Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Conversion crisis - because Modern Orthodox are wimps! I

I have been meaning to post on this issue – of the awesome chasm separating the Chareidi world and that of the Modern Orthodox/Religious Zionist – on one particular issue - compromising the truth to avoid hurt feelings. To use a broad but accurate brush, Chareidim ask the question – what is the halacha? while MO ask – how can we modify the halacha in order to avoid hurt feelings? Or to use the infamous words of Blu Greenberg – the MO hold by the doctrine – “Where there is a halachic will there is a halachic way” - but the Chareidim don’t.

Rabbi Adlerstein described the dichotomy in his recent article on the geirus crisis which I reported on this blog.

“Rabbi Druckman’s supporters have not responded to a single one of Rabbi Sherman’s charges in halachic language. They have thus added fuel to the fire of those who believe that the DL camp is incapable of dealing responsibly with sophisticated Torah thinking. Rabbi Sherman may or may not be right, but he raises important issues. Rav Druckman, to the best of my knowledge, is a fine gentleman, but not one of the halachic luminaries of the DL world. Professional politicians and MK’s – of any religious party – rarely are. The DL world suffers from no shortage of real bnei Torah and a group of authentic poskim who could and should be dealing with Rabbi Sherman’s point in halachic language.”

Characteristic of the non-halachic response of the MO/RZ is that of Rav Lichtenstein:

"How much hatred, grudge and demonization there is in this awful and terrible psak... The Conversion Authority has God-fearing and scholarly judges who have devoted their energy and their lives to the Torah. They cannot be pushed away and thrown into the street. We must be strong on this point: There is no giving into this kind of language and attitude... Where did we ever hear or see that someone who relies on a minority opinion against the commonly held one is considered a willing apikorus? Woe to the ears that hear such a thing and woe to the biased court that has expressed itself in such a way!"

Similarly Rabbi Vinas has responded to criticism by in essence saying – you are hateful not nice people because you keep challenging my sincere efforts to help the Jewish people – and I am not going to talk to you anymore.

This was brought to a head on this blog by one of the intelligent and sensitive representatives of the MO/RZ world who has taken the time – up until now – to present his view and understanding on these issues. However he too has folded his tent and departed while firing these parting shots:

Itamar Ross has left a new comment on your post "Rabbi Vinas' reply - discussed and rejected I":

In response to this post, I too have decided no longer to post here. Rav Eidensohn writes: "As we see in the Talmud, understanding Torah requires making inquiries of our rabbis – even if they sometimes cause discomfort." When necessary and true, and when there is no alternative, of course. But when "inquiries" are made because of preconceived notions of "Daas Torah" (a non-Jewish idea itself) with no regard whatsoever to the harm they cause, that is using the quest for truth as a lame excuse for bashing ideological rivals. Given the current conversion controversy, you are in good company Rabbi Vinas. Take it as a badge of pride. You have been publically reviled along with the greatest dati-leumi Torah scholars in Israel. Many poskim, of whom I have no doubt Rav Eidensohn is fully aware, recognize the concept of "zera yisrael". The concept is accepted halachah le-maaseh today among most Torah scholars and dayanim today (at least outside the Ashkenazic charedi world). Rabbi Eidensohn and his rebbe are free to reject or accept this concept according to their Torah understanding, but not to bash those who do accept it. No Rav Eidensohn, you cannot claim that the burden of proof is on those who do accept it, who may then be reviled and shamed in public as you have done here to Rabbi Vidas. "Daas Torah" is no mandate for doing evil, though many of its proponents see it as exactly such. Along with Rabbi Vinas, my participation at this blog is has now ended.

Totally ignoring the fact that the concept of zera Yisroel does not justify what Rabbi Vinas is doing since not a single posek says it does.

One cannot work through the hard truth when people keep replying to sincere and realistic questions by saying “because you are not nice I won’t speak with you again.”

