Trying to Unravel the Legacy of the Rav

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244 Responses

  1. Toby Katz says:

    You speak of “those who rejected the Rav due to his support for secular education….” The Breuer Kehilla in Washington Heights was geographically close but ideologically distant from Yeshiva University. Breuer’s espoused the Hirschian philosophy of Torah Im Derech Eretz (TIDE) and was sharply critical of YU’s Torah U’Mada (TUM) philosophy.  The issue was not whether or not to acquire secular knowledge.  Both TIDE and TUM advocates such studies.  
    Most of the rest of charedi society was opposed to or wary of secular studies, yet the Breuer Kehilla was always part of the charedi world, while YU was and is outside.
    The issue is complex, and would need many pages to do it justice.  But in a nutshell, TIDE advocates studying everything — yes, everything, science, history, literature — through the lens of Torah.  TUM advocates studying “the two mountains” or “the two magisteria” — two different spheres of knowledge, two separate domains, each with its own ethical and intellectual rules.  TUM over the decades has produced a veritable army of people with bifurcated minds, while TIDE produces integrated Torah personalities. The bifurcated mind simultaneously holds mutually contradictory beliefs, for example, about the origin of the world or the origin of life, without attempting to reconcile them in any way.  The bifurcated mind often results in a person who is Orthoprax rather then Orthodox.  With the bifurcated mind one often finds sophisticated confusion housed in a very bright brain.
    R’ Soloveitchik did not speak of Torah U’Mada, to my knowledge.  He did not intend to produce bifurcated minds, but the school with which he was so closely associated for so many years did just that.
    Rav Soloveitchik zt’l was a very great talmid chacham and Torah teacher, one of the most brilliant Talmud scholars of the 20th century.  He gave smicha to thousands of students who served in the American rabbinate, among them my own father — R’ Nachman Bulman, zt’l. My father appreciated and respected R’ Soloveitchik but also had very serious hashkafic issues with him and with Yeshiva University.
    R’ Soloveitchik was the Rorschach of gedolim; people could read into his words whatever they wanted.   (That’s my own term, not my father’s.) He often wrote in the abstruse style of German philosophers, a style that lends itself to multiple interpretations.  His students to this day are all over the map, hashkafically.   
    It is a source of some amusement to me that the frum magazines like Ami and Mishpacha nowadays try to claim R’ Soloveitchik as one of their own, a standard charedi.  At the same time the left wing of the MO world makes the same claim.  How ironic!  While he was alive he was virtually persona non grata in charedi circles (although the word “charedi” did not yet exist in its present usage).  His high school in Boston was controversial.  It wasn’t that they taught secular studies, but that Gemara was taught in coed classes, among other problems. R’ Soloveitchik also went his own way, in opposition to virtually all the other gedolim of his day, in permitting his musmachim to serve (“temporarily”) in Conservative congregations, and to sit on a rabbinical board together with Reform and Conservative “rabbis.”  There were many other issues. Secular knowledge was not the issue.
    Certainly it is worthwhile to point out to the Modern Orthodox crowd that “the Rav” did not approve of women rabbis.  But it is not likely to sway many of them.  Even though they claim him as their special gadol, they also claim that he wanted his students to be “independent thinkers.”   Many YU guys picked up not any specific set of principles, but a general tendency that could be called “accommodating the zeitgeist.”  Whether or not R’ Soloveitchik would have approved, these accommodationists consider him their mentor.
     

     
     
     
     
     

    • Ben Bradley says:

      yet the Breuer Kehilla was always part of the charedi world

       

      I was under the impression that Breuer’s was not always considered an intergral part of the chareidi world by itself or by outsiders. The benchmark was belonging to the Aguda. At one time it did not belong, presumably due to ideological differences. R Schwab took them in (or back in perhaps) during his rabbonus. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

      • dr.bill says:

        the post was so biased, i was not going to comment.  you are correct.  both the late prof. katz (see his letter trashing of the late rabbi schwab in 1934 when he returned to frankfurt and wrote his lithuanian inspired opinion piece) and prof. leiman’s comments on his TIDE viewpoint.

        • mycroft says:

          It is probably true that there has been more revisionism about SRH in KAJ than there has been about RYBS in RIETS.

          Rav Schwab turned his back on SRH he much preferred classical Lita.

          note similar approaches with no justification the horaas shaah or special local circumstances of Germany or Boston.

          • Steve Brizel says:

            I agree and concur 100%.

          • Steve Brizel says:

            Elu v elu was R Schwab assuring the yes give world that were vast differences between TUM YU and MO as contrasted with TIDE which evolved in the US to a Charedi community with Yekke minhagim. Read the Nineteen Letters and the assorted writings of RSRH and contrast the same with Elu v Elu and ask yourself which represents the legacy of RSRH.

        • tzippi says:

          This will probably get lost, but you might be interested in a one of Rabbi Reisman’s motzai Shabbos Navi shiurim given at the end of Yehoshua when he discusses Rav Schwab’s speeches. He showed how Rav Schwab changed from the youthful proponent of Lithuanian Torah living to deeply appreciating the steadfastness, loyalty and beauty of the true TIDE Jewish living. (Now we can discuss what true TIDE Jewish living means exactly, but following his evolution in thought, if I can use that term, was interesting.)

          • mycroft says:

            I am not in the KAJ Kehilla, but certainly have very close relatives who lived there for decades. There is no secret that there has been a big dispute about the direction that KAJ has gone hashkaficaly in the past few decades.

            The dispute is much more fundamental about SRH than the dispute about the Rav. The dispute about the Rav is much more limited, for example the basic contours of his general hashkafa are not in general dispute. We can find comparative nuances compared to the dispute that Rav Schwab engaged in. Full disclosure I have a relative who is married to a relative of Rav Schwab- but I am not in that machane.

          • Steve Brizel says:

            The proof of the change can be found in a famous letter written by R Baruch Ber ZL to R Schwab ZL in which TIDE is identified and viewed as a horaas shaah.

      • mycroft says:

        There was a very strong Pirchei Agudah group in Washington Heights by  the early 40s.

    • Sass says:

      Very interesting.

      Did your father Rav Bulman study with the Rav in his shiur? And if so, what years did he learn by him?

    • Avrohom Gordimer says:

      Despite my great respect for Mrs. Katz and for her late and illustrious father, zt”l, I must take issue with her remarks:

      Often, the true greatness and real legacy of a person do not emerge until well later. I think that this can in many respects be said of the Rav zt”l, who indeed took maverick and often controversial stances, yet had a profound cheshbon for it and was more often than not shown by history to be in the right.

      We see today the fruits of the Rav’s work, as Talmud Torah and firm Torah standards have been implanted in the communities of his focus and so far beyond.

      My first year rebbe in YU – who was the same age as Rav Bulman and who was extremely, extremely close with him, together in the Rav’s shiur about 70 years ago – was staunchly right-wing and clearly would not have sent his kids to Maimonides, nor did he send his kids to YU, etc. Yet despite my rebbe’s personal positions, he was awed and in love with the Rav, and so close with him, and he explained to us carefully why the Rav took his positions, and (as I understood it) how history came out in favor of it, etc.

      The Rav was very complex, very deep, and he was very open and able to deal with anyone. When a person is as complex and sophisticated as the Rav was, it is easy for individuals with vastly different and clashing views to all claim that they are his true representatives and followers. But those who were closest to the Rav and who shared that which was most precious to him – serious and intense Torah learning – as much as they differed in various ways from each other, they nonetheless can most legitimately claim to be part of the legacy. It is they, and not people seeking to dilute Judaism, using the Rav as an excuse, who have the real yerushah. (Please see Rav Schachter’s essay about the Rav’s “two types of talmidim”.)

      A few more points:

      The Rav only allowed an Orthodox rabbi to lead a non-mechitza (but otherwise Orthodox) shul for the period of one year, with the stipulation that he would try to get a mechitza installed within a year and that he would resign by year end if a mechitza was not installed. RIETS and HTC differed and argued over this point, with RIETS taking the stricter position.

      The Rav allowed Orthodox participation in non-Orthodox bodies that dealt with issues of a “k’lapei chutz” nature, such as anti-Semitism, Soviet Jewry, etc. He forbade Orthodox participation in non-Orthodox bodies that dealt with “k’lapei p’nim” issues – e.g. joint rabbinical boards. This is a very important and nuanced distinction that is not evident in Mrs. Katz’ words.

      As for the Rav’s writings and speeches, I am at a loss to understand the description of them as long (-winded), German-philosophical (not to the point), etc. I have read and listened to hundreds of the Rav’s writings/shiurim and never detected such a thing.

      The Rav wanted his talmidim to be independent, but when it came to yesodos, that was not the case. He was unyielding with issues of mechitza, geirus, relations with the Church, etc. He did not advise talmidim to decide for themselves if their shuls needed a mechitza, or if geirus could be done without Kabbolas Mitzvos, or if certain halachic axioms about Ishus applied, and so forth. People should never come away with the idea that the Rav encouraged or enabled the breaches that we face today. On the contrary, his vision and planning have prevented these breaches from taking hold on a mass scale.

      While it is understandable to disagree with the Rav, or with anyone, on many issues, especially if the approach taken is controversial or novel, I must clarify and stand up in defense of the Rav.

      • mycroft says:

        Rabbi Gordimer:

        To a great extent I agree with your post, it is likely differences are  based on nuances and differences in language. “The Rav only allowed an Orthodox rabbi to lead a non-mechitza (but otherwise Orthodox) shul for the period of one year, with the stipulation that he would try to get a mechitza installed within a year and that he would resign by year end if a mechitza was not installed” The principle that the Rav only permitted Rabbis to be at a synagogue non permanently in a non Kosher mechitza is correct-the one year is clearly not a general principle. Certainly in cases where pre existing mechitzas/divisions were built less than proper halacha he was much more flexible in time. He would treat those institutions as a schul with kedushas beis haknesset with a pegam. It was a tactical issue case by case as to when the Rabbi should make his move. It was a frequent issue that the Rav was involved in from the 50s-70s.

         

        • mycroft says:

          “The Rav allowed Orthodox participation in non-Orthodox bodies that dealt with issues of a “k’lapei chutz” nature, such as anti-Semitism, Soviet Jewry, etc. He forbade Orthodox participation in non-Orthodox bodies that dealt with “k’lapei p’nim” issues – e.g. joint rabbinical boards.”

          Generally agree-thus the Ravs students would not belong to the NY Board of Rabbis but would  be active in   the Synagogue Council of America. There were groups of Rabbis who got together in small cities in non formal groups called Fellowships etc that would deal jointly with matters of Israel, anti-semitism etc who were following the Rav. One has to look at the individual facts of each situation. Your general principle I agree with.

          “The Rav wanted his talmidim to be independent, but when it came to yesodos, that was not the case. He was unyielding with issues of mechitza, geirus, relations with the Church, etc. He did not advise talmidim to decide for themselves if their shuls needed a mechitza, or if geirus could be done without Kabbolas Mitzvos, or if certain halachic axioms about Ishus applied, and so forth”

          Essentially agree- I have made an analogy the Rav believed in local control, similar to a Jury. The jury must follow the law of the judge but determines the facts. The Rav would sometimes refuse to pasken for a local Rabbi telling him you are there but go over the relevant sugyas with the Rabbi. The local Rabbi knows the facts on the ground.

          “But those who were closest to the Rav and who shared that which was most precious to him – serious and intense Torah learning – as much as they differed in various ways from each other,”

          Not really a difference, but I would formulate the requirement to have a complete commitment to the Halacha and halachik process which is certainly is important . One can know of those who are serious Torah learners but are not committed to halacha.

           

          • dr.bill says:

            We fundamentally agree.

            The Rav ztl gave rabbis more than a year to convince a shul to install a mechitza; the one time i had a erev shabbos mishap and ended up in a remote city for shabbos i stayed with rabbi who was leaving after a number of years  being unsuccessful.  interestingly, he shared details i cannot recall on how his participation in the teffilot were restricted.

            the Rav was a strong supporter of the SCA, which btw existed for decades before the 50’s flare-up.  he opposed participation in joint rabbinic bodies.

            The Rav was extremely machmir (le’chatchilah) on geirut.  however, like RMF ztl, he did not impose his views on some whose definition of kabalat hamitzvot were less strict.  (remember his semicha was from RADKS ztl one who strongly criticized RCOG ztl for his more liberal approach.)  he also extended the status of a safek ger VERY broadly; implications of that view are way more complex than a blog post.  i often wondered whether RAL ztl sharply (especially for him) negative reaction to R. Sherman was related.  I also do not know if RAL’s son’s correspondence  on the issue reflect his father’s view.

          • mycroft says:

            “People should never come away with the idea that the Rav encouraged or enabled the breaches that we face today. People should never come away with the idea that the Rav encouraged or enabled the breaches that we face today.”

            The Rav was for halacha, it is difficult to state in many areas  would he be opposed- the issue is what is a breach

          • mycroft says:

            Dr Bill

            I believe counter to some that the Rav had a derech that he at times tried to transmit. Probably more of that in the 40s than the 60s My guess two components early 40s is when  the Rav wrote a high percentage of his famous philosophical works. Talmidim of his from his first years after shiur would often go to his apartment to discuss hashkafic issues to the extent that YC officials upset at students missing college classes. Second possibility that for later years the Rav perceived that his students would go to all lengths to learn his Torah but felt he was an apikores. Exaggeration or not, it had to impact a person like the Rav who remember taught Jewish philo at YU even before he became a RY. I maintain that the RAvs General derech in hashkafa is known- despite the fact that few are considered expert in his hashkafa.

          • mycroft says:

            Dr Bill the Rav was on one hand very machmir for gerus lechatchila but bedeved he was choshed for even Reform conversions. Actual case Reform conversions of man and woman, followed by Reform weddings, and civil divorce the Rav held lemaaseh that the woman could not get married without at least a get misafek . Obviously choshed for Reform conversion and note obviously rejects RMFs heter because he was not even willing to combine safekeeping that woman was not Jewish with RMFs heter of no get needed for reform marriages.

        • Steve Brizel says:

          I agree and concur wholeheartedly. It is well known that many musmachom from other yeshivos served as spiritual leaders with no such stipulation in mind and many of their children went to Charedi yeshivos.

          • mycroft says:

            i agree, it was the Ravs students who were essentially the first to turn down positions due to lack of separation of sexes. I am aware of cases where the Rabbinot from YU would  have served in a mixed pew synagogue but later attack the policy of engagement with groups that are klapei chutz

          • mycroft says:

            Although my 923 pm statement is true there were YU musmachim who served in mixed pews-certainly for a long time the YU Rabbinic placement bureau tried to get students to go there, what I meant to write is that non YU musmachim after the Rav came to YU were major fillers of mixed pews congregations including those who later were some of the lead attackers against the hashkafa of trying to engage with non Orthodox movement in joint communal efforts.

            It is the Rav who was responsible for making mixed pews the dividing line.

      • mycroft says:

        Re the Rav not relevant to hashkafa- he was a master speaker and orator. He could speak for hours not only to Yeshiva talmidim, but to Baal batim both in NY  Moriah and Boston Mozei Shabbos for the Chevra Shas- the lectures took place at Maimonides but were under auspices of Chevra  shas

      • Steve Brizel says:

        I agree and concur wholeheartedly with Dr Bill notwithstanding my memories of R Bulman ZL from my days in NCSY where I also heard RYBS as a public high school graduate eagerly awaiting my first year in YU and its JSS program.

  2. dr.bill says:

    IIRC at the Rav’s 80th birthday Mossad haRav Kook, published a 2-volume set articles in his honor.  the divergence between the authors in the two volumes was widely noted.  he was not a conventional posek writing only a few written opinions.  however, he answered many an individual question in a manner that many have accused as contradictory.  others, aware for his keen sense of circumstance, assume that particulars mattered to him in a way that he did not fully articulate.

    as to his philosophy, i think few had the ability to engage with him in that area.  two  have passed away and a third requires rachmei shamayim.  on practical issues wrt to the community, only one or two individuals who he trusted on such matters are still alive.  so it is difficult to assert much before a complete, academic, intellectual biography is written and generates intelligent debate.  God only knows who might be capable of such a task. Frankly, i can think of only one or two such individuals.

    let me conclude with a story i eye-witnessed about 47 years ago.  it left an indelible mark.   A very prominent Rabbi asked the Rav a question of significant import.  the Rav shot back, yes, almost instinctively without hesitation.  the rabbi immediately drew what most would assume was a straightforward implication of the Rav’s response.  as he articulated that to the Rav, the Rav stopped him mid-sentence, referred to him in a rather  harsh way, and told him not to deign to reason in so complex an area.

    i suspect we would all be better-off respecting our inability to reason and conclude.

    • Steve Brizel says:

      That is precisely why viewing RYBS as supporting the agenda of JOFA YCT and OO cannot withstand serious inquiry . one must acknowledge that fact or engage in pilpul to claim that RYBS stated views are inapplicable

       

       

       

       

      • dr.bill says:

        no less than imagining that rabbis meiselman and shurkin and hartman reflect his view.

        i propose those speaking so firmly take a deep breathe and acknowledge they cannot deign to state what he might have said, and more importantly HOW he would couched it, categorically.

        • Steve Brizel says:

          Why?RYBS is on record as opposing the feminist critique of Halacha as sheer slander.R Hartman walked out of a normative MO.you may not appreciate TO Mom but Harerei Kedem is a wonderful Seder even if you amend the Sheer No act as I did.

        • Steve Brizel says:

          R Meiselman wrote the first sustained critique of the feminist agenda. You Should read about R Moshe Twerski ZL and his role as a rebbe in TOMO before writing so dismissively. R Shurkin in Harei Kedem on the Moadim and Shabbos has written a wonderful Seder. halevai his critics could have written the same. It is simplywrong to claim that R Hartman remained a talmid of RYBS based upon his actions and writings on a wide range of issues.

