On The Internecine Battles in Israel and the World Series

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40 Responses

  1. Baruch says:

    In enjoyed reading this piece, but the question still remains unanswered: how do you expect Torah Jews to subscribe to the authority of “the gedolim” when they and their followers are acting in a way that is just so foreign from Torah values?

  2. ben dov says:

    Yes, I think what you are saying is not to confuse derech haavodah with avodas haderech.

  3. BR says:

    Good points. However, in this chapter, people are being forced to take sides by being thrown out of kollelim and being forced to sign declarations. The gedolim are making it into a concern for individuals; even for Americans who have sons, brothers and other relatives in various kollelim in E”Y.

    [YA – But not for the majority of us]

  4. BTG says:

    Well said, Rabbi Adlerstein. I would also add that “over-identifying with our “team,”” applies to Jews and American politics as well.

  5. lacosta says:

    generally we find the post- sports rioting concentrated in areas with either those with nothing to lose , or those inebriated…

    the Cardinal fans are still passionate–they just are more civilized than animated…

    people wonder why in Israel some communities can get demonstrations for just about anything–and in some cases the assembly acts like Jihadists. for one, more modern communities have to work for their paychecks , and can’t man the barricades at any random second… and in some communities , it seems the Tora has passed through their bodies, but its middot have somehow not been retained…

  6. Bob Miller says:

    The Red Sox won, in part, because their beards gave them extra strength or cohesion or something. This should be an encouragement to Orthodox Jews.

  7. DF says:

    A large email group I’m part of, fairly representative of American orthodoxy beyond Lakewood, received an editorial from Yeshiva World News on the same subject. None of us knew anything of this dispute. None of us have even the slightest concern for the particulars. It impacts us not at all. In general, most of us don’t even recognize the names of the rabbis referred to in charedi publications as Gedolim, and if we do, it is only as some sort of celebrity with whom we have nothing in common. The dogmas of “daas torah” and “Gedolim” are utterly foreign to the way we were raised and the way we are raising our children. The internecine fights among the charedim appear to us, sad to say, childish. And we are every one of us yeshivah and beis medrash graduates. I can only imagine what religious Jews to our left must think.

    For all intents and practical purposes, we have become two separate religions.

  8. dr. bill says:

    there are more fundamental issue – the extent to which gedolai olam ought participate in important social/political matters, their modes of participation, its frequency, etc. even the rise of false messianism, modernity, chassidut, zionism, etc. did not end up producing just accolades for many/most of the rabbinic protaganists. i see one very positive outcome – sometimes it takes dramatic events for lessons to be (re)learned.

  9. myron chaitovsky says:

    Bob: watch out, then, for the Amish, and the Mennonites; and don’t forgot the Rastafarians!

  10. Dumbfounded from Afar says:

    Rabbi Adlerstein,
    You write “Without considering the parameters of the dispute, those of us who know of the people involved understand that their positions come from a sense of mission, not from seeking gain, honor, or power. They understand that their part of the community is caught in a pincer movement between forces of politics and economics. Each has a strategy he feels will best serve the cause of Torah.”

    I haven’t found your essay very comforting. Saying it’s a no-fly zone and “we just can’t understand. It’s a different culture, country, etc…” isn’t working for me.

    I am distraught that the leadership is behaving like this and leaving us without leaders. What’s next? Will they have a physical boxing fight in the middle of the street?

  11. Yossie Abramson says:

    It would be (slightly) one thing if we ignore Israel with regards to the violence, if we can also ignore Israel when we “use” gedolim. If I’m an American, then if you ask me who is my gadol (if I think we have any today), then I would respond with an American rabbi and I should not be yelled at for saying that I don’t think others are gedolim.
    If however, we have to hold of all those in Israel as our gedolim, then we have every right to get involved and be upset at the violence.

