Tuesday, November 25, 2008

R' Slifkin - context of ban /RaP


This was taken from one of RaP's comment to his analysis regarding Rabbi Tropper

SD said... I was trying to understand the relevance of Columbia's having awarded a PHd to Rebbetzin David for her dissertation on Rav Chayes.

RaP: Rabbi Eidensohn is always asking for "sources" and every now and again I like to inveigh with a jolly good one at that. The relevance in this case was to point out Rabbi Tropper's role in the ban of Rabbi Slifkin's books that ultimately it was a joint rabbinic effort by many Haredi rabbis, not just Rabbi Tropper, to have Rabbi Slifkin's revisionistic (in the sense that he introduced a "non-ArtScroll" gedolim-approved genre) writings about Judaism and science, essentially part of a larger historical struggle between how to reconcile IMPLICATIONS from Science/Biology with classical Judaism.

This is most definitely part of a longer term struggle that goes back to the days of Hellenism vs Judaism, then into the days of the Early Renaissance and the struggle between the Chachmei Sefarad and the Chachmei Tzarfas/Ashkenaz with the latter fighting the RAMBAM's views on Greek Philosophy, then the struggle of the major Renaissance where secular science began to flourish and spawned the Enlightenment and the Haskala. The fight against Rabbi Slifkin is in many ways a continuum and flare-up of the ongoing struggle between those willing to accept scientific theories and views from non-Jewish sources and those who do not. Rabbi Chiyes in his day inter-acted with maskilim and incorporated their views into his hashkofa and for that Rebbetzin David took him to task (read her work, it is thorough and makes lots of good arguments), just as Rabbi Slifkin was taken to task for incorporating non-traditional views, albeit with rationalizations and proofs from various sources that he garnered, just as Rabbi Chiyes did, and just as Rabbi J.B. Soloveitchik ztk"l did in creating "Torah Umada", but this is getting to be too broad a discussion. [...]

RaP: [...] In fact few people know of this thesis but it has been online for a while now. And please assume good faith, as they say on Wikipedia, this is not about "exposing" this or that. It is much more than that, a large historical debate between different schools of thought and with many intellectual and human battles and skirmishes along the way. Rabbi Slifkin knew the risks he was taking by being an iconoclast and writing in a way about nature and animals that had not been done before in the English speaking Torah world and he was challenged and the Haredim decided to ban his books. This is not unusual. It has been happening with more frequency as many worlds converge and collide in our days. Rabbi Tropper knows about the school of hard knocks too, he helped to get Rabbi Slifkin banned and in turn he was banned by the BADATZ for his own more "enlightened" view about conversions that there should be mass proselytisation to non-Jewish spouses of intermarried Jews all in the name of "higher conversion standards" and by jumping down the throats of Batei Din he liked or didn't like.

34 comments :

  1. When I read Rebbitzen David's thesis I was struck by the amount of talmudic knowledge and analysis it contained. Hamevin Yavin.
    KT
    Joel Rich

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  2. RaP wrote:
    It is much more than that, a large historical debate between different schools of thought and with many intellectual and human battles and skirmishes along the way. Rabbi Slifkin knew the risks he was taking by being an iconoclast and writing in a way about nature and animals that had not been done before in the English speaking Torah world and he was challenged and the Haredim decided to ban his books.
    =======================
    This is not correct. R' Slifkin did not view himself as an iconoclast but rather a defender of the system. While his approach remained in the kiruv world - he was viewed as a member of the establishment. [He was shocked to learn that he was viewed as undermining the system - in particular that he was viewed as criticising Chazal.] However when his views started to become mainstream in yeshivos and beis Yaakov's then there were people who got upset and initiated a campaign against him and his views.

    Do you view, R S.R. Hirsch as an iconoclast or Rabbi Carmel? The establishment argues that there is no need to reconcile Science and Torah. But this is an important issue in kiruv. I spoke to one of the rabbis at Aish HaTorah after the ban and he said he had no idea how to address the issue of Science and Torah since he had been using the approach for more than 20 years [it does predate R' Slifkin] Kiruv rabbis in general do not view that they are iconoclasts.

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  3. Rabbi J.B. Soloveitchik ztk"l...in creating "Torah Umada"...
    No he didn't.

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  4. RaP wrote: "just as Rabbi J.B. Soloveitchik ztk"l did in creating "Torah Umada"
    =====================
    Simply wrong. See Rabbi Dr. Lamm's Torah UMada where he makes no reference to such an assertion. At most you can say that Rabbi Soloveitchik was a manifestation of this attitude - but even that is questionable according to Rav Shurkin.

    A more reasonable candidate would be Rabbi Dr. Bernard Revel. However Rabbi Lamm points that the idea goes back at least to the Sefardic world of the Rambam

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  5. Recipients and PublicityNovember 26, 2008 at 11:38 AM

    Some responses to the following:

    Anonymous said... When I read Rebbitzen David's thesis I was struck by the amount of talmudic knowledge and analysis it contained. Hamevin Yavin.
    KT
    Joel Rich

    RaP: Well, that could be on account of a number of a few factors: (a) she is a genuinely learned woman, a rarity who is indeed the equivalant of a full-fledged Talmid Chochem and boki bechol ha'inyanim. There have always been a few such Jewish women in every generation. She does stress the learning of tough texts in her BJJ seminary, keyadua, but not outright Gemorah. (b) She is the ONLY child of Rav Yitzchok Hutner who had a fairly enlightened outlook about many fields and held nothing back from his brilliant daughter who was privy to all his discussions and became his personal scribe over time. She is after all called Bruria HUTNER David in the thesis' title, and Rav Hutner no doubt gave of his expertise to his daughter when she worked on and produced her thesis. (c) She is married to a major Rosh Yeshiva, Rav Yonason David, shlita, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva Chaim Berlin in Brooklyn and of Yeshiva Pachad Yitzchok in Har Nof, Jerusalem and she is both his full partner and has access to his great Talmudic knowledge.

    Da'as torah says: This is not correct. R' Slifkin did not view himself as an iconoclast but rather a defender of the system.

    RaP: This is a tricky observation and needs to be qualified by you. It would be more correct to say that Rabbi Slifkin wished to use and show that the worlds of science and biology were not in contradiction to Torah thought, but as he progressed he in essence created his own concoction of ideas based on all sorts of sources that in time were actually far from the moorings of conventional Haredi-type thinking. He ventured too far and got lost in his own creations and when it was pointed out to him that he was lost in the woods he took umbrage and instead of saying yikes you're right, he launched a counter-attack and self-defense that cost him his credibility with the Haredi rabbis. So he unwittingly slipped from the role of "defender" to that of "iconoclast" -- perhaps not even so conscioulsy but he got lost somewhere along the way and found that he had moved from being on the inside to having become an outsider vis a vis present-day Haredi Judaism.

    Da'as torah: While his approach remained in the kiruv world - he was viewed as a member of the establishment. [He was shocked to learn that he was viewed as undermining the system - in particular that he was viewed as criticising Chazal.]

    RaP: The so-called "kiruv world" you refer to here is far too nebulous. Perhaps he was someone to the select Ohr Someach and Aish HaTorah crowds in Jerusalem (in America all they care about is "relationships" and dating and science is not on the front burner) but to claim that Rabbi Slifkin's books were or are so important in the kiruv world is really far-fetched. Slifkin means nothing to Chabad. He is unknown in the mass Russian Baal teshuva moevement, he is redundant in the Modern Orthodox NCSY worlds where they have their own methods. And think of the hundreds of synagogues and day schools and kiruv centers all over America where kiruv is taking place and Rabbi Slifkin's books are hardly heard of and just not relevant.

    Da'as torah: However when his views started to become mainstream in yeshivos and beis Yaakov's then there were people who got upset and initiated a campaign against him and his views.

    RaP: Yes indeed and when his books started coming into my home I was puzzled why this sort of bizarre and weird stuff was coming into my house. But SOMETIMES my family tends to read science fiction and other such bubba-mayses, and I have a liberal attitude to what books come into my house and looked with bemusement at these Slifkin books about neo-monsters and dragons and whatnot, to me it was hard to take them seriously, and it was no surprise that some people finally decided to check out these strange books and put a stop to them. There are plenty of science fiction books that people can read, and there is absolutely no need to blend that sort of genre with Torah books.

