Rav Chaim Malinowitz, z”l

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13 Responses

  1. kurkevan says:

    Are you sure about the details of the kiddushin case? According to this article, the story happened in Montreal, and the one who wrote the teshuvah was R’ Elya Rominek zt”l.

    • I’m not sure. I have not been able to get into the piece that he wrote to check. The last thing I would want to do is take credit away from R Rominek zt”l, especially since he was related through marriage. (One of my grandsons is named after his father-in-law.) I’ve tried removing the sentence I wrote – at least till I can look into the matter some more – but Word Press is refusing to update my edits

      • Sass says:

        I believe Rav Rominek gave a heter based on his conversation with Rav Shlomo Zalman. Rav Malinowitz wrote a comprehensive article on the topic in the RJJ journal, in which he questioned the validity of this heter, which was publicized only after Rav Shlomo Zalman had passed away. I believe Rav Malinowitz was matir based on other considerations. See Journal of Halacha and Contemprary Society Volume 30 (fall 1995).

  2. DF says:

    This fine essay is obviously a personal one, but R. Malinowitz was probably best known to the public as the preeminent authority on the laws of divorce and Gittin. most notably regarding the invalid forced get (get meusah) caused by urging secular government to intervene in Jewish life. His untimely passing may now embolden his opponents to push their theories and attempt to accomplish something they were unable to while he was alive. (By analogy, JTS did not ordain women while R. Shaul Lieberman was still alive.) The orthodox public should be wary of such attempts. R. Malinowitz is no longer here, but he left sufficient writings on the subject that his voice is still with us. יהי זכרו ברוך

    • dr. bill says:

      DF, Writing ” the preeminent” is undoubtedly a tad extreme. Last I heard Rav ZN Goldberg, Rav A Weiss, Rav H. Schechter, Rav M. Willig, etc. are also able to learn 🙂 . Enough said.

  3. Caren May says:

    What a worthy title of Rav b’yisroel was Rav Malinowitz.
    To give eitzos (advice), pasken, and stand up for R. Slifkin during the difficult era of book bans is the handiwork of a true Talmid Chachom.

    His wife, a daughter of Rabbi Maza Zt”l was a special woman who was respected & admired by man.
    Yehi Zichron Baruch!

  4. Shades of Gray says:

    My chavrusah and I were learning this Shabbos—he uses the English Artscroll Gemara, and I use the Hebrew edition. When he mentioned R. Malinowitz’s passing, I said “turn to the beginning of the Gemara, where his name is printed”. In a sense, many people, even some Gedolim, are talmidim of R. Malinowitz, as well as Artscroll, in general. This is from a 2009 interview of R. Nosson Scherman in the Five Towns Jewish Times by R. Yair Hoffman :

    “Rav Elyashiv goes through the ha’aros in the Hebrew edition when he is learning on his own to see if he missed anything and to jog his memory. He is not ashamed of it. He even keeps it on his desk. Rav Shteinman says a shiur in the Yerushalmi. He is saying his shiur on Yerushalmi from the ArtScroll Gemara itself. Big people are not ashamed to say that they rely on something. Small people hide it. It is like women ask for directions; men are too proud to ask sometimes.”

  5. Shades of Gray says:

    Regarding the pressure for supporting R. Slifkin, R. Malinowitz’s refusal to back down was heroic and admirable. Presumably, Artscroll was reacting to its own communal pressures, similar to what R. Adlerstein wrote in “Artscroll Is Not To Blame” (March, 2006) in a different context.

    It is also partially for the above reason that Artscroll created Shaar Press, marketed as “the imprint for thoughtful people… Shaar Press presents authors of distinction, with stimulating, innovative — sometimes controversial — ideas.” I heard (third hand) from one Shaar Press author, that because Artscroll invested a great deal in the Schottenstein Talmud, they want to keep potentially controversial works in a different brand. Similarly, Koren’s publisher said in a 2017 interview with the Jewish Press regarding its separate imprint for Jewish thought, “We don’t publish Maggid books under Koren because we don’t want someone who disagrees with a writer not to be able to buy our siddur, for example.”

  6. Weaver says:

    No matter who you are, it is very difficult to be truly independent and take an unpopular stand on an issue – especially if it’s to the “left” of the popular consensus. Rabbi Shlomo Fisher and Rabbi Mordechai Elefant excel(led) at this as well.