Realistically the world requires the right hand and the left hand working together. It is time for the MO/RZ to stop being such wimps when they are challenged by halachic questions. To use a Talmudic illustration, the first Mishna in Bava Metzia describes the halacha when two people both claim the same object. Two people found a talis and each one claims it is theirs. The halacha is that it is divided. What if each one claims the talis but one is a nice guy and says – “o.k. you can have half and I’ll have half.” The logic of the MO/RZ is that they are being a nice guy who is sensitive to the feelings of the other – by acknowledging that the talis should be divided. However the halacha is that the one who concedes that half belongs to the other person, ends up getting only a quarter of the talis while the guy who asserts that all it is his – gets three quarters! The halacha is simply that whatever is disputed is divided.

Similarly the MO have tried for years to educate students in moderation. Rabbi Dr. Norman Lamm has insightfully lamented that the MO have succeeded in creating students who are moderate in their passion instead of passionate about their moderation.

The Chazon Ish writes about this.

Letters (3:61): Just as the unvarnished facts and truth are synonymous so are uncompromising perfectionism and greatness. Perfectionism means to develop something to the ultimate degree. One who advocates moderation and despises perfectionism—his lot is with the frauds or with those lacking understanding. Without perfectionism, there can be no completion and if there is no perfection, there is no beginning. The beginning is with constant questions and replies. The perfecter is the brilliant respondent who orders everything in its rightful place. We regularly hear announcements from well‑known groups that they have nothing to do with uncompromising perfectionists. They nevertheless describe themselves as being the true Jews with appropriate faith to Torah. We simply note, however, that just as there is no such thing amongst lovers of wisdom as love for minimum knowledge and hate for the very wise there is similarly no such thing as loving Torah and mitzvos moderately and hating the uncompromising perfectionists. All the foundations of emuna—the 13 principles and their derivatives—are inherently incompatible with the lightweight wisdom and superficial life that exists in this world. In contrast clear recognition, energetic involvement; high precision in emuna is the hallmark of the perfectionist. Those who proudly testify on themselves that they have not tasted the sweetness of uncompromising perfection are simultaneously testifying that they are missing emuna in the foundation of religion both intellectually and emotionally. Their attachment is only lukewarm. The perfectionists—who despite their genuine wish to have pity on these doctrinaire moderates—do not honor and respect their opponents. The yawning abyss that separates them is naturally only widened as the result of the disputes that occur when they interact with each other. The only true moderation that can exist is that which results naturally to those who love the perfection and strive towards it and educate their children to strive for the peak. In contrast how unfortunate are those “moderates” who cast aspersions on the perfectionists. The obligation of our education is to perfection. The only genuine protection of the educational system is to be contemptuous and to ridicule those who denigrate perfection. However given the burning spirit of youth it is not appropriate to strongly condemn specific individuals amongst the unfortunates. Instead, the youth should be developed to have true love of Torah that requires personal effort and heavenly pleasantness and they should not have obstacles placed on this road. Those schools that are labeled as moderate schools—they are not successful because of the fraud that is inherent in moderation…

19 comments :

  1. Garnel IronheartJune 18, 2008 at 3:36 PM

    > To use a broad but accurate brush, Chareidim ask the question – what is the halacha? while MO ask – how can we modify the halacha in order to avoid hurt feelings?

    I would suggest that this is unfair. Yes, there are MO's who do think this way but as I'll show, they're actually using Chareidi methodology.

    With my broad brush, I will state that the different between Chareidism and the intellectual Modern Orthodox (see link to article on my site) is that when Chareidim are asked a question, they decide the answer first (usually it's: Assur) and then go looking for support for it. And if they can't find suport for it, they simply announce "Daas Torah says it is" and expect the arguement to be finished. When MO's are asked a question, they bring in every possible source they can to see what the most comprehensive answer is. Unfortunately, they then rarely come to a definitive answer because they have an aversion to ruling out any point of view that might have validity.
    As for behavioural MO's, they use the same methodology as the Chareidim but their default answer is "Mutar" and they don't invoke Daas Torah but "the needs of modernity".