    Da'as torah: Do you view, R S.R. Hirsch as an iconoclast or Rabbi Carmel?

    RaP: No they are not iconoclasts towards Torah true Judaism because they were coming from a different points of origin than Rabbi Slifkin. Rabbi Carmel was from a strict narrow British environment, conncted to that of the Yekkes, that was in practice and spirit very strongly supportive of all establishments and Rabbi Carmel made sure that his works were aligned with the Torah estaablishment og his day, he did not bend anything and he would never dream of confrontationalism (unless it was with Christian missionaries who are far more serious and invidious threat). Likewise for Rav Hirsch, he was working using a very clear Hashkafic LIGHTHOUSE rooted in a
    deep genuine rabbonus. Read Rabbi Klugman's biography of Hersch to see the depth and profoundness of Hirsch's connection to Torah true greats and sources. Unlike Rabbi Slifkin whose backround is very modern and was a Johny Come Lately to the Haredi yeshivas and it seems on some deeper level within himself he lacked the type of moorings that made Rabbis Hirsch and Carmel 100% reliable sources. And by the way, the Haredi world by and large does not use Rav Hirsch nor are they aware of Rabbi Carmel. That should tell you something. And it should have raised major alarm bells for Rabbi Slifkin as he put his capable pen to paper that the eyebrows of the Haredi gedolim would be raised against his works once they started reaching critical mass circulation and people started to read his fairy tales.

    Da'as torah: The establishment argues that there is no need to reconcile Science and Torah.

    RaP: And they are correct! It is a
    time-consuming wasteful task that few can really undertake successfully and itelligently.

    Da'as torah: But this is an important issue in kiruv.

    RaP: Correct. But so what? BTs and potential BTs have many such "Earth shattering" questions that they will learn over time they can live with as in that old Yiddish expression: Fun a kashyeh shtarb'd men nisht ("You don't die from a question"), and they don't need Rabbi Slifkin's cockamamy theories. It's like saying that yeshivas should teach Jewish history and Zionism but they don't. So what if Aish HaTorah tries to fake that it is a shadow Tel Aviv University or that it's a branch of the Weitzman Institute or the Haifa Technion when it is nothing of the sort. You know, this is where you have to admire Rabbi Tropper's kiruv derech that at least he does not lose himself or his students on all this fake double-talk about having some sort of allegiance to science and secular knowledge when as he rightly holds, Torah is not a substance that can be mixed or diluted with anything else to prove its powers and validity.

    Da'as torah: I spoke to one of the rabbis at Aish HaTorah after the ban and he said he had no idea how to address the issue of Science and Torah since he had been using the approach for more than 20 years [it does predate R' Slifkin] Kiruv rabbis in general do not view that they are iconoclasts.

    RaP: Aish HaTorah should not be the source for how to view issues. They are a controversial and deceptive organization and while they are successful (perhaps too successful for their own good, like being led down the road of a fool's paradise) most genuine Baalei teshuva do like to hear what GENUINE gedolim have to say (Aish does not have a single resident gadol) and if the majority of the Haredi rabbis gave Slifkin the boot, Rabbi Slifkin should not be turned in a type of "martyr" like a Spinoza lehavdil. The rabbis you spoke to at Aish should stop their fake whining about boo-hoo not having Rabbi Slifkin and be creative enough to find other ways to prove that people did NOT come from monkeys billions of years ago, unless of course they feel they have to "defend" evolution like the average Modern Orthodox rabbi and graduate of YU does. So Aish has it's own identity crisis problems to deal with.

    Baruch said..."Rabbi J.B. Soloveitchik ztk"l...in creating "Torah Umada"..."
    No he didn't.

    RaP: I know what you mean, I should have said "SYNTHESIS" between modernity and Torah, or some such, but I was referring to the end product and entire life cycle of the YU thought system that precedes Rav Soloveitchik, works its way through Rabbi Norman Lamm's world on polishing the notion of "Torah Umada" and onto latter versions that are still being worked at by Rabbis Avi Weiss, Saul Berman and Shlomo Riskin as they take these notions further afield (from Yiddishkeit). I just didn't want to drag Norman Lamm into the discussion by name just an idea that had been percolating in Modern Orthodox intellectual circles, and basically there is no Norman Lamm without Rav Soloveitchik and Rav Soloveitchik's leghay was refined and preserved at YU by Rabbi Norman Lamm.

    Daas Torah said..."RaP wrote: "just as Rabbi J.B. Soloveitchik ztk"l did in creating "Torah Umada"===" Simply wrong. See Rabbi Dr. Lamm's Torah UMada where he makes no reference to such an assertion.

    RaP: See my comment above.


    Da'as torah: At most you can say that Rabbi Soloveitchik was a manifestation of this attitude

    RaP: So we essentially agree. As I said, I was referring more to A TIDE IN JEWISH THOUGHT and not so much to limiting it to this or that indvidual. Bottom line, noone can deny that Rabbi J.B. Soloveitchik developed, symbolized and held to a unique philosophy of MODERN ORTHODOXY, whether it sprouts as a a "synthesis" between the old and the new or a proud "Torah Umada" slogan (to counter what Rabbi Lamm's sees as Haredi Judaism's "triumphalism") or the views being espoused by various disciples of Rabbi Soloveitchik and alumni and former faculty of YU such as Rabbis Avi Weiss and Saul Berman and Yeshiva Chovevei Torah or Rabbis Lichtenstein and Riskin in Israel, all of which seek to mesh MODERN political, social, scientific and other developments with the classical teachings of Torah (and Chazal?) all while trying to remain under the banner of "ORTHODOXY"!

    Da'as torah: - but even that is questionable according to Rav Shurkin.

    RaP: Rav Shurkin is not known to be a disciple or expositor of Rav Soloveitchik is he? He was a colleague and shared the old world yeshiva values with him. He speaks more as an informed insider.

    Da'as torah: A more reasonable candidate would be Rabbi Dr. Bernard Revel.

    RaP: Dr. Revel, like Dr. Belkin who succeeded him was a product of a different time and age. Based on what I have read in Rabbi Rakeffet Rothkoff's biography "The Revel Era" Rav Revel was essentially very Eastern European in his outlook and in building up YU he was mostly focused on bringing Torah to American boys at YU and tried hard to get any major gadol and rosh yeshiva to speak to them and even to teach them (he hired Rav Shimon Shkop as faculty until Rav Chaim Ozer and other Litvishe gedolim forced him to pull out and come back to Litte), even as Revel tried to build up YU's academic standing.

    Da'as torah: However Rabbi Lamm points that the idea goes back at least to the Sefardic world of the Rambam

    RaP: Correct. And even earlier, to the challenge of Hellenism to Judaism all rooted in the different brochas Noach gave to Shem and Yafes in the Chumash in Breishis, and even deeper as a manifestation of the struggle between choshech ("darkness") and ohr ("light") in Bereishis.

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  6. RaP's mentioning of historical context is important to take note of.

    In his day, the Rambam was excommunicated and his books were burned. A good number of the rabbonim who signed on to that are either forgotten or only known to scholars who are knowledgeable about that time period.

    So although I don't think we could compare Rav Slifkin to the Rambam (and he himself would probably vehemently oppose such a comparison) it would be interesting to fast forward 300 years and see who is better remembered and whose books are still read - the "gedolim" who banned Rav Sliffkin or Rav Sliffkin himself?

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  7. Garnel Ironheart said...

    RaP's mentioning of historical context is important to take note of.

    In his day, the Rambam was excommunicated and his books were burned. A good number of the rabbonim who signed on to that are either forgotten or only known to scholars who are knowledgeable about that time period.
    ============
    Rambam was not excommunicated

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  8. RaP: This is a tricky observation and needs to be qualified by you. It would be more correct to say that Rabbi Slifkin wished to use and show that the worlds of science and biology were not in contradiction to Torah thought, but as he progressed he in essence created his own concoction of ideas based on all sorts of sources that in time were actually far from the moorings of conventional Haredi-type thinking. He ventured too far and got lost in his own creations and when it was pointed out to him that he was lost in the woods he took umbrage and instead of saying yikes you're right, he launched a counter-attack and self-defense that cost him his credibility with the Haredi rabbis. So he unwittingly slipped from the role of "defender" to that of "iconoclast" -- perhaps not even so conscioulsy but he got lost somewhere along the way and found that he had moved from being on the inside to having become an outsider vis a vis present-day Haredi Judaism.
    =========
    The above is simple wrong. I spoke at length with Rav Belsky after the ban and he acknowledged that the issues raised by R' Slifkin were valid - even though he preferred other explanations. Furthermore he told me he was not withdrawing his haskama.
    If you recall R' Slifkin had solid haskomas to his writings. Even Rav Feldman who later reversed his stance - did so only after he flew to Israel to defend R' Slifkin before Rav Eliashiv. BTW Rav Eliashiv told a friend of mine that since he did not read English he had not read the books but relied on others to tell him that they were problematic. Even Rabbi Orlovsky and Rabbi Gottlieb praised these works - prior to the ban.

