After Beit Shemesh: What Has Changed, What Hasn’t, and What Shouldn’t

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82 Responses

  1. Gershon Josephs says:

    Good article. Considering the current measles epidemic, and considering that at least one prominent American Godol is on the record as opposing vaccination as a ‘scam’, I predict that American Daas Torah is going to take a hit also.

  2. Bob Miller says:

    This is an opportunity for all to start arguing their policy preferences on merit, as opposed to invoking individual and group loyalty as a substitute for thought. If religious or political or religio-political leaders support or oppose a given course of action, they owe their constituents a proper explanation capable of analysis, so that the contrasting points of view can be thoroughly weighed.

  3. Yossi says:

    Actually, I think this is an opportunity to perhaps let so many of the people that Rabbi Adlerstein describes, many who keep their beliefs to themselves or are in “hiding”, to feel that the beauty that they expect as being part of the עם חכם ונבון, and the basic values that should be the דרך ארץ which is קדמה לתורה, is indeed part of what it means to be a Jew.

  4. Natan Slifkin says:

    “a special kind of wisdom penetrates the personality of someone whose brain and soul have been immersed in the waters of Torah for decades”. And yet Chazal speak about a Talmid Chacham who doesn’t have Daas, and describe him as worse than a putrid carcass. How does that square with your statement?

    • What’s to square? The special insight and wisdom is not going to work for someone who cannot think straight in certain areas. You don’t expect me to name names, do you? When looking at the very top of the charedi leadership for decades, you are not going to find examples of a lack of fundamental daas in the Chazon Ish, R. Shach, R Shlomo Zalman, R Elyashiv, R Ovadiah. The rest we can discuss if you can get us a one day All-The-Lashon-Hora-You-Can-Say pass. Bring it along, and I’ll meet you for a couple of beers

  5. YEA says:

    “The genuine followers of daas Torah are those who heeded Rav Elyashiv’s zt”l instruction, ‘Never believe anything said in my name unless you hear it directly from me.'”

    Having not heard this particular quote directly from Rav Elyashiv, how do I know that he actually said it?

  6. Raymond says:

    Thank G-d that my father taught me the value of common sense, and the value of thinking for myself. I realize that is in itself a contradiction, for how can I claim to be an independent thinker if by doing so I am following my father’s teaching in this regard? I guess that reinforces what Isaac Newton said long ago, namely that the reason why he can see so far, is because he stands on the shoulders of giants. Be that as it may, my father taught me to definitely listen to and weigh the opinions of others, but in the long run, one must decide matters for oneself. Plus, one should use the invaluable guide of simple common sense to help one arrive at decisions, a trait often lacking among some intellectuals.

    And so when I read about how the Chareidim almost mindlessly follow their leaders, even when, ironically, their leaders may have never even said what the rumors claim that the particular leader said, well, it only serves to shake my head in wonder at how my fellow Jews can accept living in such a manner. There are other elements within that brand of Orthodox Judaism that I simply reject out of hand, such as their men refusing to serve in the Israeli army or to even make a living not only for their own sake but for the sake of their families. I strongly suspect that such Jews also categorically reject all of secular thought and lifestyle, as if whatever is secular is automatically assumed be inherently evil. When I add all of these factors up, I cannot help but want to keep my distance from such people and would even feel embarrassed if I had to explain them to the non-Jewish world.

    Having said that, there is a part of me that is glad that the Chareidim exist, for to me they are like standard-bearers of our Jewish traditions, the kind who do not compromise with the latest fad offered by society at large, the kind who have a long-range view of things. I know that when I enter their shuls, that I will experience nothing but authentic Judaism, and that when they give their hechsher for the kashrut status of a given food product, that I can be sure it is kosher to eat. When I have a question regarding Jewish law, I know I can trust their answers. And maybe theirs is the kind of Judaism that has withstood the test of time more than any other group of Jews. So while I would personally feel far too suffocated to be a part of them, I also try to keep them at arm’s length, perhaps with the feeling that somehow, they provide protection from our morally corrupt world.

  7. Alex says:

    It is fitting that the entire Cross-Currents blog be created for just this one essay.
    A masterful summary of all that goes through my mind whenever contemplating aliyah.

  8. Natan Slifkin says:

    “The special insight and wisdom is not going to work for someone who cannot think straight in certain areas.” I’m sorry but this is circumventing the plain meaning of Chazal. You said that Talmidei Chachamam receive a special Daas. Chazal say that not every Talmid Chacham has Daas. Now you’re saying, what, that only certain Talmidei Chachamim receive a special daas? The plain meaning of Chazal is that learning Torah does not impart Daas – some people have it and some don’t. (The fact that there are Gedolim with Daas, such as some of those that you mention, does not mean that they obtained it from learning Torah.) If you have a statement from Chazal saying otherwise, I would love to hear it.

    • “Plain meaning?” Never expected to hear that from you, Reb Natan!Even people who do not subscribe to Rationalist Judaism (the ideology, not the blog. We all subscribe to that!) are not literalists. Plain meaning in regard to Aggada? Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn’t. It is a cherished methodological tool to depart from the plain meaning of a maamar Chazal in order to deal with some contradiction. In this case, however, we shouldn’t necessarily have to go there. My informal definition of daas Torah is not found in any maamar Chazal explicitly that we would need to resolve the contradiction to כל ת”ח שאין בו דעה וכו’ . How could it be that a person could have this potential for keen insight, and still be considered a חסר דעת? Simple. Again, daas Torah is not oracular in nature. It is a potential for deeper insight. Any potential can be squandered, misapplied, perverted. The gemara seems to think that way about אחיתופל, certainly reckoned as a great talmid chacham. Various conditions could leave a talmid chacham is lacking in daas – be it failures in midos, in getting ensnared in taavah, or in an inability to see things other than from his limited vantage point. Have we had such talmidei chachamim? Yes. Do they belie the concept of daas Torah, and the special insight so many of us have witnessed in our own contact with gedolim? No chance.

  9. Yehudah says:

    I’m sure the smerican olin feel very understood and validated by this essay. Ultimately the misbehavior is limited to the political arena. The average charedi family lives the dictum of dirache darchay noam. The charedi world as a whole is producing beautiful peirus. What keeps me up at night is the state of chinuch in the dati leumi world the vast percentages of youth who have abandoned shmiras hamitsvos… I’m hoping Rabbi Adlerstein can turn his focus and bring his insight to bear on this troubling situation.

    • I am trying to learn about this community, just as I am trying to learn about the Israeli charedi community. Both are outside my previous personal experience. Perhaps in time, BEH. Or maybe I’ll find a writer from within that community who has some insight to convey

  10. Cosmic X says:

    Rabbi Adlerstein wrote, “It just could be that we are on the cusp of a breakthrough in diversity of Torah life in Israel – one that could allow for less suffocation, more individuality, options in children’s education – and the paving of the way for more Americans to consider aliyah.”

    The Gemara says, “The Holy One Blessed Be He gave three good gifts to Israel, and all of them He did not give except through affliction, and they are: Torah, and the Land Of Israel, and the World To Come.(Berachot 5A)”

    Plenty of educational options exist here in Israel. Not getting the perfect fit according to American standards is just one of the afflictions that the land of Israel is acquired with, and a small one at that. In other words, this is a very lame excuse not to make aliyah.

  11. “The genuine followers of daas Torah are those who heeded Rav Elyashiv’s zt”l instruction, “Never believe anything said in my name unless you hear it directly from me.” ”

    You’re headed for a paradox with that one, Rabbi Adlerstein.
    Do you really expect your readers –at least those who think of themselves as “genuine followers of daas Torah” –to believe Rav Elyashiv actually said that?

    • Some, certainly. Every person who has ever quoted that to me (and similar statements coming from other gedolim) has been someone who regarded himself as a “genuine follower of daas Torah.” Apparently, our social circles don’t overlap. You are still correct that a paradox remains. If we are to heed no statement of Rav X unless we hear it from him, how are we to accept that very statement, if we have not heard it from him? This paradox, however, is not so difficult to exit.

  12. Yehoshua Duker says:

    A close examination of the numbers indicates that the number of chareidim voting for Bloch is between 700-1000.