    In Israel, the problem with responding on a halachic basis to the Chareidi challenge is that it's a waste of time. Imagine that the luminaries of the Dati Leumi world bring out all the teshuvos that do show that was Rav Druckman did was perfectly legitimate. The response will be either "Daas Torah says it isn't" or "You aren't interpreting those teshuvos in the correct fashion so you're still wrong." And everyone knows the utility of arguing with a wall.

    ReplyDelete
  2. A well known lawyers' saying states:

    "When the law is on your side, bang on the law
    When the facts are on your side, bang on the facts
    When neither are on your side, bang on the table"

    The British version of this saying is:

    "If your case is strong argue the facts, if your case is mediocre argue the law, if your case is weak attack the other side."


    A strategy when there is no case, is for lawyers to cooperate in an attack on the opposing party in order to force a defection.

    I hope this will help to shed some light.

    ReplyDelete
  3. garnel ironheart said:
    n Israel, the problem with responding on a halachic basis to the Chareidi challenge is that it's a waste of time. Imagine that the luminaries of the Dati Leumi world bring out all the teshuvos that do show that was Rav Druckman did was perfectly legitimate. The response will be either "Daas Torah says it isn't" or "You aren't interpreting those teshuvos in the correct fashion so you're still wrong." And everyone knows the utility of arguing with a wall.
    ============
    I used to play that game when I was a child, "I know what you are going to say so I am not going to waste my time discussing anything with you."

    You can do better than that. All the talmidei chachomim of the MO world can not come up with a single learned discussion to defend Rav Druckman because they "know" that the chareidim have already made up their mind. - that is ridiculous. Don't they have an interest for their own understanding? I have seen plenty of intelligent Torah analysis by the MO world on many topics. What I have seen of their comments concerning geirus , however. seems to go against Rav Ruckman's view.
    It is more reasonable to say that there is no halachic defense of Rav Druckman because what he did is not defendable.
    Since it is not defendable on the level of halacha it is defendedd on the basis of his honor and dignity.

    My assertion stands - there is a strong tendency in the MO/RZ world to start with the premise that the halacha will not cause pain or upset - or get in the way of my goals in life.

    ReplyDelete
  4. No accident you quote davka the Chazon Ish here to make your point!

    For anyone who is interested in a fascinating novel (historical fiction) dealing with the stress between the R.Z. and charedi worlds in Israel, and with the personality of the chazon ish in particular and his influence on those tensions (including exactly the outlook described in the quote on this blog), see the new book by Harav Yigal Ariel called "Leshem Shamayim" published by Sifriyat Bet El.

    Available here:
    http://www.aron-hasfarim.co.il/product.asp?productid=2740

    ReplyDelete
  5. To use a broad but accurate brush, Chareidim ask the question – what is the halacha? while MO ask – how can we modify the halacha in order to avoid hurt feelings? Or to use the infamous words of Blu Greenberg – the MO hold by the doctrine – “Where there is a halachic will there is a halachic way” - but the Chareidim don’t.
    =======================
    WADR R'DE I'm disappointed at your use of such an obvious strawman approach. IIRC the chatam sofer on the gemara on 7a of chulin -makom hinichu lo avotav... discusses halachik change in much the same way R'YBS did - that baalei mesora in every generation have the ability to be mitgader (see rashi there). It goes back to the same issue - which I assume you do not accept-that macro halachik approach informs on micro halachik decisions (e.g. when to allow a beis yaakov approach)

    I gues we will have to agree to disagree - but I think imvho the charedi leaders see it exactly the way I articulated but see a different macro halachik priority.

    KT
    Joel Rich

    ReplyDelete
  6. "the halacha will not cause pain or upset - or get in the way of my goals in life."

    I do not feel that it is fair to attribute this way of thinking to MO. My extended family consider themselves solidly MO and always have.(To be more exact- "White Hats").