        • mycroft says:

          What we miss probably most that the Rav is no longer with us is his shrewdness for example for him a positive trait is as he once told me about a certain Rabbi, “he knows when to fight and when NOT to fight and how to fight”

          for the Rav not every issue  is worth fighting about, not every issue is one that we should have people enthusiastically looking to make a schism over.

        • dr.bill says:

          there is a major difference between the late rabbi hartman and rabbi meiselman.  hartman had an honest view of his rebbe and clearly stated how and where he differed.

          despite his radical views, i believe his children, at least those i know, are observant, albeit very modern jews.  i do not know Meiselman’s children, but my guess is it would be  difficult to discern any of what defined the Rav ztl as modern, particular his positive attitude towards the State of Israel and secular sources of knowledge.   i would love to hear that i am wrong.

          • Steve Brizel says:

            RDHs children are known as supporters of partnership minyans and actively support the LGBT agenda.

          • dr.bill says:

            correct, as i said “observant, albeit very modern jews” – his daughter is the rabbi of Shirah Chadasha.  she is so medakdaik on minhag yisroel, that she does not speak before mussaf, but waits to the conclusion of Mussaf.  🙂

            i assume you would tell us about how meiselman’s children/grandchildren observe the Rav ztl’s traditions.

          • mycroft says:

            Rabbi David Hartman resigned from the RCA. He stated he did not believe like an Orthodx Rabbi.

          • mycroft says:

            The Rav has at least 2 nephews in Jerusalem who have differe hashkafot from each other, one Rabbi oviet Jewry and the other Lewis Gerber. I do not know of a Rabbi Meiselman having a son an expert on Yeminite Jewry-Noah Gerber won the Shazar Prize for his book on Yeminite Jewry.

            BTW those of us of a certain age can remember in the late 60s how Lewis Gerber often stayed with the Rav when the Rav stayed at his first floor apartment in Morgenstern Dorm in YU. Lewis Gerber wrote an article in the Yavneh Review in the 60s. Ethics is as relevant to the Ravs beliefs as discussing Rav MM or some of the Ravs grandchildren. Relatives are all over the place.

          • Steve Brizel says:

            Why would either element that you emphasize be paramount as opposed to whether they are Shomrei Torah Hamitzvos. Never heard that RYBS insisted that all of his talmidim had to be as conversant with and or absolute devotees of his hashkafic works in the same manner as RYBS demanded that talmidim be prepared in the sugya relevant Rishonim.and Chiddushei R Chaim when RYBS was in his prime.

          • mycroft says:

            “hartman had an honest view of his rebbe and clearly stated how and where he differed.”

            He   had integrity he no longer believed basics of RCA members thus he resigned  his membership.

        • mycroft says:

          “those speaking so firmly take a deep breathe and acknowledge they cannot deign to state what he might have said, and more importantly HOW he would couched it, categorically”

          AGREED!!!!

        • Steve Brizel says:

          I know that you are hardly a fan of TOMO, and its RY. Yet, if you look inside any of the volumes of Harei Kedem ( HK) you will see that R Shurkin always refers to RYBS as his rebbe  and that the contents therein can be found in other such sefarim as the Noraos HaRav series. If you ask anyone who was in RYBS’s shiur at the same time as R Shurkin, you will learn that RYBS had a great deal of respect for R Shurkin’s ability as a talmid.  The recently published bio of R Moshe Twerski ZL HaShem Yimkam Damo  is based on in large on the memories of colleagues, talmidim and family ( including his mother) , members of the Talner shtible who made aliyah who assembled in Yerushalayim for reunions,  as well as and especially  Yivadel LChaim R Mayer Twerski and R Chaim Ilson, The book has many previously unseen pictures of RYBS with his family  , grandchildren and other Gdolim ( RMF, R S Kotler, RYK, ) , and is based on in large on the memories of talmidim and family ( including his mother). The book  describes how R Moshe Twerski ZL was always striving in Avodas HaShem, and attracted to Baalei Musar and Chasidus and not interested in solely being a Talmid Chacham Atzum who was a grandchild of RYBS, and how he related with his wife , and children in all facets of their lives, and how he never imposed his unique Shittos , Hiddurim  Chumros and Midos Chasidus on anyone but himself. When I read the book, I thought of RYBS’s hearkening back to his Chabad trained rebbe , R Chaim and R Moshe Zicronam Livracha who he always emphasized in his drashos and shiurim as the sources for his searching in Avodas HaShem. You will also see therein that R Moshe Twerski ZL HaShem Yimkam Damo learned bchavrusa for many years with RYBS, h and regarded RYBS as his rebbe to the exent that he tore kriyah and published a hesped in the Mesorah journal which was translated and included in the book. I  think that anyone who has grave reservations about TOMO, which now is off the approved YU list for one year programs, despite producing wonderful Bnei Torah , should read the book before dismissing TOMO simply because the hashkafa of TOMO bears no similarity to what one thinks was the  contrary hashkafa of RYBS.

          • mycroft says:

            I object to your categorization of my beliefs about RMM, I still have some teeth with cavities filled by his father well over half a century ago. If one were stuck with comparing Rabbi Meiselman to Rabbis Greenberg or Hartman, of course Rabbi Meiselman is much more accurate.

            No one disputes that DT Atarah Twerskys children learned with their grandfather. Of course, as far as public policy goes there is no indication that he would have used them to discuss such issues.

            RMT HYD is in the Olam haemet. To paraphrase Dr Bill there is no academic history on the Twersky’s- where they are similar and where they are different than their families both parents and grandparents. There are certainly difference which is nothing by itself special. I suspect that neither of us look at issues the same as our parents or grandparents. Thus, it is a mistake to look at children or grandchildren as evidence of their parents or grandparents beliefs.

    • mycroft says:

      There is written record of various close students viewpoints of the Ravs beliefs and policies in practical matters-halacha lemaaseh- and hashkafayet they are almost never quoted today. My guess is that in general their writings- including those written when the Rav was younger than I am- are ignored.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        This so-called “written record” ,as long as it remains unpublished and unavailable to those interested in the full legacy and contributions of RYBS and the so called ,”close students” unidentified as to who they are and whether they actually deserve such a description in the sense of being a talmid muvhak of RYBS,will and should be relegated to the category of megilas sesarim- private notes that were never meant to be publicly disseminated and ultimately useless in this discussion unless published and shown to be either meant Ldoros or a collection of rulings etc of a horaas shaah situation that marked American MO. The burden of proof IMO and WADR remains on those who assert their relevance and applicability to the issues of today not the issues of the past.

        • mycroft says:

          I will not get into a discussion of wh is a loyal student of the Rav different people will disagree. Thus, it is likely that who Dr Bill will cite and who Steve Brizel will cite can be different. There is no one who has universal acceptance as being reliable in this area. My preference is to look first and foremost what was written before  1980 or so. Anything written before then could not have been written with too much falsehoods the Rav would have responded.

          Be extra suspicious of anyone claiming unique thoughts form the Rav which no one else heard that they first publicized after the Ravs ptirah especially if they are inconsistent with the Ravs practice or practice of institutions that he controlled. It makes no difference right or left both have engaged in revisionism of the Rav, similar to Revisionism of SRH

          • Steve Brizel says:

            Not responsive. Everyone knows that you have waged a campaign here in which you claim that whatever RYBS said or did or wrote in Boston even if it has never seen the public eye takes precedence over what RYBS said on the course of shiurim and derashos to various audiences both in NY at YU the RCA or elsewhere. That is your opinion but it does not mean that you are correct in your perspective.

            Undocumented claims by anonymous sources and refusing to admit who is and who is not a talmid vasik automatically at least in my eyes render any such claims highly suspect if not totally worthless especially if the claim is based on written records that have never been produced at any time.relegating us to what you claim us such a legacy borders on the intellectually dishonest.

          • dr.bill says:

            i think you are correct.  i had the privilege to talk to two people who engaged the Rav ztl in philosophic discussion on a small number of occasions and often to one who represented him in critical conversations on issues of public policy.  Neither could be called talmid muvhak in the classical talmudic sense.  I was told that there is one talmid muvhak in the classical sense who did engage with him on philosophic issues; i have no first-hand information.  i do not believe the Rav engaged with the many current RY he produced on either philosophic or public policy issues.  again, this where a academic biography would shed significant light.

             

             

          • mycroft says:

            I am not the one on a campaign to stop the  legitimization of other viewpoints- read Dr Tovah Lichtestein   for a different viewpoint than yours Steve

            In the United States, I believe that the influence of my father, the
            Rov, is on the decline, and part of the community which he taught and directed, is moving in other directions. There are those who are turning  away from participation in the general culture as part of our tradition, and  find their home exclusively in the four cubits of Torah, shying away from general culture and a commitment to Zionism.xxix When the Rov appeared on the American scene, most of the community was inclining toward the left and the Conservative movement; today, the situation is more complex.
            The toil and effort which the Rov invested in raising a generation of
            Torah scholars has borne fruit and his students’ grandchildren, men and  women, are involved in Torah study. And yet, there are former students, notable among them a number of faculty members or former faculty members at RIETS, who have not only turned their backs on the complex worldview the Rov espoused but are anxious to claim that the Rov himself turned his back on this view. It has even been claimed that “Whatever he (the Rov) did aside from learning Torah came to him coincidentally.”xxx
            It is, indeed, preposterous to think that his major philosophical essays, which interweave general philosophy and science, are “coincidental

          • mycroft says:

            “Everyone knows that you have waged a campaign here in which you claim that whatever RYBS said or did or wrote in Boston even if it has never seen the public eye takes precedence over what RYBS said on the course of shiurim and derashos to various audiences both in NY at YU the RCA or elsewhere. That is your opinion but it does not mean that you are correct in your perspective.”

            I have not made claims about policy of the Rav on the basis of private conversations with the Rav-I one time recently quoted him on his belief that not every issue is worth fighting about and have probably quoted him on importance of being polite and diplomatic in language-I assume neither is a public policy issue.

            I do not recall quoting members of  the Maimonides School Committee of what the Rav said-I rely on   the actions taken by those institutions when the Rav was very much in command. The quotes that I heard are consistent.

          • mycroft says:

            “i had the privilege to talk to two people who engaged the Rav ztl in philosophic discussion on a small number of occasions and often to one who represented him in critical conversations on issues of public policy.  Neither could be called talmid muvhak in the classical talmudic sense.  I was told that there is one talmid muvhak in the classical sense who did engage with him on philosophic issues; i have no first-hand information.  i do not believe the Rav engaged with the many current RY he produced on either philosophic or public policy issues.  again, this where a academic biography would shed significant light.”

            Thus, if one wanted to know the Ravs viewpoint on an issue, one should discuss it with those who dealt with him on an issue-thus different people if one wanted to know the Ravs positions on public policy , philosophic issues, halacha lemaaseh may well be different than the one who one would ask when one wishes to know the Brisker Torah from shiur.

             

             

          • Steve Brizel says:

            Still waiting for tyiu to identify specific documents and personae whom you claim support your POV. Merely telling us to go find either type of source does not aid anyone in understanding your argument.

        • mycroft says:

          What characteristics make one a talmid muvhak? Assuming one student can recite much of Shas and poskim Baal peh but t use Dr Lichtenstein’s idea turned his back on the Ravs viewpoint , another student wh was a good student but followed the Ravs hashkafa and viewpoint-who would be a talmid muvhak.

          a term to be avoided see what the people state and how consistent are thei statements with the Ravs known actions

          • Steve Brizel says:

            Why avoid its use? The Gemara uses the term

          • Steve Brizel says:

            Look.where the Gemara uses and defines Talmid vasik. Unroll you do so..such an inquiry deserves no serious response.

          • mycroft says:

            There is debate about who if anyone besides RAL could qualify as a talmid muvhak. It is not the place for us to weigh ones favorite Rebbe versus some other favorite Rebbe teacher.

             

          • Steve Brizel says:

            I don’t think that Dr. Lichtenstein’s quote is that helpful simply because one of RAL’s sons ( R Yitzchak Lichtenstein, a rav in Monsey and the author of Haggadah Siach HaGrid and other works) and R Moshe Twerski ZL HaShem Yimkam Damo regarded themselves as talmidim first and foremost of RYBS and definitely would not have met the criteria set forth in her critique.

          • dr.bill says:

            Steve Brizel, being a talmid of A, does not mean being a follower.  Rabbis Hartman and Shurkin were stellar talmidim of the Rav ztl; neither could be called a follower, any more than R. Meir was a follower of Acher.  Rebbitzen Lichtenstein knows full well that her son departed from the derech of her husband and father zichronam le’beracha.  i actually heard RAL talk about it in a context that was very thoughtful.  this is not the time to attempt to summarize what he said.  i am pretty sure a tape exists.  it was a q&a session in west orange perhaps a decade ago.  some of  R. Yitzy Lichtenstein’s children were there, IIRC.

        • mycroft says:

          mipninei harav is a worthwhile book- has non public comments, even items from shiur one is relying on one persons notes which are a secondary sources summary.

          • Steve Brizel says:

            Not responsive. Everyone knows that you have waged a campaign here in which you claim that whatever RYBS said or did or wrote in Boston even if it has never iseen the public eye takes precedence over what RYBS said on the course of shiurim and derashos to various audiences both in NY at YU the RCA or elsewhere. That is your opinion but it does not mean that you are correct in your perspective.

            Undocumented claims by anonymous sources and refusing to admit who is and who is not a talmid vasik automatically at least in my eyes render any such claims highly suspect if not totally worthless especially if the claim is based on written records that have never been produced at any time.relegating us to what you claim us such a legacy borders on the intellectually dishonest.

          • Steve Brizel says:

            Hard to critique a Seder written by a talmid or just offer grudging praise( “a worthwhile book”) when you main that the only sources that count are never published anonymous sources. Sometimes your logic in this thread reminds me of disciples of R Bachman of Breslav who spend RH in the town of their rebbe knowing full well that no one has the skill set of the re be. Yet we all know that Moshe Rabbeinu transmitted (umasruha) the Torah and TSBP to the best of hi ability to Joshua who received much if not all but is not viewed as the same as Moshe like the moon when compared to the sun but who is considered the primary disciple of Moshe Rabbeinu even though by sheer limitations as a human being and because of the one on one relationship between HaShem and Moshe Joshua could not replicate. This is the tragedy of every great talmid Chatham RYBS noted, the inability to transmit his total package to any one of his talmidim

             

          • dr.bill says:

            another piece of ahistorical hagiography.  many a rebbe had a talmid who more than adequately transmitted his heritage completely.  particular geniuses and / or wholly idiosyncratic individuals like saadyah or rambam or the gra or the grash and  like are rarely seen.  as RAL ztl noted he had equals as a talmudist and as a philosopher, but no one attained his level in both fields simultaneously.

            i know of only one student who reached acknowledged excellence in both talmud and philosophy.

          • mycroft says:

            “everyone knows that you have waged a campaign here in which you claim”

            I am not the one who states who is a talmid neeman etc of the Rav-I deal with each issue.

          • mycroft says:

            “Steve Brizel, being a talmid of A, does not mean being a follower.  Rabbis Hartman and Shurkin were stellar talmidim of the Rav ztl; neither could be called a follower, any more than R. Meir was a follower of Acher”

            AGREED!!!!!!!!!!!!!

            .”  Rebbitzen Lichtenstein knows full well that her son departed from the derech of her husband and father zichronam le’beracha.  i actually heard RAL talk about it in a context that was very thoughtful.  this is not the time to attempt to summarize what he said.  i am pretty sure a tape exists.  it was a q&a session in west orange perhaps a decade ago.  some of  R. Yitzy Lichtenstein’s children were there, IIRC.”

            I believe it was last year-certainly in the past two years-because it was after RAL ZT”L was niftar there was a tape that was on YU Torah that included both Dr. Tovah Lichtenstein and Mrs Esti Rosenberg that referred to that they were in America for their brothers simcha and how they get along despite their differences.

            One can never say  even children follow their fathers hashkafa, certainly grandchildren and nephews are not relevant compared to children. BTW- I would maintain that although they are not identical I trust for accuracy on their following in general their fathers hashkafa, Drs Lichtenstein, Twersky and Rabbi Dr Hayym Soloveitchik are accurate.

        • mycroft says:

          How much of mipnenei Harav was “meant[by the Rav] to be publicly disseminated.

          • Steve Brizel says:

            I never saw anything in print or from a family member expressly or impliedly stating any such fact.

          • dr.bill says:

            i have enjoyed reading rav Shechter’s volumes on the Rav ztl.  However, that is not where one goes for insight into the Rav’s philosophical positions.  the only part that was clearly in error or at least very misleading concerned the rav’s decision to study in Berlin.

            i was an eye witness to one anecdote that Rav Schechter labels as “Shamati” and his description was very accurate, as I remember it.

        • mycroft says:

          There is plenty to read available start with Eli Turkels website on bibliography of the Rav. He has plenty to read, find more use RAMBI or a search engine on the people writing on the Rav to find maybe even more.

          re Halacha Commissin – I haven’t seen it by he lists a book by Rabbi LLouis Bersnstein AH  where according to his description many Halachik committee decisions are published. Read from various sources and get a more balanced viewpoint.

