          • mycroft says:

            “That is quite different from prioritization of tzedaka which should be to those mosdos that had the most positive impact on shaping you as a Ben Torah or Bas Torah”

            People who were students of the Rav would give money to BMG due to the Ravs request but would also give money to Maimonides school in honor of the Rav.

            Students who clearly had no benefit from and were not shaped one iota by either institution.

          • mycroft says:

            There is a reason why some try and emphasize the Ravs speech at the fundraising dinner. If one wanted to have a speech praising them done well get the RAv. There is one big difference in the Chinuch Atzmai speech and others. Most other speeches where the RAv praised people and very lavishly-there are records of them -the recipients did not use the speech to attempt to make a political point. Here, and I am not referring to Steve, many have a vested interest of using this speech  to show that the RAv himself felt RAK was THE Gadol Hador and thus ALL must recognize the superiority of RAK and all have a duty of following his viewpoints. I myself have been told that by BMG students of RAK.

            Thus, one must look at the speech in context as an attempt by the RAv to have some achdus-historical record must show that his attempt was  not reciprocated see eg funerals-the RAv being ignored at RAKs levaya, no one from Yeshiva world showing up for the Ravs levaya, the famous JO article when the RAv was niftar. The attempt to treat the Ravs hashkafa as illegitimate except when it comes to raising money.  I don’t know Yiddish at all so even if a complete tape is out there. . I have to wait for comments by people like Dr Bill who apparently knows Yiddish as to the speech.

          • dr. bill says:

            mycroft, you are accurate.  since, i have never heard the complete speech and dd not even know of the existence of a tape, all i had were chareidi PR reports and the rav ztl’s yiddish text.  they were not consistent.  as you imply, some view the speech as the Rav declaring RAK ztl as the gadol hador and equating his lomdus to R’chaim brisker.   i believe his comparison to r’ chaim related to chesed and speech pattern, not lomdus.   the written text supports the latter, IMHO.  the Rav’s dismissive attitude to RAK on the shechitah issue, if true, would hardly be consistent to how he would talk to his grandfather.

            as to RAK’s hespedim, RAL ztl, said it was sad because except for a non-RY, i think irving bunim, no one really captured RAK’s uniqueness as the Rav’s written hesped would have.  i wonder if a copy of that manuscript/hesped exists.  to an academic biography, it would be most revealing.

            OTOH, when r’ scheur ztl’s son died, and the RAv came to be menachem  ovail, the respect the Rav was given was remarkable.

        • mycroft says:

          Of course it is also historical record that the RAv encouraged secular studies, encouraged teaching women Talmud, believed in cooperation with non Orthodox groups, believed in some sort of discussions with non Jewish groups-all of them clearly disagreeing with RAv Kotler and others.

          • Steve brizel says:

            Why is that relevant to what I wrote?

          • Steve brizel says:

            I have read all of your comments and you just don’t get my point. The dinner in question was a great example of walking the walk and not just talking the talk of achdus

            No one disagrees that RYBS and RAK had great respect for each other but disagreed on a wide variety of issues. Somehow I suspect that if you had been close to RYBS,in 1956 you would have discouraged RYBS from being a chair and speaking at the dinner and that is a pity. FWIW I thought that the entire video was the best drasha that I have seen on the subject of avoiding unnecessary machlokes

            I have heard many times from RFS who had equally strong relationships with RYBS and RAK that the Nodah BiYehuda noted that while Hillel and Shammai got along well their talmidim who became Beis Hillel and Be is Shammai did not but still aallowed marriages between their children. That IMO is quite applicable here when we consider the wonderful night of that dinner and the machlokes which became ugly on both sides.

          • mycroft says:

            “.  the Rav’s dismissive attitude to RAK on the shechitah issue, if true, would hardly be consistent to how he would talk to his grandfather.”

            I don’t know what you are referring g to-but could be same as my recollection early 60s North American classic schechita way was being attacked as being excessively cruel. I believe the Rav in at least a couple of jurisdictions redesigned the pen to satisfy the animal rights groups. IIRC Agudah types opposed-it took away small businesses who were Agudah supporters-result I believe large companies took the revised pen and price of meat went down more efficient. The Rav was the person who redesigned the way of shechita. One must remember counter to what some current musmachim have been taught about theRav he was very practical and involved in halacha lemaaseh-he would regularly go to slaughter houses in Boston area. He believed knowledge of shechita was important and certainly gave practical mentoring on hashgacha  to those went post smicha  in Boston area.

             

            “as to RAK’s hespedim, RAL ztl, said it was sad because except for a non-RY, i think irving bunim, no one really captured RAK’s uniqueness as the Rav’s written hesped would have.  i wonder if a copy of that manuscript/hesped exists.  to an academic biography, it would be most revealing.”

            The Rav was a masper of hespedim-so much so that someone  I forget who wrote an article post the Ravs ptirah something like like The Rav as a Maspid.

            “OTOH, when r’ scheur ztl’s son died, and the RAv came to be menachem  ovail, the respect the Rav was given was remarkable”

            But Lakewood did NOT attend to the Ravs levayah.

          • dr. bill says:

            mycroft, the story wrt shechita is reported by victor geller who only heard the Rav ztl on one end of the call.  Both RAK ztl and his son were not responsible for the ultimate in lakewood honesty – photo-shopping the Rav out of the chinuch atzmoi dinner picture.  i doubt the facts about preventing the Rav from delivering a hesped will ever be known; i hope the hesped is eventually published and compared to those given by sanctioned gedolim.

          • mycroft says:

            “I have heard many times from RFS who had equally strong relationships with RYBS and RAK that the Nodah BiYehuda noted that while Hillel and Shammai got along well their talmidim who became Beis Hillel and Be is Shammai did not but still aallowed marriages between their children.”

            If one really gets along one does not put a ban on activities sanctioned by the other gadol-see R A Kotler banning participation in the Synagogue Council of America despite the Ravs encouraging his students to belong. Compare RAK with R E Silver who was opposed to the SCA but refused to sign the ban-RES felt it was not his students or RAKs who belonged it was RYBS. If one of his students asked he would say don’t belong but have no right to ban behavior that others are following their Rebbe.

          • dr. bill says:

            mycroft,  iirc, your story about RES ztl, was not his view but that of rav reuvain grosovsky ztl, who said what you attribute to res.  what few realize is that sca existed well before 1956, back to the 20’s or 30’s, i believe.  RES allowed orthodox participation back then

          • mycroft says:

            Steve:

            maybe if I knew that RAK would two months later repay the kindness that RYBS did to him and his institution by going the Chinuch Atzmai dinner by attacking theRav in his issue against the SCA- not that RAK should have been in favor of it but the tone and approach used was meant to de legitimize the RAv publicly then I might have advised him not to be such a public saint supporting other institutions when they will just attack you and your talmidim for following his approach.

      • dr. bill says:

        i take it that Prof. shapiro’s biography of RYYW ztl, the last Ph.D. completed under the guidance of Prof. Twersky ztl, did not impress you.  in some number of years, such an undertaking on the Rav ztl will likely occur.

         

        • mycroft says:

          For what it’s worth I was much more impressed with Shapro’s work on The Sreidei Eish than any biography  or similar work that I believe has ever been written about the RAv. When it came out I spoke to a former student of  R Weinberg from Berlin and he was amazed at the accuracy of Shapiros book and how he accurately reflected the man.

          • Steve brizel says:

            Ask other colleagues of Dr Shapiro of their impressions of the book in question.

          • Steve brizel says:

            did you read either version of MOAG?that struck me as far better than either an approved hagiography or an academic work because the author was a definite insider who described how the RY of the post war world emerged from the challenges of Haskalah secular Zionism and political upheavals to become great leaders despite issues in their family lives. I read Dr Shapiro’s book on the SE which was fascinating but a bit marred by the authors championing of the SE as the would be leader of the authors type of MO and no discussion that I recall as to how the SE survived the war and why he chose to stay in Europe after the war when it is known that the SE was offered a joint appointment in RIETS and BRGS which I was told the SE himself declined . AFAIK these issues were not discussed by the SE in the volumes of letters that Dr Shapiro published but I welcome any corrective comments in this regard. It should be  noted that RYK viewed the SE as the greatest of all of his contemporaries in pre war Slabodka and that the SE as noted by RHS championed the Tosfos HaRosh as a key sefer in understanding the words of the Baalei HaTosfos in many masectos.

        • mycroft says:

          Dr Shapiro was born the year R Weinberg was niftar so some young objective person looking for his doctorate born in 1993 or so would be appropriate. So far most of the books that I am aware about the RAv are not objective works.

          • mycroft says:

            I didn’t ask a colleague of Dr Shapiro -I asked a Talmid of the Sreidei Eish. All of a sudden you are more interested in viewpoints of academics rather than those who studied under him and people who had him as a RY.

          • dr. bill says:

            mycroft, agree.  of course not.  even r. rakeffet speaks of the need for an academic biography.

            steve brizel,  why not some facts/claims rather than a snide comment about (i would assume negative) “other colleagues… impressions.”   i know of some debate over the publications of some of RYYW ztl’s letters, but the book is news to me.

          • mycroft says:

            “did you read either version of MOAG?”

            Yes before any ban-I read it-a descendant of R Yacov lent me a copy to read. I found it very detailed book in the manner of what a son who is very proud of his father would write. Nothing IMO controversial s brief by a son to make ones father look good.

             

            “that struck me as far better than either an approved hagiography or an academic work because the author was a definite insider who described how the RY of the post war world emerged from the challenges of Haskalah secular Zionism and political upheavals to become great leaders despite issues in their family lives.”

            I would have preferred an academic work-remember this was a book by a son about his father.