    It should be noted that the level of observance that was considered MO twenty years ago is now considered 'haredi' today.

    From Wiki:
    "Modern Orthodoxy holds that Jewish law is normative and binding, while simultaneously attaching a positive value to interaction with the modern world."

    "in order to preserve the integrity of halakha, any area of “powerful inconsistency and conflict” between Torah and modern culture must be filtered out.

    R' S.R. Hirsch’s "Torah im Derech Eretz" philosophy formalizes a relationship between halakhically observant Judaism and the modern world.

    The philosophy of HaRav Joseph Soloveitchik (1903-1993), Rosh Yeshiva at Yeshiva University, believes that "Halakhic Man" must therefore attempt to bring the sanctity and purity of the transcendent realm into the material world."

    (S. R. Hirsch: "Religion Allied to Progress",http://www.yutorah.org/_materials/ACF4B2B.pdf
    rav13)

    There is nothing in MO philosophy about "discarding halacha so that the halacha will not cause pain or upset - or get in the way of my goals in life."

    A-HALACHIC theology is not Judaism at all (some scholars ie Rabbi David Berger say that we see a-halachic doctrine also in haredi Lubavitchers).

    I have harped on the fact that Zionism is a Christian theology and not a Jewish one; to this end, please consider the following basic tenets of Christianity:

    (http://geneva.rutgers.edu/src/christianity/law.html)


    " Based on the New Testament, Christians deny that any of the Old Testament law is binding. For Christians, G-d is primarily concerned about our intent, and the quality of our relationships. Jesus said that the entire law was based on two principles: loving God and loving others. So Christians believe that as long as we do this, we are not bound by any specific legal code.

    A Christian who is following Christ perfectly does not need a legal code. His heart should be so filled with love, and his mind so in tune with G-d that he will do the right thing naturally. This is the Christian ideal. "

    Now please, if you will review some of the statements made on this blog that were posted in the name of "Zionism", "RZ", or "MO" doctrine and see how well or not they relate within the framework of Christian theology vs Modern Orthodox tradition.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I think Rabbi Eidensohn's comments are fair.

    It's common knowledge that if a person has a big problem relating to kashrus, taharas hamishpocha, intermarriage, and they go to an MO Rabbi, the Rav will do their best to find a way to see if what they are doing can be permitted.

    ReplyDelete
  8. your comments aren't fair.

    why, because you don't take a step back to understand the opinions of the people you are quoting.

    Do you think R. Lichtenstein agrees with R. Druckmans halachik opinion?

    From my understanding, he strongly disagrees with it.

    However, from what I understand, he strongly feels that a posek has a right to follow opinions that he feels are valid. Even if R. Druckman is following a daat yachid, that does not make him a rasha as the Sherman psak makes him out to be.

    The issue isn't that Rav Lichtenstein would pasken himself differently from R. Sherman, but that he accepts the right of someone else to pasken differently. He might even have issue have accepting some of the converts of the Druckman beis din (don't know, just hypothesizing), but that doesn't rule out all of them as the Sherman psak attempts to do by invalidating the beis din. The main issue that personally bothers me is the issue of forging, and from conversation that's been overheard from conversations involving at least one major MO posek, thats the issue that bothers him the most, as that's the only issue that could possibly invalidate the beis din in general.

    Otherwise, why would this be any different than the beis shammai/beis hillel, they seemed to each respect the right of the other to pasken in their own way even when it meant they couldn't always intermarry.

    The fact that Rav Lichtenstein's point goes totally over your head, is indicative that you actually haven't taken the time out to talk to him or understand him, which goes to show that perhaps there is hatred.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Anonymous said...

    your comments aren't fair.

    why, because you don't take a step back to understand the opinions of the people you are quoting.

    Do you think R. Lichtenstein agrees with R. Druckmans halachik opinion?

    From my understanding, he strongly disagrees with it.