          • Steve Brizel says:

            Eli Turkel’s bibliography is one of the reasons why my bookshelves groan with sefarim and books about RYBS . one can easily reduce the 113 written in Yiddish and Hebrew down depending one whether one wants Hebrew, Yiddish and English. The reader can decide which of the  “information at the following locations”, as phrased by Turkel is valuable, helpful, or of less than valuable or helpful value because other than the tapes available for sale from R Nordlicht,  they represent secondary works relying on the 113 sources listed below and the works of talmidim and RYBS in English listed together by Turkel .The lists of 67 books that discuss RYBS, and 202 articles that discuss RYBS are interestng but again are IMO, represent “about it” and not “it” to use R Moshe Besdin ZL’s favorite phrase.

          • mycroft says:

            we all read works about the Rav, I assume we both have read much of RHS about the Rav, no one would say it is worthless. RHS is a secondary work about the Rav others have also written secondary works. I used Turkels list because it is comprehensive.

          • Steve Brizel says:

            No sources named + no documents identified that can be readily and easily accessed and reviewed generally means that the evidence does not exist in a form that warrants reliance upon the same or being cited in a discussion of this nature in any discipline.

      • Sass says:

        Where is this written record? What books are you referring to? Who are these close students? Could you please write a bit more clearly, rather than in vague remazim? Vague remazim really don’t contribute much to the discussion.

        • mycroft says:

          there is ultimately a written record f the RCA Halacha commission, a historian could star b reading then contemporaneous issues of the RCA record. It certainly is not disputed that from the 50s, 60s and 70s the RCA followed its undisputed Halachik advisor.

          It should also be clear that the Rav controlled Maimonides School, the school committee headed by first hhis wife and then daughter was composed of loyalists of the Rav.

          • Steve Brizel says:

            You at not seriously contending that either the views of the Halacha commission or how Maimonides was run would offer support for the JOFA/YCT/OO agenda?non disclosed documents never strike as proper evidence in support of any argument in any discipline.

          • Sass says:

            Ok we’re getting somewhere but this is still like pulling teeth.

            “There is written record of various close students viewpoints of the Ravs beliefs and policies in practical matters-halacha lemaaseh- and hashkafayet they are almost never quoted today.”

            Let’s have some details.

            What is contained in the written record of the RCA halacha commission that is relevant to the question at hand? Tell us what’s there.

            And if you think this is true, then do something about it, and get these written records published. Again, anonymous complaining on blogs about some secret legacy, adds nothing substantive to the discussion.

            Making vague insinuations like this with no details, evidence, sources, or anything that would substantiate what you’re saying is – to quote Steve B –  bordering on intellectual dishonesty. (And we all know how the Rav felt about intellectual dishonesty…)

          • mycroft says:

            “You at not seriously contending that either the views of the Halacha commission or how Maimonides was run would offer support for the JOFA/YCT/OO agenda?non disclosed documents never strike as proper evidence in support of any argument in any disciplin”

             

            Of course not-I do not believe that in general JOFA/YCT are close to the Rav-and certainly the RIETS RY are certainly in general much closer in hashkafa to the Rav than JOFA or YCT.

          • Steve Brizel says:

            Again-have the written records and or minutes of meetings of the RCA halacha commission ever been reduced to writing and more importantly ever been made available for scholarly research and use? Does such a record exist that is available for scholarly review and of historical value to the interested reader?

        • mycroft says:

          I believe I have been commenting on blogs for over a decade. My beliefs are known -people will make their own judgements as to  my credibility-everyone makes judgements about credibility,Steve, Dr Bill, Mrs. Katz and I do

          • Steve Brizel says:

            No one doubts your credibility. I doubt that I am the only person who challenges either your secret data or your conclusions.

          • Steve Brizel says:

            You wrote in relevant part to my query:

            “Of course not-I do not believe that in general JOFA/YCT are close to the Rav-and certainly the RIETS RY are certainly in general much closer in hashkafa to the Rav than JOFA or YCT.”

            Then why would the undisclosed documents that you mentioned have any relevance to the issue at all?

  3. Steve Brizel says:

    I doubt that any would be debating the future of MO without the firmly rooted positions of RYBS on mixed seating during tefilah and ecumenical theological dialogue . as RAL ZL stressed RYBS and his positions on these issues not only preserved MO from becoming CJ which attracted many in its heyday and paid its rabbis more it gave both MO and the Charedi world the intellectual firepower to go on the offensive against not just the heterodox movements but to present an Orthodoxy that had an appeal on its own right to the next generation

    • mycroft says:

      Agreed. Re “ecumenical theological dialogue” for decades I believed that it was a clear cut prohibition-the clear cut prohibition is on negotiations on theological matters not dialogue. Apparently, part of the reason for the Ravs general lack of support for dialogue was pragmatic there were at most very few who he trusted in this area.

      • dr.bill says:

        i believe you are correct.  there are other areas where the Rav ztl expressed public misgivings that he himself privately pursued.  his judgments on public policy were not necessarily consistent with personal behavior.  like Rambam, this point will be disputed for ever.

  4. Raymond says:

    The most shocking part of the above article is Rabbi Cardozo’s comments regarding Rav Soloveitchik.  Although this is not the first time that I have heard that Rabbi Cardozo has apparently left the fold of Torah-true Judaism, it is still something that I am finding hard to accept.  I attended his Torah lectures at Ohr Sameyach some decades ago.  I likewise attended many of the Torah lectures he gave when he came here to Los Angeles.  I have on occasion corresponded with him online, and was even in his home in Jerusalem many years ago.  I do not understand what happened to him.

    Onto the subject of Rav Soloveitchik, it sounds to me like he struck the perfect balance between speaking in the modern vernacular, yet without compromising his Torah values in the least.  Not all of us come from pure Torah-only backgrounds.  In fact, I suspect that the overwhelming majority of even the most Orthodox of Jews, have had a whole lot of exposure to Western Culture.  To go from total immersion in Western culture, to a completely pristine Torah-only environment, may be compared to attempting to teach calculus to somebody who never even took a math class.  One must proceed gradually, step-by-step.  I know that for myself, I resonate far more to those Rabbis who are open to Western culture, yet who know how to take the good from it while discarding its more negative aspects.  Rav Soloveitchik did that, and I am pretty sure that the Rambam did as well, at least when it came to the teachings of Aristotle.   I have even heard it said that Rav Dessler’s Strive for Truth series, was inspired by Dale Carnegie’s famous book on how to win friends and influence people.

  5. joel rich says:

    I summarize the RCardozo article as: I have identified the desired result to a specific concern. A halachic  I curate should now be constructed to get my desired result.  The Rav did not construct such an argument and did not agree with my results therefore he is a failed  leader.  If you agree with his premises then the result is obviously true.

     

    As to the Rav himself, my personal take from years of reading and listening to everything I could get my hands on is that the idea of deconstructing him is the problem in the first place .in the volume that Dr. Bill refers to it is clear that many writers chose to see their reflection in the mirror of the rav . to my mind it was the incredible balance and complete honesty in all facets of human existence ( which I would call Torah) that should be imitated ,each of us At our own level.  There’s a lot more to say about how this informs on viewing “secular knowledge”,  perhaps another time because I think the application is clear.

    Kol tuv

  6. Joel Rich says:

    I summarize the RCardozo article as: I have identified the desired result to a specific concern. A halachic case should now be constructed to get my desired result.  The Rav did not construct such an argument and did not agree with my results therefore he is a failed  leader.

    If you agree with his premises then the result is obviously true.

     

     

    As to the Rav himself, my personal take from years of reading and listening to everything I could get my hands on is that the idea of deconstructing him is the problem in the first place .In the volume that Dr. Bill refers to it is clear that many writers chose to see their reflection in the mirror of the Rav . to my mind it was the incredible balance and complete honesty in all facets of human existence ( which I would call Torah) that should be imitated ,each of us at our own level.  There’s a lot more to say about how this informs on viewing “secular knowledge”,  perhaps another time because I think the application is clear.

    KT

     

     

  7. I took note of this phenomenon in 2011 when David Hartman’s book was discussed by an interviewee of Dr. Alan Brill:

    http://fkmaniac.blogspot.co.il/2011/09/liberals-are-finally-starting-to-get-it.html

     

  8. Bob Miller says:

    As an outsider looking in, I see the Rav’s direct and indirect inheritors approaching his body of work from many angles, depending on their own ideological leanings.   I’ve read that he encouraged individuality, and this demonstrates it.  Either some are more faithful to his concepts than others or they’re all faithful in some sense, just as Torah commentators have had radically different takes on some texts.  He himself may have seen things differently at different times. However, I often sense that subjectivity among his interpreters has gone too far, in the way they project their own views onto him.

    I attended a gathering in Metro Detroit where hespedim for the Rav were simulcast from YU.   Those I heard tried hard to do him justice, but I sensed a reticence to step outside “academic mode” and express true emotion.  This may be a more general problem within his circles and Modern Orthodox Jewry overall since his passing.

  9. Toby Katz says:

           Bob Miller wrote, “As an outsider looking in, I see the Rav’s direct and indirect inheritors approaching his body of work from many angles, depending on their own ideological leanings.”  This is another way of saying what I said, that RYBS was the Rorschach of gedolim.  Everyone saw in him whatever they wanted to see.  

     

            Any other gadol you could say what  his derech was.  With RYBS there was no derech that he transmitted to his talmidim.  Instead, there was a certain style of speaking and writing, a complex, Germanic philosophical style, that his acolytes try to imitate.  The result is that all too many MO essays sound like Soloveitchik parodies, even as they are all over the map hashkafically.

    • Bob Miller says:

      No consistent derech that he tried to transmit or rather none that took root?  Do we have any clear picture of his actual intentions as opposed to the results?

      • mycroft says:

        The Rav in YU to a great extent was giving a shiur. His unique viewpoints more often come into play when he acted Halacha lemaaseh. I believe that he was relatively consistent in his actions. What he said in shiur could reflect a Brisker chakira not necessarily his practice. The Rav similar to the Briskers and Baalei  Tosafot had a lot of respect for practice. Respect for practice of others even when not his own minhag.

        • Bob Miller says:

          What are the best published sources on the Rav’s practical halachic decisions and actions?

          • mycroft says:

            There are those who have written on the Rav as a posek and his opinions. Try Turkel n the web, search engines and look at articles that came out about two plus decades ago when the Rav was niftar. They exist I have read them but I don’t wish to recommend any individual article.

      • mycroft says:

        “Do we have any clear picture of his actual intentions as opposed to the results?”

        Read everything you can. Start with is SILs and children. I believe you’ll get a consistent viewpoint.

    • dr.bill says:

      “any other gadol” did not transmit a philosophic approach; some haskafah yes, but a philosophic approach, absolutely not.  philosophy is not what most jewish thinkers or darshanim practice.  i dare say those few who were able to engage with the Rav ztl philosophically did not sound like “Soloveitchik parodies,”.  what is stated is nothing but what one would expect from someone, not philosophically trained.  show me an example in the works of RAL ztl, RD Wurzberger ztl, Prof. Shatz or Carmy, prof. Blidstein or even the late prof. hartman.  those who confuse rabbinic insights, great that they may be, with theology or philosophy should not engage in evaluation of what impact the Rav had.  as i have often told people, if you cannot understand the halakhic mind, abide by the rabbinic adage about the value of silence in the philosophic domain

      • mycroft says:

        Did you intend to write “halachik mind” in capitals? I do not claim to be in your level-  but your last sentence IMO is very true either capitalized or not.

        • dr.bill says:

          Yes, sorry.  being trained in logic by a student of the unquestioned gadol of 20th century logicians, allowed me to read the Rav ztl’s work and discuss it with others who were much better equipped than I in all aspects of philosophy to understand it more fully.  perhaps one day(, probably well after I am gone,) someone will give us a better understanding of what the Rav was attempting.  I doubt it’s mission will ever be completely achieved.

  10. Ben Waxman says:

    I’m not sure that I understand the point of this article. The people who are pushing for women’s ordination will the first to agree that they disagree with the Rav’s tz”l approach. That is no surprise.
    More importantly, what is your basic claim – that Rav Soloveitchik has some sort of veto? No rav, ever, was given that type of power. Rav Kook’s followers don’t observe every psak halacha that he gave. Same is true with any other 20th century rabbi, including the Hason Ish tz”l.   While the Rav’s opinion is certainly precedent and carries weight, that he felt a certain way about various issues doesn’t mean that the conversation stopped. The argument against women’s ordination has to stand on its own merits and not simply rely on “the Rav opposed it”.
    PS: Let’s keep in mind that Rav Soloveitchik switched his opinion on another huge issue (Zionism).  No, I am not saying that he would have changed his opinion, just that few issues are decided once and that’s it. The Rav’s derech includes the possibility of change.

     

     

    • Rafael Qunoaface says:

      The proponents do more than disagree. Even for them, they have to position RYBS zt”l a certain way so that his “shadow” against their radical change goes forward unopposed. You ask whether RYBS has some kind of veto? Maybe ask R’ Hefter and R’ Lopes-Cardozo why THEY have to go to the length of trying to set up RYBS in a way so that they can dispose of him and his views? You seem stuck only on what R’ Gordimer writes and not what these proponents are all doing. To me, as a self-described Chareidi, it is quite amazing how they all seem to be making the same attacks, as if RYBS is a real threat to their positions.

      • Ben Waxman says:

        “You seem stuck only on what R’ Gordimer writes and not what these proponents are all doing. ”

        Everyone is casting the Rav in a certain image. OO opponents show him as someone unbending in halachic matters. The proponents of women’s ordination understand the Rav and that people are stuck on him (my words).

        That everyone feels the need to use the Rav, to quote the Rav, or to explain away the Rav is simply testimony to the Rav’s greatness. You see similar behaviors with the Rambam, or in the modern day, with Rav Kook.

        OTOH, this willingness to openly disagree with a gadol is a clear difference between the Modern Orthodox world and the Chareidi world.

        • mycroft says:

          The debate of course is wwho is disagreeing with the gadol.

        • Rafael Qunoaface says:

          No, this does not show such a difference, since the proponents of women’s ordination have discarded with the “gadol” concept.

  11. dr.bill says:

    Ben Waxman, i largely agree.  there is a reason that the chazon ish, rav kook, and the Rav zichronam leveracha all continue to receive posthumous attention, given their unique standing in their respective communities – they have not had anything close to an equal, in the years since their death.  as a result, they are quoted in contexts they never dealt with in their era with sense of certainty that is, as you argue, overstated.

    on the other hand, wrt the number of actual talmidim,( in its narrow sense, not followers as the term is used in some contexts, but real talmidim,) the Rav uniquely had a vast universe of students.  it stands to reason, that (much) wider differences emerges.  Just among those seen as to the right, Rabbis Schechter and Meiselman hardly see eye-to-eye on how the Rav thought about science, for example.  Even staying away from current issues, somewhat earlier students,  RAL ztl and Prof. Blidstein, would not be confused with all but two or three of the current YU RY.

    and as ben Waxman points out, the Rav was not constrained by a previous view either in learning a sugyah or on issues be’rumo shel olam.  Would the rav have developed an approach to geirut to address the huge influx of russian olim whose Yichus questionable or would he see the fruits of his revolutionary approach to women’s learning and guide it in a unique way are both questions that we cannot answer.  they will be answered by kenneset yisroel guided by its generation’s leaders, despite the fact that the yiftach to shemuel comparison might be invoked.  we are far from knowing how both issues, and many others, will evolve.  and that is not meant to be in any way disrespectful to the Rav, rav Kook or the CI.

  12. Here’s why folks don’t get the Rav, zt”l.  Every so often a Torah leader comes along who isn’t affected by politics.  He wants to get to the truth of Torah in every situation and doesn’t care about who will be offended by his conclusions.

    The Rav was such a leader.  He analyzed his situation through the dispassionate lens of halacha and came to the conclusion that YU was a better place for him to be.  Of course his Chareidi contemporaries couldn’t understand his decision and then maligned and diminished him for it.  Their halacha was constrained by politics which meant they couldn’t consider any option other than their own.

    That’s why anyone seems to be able to connect to the Rav.  They take his greatness and stick it into their little political box whereas the truth of the Rav was above all that pettiness.

    • Bob Miller says:

      Garnel, one of the favorite human pastimes is attributing principle to those one favors and politics to those one doesn’t.   Let’s try to avoid that, regardless of what’s under discussion.

      • mycroft says:

        Agreed-but same principle should also apply when one refers to person x as a talmid neeman of person y.  Argue the ideas without ad hominem attacks on YCT/OO liberals etc. Show by analysis wo claims to authority of anyone who is a person taking one position or another in current hashkafic debates.

        • Bob Miller says:

          In halachic discussion involving the Oral Torah passed down through our Mesorah, at least some claims of authority are inevitable, whether for one’s authority or oneself.  Our personal logic may seem really reliable, but others may have more of the relevant facts, including precedents, and better-developed ways of weighing relevant alternatives.  The reader can try to decide if such a claim is well-supported.  When you deal with professionals in all fields, you give due weight to reputation.

  13. Steve Brizel says:

    Mycroft wrote in part:

    “The Rav was for halacha, it is difficult to state in many areas  would he be opposed- the issue is what is a breach”

    RYBS also constantly spoke and emphasized the importance of Mesorah. You have also indicated that there is nothing either in the written record or taped shurim or drashas available today today as it exists or in the yet to be scholarly vetted RCA Halacha Commission records that you mention that would remotely suggest that RYBS would support the YCT/JOFA agenda. Why the reluctance to reach the obvious conclusion that their agenda is indeed a breach? If it it looks like a duck, walks and quacks like a duck, etc

    • mycroft says:

      Show where I defend what you call breach,   It is a question of fact if it is a breach, my personal opinions are irrelevant but I am  NOT in favor of women Rabbis, partnership minyanim, etc what I am opposed to is the tone of the attacks. For what it’s worth if there is anyone on the attack front that I believe is trying to do an honest polemic it is Rabbi Gordimer, I have never found the arrogance and attack mode in his columns compared to some others. Obviously, there is a lot that I may disagree with his analysis but n general I have seen him willing to listen to counter arguments.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        Why shouldn’t the response to women’s ordination and partnership minyans be strongly disapproving in tone?that which is beyond the boundaries of any definition of classical MO should be viewed as such and not legitimized and rationalized either by comparison to other institutions in Israel that engage in the same or by pretending that the Trojan horse like infiltration of MO will not continue with websites devoted to pseudlomdus and pseudo scholarship.

