A Tisha B’Av Message, Penned in Pain and in Hope

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50 Responses

  1. Daniel Rubin says:

    It almost feels like we’re wasting Hashem’s time this year even asking for the geulah. This year’s Tisha B’Av just feels like a placeholder to me. We should regroup and try again next year.

  2. Manny Saltiel says:

    Thank you so much for posting this. I so appreciate it.

  3. Tzvi Grossman says:

    This is a wonderful statement and obviously heartfelt.

    With all due respect to the authors (and much respect is due), why are we not hearing these sentiments from those who are considered daas torah? (One answer, perhaps cynical but true, could be that by virtue of such sentiments, the authors and others like them are inherently pasulled from being viewed as having daas torah.)

  4. Michael says:

    Well said – sad that it needs to be said, and said that so few others are saying it, but thank you for doing so. Each day, when i think things cannot get worse, i read new articles of things that are in fact worse.

  5. Glatt some questions says:

    Amen, Rav Adlerstein.

  6. Binyamin says:

    Thank you for sharing this message, it fathoms the mind how people, especially well respected and high up Rosh Yeshivas can be so hateful anytime, all the more so so close to tisha b’av.

  7. SA says:

    Thank you for this important post.

  8. Abe1 says:

    Sometimes it is precisely when we have hit rock bottom that HKB”H answers our tefillos. It feels like we have hit rock bottom, or close to it. Every day there is another appalling or upsetting article or statement from one side or another. No one sane wants this. Perhaps if we can get our heads out of Machlokes and just all daven for shalom we will get it and more. . .

  9. Rivky says:

    Beautiful sentiment, but how sad/ironic how many individual groups pen their own statements of achdus. It would be great to see one signed by all Jewish groups – RCA, Agudah, IRF, Rabbinical Assembly, AIPAC, J Street, etc. iy”H one day…

  10. Daniel says:

    Thank you; I agree with this.

  11. Rabbi Harry Zeitlin says:

    Amen and thank you for publishing this.

  12. Rav Shmuel says:

    Thanks for saying clearly what (i hope) so many of us know to be the truth! B’ezras haShem may this statement reach the eyes and ears of our people – even those for whom the internet is assur!

  13. Eli in USA says:

    Thank you. May we be Zoche that Hashem can once again dwell among us and not be chased away by our internal fighting.

  14. Bob Miller says:

    Someday soon, these truths will be self-evident, and it will no longer take a special courage to express them in public.

  15. Neil Harris says:

    Yashar Koach, Rabbi Adlerstein and Rabbi Horowitz!
    As with most people, I cannot agree more. May your message not only stay online for people to read, but more importantly, may we take your words and make them a reality by, mamish, showing Kavod to everyone.

  16. Benshaul says:

    Yeshivaworld is posting a quote from the Rosh Yeshiva of Ponivezh condemning the attacks on the soldiers, and asking for the eidah charedis to condemn them as well.

    [YA – Matzav has the story as well.]

  17. Gavriel Rubin says:

    Thanks for a wonderful article

  18. yisroel miller says:

    If we could add a hundred thousand or more signatures to those of Rabbis Adlerstein and Horowitz, perhaps that would be some consolation for the anguish the Ribono Shel Olam must be feeling…

  19. Tania says:

    In the form of a positive response to this baseless hatred, I’ve set up a page on Face Book called Kippa Sruga. It will showcase all the positive attributes of our dati leumi families. Please LIKE and SHARE when you come across the page. In this way we can bring Mashiach in positivity

  20. Shmuel Burstein says:

    Yishar Koach for speaking out about these truly sad developments. V’nireh b’nechomas Tziyon v’Yerushalayim, b’korov.

  21. A says:

    A wonderful rebbe of mine once pointed out that the famous memra talmide chachamim marbim.. (Brachos 63b yevamos 123 see maharsha there for the extent) has a pashut kashe.. hachush makchish! He answered that it wasn’t a predictioN but a hagdara. Those that don’t fit the geder aren’t talmide chachamim pure and simple.