  13. Chaim7356 says:

    Rabbi Adlerstein, Rabbi Slifkin was correct in his mild criticism of your statement that long engagement with Torah study “permeates the soul” and so on. It CAN permeate the soul of a personality that is whole and healthy; it will not permeate the soul of a corrupt and emotionally unhealthy person, no matter how many times that person completes Shas.

    • No argument there. The Gra said it explicitly in Even Shelemah. Largely irrelevant to the main argument. I’ve seen lots of objections to following gedolim from outside the charedi world. Lots. I don’t believe, however, that I have ever seen any of the mainstream gedolim in my lifetime charged with being corrupt or emotionally unhealthy.

  14. Sara Elias says:

    @Gershon Josephs: Are you sure that’s what the gadol said? That it’s a “scam”?

    AIUI, the reasoning behind the psak of the gedolim who oppose vaccination is that you are introducing a substance with a vadai, albeit infinitesimal, chance of causing grave harm in order to protect you/your child from a disease that you/s/he may or may not contract, which may or may not cause grave harm. A double safek against a vadai.

    You may or may not follow this psak, and I wonder if this reasoning applies during an epidemic, but it’s based on halacha not science, pseudo or otherwise.

  15. Steve Brizel says:

    One wonders how many in Lakewood think about Senator Booker who described himself as Spartacus during the recent Kavanaugh hearings attempting to reingratiate himself with the Lakewood community regardless of his attempt to slande a judge who is very protective of free exercise of religion concerns . One wonders how many voted for and against Senator Menendez in view of his sordid and corrupt personal character

  16. Steve Brizel says:

    R Pfeffers articles are superb and warrant great discussion as to his observations and views and are indeed excellent insight into the evolutionary changes in the Charedi world

  17. Yossi says:

    Natan,

    From a purely “lomdish” or let’s even say academic level, I don’t understand your question. From the Gemara’s qualification of שאין בו דעה, the simple meaning sounds like it is an exception to the accepted rule. I read it as “if you have someone who, even while being a Talmid Chacham, has no de’ah….”

    But besides, even in your worldview, don’t you see it by many of the big Gedolim? It’s hard to deny that many gedolim were giants of human beings.

    I would’ve expected you to agree with that, but yet still be able to explain it from a rationalist perspective. Maybe it’s because they hear a lot of different problems, maybe it’s because they speak to a lot of people, maybe it’s because they are so dedicated to Torah and Midos that the petty things that cloud most pekole’s Judgement don’t matter to them. But however you want to explain the concept, it’s very hard to deny as a realit on the ground.

  18. Yehoshua Duker says:

    The data is publicly available. One can tally the votes for Bloch in RBS Gimmel (almost all chareidi) and add to that the votes in individual polling places in RBS A where she got more votes than the chareidi lists for city council. A comparison with the previous election indicates that the main factor in her victory was turnout. The turnout in the non-chareidi areas was much higher than 2013, and many in the chareidi areas did not vote.

  19. Yehoshua Duker says:

    @Sara Elias: There is something off in your use of terminology. You write that there is “a vadai, albeit infinitesimal, chance” of a vaccine causing grave harm. Then you write that the vaccine is “to protect you/your child from a disease that you/s/he may or may not contract, which may or may not cause grave harm. A double safek against a vadai.” Sorry but this does not add up. You can’t say that an infinitesimal chance to be harmed by a vaccine is a vadai. Vadai means that it will definitely happen. Infinitesimal chances are not only not a vadai, but they are totally disregarded in halakhic discussions.

  20. Ari Heitner says:

    @Sara Elias, “a vadai, albeit infinitesimal, chance of causing grave harm…” – in other words, a safek, not a vadai. And then we need to weigh out the chances of those sfeikos, one against the other. Don’t know if that requires daas Torah, but it certainly requires daas. I think we just learned what one nolad that required open eyes to see: if we all try to rely on herd immunity, no one will have it. But please do try again if you have some other purported rational basis for a psak not to vaccinate.

  21. David Schallheim says:

    You make many great points and I think you’re articulating the feelings of many “chutznakim” in Israel. However, I take issue with this sentence:
    “They realized that the Yiddishkeit of reason, of individuality, of deracheha darchei noam… that they had lived in the past had been taken away from them. It had been replaced by something dark, foreboding, and sinister.”
    Whoa there. That’s just way over the top. I’m of that group – an American baal teshuvah who was educated in Aish HaTorah and Yeshivas Chofetz Chaim – “the Yiddishkeit of reason, of individuality, of deracheha darchei noam” – to the nth degree. Yet my wife (of a similar backgorund) and I have integrated pretty well into the Israeli chareidi world, notwithstanding a number of setbacks. I think it’s terribly wrong to characterize the Yiddishkeit of the Israeli chareidi world as “dark, foreboding and sinister”. In fact, I’d be compelled to consider this motzei shen ra about an entire commuinity.

    • Now just why would you believe that the “they” that stands at the head of that sentence refers to you, your friends, or an entire community? Or do you doubt that it accurately depicts the reaction of a sizable number of other people?

  22. dr. bill says:

    R. Adlerstein, Lumping different gedolim into a category, as in your response to R. Slifkin, tends to diminish their critically different approaches. A distinguished professional with unfettered access to both RSZA ztl and latter RSYE ztl described them to me as radically different. RSZA would interrogate him until he felt he had extracted and internalized the (technical) knowledge necessary to then render a halakhic decision. The process was often lengthy. RSYE relied entirely on his professional opinion and rendered a decision quickly with limited or no questioning.

    In a very similar vein, if someone came to the Rav ztl about a non-halakhic matter, he would ask did you consult with X or Y before coming to me, because that is what I will do. As a famous Mr. X tells me, the Rav would question him extensively, like RSZA, before offering his halakhic perspective.

  23. Natan Slifkin says:

    Today, in Yerushalayim, the Lithuanian and Sefardic Gedolim are insisting that Daas Torah says to vote for Moshe Leon, while the Peleg and Chassidic Gedolim are insisting that Daas Torah says NOT to vote for him. So would you say that in fact, the Torah doesn’t have any position on this? And if that’s the case, why do they all seem to think otherwise?

  24. Bob Miller says:

    In the context of this discussion, what should we make of this?—

    https://www.timesofisrael.com/jerusalem-hasidic-leaders-refrain-from-endorsing-mayor-in-boost-to-berkovitch/

    http://matzav.com/yerushalayim-election-day-agudas-yisroel-declines-to-back-a-candidate/

    Here is a quote found in the first article above and repeated in the second:

    “Leaders of the Agudas Yisroel party in Yerushalayim on Monday ordered their followers to refrain from voting in Tuesday’s mayoral runoff, splitting the charedi vote in a maneuver seen as buoying candidate Ofer Berkovitch over front-runner Moshe Lion.”

    I guess friendly, persuasive advice to Agudah voters would lack that essential something.

    Anyway, other Chareidi leaders have a different view:
    https://www.theyeshivaworld.com/news/israel-news/1621982/today-runoff-election-day-in-jerusalem-other-israel-cities.html

    Since these various authorities can’t all be right, some at least must lack actionable Daas Torah about politics.

  25. Ari says:

    I heard from many many charedi people in BS that they “had” to vote for Abutbol, but they are happy Bloch won, as they wanted to vote for her. Those people don’t read CC. Would love to know what they think of “das Torah”

  26. Dov K says:

    You are missing the obvious. When you write “Was this a one-off, owing to unique conditions in Beit Shemesh and Ramat Beit Shemesh? Or is it evidence of a spiritual erosion of a community that used to think of nothing but the good of the Torah collective” you miss the reality that thousands of chareidim knew that voting fir the challenger was in fact the good of the Torah collective.

    Voting turnout was down 20% in Cheftziba, an Israeli chareidi and generally fairly extreme neighborhood. No anglos or blue shirts there, just staunch chareidim sick of their lives being hurt by the former mayor.

    Ramat Bet Shemesh gimel is full of true chareidim who lived for months without busses because of the ineptitude of the city under the former mayor. Ramat Bet Shemesh gimel 2 had no mikva because of the ineffectiveness of the ciry under the ever-so-chareidi former mayor. If residents there voted for the challenger, it was to have the city services that chareidim, and others, want.

  27. Yehudah says:

    Steve, most of lakewood voted for hugin. Those of who held our nose and voted for Menendez was due to his standing up to the iran deal. Crucial to our political clout is the sense that we are grateful voters.