            “I read Dr Shapiro’s book on the SE which was fascinating but a bit marred by the authors championing of the SE as the would be leader of the authors type of MO and no discussion that I recall as to how the SE survived the war and why he chose to stay in Europe after the war when it is known that the SE was offered a joint appointment in RIETS and BRGS which I was told the SE himself declined . ” It is no secret that the Sreidei Eish felt guilty about his not recognizing the danger the Nazis posed he advised talmidim after Kristallnacht not to leave Germany. Some listened to him with deadly consequences others didn’t and were saved. At least SE felt guilty about his advice and the two decades that he survived after the war he was never the same.

             

             

        • Steve brizel says:

          The key is not whether a book fits your preexisting biases and POV  but rather how it fared when critiqued by colleagues.

          • dr. bill says:

            you are on a roll; one innuendo after another.  this is the second time you implied criticism of prof. shapiro by colleagues.  Be specific or I can give you prof. shapiro’s email for an apology.

            as to the Rav ztl’s speech, are you aware of the controversy about what was claimed as having been said by the Rav??  if there is tape of the whole speech, i would love to hear it.  i have read the yiddish text, but as i noted, that may not be what the Rav actually said.  the part on the tape differs from the yiddish text!

          • mycroft says:

            I have quoted sources anonymous- here a talmid of the sreidei esh who read the book. Those who choose not to trust me or my source who is no longer alive so be it-those who trust my accuracy will. By nature of things talmidim of the SE during Kristallnacht would have to be at least mid 90s by now. I am not aware of  living surviving students-I’m sure Dr Shapiro if anyone would know of any.

          • ISteve Brizel says:

            Ask Dr Leiman or R D D Berger about their POV on the book in question.

          • ISteve Brizel says:

            While we are on the subject of apologies , perhaps you and Mycroft should go on a road trip to Boston , stop at RYBS’s kever and ask for mechilah for your minimizing what was clearly a night of achdus to any reasonable observer-except for those who as RYBS mentioned were opposed to his speaking at the dinner in the first place. After all, that is what R Yonah did at the kever of the Rambam

          • mycroft says:

            i have heard both Drs Berger and Leiman–my source was a talmid of The sreidei Eish . He stated after reading the book that he was surprised how well Dr Shapiro captured the essence of the Sreidei Eish.

          • dr. bill says:

            Steve brizel, thank you for names, but i asked for issues with the book not names of people who (may of) had them.

          • mycroft says:

            Thus one only looks at books that have authors that have the same preexisting biases as the reader? Thus clearly, RHS is Ok but how are Dr Berger and Dr Leiman different than Dr Shapiro? I have gone to hear all of them,

        • mycroft says:

          Dr Bill I believe I read that along time ago in Kaplans article about daas Torah. If I’ m wrong I am wrong. Of interest RES son had Smicha from RIETS-he went to Columbia YCT didn’t exist yet.

        • mycroft says:

          Dr Bill the SCA was an old organization existing from the 20s to around the time of the Ravs pit rah. Dr Billtry a search engine search of R E Silver and Synagogue Council of America I believe you’ll find articles of interest on the issue

  3. Steve brizel says:

    The  video from the 1956 Chinuch Atzmai dinner was amazing.

  4. Yossi says:

    Rabbi Gordimer,

    Having read your other post about stepping down, I’d like to offer a few comments.

    First, I do believe that you made a heroic and valiant effort to combat the falsifications of OO and the like and the changes they are trying to usher in all while the umbrella of Orthodoxy.

    I also agree that once you were branded as the person who writes against Open Orthodoxy, basically anyone who wants would be able to write you off and hence, there really wasn’t much of a point in writing anymore.

    I think you did a great job and you’re a capable and eloquent spokesman. I am not sure, however, if too much arguing with them gives them too much legitimacy and whether we don’t just say, “Sorry guys, this ain’t Orthodoxy”.

    You can’t debate someone who keeps on moving the goalposts and not accepting any of your parameters. We use the same terminology to say different things, and there can’t be any positive resolution to the argument. I really wonder what would happen if we pay them no attention and let our stance be known.

     

     

  5. tzippi says:

    Re A Friend in High Places: Article’s fine but the title makes me cringe. Isn’t there a commentary that says that part of the impetus for Esther’s inviting Haman to the party was to totally destroy any feelings among the Jews that they had friends in high places, so as to turn them completely to the Only true Source of succor?

  6. Steve Brizel says:

    If you understand basic Yiddish , you can follow both the speeches of RYBS and RAK Zicronam Livracha quite easily, especially with the translation on the video. For those of us who have read Ethics from Sinai but were too old to have ever heard R Irving Bunim ZL speak, that was a mesmerizing call to action.

  7. Steve brizel says:

    There you go again spinning RYBS legacy.no one has either insinuated or asserted that any of RYBS public statements shiurim or drashos that have been transcribed in the 1960s and 1970s which included public and vocal rejections of feminism and its critique of halacha were questionable because of RYBS state of mind.that is what is I meant by spin. What a horrible example of minimizing the openly expressed viewpoint of RYBS

     

    • mycroft says:

      I have stated facts-it is no secret that the Rav had terrible degenerating disease that affects the mind. There is also no secret that the diseases that he had have decades long periods of slow damage to the brain.

       

      • mycroft says:

        The issue raised with the Rav is reality an issue with most gdolim-people reach their peak intellectual ability in their 20s and slowly decrease even wo a neurological disease.

        • ISteve Brizel says:

          S o nothing that RYBS or any Gadol who wrote or said anything after their 20s has any redeeming value?

        • dr. bill says:

          Mycroft, yes and no.  mathematicians and theoretical physicists do peak in their 20/30’s.  these fields depend entirely on brilliant, but typically narrowly focused, insight.  however, in fields like philosophy, lomdus, law, halakha, economics, literature, etc. experience and breadth are critical.  there i think chazal’s age of 70 is a good average cutoff.  in the case of the Rav ztl, with his degenerative disease, it is hard to tell when his overall intellectual prowess declined in a measurable way.  as well it is something that is best left to a more informed set of experts, and not intuitive blog-sphere observations.

          • mycroft says:

            I agree-I will state that the vast majority of time that I quote general rules I often pick info that is consistent with what I know. Publicly available info look at the Ravs leading writings when we’re they written? Not when they were published. They are not from the end of his life.

            he is not the only gadol like that-

            it is dishonest to pretend that we don’t down in fields that you mention-we are much less creative-it can be masked by specific knowledge. The RAv was far more than a walking encyclopedia Talmudit-he was creative and creativity goes down. In the 70s he was still far and above others. RY in the beginning of the 60s would not have dared to be revisionists on the RAv. The RAv is complex-being simplistic is misleading. That he ageed to support an institution does not equal his agreement with the ideas of the person behind the institution.

          • mycroft says:

            Of interest Chazals 70- that I first saw people noticing slight differences when the RAv was close to 70. Years later I actually followed upon during the past decade and asked very reliable people and got various dates within a year or two of each other when they knew something was wrong. Most are dead -one still giving shiur, to pretend that the issue just started in his 80s is    ..

            dr Bill I am not in. Your level but my analytical ability certainly started to decrease way before I became eligible for Medicare. Mipneiseiva Tatum does not mean elderly are in as much command of their faculties as younger people.of course, experience in a specific area can mask the decrease in abilities.

        • Steve brizel says:

          How old was Einstein when he discovered the theory of relativity? How old were Justices Brandeis and Scalia when they were sitting on the Supreme Court as very active judges? Look at ShuT of RMF RSZA and RYSA all very active ad sof yamav.

          • mycroft says:

            Einstein was 36 when he published his Theory of Relativity-he worked on it when he was 26. Brandeis was 32 when he published his seminal article on privacy in Harvard Law Review. Re gedolim-the only one I have second info is RMF . I remember asking a Rav in the UWS a sheila in the 80s while RMF was very much alive and in course of discussion reRMFs position he told me that years before RMF had told him he was no longer able to answer sheilas for him. This re a gadol who had no known neurological degenerative disease.

          • dr. bill says:

            einstein was in his thirties.  jurists and poskim have lifetime tenure; the effect is debated, with obvious exceptions.

          • Steve brizel says:

            Any lawyer who has ever stepped into a Federal court will tell you that Brandeis most significant opinion in that field was written in the late 1930s when her was on the cusp of retirement

      • joel rich says:

        I can tell you that it was painful for me to listen to the Rav’s tapes from the 80’s when compared to those made even 10 years earlier.

         

        KT

        • Steve brizel says:

          The Noroas HaRav and Thinking Aloud series both are Iiirc limited to shiurim and drashos from the 1950s through the 1970s which were well after the first 20 years of RYBS life. I would agree that it is tough to listen to the shiurim from the 1980s.

        • mycroft says:

          It became obvious to all by late 70s early 80s of the Ravs decline. I once was speaking to a Rebbe of mine a few years ago who obviously has arichas yamim-and told him of when I witnessed a couple of the Ravs earlier talmidim coming out of Yahrzeit shiur crying that something is wrong-they are both in olam haemes-I just enjoyed the shiur on its terms. He told me that just a couple of years later in the early mid 70s all the RY knew that there was something wrong with the Rav-they saw it at a Yahrzeit shiur then.

          “.no one has either insinuated or asserted that any of RYBS public statements shiurim or drashos that have been transcribed in the 1960s and 1970s”

          is simply the protocol that most Rabbonim for better or worse follow. They do not attack others. The nature of this blog for better or worse is different-constant attacks on people that one disagrees with -OO,  and anyone not following the current hashkafa of current leaders of RIETS or other Yeshivot is at least tolerated if not the basisi of much written.

          • Steve brizel says:

            Not responsive. Look at the years that I mentioned in my previous post.

          • mycroft says:

            my response includes most of the 70s .

          • ISteve Brizel says:

            You wrote as follows:

            “The issue raised with the Rav is reality an issue with most gdolim-people reach their peak intellectual ability in their 20s and slowly decrease even wo a neurological disease”

            Your comments flatly imply without any supporting proof that anything written by or shiurim or drashos from the 1950s through the early to mid 1970s cannot be taken at face value. I would suggest that in the absence of any supporting and identifiable evidence that the statement cannot be taken seriously by anyone who has listened to  or read any of RYBS’s shiurim , articles and drashos from that time period.