    However, from what I understand, he strongly feels that a posek has a right to follow opinions that he feels are valid. Even if R. Druckman is following a daat yachid, that does not make him a rasha as the Sherman psak makes him out to be.
    ================
    Interesting conjecture on your part - but you don't provide any support for your position. If Rav Lichtenstein does not accept Rav Druckman's gerim than why shouldn't he protest?
    =======================
    The issue isn't that Rav Lichtenstein would pasken himself differently from R. Sherman, but that he accepts the right of someone else to pasken differently. He might even have issue have accepting some of the converts of the Druckman beis din (don't know, just hypothesizing), but that doesn't rule out all of them as the Sherman psak attempts to do by invalidating the beis din.
    ==================
    No responsible rav would allow a flood of what he views as invalid converts just to show he respects the posek. Similarly I don't know anyone who would allow food that he personally views as unkosher into the food chain - assuming he had the power to stop it.

    =======================

    Otherwise, why would this be any different than the beis shammai/beis hillel, they seemed to each respect the right of the other to pasken in their own way even when it meant they couldn't always intermarry.
    =====================
    you might look at the Yerushalmi Shabbos - which indicates that they were literally prepared to kill each other.
    ======================
    The fact that Rav Lichtenstein's point goes totally over your head, is indicative that you actually haven't taken the time out to talk to him or understand him, which goes to show that perhaps there is hatred.
    =====================
    This is the key point - first you work up a conjecture, which then becomes TRUE and then you criticize me for not being aware of your brilliant insight. Finally you dump on me saying perhaps the reason I lack your "insight" is because I ahve hatred.

    Please come down to earth and stop projecting your negative feelings on me.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Jersey Girl wrote:

    the halacha will not cause pain or upset - or get in the way of my goals in life."

    I do not feel that it is fair to attribute this way of thinking to MO. My extended family consider themselves solidly MO and always have.(To be more exact- "White Hats").

    It should be noted that the level of observance that was considered MO twenty years ago is now considered 'haredi' today.
    ================
    I guess I didn't make my point clearly. I am not accusing the MO of not being observant of halacha.
    I am saying that their concept of halacha is that "the halacha will not cause pain or upset - or get in the way of my goals in life."

    Thus it is inconceivable to them that a person's status of being a ger can be changed - because it isn't fair. It is axiomatic at the level of first principles. It is not necessary to derive it from texts.

    The frequent comment that has been flung around this blog - If you criticize someone then it is obvious a manifestation of hatred. If you didn't hate then why are you criticizing. Or you are speaking lashon harah by criticizing because you are causing pain. If you didn't intend to hurt the other person you would not be criticizing and thus you are speaking lashon harah.

    ReplyDelete
  11. hareidiguy said...
    I think Rabbi Eidensohn's comments are fair.

    It's common knowledge
    ==============================
    Common knowledge where? based on what study? what were the other facts involved?

    KT
    Joel Rich

    ReplyDelete
  12. Dear Rabbi Eidensohn,

    I am sorry, I guess that I was the one that who was unclear.

    Rabbi Eidensohn represents a typical "MO" according to the definition we grew up with.

    As best as I can glean, RDE appears to be a competent professional who interacts comfortably in meeting with colleagues and stays current with the professional literature of his chosen field and as well as with news events and perhaps also has an interest in science and technology as well.

    Maybe such a MO Jew plays a mean game of chess, makes homemade wine, collects classical violin recordings, or enjoys restoring vintage radios.

    The MO Jew believes that a person can live in the world around him and also remain uncompromising in his/her adherence to halacha and Jewish observance.

    Today, the concept of being uncompromising in one's observance of halacha automatically brands one a haredi thanks to the influence of Christian missionaries on ALL aspects of Jewish life.

    The goal of the missionary is to convince Jews that practicing Judaism k'halacha is too difficult or even impossible. That Judaism is an unforgiving impossible faith that demands a level of piety and scholarship that is beyond almost everyone. (This is in contrast to what our Torah says).