  28. Steve Brizel says:

    Yehudah- is any such hakaras hatov owed Booker who supported the Iran deal and has moved to he far left on a wide range of issues? I realize that the Menendez prosecution was inspired in no small part for his opposition to the Iran deal but how would you explain voting for him in light of his stance on Kavanaugh and his personal conduct to your wife daughters or potential shidduch?

  29. Sara Elias says:

    @Yehoshua Duker and Ari Heitner: I personally wouldn’t dream of not vaccinating my children or myself , nor did I know till two days ago that there is actually a psak against vaccination. I am just bringing a psak that was told to me to point out that there is a halachic basis to not vaccinating that is not based on fake science or scare tactics.

    The vadai applies to the toxin you are introducing into your body – you are deliberately introducing something into your body that could cause you harm as opposed to perhaps contracting an illness that could perhaps cause you harm. I guess I should have called it vadai/safek vs. safek/safek.

    (The psak goes further to question whether you have a chiyuv to introduce toxins into your body to protect someone else who could theoretically catch a disease from you and thereby be harmed or whether it might be assur for you to possibly harm yourself to possibly save someone else from an illness he might possibly catch from you.)

  30. Yossi says:

    I don’t really understand the question about conflicting “Daas Torah” about how to vote. How can it really be Daas Torah if there are two different opinions? And does that mean the Torah doesn’t have an opinion? I don’t think so.

    While I don’t know that I personally subscribe to Daas Torah on that specific level, each Gadol will still represent a worldview. Within that worldview, he has insight and will tell you why he sees the other worldview as less favorable. And his “Bar Plugta” will say the same. No different than two legitimate Poskim who come out with different psakim; they can both be great analysts of Halacha and come out with different answers.

  31. Dr. E says:

    One thing which appears to have changed in recent history is that the Chareidi Gedolim and Rabbonim are quite comfortable being involved in national and local politics. This includes endorsements for and pronouncements against specific candidates, using over-the-top existential rhetoric. And the Askanim serving as their gatekeepers are all to ready to exploit their masters through traditional media and (quite ironically) the Internet and social media. So, no one really knows what these luminaries said or didn’t say–sign or didn’t sign. Information is heavily filtered in both directions.

    Furthermore, the Chareidi community has been exploiting practices such as mode of dress, outward appearance, and full-time indefinite “Toraso Umnaso” for everyone (i.e., all Chareidim) as if these things are all part and parcel of our Mesorah. The brand is one of all or nothing. Until now, those narratives have played well in preventing many to see the falsehood of those assertions.

    It’s no wonder how the circle-the-wagons attitude of ingroup-outgroup and only they have the key has reached its absurd conclusion. Most CC readers have known that these traditions are quite untraditional and unprecedented. Add to the mix corruption, shekker, municipal incompetence—and the Internet—and the result might in fact be that more marginal followers are starting to realize this.

    Only time will tell as to the extent that these recent election results in BS will be an anomaly. But it’s quite evident that given the distinct factions which have emerged within the Chareidi world, (e.g., Litvish, Peleg, Chassidim, Shas), the Chareidi construct of infallible Daas Torah has collapsed. There is no unity and turf wars have been common. The nonpragmatic hard-core Chariedim will likely probably try to stuff the genie back into the bottle and cry wolf in doing so; the pragmatic hard-core Chareidim will just try to do so in more savvy ways.

  32. Shades of Gray says:

    “Never believe anything said in my name unless you hear it directly from me.” Others have said the same. ”

    In Alei Shur, Volume II, page 296, I believe R. Wolbe writes that the Chazon Ish said a similar thing about himself. R. Wolbe also writes there that telling stories of tzadikim of dubious veracity can be very harmful to Emunas Chachamim.

    “We need to reacquaint a new generation with the concept of daas Torah as it was known a scant few decades ago ”

    Yated columist R. Avroham Birnbauam quotes the following converstaion with Rebbetzin Zlata Ginnsburg( daughter of R. Yechezkel Levenstein and wife of R. Efraim Mordechai Ginsburg) of pre-war Kelm, Mir and Kletzk(Jonathan Rosenblum has referenced the same conversation):

    “I will never forget a conversation I had with Rebbetzin Zlata Ginsburg…She told me that one fundamental difference was that bnei Torah of the pre-war era were far more confident in their own abilities to think, analyze something, and make a conclusion based on their own seichel than people are today…She replied, “Of course, there are times when you have to ask a question to ah kluger Yid (a clever Jew).” [“Not every talmid chochom is ah kluger Yid,” she added parenthetically.] “But that is only after you have thought the entire thing through on your own and broken the question down to its essence.”

    See link to Yated:

    https://yated.com/seichel/

    I also remember reading that a member of the Agudah Moetzes refrained from answering some questions at a Torah Umesorah convention, saying that a Rebbe has the sechel to answer them himself.

  33. Shades of Gray says:

    Prof. Yitzchok Levine wrote recently:

    “A number of years ago Rav Zelig Epstein, ZT”L, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva Shaar Ha Torah, was relating to a group of his students the story of how the Mir Yeshiva escaped from Vilna to Shanghai. At the time Vilna was under the control of the Russians, and the Russians did not look favorably on anyone who wanted to leaver the Communist “paradise.” In particular the Hanhala of the Mir and also of other yeshivas were opposed to the idea of leaving Vilna fearing that the Russians would arrest anyone who tried to leave. However, a number of the Mirer bochrim felt it was imperative for the yeshiva to leave Lithuania and refused to listen to the Hanhala. In fact, one of the top bochrim in the Mir at this time, Aryeh Leib Malin, said, “I will get a gun and shoot anyone who tries to stop us from leaving.” (I had this statement verified for me by Reb Zalman Alpert, who served for many years as a librarian at YU and heard from two old former Mirer yeshiva students. When one of the bochrim heard this, he immediately asked, “But what about Daas Torah?” Reb Zelig replied, “This was before Daas Torah was invented!” I do not know if he said it in jest or in seriousness, but he did say it. ”

    While not an “Alter Mirer”, I do have a personal perspective on this of sorts. Some of my rebbeim were encouraging me and others to hear shiurim from Rav Zelig during bein hazimanim. I recall one saying that R. Zelig is the only writer who writes only one draft for a certain publication(I think for Encyclopedia Talmudis); another told me that R. Shach directed someone who wanted “Daas Torah in America” to R. Zelig(I also recall a friend whose parents were neighbors with R. Epstein, telling me that R. Zelig used to “relax” with a chemistry book). It would be supremely ironic, if R. Zelig, apparently recomended by R. Shach as a source of Daas Torah, didn’t hold of Daas Torah! It is likely, that as I quoted from Rebebtzin Ginzburg, that there are degrees of the concept, the extreme of which R. Zelig objected to(I did attend the shiurim, and remember asking R. Zelig privately, not about Daas Torah or chemistry, but to explain to me something my rebbe in yeshiva had quoted from R. Shimon Shkop).

    Simiarly, R. Hershel Schachter, who has spoken favorably about Daas Torah, wrote regarding R. Solveitchik’s limitations on the concept:

    ” I heard from R. Norman Lamm that our teacher was once asked about a political matter, and the rabbi responded to the questioner on the issue. The questioner then asked, “Is our teacher’s ‘Da’as Torah’ such-and-such?” Our teacher immediately responded, “I did not say ‘Da’as Torah.’ I only said my opinion and the listener will choose.” It seems to me that his words mean as follows: People tend to use the phrase “Da’as Torah” as meaning an absolute conclusion from which the listener has no permission to discuss or disagree. This was not the approach of our teacher, as is famous and known to all.”(translation in an 8/06 Torah Musing post, “R. Soloveitchik on Da’as Torah II”

  34. Bob Miller says:

    Regarding the comment by Sara Elias on November 13, 2018 at 2:41 pm:

    Do you accept that, now and then, a “psak halacha” can be based on misinformation or wrong interpretation? I’m offended as much by earnestly argued nonsense as by any other kind.