        • dr. bill says:

          one of the saddest and most heroic events occurred at the Rav ztl’s last yartzeit shiur, around 1980.  drugged to dull his intense pain, the rav made multiple efforts to begin.  the rav insisted on waiting until his mind cleared, and then in extreme discomfort gave the shiur he prepared.  oddly, while i remember the first yartzeit shiur i heard, both the drush and lomdus, during the last shiur he gave i was fixated on the inner strength of man whose mind and body failed him.  i do not remember much else.

          • ISteve Brizel says:

            I never included the 1980s. Mycroft made the comment that nothing that RYBS like most people reached his intellectual peak in his 20s. That statement was a completely unsupported statement and remains so-take a look at the shiruim drashos  books and articles published and available to the public from the 1950s to the 1970s. I stand by my critique of such an unfortunate and unfounded statement.

      • Steve brizel says:

        To insinuate without a shred of supporting identifiable proof that nothing said or written by RYBS after he reached his 20s when we have shiurim articles and drashos to the contrary from the 1950s to the mid 1970s is flat out wrong .

         

         

        • mycroft says:

          Show where I have stated that nothing that the RAv wrote after his 20s should be ignored. That is not my position.

          • ISteve Brizel says:

            Then clarify now your position that RYBS reached his peak like most mortals in his 20s. Until you do so, in light of what we know was RYBS’s product from the 1950s up to and including the 1970s, I stand by my critique of your comment. For wholly independent reasons, rooted in the discussion of the dinner and video , I stand by my recommendation to both you and DR Bill to take a joint trip to Boston and ask for mechilah at the kever of RYBS.

          • ISteve Brizel says:

            You now limit yourself to what RYBS “wrote after his 20s” and wrote very clearly:

            “The issue raised with the Rav is reality an issue with most gdolim-people reach their peak intellectual ability in their 20s and slowly decrease even wo a neurological disease”

            That statement cannot be reconciled and must be challenged and wholeheartedly rejected  as to the production of RYBS’s shiurim, drashos, books and articles from the 1950s to the 1970s, as well as the very active roles of such Poskim in rendering Psak Halacha  as RYSA and RSZA ad sof yamav, none of which were ever challenged R”L as being the product of a neurologically diseased individual. You have yet to admit that RYBS was indeed very active and that some of his most important work was during this time period.

        • dr. bill says:

          steve brizel, on behalf of a number of us who pray-tell did you misunderstand when you said something about the Rav ztl after his 20’s.  i think that with few exceptions most of the significant works in talmud and halakha were composed by individuals past their 20’s.  in fact, most remarkable imho, is raavad, who wrote his hasagot on rambam in his late 70’s during the last 2-3 years of his life, commenting on every one of rambam’s ve’yireah li, over 150, i believe.

          if you want perhaps an equally remarkable story, read the hesped of Prof. Israel Ta shma, ztl on his encounter with Prof. Lieberman ztl, a few years before his death and the Grash’s astounding view on the benefits of a talmid chacham getting old.  it’s in the 4th volume of essays published by Prof. ta shma’s family after his death.  no one i know of who has read the story, myself included, can imagine such genius and bekius in one individual around 80 years old.

           

          • mycroft says:

            I never said or intended to imply that nothing the Rav did not write anything worthwhile after his 20s. I did state that one has to be careful with material from later life. There is no secret that by 1980 the Rav was clearly changed . He often did not attend events that he certainly would have earlier in his life. His attendance at shiurim became less regular. I am merely stating the obvious that he did not suddenly become like the RAv in the 1980 yahrzeit shiur referred to by Dr Brill-there was already evidence of a decline a decade earlier. Like all declines it first became noticeable to those who were closest to him, a little later RY at YU noticed it and a few years later it was obvious to all. At the beginning the decline was subtle but noticeable. At the beginning the decline was one that the Rav in his greatness would still be leagues above others, but sadly like all people disease takes over. It just becomes more noticeable.

      • Steve brizel says:

        I never equated REW or the SE with Tom Friedman or Roger Cohen. One can argue solely from retrospect and the luxury of what we know now as well as the writings if both REW and the SE that they both viewed Communism as a graver threat to their community than Nazism. The NYT news pages cconsistenly downplayed the uniquely Jewish aspects of the Holocaust and assured its readers that Communism posed no threat to the US.just look at the Pulitzer prize winners for the NYT and you will see a long list of apologists for Stalin Mao Castro and Ho Chi Minh

    • mycroft says:

      Of course, you quote a prepared debate statement of a President whose administration ignored law when it was different than what it desired see eg Boland Amendment.

      • ISteve Brizel says:

        I thought you you had proposed that political discussions should be off limits. The Boland Amendment was another example of the John Lennon school of foreign policy work which ignored the Communist threat posed by the Sandinistas.

        • mycroft says:

          I agree but you quoted his dismissive quip at me.

          • Steve brizel says:

            I don’t think that Reagans opponent ever had a good response to that line

             

          • mycroft says:

            Thus we should judge Presidential candidates by how good their staff is preparing punch lines and anticipating the other sides jokes with retorts.

            assuming that Reagan was a more effective President than Carter we see that intelligence is not a good criteria for American political leadership. Why should being a walking Encyclopedia Talmudis be the test for Jewish leadership? Or probably until recently it never has been.  See eg Nehemiah, Rosenheim etc

          • Steve Brizel says:

            Hardly “dismissive”-many viewed the same as one of the key reasons why RR won the election in 1980 hands down.

        • mycroft says:

          I am not arguing whether or not it was good policy -but I find strange advocating not obeying the law. A president must faithfully execute the laws not the law as he wishes it were. 

          • Steve brizel says:

            Our greatest presidents such as Jackson Lincoln and FDR never viewed themselves as bound by their oath of office to avoid doing what was necessary to protect the people of the US and to preserve the security of the US.

          • Steve brizel says:

            Sound political policies quite often cannot be reconciled with blind obedience to the law or ideological considerations. But for Watergate Nixon would have been remembered for liberal domestic policies ending our in volvement in Vietnam recognizing Chinaa detente with the USSR and saving Israel with a massive airlift in 1973-all of which were long viewed as elements of the platform of the Democratic Party.

          • Steve brizel says:

            Look at it this way.JFK won the debates and the election of 1960 with his movie star looks but was a far less effective president than either LBJ or Nixon but none if them blindly believed that the law bound them from effectuating great changes in domestic and foreign policy

             

          • mycroft says:

            RR won because a rescue attempt in Iran failed-had it been successful maybe the past 35 years might not have had the much slower growth than we had in the previous 35 years.

      • Steve brizel says:

        FDR ignored the Neutrality Act when he launched the Lend lease Arrangements with the UK Imagine what if happened if there was  Boland like aamendment passed by a strongly isolationist Congress which was aided and abetted by Lindberg Joseph Kennedy St and the mainstream media who except for a few cases were full of isolationist sentiment

         

        • mycroft says:

          FDR who refused to bomb railroad tracks leading to concentration camps is now your hero.

          • Steve brizel says:

            Didn’t say FDR was my hero. FDR actions in ordering Lend Lease and in not bombing the camps were rooted in an awareness of the strongly pervasive anti semitism and isolationism that were present throughout pre war WW2. Lend Lease enabled the UK to survive despite the Blitz and uboats prior to American entry in the war after Pearl Harbor.wrong to judge FDR based on the activist Jewish standards of 2016 when most of American Jewry faced anti semitism and viewed FDR as their protector right or wrong

      • Steve brizel says:

        IIRC FDR announced Lend Lease during a “Fireside chat” with full knowledge that the same violated the Neutrality Act.

  8. Steve brizel says:

    I have heard that Dr Leiman thought otherwise about the book

    One can find an obvious yearning in Dr Shapiro’s works for the Orthodoxy of the 1950s which was small in quantity and its quality of commitment with mixed swimming mixed dancing minimal adherence to kashrus (“ala eat fish out”)and a less than minimal commitment to Taharas hamishpacha with daily Torah study being viewed as almost nonexistent and no English Halacha works or siddurim or machzorim that informed the mispallel on basic halachos such as what if one forgot to day HaMelech HaKadosh on RH. ArtScroll deserves a huge Yasher Koach for this fact alone even if you have reservations and disagreements with their hashkafa as DrShapiro has been blogging about for a long time

     

    • mycroft says:

      i have not used Dr Shapiro one way or the other as a hashkafic guide. I merely quote a talmid of the SE who was impressed with his book. Instead of attacking what you believe his personal ideology is-which I believe is irrelevant. If Dr Leiman or Berger have written criticisms of the book I’d be interested in reading it. A link to any criticism on line I would read.

       

      • Steve brizel says:

        A scholar or authors POv and biases whether explicit or implicit should never be exempt from critical scrutiny. Would you exempt some of the most pernicious works such as Mein Kamph or anything written by Marx Mao or any apologist for Nazism Communism and the crimes committed in their name from such scrutiny? I would hope not.

        • mycroft says:

          When I am not engaged in asking a Sheila I am interested in finding the truth. The truth is found by arguments, logic, data etc. I do not know Prof Shapiro-if you find something that you find incorrect in what he said give Rachel bitcha haktana references. If either Drs Berger or Leiman have written a review or anything opposed to Shapiros facts on the SE I would appreciate it.

          In general IMO when someone arguesagainst someone else’s opinion stating he has no right to that opinion it reflects more on the person stating the other person has no right to the opinion. If the other person is wrong argue by data, logic, facts if you can’t do it state your opinion and on what it is based. The reader/listener can make their own determination of credibility. One may be credible in one area and not in another. It is all the readers call. Trying to impugn people who disagree with ones opinion is not a worthwhile approach.