    [YA – 1) I’m not sure you “have” to do any of the above to go about your business of serving HKBH belev v’nefesh with absolute fidelity to halacha. You “have” to do things only if you want to identify (or over-identify) with certain subgroups. Your choice. 2) If you ask me, you should recognize gedolim as gedolim. That does not mean that a particular gadol or subset of them are the leaders you will turn to for guidance. You will be best served going to those who know local conditions best, as was always the case till a few years ago. Almost everyone I know thinks it was dumb for an American rebbe to ask R Ahron Leib shlit”a about the propriety of playing basketball with his talmidim during recess. 3) I cannot remember the last time that the gedolim in Israel (and that is of whom we are speaking here) issued an out and out directive to Jews in the golah. So we Westerners really don’t have to have such a hard time of it, do we?]

  12. Dumbfounded from Afar says:

    One more grim thought…
    These are the same people we in America run to for guidance. Do we still feel that the leadership in E”Y does a better job of leading than the leaders in America? Why should we not just ask our local Rabbis for direction? And what should our response be when we hear that our local Rabbis took a trip to E”Y to ask our shaylos to the leadership in E”Y?

    Rabbi Adlerstein, this is not just a local issue. The way our world is structured nowadays, this affects all of directly.

    I guess you are suggesting that we treat this with cognitive dissonance, but how? This is NOT the world series, it is our lives. Many of spent decades of our lives learning in E”Y and this hit home directly.

    [YA – 1) No, they are not the same people.
    2) I didn’t offer any opinion as to the quality of their leadership. That was one of the main points of the essay
    3) You should ask local rabbonim. You should ask those with enough confidence to decide what they can on their own, and enough humility to know when to go higher up.
    4) What should your response be to the Eretz Yisrael trip? You should ask them why they went, what they got, and how they will apply it. If you cannot live with any part of the answer, you may have to find a different set of rabbonim. There is a continuum of thought on these issues.
    5) My advice was not to live with the cognitive dissonance. Learn to tell yourself that you will be a better eved Hashem if you don’t give these matters much thought.]

  13. Tzvi Grossman says:

    If “major talmidei chachamim” can’t behave better than losing baseball fans, maybe it’s time to rethink our definition of what it means to be a “major talmid chacham?”

    [YA – I don’t see how you can. We have a mesorah orally and in print about the kind of person who is seen as a talmid chacham. There have been talmidei chachamim who were not nice people, including one giant of a few hundred years ago who wrote that he did not like people. That does not change the definition. A person of superior intelligence who has spent the last 70 years learning 15 hours a day and mastering the texts of rabbinic Judaism can be assumed to be a talmid chacham. Except in extreme cases, he is due certain honor. His shortcomings will either be addressed by HKBH, or more likely, he will do teshuvah for them and be dealt with more leniently – just as we wish Him to deal with us.]

  14. Raymond says:

    For me at least, my line of demarcation is Orthodox Judaism. That is, as long as the form of Judaism that one is advocating is some form of Orthodoxy, it is a legitimate expression of what G-d demands of us, whether it be Modern Orthodox, Religious Zionism, Centrist Orthodoxy, Sephardic, Chassidic, or even Satmar. When it comes to any of these movements within Orthodox Judaism, they are all the words of our living G-d.

    That need not mean a total rejection of anything that is not within those rather broad limitations. One can take the the more positive aspects of what is outside that circle. I clearly recall the Rambam himself saying that truth is to be valued, regardless of its source. So for example, we can learn clear thinking from Aristotle, the subtlety of emotions from Shakespeare, the magnificent, edifying effects of Mozart’s music, the value of limited government from from Thomas Jefferson, and visionary humanity from Abraham Lincoln. And even from non-Orthodox forms of Judaism, we can be reminded of how each Jew is of value to us, how important it is to make our religious beliefs user friendly, and so on.

  15. Baruch says:

    I’m willing to accept the “no fly zone” rule if it is applied in the reverse direction, too – meaning, American Jews are not expected to be bound by the decisions of the Israeli “gedoilim” relevant to American Jewry issues.

    [YA – I think what you might want to do is make sure that you have rabbeim whom you trust who have both “pleitzos” and yiras haromemus. They can determine whether any of the “buzz” from Israel is relevant to you. I will predict that over 90% of the time, you will receive an answer in the negative.]