    Please note that Rebbe Nachman of Breslov ZY”A, despite being highly skeptical of the doctors and medicine of his time, came out strongly in favor of the smallpox vaccine as an essential preventive measure. Rebbe Nachman said that parents’ failure to have their child vaccinated for smallpox within the first three months of life was “tantamount to murder.”
    (quoted from Avaneha Barzel, p.31 #34, in The Wings of the Sun by R’ Avraham Greenbaum, p.204)

  35. Simcha r. Stern says:

    Thankyou Rabbi Adlerstein for an elouqent and important piece.As someone who has lived in both E.Y. and America I believe I have perspective to comment on this subject.There exists a devestatingly wrong inferiority complex on behalf of Americans that our version of yidishkiet needs to strive to reach the superior Israeli version.Nothing could be further from the truth.Whether it be earning parnasa, educational systems,basic mentshlichkiet,midos, attitudes towards other non observent Jews (that enables kirruv) the Chutz Laarertz system wins hands down.I have even been told by two seperate Israel RY’sthat the American Yeshiva system produces bigger lomdonim than it’s Israeli counterparts(though the average Israeli bochur will have more yidios). Even the often derided American focus on materialism is what often ensures that those not cut out for,or willing to be Moser nefesh for learning seek adaquet parnassa.I would also argue that lack of Israeli materialism is not generally a function of some altruistic group deciosion but rather the effects of living in a country burdened by years of onorous andstifling economic policy.So I would strongly urge all those making Aliya :please do not abandon your ideals at the airport !Bring them to Eretz Yisroel and help make it a place with one the best of everything.

  36. David Ohsie says:

    Despite the “upset”, this election can tell us nothing new because almost the same exact thing happened last time. Abutbol won the last election 51-49. He lost this time by a closer margin than 51-49. At best, a few percent more Charedim either didn’t vote or crossed over. That doesn’t tell us anything.

    If you put a marble on very center of an inverted bowl, it’s going to roll off one way or the other. Which way doesn’t tell you anything.

  37. YEA says:

    Sara Elias, Rav Shmuel Kaminetsky was quoted, “I see vaccinations as the problem. It’s a hoax. Even the Salk vaccine [against polio] is a hoax. It is just big business.”

    Not sure if he ever called it a “scam” but “hoax” is no better. I would love to learn that he was misquoted.

    http://jewishtimes.com/27549/a-healthy-dose/arts_life/food-feature/2/

  38. Cvmay says:

    Thank you for an analysis of the changes in the Charedi lifestyle & mindsets.
    As you gather more experience under your belt in the Holy Land, I’d be interested in your analysis of the “Chardal” lifestyle & mindset. Is that a simple title for “Middle of the road Charedi” or “Charedi-Lite”? Or does the component of ‘Le’oomi’/Nationalism still lack exposure in the world of “New Charedim”?

    • As a newbie, I don’t have a handle yet on that population. Even I, however, can attest from exposure to many, many fine people in that community that much of it shows commitment of learning, tefillah b’tzibur, the minutiae of halacha and tzniyus far in excess of the American MO community. On the other hand, the reported drop-out rate of young people is horrible to contemplate.

  39. Sara Elias says:

    @YEA: I wasn’t there when R’ Shmuel said or didn’t say what he is supposed to have said so I can’t help you there.

    @Bob Miller: I certainly can’t deny that there is a possibility that a given psak was based on false information the posek was given. OTOH, I’m not quite sure where the misinformation is in this psak.

    FTR, this “psak” was not a general, public one. It was a directive only to this gadol’s children and descendants. I do wonder whether the psak would have been different in the case of smallpox, which had a very high death rate, likewise I wonder about the polio vaccine.

  40. Bob Miller says:

    About the comment by YEA on November 13, 2018 at 11:27 pm:

    Gedolim who address questions outside their areas of expertise can sometimes be tragically wrong. Our protection against that includes consulting with other subject matter experts (including other Gedolim) better schooled in those areas, and looking at demonstrable facts.

  41. Steve Brizel says:

    Simcha Stern raised an important point. R Asher Weiss has mentioned that the EY Yeshiva world could learn from the ChuL world which has many Bnei Torah who are not just Bnei Torah but who give shiurim and write sefarim in addition to working hard in their professions and occupation of choice

  42. Cvmay says:

    Was your response regarding The Chardal kehilla since they seem to be increasing & strengtheing? The religious Zionist umbrella is very far from homogeneous… and do you notice nationalism seeping into the “New Charedim”?

  43. Dovid Kasten says:

    Reb Yitzchok, it’s very easy for a new Oleh to move here and start expressing his need for change. As Yehuda stated, the Chareidi world is producing children with Yiras Shamayim, Torah, Chesed and everything good in between. The history of the struggle between Chilonim and Chareidim started before you were born, and definitly plays a role in the Chareidi “riggedness”. You are falling into the same trap that many Olim make. Which is that the way it works in America, where the enemy is not one’s fellow jew, is the same way it works here in Eretz Yisroel.
    The Modern-Orthodox approach is fraught with danger, skyrocketing off-the-derech teens and adults, lack of basic Shmiras HaMitzvos, and simple apathy, to name just a few. As a failure in America, don’t dare try to bring it here. Even what works in America regarding frumkeit (the good side of it) and the balance of freedom and religion is dangerous. The new Oleh needs to have a certain humility to understand that just as if he moves to China he may never understand the culture and the nuances of why things are done, and therefore not set out to change it, also here in Eretz Yisroel it is almost the same.
    The way to not-such-good-places is paved with good intentions. Don’t go down that path.

    • Chas V’Shalom! I am not stupid or immodest enough to tell others that they need to change. To the contrary – I am suggesting that certain people NOT change – that they not feel obligated to throw away a mesorah and way of life that worked in the US, and can work here, if they do not try to become something they are not. I’ve also seen too many OTD kids from charedi homes to venture a guess as to which derech is fraught with more danger. It was the Netziv IIRC who, when asked whether someone leaving Europe should go to Palestine or to treif America chose the latter! He pointed to Chazal who say that poverty is מעבירין את האדם מדעת קונו Pictures of hundreds of kids with nothing better to do than block traffic as Etz supporters does not paint a pretty picture. I wish all those who are happy with their system wonderful, fulfilled, Torah-dik lives. But for those recoiling from the sleazier part of the community (in sharp focus during an election campaign), let them realize that their numbers are getting to the point that they needn’t kowtow to something completely foreign to themselves – and that they needn’t doubt that they are living authentic Torah lifestyles.

  44. mycroft says:

    Rav Soloveitchik publicly stated that he had no special expertise in non halachik matters.
    A good example is about whether or not Israel should give back territory.He stated publicly that if it were to save one life he would give back the Kosel. He did not advocate it,simply stating that is a decision for military and diplomatic experts. If they felt it would save lives he’d be in favor of it.

  45. Weaver says:

    All that statement means is that someone who has Torah knowledge, yet lacks common sense/empathy/good judgment can do a tremendous amount of damage.

    For the record, Rav Aharon Lichtenstein also agrees to the concept of daas Torah, though not in it’s extreme form:
    “This concept is generally in disrepute among votaries of modern Orthodoxy, who have sought to challenge both its historical progeny and its philosophic validity. I must confess that I find myself, in principle, more favorably disposed to the idea. I readily concede that the concept, in its more overarching permutations, is of relatively recent vintage . . . I find the alternative view, that gedolei Torah are professional experts whose authority and wisdom can ordinarily be regarded as confined to the area of their technical proficiency, simply inconceivable. Our abiding historical faith in the efficacy of Torah as a pervasive, ennobling, informing. and enriching force dictates adoption of the concept of da’at Torah in some form or measure.” (Leaves of Faith, pg. 296)

  46. Ari says:

    Mr. Kasten I see you are still participating in the discussion about Charedim and bet shemesh. Could you please tell us where you stand on the following issue: to the best of your knowledge, did the rabbis urging votes for Abutbol meet with and listen to residents who complained about Abutbol, and did they meet with Bloch and./or her supporters? If yes, what information do you have regarding these meetings (where and when and with whom did they take place). If not, do you think Judaism supports the approach of rabbis judging situations without meeting both sides? Thank you for taking the time to answer, your answers will really clarify your stance on other issues.