    In sum prior to the ban these works were standard fare in the kiruv world. they had solid haskomoas and were seen by some very intelligent talmidei chachomim as presenting valid understandings of some tough issues. Even after the ban Rav Belsky defended the legitimacy of this approach and did not withdraw his haskoma.

    R Slifkin's defense and counter attack was within the context of his continued acceptance by some solid talmidei chachomim who had read his works in English and had observed the usefulness of his explanations.

    I agree that after the ban - as the result of the slander and clear attempts to destroy his reputation by establishment rabbonim and consequent disillusionment with the charedi authorities - he has moved to some degree from mainstream chareidi thought. I have not kept up with his writings except to be aware that he is fascinated by Rav Gedalia Nadel - who was a tremendous talmid chachom but held some views that were not acceptable in the chareidi world.

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  9. to claim that Rabbi Slifkin's books were or are so important in the kiruv world is really far-fetched. Slifkin means nothing to Chabad. He is unknown in the mass Russian Baal teshuva moevement, he is redundant in the Modern Orthodox NCSY worlds where they have their own methods. And think of the hundreds of synagogues and day schools and kiruv centers all over America where kiruv is taking place and Rabbi Slifkin's books are hardly heard of and just not relevant.
    Just making sure: you realize this is all equally relevant to R' Dovid Gottlieb, R' Motty Berger, R' Dovid Kaplan, and the vast majority of Litvish chareidi kiruv professionals 'round the world? (I know, I named mostly OS people, but that's just 'cause those are the names off the top of my head)

    He was a colleague
    To qualify: about as much (if not much less so) as he was a colleague of Rav Hutner.

    He speaks more as an informed insider.
    Like R' Meiselman.

    and they don't need Rabbi Slifkin's cockamamy theories.
    Please name two theories which R' Slifkin invented without rabbinic source literature that can be dismissed as "cockamamy."

    But SOMETIMES my family tends to read science fiction and other such bubba-mayses, and I have a liberal attitude to what books come into my house and looked with bemusement at these Slifkin books about neo-monsters and dragons and whatnot, to me it was hard to take them seriously, and it was no surprise that some people finally decided to check out these strange books and put a stop to them. There are plenty of science fiction books that people can read, and there is absolutely no need to blend that sort of genre with Torah books.
    L'chora, this is an incoherent paragraph. What makes the banned books sci-fi?

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  10. Recipients and PublicityNovember 27, 2008 at 9:31 AM

    Some more responses to the above:

    Garnel Ironheart said... RaP's mentioning of historical context is important to take note of.

    RaP: Thank you. And of course I agree.

    Garnel: In his day, the Rambam was excommunicated and his books were burned.

    RaP: Note WHERE they were burned, in Paris and France. The Rambam lived from 1135 to 1204 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maimonides. He was up against the chachmei Tzarfas ("France") and the chachmei Ashkenaz ("Germany") who were Rishonim. Note that Rashi lived from 1040 to 1105 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rashi (which means he had already passed away and set up his legacy long before the Rambam was even born) and Rashi's descendants were the Tosaphists who DOMINATED the Ashkenazi Jews through times of the Rishonim and into the Achronim. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tosafot and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tosafists. So they lasted for hundreds of years after Rashi, through the era of the Rambam and well past that for hundreds of years.

    Now they may not stand out as much as the namaes of Rashi and the Rambam do, but it was the antipathy of the Rishonim of France and Ashkenaz to the Rambam's writings who put up a solid wall of resistance to the Rambam's writings. Initially some must have been alarmed and allowed for the Rambam's writings to be burned for heresy as manifested in his Moreh Nevucim, but subsequently the ban against the Rambam's Halachic writings were lifted but the invisible cordon sanitaire that was placed around the Rambam's Moreh Nevuchim is active still to this very day and the Askenazi yeshvishe world frowns upon and discourages any serious attempts at studying and gaining a deeper understnding of the Rambam's philosophy and hashkofa as expounded in the Moreh Nevuchim.

    Indeed it is well known that the Ramban who lived from 1194 to 1270 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nahmanides tried his best to act as a peacemaker and go between between the more "enlightened" Spanish chachmei Sefarad who venerated the Rambam and accepted him as their posek and the "charedim" of France and Germany who openly opposed the more culturally enlightened Sefaradi derech of that time and in turn stressed their own stricter "Tosaphist" derech.

    You can read about the Ramban's efforts in the Kisvei HaRamban (good editions in Hebrew and English by Rabbi Dr. Chevel). By the way it is important to know that one historical backdrop, similar to later times, was the RENAISSANCE OF THE 12TH CENTURY (also known as the First or Early Renaissaance) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renaissance_of_the_12th_century as described by Wikipedia:

    "a period of many changes during the High Middle Ages. It included social, political and economic transformations, and an intellectual revitalization of Europe with strong philosophical and scientific roots. These changes paved the way to later achievements such as the literary and artistic movement of the Italian Renaissance in the 15th century and the scientific developments of the 17th century."

    Much like in our own modern age.

    Anyhow, it is known that Rabbeinu Yona (d. 1263) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yonah_Gerondi wrote his famous Sefer Shaarei Teshuvah in penance for having attacked the Rambam which he subsequently deeply regretted as a mistake.

    Garnel: A good number of the rabbonim who signed on to that are either forgotten or only known to scholars who are knowledgeable about that time period.

    RaP: Bottom line, the rabbis who opposed the Rambam, who is the greatest of all Sefardi rabbis and his Yad HaChazaka is the basis of the Mechaber's Shulchan Aruch, was opposed by none other than the ongoing Askenazi rabbis, many of whom were the leading Rishonim and guides of Ashkenazi Jewry.

    Garnel: So although I don't think we could compare Rav Slifkin to the Rambam (and he himself would probably vehemently oppose such a comparison)

    RaP: Of course not, but the underlying issues have a commonality that it is confrontation of not just ideas but also of how to present ideas and which ideas are truly kosher to be imbedded in the minds of the Torah public.

    Garnel: it would be interesting to fast forward 300 years and see who is better remembered and whose books are still read - the "gedolim" who banned Rav Sliffkin or Rav Sliffkin himself?

    RaP: From the above it should be obvious that just like the Rambam's opponents are still known so will the opponents of Rabbi Slifkin be known for a long time to come. Regarding the "300 years" part you need to be careful there because as the Talmud says the world is destined to exist for 6000 years (Sanhedrin 97a) and we are now in the year 5769 from LITERAL CREATION only 231 years away from the end, and by then a lot more will become clear than what Rabbi Slifkin said or not, and for what will happen as the end ufolds ironically see the Rambam in the end of Hilchos Melachim! So there is no need to knock the credibility of the gedolim who did what they did to Slifkin. And it shows you a few important things. One of them is that old Yiddish expression: Nisht alts vos iz oif dem lung muz zein oif der tzung ("Not everything that is on your mind ["lung"] should be on your tongue ["spoken"]") and similarly: Nisht alts vos me tracht darf men redden, und nisht altz vos me red darf men schreiben, und nish alts vos me schreibt darf men drukken ("Not everything that is on your mind should be spoken, and not everything that is spoken should be written, and not everything that is written should be printed") and probably a corollary to that is that "not everything that is printed should be promoted"!