  16. mb says:

    I’m insulted.
    I’m a lifelong Tottenham Hotspur fan.
    We are the Yid Army, and the team are the Yiddos.
    And so is the current CR. However, the previous CR was an Arsenal fan, which was unforgivable

  17. LWMO says:

    You could apply the same idea to what you might consider essential dogma, but someone else – equally committed to Judaism and Torah – might be “devastated by what you cannot possibly understand without sacrificing your essential self”. vehamayvin yavin.

    [YA – You could -and I would! – providing the person had sufficient Torah depth to understand the Torah position, and did his due diligence in looking for approaches with Torah that could work without jettisoning traditional beliefs. The people whom I think you are referring to are all Torah lightweights.
    vehamayvin yavin.]

  18. Moshe says:

    “3) I cannot remember the last time that the gedolim in Israel (and that is of whom we are speaking here) issued an out and out directive to Jews in the golah.”

    How about, “It is an issur gomur to have internet in the house,” which was piped through to 60,000 Jews in Amerca. Or “Nosson Slifkin’s books should be burned”? I suppose you could argue that signing a kol korei does not amount to a directive…

    Let me pose the question: I don’t know the nitty gritty details of this machlokes. But is there any chance that the really dirty stuff is being manipulated by self-proclaimed “askonim” who are kanoyim, and not the gedolim themselves? We know such things have occurred in the past…. ?

    [YA- 1) When you subjected the internet issue to some scrutiny, what it boiled down to was, “The internet poses serious challenges to the kedushah of the Jewish house and neshamah. A frum Jew has no right to allow it in without taking whatever precautions will address the problem.” The rest is for a baal sechel to figure out for himself. I would hope that our readers have few reservations about that statement.
    2) Indeed. Learn to differentiate between the dramatic language of kol korei’s and what their real intent is. Also learn to ask what the different signatories meant, which usually mean very different positions. The reread the part of the essay about there being multiple Daas Torah positions about most issues, and go back to the penultimate sentence in sections 1).
    3) I know of no directive from a group of gedolim instructing people to burn Rabbi Slifkin’s books. I have heard mutually exclusive explanations of opposition from several of the those who opposed them. Searching once again beyond boilerplate text in bans, what it really came down to was opposition to the issues being aired in frum homes that had no previous exposure to the questions that R Slifkin addressed. (I continue to maintain that for those who were troubled by the questions, R Slifkin’s books were lifesavers. Reportedly, some of those who signed on to the opposition conceded that as well.)
    4) I know nothing about the background to the current battles. Spending time watching reruns of the World Series will probably do less harm to my neshamah. And I have no great love for baseball, the Red Sox, or the Cardinals]

  19. cvmay says:

    I’ve chosen to be a bystander rather than a participant in most ISRAELI BATTLES.(best for my health, stress & spiritual growth)

    Having a hard time deciphering the newest editorial by R. Grylak….now that the real assassin has been named!! The entire episode of violence, hostility and hatred is thrown on the lap of the editor of a paper. Seems like a copout to me….

  20. Shades of Gray says:

    Game 3 could be seen as a metaphor for complexity. The score was tied in the bottom of the ninth, with runners on second and third and the infield in, when the Cardinal batter hit a grounder to the Boston second baseman, who threw home, easily nailing the sliding Cardinal runner. The Red Sox catcher, attempting a double play at third, overthrew to the outfield, but the left fielder threw home, dramatically catching Cardinal base runner Allan Craig at the plate. This scenario, like the rioting of Cardinal fans, never happened because of a rare obstruction call at third; baseball, like life, can be complicated.

    R. Ron Yitzchok Eisenman recently wrote, “the fact that we fail to recognize the complexity of the human condition wreaks havoc and is a destructive force in today’s Judaism.”

    R. Eisenman writes “perhaps if this young man who was reported to be married, with four children and the son of a Rosh Yeshiva (How crazy can we claim he is?) was educated with the teachings of Chazal that people and even great people are complex; he would have not been so quick to angelicize his rabbi and demonize Rav Shteinman?” Although R. Eisenman prefaces his words with “it is not Daas Torah and it is not Daas of the Gedolim; it is Daas Atzmi…”, the basic principle is not his own chiddush. Regarding the complexity of people, in general, R. Chaim Shmulevitz explains that האור והחשך
    משמשין בערבוביא .