  47. lacosta says:

    for a long look at the vaccine controversy [ including as a school requirement] from many torah perspectives , please see http://podcast.headlinesbook.com

  48. MK says:

    I heard this directly from a very respected person in kiruv.
    He had an American talmid learning in Eretz Yisroel that was having shalom bayis, marital, problems.
    He sensed that the root of the problem was financial pressure.
    And as a result there was friction in the house, resulting in his inability
    to focus on his learning, leading to more pressure..
    He suggested to the fellow that he look for a job, for which he had training in America.
    The talmid replied that he asked a “shayla” and was told by a number of important rabbis to stay in Kollel.
    So this kiruv rabbi took the fellow to speak to Rav Hutner ZTL.
    And Rav Hutner told him the following exact words…
    (I hope the moderator doesn’t have an issue with his words, as we would be censoring the Rosh Yeshiva!)
    Rav Hutner said…
    “Those that are telling to to stay in Kollel?
    Will burn in hell!”
    As a talmid of Rav Hutner, there is no question in my mind that he would say this.
    It must be stressed that Rav Hutner was second to none in the appreciation of Kollel learning by those for whom it is appropriate.

  49. resources says:

    A good way for an Oleh to pick the moderate but firm Chareidi brain is to read
    Rav Shlomo Wolbe – Olam HaYedidut / Ohr Lashav http://seforimcenter.com/Rabbi-Shlomo-Wolbe__c-p-0-0-459.aspx
    A good way to pick a firmer, often delegitimizing, Chareidi brain is to read Maaseh Ish. Each volume has a chapter about Chiloniut/the State of Israel. Some argue that this does not accurately represent the Chazon Ish’es views, but the masses, whose actual attitudes are under discussion here, say that it does. Seven volumes available at http://www.hebrewbooks.org/51554, http://www.hebrewbooks.org/51555, etc.

  50. David Lerner says:

    It bears mentioning that at the outset, Degel HaTorah – after Abutbol helped them throughout the years with their (our) yeshivos and housing – tried to “throw him under the bus” and run their own candidate!! They went out and saying that Abutbol was not one of “ours” (Sephardi). Only after Rav Chaim Kanievsky shot that down, did they back Abutbol. After the good old “sephardi-ashkenazi” card was played — it was too late to pull back – and many chareidim didn’t vote for the “sephardi”, because deep down they just “couldn’t” – but felt it wasn’t going against “daas torah” because they didn’t vote for Bloch — and Degel – in the end – was a cause for their own downfall.. An article on the “ashkanazic torah world” view of “sephardim” would be an eye opener – but that will have to wait for another day. Shkoiyach Rav Adlerstein.

  51. Dovid Kasten says:

    @ Rabbi Adlerstein: I’m sorry, i understood your words, “It just could be that we are on the cusp of a breakthrough in diversity of Torah life in Israel”, to be implying that the Chareidi way must change. If this is not what you meant, why do you then mention all the Chareidi OTD kids? And Eitz? Chareidi OTD kids are not necessarily the result of a flawed system, but of those not adhering to the system (Abuse, Divorce, outside influence etc.) or not complementing the system properly (tutoring, extracurricular activities, keeping up with what’s going on in one’s child’s life).
    Eitz as well is not mainstream Chareidi, but the fringes who don’t travel the well trodden path. Why don’t you mention the Neturei Karta or the Shawl Cult as examples of Chareidi as well? Not following the mainstream, majority Mesorah will always lead to destruction, whether to the right or the left…

    @ Ari: You are mistaken, my comment was not about Beit Shemesh. It was about the audacity of an Oleh making erroneous assumptions about a culture completely foreign to him and then deciding how things can be changed for the better. Your question is similar to asking if the Doctors who signed on vaccinations sat and had a discussion with the Anti-Vaxxers before they made their decision. [Just a though… when it comes to vaccinations, everyone applauds the Rabbanim telling everyone that they have a Chiuv to vax and no one attacks them for their lack of medical knowledge. But when it comes to politics, which is infinity times more complex, the Rabbanim, who do have the capacity to make a decision (based on taking all sides into consideration), are bashed because “they simply don’t understand the situation”.]

  52. yoni samber says:

    Responding to Dovid Kasten
    What I see here is your commitment to defend a failing hashkafa to the death. And I do not admire that commitment.
    I admire people who have the humility to admit that there is a problem or that a mistake was made, and who have the courage to bring forth solutions for the public good(in this case, that will strengthen Torah Judaism and not relegate it to the dustbin of history).
    I urge you to spend some time in Ramot Pollin and Ramat Shlomo to fully comprehend the magnitude of the off the derech epidemics impact on Israeli chareidi circles(I assume you will blame this on the chutznick residents).I am not sure the DL communities drop out rate is higher.
    I urge you to speak to to your own community rav about the broken marriages that have resulted from fiscal neglect on the husbands part, in the name of ‘Torah lishma”.
    I urge you to speak to some of your friends and neighbors about the times they have called me to help their children after attempted suicides or substance abuse that was a direct result of a failing, flailing chareidi system. Or as you like to imagine it, “not adhering to the system”.
    I urge you to speak to the well known community rav who told a close friend of mine not to report sexual abuse of his daughter to the police; I am sure you will empathize with his “grasp of all considerations”.(I will not trust this rav to present a truthful picture to the moetzes that he frequents).
    All these failures are self inflicted.
    Explain to me how you can think that I, Rabbi Adlerstein, and any other Jew with a beating heart and and an unshakable sense of right and wrong present a greater threat to Torah in Eretz Yisrael than your own warped view that you put forth?
    I say without shame: all these failures, and others (more examples in Rav Karlinskys article, which you discard because he does not live in BS) are aberrations, deviations and distortions of the Torah that my parents, my grandparents, and my chareidi teachers at EVERY STAGE of my life have sacraficed to teach me.
    Perhaps instead of the repetitve psycho analysis that you have subjected us to, some good old fashioned cheshbon haNefesh would be in order. We are not the enemy. We just have little patience for people who “shrei chai veKayom” for the Torah, but are inconsistent through and through when it comes to real practice.
    If the chareidi system has become more important than the Torah it was meant to protect, then we need to step up and call it out for what it is.

  53. Steve Brizel says:

    R Pfeiifer points out that the Charedi world is evolving in the sense that while there is no compromise on “Yiras Shamayim, Torah, Chesed and everything good in between”, we now see the ongoing development a Charedi middle( and even upper middle in some neighborhoods) class akin to the American yeshiva and chasidic worlds where the aforementioned people work ,own very nice homes, shop in malls ( take a ride to Woodbury Commons on any Sunday afternoon) , take vacations, own summer homes and participate in the political world without becoming or risking becoming spiritually mediocre, to use the words of CI in Igros CI, Vol. 3. However, traditional societies evolve and change slowly and do so when they are allowed to do so on their own, as opposed to being forced to do so, regardless of the instruments for such change, whether they be judicial, legislative or far less democratic means.

    That being the case, I am very much of the POV that every MO community that can afford it should welcome and support a community kollel , whether organized by RIETS, BMG, CC or Ner Yisrael, just so the Baalei Batim can see young couples who are Moser Nefesh for the idea of Talmud Torah and living a live dedicated to Talmud Torah, and avoiding the worst elements of Gashmius and the surrounding world, including how one dresses, and spends one’s spare time, as a means of Dveikus BaShem and inspiring the surrounding community to similarly make a more judicious use of one’s interaction with the surrounding cultural and social trends.

  54. Sara Elias says:

    @David Lerner: That is quite amusingly ironic, considering that Aliza Bloch herself is Sephardi. Her maiden name was Ben-Hamu.