  22. dr. bill says:

    it is easier to condemn without naming names. undoubtedly you meant X but not Y. and even naming names is only a start. you must also condemn those who have not condemned what you called out. organizations that condemn X and not Y must explain their logic.

    if you have any doubts that silence by organizations who claim daat torah is unacceptable, read the comments on the last outburst on YWN or matsav by those who they sway.

  23. Gershon says:

    Rabbi Horowitz demonstrates once again why I and many others consider him the Gadol Hador.

  24. Raymond says:

    It is not the differences of opinions on things that bother me, but rather when people with views different than my own, try to impose their views and lifestyle on me, even using the law and the courts to do so. I can immediately come up with many examples of what I am talking about. However, given that it is Tisha B’Av, I will refrain for now, as there is no use spreading even more hatred than already exists.

  25. Ci says:

    Very appreciated that you express a message so many of us feel.
    Most likely, you are preaching to the converted–those who resonate with this message probably already agree. The ones who need it most, most likely don’t get it.

    We all hear about baseless hatred, over and over. Let’s go deeper because it’s become so familiar a term it doesn’t truly move people to change.
    The baseless hatred I experienced, meaning, for no reason other than someone’s insecurity, comes from their own bad feelings about themselves projected outward. It wasn’t because I was different religiously most times, it was because of their own lack of resonance with their own shortcomings. In essence, it was from a lack of emotional intelligence.

    Emotional intelligence is rarely discussed in the Torah context; it’s a modern term. But it really refers to both Middot and perception. The subtleties of being able to look past externals in both the self and the other, to identify with the neshama and respond with compassion and sensitivity to the next person is what we’re all hungering for, the goal we are after. This is the response to baseless hatred. The capacity to interact with human beings with respect will win every time and be the most attractive selling package for the distant and alienated. Derech eretz kadma la’torah, that means emotional intelligence.

    The question is, how do you instill that in those who don’t have it, especially if they are religious?

  26. Eli Julian says:

    I almost cried from relief reading your words. You cannot imagine the abandonment I feel, being cursed and spat at on a regular basis for trying to do the right thing in the right way – namely support my family while also contributing to the defense of Am Yisrael in a mehadrin framework. And yet, despite various efforts on my behalf and by friends in similar situations, not a blessed word has been uttered by the Gedolim in out defense. Even the comments of Rav Gershon as mentioned above contained and enormous caveat. As reported on Bechadrei Charedim here, he said that the kids in Meah Shearim were trying to achieve legitimate ends through illegitimate means. Another close contact to other Gedolim told me that Gedolim do not feel responsible to comment or condemn every outrageous crime committed be supposedly religious people, because the list of required condemnations would never end. PLEASE! All this is just beyond belief. I cannot feel safe from attack from my own supposed brethren when walking down my street, but that doesn’t fit the guidelines of what is allowed to elicit a response? Rabbi Adlerstien I sincerely request that you make all the effort to get as many signatures as you can on this letter, and that you go to the Gedolim here in Israel with a request to speak up for us.

    [YA – I wish, for your sake, that I had that access. However, BEH, I will try to get your words as close to them as I can. Please keep up the great work, and realize that there are many people in the charedi world who have profound respect and gratitude for you and your friends]

  27. mb says:

    My teacher taught me that the thrice daily Amida blessings conclude with the most difficult of all, that of bringing peace.
    Then, he said, we take 3 steps back from God.
    Why?
    Because if you really want peace you must make room for the other, even though the disagreements writ large.
    Wise words

  28. lacosta says:

    i cannot recall a 9 av that felt more don’t even bother , as the 1st comment of daniel rubin suggests. in past, there were in the 3 wks tzarot from the North [as the nviim indicated] –usually lebanon. this year, even the neighbors where es hot gekocht –where things were ‘cooking’– it was good for the jews… but alas, this year is a year where —
    “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
    But in ourselves, that we are underlings.”

    and it matters not who is the evil or guilty party– the hilonim or their DL allies ; the netueiniks and the haredim–
    is it shmad is it ingrates ….in the end it’s the same old story magnified a hundred times…

    if there was a mashiach ‘nuclear clock’, it was set back a couple more generations….