    Another issue of complexity is in judging the entire situation situation, אל תדון את חברך עד שתגיע למקומו. R. Mordechai Torczyner 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… These are people who feel their lives are being threatened. “(Rebbetzin’s Husband, June 2013)

    In the “Art of Growth” (May, 2009), R. Avi Shafran writes “…But those are the extremes; human nature isn’t a dichotomy. There are…religious people whose deepest desire is to serve G-d but who are vulnerable to laziness, jealousy and anger…That describes many of us, I think. But we aren’t fakers for the fact. There is a great difference between pathology and imperfection, between being hypocritical and being human…. My revered mentor, Rabbi Yaakov Weinberg, of blessed memory, noted that the Talmud’s wording is instructive. We are not exhorted to bring our “outsides” into line with our “insides” – to achieve spiritual purity and then adopt its signifiers – but rather the other way around. We are permitted, even required, to outwardly emulate those more spiritually accomplished than we, to embrace acts of observance and goodness, even if our souls are not yet as pure as our clothing. “A person is acted upon,” in the Sefer Hachinuch’s words, “by his actions.” And yet, the “insides like outsides” ideal clearly remains the ultimate goal…”

  21. shlomo zalman says:

    As an American born and raised Jew, I appreciate the complexities of obstruction at third base as well as the everlasting trauma of “The Heidi Game”.As an Israeli citizen of close to thirty years with extensive exposure to the chareidi world, I understand the complexities of the war between the litvishe factions here in Eretz Hakodesh. So, a few comments:

    1. Since Reb Moshe zt”l’s passing, the American Torah world has subjugated itself to the Israeli poskim/gedolim in halachah, hashkafah, and politics. The Roshei Yeshiva in Lakewood barely sneezed without Rav Schach or Rav Elyashiv zt”ls’, (and now the current gedolim’s) permission.

    2. Any deviation in America from these gedolim’s opinions was and is viewed here as “bedi’eved” or “mutav she’yehiyu shogegim”, regardless of yeshivishe American wishful thinking. The watered-down American chareidi’s yiddishkeit is quite disdained here.

    3. The attempt in Rabbi Adlerstein’s writing to accept and even encourage a dichotomous religious existence between American and Israeli Yeshivish-Orthodoxy is commendable. After all, the contradiction between independence from and subservience to the gedolim in Israel is quite apparent and unnerving. But it is in large measure a rebellious admission regarding conventional Da’as Torah and puts one with such thinking very close to “michutz lamachaneh” for Israeli chareidim. Can American chareidim live with this separation? They have not yet shown that they can.

    4. Some here (Baruch, DF, Dumbfounded) have hit upon the spiritual dissonance in this intra-chareidi war and wonder how bad it really is, or how bad it appears to the outsider here in Israel. So let me tell you. It’s bad beyond your imagination. To the chareidi in Israel, it has left him and her angry, confused, and suspicious of everyone. To the non-chareidim, it has shattered whatever respect they had for chareidi gedolim and their followers. To them, the term “chareidi gedolim” , once said with measured reverence, has become an oxymoron.

  22. Bob Miller says:

    Myron Chaitovsky wrote on November 1, 2013 at 12:07 pm
    “Bob: watch out, then, for the Amish, and the Mennonites; and don’t forget the Rastafarians!”

    My company’s plant is in Goshen, Indiana, in an area with many Amish and Mennonites. I frequently pass Amish people riding horses, buggies, wagons, and bikes on the local farm roads or even highways. The Amish men have beards without mustaches, so they represent a special case.

    As for the main topic here, what would it take to restore some sense of proportion in human relations to our more fractious factions? Rabbi Adlerstein is suggesting that we all take a step back from the current battles, but then the people who step back could be viewed suspiciously by the combatants, so that’s only a partial answer. The combatants could believe that “you’re either with us or against us”. Thus, their fad for loyalty oaths in writing. If you’re not a card-carrying Hatfield, you become a McCoy.

    We may be at a point where only Mashiach has the clout to bang heads and fully restore order! Step one for the time being would be for responsible spiritual and lay leaders to emphasize what we Orthodox Jews have in common, far more than what we don’t.