    Da'as torah: Rambam was not excommunicated

    It all depends how you define "excomunicated" and if Garnel was using the term in a general English sense or in a purely very strict Halachic sense, because in many ways, and in practical effect what happened to the Rambam's sefarim. See below that Rabbeinu Yonah "was one of the signers of the ban proclaimed in 1233 against the Moreh Nebukim and the Sefer ha-Madda." So what does that mean exactly? Is that not a form of a cherem? Or whatever the exact cherem-type term would be? and by extension how that's reflected upon him in the eyes of many people in his days and later on, could indeed be termed a form of "excommunication" and even a form of Cherem, I am not sure which, like a niddui perhaps, or one of the many types that one would need to know about as a posek would. See the Wikipedia entry for Yonah Gerondi http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yonah_Gerondi

    "Yonah Gerondi came from Girona, in Catalonia. Gerondi was the most prominent pupil of Solomon of Montpellier, the leader of the opponents of Maimonides' philosophical works, and was one of the signers of the ban proclaimed in 1233 against the Moreh Nebukim and the Sefer ha-Madda. According to his pupil, Hillel of Verona, Gerondi was the instigator of the public burning of Maimonides' writings by order of the authorities at Paris in 1233, and the indignation which this aroused among all classes of Jews was mainly directed against him. Subsequently (not forty days afterward, as a tradition has it, but in 1242; see note 5 to H. Grätz, Geschichte, vol. vii.), when twenty-four wagon-loads of Talmuds were burned at the same place where the philosophical writings of Maimonides had been destroyed, Gerondi saw the folly and danger of appealing to Christian ecclesiastical authorities on questions of Jewish doctrine, and publicly admitted in the synagogue of Montpellier that he had been wrong in all his acts against the works and fame of Maimonides. As an act of repentance he vowed to travel to Palestine and prostrate himself on Maimonides' grave and implore his pardon in the presence of ten men for seven consecutive days. He left France with that intention, but was detained, first in Barcelona and later in Toledo. He remained in Toledo, and became one of the great Talmudical teachers of his time. In all his lectures he made a point of quoting from Maimonides, always mentioning his name with great reverence. Gerondi's sudden death from a rare disease was considered by many as a penalty for not having carried out the plan of his journey to the grave of Maimonides. He died in Toledo, Spain, Nov., 1263."

    But that was Rabbeinu Yonah's greatness and nowhere is it stated that "all" the Tosaphists and Rishonim who opposed the Rambam derech in his Moreh Nevuchim saw "the wrong of their ways" but on the contrary, it took a while for the Rambam to be totally (re)accepted as a Halachik posek (perhaps it was Rav Chaim Soloveitchik of Brisk and the Soloveitchik Family who FULLY brought back the Rambam to his righful place at the center of the LOMDISHE Torah world) but in many ways that "ban" or "cherem" against his other writings stands de facto, if not de jure, and the Moreh Nevuchim remains off limits to Ashekenazi bnai Torah and one who delves into it is viewed with great suspicioun. Only a select few greats, and usually they are men who wish to either follow or reconcile the ways of science/mada, like Rabbi J.B. Soloveitchik and other greats like Rav Hutner who had an unquenchable thirst and desire to master all areas of Torah no matter how abstruse and obtuse delved into the such writings as the Moreh Nevuchim while discouraging other less well-endowed and ill prepared intellects from doing so.

    Da'as torah: I spoke at length with Rav Belsky after the ban and he acknowledged that the issues raised by R' Slifkin were valid - even though he preferred other explanations.

    RaP: Ok. So Rabbi Slifkin raised issues. So do you on this blog. So does UOJ on his blog and they are mostly all valid but it does not mean that Rabbi Slifkin's unconventional interests should be put at center stage of Klal Yisrael's present national syllabus, like a "hashkafic scientific biological zoological shiur klali for the massses" that is dangerous in its import with unknown consequnces, or the way that UOJ's almost all true tabloid type good points should become the center of public focus when there is just so many more basic bread and butter issues to deal with.

    There is a certain shikul hada'as and practicality that is required and by Rabbi Slifkin's writings gaining a disproportionate share of the Orthodox English speaking public's reading time, it was creating a diversion that was better dispensed with and shut down or better yet, shut out or even shut up, than focused upon, for the good of all concerned (except for Rabbi Slifkin's ego or the guys who were hoping to make money from selling popular books.)

    By the way, compare the way Rabbi Yosef Reinman of Lakewood reacted to the gedolim's ban of his book with a Reform rabbi http://www.jewishjournal.com/arts/article/closed_chapter_20021108/ albeit this was one book, but Rabbi Reinman towed the party line unlike Rabbi Slifkin who has dug his heels in even deeper. Obviously those are natural human reactions either way. But quite a different reaction from both.

    Da'as torah: Furthermore he told me he was not withdrawing his haskama.

    RaP: Fine, it's good to see that some people do not twist and change. But talking of Rabbi Belsky, and I do not mean to be funny here, he has his own "pekel" of problems if you have ever taken some time to read the UOJ blog and I will not open that can of worms here.

    Da'as torah: If you recall R' Slifkin had solid haskomas to his writings. Even Rav Feldman who later reversed his stance - did so only after he flew to Israel to defend R' Slifkin before Rav Eliashiv.

    RaP: Rabbi Feldman is an interesting man. He can straddle many worlds yet not be part of any of them. But one thing is for sure he is not the posek ha'acharon on most (all?) matters.

    Da'as torah: BTW Rav Eliashiv told a friend of mine that since he did not read English he had not read the books but relied on others to tell him that they were problematic.

    RaP: Come on now, you can't take that at simple face value. What is that really all about? Rav Eliashiv was trying to be a gentleman, which is he is, and must have meant that to him the Slifkin business is a tempest in a tea-pot, or not his cup of tea, but again, even with all excuses and nice words he is being very clear and emphatic: No Slifkin, no way! Period.

    Da'as torah: Even Rabbi Orlovsky and Rabbi Gottlieb praised these works - prior to the ban.

    RaP: How you can mention the names of relative midgets like Rabbis Gottlieb and Orlovsky, who are just Haredi bull-horns in hats, in the same literary breath as Rav Eliashiv is puzzling. You need go no further than saying Rav Eliashiv signed on to the ban on Slifkin's works and finished.

    You see, that's because it's not just that Rav Eliashiv "does not read English" (so what? he does not read Russian, or French, or Chinese etc or you name it) but since when does that mean he cannot pasken coherently, definitively, cohesively and decisively? Rav Eliashiv is not (yet) sitting on the Sanhedrin where they needed to know 70 languages, he is quite capable of being the rashkebehag and issuing pesakim based not just on information given to him stemming from any language or source, but based on his Torah wisdom and more than that on his SIYATA DISHMAYA and RUACH HAKODESH (he is aknown mekubal too) so that what he said and rules is pretty strong stuff and we don't need Rabbis Orlovsky or Gotlieb or even Rabbi Feldman to darshen, let them stick to giving lectures to gullible and naive ba'alei teshuva as they are famous for and leave the higher order communal pesakim that effect Klal Yisroel to Rav Eliashiv.

    Da's torah: In sum prior to the ban these works were standard fare in the kiruv world.

    RaP: Not quite sure what you mean here. When English Judaica is published do they say "For kiruv world only"? Often it is the other way, that English speaking Haredim crave stories and news from the Baal teshuva world (the papers, magazines, and books are full of starry eyed kiruv and ba'al teshuva stories ad nauseum.) So in sum YOU are wrong because there is absolutely no such thing as books that are read in the "kiruv world" only since once something, anything, is written in English, it is the public property not just of "the kiruv world" but also of the English Orthodox world, and even the entire gentile world, which brings us full circle of why translation of the Torah into Greek 2000 years ago by King Ptolemy in Hellenistic Egypt was regarded as tragedy for Judaism and why gedolim had traditionally opposed the translation of Gemara and sefarim into other languages.

    ArtScroll and Feldheim and their like, are as much if not more for the regular Orthodox and Haredi English speaking world as they are for Baalei teshuva and kiruv purposes and in that context one cannot hide behind tendentious and specious deceptive claims that it's "mainly" or "only" or "was" good and needed for BTs so its muttar when all the while almost every Orthodox and Haredi and FFB family reads or uses that stuff as well at one time or another.

    Da'as torah: they had solid haskomoas and were seen by some very intelligent talmidei chachomim as presenting valid understandings of some tough issues. Even after the ban Rav Belsky defended the legitimacy of this approach and did not withdraw his haskoma.