        • mycroft says:

          There is a tone that has to be taken-even in polemics against the Conservative movement 40-70 years ago the Rav was insistent on civil and polite tone

          • Steve Brizel says:

            Today’s CJ is far more radical than the CJ of yesteryear and RYBS never hesitated in sharply criticizing external and academic approaches to TSBP.

          • mycroft says:

            CJ 65 years ago permitted driving a car on Shabbos. That is as open a breach as one could make.

          • Steve Brizel says:

            how about non Jews as members?

          • dr.bill says:

            the Rav ztl even started on a joint BD for divorce, something that never came to fruition.  Frankly, between driving to shul, the siddur of the early 40’s, mordechai kaplan, etc. and some more positive current moves back to more normative practice by fringes of the conservative movement, and the Rav’s interaction with individuals who were further away even than conservative jews, i think mycroft is correct.

             

  14. Steve Brizel says:

    Mycroft wrote in part:

    “No one disputes that DT Atarah Twerskys children learned with their grandfather. Of course, as far as public policy goes there is no indication that he would have used them to discuss such issues.
    RMT HYD is in the Olam haemet. To paraphrase Dr Bill there is no academic history on the Twersky’s- where they are similar and where they are different than their families both parents and grandparents. There are certainly difference which is nothing by itself special. I suspect that neither of us look at issues the same as our parents or grandparents. Thus, it is a mistake to look at children or grandchildren as evidence of their parents or grandparents belief”
    MO WADR does not need academic  studies that noone reads outside of academia. MO needs more books in which the protagonist in his or her Avodas HaShem inspires the reader to upgrade in some small manner  his or her Avodas HaShem. I think that the book in question is an important book in that regard.

    • mycroft says:

      “MO WADR does not need academic  studies that noone reads outside of academia. MO needs more books in which the protagonist in his or her Avodas HaShem inspires the reader to upgrade in some small manner  his or her Avodas HaShem”

      A good academic study can bring to life a gadol Bisrael.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        Academic studies are invariably dry and devoid of anything that would inspire the average Ben or Bas Torah to be inspired in some small way in their own lives.

        • dr.bill says:

          some of us are more inspired by an attempt to realistically capture an individual than what is simply a hagiography.  prof. etkes’ book on r. shneur zalman of liady, prof. mirsky’s book on rav kook, Prof. Davis’ book r. yom-tov lipman heller, etc. etc. are remarkably inspiring.  Other books like Prof. Halberthal on Maimonides or prof. brody on saadyah gaon are indispensable in allowing one to grasp the breadth and originality of these two giants of our mesoreh.  Prof. Shapiro’s book on RYYW ztl captures a world likely never to re-emerge.

          i have read many academic biographies and a very small number were a bit dry; that is true of almost any genre of book.

          • mycroft says:

            FWIW I asked someone who was a student of the Sreidei Eish who had read Prof Shapiros book on him what he felt. His answer to me he was amazed how Prof Shapiro who obviously never met the man could so accurately portray him.

            of course, due to the nature of things I am not aware of current living ex students of the Sreidei Eish.

          • mycroft says:

            Agreed! It is important that the biography at least attempt to e objective, when books are written with an agenda no matter how noble the intent or author tries to be the author will likely distort the subject to agree with his / her beliefs.

            if the person is a great person an objective biography will make me like the person even more.

            it was only a film but IMO if one wanted to get a balanced view of the Rav in a couple of hours the film LonelyMan of Faith  gives you as good a balanced view of the Rav as anyone has. Probably because the filmmaker really had no prior dealings with the Rav.

          • dr.bill says:

            by coincidence marc shapiro and i were both guests at the same BM this shabbos.  he is wonderful.

            my guess is that any student of RYYW ztl would have to be around 100 years old.  i don’t think he had more than a half dozen great students.  the ones whose works i have read are all no longer alive.

          • Steve Brizel says:

            That may be true from s intellectual or historical perspective. That does not exactly aid anyone in enhancing their Avodas6 HaShem

          • Steve Brizel says:

            I found MOAG fascinating in that regard.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        Such studies ignite what factor as in the life of the subject motivated the subject to become a Gadol BYisrael how the person interacted with his spouse children and relatives and his own midos tovos. That is what distinguishes any Gadol HaTorah from.any secular intellectual and thinker the desire to emulate and be closer to Moshe Rabbeinu as opposed to Yeravam Ben Navat.

        • mycroft says:

          The truth is to paraphrase an important Mussar shmooze of Rabbi Jeremy Weider on humility of those in the Beis Medrash, the vast majority of gedolim were born into a frum environment grew up learning and had very high ability, thus knew Shas at 5 etc.

          There are very few books that accurately reflect totality of gedolim so life’s. When one states the purpose is to learn from their example, often what is reported just the examples that make the person look good. As Rav Schwabb openly stated we don’t believe in objective history we want to improve yiras shamayi

    • mycroft says:

      “MO needs more books in which the protagonist in his or her Avodas HaShem inspires the reader to upgrade in some small manner  his or her Avodas HaShem.”

      Subject to the constraint of Emes. As the Maimonides day camp was called Camp Emes,  Emes attah hu rishon… camp song. Note davening after  shma first emes and then righteous, pleasing etc but must be true.

      Ethics must beat  perceived effectiveness of selling yiddishkeit.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        Not relevant to my point.

        • mycroft says:

          Ethics and honesty is an essential component of all chinuch and outreach, there maybe those who believe that one can use those of questionable ethics, moral behavior for outreach , chinuch etc as long as they are dynamic and can attract kids to programs but I disagree as a matter of principle-sheker ein lo raglayim

          • Steve Brizel says:

            Still irrelevant and not addressing the issue. A Shabbos table with zmiros and Divrei Torah hardly strikes me as sheer ain lo raglayim.without exposure to role models in the family community and school a child will hardly be inspired to lead a life committed to Torah Avodah and Gmilus Chasadim

          • mycroft says:

            Many like smirks, others like the Rav did not sing Miros. He could give a shiur on a zemer showing how the words reflect Yahadus but he didn’t sing. Certainly, if you find it spiritually uplifting sing.

  15. Steve Brizel says:

    Dr Bill wrote in part:

    “Steve Brizel, being a talmid of A, does not mean being a follower.  Rabbis Hartman and Shurkin were stellar talmidim of the Rav ztl; neither could be called a follower, any more than R. Meir was a follower of Ache:

    RDH  wrote in his books about the the views of “Soloveitchik” that he agreed with and deplored, and by his own  words and conduct walked out of MO. A Talmid by definition follows, is mkrurav and mvutal to the teachings, hanhahos, kulos and chumros of his rebbe, even those that flow against the popular Zeitgeist of the time. R Meir was a talmid of Acher and remained so to the very end not just to derive Torah from his rebbe , but to persuade him to do teshuvah, which Acher deemed himself of doing. R Shurkin, who attended RYBS’s shiur, but never attended YU, wrote three volumes of HK, in which he constantly refers to RYBS as “Rabbeinu”, as any talmid does in any sefer rhat records the chidushim of his rebbe. I don’t like the Shaar Blatt of HK any more than you do, but I emended it. The fact that remains that HK is a wonderful sefer-that includes much of RYBS’s Torah on the Moadim and Shabbos, including many insights of Halacha and Hashkafa on many subjects such as the Haggadah, etc. I think that HK and Noroaas HaRav both prove that one need not be a family approved writer to faithfully reproduce RYBS’s shiurim and drashos .

    • dr.bill says:

      The family as i understand, abides by the brisker saying, that everything said need not be written.  ask those who attended yartzeit shiurim in person, each masterfully crafted, if the shiurim heard were as written in the published versions.  for publication, the Rav ztl’s brilliantly prepared oratory was STILL subject to revision.  kal ve’chomer beno shel kal ve’chomer for noroat haRav.  it is a valuable transcript, but not what the Rav would EVER publish, unedited.  shurkin’s chiddusim, are much shorter, and i do not know how the family reacts.

      as to R. Meir role wrt Acher, when we meet either in the afterlife, perhaps the veracity of your “heilegazation” of R. Meir can be verified.  in any case, a talmid and a follower are NOT the same thing.  and by your definition, rabbi shurkin is not even a talmid!

      • mycroft says:

        Agreed!!!!

        BTW as has been written before the Rav even when he sent in an article, the first draft often would have many revisions /corrections before the final version.

        one could take the position which IIRC that Dr Atarah Twersky was quoted when it was discovered that much. Of the recordings that were left for safekeeping at a close talmid of the Rav were destroyed by accident that it would be better if it didn’tappen but what the Rav wanted to publish he did

        • Steve Brizel says:

          The claim of destruction of recordings as you stated was never proven to be true in any court of competent jurisdiction.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        Never have seen anything in writing from any family member that either HK or Noroas HaRav should be ignored either bkum vase or bshev Val taaseh.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        Look at descriptions of The relationship between R Meir and Acher and RYBS own analysis of why Acher viewed himself as beyond the possibility of teshuvah

      • Steve Brizel says:

        Take a look at the intro by RYBS to the yartzeit about shiurim where RYBS thanked hid son in law R D Twersky in his assistance in publishing them .

  16. Dave says:

    R Gordimer,

    All above by these disputants is interesting but besides the point.

    As always, you wrote a beautiful article, thanks so much for your efforts, please keep writing, we need your clear voice.

    Dave

  17. Alex says:

    Rather than dwell on questions of what RYBS did or didn’t believe, the real question is why RIETS has been unable to appoint a new head rosh yeshiva and move forward. BMG, Telz, Chofetz Chaim, Ner Yisrael, and similar yeshivos all did so after their roshei yeshiva were niftar.

    • Bob Miller says:

      Could it be that RYBS synthesized an eclectic outlook that suited him personally but was rare overall in the Torah world even among his own associates?    That would greatly limit the pool of potential candidates to fill his shoes in his spirit.

      • mycroft says:

        Another way to say it-many excellent students of the Rav rejected much of his hashkafa. Many of those are found in RIETS today.

        • Steve Brizel says:

          we have been through this discussion ad museum. Not helpful to your point whatsoever simply because the RIETS RY almost are all YC grads RIETS musachim and proud ts of the RIETS kollelim and none despite their Gadlus HaTorah individually or collectively ever advocate anything remotely approaching a Charedi perspective. Their primary concern is insuring that the next generation of MO is strongly committed to Torah Avodah and Gmilus Chasadim and that the average talmid in their shiur is kovea itim laTorah as productive heads of families .

           

           

           

           

           

           

          • mycroft says:

            “Their primary concern is insuring that the next generation of MO is strongly committed to Torah Avodah and Gmilus Chasadim and that the average talmid in their shiur is kovea itim laTorah as productive heads of families .”

            Very tough to teach Torah from an MO hashikafa if onedoesnot believe in such a hashkafa

        • Bob Miller says:

          Those who rejected it, if that actually happened, should not try now to hide behind his name.

          • mycroft says:

            Rejectionism-aka revisionism has been followed by both the left and the right concerning the Rav.

            See Lawrence Kaplan and Revisionism and the Rav available online.

        • mycroft says:

          “RIETS RY almost are all YC grads RIETS musachim and proud ts of the RIETS kollelim and none despite their Gadlus HaTorah individually or collectively ever advocate anything remotely approaching a Charedi perspective.”

          Very few send their children to MO schools. How many musmachim from the past 30 years send their children to SAR,Flatbush, Ramaz, HAFTR, combined. Even if they teach in such schools they will not send their children there.

          BTW-it has very bad consequences to children who go to these schools true some will accept their teachers chareidi perspective and no problem, but many will say teachers don’t believe in what they are teaching and thus accept neither MO or chareidi hashkafa.

          • Steve Brizel says:

            No parent regardless of being a tenner or a layperson should ever send a child to a school where then there are alternatives that will help instill a devotion to Torah Avodah and Gmilus Chasadim where Torah study is not viewed as in competition for time and attention with secular studies.

          • mycroft says:

            Steve Brizel
             

            No parent regardless of being a tenner or a layperson should ever send a child to a school where then there are alternatives that will help instill a devotion to Torah Avodah and Gmilus Chasadim where Torah study is not viewed as in competition for time and attention with secular studies”

            A school that teaches an ideology that is different than the parents may cause children to reject both ideologies. No problem if one believes chareidi Judaism is the only valid  Yahadus and MO is not valid but only exists to pay one a salary. Bad if one believes MO is an acceptable hashkafa.

          • Steve Brizel says:

            No parent should a child’s education hostage to a hashkafic agenda. That is ruinous parenting regardless of hashkafa.no RY should ever be expected to do so.

          • Steve Brizel says:

            The worst kind of parenting is that where the hashkafic blinders of a parent cause a child to receive the wrong kind of chinuch. No parent let alone a RY should cause a child to receive the same.

          • Steve Brizel says:

            When all is said done hashkafa is nowhere as important as a life dedicated and focused on Torah Avodah and Gmilus Chasadim

          • Steve Brizel says:

            Read your own post . your sense of tolerance only is limited by the universe of people who share the same vision of MO as yourself.what a narrow vision of Torah Avodah and Gmilus Chasadim.

    • mycroft says:

      RIETS was never structured that way. The Rav did not have formal authority over other RY. The Rav had by far the most influence YU -but there were other who rejected the Ravs ideas. It happened that the President of YU for most of the years was Dr Belkin. They were close besides in general hashkafa, there was a personal connection. Dr Belkin studied at Brown University-the Rav often invited him to stay at his house for Shabbos during that time.

      Thus, RIETS YU has many RY -technically none overtheother. BTW HTC was set up the same way

    • dr.bill says:

      two reasons.  1) no one had a  RY of the Rav ztl’s stature (a gadol in Torah in every corner of jewish thought) to attempt to replace.  Both possibilities ended up in Israel.  2) the Rav was NOT the RY, dr. belkin and then dr. lamm was.

  18. mycroft says:

    To understand the Rav different viewpoints, not just those who knew him solely as a Rebbe. Read them and especially pay attention if they refer to publicly available articles or actions of the Rav. A lot is readily available besides Turkel’s website, use search engines and search for Rabbi Soloveitchk and what you want to discover, eg Rabb Soloveitchk and hashkafa, Rabbi Soloveitchik and hashkafa you’ll learn plenty.

    i have my favorites but others should just read as many different viewpoints and artcles as possible.

  19. Steve Brizel says:

    Mycroft – there is nothing that’s t requires any RY Ben or Bas Torah to decide that only MO or the yeshivishe approach is the only valid approach in hashkafa. That is one very important lesson that the entire compass of RYBS shiurim drashos etc conveys. I for one view any such demand to pick any one hashkafic track within the Mesorah as an issue that each Jew has to work out in the course of a lifetime and adapt and utilize what works best for himself or herself based upon the teachings of the Gdolei Takmidei Chachamim that have had a significant impact on ones spiritual growth. Demanding an up or down choice as to hashkafic tracks makes sense only if you are spiritually insecure and need reassurance that you didn’t err in your own path. As long as a posek or Baal machshavah of any legitimate stream within Torah has something worthwhile to say and consider that is fine with me. Radicals whether Charedi or LW MO or OO deserve to be critiqued and rejectedvas beyond the mainstream.

  20. Steve Brizel says:

    I am sure that Mycroft is aware that even Boston has options in chinuch for those of a more yeshivishe orientation with high caliber secular education for both genders. Obviously such a demand exists otherwise such parents would send to Maimonides.

    • mycroft says:

      There is something else going on too Maimonides tuition has always been much more than the more right day schools. Thus Lubavitch which was founded about six years or so after Maimonides has always had lower tuition. There are things about Maimonides which I wouldn’t have done but the issue in our discussions is not my opinion but what the Rav believed.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        My point is that many parents with very high level secular educations have opted for yeshivishe schools as opposed to either Maimonides or Chabad

        • mycroft says:

          Even when the Rav was alive much of frum/chareidi Boston followed other people. Most famous was the BostonercRebbe Rebbe, but there were others on the right of the Rav

          • Steve Brizel says:

            Boston does have single gender elementary and high schools as well as a yeshivishe kollel .those options exist for those who desire a more yeshivishe chinuch. I don’t think that Chabad or the Bostoner Rebbe ZL have anything to do with their hanhala.

          • mycroft says:

            Lubavitch was there since the early 40s other chareidi schools are much more recent

  21. mycroft says:

    Steve Brizel

    No parent should a child’s education hostage to a hashkafic agenda. That is ruinous parenting regardless of hashkafa.no RY should ever be expected to do so.”

    The answer is not clear . How much klei kodesh have to suffer for the klal-not a clear answer.

    Hypothetically  if a Rabbi would prefer sending his child to a non MO school which his schul was            associated with, but if he didn’t send his           child his members would send their children to public school-what decision should the Rabbi make.

    “child’s education hostage to a hashkafic agenda. That is ruinous parenting”

    Thus, you believe that a parent who sends his child to a        more  traditional school  than   Heschel when it might be better educational is engaged  in ruinous parenting. I  doubt it-you are saying that MO must accept chareidi as valid  h ashkafa-not the rev erse.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                tradition

    • Steve Brizel says:

      Irrelevant comparison. heschel has never been confused with any of the MO schools that you mentioned .