  23. Baal Habos says:

    “Some of us remember what Daas Torah (DT) used to mean, before the concept got hijacked.” Um. Actually, no. Having gone to two of the worlds finest yeshivas without having heard the phrase Daas Torah until around 30 ago when it entered our daily lexicon, tells me that its use today is no more novel than it was back then.

    [YA – We must have gone to different yeshivos. I heard LOTS of Daas Torah talk earlier than 30 years ago, although it was the gentler, kinder variety. IIRC, the classic article on it was written – more than 30 years ago – in the Jewish Observer, authored by R Bernard Weinberger.]

  24. dovid landesman says:

    “Daas Torah is not a monolith. QED. This will come as a relief to some of us who knew this all along.”

    R. Yitzchak … with all due respect, you are skirting the issue and trying to find roses among the thorns. The ascendancy of Bnei Brak over Yerushalayim as the capital of the Litvishe yeshiva world has created monolithic da’as Torah in its wake. Historically, the founding conference of the Agudah almost broke up when Rav Chaim Soloveitchik zt”l declared that he was da’as Torah and had veto power over any and all decisions.
    R. Chaim Kanievsky’s published opinion is that there is only one da’as Torah … that of Reb Aharon Leib shlitah. He has repeatedly said and signed that RAL is the designated successor to Rav Elyashiv zt”l who was the designated successor to Rav Shach zt”l. Rav Shmuel shlitah … and especially his supporters … claim that he is the legitimate succesor to Rav Shach. [Paranthetically, I find it fascinating that no-one sees him as the mamshich of his father!]
    I have no doubt that both RAL and RSA are not seeking personal gain in this dispute; rather, it is a question of hashkafat olam and hegemony over the olam hayeshivot which self-defines itself as the Torah world. Yet, when Rav Chaim shlitah announced that anyone who failed to vote for Degel was in fact chayav skilah, he obviously did not include Chassidim – who are permitted to vote Agudah which put up separate lists in most towns – and Sefardim who are permitted to vote Shas. One therefore wonders how the instructions to a specific group – the litvishe yeshiva world – does not allow for the legitimate possibility that a different group – the so called peleg yerushalmi supporting RSA – saw fit to cast their votes differently.

  25. Dan M says:

    “Too many of us over-identify with whatever label we bought into at some point in our lives. Although we decided to park ourselves in front of a particular religious edifice, the purpose of the commitment was to advance our spiritual progress, not to hamper it. Too often we make lives difficult for ourselves by over-identifying with our “team,” as if locked into a lifelong program of walking lockstep with its fortunes and progress. It doesn’t have to be this way. We should identify enough to take from it what is of greatest value, without committing all of our emotional energy to it, and without shutting ourselves off from what is valuable and good in other places.” Cross-Currents 01-11-2013

    “But if Open Orthodoxy’s leaders feel some distance developing between themselves and mainstream Orthodoxy, they should not be blaming others. They might consider how they themselves have plunged ahead, again and again, across the border that divides Orthodoxy from neo-Conservatism. Why are they surprised to find themselves on the wrong side of a dividing line?” Haaretz 29-10-2013

    Are these the same Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein?

    [YA – I asked the guy. He says he doesn’t see any contradiction. Valuing the good does not mean being oblivious to the dangerous.]

  26. cvmay says:

    ” 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… These are people who feel their lives are being threatened. “(Rebbetzin’s Husband, June 2013)

    SORRY, I DON’T BUY IT (Rebetzin’s husband 2013),, this violence of speech did not BEGIN at this coalition, when the Charedi parties found themselves in the opposition and the majority is branding a DRAFT law & child benefits are being slashed. Harsh rhetoric, mud slinging and name-calling has been part & parcel of Israeli dialogue for years. Nothing to do with present affairs. Israelis (secular, Charedi & Religious- a bit less) go for the JUGULAR VEIN in well-publicized statements, in posters glued to walls and in the media.

    WHY? is a question to be asked.
    Finally, the complexity of man and the cause & effect of speech resulting in behaviors (good or bad)are being RECOGNIZED as a reality of the day. So will considerations be made to these two major factors?