  55. yoni samber says:

    And if you want to bring up eitz/peleg yerushalmi, then lets talk about it. They certainly act like a fringe group, but I think you are conveniently ignoring their numbers. They recieved approximately 1800 votes in this town(this number is from memory; I do not have the final tally at hand now). There are many thousands more in J-m, Brachfeld, Tzfas, Ashdod and Benei Brak. And they are mad.And determined. So while I would really love to write them all off dismissively as not the mainstream, the evidence points to them being around as a horrifying reality for the foreseeable future.
    So how did it happen? Who caused it? What are we learning from this story to assure that this churban never happens again? I expect more revealing answers than just”not following the majority mesorah will always lead to destruction”.
    No doubt it is politically incorrect to say this, but at the end of the day, eitz/peleg is a product of Israeli chareidi hashkafa. In a mindset where the most machmir, uncompromising worldview is lauded, where insulation is the ideal and being worldly is shunned, and where students are instructed to “mevattel their daas” to “kecholl asher yorucha”, peleg yerushalmi is the result.The inherent checks and balances in the “system” formulated here since 1948 rely on a gadol/ manhig hador to retain a sence of balance, an orientation of what is right and wrong; and what is too far and unacceptable in the big scheme of things even when done to protect whatever the right thing is. The failure of this check/balance, at the very top, and supported/demanded by the askanim of those circles, is one that we should all be grapling with and learning from.
    At a certain point, the final check and ballance that prevents the breakdown of a Torah life is the individuals own conviction of what is right and what is wrong, based on years of his own toil and struggle to understand Ratzon Hashem as manifest to us in the Torah. If you outsource or disable this final trigger safety, then you are left with peleg yerushalmi.
    I know this, because I was part of those circles for a few years. Contrary to what Mr. Kasten would like to attribute my oppinion to, I have never been personaly hurt or burned by them, or by the mainstream chareidim. But I have seen firsthand in my twenty two years here what happens when the fifth chelek of Shulchan Aruch, and even the Gadlus HaAdam of Slabodka, are burnt and buried in the name of protecting
    “the system” from outside influence. My battle is not to get discouraged or confused by these distractions the satan places before us. Rather than surrender our Torah convictions at the airport,and submitt to an attitude of “the enemy here are our fellow Jews”(that you implied), we must renew our commitment and lead by example.

  56. David Lerner says:

    @Sara Elias: Yes that is true — but the reality of the current “Torah World” is — if her child would change hashkafa – and be even among the top students at Hebron or Chadash – He\She would be considered “chetzi-chetzi” and would not get anything close to a normal shidduch… Even though the Steipler, Rav Chaim Kanievsky, and Rav Karelenstein all came out against denying shidduchim based on race (sources available upon request). Actually – it could be said that the current “Torah World” share things in common with the conservative movement — Whatever they like – they do, whatever doesn’t fit their fancy — they don’t do. The breakdown today of emunas chachomim – as mention by others here – is from role models that are not consistent (yosher) in their words and deeds.. and that is sending many of our youth to the Internet, etc.. and not the other way around. There, I said my piece. 🙂

  57. Bob Miller says:

    When someone or some group says “don’t question me” overtly or by implication, the questions multiply and disaffection grows. Suppression of questions is like dynamite to emunah.

  58. Nachum says:

    So. Are you open to an article by a Jerusalem resident describing how disappointed he is in how many charedim voted in *our* election, or does the criticism go one way only?

  59. Yisrael Asper says:

    The idea that Daas Torah has been an all or nothing concept of recent origin where rabbis stayed out of all of secular authoruty decisions is unhistorical all the way back to the days of the Tannaim. Rabbi Akiva said that Bar Kochva should not ally himself with the Samaritans in the war against Rome. This was Daas Torah versus secular authority. I’m sure in general he didn’t interfere in miltary matters but an alliance with the Samaritans he felt was spiritually a threat.

  60. Bo says:

    @Bob Miller: wishful thinking. The masses/the choir accept not to question. Just visit their enclaves to find out for yourself.

  61. Yisrael Asper says:

    I did not get a confirmation email yet. Please send.
    The idea that Daas Torah has been an all or nothing concept of recent origin where rabbis stayed out of all of secular authoruty decisions is unhistorical all the way back to the days of the Tannaim. Rabbi Akiva said that Bar Kochva should not ally himself with the Samaritans in the war against Rome. This was Daas Torah versus secular authority. I’m sure in general he didn’t interfere in miltary matters but an alliance with the Samaritans he felt was spiritually a threat.

  62. Dovid Kasten says:

    @Yoni Samber: “At a certain point, the final check and ballance (sic) that prevents the breakdown of a Torah life is the individuals own conviction of what is right and what is wrong, based on years of his own toil and struggle to understand Ratzon Hashem as manifest to us in the Torah.”
    You forgot to mention the other check; the wisdom of the anti-religious writers in local newspapers.
    What i mean to say is that perhaps the twisting of events by the anti-religious writers skewed your perception of reality. Someone who does not understand the conflict that has been going on here between the secular and Chareidi populations cannot fully understand the topic even with all the “toil and struggle” in the world.
    How do you understand Yakov Aveinu “stealing” the Brachos from poor Esav, or his tricking his own father-in-law out of flocks of sheep? Is that also corruption? Or do we look to those greater than us to explain to us what happened?
    I never wrote that you were harmed by Chareidim and that is what changed your viewpoint. In fact i wrote the opposite. I wrote,”If one paid attention to Yoni’s argument, it is not one of bitterness. It doesn’t appear to me that he was wronged by “those hareidim” but has pure motives for his beliefs.” I think it’s because you are so compassionate that you cannot bear the “wrong” done to the non-Chareidi. But a little understanding of the whole picture brings a totally different conclusion.

  63. nt says:

    Does no one see this as being of a piece with the worldwide electoral trend of the quiet masses disregarding the paternalism of the elite? Or to use Peggy Noonan’s Pulitzer-winning formulation, the protected vs. the unprotected? Trump, Brexit, AFD in Germany, and now Bet Shemesh all point to a Western Spring in which people realize that their interests and the interests of their leading class have fundamentally diverged.
    Dovid Kasten’s response is essentially the response of the Bill Kristols: shock and fear as they suddenly realize they have been left high and dry by the zeitgeist. It’s like the ship’s captain and his cronies that are shocked when they get marooned by the crew.

  64. Bob Miller says:

    “How do you understand Yakov Aveinu “stealing” the Brachos from poor Esav, or his tricking his own father-in-law out of flocks of sheep? Is that also corruption? Or do we look to those greater than us to explain to us what happened?”

    I trust our Mesorah, Avot, and Imahot far more than I trust self-interested incompetents.

  65. Binyamin says:

    Rav Adlerstein,
    As you have mentioned repeatedly your desire to get a handle on the various communities here in the Holy Land, I am sure you have been tipped off about the unique opportunity afforded by the annual Sifrei Chassidut fair run by Chabad in honor of Yat Kislev, in Binyanei Ha’Umah. It is an astounding sight to behold – thousands of Jews of literally every walk of life rubbing elbows with each other while they fill shopping carts with everything from the Alter Rebbe, Rebbe Nachman, and Bat Ayin to Shem Mishmuel and Nesivos Shalom, and everything in between (or on top of or underneath). And that’s without all the side shows like hitva’aduts, Hasidic art and music, and who knows what else. For anyone going through PTSD from these elections, the fair is a good way to remember that Yiddishkeit is alive and kicking. (Full disclosure: I have no ties whatsoever to Chabad, and that is an understatement.)
    Hope to see you there.

  66. dr. bill says:

    weaver and mycroft, as you would expect both the Rav ztl and RAL ztl held nuanced positions. RAL criticized a chareidi icon of his day both for political and anatomical assertions, criticism he delivered be’peh maale. Implicit in his criticism was disdain for using the daas torah trope as if it somehow provides an unlimited license.
    The rav ztl felt that different disciplines, and definitely torah knowledge, provide perspective valuable across a broader range of subjects.

    How either would react to the current (broad) use of the term does not have to be said; it is obvious.

  67. cohen NB says:

    yoni,etc,

    While this Will likely come as a surprise to you and yours
    the preponderance of Peleg supporters(In the beginning at least) actually came from children & descendants of chutznikim

    Another side of the similar coin?

    Not those who come from normative classical Israeli backgrounds who grasp the greater story being played out- the past and future
    ,nor those who would fall within the rubric of
    Gramsci called “the simple people.”
    As per Gramsci the simple people were not mere living operatives but were intellectuals, too, with concepts, values, and understandings of the world that added up to a “spontaneous philosophy of the multitude.”