    RaP: Ok, so things can change. It's like the concept of mekach ta'us or maybe geneivas da'as or perhaps machshil es harabim or maybe finally some realized it's megaleh panim beTorah shelo kehalacha, who knows how the rabanim came up with their final (re)formulation vis a vis Rabbi slifkin's writings. It's now le'acaher hama'aseh, and to get back to the point, Rabbi Tropper, at the end of the day is just a cog in what turned out to be pretty hefty Haredi machine. What can you do, that is just the way it goes sometimes.

    Da's torah: R Slifkin's defense and counter attack was within the context of his continued acceptance by some solid talmidei chachomim who had read his works in English and had observed the usefulness of his explanations.

    RaP: Yes. One can truly feel his pain and anguish. And he was not in an enviable position. He did what for himself was the intellectually honest thing and stood his ground. He found a way and publisher to get around the bans, with the help of Rabbi Gil Student most notably and one should give both of them credit.

    But the wheel of history cannot be turned back. While Rabbi Tropper's ALLEGED scheming against Rabbi Slifkin may not be what some people like, but he has solid Halachic and definitely Hashkafic grounds to stand on.

    Da'as torah: I agree that after the ban - as the result of the slander and clear attempts to destroy his reputation by establishment rabbonim and consequent disillusionment with the charedi authorities - he has moved to some degree from mainstream chareidi thought. I have not kept up with his writings except to be aware that he is fascinated by Rav Gedalia Nadel - who was a tremendous talmid chachom but held some views that were not acceptable in the chareidi world.

    RaP: So be it.

    Baruch said... "to claim that Rabbi Slifkin's books were or are so important in the kiruv world is really far-fetched. Slifkin means nothing to Chabad. He is unknown in the mass Russian Baal teshuva moevement, he is redundant in the Modern Orthodox NCSY worlds where they have their own methods. And think of the hundreds of synagogues and day schools and kiruv centers all over America where kiruv is taking place and Rabbi Slifkin's books are hardly heard of and just not relevant."

    Just making sure: you realize this is all equally relevant to R' Dovid Gottlieb, R' Motty Berger, R' Dovid Kaplan, and the vast majority of Litvish chareidi kiruv professionals 'round the world? (I know, I named mostly OS people, but that's just 'cause those are the names off the top of my head)

    RaP: Yes. So? What is your point? What are you saying? Where is your logic? That because Rabbis Gottlieb, Berger, et al are not known outside of their limited worlds that somehow they are "like" or "equal" to Rabbi Slifkin in "ALL" ways including controversy, banning by gedolim, refusal to stand down, and general weirdness? Just one moment please, none of these rabbis you mention has been accused of, or has published a string of highly novel and controversial works that wish to pose as a new genre of Torah non-fiction and wished to assume a central point as reference points and texts and authoritative views on how and what Orthodox Judaism and the Torah views of science, biology, zoology and the animal kingdom and whatnot are, that amount to a new way of presenting Torah information in our times, all backed up with sources and approbations that complicate the whole matter.

    Rabbi Gottlieb is very Hashkafically correct. His lectures are elongated mind-numbing presentations of the logic of Torah, like the former professor of logic that he is, but he does not cross into terra incognita and the twilight zone of Hashkafa and he does not try to reinvent the wheel. Rabbi Berger is an excellent motivational speaker and like the great PR and sales person that he is he knows which buttons to hit and what to expect and extract from his audiences, but he is also not out there trying to reinvent Judaism and say and write stuff that gets him in hot water. rabbi Dovid Kaplan I am not familiar with, but that in itself says something, that he does not rock the boat to the extent that his name must be seen in headlights as confronting the "old" order to create a better "new" one.

    Baruch: "He was a colleague" To qualify: about as much (if not much less so) as he was a colleague of Rav Hutner.

    RaP: Colleague, equal, fellow-professional, belonged to the same club, call it what you will. The point being that observations about Rabbi J. B. Soloveitchik from well-meaning and probably sympathetic people who knew him, does not make that into a definitive actual and factual summation of Rabbi J. B. Solkoveitchik's derech and hashkofa and place in Torah history. What does inserting Rav Hutner here have to do with it?

    Baruch: "He speaks more as an informed insider." Like R' Meiselman.

    RaP: Ok, so tell us what Rav Meiselman, who is a nephew of the Rav, says, rather than just leaving Rabbi Meiselman's name hanging in mid air.

    Baruch: "and they don't need Rabbi Slifkin's cockamamy theories."
    Please name two theories which R' Slifkin invented without rabbinic source literature that can be dismissed as "cockamamy."

    RaP: VERY funny question! Take a look at the Wikipedia entry for Rabbi Slifkin and Controversy at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natan_Slifkin#Controversy that, based on reliable sources, states:

    "In 2005 about twenty prominent Haredi rabbis in Israel and the United States, including such influential figures as Rabbi Yosef Sholom Eliashiv, Rabbi David Feinstein, Rabbi Aharon Leib Shteinman, Rabbi Chaim Pinchos Scheinberg, Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach and others, put a ban on Slifkin's books, which in effect meant that Haredi Jews in communities that accepted their authority could neither purchase nor read Slifkin's writings without running afoul of a rabbinic dictate.[1 Student, Gil (January 13, 2005). "Banned". Hirhurim.][2 Yated Ne'eman] The main reasons given for the ban were Slifkin's suggestions that the Sages of the Talmud were mistaken in certain scientific matters, and that the universe is in fact billions of years old.[3 Slifkin, Natan (May 12, 2005). Zoo Torah] All of the condemning rabbis belong to the Lithuanian (non-Hasidic) stream of Haredi Judaism.

    The condemnation itself objects to two aspects of Slifkin's work: First, it objects to Slifkin's assertion that the scientific writing contained in the Talmud may not be as authoritative as the more overtly religious content, "that Chazal Hakedoshim [Holy Sages] can err chas vesholom [heaven forbid] in worldly matters." Secondly, it objects to the tone of Slifkin's work, stating that "even what is not heretical is expressed in a way only a heretic would speak."[4 "The Opinion of the Gedolai Hador Shlita". Zoo Torah.][5 Safran, G. (January 12, 2005). Dei'ah veDibur]

    The ban caused a widespread debate, largely on the Internet, in which rabbis and scholars from around the world participated, and which generated intense opposition to the ban. Slifkin's publisher, Targum Press discontinued distribution of his books. Afterwards Yashar Books, a smaller Jewish publisher, agreed to distribute them. Materials written by Slifkin were removed from the websites of influential Orthodox kiruv (Jewish outreach) organizations, such as Aish HaTorah. Aish HaTorah and several other organizations that participated in the ban have themselves published material reconciling Genesis with acceptance of an ancient universe. [6 Schroeder, Gerald. Aish HaTorah.]

    According to Jennie Rothenberg, writing in the secular Jewish Moment magazine, someone who has knowledge of the Slifkin ban asserted that this incident represents a major breaking point within ultra-Orthodox society. "Over the past 15 years, the rabbis of Bnai Brak and the more open American ultra-Orthodox rabbis have been split on a number of important policy decisions," says the rabbi, who requested to remain anonymous. “The Slifkin ban is a huge break. It’s a kind of power struggle, and those who didn’t sign the ban are outraged right now. I’m talking about rabbis with long white beards who are furious about it"...."

    DO I NEED SAY MORE ????

    Baruch: "But SOMETIMES my family tends to read science fiction and other such bubba-mayses, and I have a liberal attitude to what books come into my house and looked with bemusement at these Slifkin books about neo-monsters and dragons and whatnot, to me it was hard to take them seriously, and it was no surprise that some people finally decided to check out these strange books and put a stop to them. There are plenty of science fiction books that people can read, and there is absolutely no need to blend that sort of genre with Torah books."

    L'chora, this is an incoherent paragraph. What makes the banned books sci-fi?

    RaP: BUT, to write and talk about Unicorns, mermaids, dragons, phoenixes in the name of "Sacred Monsters: Mysterious and Mythical Creatures of Scripture, Talmud and Midrash" by an author who absolutely swears by the "fact" of a universe that is billions of years old sounds more like Purim Toireh coming from "rabbis" like Carl Sagan, Richard Dawkins or Stephen Hawking and that obviously did not sound right either to "about twenty prominent Haredi rabbis in Israel and the United States, including such influential figures as Rabbi Yosef Sholom Eliashiv, Rabbi David Feinstein, Rabbi Aharon Leib Shteinman, Rabbi Chaim Pinchos Scheinberg, Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach and others, [who] put a ban on Slifkin's books"!