  27. Binyamin says:

    [YA – I don’t see how you can. We have a mesorah orally and in print about the kind of person who is seen as a talmid chacham. There have been talmidei chachamim who were not nice people, including one giant of a few hundred years ago who wrote that he did not like people. That does not change the definition. A person of superior intelligence who has spent the last 70 years learning 15 hours a day and mastering the texts of rabbinic Judaism can be assumed to be a talmid chacham. Except in extreme cases, he is due certain honor. His shortcomings will either be addressed by HKBH, or more likely, he will do teshuvah for them and be dealt with more leniently – just as we wish Him to deal with us.]

    could you elaborate? the mesorah is full of statements to the effect derech eretz kodam l’torah. how can someone who is not a mensch be a leader – even if he is knowledgeable.
    and what kind of respect can such an individual expect from our less observant brethren?

    [YA – Please see my response to Tzvi Grossman]

  28. Tzvi Grossman says:

    Rabbi Adlerstein, I strongly disagree with your assertion above that our mesora demands we respect those with no basic decency just because they happen to be intelligent and have zitzfleish. The concept of chamor noseh sforim is inherent in the mesora, and implies no respect.

    [YA – In an absolutely worst case scenario, we are not talking about people with no basic decency, c”v. We would be talking about people with oodles of basic decency, and then some, doing some things recently that seem bizarre to us. It might be a good idea for people to go back to the long hakdamah of Sefer Chofetz Chaim, where he deals with the 40-something lavin and asin that a person can violate through speech. The Chofetz Chaim deals with the imperative to be dan lekaf zechus as it applies to talmidei chachamim, and as it applies to the rest of us mortals. This is halacha, not derush.]

  29. DovK says:

    It’s very nice to attribute a nice philosophy to Rabbi Grylak’s editorial, but a few months ago he was the one writing that all his readers should vote for Chareidi political parties despite any questions or misgivings that they have, and assume that all the misgivings will be addressed after the elections. A few months before that he supported men who spit at religious girls, also in the name of his “affiliation” in the same category as those men. Time and time again Rabbi Grylak has supported actions that he himself opposes, and encouraged his readers to support actions that they oppose, in the name of “chareidi” affiliation and labeling.

    Now, all of a sudden, when both sides are chareidi, Rabbi Grylak is encouraging silence.

    Whether you agree or disagree with Rabbi Grylak’s suggestion, it’s simply wrong to credit him with anything other than blind association with labels and affiliations. Maybe this will be the issue that gets people to wake up and realize the main point you make, that no affiliation is above having something to distance from.

  30. Yehoshua Friedman says:

    RYA, I always appreciate your reasoned arguments and enjoy reading what you have to say. But in your desire to make nice on everyone in the Torah world, which is a healthy and good impulse, you may have forgotten how small the world is today. What are the fine frum Jews who learned Torah in America and played basketball between the sedorim in yeshiva supposed to do when they make aliya and move into Beit Shemesh or wherever. We have plenty of friends like that, who are assaulted by a toxic atmosphere which harms their love of Torah, Eretz Yisrael and Am Yisrael. I have taken a position in the right side of the hardal Kooknik yeshiva world, which is not ideal either. But it is clear that we cannot isolate ourselves nor our children from a street full of venom. The struggle is part of our life.

    [YA – I couldn’t contradict your experience if I wanted to, and I have no reason to want to! My words were primarily addressed to those in the golah, who are one step removed from all that goes on in Israel. I have kids and very good friends who live in Israel. Some are more successful than others in shrugging their shoulders and going about their business. I have no idea as to whether this could possibly work for you. Do keep in mind, though, that even in the States there are many who live, as it were, “yeshivaprax” lives. They wear the garb, talk the talk and walk the walk. In the privacy of their own thought, however, they are simply good Jews going about their lives and trying to become even better Jews. They look askance at much they see around, and share those reservations with a small group of like-minded people. They don’t have to become overly cynical in the process, nor are they condemned to live in the pain of ideological solitude. I wonder if this cannot work even in Israel.]

  31. Bob Miller says:

    Correction; My previous comment of November 3, 2013 at 7:21 am should have said “…horse-drawn buggies,…”

  32. Hoffa Fingerbergstein says:

    Did you see Rabbi Grylak’s past week’s editorial? He basically calls out the current editor-in-chief of the Hebrew Yated, Nati Grossman, for the incitement against RALS. I have never seen him write like that before.