  29. lacosta says:

    >>>Beautiful sentiment, but how sad/ironic how many individual groups pen their own statements of achdus. It would be great to see one signed by all Jewish groups – RCA, Agudah, IRF, Rabbinical Assembly, AIPAC, J Street, etc. iy”H one day

    —– but one needs to consider r shafran’s chaddash assur min hatora piece—part of the problem is determining what praxy/doxy keeps one within the walls that one may be joined together with….that’s ,after all , what all the fighting is about anyways—- l’havdil bein kodesh lechol…

  30. dr. bill says:

    lacosta, chadosh assur was used by the CS against both modernity and those suggesting new chumrot,like what we today call the CI’s shiurim. While he himself observed that chumrah, he would not support it as a psak for the whole community. The CS was consistent, something I do not see currently, where IMHO those to the right often receives a pass while those to the left do not. Are rabbis Stav and Sacks or lipman or even sperber, further outside the walls than X or Y? Where are the walls? Not sure, but they ought not tilt quite as far as they appear to.

  31. Chardal says:

    >Another close contact to other Gedolim told me that Gedolim do not feel responsible to comment or condemn every outrageous crime committed be supposedly religious people, because the list of required condemnations would never end.

    Then maybe these Gedolim should re-read the story of kamtza and bar-kamtza:

    אמר ליה לא אמר ליה יהיבנא לך דמי פלגא דסעודתיך אמר ליה לא אמר ליה יהיבנא לך דמי כולה סעודתיך א”ל לא נקטיה בידיה ואוקמיה ואפקיה אמר הואיל והוו יתבי רבנן ולא מחו ביה ש”מ קא ניחא להו איזיל איכול בהו קורצא בי מלכא אזל אמר ליה לקיסר מרדו בך יהודאי

    “Then let me give you half the cost of the party. No, said the other. Then let me pay for the whole party. He still said, No, and he took him by the hand and put him out. Said the other, Since the Rabbis were sitting there and did not rebuke him, this shows that they agreed with him. I will go and inform against then, to the Government.”

  32. shlomo zalman says:

    Much thanks to Rav Adlerstein and Rav Horowitz on their heartfelt thoughts and writings. They are truly necessary and deeply appreciated.

    Please everyone reread an above comment by Eli Julian. Milim K’dorbanot, emotionally incisive, words that tell it like it really is. As a father to a past commander in the Nachal Chareidi, I know how truthful his description is.

    With deep respect to all well wishers to the kipa srugah population, I would like to present a different angle on the responses.

    1. Although Rav Edelstein made it clear that there are extremist “thugs” out there, his main thrust was that their actions were “unhelpful to the Torah world”. No unequivocal condemnation, no statement that violent means are illegitimate without qualification. In other words, the disagreement with the thugs is mostly tactical, not strategic. I understand where he is coming from and his limitations, and I respect that. But still, I’m sorry, that does not do it for me.

    2. I am a proud wearer of the kipah sruga and I have no problem being “labeled” as such. I do most if not all of the kipah sruga things, and I’ll defend them. I do not need legitimization, love letters, or half-hearted and condescending proclamations from Roshei Yeshiva stating that I am still considered a Jew despite my krum apikorsishe hashkafos. My worldview is as much l’shem shamayim as anyone else’s.

    So what is it that I want? I want to be able to walk into any shul or shtiebel in the world with my blue shirt and knitted yarmulke. I want to be the tenth man and have them start “Ashrei”, without them waiting for an eleventh, the one who “really counts”. That will be enough.

  33. ben dov says:

    I do not defend the remark this post condemns. But I am seeking clarity. According to what I read, the remark was not an attack on dati leumi as a whole but on Naftali Bennett and associates for supporting the Lapid proposals. It is fair to ask how different is this remark from many statements by many roshei yeshivos that the Lapid proposals are an attempt to destroy Judaism and charedim.

    ben dov
    1honestlyfrum.blogspot.com

  34. Yossie Abramson says:

    When will the Agudah issue a statement urging the Charedi leadership to do some “soul-searching?”
    When the rabbis use extreme rhetoric, do they really not expect that their followers will expand on that?

  35. contarian says:

    What i am going to say is certainly not PC. The High Priests of the CCHC will have my head.

    Take a chill pill. “Sticks and stomes may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.”
    Verbal Overkill is a deeply ingrained cultural trait in the torah world from talmudic times on downward. In some sense, it is part of the male bonding rituals that unite teacher and student. That said, I do not think it was wise of the Shas Rosh Yeshiva to do what he did.