    And those rabbis who banned his works are surely not "incoherent" although they may not have put it as as poetically as I did by describing Rabbi Slifkin's works as "science-fiction" which in effect means that what he writes in a combination of part Emmes and Toirah, but also maybe with connections that lead to bobba-mayses, haskala, sheker, krum hashkofa, boich sevoras, shtusim amd issurim. But what the heck, if you really must read his works go ahead, it's probably better than blogging.

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  11. Saying that Chazal made mistakes in science is (a) obviously true - just look at all the scientific errors in Shas, and (b) obviously legitimate - just look at all the dozens of Rishonim and Acharonim who said it.

    If RaP calls this a "cockamamy" theory, then he is obviously in such a different world than R' Eidensohn as to make any form of dialogue meaningless.

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  12. Rap wrote:
    There is a certain shikul hada'as and practicality that is required and by Rabbi Slifkin's writings gaining a disproportionate share of the Orthodox English speaking public's reading time, it was creating a diversion that was better dispensed with and shut down or better yet, shut out or even shut up, than focused upon, for the good of all concerned (except for Rabbi Slifkin's ego or the guys who were hoping to make money from selling popular books.)

    By the way, compare the way Rabbi Yosef Reinman of Lakewood reacted to the gedolim's ban of his book with a Reform rabbi http://www.jewishjournal.com/arts/article/closed_chapter_20021108/ albeit this was one book, but Rabbi Reinman towed the party line unlike Rabbi Slifkin who has dug his heels in even deeper. Obviously those are natural human reactions either way. But quite a different reaction from both.
    =============
    Thhis is a rather bizarre argument,"Rabbi Slifkin's writings gaining a disproportionate share of the Orthodox English speaking public's reading time, it was creating a diversion that was better dispensed with and shut down or better yet, shut out or even shut up, than focused upon, for the good of all concerned". Because people were finding his books of interest they were diverting their time and energy from issues that the rabbis felt was more important and therfore he had to be destroyed by lies and bans?!!!? You can do better than that.

    The case of Rabbi Reinman had some overlap but really is a different issues. With the approval of Rav Shmuel Kaminetsky and Rav Matisyahu Solomon Rabbi Reinman joined a project with a Reform rabbi - to debate him. Not only in email and then book form - but also to tour many cities in America where they would debate. The majority of gedolim objected when they found out - for the simple reason that it is an accepted halacha of not debating an apikorus. R' Slifkin was encouraged in his work by gedolim - and the issues he dealt with are not inherently prohibited - as is the issue of debating an apikorus.Rabbi Reinman graciously did not fight the decision because it was an inherently problematic project in the first place. Without the support of most gedolim or at least without their silence - the project could not succeed. R' Slifkin was not doing anything wrong in the first place. There is a simple law concerning rodef - if someone comes to kill you you can fight for your life. I am not aware of any halacha that says that one must allow himself to be shected or slandered and just be silent. That is more akin to Christianity that Judaism.

    In sum Rabbi Reinman didn't fight because he agreed with the majority rule that the questionable project would not succeed without the support of the rabbonim. In contrast the ban which included outright lies as well as questionable assertions i.e., that it was prohibited to believe the world can be older than 6000 years - had no validity in the eyes of the talmidei chachomim that R' Slifkin consulted and he was not required to submit to the slander. It was not the ridiculous psychobabble that you are peddling.

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  13. RaP wrote:
    RaP: Come on now, you can't take that at simple face value. What is that really all about? Rav Eliashiv was trying to be a gentleman, which is he is, and must have meant that to him the Slifkin business is a tempest in a tea-pot, or not his cup of tea, but again, even with all excuses and nice words he is being very clear and emphatic: No Slifkin, no way! Period.
    ==============
    I am surprised that you are so naive about how many if not most bans come about. See the interview with Rav Shmuel Kaminetsky in the Jewish Star as to how he was conned into joining the ban against Lipa Shmeltzer or the public announcement of Rav Belsky that the wording that he had agreed to was not the wording that was published with his signiture. Or that the ban against Making of a Godol with Rav Eliashiv's signature had not been authorized by Rav Eliashiv - but once it was plastered all over Meah Shearim - Rav Eliashiv told Rav Kaminetsky he was not going to publicly repudiate it. [There are countless other example unfortunately - I am sure you have heard a few yourself]

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  14. RaP: Ok, so things can change. It's like the concept of mekach ta'us or maybe geneivas da'as or perhaps machshil es harabim or maybe finally some realized it's megaleh panim beTorah shelo kehalacha, who knows how the rabanim came up with their final (re)formulation vis a vis Rabbi slifkin's writings. It's now le'acaher hama'aseh, and to get back to the point, Rabbi Tropper, at the end of the day is just a cog in what turned out to be pretty hefty Haredi machine. What can you do, that is just the way it goes sometimes.
    ==============
    R' Tropper was not a cog but was a major force in creating the tempest. Even gedolim can be pressured into signing bans which they don't think are helpful or necessarily true. You might remember the Indian hair debate?
    The sociology of bans would make an interesting topic but it is not a monolithic event that they say "aha! Now that I have fully investigated the matter it is obvious that the matter must be handled in this way."
    You might remember that Jonathan Rosenbloom wrote an article to that effect on Crosscurrents.

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  15. Baruch: "and they don't need Rabbi Slifkin's cockamamy theories."
    Please name two theories which R' Slifkin invented without rabbinic source literature that can be dismissed as "cockamamy."

    RaP: VERY funny question! Take a look at the Wikipedia entry for Rabbi Slifkin and Controversy at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natan_Slifkin#Controversy that, based on reliable sources, states:
    ====================
    The claims against R' Slifkin do not justify the language that was used as well as some outright lies that were publicized against him.

    1) Age of the universe - Rav Belsky and Rav Kaminetsky both told me that there is no requirement to believe the world is less than 6000 years old.
    2) the issue of fallibility of Chazal - this is an interesting question but the Rambam and many others of the foundation of our system should have also been put in cherem for this belief.
    3) The tone of his writings is an interesting one - and is an interesting and highly debateable charge.
    ================
    the bottom line in all this is that it was perceived that these ideas concerning science and Torah and the fallibility of chazal were acceptable in the world of kiruv and they were starting to infiltrate the mainstream. Therefore it decided to kill the messenger. As long as the issues were only of concern to baalei teshuva and kiruv rabbis nobody cared!
    Your arguments and assertions concerning the Slifkin affair clearly indicates that your knowledge of the event came mainly from reading frum newspapers and wall posters - and Wikipeida. It is simply not what happened.

    ReplyDelete
  16. To clarify: Not everything I write is a refutation of what you write. Some of it is put there to clarify some implications which others might draw from your post.
    What is that really all about? Rav Eliashiv was trying to be a gentleman, which is he is, and must have meant that to him the Slifkin business is a tempest in a tea-pot, or not his cup of tea, but again, even with all excuses and nice words he is being very clear and emphatic: No Slifkin, no way! Period.
    From R' Slifkin's website: "Rabbi Beryl Weisbord of Ner Israel, who was present at the meeting between Rav Feldman and Rav Elyashiv, reports that Rav Feldman asked Rav Elyashiv if the books may be used in an outreach context and Rav Elyashiv replied in the affirmative. I am told that Rav Aharon Feldman likewise permits certain people to read my books."

    his SIYATA DISHMAYA and RUACH HAKODESH (he is aknown mekubal too)
    I was told by a reliable source that R' Eliashiv himself has said he doesn't have ruach hakodesh.

    While Rabbi Tropper's ALLEGED scheming against Rabbi Slifkin may not be what some people like, but he has solid Halachic and definitely Hashkafic grounds to stand on.
    I'm sorry, please clarify: are you saying that if R' Tropper indeed schemed as charged, he had solid halachic and hashkafic grounds to do so? If so, by all means, please show us the source literature.

    So? What is your point? What are you saying? Where is your logic
    that to say being "important in the kiruv world" requires being important across the entire Chabad-Russian-NCSY-Litvish spectrum is not the right approach.