          • Steve brizel says:

            All too often truth is suppressed by the bias of an author . the presumption of truth under such circumstances strikes me as naive to say the least

          • mycroft says:

            you trust the truth of Prof Berger , Dr Leiman, RHS -nobody asks you to prove their integrity-on what basis do you have to not trust the accuracy of  Dr Shapiro.

            BTW I have gone to lectures by all four-my frequency has been in order RHS ,Prof Berger , Dr Leiman and least Dr Shapiro. If you attack anyone give me a reason why.

          • Steve brizel says:

            so the average reader could rely on the assurances of the reporters of the  NYT in determining whether Nazism and Communism posed a clear and present danger in the 1930s as well as in Vietnam and Cuba when it is well known that the Times reporters minimized the dangers of both and ignored the uniquely Jewish aspects of the Holocaust and have more than their share of self hating Jews as reporters and columnists?

        • dr. bill says:

          if you ever wrote something reflective of non-nuanced thinking, this is it.  black and white dressing is one thing; black and white thinking is rarely a good idea.

          and btw, your views about prof. shapiro are off base, but you are entitled to your views/biases.

          • Steve brizel says:

            Dr Shapiros books are well written and always have fascinating footnotes. That being the case, his books and articles always  convey the notion that the minimally committed Orthodoxy of the 1950s was far better than what he perceives as a  Charedi dominated Orthodoxy of 2016. RHS DD Berger and Dr leiman never allow their hashkafa to dictate their respective presentations on any issue regardless of whether you approve. Their pursuit is Emes not an ideology that exists in their minds

          • mycroft says:

            “RHS … never allow their hashkafa to dictate their respective presentations on any issue regardless of whether you approve. Their pursuit is Emes not an ideology that exists in their minds”

            For starters making that claim has to answer Prof Kaplan “Nefesh ha-Rav by Rabbi Hershel Schachter, one of the Rav’s leading disciples and currently Rosh Kollel of Yeshiva University. [8] Of course, any work by R. Schachter is a major and invaluable contribution to furthering our understanding of both toratha-Rav and nefesh ha-Rav, of both the teaching and the person of the Rav. At the same time, it must be said that a clear revisionist tendency runs throughout the work. That is, R. Schachter consistently seeks to minimize many of the more innovative and unconventional features of the Rav’s activity and person, features that may not, at least in R. Schachter’s view, sit easily with the image of the Rav that R. Schachter seeks to paint, namely, that of the great traditionalist Rosh Yeshiva. That the Ray was first and foremost a great traditionalist Rosh Yeshiva goes without saying. Still, R. Schachter consistently in Nefesh ha-Rav emphasizes and eve n, at times, exaggerates the traditionalist features of the Rav at the expense of the more innovative and unconventional features…R. Schachter, however, neglects to mention one practical halakhic ruling of the Rav of enormous importance, which the Rav, moreover, maintained with remarkable consistency over the course of many decades. I refer to the Ray’s view that nowadays women are to be taught Torah she-be-‘al Peh, and specifically Talmud. This view found clear and public expression in the Ray’s insistence that in the Maimonides school, which he founded and guided, Talmud be included in the girls’ curriculum, as it was included in that of the boys, as well as in his decision to give the inaugural lecture when the Bet-Midrash program was initiated at Stem College. There can be no doubt the Rav’s stance on this issue has been extraordinarily influential. Indeed, it is hard to imagine that the teaching of Talmud to women in modern Orthodox high schools and midrashot would be as prevalent today as it is, given the still controversial nature of this issue, without the precedent set by the Rav. [16] This startling omission can be accounted for only by assuming that, here as elsewhere, R. Schachter has chosen to blur or glide over an innovative or daring aspect of the Rav’s teaching” from

            http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Revisionism+and+the+Rav%3a+The+Struggle+for+the+Soul+of+Modern…-a064507449

            whole article worth reading

          • mycroft says:

            “Dr Shapiros books are well written and always have fascinating footnotes.”

            End of story.

            “That being the case, his books and articles always  convey the notion that the minimally committed Orthodoxy of the 1950s was far better than what he perceives as a  Charedi dominated Orthodoxy of 2016.”

            A discussion of the pluses and minuses of changes to our system is appropriate-You always quote RAL for being happy that there are more people studying in the YUs BM at night than were in his time.

            Of course RAL has also written that he is not happy that there are fewer Jews going to Reform and Conservative Temples than were in previous times. He would much prefer them there than nowhere. Are you saying he would prefer that minimally committed don’t show up at all-today’s model than in previous generations that there were substantial minimally committed.

            There are far fewer people eating Kosher meat , going to a synagogue Yom Tov, Yomim Noraim now than half a century ago and certainly 70 years ago. Part of the reason can be seen how current Rabbis have been trained and what implicit indoctrination they were given versus those of the earlier times.

          • mycroft says:

            Steve:

            Not perceiving the danger in the 30s of naziism did not make one a self hating Jew-certainly the SE and RAv Elchanan Wasserman did not perceive the dangers-both were not self hating Jews.

          • Steve brizel says:

            You missed my point re the Derech HaChaim. Today’s generation I’d far more focused on the MB than on any of the Acharonim cited therein such as the Derech HaChaim. I can assure you that I reside in a community where literacy above and the skills needed to read and comprehend the Derech HaChaim are prized. yet your refusal to see any benefit in ArtScroll as a portal of entry (as opposed to a crutch which I abhore) is where we disagree.

    • dr. bill says:

      any artscroll siddur, and i believe that is all of them, that writes a word of tanach differently than how it is written in ANY ancient text, should be banished.  another example of religious feeling trumping halakha.

      and btw, dr. shapiro points out their revisionism, even having the arrogance to edit the words of gedolim.

       

      • Steve Brizel says:

        IIRC, there was a letter to the editor in Tradition about the ArtScroll translation of Hamoadim BeHalacha with respect to the Shittas HaBach about not tearing Kriyah in Yerushalayim which ArtScroll claimed in response without documentation that R Zevin Zl had changed his mind. Subsequently, Tradition published a letter attributed to R Zevin ZL about army service, and further articles on Dr Shapiro’s blog attempted without coming to a firm conclusion as to whether R Zevin ZL had changed his mind on army service and/or his stance on Zionism in general .I do know that one of R Zevin ZL’s most fascinating works Sefarim v Sofrehem ( approximate title) which I saw many years ago in a library is and remains out of print. It is a review of many sefarim and the shittos of their authors that unfortunately should have been published because IMO at least it was a wonderful complement to Ishim VShitos.  All of R Zevin ZL’s sefarim should be in any Ben Torah or Talmid Chacham’s library  together with either a hard copy or a CD of the ET-which has fascinating articles by R Zevin Zl as to the purpose of the ET and a moving hesped for R Maimon ZL as well as R Y Hutner ZL’s hesped for R Zevin ZL, who clearly was a unique Talmid Chacham and Gadol in his own right. The current hanhalah of the ET deserve much credit for accelerating the publication of new volumes and sefarim related to the work of the ET such as a wonderful sefer on Yerushalayim and the Mikdash, machzorim, a haggadah ,  a sefer on the mitzvos of each parsha and R Dovid Cohen( formerly of Gvul Yaavetz)’s sefer on Tefilah.

        • dr. bill says:

          it will probably surprise you to know i helped the ET evaluate various strategies to accelerate publication. some of the issues are apparent by simply comparing the articles written under the guidance of different editors.

          despite all the controversy about R’ Zevin ztl’s positions, one thing remains very clear – artscroll removed his very positive written position on the establishment of the state of Israel when translating ha’moadim be’Halakha.   IIRC there is a less than pleasant story in one of RHS’s books on the Rav ztl,  involving Rav Zevin and two other gedolim.  i remarked to a rabbi who pointed out the story that unfortunately it would not happen anymore in our fractured jewish world.

          • Steve Brizel says:

            Dr Bill-Yasher Koach on helping the ET accelerate publication. There is a definite increase in the pace of publication of new volumes and works issued by Yad HaRav Hertzog. We agree re ArtScroll’s removal of the very positive view of Hakamas HaMedinah

    • lacosta says:

      interesting slur.

       

      please provide those passages of obvious yearning

    • mycroft says:

      Steve:

      you treat it as a desire able factor that your “non observant ” Orthodoxy is a much smaller component than previously. I treat as desire able that there are more people learning in YU Beis medrash. I suspect there are far fewer at YU altogether whose parents were not shiner Shabbos. A lot of their children went to Talmud Torahs-some left but some eventually went to places like YU and stayed frum. I know of 70 year olds who fit that description and they are frum . If they grew up today there would be no way that they would be frm today. The opportunity for them to interact with a frum environment s just not there.

      • Steve brizel says:

        Simple question that is an up or down yes or no question- are there any aspects of life in the Torah communities of today both MO and Charedi that you find favor with?

        • mycroft says:

          Of course, there are aspects of communities that I admire and there are aspects of members of some communities that I disagree with. I rather deal with issues-not General attacks on people, or general statements that x ,y, or z is a true talmid Neman. . There is no secret that IMO some of any group are doing individual good activities and some are being hypocritical. There is no reason to judge individuals. A lot of  us are probably well over halfway to our ultimate judging which is not one where we will be able to fake it.

          Performance of Mitzvot is an important ideal-but it has to be combined with iras Elokim. You are well aware that seeing what is considered to be really important by many is certainly not the Ravs ideal of that Halacha is a floor of a proper behavior not the ceiling. To the extent that groups are moral I respect them. To the extent they are honest and not merely kowtowing to their wealthy supporters I respect them.