    I did not see any criticism of the common Israeli descriptions of haredim as vermin and parasites. Read the postings to the blogs of any MSM Israeli or Jewish American news site and you will be amazed at how often the above words are used.

    Two wrongs do not nake a right but it takes two for sinas chinam.

  36. DF says:

    “I do not need legitimization, love letters, or half-hearted and condescending proclamations from Roshei Yeshiva stating that I am still considered a Jew despite my krum apikorsishe hashkafos.”

    Of course not. Condemnations from Charedi leaders are necesary to legitimatize themselves, not the NRP.

  37. Shades of Gray says:

    In a comment to “Parades and Priciples”(Cross Currents, 11/06), R. Avi Shfran explained, “but there are two things to keep in mind when wondering why those authorities did not… more explicitly condemn the violence. One is that to do so establishes a precedent that will require a reaction every time some hooligan throws a stone…Secondly, the line between civil disobedience …and wrong-headed violence is not as sharp as some might think.” Similarly, Hamodia(7/10/13), while calling for public condemnantion wrote, “there is often the mistaken assumption that were the chareidi leadership or media to condemn these actions, these individuals would promptly cease and desist from any wrongdoing”.

    The problem is that when a Gadol calls someone a “rasha” , and then he is physically attacked at a wedding, or when a newspaper writes that “while it opposed violence, it supported the campaign against the ‘hardakim’ “, there is a moral nexus to leadership. You can’t have it both ways.

    Besides (1) הואיל והוו יתבי רבנן ולא מחו ביה ש”מ קא ניחא להו , there is the issue of (2) Chilul Hashem, which is dependent on perception(“even though pikuach nefesh overrides all but three cardinal transgressions, both Rabbi Elazar Menachem Schach and Rabbi Yaakov Kaminetsky, z”l, told Rabbi Moshe Sherer, in response to a query he had put to them, that rule does not apply where there is likelihood of chilul Hashem–Jonathan Rosnblum). There is also the issue of (3) the effect on the culture, as the Gemera faults the entire Beis Bilgah because of what Miriam bas Bilga did–“Whatever a child speaks is (learned) from his father or his mother.” ; and (4) as R. Shafran quotes R. Dessler, “had the people as a whole been sufficiently sensitive to the Divine commandment to shun the city’s spoils, Achan would never have been able to commit his sin(“The Matrix”, 8/21/09). In “Rabbi Yissocher Frand in Print”, R. Frand quotes a statement, years ago, from an Agudah Convention where a contemporary Rosh Yeshiva then called for more gentleness in the Torah world when criticizing.

    On the other hand, R. Mordechai Torczyner recently wrote, ” I don’t think it’s fair to criticize Israeli Chareidim for the violence of their speech. We are talking about people who are being forced to radically change their lives or face starvation, aside from feeling that they are under ideological siege by a powerful majority… Being wrong does not mean they cannot be upset”. In addition, in past centuries, harsh rabbinic languauge was effective, and some people today respond to it as well. As a Charedi journalist was recently quoted, “it’s part of a particular culture where heated expressions are thrown out with little consideration of their impact”.

  38. Michael Halberstam says:

    LaCossta, Rabbi Shafran’s policy of not accepting comments makes it easy for him to avoid discussing difficult issues. In fact the CS mentions Chdash Ossur in the teshuvos in only three cases You can check this yourself. 1.In one case he is dealing with moving The bima to the middle of the shul. This is a common understanding of Chadash ossur in the homiletical sense.2. However, in another case, he disagrees with the Noda Beyehuda’s heter to allow heating up a mikveh for tvilas Nashim on Yom Tov Calling this Chadash Ossur. Does this mean that he thought for one second that the Noda Beyehuda was a reformer. Chas Veshalom. 3. In a third case , he asks how we allow people to give the intestines of a chicken to a goy, since for them it is considered ever min hachai, because the chicken moves around after shechita, and for Bnei Noach this is considered ever min hachai . He says that we can’t put an issur on this because klal yisroel is noheg to be matir and to change this practice by creating an issur is included in Chdash Aaur. It is obvious that he means something very different from what is commonly peddled . Moreover, in a series of teshuvos where he attacks Aaron Chorin the major reformer of his time. I don.t believe he ever uses the term Chadash Ossur min Hatorah. How about that.