    Ok, so tell us what Rav Meiselman, who is a nephew of the Rav, says, rather than just leaving Rabbi Meiselman's name hanging in mid air.
    The point is that R' Meiselman, although speaking as an insider on the Rav, is a well-known revisionist of who the Rav was. See the references at fn.4 at his Wikipedia article and http://academicfreelancers.blogspot.com/2008/09/r-meiselmans-view-of-rav.html . I'm not refuting you here, just clarifying to the olam that being an insider doesn't necessarily mean as much as people think.

    First, it objects to Slifkin's assertion that the scientific writing contained in the Talmud may not be as authoritative as the more overtly religious content, "that Chazal Hakedoshim [Holy Sages] can err chas vesholom [heaven forbid] in worldly matters."
    Check out who else believes in this cockamamy theory that R' Slifkin invented: http://torahandscience.blogspot.com/2006/04/sources-indicating-that-chazal-did-not.html

    BUT, to write and talk about Unicorns, mermaids, dragons, phoenixes in the name of "Sacred Monsters: Mysterious and Mythical Creatures of Scripture, Talmud and Midrash" by an author who absolutely swears by the "fact" of a universe that is billions of years old sounds more like Purim Toireh coming from "rabbis" like Carl Sagan, Richard Dawkins or Stephen Hawking and that obviously did not sound right either to "about twenty prominent Haredi rabbis in Israel and the United States, including such influential figures as Rabbi Yosef Sholom Eliashiv, Rabbi David Feinstein, Rabbi Aharon Leib Shteinman, Rabbi Chaim Pinchos Scheinberg, Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach and others, [who] put a ban on Slifkin's books"!
    What sci-fi statement does he write about those animals that the rabbanim don't agree with?

    But what the heck, if you really must read his works go ahead, it's probably better than blogging.
    You probably blog more than I do these days, through this website in particular. ;)

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  17. ps wrote my last comment while Dr. Eidensohn was writing his. I haven't read Dr. Eidensohn's comments yet.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Rav Belsky and Rav Kaminetsky both told me that there is no requirement to believe the world is less than 6000 years old.

    Dr. Eidensohn, it is quite correct that there is no such requirement. However Rav Belskey and Rav Kaminetsky, with all due respect, are hardly authorities on this topic. Your average YU musmach or academic lecturer knows more about both the theology and the science of this topic.

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  19. Learning said...

    Rav Belsky and Rav Kaminetsky both told me that there is no requirement to believe the world is less than 6000 years old.

    Dr. Eidensohn, it is quite correct that there is no such requirement. However Rav Belskey and Rav Kaminetsky, with all due respect, are hardly authorities on this topic. Your average YU musmach or academic lecturer knows more about both the theology and the science of this topic.
    =============
    With all due respect for your anonymous knowledge - how do you know who knows more?
    More important the comment was made in the context of Rabinical authority. I assume you will grant that there are some scientists who know more about these issues than the average YU musmach - but their views on theological issues are not of great significance for us.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Recipients and PublicityDecember 1, 2008 at 7:10 AM

    Daas Torah said... "Thhis is a rather bizarre argument,'Rabbi Slifkin's writings gaining a disproportionate share of the Orthodox English speaking public's reading time, it was creating a diversion that was better dispensed with and shut down or better yet, shut out or even shut up, than focused upon, for the good of all concerned'. Because people were finding his books of interest they were diverting their time and energy from issues that the rabbis felt was more important and therfore he had to be destroyed by lies and bans?!!!? You can do better than that."

    RaP: Hold it. While there was lots of underhandedness, that is to be condemned, yet at the same time it took that type of unfortunate ruccus to gain the attention of the gedolim who have the final veto on what goes on in Klal Yisroel today. And while the gedolim in Israel & America generally neither read English language Judaica nor are they busy with trying to play dirty tricks with authors of such books, once a serious matter is willy-nilly brought to their attention, that once went on below the surface and forces them to focus on what is causing this stink, and they issue a very strong ruling on the matter, one cannot say that the what they had to say is meaningless. I am suprised that for someone purporting to speak for "da'as torah" that defending the decisions of a collective group of genuine gedolim should comes as so difficult to swallow unless you have negius to the contents of Slifkin's books that you feel the pain of their loss, when most frum people could care less about books that speak about "Torah-dikke-like Sesame Street" characters were finally dumped down the shute.

    "The case of Rabbi Reinman had some overlap but really is a different issues."

    RaP: I know, I said they were different but the standoff between an author and gedolim was the same. Reinman's book was also put in cherem, not just his speaking tour with the Reform rabbi.

    "Rabbi Reinman graciously did not fight the decision because it was an inherently problematic project in the first place."

    RaP: And for that he earned the gratitude and admiration of the gedolim and he saved his neck. On the other hand he could have fought back like Rabbi Slifkin, but he chose not too. I do not know in final terms which man is greater, Rabbi Slifkin for standing firm over his books or Rabbi Reinman for backing down over his book, but either way it's a tough choice. From the point of view of the the Haredi world, of course what Rabbi Reinman did is the mussar haskel that Rabbi Slifkin refused to do.

    "R' Slifkin was not doing anything wrong in the first place."

    RaP: That is just your point of view and that of the more liberal and enlightened wing of Orthodoxy because of the fact that Rabbi Slifkin had the power of the pen, meaning the ability to dissmenate his writings trough print and digitally far and wide among all of English-speaking Klal Yisroel (and the works would have been translated soon enough no doubt) he was thus per force on a headlong trajectory of confrontation with the the powers that be (irresistable force hits immovable object) who reserve the role of final judges of Hashkafa for themselves and only support those publishings that support their worldview and status.

    That is why ArtScroll is so strong because of its Hashkafic political correcteness unlike Rabbi Slifkin's books that sought to trailblaze a minority view that did not fit the prevailing Hashkafic politically correct establishment and their eyes and ears on the ground, like Rabbi Tropper's and Rabbi Kalmanowitz's alleged role in snooping around and setting up Slifkin for his fall.

    "There is a simple law concerning rodef - if someone comes to kill you you can fight for your life. I am not aware of any halacha that says that one must allow himself to be shected or slandered and just be silent. That is more akin to Christianity that Judaism."

    RaP: Ok, so Slifkin fought back as we know, and he is still doing so in some ways, but he is now outside of the machaneh (camp) and not inside of it or a part of it. Who reads his stuff nowadays in any case?

    "In contrast the ban which included outright lies as well as questionable assertions i.e., that it was prohibited to believe the world can be older than 6000 years - had no validity in the eyes of the talmidei chachomim that R' Slifkin consulted and he was not required to submit to the slander. It was not the ridiculous psychobabble that you are peddling."

    RaP: "Psychobabble"? Maybe when it comes to analysing Rabbi Tropper's mind and motives about EJF but I fail to see where psychobabble is evident in this Slifkin discussion. Slifkin;s mind is not and issue it his worldview and hashkafa. Unless you would like me to try understanding, as best I can, on a psychological level what Slifkin is all about and he got himself into the situation he is is in?

    Daas Torah said... "I am surprised that you are so naive about how many if not most bans come about. See the interview with Rav Shmuel Kaminetsky in the Jewish Star as to how he was conned into joining the ban against Lipa Shmeltzer or the public announcement of Rav Belsky that the wording that he had agreed to was not the wording that was published with his signiture. Or that the ban against Making of a Godol with Rav Eliashiv's signature had not been authorized by Rav Eliashiv - but once it was plastered all over Meah Shearim - Rav Eliashiv told Rav Kaminetsky he was not going to publicly repudiate it. [There are countless other example unfortunately - I am sure you have heard a few yourself]"

    RaP: Indeed, these "bans" or "proclamations" or "paskvilim" or "pronouncements" and "gillui da'as" by gedolim are unique animals worthy of deeper study. They are tools, and like all tools they are oftne mostly legitimate and are often published in respectable Torah newspapers and at other times they can be contrived and hypocritical despicbale disgraceful pieces of nonsense. But one cannot take them lightly because they are so powerful, probably due to the fact that gedolim do not hold press-conferences and the Torah public must rely on these primitive means of mass communications as if they were "megilas" and decrees issued or annuling thing as in Megilas Ester days.