          • ISteve Brizel says:

            Thanks for your as always honest response. I would merely suggest that to the extent that Torah, Shmiras HaMitzvos and Yiras Elokim are inseparable IMO from having Baalei Mesorah who link us back to the prior generations by dint of their Tzidkus, Lomdus and Yashrus and who are the best examples in their devotion to  the teaching of Torah, Shemiras HaMitzvos and Yiras Elokim, one must invariably recognize  who is not entitled to an opinion on matters of Halacha and Hashkfafa and concomitantly a hierarchy of who is entitled to be an address for such views to be addressed. That invariably involves an assessment of personalities  who is a Talmid Chacham and a Talmid Neeman ,and who at least stayed within the orbit of talmidim of the Talmid Chacham in question. (IMO, the  Gemara in BK 41a and the view of the Baalei HaTosfos there D”H Lrabos as explained by the Mharsha that we are all obligated to follow the Gdolei HaDor because of their status as such even if we never learned anything by them, is a very strong proof for this proposition which I think warrants serious discussion by those who view Daas Torah as a late 19th and 20th Century political ideology. Dismissing Emunas Chachamim as a vague phrase despite the fact that it is included as one of the means of the acquisition of Torah in the Braisa in Perek Kinyan Torah strikes me as at best an evasive response.)  I have written here and elsewhere that I have always admired the best and rejected the excesses of both the Charedi and MO worlds,  but I don’t think that how someone such as  RAK ZL disagreed vehemently with RYBS ZL has any impact on the fact that I have tremendous and awesome respect for what both RYBS and RAK and their contemporaries and talmidim accomplished and continue to accomplish in the Land of Pew, or requires me to either automatically put down one at the expense of the other. Our responsibility IO is to accept Torah from anyone who is a Baal Mesorah and to reject any purported hashkafa and halacha from someone who is not a Baal Mesorah. I was taught to accept a Cheftza Shel Torah Lishmah even if its origin was from Chabad, Ponevez, BMG , Satmar or any other Beis Medrash or Gadol BaTorah worthy of that description.

      • Steve brizel says:

        No it is just a demographic and sociological reality.

        • mycroft says:

          I don’t understand your response.

          • ISteve Brizel says:

            By no means am I applauding the departure of the Non observant Orthodox from the Orthodox community. Yet, their departure to the suburbs and beyond and the assimilation of both the non-observant Orthodox and their children is a demographic and sociological fact and their numbers in quality of observance and quantity of family size have been compensated for within today’s Orthodox communities, both Charedi ( which in the US obviously means both Yeshivish and Chasidish) and the MO .

        • mycroft says:

          ” suggest that to the extent that Torah, Shmiras HaMitzvos and Yiras Elokim are inseparable IMO from having Baalei Mesorah”

          almost none of us know any person well enough to know their Shmiras Hamitzvos and Yiras Elokim-we may know certain aspects of them but none of us are bochen kliyot valev. Probably in many peoples minds a baal mesorah is simply one who agrees with them

          “who link us back to the prior generations by dint of their Tzidkus”None of us know who a Zaddik is that is Gods judgement

          “Lomdus” what is Lomdus? limited to Litvish canon? Ashkenazic? Sefardic? Moroccan? Yeminite? Iraqi? Rationalists? Mystics?

          No one currently knows all streams of Yahadus

          “and Yashrus”

          We may know some examples real or leaked about peoples behavior but we don’t know people well enough to judge-being a walking Encyclopedia Talmudus is no proof one way or the other of the persons character.

          “and who are the best examples in their devotion to  the teaching of Torah, Shemiras HaMitzvos and Yiras Elokim, ”

          You can’t tell me a persons devotion-it may or may not be the best position that he could get to earn a living. Different people would have different viewpoints. Unless someone rejects the halachik process which I assume virtually all Reform and Conservative Rabbi openly do you have no way of judging the persons integrity-certainly very few people can be judged by anyone. Disagreeing with one who one believes has integrity doesn’t make the other a person wo integrity.

          “one must invariably recognize  who is not entitled to an opinion on matters of Halacha and Hashkfafa and concomitantly a hierarchy of who is entitled to be an address for such views to be addressed.”

          One judges the cogency of the argument by the argument and how the person responds to critics-saying critics have no right to argue or is not a bar hachi or other ad hominem attacks are the signs of the person making the charge having a weak hand.

          You have a right to  ask sheilas to who you wish to-no one is required to follow who you ask sheilas of.

          • mycroft says:

            ,”and who at least stayed within the orbit of talmidim of the Talmid Chacham in question”

            Agreed to the limited extent that if somebody openly rejects Torah’s  authority he is outside the orbit-but otherwise that is the debate by reasoned arguments and examples where x or y are or are not in the orbit-not appeals to a baal mesorah or bar hachi. One could hypothetically be a walking Shas but if one distorts ones Rebbe than they would not be a good source. It is a matter of credibility.

            “Daas Torah as a late 19th and 20th Century political ideology”

            Start with answers to Prof Kaplan’s article

            .” Dismissing Emunas Chachamim as a vague phrase”

            I believe it is Rabbi Lamm who mentioned the term is Emunas Chachamim not Emuna Bechachamim.

          • Steve brizel says:

            I am sorry but the above is intellectual rope a dope.

          • Steve Brizel says:

            In every community that you listed, there are outstanding Talmidei Chahcamim who are the addresses for such inquiries and whose Talmidim Muvhakim ( not my phrase but that of the Baalei HaTosfos in BK ) can be easily identified. Merely doubting that they exist hardly ends the discussion. I think that my definition is rooted in a statement in the Gemara that one should try to find a rebbe or a rav in one’s communuity whose behavior is Domeh Lmalaach, has earned a right to an opinion on issues of halacha and hashkafa, who has or had a relationship with Baalei Mesorah of the past generation, and with whom you have a personal connection.The terms that I used are easily identifiable and we have many personal examples of them. Just look or ask anyone-they will tell you rather than allowing a theoretical question to dictate your frame of reference.

          • Steve Brizel says:

            Mycroft wrote in part:

            “You have a right to  ask sheilas to who you wish to…”

            IOW, you can raise questions to someone who has smicha but lacks expertise in the finer points of the Halacha and is not as well versed on the subtleties of any halachic issue than someone who is obviously more qualified?

            That’s like seeking advice in any profession from a generalist when a specialist has far more training and insight on the issue. The notion that the receipt of smicha ip so facto qualifies anyone to pasken on any issue that he lacks a working familiarity with of the halachic area obviously is your prerogative, but hardly the intellectually honest way of seeking a proper answer to any query in halacha and hashkafa.

    • mycroft says:

      Dr Bill:

      There is no doubt that the Ravs two sons in laws were the closest to him and are certainly the most reliable in reading what they have to say about the RAv. Note that does not mean necessarily that their positions if not claiming to be th Rav are identical to the Ravs. RAv Lichtenstein certainly at the end of his life used to refer to the influences of Rav Hutner and RAS on him. Both of these Rabbonim were drastically different than the Rav. Rabbi Twersky is a much more complex case-unlike Rav Lichtenstein who even if he never became the SIL of the Rav would have been his prize talmid-Rav Twersky when he became the Ravs SIL was a brilliant academic-Boston Latin School, Harvard prize student of Prof Wolfson at Harvard, Prof Twersky’s had spent a year at Hebrew University in 49-50 where he became close to many of the greatest academic scholars of Judaism. R Twersky’s went to Hebrew College in Boston-then known as Hebrew Teachers College. It is only after becoming the Ravs SIL that he became close to the Rav and certainly for the last quarter century of Twersky’s life he was very close to the Rav and most important not only in the US but in Boston thus he later when the Rav became sick and sadly for the very brief time that he survived the Rav to be the effective go to person on the Ravs positions. There were very close talmidim of the Rav who after the Rav was unable to really be the man hit would discuss policy questions with R Twersky’s. Of course, Twersky’s was a son of aChassidic Rebbeand it is clear that after his parents were niftar he took over their schul and became much more aChassidic in his personal approach.

      But the bottom line is with both of them even if they have different viewpointst than the Rav when they quote the Rav one has total confidence that they are quoting accurately

      • mycroft says:

        Sadly with the passing of Rav Lichtenstein we really are not left with close talmidim of the Rav who one can be sure that if they are quoting theRav not only did the Rav say those words but didn’t leave out important caveats, and didn’t ask a question with a word added toget a misleading answer. Especially important which is relevant to those talmidim who knew the Rav solely as aRY is the caveat that a lot of what he stated could be chakirahs which might not reflect his halachah lemaaseh beliefs. Thus, some of what he stated may represent chakirahs in shiur but was not his practice.

        • mycroft says:

          We are still left with the Ravs children-to the extent that any of them have written about the Rav they have been IMO.  Very accurate. Sadly, little has been written by them with some noticeable exceptions . A very important one that is accessible online is Dr Tovah Lichtenstein from about fours ago in Tradition.

      • mycroft says:

        the first thing one should desire in seeking a person to ask ones Sheila’s is how you well you are sure he acts with integrity . Thus, is the person straight in quoting people or does the person distort, is the person respectful eg does the person have an ego and acts disrespectfully to people who can no longer fight back, does the person have humility and is willing to admit that they don’t know. I am interested in personal qualities-if my sheila were unique most Rabbonim would discuss sheilot with other Rabbonim. Except for sheilot   Originating and requiring an answer on Shabbos and Yom Tov Rabbonim should and regularly discuss Sheilas with others I do not need a gadol in Shas to answer my sheilot I need one with integrity who either knows the answer or is willing to research. One does not expect a lawyer to necessarily know every answer one expects the lawyer with integrity to find the correct answer. In psak the important thing is ng is knowing the practical halachah accepted in the community -it is not crucial to be able to cite from memory what could be looked up in sources.

        • Steve Brizel says:

          IOW, we accept a Bdieved as a Lchatchilah?  You assume that the acceptance of a mediocre halachic standard is desirable if that is the “practical halacha.” I would like to think that a rav has some desire to inspire his mispallelim to grow in their committment to Torah Avodah and Gmilus Chasadim, and not be satisfied with the status quo.  If your claim as to “practical halacha accepted in the community”, which IMO is simply a nice way of protesting the influence of the MB, the CI , and any positive view of Hidurim and Chumros, which have their origin well before the 21st Century, , we would still be having dinner dances with mixed dancing and open parking lots on Shabbos. Furthermore, how do you know without having the sources at your mental fingertips  that your seemingly benign query does not involve a detailed halachic inquiry?