  39. Shades of Gray says:

    An enduring lesson that applies no matter when people from which side attacks, is what R. Zalman Memlamed wrote:

    הנעלבים ואינם עולבים שומעים חרפתן ואינן משיבין, עליהם הכתוב אומר ואוהביו כצאת השמש בגבורתו

    This was said five years ago around Purim by R. Aaron Titelbaum of Kiryas Yoel(Satmar Rebbe), but evoked the Tisha B’av liturgy(from Vos VIN News) and I thought of it yesterday:

    ” In his speech, he took a few moments to recognize, and to speak about the shooting attack on the Merkaz H’Rav Yeshiva in Jerusalem, with a sad voice the Rabbi said, “the shooting is like the burning of the Beth Hamikdosh, he continued to say “although its a modern yeshiva [most likely he meant a pro Zionist philosophy] its a very sad era for klal yisreol, that in middle of torah learning an evil ‘Rotzech’ can walk in, and spray shoot torah learning Bochrim” the Rabbi said. and he raised his voice with sadness “Tzion Bemar Tivkah, Velirushilayim Titen Kolah” “ציון במר תבכה וירושלים תתן קולה”

    The Rabbi extended a heartfelt condolences to the family who lost their loved ones, and wished for a speedy recovery for the many who still remain injured.”

  40. Jewish Observer says:

    thanks for a well articulated and courageous article

  41. Ben says:

    It does not take two for sinas chinam – only one.

  42. Dr. E says:

    To frame the discussion as merely Jew vs. Jew is ignoring the fact that Chayalim [whether (Chareidi) observant or not] are putting their lives on the line. It goes without saying that ANY soldier, male or female, not only should be shielded from verbal or physical abuse. But, they should be recognized, admired, and respected by EVERY Jew (In Israel or beyond) who is the beneficiary of that supreme sacrifice.

    The silence is reminiscent of some of those in the story of Kamtza and Bar Kamtza. (Unfortunately, examples of such respect are for the most part legacy meiselach from previous generations and might not reflect the sentiments of the current leadership.)

  43. Shades of Gray says:

    I read that Hapeles condemns the ‘hardakim’ campaign, and the Israel Hayom(7/14/13) paraprase of “while it opposed violence, it supported the campaign against the ‘hardakim’ ” is brief and misleading based on Israel Hayom(7/12/13) below:

    “The term ‘hardak’ was not invented by Nati Grossman or by any other member of Hapeles’ editorial board. This is an initiative by an anonymous person who produced this campaign, whose identity remains unknown to this day. The assumption that mistakenly attributes the term to us stems from another term, ‘haredim hadashim’ [new haredim], which is attributed to Grossman. That’s a different expression, coined long before the hardak campaign and before the current controversy over the haredi draft. The term ‘new haredim’ doesn’t have to do directly with enlistment only, but with a series of deviations from the haredi community’s norms that characterize the ‘new haredim.'”

    According to Hapeles officials, “The term ‘hardakim’ was coined only recently by an anonymous person. Its purpose was to express the attitude of the haredi community, which condemns haredim in uniform walking around in the haredi neighborhoods because they feel it is an attempt to influence children and teenagers to choose army service over Torah study. While the editorial board condemns the campaign, it stands up for the basic right to condemn a negative phenomenon that goes against the haredi way of life — a right that is granted by virtue of freedom of expression. We never heard about any attempt to prevent criticism of any group (haredim portrayed as blackmailers, settlers portrayed as enemies of peace and so on), and the statements being made in that spirit are an expression of hysteria on the part of political players who belong to the new government, who do not know how to stop the chaos and the rift they created with their own hands.”

  44. Ben Waxman says:

    t is fair to ask how different is this remark from many statements by many roshei yeshivos that the Lapid proposals are an attempt to destroy Judaism and charedim.

    The difference is exactly what you wrote: The roshei yeshivot attacked proposals, Rav Cohen attacked people (and the attempts to explain away what he said were poor attempts at spin).