    • cohen y says:

      Bending the foul line
      Anyone who’s involved Jewish Affairs Is fully cognizant that
      that it’s harder taking a position to the right of the consensus or popular websites

  7. RBS says:

    While the average reader may view this as a beautiful tribute to Rav Malinowitz many fro the Ramat Beit Shemesh Chareidi community might not take well to a tribute to Rav Malinowitz that ends off “will there ever be such a figure in the charedi community again, with such integrity and strength of character?”. The RATIONAL and logical conclusion that one should make is that someone who does what is right and doesn’t care what people think wouldn’t be part of a chareidi community and associate with Chareidi Rabbonim in RBS the way he did (who he started Yeshiva’s with and rarely broke rank with) if he didn’t think that it was 100% the RIGHT thing to do. Anyone who knew him well, knew that the few times that he was choleik on Chareidi Gedolim in Eretz Yisrael was where he actually could write halachik teshuva’s explaining his position. If there was any safeik in his mind he for sure would be mevateil himself to Gedolim that he himself would ask eitza from for himself and family. The real RATIONAL question to Rav Slifkin should be why Rav Malinowitz didn’t choose to join the community that he sent R Slifkin to. R Slifkin wouldn’t insinuate that he did it because he was more comfortable there and that is the way he was brought up. I don’t think he would. Not someone who left the Torah community that he lived in Monsey where he established himself as a Dayan on one of the most respected Batei Dinim with a family of close to 10 children. Most of his children were at ages that most would say is much to dangerous to take kids at that age and make Aliya.
    A real tribute from R Slifkin to the community he is addressing in his blogs would be the message Rav Malinowitz would tell R Slifkin and his followers. Something like this should have been the tribute.
    Rav Malinowitz Zt”l took some positions that I disagreed with but should be respected.
    1) He guided Chareidi Americans in Israel how to adjust to Chareidi society in Eretz Yisrael. This was Rav Malinowitz’s life mission for the past close to 20 years. 2) Rav Malinowitz Zt”l maintained that there was an attack on the Chareidi Community years ago and I apologize for not defending him those years as someone who always stands up for what is right and true according to his understanding of what the Torah demands of him.

    Finally maybe he should also ask mechila for implying that Rav Malinowitz had no problem with him disagreeing with him publicly as opposed to speaking to him first to get an understanding of his approach to the matter. This is something you owed him before jumping on the Rav Malinowitz bashing bandwagon.

  8. DF says:

    “R. Slifkin should be mevateil himself to Gedolim… why didn’t he join the community that R. Malinowitz sent him to.” (Paraphrase)

    RBS, I am curious – If that’s what you believe, then why bother writing? You really think RNS shares your premise (viz, that you’re not supposed to think for yourself)? Even the Charedim I know, and I know and am closely related to many, don’t believe that.

    • RBS says:

      This is not a a paraphrase it is a distortion of what I wrote. Read it again. Where did i state that R Slifkin “should be mevateil himself to the (Chareidi) Gedolim. Where did I write or imply that one should not think for oneself.
      Now that you bring up the issue of thinking for oneself. Rav Malinowitz always encouraged independent thinking for onself but he also maintained very strongly that you can not take an actual halachik or hashkafik opinion unless you are what he would term a “bar hachi” in halacha or hashkafa. He would say often that someone voicing an opinion on issues that involved halacha and hashkafa based on his own view of the world was a terrible thing and probably the most dangerous thing about the blog universe. To have an opinion in matters of halacha and hashkafa one had to be a Bar Hachi. He didn’t have to be a Gadol hador but he couldn’t be an am ha’aretz either. Just so you appreciate who Rav Malinowitz was. He knew Shas Bavli and Yerushalmi was a dayan on one of the most respected batei dinim in America and was rosh kollel for many years of Rav Abba Berman’s kollel who was known to be from the deepest and most abstract lomdanim in Torah. He understood the great hashkafik and mussar works on the deepest of levels. So for sure Rav Malinowitz had the halachik and hashkafik credentials to be what he called a Bar hachi. Even with all of that when he had big personal and family shaila’s he went to both rav Chaim Kanievsky and Rav Shteinman Zt”l.
      Once again, not once did I write that R Slifkin should be mevateil himself to Chareidi Gedolim. Every person has to have a Rav and if he is confident that he himself is equipped to pasken his own shaila’s he should ideally do so in all areas. Rav Malinowitz held this way in both halacha and hashkafa and this is for sure what he taught R Slifkin as well.

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