          • mycroft says:

            Minhag is what aRav has to know about practical halacha A Rav has to know not only should hang aruch but practical halachot- requires shim mush. People have done shim mush wth senior Rabbanim, by working as assistants, going to work at institutions a gadol controlled. Ask people where they learned more n how to d any job listening to chidushei Torah or practical. Where do you think one would learn schechita better by listening to a shiur off-road have shimmush b learning from a master who might have even taught a shiur but doing shimmush by him.

             

             

      • mycroft says:

        Re Steve’s 312 PM  the attempt to denigrate local Rabbonim as a valid address to ask Sheila’s is one of the most despicable attempts at a power play by certain people. Note in contrast the Rav at times would not even pasken lemaaseh for his talmidim-he would answer how can I answer better than you “YOU’RE THERE”

        • Steve Brizel says:

          It is simple-who has more knowledge and expertise on any given issue in halacha. One either accepts or rejects that proposition.

          • mycroft says:

            According to the RAv you are missing a crucial criteria-knowledge of the facts. Hearing the facts from a person indirectly is not the same as being present locally. It may be inconvenient due to current attempts to deligitimize local control but the RAv was big on that. He would offer to review the suggya with local RAv but at the end decision would be local RAv. At times I am aware of local Rabbonim wishing the RAv would answer.

            My analogy the RAv might agree to charge the Rabbi with law like jury instructions but in his mind factual decision including weighing of importance of facts had to be local Rabbi decision.

        • Steve brizel says:

          Well known that RYBS would refer talmidim to RMF because RYBS viewed RMF as a rav and posek and not  RY. Can’t believe that RYBS was so deferential to talmidim with respect to psak on areasr that they had either never learned or were unfamiliar with such as mikvaos or areas where RYBS had his unique chumras such as eruvin or where there were violations of elementary CM in the composition of a Bes Din such as krovim

           

          • mycroft says:

            Steve

            Note it is not that the RAv would not get involved on local issues eg I am aware of a local Rabbi sending a schuls building committee to discuss plans and for the RAv to directly approve plans for a schul and a mechitza size. Of course, there the RAv was capable of reading plans, height etc as much as a local RAv.

          • mycroft says:

            Re the Ravs minhagim and chumros. It is a very difficult question as to when he believed his viewpoints which are not generally accepted eruv in a good example should be followed. Boston, for example no eruv when the RAv was alive but after his ptirah his family encouraged one. Believing he never felt his non generally accepted chumrros should be followed.

            the RAv directly once pasken end for someone whose family didn’t put on Tfillin-thus no family minhagim re chol hamoed-to put on Tfillin. Telling talmid what he does is irrelevant.

          • mycroft says:

            Re the RAv and RMF there is no doubt the RAv respected RMF? There is also no doubt the RAv differed with RMF on many issues.

            certainly how to deal with non Orthodox groups and non Jewish groups there were fundamental differences. The nature of a mechittza although the height was not a difference but the nature and purpose of one was different. The RAv was opposed like most gedolim to allowing Jewish second marriages wo a get if the first marriage was performed by C or R Rabbis.

            The RAv was really not a believer in a lot of legal fiction see eg his position on me horas chametz, “selling businesses for Shabbos”

            thus, it is misleading to imply that the RAv deferred psak and said go to RMFS. In fact most schechita in North Americauses the techniques, pens that the RAv designed in the very early 60s.Respect for RMF but your statement of referring to RMF can be misleading.

          • dr. bill says:

            mycroft, you are absolutely correct.  the Rav ztl encouraged his students to build eiruvim, even though he followed Rambam with various chumrot added.  in terms of the practice of your parents, except for a square knot on your tefillin shel rosh which he thought was just a misinterpretation, he always felt it proper to follow family practice is areas of halakhic dispute.  as to RMF, he clearly had a warm relationship but disagreed rather forcefully on a number of critical issues – i personally know about the height of a mechitza, toothpaste on shabbos, making tea on shabbos, zemanim both personally and communally, safek geirut, etc.  in many cases he expressed his views with both halakhic rigor and some humor.  he followed a different methodology for psak, which i heard from RAL ztl, and i believe he repeated at a shloshim hesped for the Rav at yeshurim.  Quoting his father the Rav said in yiddish – (translated, check the yiddish though) we pasken based on rishonim, with the SA introducing (an element of)control  (how large an element was unclear – i felt that you can oppose the SA, but be careful).  his brother RAS ztl once quoted support for his view, listing 2 or 3 rishonim and a few acharonim, omitting any mention of opposition by both the Mechaber and Rama.  i suspect he knew we knew.

        • Steve brizel says:

          There are many RIETS musmachim who learned in RYBs shiur and who RYBS referred to RMF on many issues.

          • mycroft says:

            What issues did he refer people to RMF for. It is clear that the RAv had many issues that he disagreed with RMF on. The RAv was the Halachik Commission Chairman of the RCA had many viewpoints different than RMF.

          • mycroft says:

            Of course, it goes wo saying that there were things that students of RYBS would follow RMF -see eg his tnayim were in my understanding the standard ones used-there well may be some technical issues but that is not by a long shot equivalent to the impression given that RYBS referred to RMF on many issues. The RAv had viewpoints on many issues and until the Revisionism of him took place after the end. Of his being the active leader he followed his viewpoints and his loyal talmidim did also.

          • dr. bill says:

            Since I do not know of any musmachim or any sheailot referred  by the Rav ztl to RMF ztl, please provide names and examples.   beyond the examples above that i know of personally, someone very close to both the Rav ( a talmid) and RMF (a close family relationship), who asked the Rav countless sheailot, never told me the Rav ever referred him to RMF.  On some matters where the situation dictated he would go to RMF personally.  in two cases, i know of RMF’s private written opinion in cases involving primarily the haredi community.

            i know the Rav and RMF respected each other and were first cousins once removed, but i would really appreciate specifics.

          • Steve Brizel says:

            R Riskin in his book of stories for his grandchildren specifically mentions that RYBS referred him to RMF for a certain difficult shailah. I know that RFS, the long time rav of the YIKGH, and a very loyal talmid of RYBS, also went to RMF with halachic inquires. I would be shocked if they were the only such examples.

          • dr. bill says:

            just as i thought – ONE example of a rabbi and NO examples of a sheailah.  i happened to be standing next to the rav ztl over 45 years ago as RFS asked an extremely complex sheailah where RMF ztl’s position was known.  the rav gave him a different psak.  even you did not say that the Rav told RFS to ask RMF and RFS obviously had independent access with no concrete example of the Rav sending him.  try again and i am even curious about your single reference in Rabbi riskin’s book.

            i would believe that in areas where the Rav was machmir he, like many great authorities, would refer someone to another posek.  that’s why the cases are very critical for me to understand.  i also think that with some of RMF’s talmidim who asked him a sheailah, he might react by refusing to pasken for them.  there were two in my day.

        • Steve Brizel says:

          I don’t think that your analogy makes sense-if you wanted to be treated for cancer R”L you would not settle for the expertise of a GP. If you had a major legal question that involved a specialized issue, you would not seek advice from someone who was a general practitioner with no expertise. Assuming that all local rabbanim have the same basis of halachic knowledge and expertise as Talmidei Chachamim whose specialties include Psak is an assumption without factual basis especially on major issues of life and death, and other complicated halachic issues.

          • mycroft says:

            One goes to a physician who has examined the patient, seen the patients records, etc. Asking a great physician who has not seen the patient, seen the records but on secondary info is not the way one would want to answer a medical question.

            In my examples where the Rav refused to answer his talmidim but would discuss Theseus go over the sugars with them is clearly an example where the Rav had a different viewpoint than you on psak. Obviously, students of the Rav would ask him for assistance but one of the messages that the Rav was giving which is important psak should be done by those who are there. Disagree with the Rav your right.

          • mycroft says:

            Look there were issues that people who followed the Rav would ask others. Just as BTW on other issues such as redesigning the pen for schechita in North America it was done by the Rav and a little consultation with R E S. Common denominator both The Rav and RES were involved in hashgacha of shecht houses- to the best of my knowledge RMF RAK didn’t.

            That there could be issues of specialization nobody denies but the mplicatin that as a general rule what RMF said would be equal in importance to a talmid of the Rav is ludicrous. If it were so the talmid may have attended the Ravs shiur but could not be considered a talmid of the Rav. Certainly true in matters where the Rav had a position different than RMF.

  9. Steve brizel says:

    Dr Bill your complaint re ArtScroll ignores my point. If tefilah is viewed as being Omed Lifnei HaMakom then knowing what is required lchatchilah afilu bdieved on RH which ArtScroll provided and which was not so in any predecessor such as the Birnbaum machzor proves my point. Many of us who have reservations about the hashkafa of ArtScroll view the Siddur and machzor positively. I view their textual works as nice Kli sheni but a kli sheni aino mvashel. By the way there will be an ArtScroll edition of the Medrash on Shir Hashirim dedicated lZn RAL by his family.

    • dr. bill says:

      it is odd that you mention RH.  artscroll distributed Dr Lustiger’s machzorim with insights from the Rav ztl.  when the edition’s dedicator was involved in a massive swindle making its way to fortune, etc.  the tzaddikim at artscroll did nothing.  but when he wore a wire and brought down a heilige rebbe, artscroll dumped the machzorim in a fire scale.  such tziddkus.

      their instructions may be fine, i wouldn’t know; it is not where i turn for advice around siddur related halakha.  the derech hachaim predates artscroll by well over 150 years.