  33. cvmay says:

    [Paranthetically, I find it fascinating that no-one sees him as the mamshich of his father!]

    Absolutely no one sees Reb Shmuel as a mamshich of his father. Reb SZ Auverbach’s (I met with him, yes he invited women to visit & ask questions)behavior, connection to the ‘outer world’, discourse, dialogue, etc. is far different from the tone of Reb Shmuel. Many see Rav Azrial of Bayit Vegan or Rav YD Auverbach of Teveria as a direct mamshich of his illustrious father.

  34. Perplexed says:

    Rabbi YA you say: “Those of us who know of the people involved understand that their positions come from a sense of mission, not from seeking gain, honor, or power. They understand that their part of the community is caught in a pincer movement between forces of politics and economics. Each has a strategy he feels will best serve the cause of Torah.”

    Is the “dispute” about anything substantive at all? If so, what?

    [YA – I have no insider information. Those I know in Israel say that the dispute is basically about the stance that the yeshiva community should take towards the changes being pushed on them by the rest of Israeli society. Rav Auerbach believes in taking a harder, less compromising position. For more insight into the issues, you can read what an important talmid chacham in Israel wrote, and that was submitted by one of our readers.]

  35. Shades of Gray says:

    Violence in speech is not a new issue. In “Rabbi Yissocher Frand In Print”, published in 1995, R. Frand quotes a Rosh Yeshiva who said at the Agudah Convention, “Our world, however described–yeshivish, Chassidish, heimish–has become all too eager to denigrate and vilify circles of shomrei Torah and mitzvos with whom we have serious ideological differences.” R. Grylak quoted the story of Achan regarding Yericho, and similarly, regarding the house of Bilgah, the Gemara says that “the language used by a child in the street was learned from either its mother or father”, ie, “it takes a village to raise a child”.

    However, R. Torczyner explained his reasoning based on מכאן שאין אדם נתפס בשעת צערו (Bava Basra 16b), and applied it as well to “Jews in Gaza facing Disengagement to sharply criticize those who evacuated them”. I don’t see this as a contradiction to the above, as it is part of the complexity of the situation and of being dan lechaf zechus, which applies in any government or coalition for one reason or another.

    R. Ron Yitzchok Eisenman wrote regarding balance, “this proper balance between respect and reverence coupled with the recognition that even Gedolim are not infallible was recognized by all and it did not diminish their greatness one iota. Over the last twenty years this balance has been lost…This overinflated claim of near perfection and infallibility of the Gedolim I believe is not only incorrect it a major cause for the alienation of many Jews; both those who were brought up frum and especially for those who were not.”

    The meaning of פֶּתִי יַאֲמִין לְכָל דָּבָר וְעָרוּם יָבִין לַאֲשֻׁרוֹ has complexity itself. Rashi and Metzudas(Mishlei 14:15) apply this regarding not believing lashon hara, so applied here, הֱווּ מְתוּנִים בַּדִּין and וֶהֱוֵי דָן אֶת כָּל הָאָדָם לְכַף זְכוּת. However, Tiferes Yisroel says regarding emunas chachamim,
    שאינו מאמין לכל דבר ששומע, דזהו מדת פתי יאמין לכל דבר rather אבל יאמין לחכמים בחכמת התורה אפילו לא ישיגם בשכלו(see “What is “Emunat Ḥakhamim”, Hakirah by R. Nachum Rabinovitch). Shemos Rabbah(3:1) applies the pasuk to Moshe Rabbeinu, but with a different meaning of פֶּתִי. As Einstein said, “everything should be as simple as possible, but not simpler”.

  36. Dumbfounded from Afar says:

    Rabbi Adlerstein,
    I think you underestimate how many bnei Torah here in the States have deep connections to the yeshivos of E”Y. Either we learned there for many years or we have children learning there currently. And those children have teachers with their beliefs. For the many of us like that, it is not possible to turn the page and move on. I wonder what my former E”Y rosh kollel says about all this. It’s been decades but I still feel connected. I won’t try to find out. I’d rather imagine that my old kollel has nothing to do with all this. But that is actually a form of cognitive dissonance too, no?