    I did not see any criticism of the common Israeli descriptions of haredim as vermin and parasites.

    Look again. When MK Levi said that remark, he was attacked from all sides and he himself apologized several times.

  45. Yehoshua Friedman says:

    We have a good reason to mourn the divisiveness in the Jewish body politic today. Yesterday I was in the presence of Harav Yoel Schwartz shita, who explained his recent decision to sever all ties with the Nachal Hareidi after many years. He explained that there was a total lack of willingness on the part of the IDF to be flexible toward the needs of hareidi soldiers to maintain their way of life and an underlying agenda to actually wean them away from it. When asked why he did not take this action after the incident of forcing religious soldiers to listen to women singing, he said that this was Hesder rather than the Nachal Hareidi to which he was connected. He had expressed his opinion to Hesder Rashei Yeshiva at the time that they should act in a united fashion and refuse cooperation in such a situation. He also believed that when Yeshivat Har Bracha was expelled from Hesder, all the Hesder Yeshivas should have acted in concert and forcefully to end the enlistment of their talmidim until the situation was rectified. This means that there is now no longer as serious rabbinic leader behind the Nachal Hareidi, only younger rabbis who are on salary and therefore lacking complete freedom of action.

  46. Shaya Karlinsky says:

    The simple reason why Gedolim were required to condemn the attacks on charedi soldiers (rachmana l’tzlan) is that one of their colleagues — wether intened to be taken literally or as rhetoric — issued a statement that for a yeshivah bochur to serve in the army is “yeihareig v’al ya’avor” — prohibited to the point of giving up ones life. And these attacks are taking place well beyond the confines of Meah Shearim. (My son, a graduate of Chevron has reported to me a number of his friends who are doing some form of army service being harrassed when appearing in army uniform in various neighborhoods around Jerusalem.) So there is certainly the need to dispel the worry that while “we don’t agree with such behaviour” (“wink wink”) there is tacit satisfaction that someone is doing the job. I would like to believe that is NOT true. But if the American Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah found it appropriate to issue a quick response/condemnation of the opinions of Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, as well as to the ordination of Maharats — silence on this matter screams louder than words.
    While many excuses can be made, and fingers pointed in many directions to place blame for the difficult situation the charedi world finds itself, the Hebrew cliche — “don’t be right, be smart” — required an immediate and unequivocal condemnation. Dov Lipman launched his political career in response to the silence of the Charedi leadership in Ramat Beit Shemesh to the attacks on school children. What will be the result of the present silence?

  47. YM Goldstein says:

    It is clear to me that the “equal-burden” movement has been hijacked (or was designed from the beginning) to destroy Hareidi Judaism. The IDF is committed to gender equality and is an inappropriate place for a young person who is trying to serve Hashem, or whose parents want to protect him or her from trief influences. No one has proposed for one minute that the IDF back off from its secular values and become what the Nahal Hareidi was supposed to be. Just because this is being done by other Jews and not a Czar doesn’t make it any more acceptable.

  48. Bob Miller says:

    Regarding the comment by YM Goldstein July 18, 2013 at 2:20 pm:

    From my distant vantage point, I get no sense that any of the current uproar was initiated by the IDF. It looks like a social engineering project misbegotten by arrogant politicians. Both the action (or planned action) and reaction have shown many of us to be at our worst. Just when it’s most essential to unite in problem-solving mode, starting with an accurate and non-politically-driven definition of the problem, people who should know better have blundered into making matters worse.

  49. shlomo zalman says:

    Regarding Bob Miller’s last comment:

    I have a very close vantage point and I think that Bob has framed the entire issue succinctly and accurately. Tensions between the secular and the chareidi have escalated progressively in the past years and had reached a boiling point. But instead of changing the impossible status quo slowly and gradually with understanding, dialogue and foresight, arrogant politicians have made almost every mistake possible. I fear that all potential gains will be nipped in the bud and we will suffer the consequences of thoughtless haste for many years.

  50. Ben Waxman says:

    IMO plenty of mistakes have been made by plenty of people from every sector of Israeli society. The descriptions “lack of understanding, refusal to enter into dialogues, and no foresight, combined with plenty of arrogance” can be applied across the board.

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