Retraction II (tis the season)
My recent Am Echad Resources essay “Bernie, Sully and Me” has generated substantial criticism from many readers, including people whose opinions I deeply respect. I have come to the conclusion that that there were errors in both the content and tone of the essay, for which I apologize.
My main goal in publishing these essays is to help people understand eternal Jewish truths. Unfortunately, here I chose unsuitable examples for the concepts I sought to impart, failing to accomplish that goal and offending many people in the process.
I am grateful, as always, for the constructive comments and feedback I received
from my readership, whose confidence I hope to retain going forward.
A scholar of Torah is referred to as a Talmid Chacham, a wise student. In Torah scholarship, the foundation of wisdom is having an open mind and recognizing, and admitting, error despite the natural bias of having taken a public stance. The search for truth does not end when you lift your pen from paper.
I believe that is as good as can be done at this point. Yiasher Kochacha on the retraction.
I appreciate R Shafran taking time to write this. I continue to look forward to his postings.
The thing that surprised me most about this article was not the content but the response from people that know Rabbi Shafran. Did they judge Rabbi Shafran favorably? Did they pick up the phone to clarify what Rabbi Shafran intended to write? No. Worse, those people may have even embarrassed Rabbi Shafran… a thought I do not think entered their heads.
May all religious scholars and leaders learn from your example.
I wish Rabbi Shafarn hatzlacha
I am sorry for the ad hominem(onaos devarim) that I have posted in criticizing the article and beg mechila.
Ezzie: “I believe that is as good as can be done at this point”
Really? As good as can be done? Has no one out there ever had to apologize to his wife??
Thank you, Rabbi. Your retraction is a heartening indication that we are all learning. May we all learn from your mistake.
From one person to another, thank you.
I think there is an important point that you made about how the the vitrol and hatred directed at Madoff expresses something about our attitude towards money and crime that has become distorted…Perhaps another column…
You’re still my favorite Rabbi, not by what you write so much, but by your character and heart that shines through between the lines.
Have a blessed Passover.
Everypne does or says things that look bad in hindsight. I appreciate Rabbi Shafran’s willingness to follow up in this way.
Anyone in the public eye is bound to make a mistake and get called for it; the thing to do is to acknowledge the criticism and move on. Rabbi Eric Yoffe made his point, but it is not something which can not be undone, by continuing to write other, better-accepted, articles on Torah hashkafa.
On a personal note, I once wrote something on my now-defunct blog about a Jewish Observer article, and some of the feedback I received was harsh, criticizing my frumkeit (or at least I perceived it that way). Rabbi Shafran encouraged me to learn from any valid criticism, but to ignore anything else. Unlike some of his current, Frum blog-critics elsewhere hiding beyond anonymity, R. Shafran treats people he disagrees with mentchlickeit and decency, and I can attest to that.
I hope Rabbi Shafran will continue with his writing endeavors which I learn much from.
This wonderfully expressed apology is classic Rabbi Shafran. It makes evident in a few words why so many people love his writing and care so much about what he says.
1. yasher koach for the retraction.
2. not all of us who criticized the article were rude, disrespectful, nor anonymous. Some of us were simply in disagreement with the moshol and called R’ Shafran on it, but were NOT insulting, or certainly never meant to sound like we were. For those now attacking the criticizers, please remember that some of us simply addressed an issue we felt was incorrect, and more so, insulting. let’s not lump all the criticism into one type.
One person commenting above, criticizes us for judging Rabbi Shafran’s comments on their face value. But isn’t this person doing the same by judging our comments on face value?
The purpose of this forum is to present our views on subjects affecting our Jewish people. In turn, people respond to those views expressed, based on what is said here. It is unreasonable to expect us to dig any deeper than that, analyzing the motivations of the person who wrote the words, and so on.
I do not think any of us meant any kind of personal attack on Rabbi Shafran. I know I certainly did not. I frankly do not know much at all about him, but from the little that I have heard, it has all been positive. I simply disagreed with some of the views he expressed. Hopefully, this country is still free enough such that dissent is accepted, expected, and even welcomed.
As for Rabbi Shafran’s words of apology that he is sorry for offending us, I can only speak for myself in saying that he did not offend me at all. No apology was necessary. He is entitled to his views, just as I am to mine. The only person who agrees with all of my views is, well, me. It takes all kinds of people to make this world.
I think of the Talmud as the perfect illustration of what I am saying. All kinds of views are expressed there, often in disagreement with one another. While final decisions on various topics are usually reached, the dissenting view is not censored, and sometimes, final decisions are not reached at all. And even when a particular sage is wrong in all cases except for four (if my memory serves me correctly, I think Abayeh fits that description), he is regarded as one of the greatest of Talmudic sages. I am not sure we can do any better than the sages of the Talmud.
This retraction is a class act.
This is the Avi Shafran I know and love.
If I may make a comment to a comment?
Raymond says that Abayeh is “wrong in all cases except for four”. That is not an accurate description. A better formulation would be “only has the final halachah, in his disputes with Rava, in six cases”. For example, the bircas hachamah we were privileged to recite two weeks ago is as Abayeh stated.