    In the term haredi was reserved for someone who would not use the internet, read a secular journal or newspaper, or work or interact for professional purposes outside of the haredi world. I don't think of myself or my family as haredim because we are all professionals working and interacting with the outside world.

    The concept of "the halacha will not cause pain or upset - or get in the way of my goals in life."

    Is not a Jewish one. At no time in the past has MO separated itself from Orthodox Jewish idealogy. And this is not the case now. Judaism has never been a "feel good religion". It is a religion of laws, some of them make sense to us and some do not.

    "Thus it is inconceivable to them that a person's status of being a ger can be changed - because it isn't fair. It is axiomatic at the level of first principles. It is not necessary to derive it from texts."

    Fair has nothing to do with Judaism. Is it "fair" that a deformed Kohen cannot duchan?? It does not matter whether or not it is fair, it is halacha. The concept of what is fair does not play in Judaism. A foreign element has been introduced here that is being mistaken for "MO".

    "The frequent comment that has been flung around this blog - If you criticize someone then it is obvious a manifestation of hatred. If you didn't hate then why are you criticizing. Or you are speaking lashon harah by criticizing because you are causing pain. If you didn't intend to hurt the other person you would not be criticizing and thus you are speaking lashon harah."

    Among your many laudable accomplishments exposure to Christian missionaries (intentional or not) does not seem to be something you have experience with (lucky, IMHO).

    These are merely some of the common tactics missionaries regularly use to discredit Judaism and observant Jews (remember once they discredit the religious people and create a permanent schism between the observant and non observant, convincing the non observant that traditional Judaism has no place for the less than perfect, they are free to offer their version of salvation):

    1. From Former J for J (who writes like a current J for J)-
    The only "Orthodox" Jews who responded to my inquiries were full of disgusting venom and hate, telling me "how dare" I look elsewhere besides our G-d, halacha, & Torah.

    And then he goes on missionizing on your blog:

    You may think what you are doing is correct, but I guarantee to you with NO DOUBT, that all you are doing is driving away .

    You will have to answer to Hakosh Boruch Hu yourself when He asks you why you drove hundred of precious Yidden into a life of atheism, Jews for jesus and every other false belief system that gladly & warmly wants to accept Jews as their members.

    (This reads almost like a J for J ad - Bad mean Orthodox Jews who won't accommodate you - come to us!! Then there is the absurd accusation that the failure of Orthodoxy to accommodate foreign or idolatrous beliefs and practices leads Jews to practice foreign or idolatrous faiths!!!)

    And then anonymous chirps in :

    "You seem to "mean" well, but you come across just plain... mean. Really mean."

    Orthodox Judaism is "mean" but "who" accepts everyone?? The poster who calls himself "former J for J" takes advantage of the opportunity:

    "The amount of hatred put forth by these so-called "religious" Jews sickens me to no end. It is EXACTLY this attitude that drove me into the arms of Christian missionaries. I is because of those like YOU that I prayed and worshiped Jesus as a god!....

    the very warm and welcoming Christian missionaries got a hold of me. They directed me to Hebrew Christian congregations where they have Torah scrolls, arks, tallism, kippot, tzitzis, recite the shema, some of the amidah, say kaddish, and "daven" on Saturdays.
    There was no contest!

    It is my life's goal to bring lost Yidden back to Hashem & Torah. But I do it with compassion, with understanding, with a heart, etc.

    Jews for jesus ..... gladly & warmly wants to accept"

    These posts on your blog have nothing to do with MO/RZ. Its just a bunch of missionaries seizing the opportunity to use your blog as a free billboard!!

    Maybe you can get a professional opinion from Yad L'achim, Jews for Judaism or another anti missionary organization. But in my unprofessional opinion, your blog was hijacked to promote a religion other than Judaism.

    ReplyDelete
  13. why don't you ask R. Lichtenstein yourself. He's readily accessible.