    • Steve Brizel says:

      Klei kodesh have the same obligations as all other parents to do what is best for their children. Their job description includes mesiras nefesh on behalf of the klal but not to serve as karbanos for the shortcomings of the klal.

      • mycroft says:

        To pretend there are not tradeoffs in life is living in la la land. Every person has to navigate tradeoffs be it what community they live in, how they spend their time.

        Thus, the Rav for more than 40 years travelled to NY to give shiur and be away from his family. It is a duty for all of us to live with tradeoffs. Any Klein kodesh who does not believe the principle that there are tradeoffs between what is good for himself and for his community  probably should be doing something else. In any one case it is difficult for an outsider to judge the tradeoffs but they exist and if being a Klein kodesh is more than a profit maximizing activity the tradeoffs have to be considered on a case by case situation.

        • Steve Brizel says:

          Travelling every week by plane to say a shiur requires great mesiras nefesh.sending any child to any yes give worthy of the name solely because of hashkafic identity strikes me as a mistake by any parent whose focus on chinuch is the best interest of their children even if the school has the same hashkafa. I do not view hashkafa as a critical factor in that regard but rather how the child will emerge as an adult with the goal of becoming and remaining a Shomer Torah Umitzvos and Yirei Shamayim paramount

           

           

           

          • mycroft says:

            Agreed. The question is what is likely to accomplish that goal for the child. It is not a simple question.

        • Steve Brizel says:

          You have dilemmas in life that require choices and prioritization of ones time.that does not mean that you rationalize a believed choice into a lchatchilah.

  22. mycroft says:

    Steve:

    i doubt you are going to recommend parentssend their children to the American Hebrew Academy a pluralistic, residence school in Greensboro NC which has great facilities, great education, kosher food supervised by local Chabad Rabbi?

    If on he does not treat MO as a valid hashkafa why should they teach in those schools. Satmar would not a Bnei Akiva shaliach teaching in their schools, n matter how good a pedagogue.

    • Steve Brizel says:

      A pluralistic school by definition should never be confused with a MO school .When MO views chi much as important a profession as a high powered secular career there will be more mchanchim from.MO backgrounds. Until that happens yeshivishe couples will continue to fill that void.

       

       

       

       

       

       

      • mycroft says:

        Even when the Rav was alive much of frum/chareidi Boston followed other people. Most famous was the BostonercRebbe Rebbe, but there were others on the right of the Rav

      • mycroft says:

        i have noticed more MO mechanchim, but real problem there are very few believers of MO receiving smicha now. Reason no real yeshiva that believes in MO in North America..

        • Steve Brizel says:

          You may have mentioned this in prior discussions but please define what MO means to you as opposed to what it means on the ground which I think today means being a Shomer Torah Umitzvos whose first and foremost committtments are Torah Avodah and Gmilus Chasadim combined with an appreciation of the need for secular education but certainly not at the cost or threat to the primary aforementioned commitments and who realizes that the secular world of today poses different and more severe threats to that commitment than the secular world of the 1950s and 1960s and who realizes that the issues of Klapei Pnim far outweigh for most of us any residual issues of Klapei Chugs that are of marginal importance due to the wholesale departure and complete departure from any pretense to halachic norms most importantly and tragically by CJ as well as the grave threat to the Jewish conventional family posed by secular culture and its handmsiden in arms radical egalitarian feminism and it’s support of the LGBT agenda.

          • mycroft says:

            MO is a total commitment to Torah Umitzvot while being aware of and active in the world. One confronts the world and is not afraid of it. Knowledge and study of secular studies is important not just for Parnassians BUT it can never equal the importance of Talmud Torah in its narrow sense. Narrow sense Shas, Haalacha Tanach and maybe might also include hashkafa etc.No matter how much importance knowledge of general world can never equal impact of Torah.

            I reject any indication that MO is Orthodoxy Lite, MO like the Rav is certainly as committed to non controversial practices as brachot, tfilah, bilateral hamazon etc. To me the ideal behavior of an MO person is exemplified by the Rav. Not that anyone else can reach his level but a dealing with the world and its ideas but Torah first.

  23. Steve Brizel says:

    I stand by my point which is an issue first and foremost for every Jewish parents with children who have to make such a choice. Your queries are extreme cases if hashkafic incompatibility. Most parents do not and should not consider their own hashkafa as paramount to the needs of their own children

    • mycroft says:

      My extreme cases were to illustrate the danger of general rules. Case by case analysis but recognize the tradeoffs

      • Steve Brizel says:

        Exceptions to a rule are exceptions until and unless the rule ceases to have any viability. Ergo extreme hypothetical cases posed by you don’t aid in the discussion but at best distract from the issue which remains essentially familial and communal and by no means ideological in nature. I know of no MO family who are emotionally distraught or worse over the fact that they sent their kids to yeshivishe institutions .

        • mycroft says:

          That you know of no family that feels worse that they send their kids to yeshiva she institutions shows that sometimes we extrapolate from our limited experience.

          in my small schul where most children are sent to either chareidi or pseudo chareidi institutions there are those who are upset that their children just want to learn and live off parents income way beyond teenage years. Other members say what do you expect youse t them to X. I am just responding to no parent- not making an argument for all children which is better

  24. Steve Brizel says:

    The choices I am referring are real choices that real people in real communities make every day based in what is right for their children not in the extreme scenarios that you posted.

  25. Steve Brizel says:

    Your query assumes variables that most frum families in most communities do not encounter. I know many families whose parents are committed YU and RIETS grads whose sons learned in Charedi institutions and have a great deal of pride as opposed to any guilt about not sending their children to YU or SCW. Chinuch of any family is a decision far more complicated than merely supporting ones alma mater no matter how well a parent did there and has even a modicum of hakaras hatov for.

  26. mycroft says:

    Obviously, Chinuch is a complicated issue, some children do better in chareidi institutions some in  MO institutions. One can’t ignore the issue that students certainly by JHS state that their limudei kodesh don’t believe in what the school teaches, they would not send their children there.

    Big issue.

    • Steve Brizel says:

      You may have mentioned this in prior discussions but please define what MO means to you as opposed to what it means on the ground which I think today means being a Shomer Torah Umitzvos whose first and foremost commitments are Torah Avodah and Gmilus Chasadim combined with an appreciation of the need for secular education but certainly not at the cost or threat to the primary aforementioned commitments and who realizes that the secular world of today poses different and more severe threats to that commitment than the secular world of the 1950s and 1960s and who realizes that the issues of Klapei Pnim far outweigh for most of us any residual issues of Klapei Chugs that are of marginal importance due to the wholesale departure and complete departure from any pretense to halachic norms most importantly and tragically by CJ as well as the grave threat to the Jewish conventional family posed by secular culture and its handmsiden in arms radical egalitarian feminism and it’s support of the LGBT agenda.Using an old or worse outdated definition of MO today strikes me as hunkering behind the Maginot Line against the blitzkrieg. You mentioned several prominent MO schools. Such schools always boast of their graduates college acceptances to colleges that are decidedly not conducive to remaining a Torah observant Jew. Sending a child to such a college should be viewed by any MO school and parent as walking into a McDonalds for anything other than  a bathroom stop. ( or a cup of soda if you can verify the hashgacha on the same). MO should not and cannot mean taking unnecessary and unwarranted risks to one’s neshama in terms of beig familiar with the secular world. When the schools that you mentioned can boast that all of the senior students are Shomrei Torah UMitrzvos and are kovea itim laTorah despite having taxing schedules, then we will see MO in practice as opposed to theory

  27. yg says:

    Part 2


    MYCROFT
    You essentially claim that Rav Schachter is essentially following in the footsteps of the Ravs hashkafa-claims by reliable sources countering that viewpoint are relevant. A lot of the attacks on CC appear to rely on Rav Schachters viewpoints as representing the Rav. If the viewpoints would rely on their own svara or just Rav Schachter not claiming he is following through on the Rav I would agree with you.
    Prof Kaplan although he has smicha and while a grad student taught at Maimonides, and for many years led a secondary minyan in a schul in Montreal does not claim the title Rabbi in his articles-thus he is not holding himself out as a posek-he holds himself as a expert on 20th Century Halacha-show how his writings are factually false. As far as I am aware Prof Kaplan is the only one who translated with cooperation of the Rav during the Ravs lifetime Ish Hahalacha.
    IMO, the question of Prof. Kaplan’s specific claims of revisionism are not relevant to your comments about the criticisms on CC emanating from RHS’s talmidim. The issues facing O today are the deviations of YCT/OO mostly revolving around radical feminism, rejection of the complete authority of chazal, and ultimately heresy (depending on your definition), as has been very, very carefully documented by RAG. There is nothing in LK’s alleged revisions which relate to the Rav’s legacy in those areas. It is 100% clear that the views of RHS, (Rav Mayer Twersky) RMT, as well as RAG exactly represent the Rav’s approach to these issues. This is what the struggle is about. Take an average US non-yeshivish O shul. Would the Rav want the Rabbi of that shul to believe in or promote the following (take a deep breath):
    Women rabbis, partnership minyanim, women wearing tefillin, women reading megillah for men, women leading kabbalat shabat, women ‘saving’ their birchot hatorah so they can say a ’birchat hatorah’ at an aliyah, Avraham failed!! the akeidah because he should have told (or at least asked) Hashem ‘no, this is not moral’, Hashem not being ‘perfect’ because of His internal hashkafic contradictions, having publicly available podcasts discussing the most private of Jewish inyanei kedusha in the most public way, promotion of the LBGQT agenda, claims of the Rabbis of the Talmud adjusted the Torah shebichsav to be more moral and fit with the times (specifically regarding Sotah), the feminization of the siddur, women reading megillah in public for men (the Rav was against women reading for other women), referring to Hashem as ‘she’ or as Godself as opposed to He, rejecting in one form or another the mitzvah of mechiyas amalek because it is ‘immoral’, not saying shelo asani isha, davening maariv in a mosque to show solidarity with Moslems, having a non-Jewish choir perform in the shul’s sanctuary to show solidarity with Martin Luther King supporters, accepting and/or defending views that Torah is not MiSinai, alegng that Chazal were misogynists, the list goes on and on and on. Unfortunately, and this is written with sadness, this list is far from comprehensive if one reads RAG’s articles carefully.
    All of these deviations and many more have been carefully documented on this site by RAG. Here, RHS, RMT, and RAG are leading the struggle to save that ‘average’ non yeshivish O shul from falling into the very slippery slope leading to Conservative Judaism. That is what is happening in some presently O shuls unfortunately, and that is exactly what the struggle is about. There is no question at all what the Rav’s legacy is on those issues, none whatsoever. As mentioned earlier, Rav Rakefet has also already referred to OO/YCT as Conservative. The facts in the previous paragraph do not reflect Orthodoxy. Rather, they describe a new form of Conservative movement.
    I would encourage the CC readers to read or reread RMT’s articles presenting the Rav’s approach to the feminist issues, as well his own application of the Rav’s approach to the new deviations. There is no space at all between RMT and RHS in these issues. Note the following opening footnote to RMT”s article about women wearing tefillin.
    “1] Rav Schachter shlit”a has authoritatively dealt with this question in his recent responsum. This essay, disseminated with his approbation, merely seeks to expound and expand upon some of the relevant, seminal issues in a popular forum.”
    Just one more quote from a 1999 article by RMT that is especially relevant:
    Accordingly, if, God forbid, halakha were to discriminate against women in the realm of tefilla, it would eo ipso suppress their religious experience and stifle their spiritual aspirations. Such a religious handicap would relegate them to spiritual mediocrity.
    This false, egregious conclusion replete with potentially tragic ramifications is dictated by women’s tefilla groups. These groups are predicated upon the mistaken notion that the experience of tefilla is enhanced by assuming active roles and conversely is stunted when such roles are off-limits. And yet women’s tefilla groups, conducted with even minimal technical allegiance to the particulars of halakha, cannot provide their participants with the same or even equivalent active roles to those that are available to men praying with a quorum. Within such groups it is impossible to recite devarim she-bi-kdusha as such, fulfill the mitsva of keriat haTorah, etc. And thus, according to the mistaken premise of the tefilla groups, women’s religious life remains muted even within such groups.
    The participants in women’s tefilla groups will, within the present generation, become intellectually and existentially aware of the failure of such groups and the concomitant false yet inevitable conclusion regarding women’s standing within Yahadut. We must recognize that the possible ramifications of this falsehood are especially frightening and particularly tragic. Propelled by negative momentum and misguided by erroneous teachings, some women, God forbid, could reject all remaining halakhic constraints in an unrestrained attempt to enhance their (inauthentic) tefilla experience in particular and religious experience in general. Needless to say, this development would be especially tragic.
    Unfortunately, this tragic ‘prediction’ from the turn of the century has come true. It is the same as RHS’s prediction in his teshuva.
    That is very important to remember. RHS and RMT take the Rav’s ideas and apply them to the newer deviations. They have different writing styles, but the thrust is the same. As mentioned in an earlier post, they do differ from the Rav in their slightly more moderate tone. They don’t, as far as I know, refer to the ‘gas chambers’ or ‘So instead of philosophizing, let us rather light a match and set fire to the beis yisrael, and get rid of our problems.’ If RHS has referred to the Holocasut or ‘setting fire to the beis midrash’ in his discussions of OO/YCT, I will stand corrected. As far as I remember, his most extreme comments are generally him quoting the Rav and applying his ideas to the newer deviations.
    It is clear that when the Rav thought the Mesorah was in danger, he wrote/spoke very, very strongly against those deviations. RHS and the other RY have not spoken that strongly. It is incorrect to say that the tone has become more strident.
    MYCROFT
    It has been 17 years since the publication of Prof Kaplan’s article-I have not seen his articles facts disputed-that does not mean it hasn’t been done. I would appreciate a cite to any article/comment etc that disputes his examples
    IMO, there are good reasons why RHS and his talmidim don’t feel a need to respond to Prof. Kaplan’s claims. And again I don’t think this forum is the place to discuss the alleged revisions.
    I will mention one since it somewhat relates to the feminist issues. LK makes a point of RHS not mentioning the Rav’s stance on women learning TSHBP. I agree that is an interesting question. However, it is important to note that RHS repeatedly has paskened that women may learn gemara (if done for the right reasons). He has spoken about this publicly. See the press conference at Gush I mentioned earlier. He does this as a hemshech of the Rav’s psak. For years, there was a gemara shiur in Manhattan for women, given under the direction of RHS, RMW, RMT, and RMR. RHS mentions it in the above press conference. The shiur was given for several years by Rav David Hirsch, a talmid of RHS. RHS sanctioned the shiur. Stern has a new program for women learning advanced TSHBP which was started with the support, as far as I know, of RMW and RHS. (I don’t know of the status now.) RHS does not hide the Rav’s support for women learning TSHBP. IMO, his approach is the same as RMT’s presentation of the topic in his article on the Rav in Tradition, ‘A Glimpse of the Rav’. There RMT explained that the Rav’s approach to women learning gemara was in no way a response to a feminist push. Rather it was the same yesod as the Chofetz Chaim allowing TSHBP for women (albeit not gemara obviously) applied in a more far reaching way. But the goal was to maintain the mesorah, not changing it. That is the crucial point.
    This is the crucial, crucial point. The Rav’s support of women learning advanced TSHBP was not in response to outside pressure. It was his way of maintaining the mesorah. The Conservative deviations listed above all stem from the response to the feminist push.

    For sake of disclosure, RHS has spoken against the emphasis on gemara learning at the HS level, for both young women and young men. He thinks it is much better for them to learn halacha, navi, chumash, ikarei emuanh etc… However, this is not at all based on some rejection of the Rav’s pro feminist stance. A) as I explained the Rav’s stance was not pro feminism, and b) RHS maintains this view for educational purposes. He says the same thing for the young men as well. He has said that instead of changing the women’s curriculum to be more like the men, we should be changing the men’s curriculum to be more like the women’s curriculum of old! Young men leave MO HS nowadays knowing very little navi, halacha, and basic Torah hashkafa. He thinks we should be focused on changing that.
    Does that make less of a talmid?! He doesn’t hide the Rav’s view. He discusses it when relevant. On a psak level, he supports it, despite criticism for the Right about this position.

    Earlier, I mentioned some points where RAL differed from the Rav. Does that make him less of a talmid?! Rav Rakeffet differs with the Rav on the very fundamental issue of land for peace in Israel, which is an issue of nefashos. The Rav was more of a dove on that issue (like RAL), and RR is much more of hawk. Does that make him less of a talmid?! Of course not. Every talmid has his agreements and disagreements with his rebbe.

     

     
    Mycroft is (correctly) challenged by Rav Mayer Twersky’s role. There is no space between RMT and RHS in presenting the Rav’s views on the issues relating to YCT/OO. RMT is known for being extraordinarily careful with his words and very, very precise in his writing. And, as mentioned, RMT presents the Rav’s approach to the present day extreme expressions of feminism exactly as Rav Schachter. There is no space between them. So, Mycroft, as part of presenting RHS as not reflecting the Rav on these issues, is forced to writes things like (not a direct quote) that ‘most of what he writes he didn’t hear directly because he as too young, and the like. This is an example of grasping at (weak) straws. RMT is a family insider. He would write things only of he knew them to be defintively true. Nearly all of what he writes is directly based on the Rav’s printed words and printed speeches. Wherever he doesn’t have an explicit source, he writes very compellingly. The fact is that RHS with RMT, as well as Rav Gordimer as their well written spokesman, are presenting the authentic views of the Rav regarding this new Conservative movement.
     