      • Steve brizel says:

        Don’t be supercilious condescending and an intellectual snob. For the average person who neither has heard of or can learn the Derech hachaim ArtScrolls machzor and siddur serve a vital purpose. The Mesoras HaRav machzorim were published jointly by the OU and Khal Publishing and used the basic ArtScroll text and translation together with insights of RYBS which were skillfully edited by Dr Arnie Lustiger which are available in any Judaica store and the YU seforim sale. I am unaware of any news of any of us being apppointed the Mashgiach Ruachani of who donates money for the publication of sefarim but you can be assured that large scale violations of CM know no hashkafic boundaries. So feel free to learn the Derech HaChaim but don’t put down the fact that ArtScrolls siddur and machzor enable many to be truly Omed Lifnei HaMakom

         

         

        • dr. bill says:

          even a below average jewish reader should find derech hachaim easy to follow.  i hope you eventually reach the madreigah to agree.  btw i am entirely condescending when i encounter holier than thou religiosity.

          • Steve brizel says:

            Being entirely via condescending to anyone is not a good trait.

          • Steve brizel says:

            I also have the Derech HaChaim and agree that it us easy to follow for anyone with minimal literacy in lashon hakodesh but minimal literacy does not exis and your POV assures that another generation will zone out and never begin to understand the profound meaning of the tefilos of the Yamim Noraim thud ensuring another generation who have no sense of being Omed Lifnei HaMakom for MO reason other than intellectual elitism.

             

             

          • Steve brizel says:

            Mycroft you have written about the end of non observant Orthodoxy but it colors your view of today’s Orthodoxy which is vastly different and far more educated and observant than its predecessors and which emerged from urban neighborhoods to the suburbs and established communities with the requisites of communal life for Orthodox life. Those who left moved out of the community moved to the suburbs and sent their kids to publiv schools where the assimilation became the norm among the next generation because a commitment to Jewish education was a part time venture that ended at the ages of 12-13,all of which were the norm for parents where Jewish education was not seen as an absolute lifetime commitment.  Viewing the demands of the dual curriculum as causing departures from Orthodoxy makes sense only if the preexisting commitment was weak in the first place.

          • dr. bill says:

            can you follow the flow of a sugya, even without the complexity of layers??  first you write “the average person who neither has heard of or can learn the Derech hachaim.” and then you write “I also have the Derech HaChaim and agree that it us easy to follow for anyone with minimal literacy in lashon hakodesh.”  so am i to assume you live in a community of below average people without minimal literacy??? in which case — move!!

            there is an important reason to follow a hebrew text and not an english one written abiding by the views of gedolim artscroll follows. that is why many such books have hebrew footnotes or endnotes.  ve’ha’mayvin yavin.

            the derech hachaim was so valued in europe in the half century after it was published, it was “edited” by a number of communities that had competing practice.

        • mycroft says:

          “I am unaware of any news of any of us being apppointed the Mashgiach Ruachani”

          Similarly none of us know who is a talmid neeman, who is a baal mesorah. If there are arguments, articles made claiming x,y, or z distorts mesorah with examples that are available to others to critique that can be argued

          • Steve Brizel says:

            “None of us know..”-surely you are facetious.

          • mycroft says:

            “Similarly none of us know who is a talmid neeman, who is a baal mesorah. If there are arguments, articles made claiming x,y, or z distorts mesorah with examples that are available to others to critique that can be argued

             

            Steve Brizel

            “None of us know..”-surely you are facetious.”

            I am being serious. None of us know who is a talmid neeman and a baal mesorah. There are various students of different Rebbeim. Thus, one person still alive told me that the top students of his shiur were Chaim Ilson and Stanley Boylan- obviously others might pick different people. Obviously others might pick a different name. Who is a loyal talmid is also a tough question-really not answerable after a Rebbe is niftar.

          • dr. bill says:

            gentlemen, the rav ztl was a complex person whose breadth was significantly wider both in jewish and secular studies.  few came close.  in jewish studies (where the vast majority of his time was spent) besides talmud and halakha the rav mastered midrash, machshava, myticasicm,etc.  in the secular world beyond philosophy, his knowledge of the hard and soft sciences, mathematics, and even medicine and literature were profound.  clearly in talmud and halakha his closest students were his SsIL and a small number of well known RY.  but his machshava is deeply influenced by his complete mastery of very diverse sources; in that area his closest talmidim include a number of different individuals and (almost) none of the RY.  his political views were discussed deeply with yet others.  overall, if one sees the rav primarily in the two areas where he was one of 2-3 greatest orthodox giants of the 20th century – talmud and philosophy – he probably only has one student who excelled in exactly those two areas.  i suspect few can identify him and yet fewer read his seforim/books.

  10. ISteve Brizel says:

    Mycroft-I doubt that the reaction to either version of MOAG would have been so vociferous if it was strict;y a son’s book about his father-which MOAG was not by any clear reading . MOAG profiled an entire group of then avreichem in Slabodka ( RYK, RAK, R Ruderman, RYH and the SE) who emerged from the challenging political and cultural milieu as outstanding Talmidei Chachamim who became the leaders of the post war Charedi world in the US with the exception of the SE, and which had many profiles and insights into the pre WW2 Litvishe world and its leaders.

  11. david z says:

    I get that Mr greenblatt is on a hard place but it makes me less likely to vote for trump when he disingenuously blames trumps foibles on the media. I can watch him speak on video. I saw the debates. He says what he says. And I’d love to hear from a yare shamayim who likes trump how he honestly schtims the two. Maybe he could day I can’t. I just know him personally to be a great guy. But don’t say it’s the media when we’re watching the guy live. (And of course the media likes to paint him badly but that’s a different matter)

  12. David Z says:

    That Dina Brawer is a real nice Jewish girl, k’en ayin hara.  I am so glad that we have no problems with anti-Semitism nowadays and that there is no problem purposely causing eva among the goyim.  The Sydney paper was just the place for it!

  13. Steve Brizel says:

    For those interested,  please see the annexed link and the answers of the YCT affiliated and oriented panelists. .http://audio.headlinesbook.com/audiofiles/headlines_8-20-16.mp3 For a preview of some comments elsewhere, seehttp://matzav.com/listen-open-orthodox-opens-up-on-its-corrupted-beliefs/

    • dr. bill says:

      steve brizel, two points. 1. you should apply for rabbi gordimer’s role while he is on leave. 2. in your quest for an early reference to daas torah, the maharsha that you are fond of is a) an aggadic statement and b)  says nothing about following a rabbi’s advice in secular domains.  in fact, i find the notion somewhat comical – listen to rabbis who are kulo torah; in that case what might they know about something that is not torah.  i trust listening to a rabbi who is brilliant, analytic and/or intuitive and knowledgeable and invested in and capable of fully understanding the area in question.  most daas torah fails on one or more of those dimensions.  besides, if it is torah, it is not unitary.

      • Lawrence M. Reisman says:

        In the sixteenth century, Dona Gracia Mendes of Constantinople, a prosperous spice merchant, proposed that all Jewish merchants observe a boycott of the Italian port of Ancona, which was in the Papal States.  She proposed this as a measure of dealing with the pope’s anti-Semitic policies.  Those who opposed her brought rabbinical opinions why the boycott was wrong.  She in turn, asked a shaila of the rabbonim in Eretz Yisroel, who (with the consultation and approval of the Bais Yosef) issued a psak supporting the boycott.

        A political question with rabbis weighing in.  Daas Torah by any other name?

        • dr. bill says:

          what rav shechter said of reading a kesubah, can be applied here.  in any case, since rabbis opposed her, it would seem natural for her to turn to other rabbis for support.

          though irrelevant to the current notion of daas torah, where are the opinions printed?  i wonder how much knowledge of geopolitics the two sides exhibit.

          • Lawrence M. Reisman says:

            The reason rabbis opposed her was that they were consulted by merchants opposed to the boycott.  The opinion of opposing rabbis was printed in Rabbi Yehoshua Soncino’s Nahala li-Yehoshua, while those supporting her were cited in the responsa of Rav Yosef Caro.  Good luck finding them; you might try the New York Public Library’s Jewish book section or the JTS library.  I got these sources from the footnotes to Cecil Roth’s biography of Dona Gracia Mendes, Chapter 7 “The Ancona Boycott.”

          • dr. bill says:

            thank you.  i will check the avkas rochel and biegeleisen

      • Steve brizel says:

        Dr Bill- how do you understand the cited views of the Baalei HaTosfos without either the Maharsha or the input of academic scholarship?

        • dr. bill says:

          i told you already once – tosfot discusses respect for a rebbe and/or an acknowledged gadol.  i have great respect for my thesis advisor and even greater respect for his advisor, the unquestioned gadol hador in 20th century logic; but it never crossed my mind to ask for their religious and political advice.  with a rebbe or gadol i would seek their view much more broadly, but on non-halakhic matters i would not feel bound nor would anyone i ask feel that i must take their advice.   respect yes, but an obligation to follow their judgement in all matters, hardly.

          • mycroft says:

            Who was the gadol Hador for twentieth century logic? Turing? Interesting a field where one could make a arguments for leaders in both mathematics and philosophy.

          • dr. bill says:

            mycroft, close.  curt godel, imho.

          • mycroft says:

            I’m sure Dr Bill you had an easier time reading GOdel,Escher, Bach than I did .

          • dr. bill says:

            in fact something i have tried to explain is that the rules governing the ta’amei hamikre as formulated by rav mordechai breuer ztl (his rules were partially based i believe on some non-jewish sources), but not others, are recursive. i find that fact, which rav breuer never mentions in his sefer afaik, remarkable.

            i knew hofstader over 40 years ago before i left the field.  so i guess ta’amei hamikra are quite a bit earlier than escher and bach.

          • Steve brizel says:

            That is pshat in Tosfos?reads like spin.

          • dr. bill says:

            and pray tell what do you think pshat is?