    You can also call R. Herschel Schachter to ask his opinion, he's also readily available.

    They might not want you to publish what they think, but you'd actually have an idea what some MO poskim actually are thinking instead of just relying on news reports.

    That's the reason I think there's an element of hate to you, you could reach out and call them, I'm pretty sure if you would call them and say "Hi, this is Doniel Eidenshon, I put together Yad Moshe.... I have been bothered by the "MO" response to the "conversion crises", I was wondering if I could talk to you about it" that they would be willing, but I guess I could be wrong. Though my gut in interacting with them is that they are much more accessible for asking questions than chareidi gedolim.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Garnel IronheartJune 19, 2008 at 4:02 AM

    Consider the Shulchan Aruch, YD 268:12 -

    And if they did not investigate after him or did not inform him of the reward and punishment for the commandments, and he circumcised and immersed before a court of three ordinary men, he is a convert even if it is known that he converted because of a particular matter. Since he circumcised and immersed, he has left the category of Gentile. And we suspect him until his righteousness becomes clarified. And even if he returns to worshipping idols he is considered an apostate Jew.

    Now, the Gra (no. 28) notes specifically: That's why Shlomo and Shimshon got to keep their wives even though their counsel was revealed and their ends prove their beginning.

    The Tax (no. 16) notes that even though we consider a lapsed convert to make wine yein nesech on touching it, it's because we hold him to be a mumar, not because he's become a Gentile again.

    I would suggest that Rav Druckman probably relied on these opinions. This would also fit with why Rav Shirman's court went to such lengths to call Rav Druckman pasul. To call him a "hedyot" would not have made a halachic difference because a beis din of three hedoyotos can convert someone but someone who's pasul can't.

    In fact, I could go a step further - by declaring Rav Druckman to be pasul, Rav Shirman was indirectly acknowledging that these conversions are just fine and the only way to invalidate them was to invalidate him!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Garnel Ironheart said...

    Consider the Shulchan Aruch, YD 268:12 -

    Granted except that each of the converts had gone through lengthy courses and examinations (so it also cannot be claimed that they were sleeping through them) on Judaism and halacha. You know, shabbat, kashrut and chagim etc...

    In the cases that we are discussing now, there is no ingredient of the candidates being ignorant of the mitzvot when they underwent their conversions. Therefore it would be safe to assume for those candidates who never kept one shabbat after immersion in the mikva, that they understood what halacha requires and did not really except it at that time. In other words, it could be assumed that at the time of immersion they were not really excepting the torah upon themselves. Sorry about the long windedness of this paragragh.

    However the real crises in my opinion is in regards to those converts through Rav Druckman who are observant. They have been slated as non-Jews from the verdict of Rav Sherman for the reason that the beit din that they used was itself not kosher in its constituency. Therefore any conversions done by this beit din would have zero validity.

    The issues of him using minority shottot can probably be halacicly argued over whether this would disqualify him as a kosher dayan or witness. The whole issue of lifnei eiver can probably be debated. Also the issue of going so far as to calling Rav Druckman an aprikores.

    The issue of forgery though still needs to be fully addressed. If rav Druckman's signature on those documents was symbolic then there is no issue here. If his signature he signed the documents in a functionary capacity even though he was not present, then he would pasul to perform conversions at least from the year 2006 and on.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Anonymous said...

    why don't you ask R. Lichtenstein yourself. He's readily accessible.

    You can also call R. Herschel Schachter to ask his opinion, he's also readily available.

    They might not want you to publish what they think, but you'd actually have an idea what some MO poskim actually are thinking instead of just relying on news reports.