    Therefore, IMO the criticisms of OO/YCT on these pages, which are based on RHS’s ideas as a hemshech of the Rav are fully appropriate and accurately reflect the Rav’s views as explained by RHS and RMT and others.
    On conclusion, I have shown that he following comment of Mycroft is inaccurate, to say the very, very least.

     

     

    mycroft says:

     

    March 6, 2017 at 1:09 pm
    Another way to say it-many excellent students of the Rav rejected much of his hashkafa. Many of those are found in RIETS today.

    Much? of his hahkafa” Many? of those are found in RIETS today”
    Those extreme words are not even found in the quote from Dr. Lichtenstein you cite frequently. It is just not true that ‘many’ talmidim who reject ‘much’ of the Rav’s hashkafa are found in RIETS today.

    Finally, again I repeat the very insightful words of Rav Rakeffet, “JTS was started by well meaning Orthodox rabbis.” That is what the struggle is about. We are witnessing the rise of a new Conservative movement. There is no question the Rav would have been against, stridently against, their many, many deviations.

     

     

    • mycroft says:

      An issue is not only learning by women of  Torah she beak peh , but whether the Rav would teach them the same way.

      One time our schul had a guest for Shabbos, someone who I know you respect and also believe Rabb GOrdimer knows and told me the story from decades ago when he went to Boston for the Ravs summer shiurim , the Rav invited a women to attend the same shiurim all summer in the same room. Obviously, he had n bjection to teaching at a theoretical level, most ot the class was from the Ravs shiur at YU.

  28. yg says:

    Below is the first pat of the previous post. I apologize for the confusion.

     

    Part 1

     
    I have a long response to several of Mycroft’s comments. I posted a nearly identical response around a year ago
     
    (http://cross-currents.com/2016/05/19/modern-orthodoxy-derailed-time-to-return-to-the-station/)
     
     on a similar thread. I adjusted it slightly due to some of Mycroft’s critiques there, but the thrust is the same.
     
     
     
    IMO, Rabbi Schachter is the person doing the most to directly continue the legacy of the Rav, at least here in the US. The Rav brought the idea of Torah study, mesorah, proper interaction with the outside world, and more, of course to the US Orthodox world. His following ended up being mostly the non yeshivish Orthodox world. A major part of his struggle was to fight against the non orthodox movements which at the time were strong. He wrote and spoke against the issue of the mechitza, invoking memories of the holocaust.  Feminism was starting during his active lifetime, and he spoke against it. See the articles of Rav Mayer Twersky on Torah web.
     

    Starting in the early and mid 1980s the feminist movement within Orthodoxy made a radical left turn. (This radical left turn ultimately led to the formation of JIOFA in the 90’s) Part of the agenda was changing the mesorah as we know it. Rav Schachter, through his teshuva on women’s minyanim, and through his many, many shiurim has been at the forefront of continuing the Rav’s legacy, in clarifying what is not acceptable within Orthdoxy. Just as the Rav wrote and spoke with razor like precision against the feminist push, Rav Schachter continues in response to the more radical breaches from the mesorah, which had not occurred yet (within Orthodoxy) during the Rav’s lifetime- partnership minyanim, women rabbis, women receiving aliyot, women reading the megillah for men (the Rav was even against women reading for women, see Rabbi Twersky’s article), women wearing tefillin,  challenging the absolute truth of the prohibition of homosexuality, OO, YCT, and there are more. It goes without saying the Rav would have strongly opposed these, as Rav Schachter does. The non yeshivish Orthodox world has to stay true to the mesorah in general and true to the Rav’s mesorah, or it will end up as another Conservative movement. That is exactly what is happening in YCT and OO, where they have rejected the Rav’s approach to halacha, mesorah, bible criticism, and many other areas as well. Rabbi Rakeffet and many other of the Rav’s talmidim have referred to PORAT and the like as Conservative.

    Rabbi Schachter is being aided by, among others, Rabbi Mayer Twersky and in the last few years Rabbi Gordimer.  Rabbi Twersky in his articles continues the Rav’s tradition of the razor like precision, in demonstrating the deviation from our mesorah found in these movements. Rabbi Gordimer does the research to bring to everyone’s attention just exactly how far the deviations have gone. It is actually quite frightening how far and how quickly things have gone. The slippery slope is steep and slick as ice. I don’t think his goal is to change the minds of those who already sympathize with OO, YCT, and PORAT. His goal is kiruv kerovim, That people who are mainstream, non yeshivish should be aware of what is acceptable within Orthodoxy and what is not, and should be aware of what is actually being produced by many of the leaders and leading graduates within YCT and OO, so they can make informed decisions for themselves. People who are involved in starting shuls and finding Rabbis, should know what they are getting into (and know that they are leaving Orthodoxy) with OO and YCT.

    As a case in point, a shul, which would be described as MO, in the Washington area was looking for a new Rabbi several years ago. In the early discussions, the possibility of considering a YCT graduate was raised. Several members of the board brought to the table many of the arguments found in Rabbi Gordimer’s various articles. And in the end, all the candidates were taken from RIETS, and one of them was chosen. That is a victory for the Rav , Rabbi Schachter, Rabbi Twersky, and a vindication for Rabbi Gordimer’s writings. Of course it is also a victory for the mesorah and Torah true Judaism as well.

    Mycroft consistently links together Dr. Lichtenstein’s article about the Rabbeim at RIETS, former and present, who have turned their backs on the Rav’s hashkafa, together with the fact that the Rav did not sign the 1984 psak/teshuva from Rav Schachter and the other Roshei Yeshiva at RIETS. The impression given is that a) Rav Schachter is part of the group who have turned away from the Rav and b)the Rav was against the psak and the psak was the ‘launch’ of the RIETS Roshei Yeshiva leaving the Rav’s mesorah.

    IMO, the teshuva reflected exactly the opposite. As mentioned the Rav was quite sick at the time. IMO, Rav Schachter saw the Rav being weaker, and he saw the new radical inroads of feminism beginning to strengthen within MO communities. And the teshuva was the beginning of RHS asserting himself as continuing the Rav’s mesorah to fight the deviant movements. And it has continued the last 30+ years. Since then, RHS, with the help of others, has continued to maintain the Rav’s mesorah. It is because of him that the Rav’s true legacy in the US is more clearly defined. His authoritative presentations of the Rav’s views on mesorah and the like over the past 30 years have helped define the parameters of MO. And therefore, it is easier to discern the clear breaches being done by OO and YCT. It is largely because of RHS’s leadership that OO and YCT are beginning to be referred to as Conservative in a variety of circles (including for example, R Maryles’ blog).

    Rabbi Twersky, in a completely authoritative way, showed the Rav agreed with the thrust of the teshuva, even if he may have argued on some of the details. It’s quite common that close talmidim of a rebbe sometimes pasken in different ways on some issues. The Rav allowed one who shaves everyday to shave during sefira, every day or every other day, whenever he reaches the level of go’arin bo. Rav Schachter explains the lomdus behind the psak in his sefarim and regularly in shiurim, most recently in a shiur on Minhagei Sefirah available now in YUTorah. He would pasken this way lemaaseh for those that ask, (and I think he relied on this himself before he had a beard.) That can be checked out. RAL, on the other hand, was uncomfortable with that psak. He would pasken to shave only lekavod Shabbat, and that is what he did himself (I think). That doesn’t mean RAL was less of a talmid, obviously.

    RHS continues the Rav’s mesorah regarding the medinah and regarding a college education as a given (for nearly everyone) for parnassah to’ live in dignity’, as Rabbi Rakeffet says. RHS sometimes also discusses the advantages beyond parnassah of a secular education. This is not his emphasis, but he does discuss it. See for example his press conference at the Gush, available on YUtorah. (http://classic.yutorah.org/lectures/lecture.cfm/765735/Rabbi_Hershel_Schachter/Press_Conference_part_2-_Mesorah_in_changing_times,_women_learning_gemara,_getting_close_to_Hashem_through_limmud_Torah_)

    The present RY at RIETS do not deny the Rav’s very positive approach to secular studies as some talmidim not at RIETS have done. But there is certainly less of a focus on secular studies for more than parnassah. However, IMO that is largely a function of the preferences of the student body. The trend in general in college education has been towards making money (Sy Syms school of Business)and away from the humanities.
     
    RHS does speak against English literature, as it is largely filled with inyanei avoda zara and arayos, which is problematic. In this he differs from RAL. RAL explains his view at length in various essays. However we have no evidence that the Rav would have supported that the average college age student needs to read English literature and use it as part of his religious development, which seems to be RAL’s approach. I assume the Rav’s position was somewhere between RHS and RAL. Certainly, involvement in Eng. Literature was not a core, primary value in the Rav’s weltanshaung. He did not speak about it with the same frequency as RAL and he certainly did not write about it in a significant way. (I am not sure he wrote about it at all.)
     

    Regarding interaction with non Orthodox movements where the Rav clearly differed from many of the other Gedolim, the issue has become largely mute. The Orthodox have their own strong advocacy groups (OU and Agudah among others) and it has become much less crucial than it was 20, 30, 40 and 50 years ago.

    YU/RIETS has changed in the last 20-30 years. There is much more learning and more emphasis on dikduk behalacha among the talmidim. Nights seder is much more well attended. This is due to the influence of the Rav’s talmidim all over the world who are inspiring the younger MO crowd, and due largely to the year in Israel. Are these developments a break from the Rav’s mesorah?!?
     
    Regarding teaching Talmud to women, Stern has a program which many of the RY support publicly. There is no rejection of the Rav there.

    Regarding the RZ in Israel, I agree with Larry, Dr.Bill and others who mention that it is flourishing, which it is. There is a strong hashkafa and strong Torah learning as well. However, I would add the following. Part of the RZ world has begun giving in to the feminist push. RZ leaders will have to decide where they stand on this issue. For example, when R’ Herzl Heftr ordained women and wrote an article defending the propriety of this clear break from the mesorah, he was responded to by RAG and others. I am not aware that Tzohar or Beit Hillel publicly rejected his approach (I don’t know). R’ Riskin seems to have also moved  to ordaining women as rabbis. It goes without saying that women rabbis has been a primary symbol of Conservative judaism for the last 30ish years. IMO, there is a potential for a slippery slope where parts of the RZ world will end up close to YCT/OO. That would be tragic.
     
     
     
    JOFA/OO/YCT are all a part of ‘Orthodoxy’ which has fundamentally taken the position of the New York Times on egalitarianism and tried to cover it with token Orthodox language. This is exactly how the Conservative movement began.

    The issue is does one accept the Absolute truth of the Torah that men and women are different and play different roles or not? Does one accept the complete authority of Chazal as defining our mesorah? Does one view halacha as binding and a goal to follow carefully or as a burden of obstacles that we need to deal with as we try to live a religious life on our own (not Hashem’s) terms? Read RMT’s articles. He articulates the issues much more precisely and eloquently. The C took down the mechitza and the Rav fought them, the (radical) feminist push made its way into Orthodoxy and started with women’s minyanim and eventually all the other deviations (women receiving aliyot, women leading the service for kabbalat Shabbat and pesukei dezimra, removing shelo asani isha from the siddur, referring to Hashem as the Godhead as opposed to Him, partnership minyanim, women reading megillah for men, the Rav opposed even reading for other women, women rabbis, the list goes on and on and on, r”l etc…) and RHS is leading the fight against them. It is exactly the same struggle.

    Mycroft points out that RHS differs from the Rav in the level of stridency in his teshuvot. Agreed! The Rav was much more strident and extreme in his language.

    It is striking how strident and extreme the Rav was in his own written and oral word against the deviations from our mesorah. He referred to the Holocaust and the gas chambers on several occasions. He referred to destroying yahadus and setting fire to the beis yisrael in his famous speech on hafkaat kiddushin. He regularly referred to yehareig v’al yaavor in connection with the new deviant movements.

    “If the ethical norm of thus shalt not kill has not lost validity during the days of extermination camps and gas chambers… then every halachic maxim assumes greater import in times of widespread disregard….(from the Rav’s psak abut a shul without mechitza)”

    The Rav publicized these words way before the Conservatives ordained women, basically rejected the prohibition of Homosexual behavior, began to consider allowing their clergy to officiate at homosexual ‘marriages’, and everything else that happened in JTS in the last 40 years. We all know there is basically nothing left of the C early token fealty to the halacha. It is basically another version of Reform. Do we think the Rav’s strident tone and reference to the gas chambers could have led to these further deiviations?!?

    “Let me ask you a question — ribono shel olam, G-d Almighty, if you should start modifying and reassessing the chazakos upon which a multitude of halachos rest, you will destroy yehadus.  So instead of philosophizing, let us rather light a match and set fire to the beis yisrael, and get rid of our problems. (from the famous speech abut hafkaat kiddushin)”

    (I seem to remember the Rav referring to the Holocaust also in one of his strong rejections of hafkaat kiddushin, but I can’t find the reference right now. He does refer to ‘destroying yahaudus and setting fire to the beis midrash.)

    RHS is less strident in his language than the Rav was. He does not invoke the gas chambers in his remarks as the Rav did on the major issues of public deviations from our mesorah. I have never heard him refer to burning the beis midrash in reference to YCT/OO. I have heard many, many of RHS’s shiurim. I don’t remember him referring to the holocaust, gas chambers, and burning of the beis midrash in his periodical comments on YCT/OO.

    Mycroft refers to the Rav’s private letters to Conservative rabbis where he writes politely. That is irrelevant to our discussion. In his public writings and speeches, he is much more radical than RHS.
     
     
     
     RHS does indeed use strong language in his teshuvot. There he is  just quoting the Rav and applying his ideas to new deviant (Conservative) movements that had not fully blossomed yet during the Rav’s active lifetime. When one rereads RHS’s teshuva from 1984 it is incredible how prescient he was. On p.34, he writes how the outside world has impacted on the Jewish way of thinking. And the feminist movement has already led the ‘Conservatives to be metzareif women to a minyan, give women aliyot, give women semicha, etc…’ And R Schachter was writing the teshuva partially because that is where he saw women’s minyanim were heading.

     

    Those three things are exactly what have been happening in the OO/YCT world, r”l. They haven’t quite yet actually been metzareif women to a minyan, but they are definitely heading in that direction.

    Let us not forget R Rakeffet’s deeply insightful comment. “JTS was started by well meaning Orthodox Rabbis.” The leaders of YCT/OO would do well to read and reread that comment. Ten years ago I would have said ‘history has started to repeat to itself.’ Now I think it is clear ‘history has repeated itself’, r”l.

    RHS in his teshuva in 1984 was ahead of the game, and saw things clearly already then.

     
    MYCROFT
    For an interesting comments on the revisionism of RIETS and the Rav and importance of how women are treated in Yahadus see Prof Waxman’s 2 footnotes
    “…This may, in part, help explain the perception of the “move to the right.” It may well be that Modern Orthodox rabbis, including those ordained at RIETS in the latter part of the twentieth century, were considerably more to the right than were their predecessors. In other words, the move to the right may have been within the RIETS semikhah (ordination) program, under the influence of a revisionist approach to the thinking of its revered head, the late Rabbi JosephB. Soloveitchik (“the Rav”), rather than within Orthodoxy as a whole, but is so glaring because rabbis are much more visible than the laity. On revisionism with respect to the Rav, see Lawrence Kaplan, “Revisionism and the Rav: The Struggle for the Soul of Modern Orthodoxy,” Judaism 48,3 (Summer 1999): 290-311.
    IMO, the move to the right of RIETS is not at all due to the present RY leaving the Rav’s mesorah or something like that. Indeed there has been a move to the right which I described in an earlier post. I think there are many factors which combined to give the (mis)impression that this move to the right happening at RIETS somehow is a move away from the Rav’s hashkafa. People have misinterpreted it as such. In fact, it is a direct continuation.
     

    1. During the 60s and 70s the main struggle in YU and the main struggle for the Rav himself was to continue the fight against the Conservatives. There weren’t too many times when the Rav needed to criticize other Orthodox rabbis. (except for the time he felt forced to respond to the hafkaat kiddushin (and as I said above he was very, very strident, much more than RHS.) The more serious breaches of LW Orthodoxy were just starting.
    At the same time, the general atmosphere in YU reflected the atmosphere in the University world in general, where there was a lot of interest in the humanities.
    So the overall tone in YU was pro humanities and not anti left wing Orthodox.
     
    2. During the 80’s and into the 90’s, both of these changed. As I said earlier, the feminist movement’s inroads into O began to grow. And therefore, the RIETS RY, as a hemscech of the Rav, needed to sometimes be critical of other O rabbis. This created a perception of being different than the Rav, but indeed, it was a direct hemshech.
     
    Also, there was a general movement away from the humanities and towards business/making money. Therefore, the atmosphere in YU/RIETS became less focused on philosophy and the like. This created a perception of moving away from the Rav. This was not led by the RY. The RY focused on teaching Torah, yiras shamayim, etc… and secular studies for parnassah mostly. They did not speak against SS for more than parnassah. Sometimes the idea of SS of more than parnassah was discussed. It just wasn’t very relevant for the vast majority of talmidim anymore. That is where the talmidim were holding. The move away from SS for more than parnassah came from below, not from above.
     

     As I mentioned above, there was a general growth in more learning at night seder and a greater dikduk in halacha, due primarily to the year in Israel and to the influence of the Rav’s talmidim.

     
    The combined impact and impression of these three points was a more RW atmosphere, which included some criticism of LWO, which was uncommon when the Rav was active, for reasons I explained. None of that in anyway reflected moving away from the Rav. Just the opposite, as I wrote earlier in the post, more learning at night seder is not something the Rav would have objected to, obviously.
     