  68. elie says:

    response to Yoni Samber

    1. I think the greatest false narrative is in your allegation that all critics of Mayor Abutbol are anti chareidi.
    I NEVER SAID THAT. I NOTED THERE WERE THOSE THAT VOTED AGAINST ABUTBOL DUE TO LACK OF SERVICES AND THE LIKE, AND THAT IS REASONABLE, ALTHOUGH MISTAKEN, AS I EXPLAINED.
    I SAID THAT MANY OF THE BLOGGERS WHO WROTE IN, YOU BEING AMONG THEM, WERE ANTI THE CHAREDI WORLD AS IT IS NOW, AND THAT IS INDEED TRUE.
    HERE IS WHAT YOU WROTE

    I admire people who have the humility to admit that there is a problem or that a mistake was made, and who have the courage to bring forth solutions for the public good(in this case, that will strengthen Torah Judaism and not relegate it to the dustbin of history).
    I urge you to spend some time in Ramot Pollin and Ramat Shlomo to fully comprehend the magnitude of the off the derech epidemics impact on Israeli chareidi circles(I assume you will blame this on the chutznick residents).I am not sure the DL communities drop out rate is higher.

    I urge you to speak to to your own community rav about the broken marriages that have resulted from fiscal neglect on the husbands part, in the name of ‘Torah lishma”.
    I urge you to speak to some of your friends and neighbors about the times they have called me to help their children after attempted suicides or substance abuse that was a direct result of a failing, flailing chareidi system.
    WOW! YOU CALL THE CHAREDI SYSTEM ‘FAILING AND FLAILING’. AND IF THE CHAREDI SYSTEM IS NOT SAVED BY PEOPLE LIKE YOU, THEN ‘TORAH JUDAISM’ MIGHT BE ‘RELEGATED TO THE DUSTBIN OF JEWISH HISTORY.’ THE CHAREDI SYSTEM IS DOING QUITE WELL OVERALL. THERE HAS BEEN TREMENDOUS GROWTH AND SIYATA DISHMAYA, GUIDED BY THE GEDOLIM RAV SHACH RAV ELYASHIV RAV SHTEINMAN AND OTHERS, OVER THE LAST 40 YEARS. THAT IS OBVIOUS TO SEE.
    YOUR COMMENT ABOUT THE OTD PROBLEM AND COMPARING TO DATI LEUMI IS LUDICROUS. ALL THE PROFESIONALS IN THE FIELD SAY THAT THE DL PROBLEM HOVERS AT AROUND 20% LO ALEINU VLO ALEICHEM AND IN THE CHAREDI WORLD IT IS AROUND 8-10% LO ALEINU V’LO ALEICHEM. NEITHER NUMBER IS GOOD. THE POINT IS NOT TO COMARE OR CRITICIZE THE DL WORLD. I DID NOT ADDRESS THAT IN MY POST. THE POINT IS THAT IN YOUR ZEAL TO PAINT THE CHARED SYSTEM AS FAILING, YOU MAKE THINGS UP.
    MANY OTHERS WROTE EVEN WORSE THINGS ABOUT THE CHAREDI WOLRD AS A WHOLE. SO INDEED I AM CORRECT THAT MANY OF THE ANTI ABUTBOL VOTERS ARE ANTI THE CHAREDI WORLD.

    OF COURSE THERE IS ALWAYS ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT. NO ONE DENIES THAT. BUT A FEW HUNDRED DISGRUNTLED CHAREDIM WHO VOTED AGAINST ANUTBOL DOESN’T REFLECT ANYTHNG ABOUT THE BROADER CHAREDI SYSTEM. IT REFLECTS THEIR CONFUSION IN HOW CITY POLITICS WORKS, AS I EXPLAINED PREVIOUSLY.

    Claiming fake news over and over again, and motzei shame rah about indisputable facts does not leave me with the impresion that I am dealing with a mevakesh emes. So if you are defending a “chareidi” administration with a page out of Trumps anti insurgency manual, then I do not see us finding common ground on much.
    When I read an essay titled “suckerpunched” in January 2012, I was disgusted to my core. So was every other chareidi Jew that I discussed it with(in consideration of the atmosphere that it was written in). If you subscribe to that way of thinking almost seven years later, then you and I will have to move on.
    THE ANAYLSIS WAS CORRECT. THE EXTREMISTS’ VOLENCE IS NOT A CHAREDI ISSUE. JUST AS WE DON’T BLAME ALL ITALIANS FOR THE MAFIA, WE DON’T BLAME ALL CHAREDIM FOR THE EXTREMISTS. LAPID, AND THE MEDIA, IN THEIR ZEAL TO PAINT CHAREDIM NEGATIVELY MADE IT A CHAREDI ISSUE, AND LIPMAN HELPED THAT CAUSE. (THE PARGARAPH ABOUT THE YOUNG GIRL WAS WHAT PROVOKED MOST OF THE NEGATIVE REACTION AND THAT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE ANALYSIS OF USING THIS ISOLATED EVENT TO CREATE A PERCEPTION THAT ALL OF CHAREDI JUDAISM HAS A PROBLEM UNLESS THEIR RABBONIM ADDRESS IT ETC…. THAT CLAIM IS OF COURSE RIDICULOUS.)

    My view is that yair lapids arrival on the scene was only due to our own dismal failure to identify,confront and denounce the abhorant actions of fifty individuals. And once we were at it, we should have made it clear beyond question that signs demanding women walk on a different side of a public street, or dress in a tzanua way, have NO place in a Torah city, and no basis in Torah alltogether. That was a conversation that we still need to have. We, the chareidim of Beit Shemesh and our rabbonim, did not have it. So Lapid stole the ball and ran with it. That was our fault.
    NO. LAPID PLAYED THE MEDIA CARD WELL, AS SUCKERPINUCH EXPLAINED WELL. AND HE WAS AIDED BY LIPMAN WHO GAVE A RELIGIOUS, ‘CHAREIDI’ STAMP OF APPROVAL TO LAPID.

    We, you, the rabbonim here, and the Mayor, could have prevented the whole snowball that led to Lapids rise. How do you feel about that?
    No wonder you want to deflect attention to Dov Lipman, or the reform, or “feminists” that have the audacity to demand free passage on a public street.
    IT COULDN’T HAVE BEEN PREVENTED BY THE RABBONIM AND THE CHAREDIM HERE. INDEED IT WAS CAUSED AND AIDED BY THOSE THAT PRESENTED IT AS A ‘CHAREDI’ PROBLEM TO START WITH.

    To claim that all, or even some of the mainstream Chareidi Rabbonim in ramat beit shemesh aleph condemned what these evildoers did (and continued to do through December of2011) is absolutely false.
    I was looking, listening, asking my friends in other kehilas, NOTHING!
    Your attempt at revisionist history needs some evidence. And what were you doing then, if you felt so strongly? Smugly reading suckerpunched?
    EVERY RAV WHO WAS SPOKEN TO PRIVATELY OR IN PUBLIC CONVERSATIONS CONDEMNED IT.
    THEY DID NOT RESPOND PUBLICLY WITH THE SIGNED LETTER DUE TO THE CORRECT ANALYSIS OF SUCKERPUNCH. THOSE ARE THE FACTS.

    As someone who was here for six years before Abutbols admin kicked off, I can tell you this: As I pointed out, Vaknin was not an easy mayor to work with by any means. But as far as a Torah town, we were doing great! Kollels for young men abounded. Shuls of balei battim were making siyumei Shas every year, and expanding. People of all stripes were shteiging three sedarim a day. Schools for kids were hard to come by, but they were still being built, and populated by chareidim and everyone else.To clame that Abutbol walked into a spiritual midbar and got Torah off the ground here is distorting history to glorify a man who stood by as the worst strife between Jews played out on his watch.
    True Leaders are not affraid to take responsibility for mistakes.(ask president trump, I hear he is great at that).
    I NEVER CLAIMED IT WAS A MIDBAR. THE CITY WAS DOING WELL. THE LIMMUD TORAH FEELING IN THE CITY- KOLLELS, CHADARIM ETC… HAS CERTAINLY BLOSSOMED IN THE LAST FEW YEARS. I BROUGHT THE EXAMPLES OF MORE SCHOOLS OPENING IN RBS FOR CHAREDIM, AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF MANY NEW NEIGHBORHOODS FOR CHAREDIM (LIKE RBSG), WHICH LIKELY WOULDN’T HAVE HAPPENED WITHOUT ABUTBOL.
    I EXPLAINED THAT ABUTBOL ALSO BUILT FOR THE DL AND CHILONI WORLDS. BUT, I EXPLAINED THAT IF ONE UNDERSTANDS HOW CITY POLITICS WORKS, AND HE WANTS A MAYOR WHO WOULD PROTECT CHAREDI INTERESTS, IT MAKES SENSE TO VOTE FOR ABUTBOL.