    In addition, while I very much appreciate your approach to daas Torah, I think that all around us there is the “hijacked” version spinning around. Your version surely makes things more liveable, to some extenet, but it itself denies the reality of our community. It itself is a form of cognitive dissonance.

    [YA Of course there is a problem. All I am trying to do is provide something better than hand-wringing. Look – it takes effort to earn Olam Habo. That’s what the whole game is all about. No pain, no gain. Otherwise, it is nehamah de-kisufa. In previous generations, the challenges were persecution, abject poverty, illness and death. Those are not the challenges of our generation. But challenges there must be. One of those challenges is being so strong in your commitment to HKBH and the truth of His Torah, that you are prepared to go it (almost) alone. To stay the course despite the disappointment you witness all around. Rather than feel sorry for ourselves, we ought to delight at having discovered part of Hashem’s game plan for us.

    No, it is not easy to go about your business while listening to your neighbors spout all kinds of foolishness. But neither is it impossible. And HKBH gave us the ability to reach out to at least a few like-minded souls digitally, even if they don’t live around the corner.]

    There really are Rabbonim and mechanchim who go on yearly trips to E”Y to bring back stories of inspiration but also the latest piskei halochos they received while visiting the Gedolim. Some of those Gedolim have come to visit us. And we all line up to hear them. Our children’s Rebbeim tell our children that they are our leaders. The internet Asifa, with its psak from what was billed as the posed of the generation, piped in from E”Y is another example. Do you yourself not see that we cannot just quietly sit by and say ho hum, their problem, not mine.

  37. Bob Miller says:

    How can we have disputes over halacha or policy in the right spirit if each disputant’s faction claims that “its” Gadol can’t be challenged whatsoever? Given how split this generation is, over even critically important, substantive issues, how can anyone presume to name “the” Gadol of the generation? Since when is a Jew allowed to impute infallibility to flesh and blood?

    [YA – I don’t think that the issue is fallibility or infallibility, as much as it is a question of practical leadership and authority. The community in Israel accepts the idea that leadership and authority concerning community issues is vested in some individual who stands at the helm, much as one does in every chassidic community.]

  38. Bob Miller says:

    “[YA – I don’t think that the issue is fallibility or infallibility, as much as it is a question of practical leadership and authority. The community in Israel accepts the idea that leadership and authority concerning community issues is vested in some individual who stands at the helm, much as one does in every chassidic community.]”

    If this is about the need or desire for one leader to call the practical shots, that points to a basic problem of succession. The succession mechanism seems to need more buy-in from the affected constituencies before the choice is made. Various factors can block the building of a consensus, as seems to have happened. Who can or will fix the process? Or are the rifts too deep to allow the customary consensus to develop? Do we next have the sorry spectacle of the in-crowd attempting to suppress or shun the out-crowd before the eyes of the Jewish world? Maybe that is now too high a price to pay for the surface appearance of unity.

  39. Dumbfounded from Afar says:

    “Do we next have the sorry spectacle of the in-crowd attempting to suppress or shun the out-crowd before the eyes of the Jewish world? Maybe that is now too high a price to pay for the surface appearance of unity.”

    Actually that’s what we already have. And I don’t think anyone would call it a surface appearance of unity. It’s just plain enforcement of the one way it has to be. Suppressing out-crowd. Those who don’t tow the line are kicked out and only welcome back if they change their team.

  40. cvmay says:

    Just read that Rav Amnon Yitzchak reiterated the ban on women driving cars as originally stated by Rav Wosner shlit”a.
    The American Charedi/Yeshivish velt has a hard time relating to many of these bans, offenses or hashkafas of Gedoli Yisroel in Israel.
    It has come to the point where much of what is written, posted, screamed or demanded (from Israel)is just ignored, deleted, whited-out & voided by Bnei & Bnos Torah of America.

    [YA If it were “just ignored,” it would not be so bad. In the process, however, too many people wind up consciously or subconsciously compromising the entire concept of emunas chachamim. We are grappling for ways to prevent that from happening, even among those who will not be convinced to mentally fall in line behind every pronouncement coming from abroad.]

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