    There were some RY who indeed did speak against TU’M and who denied the Rav’s strong involvement in philosophy and the like (this includes the direct quotes cited by Dr. Lichtenstein). Those RY have since left RIETS for many years already. But their presence, combined with the 3 factors above created an impression of the ‘RIETS RY’ moving away from the Rav. Again, the present RY in RIETS were just not a part of that. Anyone (objective) who attended YU during that time can attest to this.
     
    (I don’t now Mycroft’s background, but it seems clear he did not attend YU in the 80s-90s. What I am describing is poshut to anyone there at that time, when, after the Rav stopped being active, and the new deviations started, Rav Schachter began to assert himself as the Rav’s direct hemshech on the US scene.)
     
    The comments of these RY, who have since left RIETS, have led some to misinterpret that many of the Rav’s talmidim were saying these things in RIETS. However, that is not historically accurate.

    5.  Rabbi Dr. Lamm published his book about TU”M. Some of the RIETS RY did not agree with some of his radical formulations, especially the part where he suggests the possibility of saying birchos HaTorah on some secular studies. Most did not respond publicly or at most responded minimally that RL went ‘too far’. They mostly ignored his book. This could be perceived as moving away from the Rav by not supporting TUM. However, IMO that is incorrect. RL has some radical formulations, and there is no evidence that the Rav would have agreed. Indeed, RAL himself disagreed in print with RL’s assertion that I mentioned above. I am not aware that RHS ever was critical of RL’s book in print (or for that matter in shiur. I don’t know if it was discussed). The RIETS RY always spoke (and wrote, see the introductions to their sefarim) of RL with kavod. They were sincere, but disagreed with some of RL’s comments about TUM. But again, the non support of his radical formulations added to the perception of a move to the right. But again, RL presented things which seem to be to the left of the Rav, and the RY stayed with the Rav (without disagreeing in print, except for RAL.)

     

    There is one area where there was a major change to the right in RIETS caused directly by the RY, especially RHS. YU had(s?) a program called the MBAT’s (mishna brurah achievement tests). RHS took them very seriously. He taught the M”B inside for all of shiur for several days straight every year of the MBATS. In this way, he instilled into the atmosphere in RIETS a major emphasis on halacha lemaaseh. His shiur in those years was very large and his influence spread and took hold. By the 90’s in YU, there was a much stronger feeling of focusing on nitty gritty halacha lemaasseh than had existed in the 70’s. As I wrote above, does that reflect moving away from the Rav’s legacy?!
    (I am aware that some may claim, when they hear the M”B, things like ‘chumras’ or ‘the Aruch haschulchan was more meikel’, etc… Therefore, I can see someone claiming that RHS focusing on the M”B means he moved lechumra away from the Rav. That is inaccurate. The Rav was machmir in many areas much more than the M”B. and teaching the M”B often meant being more meykel. All long time students of RHS are aware of many many examples of this. Just to name a few- the Rav was machmir to stand with feet together during chazras hashatz, the M”B does not require this. The Rav was machmir to avoid answering amen to the bracha of the chazzan before hallel by starting the bracha before the chazan finished the bracha, the M”B does not mention this. The Rav was machmir regarding details of tekias shofar beyond the m”b’s requirements. There are areas of course where the Rav was more meikel than the M”B, but focusing on the m”b in no way meant leaving the Rav’s legacy. Also, when RHS teaches M”B, he always mentions the Rav’s approach where relevant.)

     
    However, due to RHS’s focus on the MBAT’s (among other things. In general, he focused on halacha a lot, the MBAT’s stand out. The other RY also focused a lot on halacha, especially Rav Willig who also had a large shiur during those years), a strong focus on keeping the nitty gritty of halacha developed in YU, not chumras v. kulas, as I proved, but more of a focus on the nitty gritty.
     
    (The Rav did teach Orach Chaim and Yorah Deah, much more than other RY in RW yeshivas, however the focus was not on the nitty gritty details, but rather on the lomdus. Anyone who attended YU in the mid to late 80s and early 90s is aware of this new focus.)
     
    The combination of these 6 factors led some to misinterpret that the move to the right in RIETS was somehow led by the present RY as a move away from the Rav’s legacy. It had nothing at all to do with ‘leaving the Rav’s legacy’, (except for the RY mentioned above who said things which Dr. Lichtenstein quotes which are prima facia different than what the Rav stood for. And those RY have since left YU. By the way, I don’t mean to be critical of those RY. They were presenting their view of the Rav, which is quite similar to Rav Meiselman’s. I assume they could defend themselves. However, the focus in this thread is RHS and his influence in RIETS and beyond.)
     
    So I don’t accept the opinion of Prof. Heilman. There has been a move to the right in RIETS, as I described, over the last few decades and I think it reflects a hemshech of the Rav’s legacy, not a departure from it. (There were other things that added to the perception of a move to the right as well.)
     
    As I mentioned earlier, the present RY by and large are supportive of the medinah similar to the Rav. They certainly support as a given that young men should go to college to get a parnassah ‘to live in dignity’ (Rav Rakeffet’s term, from the Rav I think). Regarding the Rav’s view of interacting with non Orthodox, I explained in an earlier why IMO that has become largely moot.
     
    Again, as I explained in an earlier post, the present RY support the notion, for those that want it and if done with the correct hashkafic approach etc…, of learning SS and the like for more than parnassah purposes. They do not emphasize it, but then again IMO neither did the Rav emphasize it (it=studying sec. studies for more than parnassah purposes) in print or in his public lectures.
    IMO, it is not emphasized largely because that is where the students are holding. The focus in colleges all over the country now, is much more on parnassah than the humanities. YU has followed that trend.
     
    As mentioned earlier, the area of sec. studies where RHS is openly critical is in regard to Eng. Lit. And as I explained earlier, there is no evidence that the Rav fully agreed with RAL in this issue either. IMO, the Rav was in between RHS and RAL on this issue. Even if the Rav was in full agreement with RAL, that does not mean RHS has left the Rav’s legacy or revised it. He may argue on this point, as many talmidim may argue with a rebbe. (But again, it is an open question whether the Rav fully agreed with RAL’s views on studying Eng. Literature.)
     

    • Steve Brizel says:

      A superb response to an often posed comment

    • mycroft says:

      There is a difference between saying the Rav was not as pro English Lit than RAL and saying the Rav was less pro secular studies than RAL. The Rav was very broad in his interests and knowledge , the Rav for example knew Quantuum Mechanics to the level of a good undergrad physics major ,not as knowledgeable as a top grad students in physics from a leading scientific oriented university. The Rav would take advantage of meeting a knowledgeable person in physics to update his knowledge.

      The Rav being trained in Europe would have a more European philosophical bent than those trained in the US, that has nothing to do with the Ravs belief in importance of secular studies.it is a straw man to    Make distinctions of type of secular knowledge to pretend the Rav was not very pro secular studies. That does not take away one iota from the primacy of limudei kodesh.

       

    • dr.bill says:

      the Rav ztl was knowledgeable in a variety of disciplines.  in three years i only caught on sarcastic philosophical remark and one serious and precise point using an advanced mathematical notion; on one occasion he interrupted RAL ztl before RAL had a chance at naming his source, again with a smile, saying – the boy’s do not need to know of some medieval, English church figure/poet.  not the statement of one not well versed in literature.  both his SIL studied disciplines he would not have chosen given his proclivities.

      anyone in the Rav’s shiur for succah can tell you about the discussion of maamid bedavar ha’assur or shabbos on many issues.  woe be to one who questioned his view quoting the opinion of the MB.

      my suspicion, pure speculation, is that the Rav favored achronim who largely gave their seforot; he had a similar reaction if one quoted a rishon via the meiri.

      • mycroft says:

        You give a perfect example how one can’t use evidence of what the Ravs relatives did to be what he Rav did. That of course  is a different story than my maintaining that both RAL and RYT  are IMO totally credible in what they write about the Rav. That does not mean that anyone is perfect in  their understandings and interpretations  but they will not intentionally try and distort what the Rav meant. A direct quote they are totally credible.

        Prof Twersky was interested in Jewish studies way before he was married  to Dr Atarah Twersky, he was the leading student of Prof  Harry Wolfson, he spent I believe 49-50 in Israel at Hebrew U where he met a lot of the leading Jewish scholars. Prof Twersky was probably besides Harvard the leading student of the   Hebrew Teachers College in Boston-since renamed the Hebrew College. He was a loyal student of Prof Wolfson writing tributes, memorials and editing tributes to him.

      • mycroft says:

        Most important Dr Bill by his statement shows that the Rav was many distinct abilities and interests. If one knew the Rav from shiur one would know a classic Brisker Rebbe who could make a lot of chakirot. If one knew the Rav from philosophy is cussing one would get a different as pect of the Rav. Similarly if one knew the Rav as either the practical Halacha lemaaseh decider  for  the RCA or as one who asked Halacha lemaaseh questions one would get different approach. Similarly, those who knew him from Boston got a different Rav. Thus, to truly interpret the Rav one has to mobile all approaches, of course this is even assuming everyone is accurately portraying the Rav. One has to understand all, at least recognize the basic accuracy of all and the. Try and figure out theRav. One reason why very difficult to state with certainty in many areas what the Rav would have done He was very nuanced.

        • Steve Brizel says:

          That’s exactly why  the halachic response to the same question that was given by RYBS in Boston vastly differed when given to his talmidim in RIETS. Psak in no small matter depends on the level of observance and knowledge of the person posing the question.

          • dr.bill says:

            please provide concrete examples.  i know of numerous counter-examples, use of cosmetics on shabbos, making tea on shabbos, coeducation, going to the opera, etc.

             

            in general, as far as i know, the level of observance is a valid criteria, the knowledge level, not that relevant.  why you list both is curious.

          • mycroft says:

            Are you maintaining psak depend on knowledge of the recipient, kosher non kosher, taharas hamishpacha. what one emphasizes may be different in education but psak

          • mycroft says:

            There are students of his who spent time in Boston – in Boston he was more Halacha lemaaseh. He was less often engaged in chakiras and was lemaaseh from his hashgacha, to being force behind day schools.

            if one wants a good chakirah look to his discussions with those whose contra with him was in a shiur basis. If one wants to know practice see what he did.

            Anothr complete falsehood spread around is that Boston was unique, in what way. The cities percentage of Jews to total population is I believe is relatively high. Counter to some there were shomer Shabbos in area before the Rav came there. He actually came there at invitation of the Chevra  Shas.

            if your goal is to learn from the Ravthe highest level shiurim look for transcripts of his RIETS shiurim ,if one wishes to know his philosophy Dr Bill mentioned experts like Shalom Carmy and David Schatz. If one wants to know what the Rav believed in lemaaseh check with those who dealt with him on those issues

          • mycroft says:

            Psak is psak but psak depends n facts on the ground- why the Rav would often not pasken for talmidim who were Rabbnim. He would offer to review appropriate sources but at the end he would say you’re there how to you expect me to pasken fr you. Local conditions. BTW for most of America it is more relevant what the Rav pasken end outside of YU than shiurim at YU. Most of America is not learning in Yeshiva. One gets the nuances by seeing rulings rather than one mans repeating statements they heard. Ther is a cottage industry in that.

          • Steve Brizel says:

            Dr Bill wrote:

            ”  i know of numerous counter-examples, use of cosmetics on shabbos, making tea on shabbos, coeducation, going to the opera, etc.”

            Are you maintaining  that RYBS answered the above issues in the same manner for both any talmid in his shiur and any resident in the Brookline community? Do you sell chametz gamur and rely solely on a shtar mecirah?

  29. mycroft says:

    I have written there is no doubt in my mind if the Rav were given a choice between following in total RHS or YCT/OO he would follow RHS- but that is not the issue. The issue is the attempt to not look at the Ravs actions to see what he  would do but listen to certain RY as the sole criteria of what the Rav would do rather than try and interpret from actions.

    I will not respond all at once for a practical reason, my desktop just went on the blink and responding via my IPad which I only got a year ago necessitates smaller responses otherwise I’ll lose everything.

  30. mycroft says:

    RAL is far from being the sole musmach who received a Phd with the Ravs encouragement.  We can think of others who were close to the Rav and did so at his encouragement.

    I first met both RHS and Rav M Twersky in the 60s I had the pleasure of attending a shiur that he gave between Kiddush and lunch in Rubin Schul on alternative weeks on hilchos Shabbos, already as a young man he was extremely great masbir. Rav Meir Twersky has always been a very polite person and his menchkite can’t be challenged.

    A person can be an honest credible person and still be mistaken- there are other honest credible people who dealt closely with the Rav who have different recollections. Example there are different traditions and quotes of the Rav about women learning Gemarrah. BTW completely irrelevant to the issue of the Ravs beliefs is my agreement with RHS about the proper place for gem array in HS curriculum for both boys and girls. For what it’s worth Maimonides had a much lower percentage of HS curriculum  time on Talmud than most HS.

    if one wants to get a fair understanding of the Rav and Maimonides read Farbers book on Maimonides and the Rav he quotes different viewpoints and quotes that people quote the Rav on.

     

     

     

  31. mycroft says:

    You are correct I have not been involved in YU for decades. To the best of my recollection I  have been on the Main Campus once in the 80s, no times in the 90 s, twice in the 00s,  and not once this decade.

    It seems we agree that RHS psak was  crucial for attitudes towards women’s issues.  You list as prescient it is also possible that his harsh war on feminism and the tone led to  JOFA- BTW  it is my belief that the Rav would have agreed with the underlying psak of RHS in 1984 it is the dicta of the psak which is the disagreement. Noting of course, the Rav was still giving shiur when RHS and others signed the psak. I am aware that the Rav had started to go down by 1984, first indications were evident well over a decade before that.

    • Steve Brizel says:

      Women’s hakafos and WTGs were the impetus and facts on the ground that led to the founding of JOFA which marches in full solidarity with radical egalitarian feminist agenda and its never retreated from hatred of and seeking the destruction of the conventional family which has always been the bulwark of Jewish continuity.RHS merely amplified and underscored the comments of RYBS in this regard.

      • mycroft says:

        i didn’t say that IMO RHS probably had a different psak than the Rav would have had. My speculation no one could ever know what the Rav would have pasken end but IMO the disdain  for women’s advances was not the same for the Rav

        A story that a living Rav told me. He was a young Rabbi in the mid 70s and women wanted a women prayer group in schul. The Rav told him he couldn’t allow a WOmen Prayer group in schul but wo the question being asked the Rav told him that if they have a tfila group outside of schul he need get involved . It was the schul that the Rav was vehemently opposed to. A different nuance about women than  the belief f current RY. Clearly not treating feminism as a yahareg Val yaavor

        • Steve Brizel says:

          RYBS rejected the critique of feminism very emphatically . the spoken and written record is clear in that regard.

          • mycroft says:

            The record is clear that the Rav believed in Teaching Torah shebalpeh to girls, the record is clear that he  sat with his wife at affairs, the record is clear that Maimonides had mixed classes, and had more than one class per grade. Of course, the Rav believed in mechitzot for davening in schul but where else.

            the Rav rejected ALL critiques to the extent inconsistent with Halacha- why the fixation on feminism? The Rav was a big traditionalist.

        • Steve Brizel says:

          Listen to the shiurim that I mentuioned. RYBS vehemently rejected the feminist critique of TSBP and Halacha. There is no written record or recollection of RYBS ever viewing a WTG as anything more than a bdieved at best anywhere..

        • Steve Brizel says:

          When you out together what you mentioned in your 3.9.17 post at 8:58 PM and the two shiurim that I mentioned, it is fair to conclude that RYBS felt that teaching women Talmud in Maimonides  and giving the initial shiur at SCW was a means of coopting  the ideological threat of radical egalitarian feminists, and their spokesmen and apologists in the LW of MO which we know  was never  intellectually satisfied with merely learning the same text as men, but was always set on establishing    WTGs ( which RYBS never approved of on a lchatchilah level) , women’s graduate programs in Talmud or women’s ordination. Why else would there have been such celebratory rhetoric at the JOFA conference, where the next goals RL  appear to be legitimization of “gay marriage”,” alternatives” to Kiddushin, and single women bearing children .

    • Steve Brizel says:

      If you haven’t been on the main campus at YU for any significant time or events such as night seder the seforim sale or the Yamim Noraim the Purim Chagigah or heard shiurim or purchased any of the seforim of the current RY why and how could you claim that YU is different today than the last period of time that you spent any significant amount of time on campus?

    • Steve Brizel says:

      Mycroft wrote in part:

      “You are correct I have not been involved in YU for decades. To the best of my recollection I  have been on the Main Campus once in the 80s, no times in the 90 s, twice in the 00s,  and not once this decade”

      Obviously, your views of YU and RIES RY as of this date lack any present context. Have you ever attended a shiur ( as opposed to the grossly impersonal manner of downloading a shiur on line), gone to the Seforim sale,   the Purim Chagigah or  spent the Yamim Noraim on campus? How could you evaluate the RY other than by their visits to your community? Ah, but here is the key-you view RYBS’s influence on Boston as paramount and on the RCA and RIETS as mnimimal and only as a magid shiur-when we know to the contrary that RYBS answered the same halachic inquiry differently based on the level of education and observance of the person posing the inquiry.

  32. mycroft says:

    Re Mishna BRurah for what it’s worth RD CS i believe shows that it is a mistake to state that MB is more machmir than the Aruch Hashulchan. For what it’s worth I recall using Chai Odom and  Aruch Hashulchan. To this day when not asking a Rabbi a sheil I use the Aruch Hashulchan and Chai Odom. I probably go further than most besides the Chachmas Adam I also have the Aruch Hashulchan Haatid and when learning issues that are discussed there I use it.

    • Steve Brizel says:

      Planning to move to Israel and offer karbanos in the near future?