    Accusing me of a chilul Hashem because I am pointing out our communities failures is not a sign of strength. It shows that you are more concerned with creating a false narrative to hide behind, instead of making a broken situation better.
    THE FUNDAMENTAL QUESTION IS DID ABUTBOL HELP PROMOTE THE ‘CHAREDI’ PROBLEM OF THE EXTREMISTS? THE ANSWER IS, THERE WAS NO AND IS NO ‘CHAREDI’ PROBLEM OF THE EXTREMISTS, JUST LIKE THERE IS NOT AN ‘ITALIAN’ PROBLEM WITH THE MAFIA.
    GIVEN MY TAKE, THEN ALL THE POINTS OF CHILUL HASHEM DUE TO YOUR FALSE NARRATIVE ARE CORRECT.

    I have seen the same Satan at work when it comes to keeping child sexual abuse under the radar. The chilul Hashem card is deployed then too; all in an attempt to hide the truth. Those that speak up are branded”anti chareidi”.
    IT’S INTERESTING YOU MENTION SEXUAL ABUSE IN THIS CONTEXT. SEE ABOVE WHERE YO REFER TO IT AGAIN IN A DIFFERENT POST.
    HERE IS A QUOTE THAT MAY INTEREST YOU.

    Why do you not care about sexual abuse of children? Why do you maltreat women, terrorize children, and embezzle tzedaka money, live parasitic lives, and price-gouge through unnecessary hechsherim?? Have you stopped beating your wife yet? Have you stopped beating your husband yet?” A line is drawn connecting the original stupid, illegal, unethical, etc. behavior to beating children, and all sorts of abuse, sexual and otherwise, and then to all sorts of weird, deviant behavior.
    THAT COMES FROM SUCKERPUNCH, WHERE THE RABBI EXPLAINS THE HYSTERIA AGAINST THE CHAREDI WORLD THAT THE MEDIA TRIES TO ENGENDER BY CREATING ANTI CHAREDI ISSUES.
    MAYBE YOU SHOULD REREAD SUCKERPUNCH. YOU LITERALLY FELL INTO THE TRAP.

    It makes me realize who the real anti chareidim are in this country.
    I am not your enemy.
    NO ONE SAID OR IMPLIED YOU’RE THE ENEMY. I JUST SAID YOU ARE PRESENTING A GROSSLY NEGATIVE, FALSE VIEW OF THE CHAREDI SYSTEM, AS IF IT’S “FAILING AND FLAILING”, WHICH OBVIOUSLY IT IS NOT.
    THE MOST EGREGIOUS FALSEHOOD IS THAT ABUTBOL’S ADMINISTRATION IS FULL OF CORRUPTION WITH ‘HUNDREDS OF ALLEGATIONS’ AGAINST HIM. THE MAYOR’S OFFICE IS PRESENTLY A ‘BLACK HOLE’ WHICH NEEDS TO BE LIT UP BY MRS. BLOCH… AS MR. KASTEN AND I PONTED OUT, THE ANTI CHAREDI PEOPLE OUT THERE HAVE BEEN SEARCHING FOR 10 YEARS TO FIND SOMETHING ON ABUTBOL TO HELP FUEL THE NARRATIVE OF CORRUTPION ETC… AND THEY FOUND NOTHING AGAINST HIM, NOTHING AT ALL. PURE HOTZAAT SHEM RA.

    MANY WRITERS POINT OUT THE PROBLEMS IN THE CHAREDI WORLD, LIKE RABBIS GRYLAK, FELDMAN, AND ROSENBLUM. BUT THEIR ARTICLES ARE BALANCED AND HONEST.

    I want to learn, and grow, be a good husband, and raise my children to be the best Jews they can be. That last part has been harder, not easier, since 2009.
    And that is NOT MY chilul Hashem.
    AGAIN, MRS; BLOCH WON AND WE WISH HER WELL. BUT ONE SHOULD HAVE A PROPER PERSPECTIVE ON WHAT HAPPENED AND ON THE CHAREDI WORLD IN GENERAL. AND SADLY YOUR PERSPECTIVE IS A DISTORTION OF REALITY, EXACTLY AS PRESENTED BY SUCKERPUNCH.
    Reply

  69. Yoni Samber says:

    Dear elie,
    I stand by everything that I wrote.
    The author of suckerpunched told us many times(in person) that a letter or statement one is embarrassed to attach his full name to can not be taken seriously. ( I opt to follow that accurate statement, while rejecting in full the abberation of his essay). The “oversight” of omitting your identity is merely a symptom of a deeper
    failing, namely a cowardice of principles.
    There is nothing made up in what I reported. In your zeal to defend the chareidi system, you accuse me of “making things up”. I understand that you feel under attack. And for a person who really seems to believe that every word in the tabloid chadash newspaper is torah miSinai, my assessment must seem particularly offensive. But, as my Rosh Yeshiva Rav Asher Zelig Rubinstein Z”l would say ” If it doesnt hurt, its not emmes! Truth hurts!”.
    There is infinite Good and Truth in a Torah true way of life. What too many have forgotten is that in a nonstop battle to protect a Torah true way of life, one can focus too long and too hard on battling, on reacting, on defending, and in that process lose focus of the very way of life he was fighting to live in the first place. This loss of focus is a primary ingredient in many of the chillul Hashems to emerge from our community for as long as I can remember. It is incumbant on ALL of us to identify these deviations from our mission statement, and to work to ensure that they do not become enmeshed in our outlook or lifestyle. That is where I am coming from.(That also encapsulates why suckerpunched was so corrupt on every level).
    An indication of whether ones focus is on target or not can be found in how he reacts when confronted with painful failings that fly in the face of what he subscribes to. Does he acknowledge the failings, confront and better them? OR DOES HE SHOOT THE MESSENGER, CLEAN UP THE BLOODSTAINS, DELETE THE VIDEO EVIDENCE, AND SAY THINGS HAVE NEVER BETTER? The latter is what I see in your words. In fact, it is consistent with and deeply entrenched in chareidi society today. We have failed to correct an aversion to introspection and self analysis. Instead of thinking, reflecting and improving, we punch back harder and scream fake news (no wonder why so many anglo chareidim like Presid…never mind). As I have written, this goes against every stage of my chinuch.
    Regarding Abutbols reputation of corruption that went before him: I base it on my conversations with an esteemed Rav and his congregation members that had to move heaven and earth to get their shul built, despite the Mayors opposition. I also base it on discussions with a yashar trustworthy professional in the construction field who has been dealing daily with the iriya for decades. I urge you to do the same. This is not hotzas shem rah, tragically.
    Regarding his not being caught for ten years, consider this: When Arye Deri was arrested in 1997, the following was stated: “Everyone urinates in the pool, but Deri did it from the diving board”. Abutbol learned from Deri to cover his tracks better. This is a classic example of how absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Chazal demand from us that our actions and behavior must be beyond question, through and through( Gemara Taanis with Rashi regarding the pasuk ” והייתם נקים מה’ ומישראל”) (I do not remember the daf or have access to a Taanis now, but it is amud bais, around daf zayin or ches). Montag, even if ultimately aquited, has trashed this expectation like a drunk bachur on purim.
    And finally, you imply that I repeatedly reference child sexual abuse in our community to create anti chareidi issues. If I was an outsider making stuff up, you would have a point. The fact is that I am an insider who saw firsthand how a well respected rav in this community advised a father of a child victim not to report the incident to the police. This is what you are defending, elie. If I were you, I would be reassessing every life decision that brought you to where you are now.
    There can be no greater loss of focus; of off target anti Torah stupidity then this.
    A system that fails a child or children like this is not worthy of defense. It does not protect Torah, it destroys it. This is the reality. You dont find reality in the chadash. I understand why all this is so hard for you to wrap your head around. But until you and David Kasten and Montag and all the rest of you OWN this perversion of Torah and decide that a course correction is in order, and start holding fellow chareidim responsible for bad decisions, the churban will continue.
    And dont expect me to be silent while you lead us off the cliff.
    If you wish to discuss this further, look me up and meet me face to face.

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