    That's the reason I think there's an element of hate to you, you could reach out and call them,...
    =============================
    Why don't you reread your post? Your comment is obnoxious and crosses the red lines of halacha. If you want to suggest I contact Rav Lichtenstein - you don't have to first say I am hateful because I haven't.
    Commenting anonymously and using obusive language is usually indicative of an insecure individual. You are obviously intelligent and sensitive - but just realize chareidim are not going to eat you - we are actually human beings also. We are willing to discuss matters in an open manner - all we ask is that you come prepared with sources and intelligent arguments.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Garnel Ironheart said...

    Consider the Shulchan Aruch, YD 268:12 -

    And if they did not investigate after him or did not inform him of the reward and punishment for the commandments, and he circumcised and immersed before a court of three ordinary men, he is a convert even if it is known that he converted because of a particular matter. Since he circumcised and immersed, he has left the category of Gentile. And we suspect him until his righteousness becomes clarified. And even if he returns to worshipping idols he is considered an apostate Jew.

    ...

    I would suggest that Rav Druckman probably relied on these opinions. This would also fit with why Rav Shirman's court went to such lengths to call Rav Druckman pasul. To call him a "hedyot" would not have made a halachic difference because a beis din of three hedoyotos can convert someone but someone who's pasul can't.
    ====================
    What you are offering is an interesting song and dance which implies that you have discovered something new. All of these sources have been well known for years. You might look at Avi Sagi's work on geirus where he brings on the lenient views. There is an excellent article in Tanchumin #19 which goes through all these shitos. Pro. Finkelstein of Bar Ilan has a fantastic sefer on geirus - I suggest you look at them.

    However -as everyone acknowledges these are minority views which the overwhelming majority of poskim have rejected.

    You can't have a major conversion program in Israel based on views that are rejected and then cry - but I am also a posek. If you are dealing with a single case then it might be relevant to pull out these views. But a massive in your face program which has been protested against from the beginning? Rav Druckman can not claim that he was unaware of the opposition to his program. He is saying - I already created the facts on the ground. I knew from the beginning what I am doing is not acceptable to most poskim. But I figured if I created enough of these gerim they would have to be accepted because of their sheer numbers.

    ReplyDelete
  18. This is a request to Daas Torah. There should be a post on how the findings of Rav Sherman's committee will effect converts globally. Particularly in North America. I mean his usage as to what pasul's a dayan or beit din. Can these issues be used to torpedo any agreement between the RCA and the Israeli rabbinate? Also will there be a lot of controversy regarding passed conversions(I mean where the convert is observant) by Rabbanim and betei dinim that under Rav Sherman's criterea would pasul the individuals and institutions thereof.

    Also the fact that Rav Sherman has applied a precedent in which a beit din can look over another beit din's shoulder even when no new information has come to light on the issue or when there is not a question on the latter beit din's experties? Does this not turn the whole concept of chazaka on its head? Also will any converts or their descendants be able to feel safe from Judicial review even to the point of post mortem of the individuals who converted them?

    This is the truly big story out of all of this. I am truly suprised that the RCA has not delt with this issue comprehensively outside of posting a letter of protest filled with rhetoric. These issues need to be discussed and nobody is talking about them. This is not just about the thousand or so conversions that are under question here. These psakim have global ramifications both for past, present and future issues of personal status. The Jewish community today is global by nature and Israel is its most significant location.

    ReplyDelete
  19. We must love the Ger, a Mitva D'Oraita. To tell a righteous convert that he is not Jewish clearly comes close to the worst thing one could do to him or her.

    Says Daas Torah that this is not relevant if the Beis Din he converted at was Pasul, because then the convert is not a Jew, I do not need to love him.

    The issue at hand reaches far beyond itself. How do we see Halacha? How do we see Torah?

    Is Torah something technical, or are (some) Jews being technical about it?

    Does truth play a role in defining Halacha, or is Halacha a system that legally defines truth for us?

    This is a Litmus test. The Kitrug screams to Shamayim. There are no words to describe the fate of those who choose to be technical even in the case of righteous converts.

    ReplyDelete

ANONYMOUS COMMENTS WILL NOT BE POSTED!
please use either your real name or a pseudonym.