      • mycroft says:

        You are the one who advocates Torah lshma. I most often use the Aroch Hashulchan Haatid befor Yomim Tovim to eg learn the Avoda before Yom Kippur,  Pesach before  Pesach etc.

        i state that people spend too much time learning leishma in early life  before learning Halacha lemaaseh Naar hayiti vgam zakanti

    • Bob Miller says:

      I frequently see comments setting up AH vs MB.   To me, they often seem to give off a hint of group one-upmanship.   We’re dealing here with great authorities.    Informed Jews are free to favor one or the other for valid reasons, but not based on “This is my team; your team doesn’t know better.”

      • mycroft says:

        Bob Miller:

        i am not disagreeing with the MB , Isimply wrote I prefer the AH as a self contained unit, it is easier for me.

        i never met either, of course the CC SIL was the Bochen in my time in YU. Thus, I along with many never spoke to the CC.  But spoke to  his SIL as Bochen.

        • Steve Brizel says:

          Take a look at the completely Mnukad MB Dirshu edition. You will be able to learn such areas of Halacha as Arba Minim, Sukkah, and  Eruvin, thanks to the wonderful pictures and explanations from such Poskim as the CI, RSZA and RYSA.

        • Steve Brizel says:

          Mycroft wrote in part:

          “if one wants a good chakirah look to his discussions with those whose contra with him was in a shiur basis. If one wants to know practice see what he did.

           

          Anothr complete falsehood spread around is that Boston was unique, in what way. The cities percentage of Jews to total population is I believe is relatively high. Counter to some there were shomer Shabbos in area before the Rav came there. He actually came there at invitation of the Chevra  Shas.

          if your goal is to learn from the Ravthe highest level shiurim look for transcripts of his RIETS shiurim ,if one wishes to know his philosophy Dr Bill mentioned experts like Shalom Carmy and David Schatz.”

          The shiurim in Noras HaRav are verbatim transcriptions of shiurim and drashos in Boston and NY. The Yahrtzeit shiurim were edited and published at the request of the family. The sole reaction to Hareei Kedem is that it lacked the haskama of the family and was too yeshivishe-but there is much  in content and style that parallels the Noraos HaRav volumes.

          RHS’s sefarim are not sefarim of chakiras, but rather his understanding of RYBS’s pskakim, hanhagos, chumros, kulos, divrei Torah on the Parsha as well as drashos and shiurim given at such events as a Chag Semicha or when RYBS visited communities throughout the US. It is a complete mischaracterization to call the same “chakiras”

          As far as Boston is concerned, Alvin Schiff wrote that Boston was hardly the Vilna or Jerusalem of America in 1932 and the amount of Shomrei Shabbos  were at best “some.. in area” as opposed to being  a majority or significant minority by any means. RYBS’s own recollections as set forth by R Rakkafet hardly depicts a strong Shomer Shabbos community.

          • mycroft says:

            i got the idea of chakiras from someone currently living who was closer to the Rav than any one writing or commenting on this blog

          • mycroft says:

            I agree with Alvin Schiff but not one leading RY in RIETS stated that when the Rav came to Boston there were only 6 shomer Shabbos and 3 became his brothers in law. Patently false, I did not hear that from RHS but from another of your heroes Steve.

  33. mycroft says:

    Re Rabbi Lamm and TUM- the issue might not be TUM well over a decad before he became YU President- RNL was writing works that Classic Halachik hashkafa might have problems with ,my guess it revolves around halachas binding versus the more Chassidic bent and background of Rabbi Lamm.

    we often paper over differences between Chassidism and classical Halachik system. IMO sometimes you can see some of the differences in RNL’s early writings. Way beyond my pay grade. I am not aware of an academic analysis of Rabbi Lamms hashkafa .

    of course YU has changed they have hired as a Mashpia or something a big proponent of Hassidism and no objections.

    • Steve Brizel says:

      If you spend some time going thru Hilcos Talmud Torah of the SA HaRav and Shaar Daled of the Nefesh HaChaim, you will see an awful lot in common on the importance and definition of the Mitzvah of Talmud Torah. Like it or not, both Chasidus and the views of the Gra and R Chaim Volozhiner as set forth in the Nefesh HaChaim deserve careful study by any thinking Jew who wants to grow in Avodas HaShem as opposed to standing still,

  34. mycroft says:

    Re Conservative Judaism it stopped all pretence of following Halacha by 1945 with the Gordis formulation, by 1950 they permitted driving on Shabbos,. There were polemics against Conservatve Judaism n the late 40 s in Jewish life. I believe Prof Allen Brill has lectured or written on the polemics that were made against CJ. It was clear then that the rejected Halacha as bonding by 1966 Milton Himmelfarb in HS introduction to the Commentary Symposium wrote how one could tell the difference between the Orthodox writers and the non Orthodox writers if the names were not known- but one could not tell the difference between the various Orthodox writers and also both the Reform and Conservative respondents  were also not distinguishable.

    The Orthodox respondents were the gamut from Agdah followers to those who are de nod as OO by many.

    • Steve Brizel says:

      Those representing CJ would never have sanctioned same gender ceremonies or non Jews as members.

      • mycroft says:

        The rejection of Halacha and divine Torah was there- everything else has just been logical extensions  of the 1945-1950 CJ. Once one can permit chi llul Shabboseverything is possible. If one follows the street per Gordis everything is on the table.

        Non Jews as members raises a question of how one treats intermarried Jews – obviously intermarriage is assur but so are many things, does one totally shun the intermarried Jew or does one try and del with him, not a simple issue. Decades ago looking at old documents the issue was discussed even by the RCA. To be fair there was no discussion of even the possibility of dealing with the non Jewish party but the general issue is not as clear as simply ignoring the intermarried, similar to a decision not to ignore the mechallel Shabbos.

        • Steve Brizel says:

          I disagree. Someone who has intermarried and has raised a family without any commitment to any Jewish institutions is a casualty to the process of assimilation. You cannot eat at such a person’s house, or  consider such a person a witness. Such a person according to RYBS is beyond the pale of repentance on YK. Such a person may donate lots of money to Jewish causes, but he is living a life where his heart is completely detached from his head. I deplore the fact that you have minimized the tragedy of intermarriage, which is a statement that living a Jewish life as defined by Halacha has no meaning to you.

        • Steve Brizel says:

          I disagree. Someone who has intermarried and has raised a family without any commitment to any Jewish institutions is a casualty to the process of assimilation. You cannot eat at such a person’s house, or  consider such a person a witness. Such a person according to RYBS is beyond the pale of repentance on YK. Such a person may even donate lots of money to Jewish causes, but he is living a life where his heart is completely detached from his head. I deplore the fact that you have minimized the tragedy of intermarriage, which is a statement that living a Jewish life as defined by Halacha has no meaning to you.

        • Steve Brizel says:

          I disagree. Someone who has intermarried and has raised a family without any commitment to any Jewish institutions, which sociologists tell us is part and parcel of the process of intermarriage, is a casualty to the process of assimilation. You cannot eat at such a person’s house, or  consider such a person a witness. Such a person according to RYBS is beyond the pale of repentance on YK. Such a person may even donate lots of money to Jewish causes, but he is living a life where his heart is completely detached from his head. I deplore the fact that you have minimized the tragedy of intermarriage, which is a statement that living a Jewish life as defined by Halacha has no meaning to you.

        • Steve Brizel says:

          I disagree and  deplore the fact that you have minimized the tragedy of intermarriage, which is a statement that living a Jewish life as defined by Halacha has no meaning to a person who marries out of the Jewish faith.

          Someone who has intermarried and has raised a family without any commitment to any Jewish institutions, which sociologists tell us is part and parcel of the process of intermarriage, is a casualty to the process of assimilation. You cannot eat at such a person’s house, or  consider such a person a witness. Such a person according to RYBS is beyond the pale of repentance on YK. Such a person may even donate lots of money to Jewish causes, but he is living a life where his heart is completely detached from his head. .

        • Steve Brizel says:

          I disagree and  deplore the fact that you have minimized the tragedy of intermarriage, which is a statement that living a Jewish life as defined by Halacha has no meaning to a person who marries out of the Jewish faith.

          Someone who has intermarried and has raised a family without any commitment to any Jewish institutions, which sociologists tell us is part and parcel of the process of intermarriage, is a casualty to the process of assimilation. You cannot eat at such a person’s house, or  consider such a person a witness.  Such a person may even donate lots of money to Jewish causes, but he is living a life where his heart is completely detached from his head. .

        • Steve Brizel says:

          A Jew who is intermarried cannot be relied upon as a witness and you cannot eat in his or her house. Such a person has walked out of the Jewish community , may not receive the benefits of YK and all of the sociological evidence is that the children of an intermarriage have zero to minimal connections with the Jewish community and almost no support for Israel. I deplore the fact that you have minimized intermarriage seemingly by claiming “obviously intermarriage is assur but so are many things”

        • Steve Brizel says:

          A Mchallel Shabbos who has not intermarried has at least a chance of being reached to do teshuvah. Someone who has intermarried has gone beyond any communal boundary. I don’t see the comparison.

  35. mycroft says:

    Re  R Rakefet and JTS- I would emphasize different facts and come to different conclusion JTS in1886 was founded under the influence of the historical school , bit certainly by 1903 and Solomon Schechter it was obvious to all that it was not a classic Orthodox seminary.

    Re Rabbi Riskin and ordaining women it is NOT a new position of his- I heard him speak in the early 70s at LSS advocating women Rabbis and I had a lengthy conversation disagree g with him- show me the hue and cry by the Rav against  RRiskins approach which Riskin said lifnei am vedah. Not that I believe the Rav would have been in favor of it but where the hue and cry

  36. mycroft says:

    Re Rav Mayer Twersky he is credible but context is everything and why quote grandchildren to the right of the Rav, I state  if following relatives  I have suggested start with children and SILs. They have written on the Rav, once one goes to nephews and grandchildren they are not as close younger and run into problem of who you’re going to listen to. Certainly the Ravs relatives are all over the place in their hashkafa. I find it ludicrous when people reject RAL as not being knowledgeable of the Rav or not being in the US to understand US conditions. BTW Prof I Twersky ZTL was very close with his father in law and has written on the Rav

  37. Steve Brizel says:

    No-one ever said that RAL wasn’t knowledgeable about RYBS. However RAL as a resident of Israel from the early 1970s was not as familiar with the facts on the ground in the US and especially with respect to revisionist movements and how they changed since then. That fact cannot be denied.

    • dr.bill says:

      are you serious?  he received questions from former students who tended more so than the average RIETS graduate to confront issues at the forefront of modernity.  to even suggest that he was less familiar with the american scene than a YU RY is not just untrue but also laughable

      • Steve Brizel says:

        Didn’t RAL tell the RCA not just not to ordain women but also that the RCA should speak to the Gdolei Talmidei Chachamim in their midst in the US?

      • Steve Brizel says:

        WADR, I have read RAL’s views on American Jewry, and his views of CJ, let alone RJ,  are rooted in what he views as CJ’s saving graces from the 1950s and 1960s. If you think that is based on CJ as it existed in later decades and today, you are entitled to such a belief-just don’t dignify it by calling it factually correct.

    • mycroft says:

      If RAL is not knowledgeable of facts on the ground because he doesn’t live in the US than RIETS RY wwho live in WAshington Heights should not be knowledgeable of facts on the ground outside of WAshington Heights. Yet there are certainly those who argue that only those who are RY are able to understand issues. FWIW the Rav believed in local decision making by those who are there.

       

      • Steve Brizel says:

        The RIETS RY hardly spend their time cloistered in W Heights. The RIETS RY speak all over the US and spend  a lot of time in Israel visiting yeshivos where gap year students are present who will be attending YU in the following year. The RIETS RY are and have always been wonderful recruiting agents forYU.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        Mycroft wrote:

        ” Yet there are certainly those who argue that only those who are RY are able to understand issues. FWIW the Rav believed in local decision making by those who are there’

        That assumes that a LOR is as much of a Tamid Shegiyah Lhoraah , has Siyatah DShmayah ( which the Gemara tells us Psak requires), understands the issues and is as great a Talmid Chacham as a RY. Again, if you have a serious medical condition, you seek treatment from a specialist at a major medical center, not a GP.

  38. Steve Brizel says:

    Mycroft wrote:

    “MO is a total commitment to Torah Umitzvot while being aware of and active in the world. One confronts the world and is not afraid of it. Knowledge and study of secular studies is important not just for Parnassians BUT it can never equal the importance of Talmud Torah in its narrow sense. Narrow sense Shas, Haalacha Tanach and maybe might also include hashkafa etc.No matter how much importance knowledge of general world can never equal impact of Torah.
    I reject any indication that MO is Orthodoxy Lite, MO like the Rav is certainly as committed to non controversial practices as brachot, tfilah, bilateral hamazon etc. To me the ideal behavior of an MO person is exemplified by the Rav. Not that anyone else can reach his level but a dealing with the world and its ideas but Torah first”
    Thank you. However , all of the above while wonderful in theory, based on the evidence and facts of the ground, which you can see in any MO community, is a mile wide and an inch deep in level of commitment among many who would define themselves as MO.  I know far too many self defined MO who simply by their own daily lives, and especially in their childrens’ lives and their resistance to a child who is slightly more mdakdek bmitzvos than themselves, who  do not meet the criteria that you set forth and really live a MO lite life.

  39. Steve Brizel says:

    Mycroft wrote:

    “MO is a total commitment to Torah Umitzvot while being aware of and active in the world. One confronts the world and is not afraid of it. Knowledge and study of secular studies is important not just for Parnassians BUT it can never equal the importance of Talmud Torah in its narrow sense. Narrow sense Shas, Haalacha Tanach and maybe might also include hashkafa etc.No matter how much importance knowledge of general world can never equal impact of Torah.
    I reject any indication that MO is Orthodoxy Lite, MO like the Rav is certainly as committed to non controversial practices as brachot, tfilah, bilateral hamazon etc. To me the ideal behavior of an MO person is exemplified by the Rav. Not that anyone else can reach his level but a dealing with the world and its ideas but Torah first”
    Thank you. However , all of the above while wonderful in theory, based on the evidence and facts of the ground, which you can see in any MO community, is a mile wide and an inch deep in level of commitment among many who would define themselves as MO.  I know far too many self defined MO who simply by their own daily lives, and especially in their childrens’ lives , who  do not meet the criteria that you set forth and really live a MO lite life.

  40. Steve Brizel says:

    Mycroft wrote:

    “MO is a total commitment to Torah Umitzvot while being aware of and active in the world. One confronts the world and is not afraid of it. Knowledge and study of secular studies is important not just for Parnassians BUT it can never equal the importance of Talmud Torah in its narrow sense. Narrow sense Shas, Haalacha Tanach and maybe might also include hashkafa etc.No matter how much importance knowledge of general world can never equal impact of Torah.
    I reject any indication that MO is Orthodoxy Lite, MO like the Rav is certainly as committed to non controversial practices as brachot, tfilah, bilateral hamazon etc. To me the ideal behavior of an MO person is exemplified by the Rav. Not that anyone else can reach his level but a dealing with the world and its ideas but Torah first”
    Thank you. However , all of the above while wonderful in theory, based on the evidence and facts of the ground, which you can see in any MO community, is a mile wide and an inch deep in level of commitment among many who would define themselves as MO.  The sad fact is that a MO lite way of life is alive and well within the MO world

  41. Steve Brizel says:

    Mycroft wrote in response:

    “MO is a total commitment to Torah Umitzvot while being aware of and active in the world. One confronts the world and is not afraid of it. Knowledge and study of secular studies is important not just for Parnassians BUT it can never equal the importance of Talmud Torah in its narrow sense. Narrow sense Shas, Haalacha Tanach and maybe might also include hashkafa etc.No matter how much importance knowledge of general world can never equal impact of Torah.
    I reject any indication that MO is Orthodoxy Lite, MO like the Rav is certainly as committed to non controversial practices as brachot, tfilah, bilateral hamazon etc. To me the ideal behavior of an MO person is exemplified by the Rav. Not that anyone else can reach his level but a dealing with the world and its ideas but Torah first.”
    Eloquent words in theory. Yet, the facts on the ground would indicate that many who define themselves as MO really are MO lite in terms of their level of commitment to many of the “non-controversial practices” that you mentioned and who do not have a committment to Kvias Itim LaTorah , let alone a favorable view of children who become more mdakdek bmitzvos (as opposed to either very meilil or machmir) ,

  42. Steve Brizel says:

    Mycroft wrote in relevant part:

    “BTW for most of America it is more relevant what the Rav pasken end outside of YU than shiurim at YU. Most of America is not learning in Yeshiva. One gets the nuances by seeing rulings rather than one mans repeating statements they heard. Ther is a cottage industry in that”

    So let’s see the proof which you keep referring to and mention that the same exists in “ul;timate” form as opposed to a written and easily and readily obtainable format. Then, if you want to talk about a cottage industry, obviously those who claim that RYBS in Boston and as head of the Halacha Commission was the Ikar and as RY in RIETS was the tafel, deserve that classification as well.

  43. Steve Brizel says:

    Mycroft wrote in relevant part:

    “Most of America is not learning in Yeshiva. One gets the nuances by seeing rulings rather than one mans repeating statements they heard.”

    The Torah is transmitted by Talmidei Chachamim  in its most pristine form  orally to anyone who attends or listens to a shiur, and who follow the teachings of any Gadol, regardless of their educational level.Merely seeing a ruling whether by Maaaseh Rav or in a book is no substitute from and for what any talmid gains from learning and being mshamesh an adam gadol. The fact is today that there more Jews learning full time in yeshivos worthy of the name that an at any prior time in Jewish history. Those who lack such a connection will be hard pressed and very lucky  to have Jewish grandchildren.

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