      • Steve Brizel says:

        Actually R Gordimer and I are and have been chaverim bdeos for a long time on many issues. Would it be correct that you  are the arbitrator of and decide ” who is brilliant, analytic and/or intuitive and knowledgeable and invested in and capable of fully understanding the area in question.  most daas torah fails on one or more of those dimensions.”

        As far as  your last statement about Torah not being unitary, what role do the concepts of lachtachilah, bdieved, shas hadchak etc have if at all?

         

        • dr. bill says:

          i will let their writings, lectures, background help me decide. most people can also choose to abide by those they feel meets some/all of these criteria;  i would not deign to try to decide for others unless asked for a suggestion.

          the torah is not unitary in anyone category lechatchilah, shas hadechak, etc.  a fortiori on non strictly halakhic issues. the clearest example was RSZA ztl’s advice to RAL ztl, that i have noted often.

          • Steve Brizel says:

            What if you have a genuine safek either on a level of Doraissa or Drabanan either on a minor, medium or large nature? Who if anyone do you turn to ?

            As far as other sources on rabbinical authority, I think that Pirkei Avos has many such sources-( 1:1 and 15, 2:4, 3: 17,4:16, 5:14, 15 and 17 and 6: 1, 9 all sound to me as strong advice to the average Jew that one should consult with and seek the advice of halachic authorities obviously on halachic issues as well as on such seemingly secular issues as where to live and what to do in one’s spare time.)The Bartenura in his commentary at the beginning of Avos comments that Midos were also given at Sinai. Obviously, we should the statements of every Tanain Avos as what that Tana viewed as important in the development of Midos Tovos, including adherence to rabbinic authority, and developing a relationship with a rebbe and/or rav. I would be loath to dismiss the same as metahalachic and just a mussar tract.

          • dr. bill says:

            steve brizel, i am waiting for your view on the tosfot in BK you are fond of as a “source” for daas torah.

            as to who i turn when i have doubts after my own study of sources, it depends at what point in my life.  an answer might expose my identity.

            as far as avos and midot, i see no connection to daas torah.  in fact, if you read parts of pirkei avot and the commentary of various rishonim  carefully it is not at all obvious that what you call a “average jew” was the intended audience.  it took me 6 (non-academic, mostly) hour long shiurim to explain that.  but as a source for daas torah, the thought correctly never occurred to me.

        • mycroft says:

          We all decide who we ask our questions to. They can be different people for different questions. There is no requirement to ask one person all questions. During different times we may ask different people-for starters originally we are among the younger people and usually due to nature of things we don’t live forever we need new people. It does not mean that we necessarily ask or listen to the people who survive in an institution after those we respected got called to yeshiva shel Malah. BTWfor what it’s worth I am of the opinion that even if one is a world class gton one does NOT pasken for oneself  or for ones family. Certainly, a Rav should not pasken in a case where on of the parties has supported him or his mosdos.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        I will let any reader of these pages make their own connection to the link in question. Unless the moderators deem their comments out of order, I look forward to any and all comments. Meat Or Doche Harbeh Choshesch.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        DR Bill-I stand by my previous reading of that shtickel Tosfos.  RHS has said on many occasions that we learn from the words of the Baalei HaTosfos that I alluded to that we are obligated to respect any and every Gadol BaTorah as defined by the Baalei Tosfos ( I don’t have the text in front of me but IIRC the words are “talmid chacham muflag”)   even if you never learned a word of Torah directly from that Gadol because that person is a Gadol BaTorah. Your reading WADR reflects an academic spin and reading into the words of the Baalei HaTosfos. It may work for you, but IMO, it cannot be reconciled with the Pashut Pshat that I was taught with respect to aforementioned   words of the Baalei HaTosfos.

        • dr. bill says:

          now i am totally lost – i said:” tosfot discusses respect for a rebbe and/or an acknowledged gadol.”  that seems identical to what RHS said and is neither surprising or a chiddush.  as i have said, respect for, does NOT mean seek advice from, either on halakhic or other matters.  for halakhic matters you go to your rabbo muvhak who can consult a gadol of HIS choosing, when and if required.  in our olam hafuch, people ask mundane questions to gedolim, wasting their precious time.

          • Steve Brizel says:

            Questions such as which community to live in either in the US or Israel, which schools at any level are preferable, the midos of a possible SIL who is a talmid of a Gadol  and the proper use of one’s spare time hardly strike me as mundane, but rather as issues impacting on how one lives as a Torah committed Jew which can best be grouped as within either the Fifth chelek of SA or what R Asher Weiss calls the Ratzon HaTorah on a wide variety of issues.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        On a totally unrelated point-glad to see that youalso like Biegeleisen! No other sefarim store in NYC approximates it as a store specializing solely in  sefarim you won’t find elsewhere as opposed to the more standard sefarim, English Judaica, Tashmishei Kedusha and chatchekas. Last winter, when I was at the YU Sefarim sale, two young fellows were standing next to me and were bemoaning the lack of selection as to certain sefarim. I promptly interjected and reccomended that they take a trip to Biegeleisen.

        • dr. bill says:

          the other go to store is moznaim in BP. while they both carry seforim for their primary community, they both carry a broader set of seforim.  biegeleisen can also get almost anything.  with hebrew books and other computerized collections, i go less often.

          • Steve Brizel says:

            Have you ever been to Lishkas Hasefarim in Monsey ( which is fairly close to the Atrium)? You can find a fairly impressive collection of sefarim there on almost any Mikzoa BaTorah. Tuviah’s ( aside from its funny hats) has a good selection which I have found more eclectic and wide ranging. Biegeleisen,as you pointed out carries and gets almost anything. I have a chavrusa who has an office in BP and he generally alerts me to new sefarim that I am interested that are at Beigeleisen as advance copies before the crates that the sefarim are being shipped in have arrived in the average neighborghood sefarim store. Beigeleisen IMO reminds me of the wonderful sefarim stores that I used to go to the LES.

  14. Steve Brizel says:

    Dr Bill-I think that the Pshat in the Tosfos that I mentioned is what I quoted from RHS-we are obligated to respect as much as possible any Gadol BaTorah as described and defined by the Baalei Tosfos therein regardless of whether we never learned anything from such a Gadol because of their status as Gdolei BaTorah. That IMO is a clear source for respect of halachic authority as well as for a concomitant idea of rabbinic hierarchy as to who any community turns to for its halachic and hashkafic advice. Please provide any traditional source that you are aware of  who states that Avos , or as you maintain, certain Mishnayos were intended for a spiritual elite, as opposed to all of Am Yisrael.

    • dr. bill says:

      respect for a talmid chacham muflag does not mean obedience to his pov even on strictly halakhic matters, a fortiori non-halakhic matters.

      many of  the sayings collected in pirkei avot were advice for a new emerging set of leaders called rabbis, as opposed to melachim, cohanim, leviem, neviim, etc.  note hillel and avtalyon did not have titles.  im ein ani li mi li, is the best example; imagine telling an average jew to be more self-centered.  heve musunim badin and ha’amidu talmidim harbeh are obviously not addressed to the average jew, though the former has application more broadly.  (and talmidim does not necessarily mean students.)   read the mossad harav kook pirkei avot – mishnat reuvain –  with commentary by rishonim and you will find many such examples.

      • Steve brizel says:

        I have the excellent sefer on Pirkei Avos that you mentioned

        Please explain the comments of the Bartenura to the first Mishna and why the study of Avos is considered part of the preparation for Kabalas hatorah for all Jews not just rabbis

      • ISteve Brizel says:

        Please explain a well known comment in BK30a that one who wants to become a chasid  should observe the teachings of Avos in addition to Brachos and Nezikin in order to be a chasid . Claiming that Midos Tovos were solely the province of a developing spiritual elite assumes without any basis from within the words of Chazal as opposed to your historical hindsight   that only a spiritual elite to develop the Midos that are mentioned in Avos and which emphasize the views of the Tanaim as how all of us are obligated to observe the Mitzvos Bein Adam LChavero and Mitzvos Bein Adam LaMakom  that are  counted by many Monei HaMitzvos and expanded on Avos. ( R Daniel Feldman, a wonderful Talmid Chcham has demonstrated in all of his sefarim on Mitzvos Bein Adam Lchavero that much of what we think is strictly chesed has many halachic ramifications and was treated as such by many Poskim who dealth with such inquiries,.)  The lack of a title for Hillel is not all that pertinent-the CI did not have a formal title-and the Gemara tells us in Yoma 35b ( as does Rambam in Hilcos Talmud Torah 1:8) that Hillel obligates all who lack the financial wherewithal to learn  Torah. Hillel and Avtalyon are mentioned in the Mishnah in Avos because they received the Mesorah of the TSBP from prior generations.

        • dr. bill says:

          not what i said.  but understanding the original focus is what i am emphasizing.  my three examples, and there are many more, prove the point.

          in terms of titles, you might identify the first time moshe was given the title rabbeinu. the rabbinic class did not appear overnight; its antecedents in second temple judaism existed.  its development ending up as the dominant religious/halakhic voice did not develop until well later.

  15. Steve Brizel says:

    During my years in YU, there was a well known comment that was in wide circulation-that RYBS’s name was on the front of the klaf of any musmach, but the phone number of RMF was on the back! The notion that RMF was not a Posek for the YU/RIETS/OU world in the same fashion that RYBS was also consulted is specious.

    • mycroft says:

      I don’t know if the people that you refer to treated thecRav as their Rebbe-but certainly those who knew the Rav as their Rebbe consulted with him until illness took over.

      Re the OU world there has always been a substantial portion of the OU world that had other models than the Rav. We both know of some of them. YU  as can be seen once RAL made Aliyah-the RAv himself referred to people who may have respected his being a talmid chacham but thought he was an apikores. There is no secret that many of the people who Dr Lichtenstein has referred to as turning their backs on the Rav were already on the RIETS faculty by the time you went to YU.  I have no problem with people rejecting the Rav as long as they don’t claim to be his followers and accuse those who asked the Rav Sheila’s as being revisionists.

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