    But they do have a life of their own and each one is unique and must be studied and analyzed on its own merits. As for the Lipa ban, that one was a total vile fabrication by only two kanoim (Rabbi Avrohom Schorr of Flatbush and Rabbi Friedman, the Tenke Ruv of Boro Park), but Lipa was smart, he did not fight them and did their bidding and stopped his concert and in that case the Jewish public of New York got annoyed at losing money because so many tickets had been sold and once it was realized who was really behind the "ban" it came to nothing and Lipa is under NO cherem and sings and does concerts and is a respcted member of the Charedi and Chasidish Torah community. He knows how to play the game and did not go head to head with the crazed raging bulls who wanted to destroy not just him, but all forms of concerts, singing and music in the frum community. This was like the stupid case of the ban of Indian-originated sheitels (as you mention below) that was really a ploy by one or two kanoim from England (Rabbi Dunner was the main one) to convince Rav Eliashiv to get women to give up sheitels and once people realized that the ones behind the ban on Indian-hair sheitels had another agenda than just stopping wearing Indian-originated hair but the stopping of the wearing of all sheietls, they were just forgotten and noone even cares about them because they have zero credibility and frum Askenazi women are not back to the days when they wore horse-tail hair as "sheitels"!

    But that was as far as music and hair was concerned. When it comes to the matter of BOOKS and their contents, then we are getting into much more dangerous ground of ideas, hashkofes, and literally da'as that is conveyed by the words and wrtings in the ideas constructed by the authors of those books on many levels and good literature works on many levles, some obvious and others much more subtle that can be invidious.

    So that the way The Making of a Gadol was written, it was not in the ArtScroll genre, not even in the Feldheim genre which is a little more open that that, and as all concerned should have known ArtScroll rules and they should have tried to have ArtScroll/Feldhiem edit and vet that book rather than winging it on their own, so no surprise that they were shot down especially since they were writing about a man who while he was their father, Rabbi Yaakov Kamenetsky ztk"l was also a gadol of Klal Yisroel and the Agudah and Haredi world and that world is a very protective, defensive, narrow and even narrow-minded and paranoid one, and it is not a free academic environment or a literary free zone. That is just the way it is. Rabbi Binyamin Kamentsky should have thought of all this and thought it all through much better. His son, Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetsky has been much more successful as an author with his Parsha Parables series of books wherein he cites mini-stories from his grandfather Rabby Yaakov Kamenetsky and he has been doing it in a more conventional way and everyone is happy.

    Daas Torah said... R' Tropper was not a cog but was a major force in creating the tempest."

    RaP: No, he was cog that was forcefull. He was, is, and always will be but a cog. Although he aspires to be more via EJF especially but millions of dollars of backing and running around yelling at conventions about geirus cannot transform anyone from being an aparatchik and cog into being a genuine gadol in Cinderella fashion!

    "Even gedolim can be pressured into signing bans which they don't think are helpful or necessarily true."

    RaP: False! The gedolim are smarter than most people give them credit for. Otherwise why are they gedolim?

    "You might remember the Indian hair debate?"

    RaP: I do. See my comments about it above.

    "The sociology of bans would make an interesting topic"

    RaP: It is a fascinating topic. It is an exercise in how Haredi Jews communicate or miscommunicate with each other and also about how Haredim are led and misled or are manipulated in a society where the top leadership is not accountable to anyone and rules like a religious oligarchy (sometimes much too much appearing like the Ayatolas I am afraid) which opens the way for all sorts of manipulators and trouble-makers.

    The trouble is that the world is in the 21st century Information Age and the establishment of Haredi society is living in the Middle Ages fighting wars against ghosts of the past in an Eastern Eorope that is long gone. But great strides have been taking place, especially among the English-speaking Haredi world in America and it frightens the Haredi establishmnet in Israel. So much so that there was that story recently about how a Bais Yaakov in Yerushalyim separated the HAREDI girls who came from the Israeli Haredi girls in the same school because the American girls even though they are 100% represent a dire threat to their Israeli brethren. This confrontation beween American and Israeli Haredim will continue as the Israeli side will be worn down by more and more American Haredim setting up their way of life (just think of the Mirrer Yeshiva in Israel with about 6000 students and many are Israelis rubbing shoulders with Americans), but even the American Haredi system is a closed one compared to the outside world, so that this phenomenon of bans and decrees is still viewed as a way of exercising social control by the ruling elite consisting mostly of rosh yeshivas and rebbes and their close supporters.

    "but it is not a monolithic event that they say 'aha! Now that I have fully investigated the matter it is obvious that the matter must be handled in this way'."

    RaP: Ok, I agree with this, but so what?

    "You might remember that Jonathan Rosenbloom wrote an article to that effect on Crosscurrents."

    RaP: He is a very nice man, but I try to avoid what he writes because I cannot stomach that he put his brain into deep freeze only serve as his master's voice and spout the Agudah ("Am Echad") party line or whatver esle he has to say. He could never write books like Rabbis Slifkin, Reinman, Binyomin Kamentsky, that is for sure!

    Daas Torah said... "The claims against R' Slifkin do not justify the language that was used"

    RaP: Jews write in hyperbole many times. It is not always to be taken at face value.

    "as well as some outright lies that were publicized against him."

    RaP: Sadly lies are used and that must be condemned. It's like Nixon's "dirty tricks" hence the expression "Tricky Dick".

    "the bottom line in all this is that it was perceived that these ideas concerning science and Torah and the fallibility of chazal were acceptable in the world of kiruv and they were starting to infiltrate the mainstream. Therefore it decided to kill the messenger. As long as the issues were only of concern to baalei teshuva and kiruv rabbis nobody cared!"

    RaP: Had Slifkin limited himself to ONLY being a maggid shiur in Baal teshuva yeshivas and programs and had he ONLY published some books and pamphlets for them as NCSY has for years published stuff from Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan for itself only, and most of Kaplan's works are deep and profound as they are, have also not entered the mainstream, then that would have been fine. BUT for whatever reason Rabbi Slifkin entered into deals with more mainstream Judaica publsihers who DO NOT just cater to the Baal teshuva world and given his prolific pen, they started coming out in big numbers for everyone in the Orthodox English speaking world, so at that point he was shot down.

    To repeat, Slifkin opened himself up to what happened to him at the hands of the Haredi establishment, he bacme too big for his boots (due to his books). He would not have been in trouble had he localised and focused himself on teaching and writing for a limited Baal teshuva audience. Instead he decided to become an international and famous "seminal writer" and to put out comprehensive "Slifkin dogma" of his version of science, biology and zoology and how it interacts and meshes with Torah in a way that put him at odds with the prevailing Haredi leadership winds, and sadly for him he was thrown onto the rocks and was beached with his books.

    But luckily for him he is not entirely stranded, he still has Rabbi Gil Student of Yashar Books and anyone who genuinely wants to seek out that genre and read those books and even use them for kiruv and baalei teshuva is free to do so. Rabbi Tropper cannot reach moniter what every last Baal teshuva or potential one is reading (yet)!

    "Your arguments and assertions concerning the Slifkin affair clearly indicates that your knowledge of the event came mainly from reading frum newspapers and wall posters - and Wikipeida. It is simply not what happened."

    RaP: Honestly I was not involved nor did I care about the Slifkin business because I am a firm believer that the world will only exist for 6000 years as it says in the Talmud as Rav Shternbuch holds as well as you have reported it.

    Once anyone starts telling otherwise my antena go up and I wonder why this person wants to destroy that notion? Are they worried that 6000 years is too short for them and that they will not get to the 6000 year mark and they need some more time? Are they in love with dinosaurs because they saw all those Spielberg movies and watched too much TV and listened too much to their biology teachers and got brainwashed into Scientism, which is not the same thing as puer science? What's the investment here to hold that people come from monkeys and baboons?

    Baruch said... "From R' Slifkin's website: 'Rabbi Beryl Weisbord of Ner Israel, who was present at the meeting between Rav Feldman and Rav Elyashiv, reports that Rav Feldman asked Rav Elyashiv if the books may be used in an outreach context and Rav Elyashiv replied in the affirmative. I am told that Rav Aharon Feldman likewise permits certain people to read my books'."

    RaP: Ok, fine, so Rav Eliashiv is till being a gentleman by "being affirmative" (what does that mean by the way? That he nodded his head? That he said nu-nu? That he smiled? Or what?) by allowing the use of Slifkin's books for Baalei teshuva, it's like asking if Baalei teshuva are allowed to read newspapers and magazines or watch TV or be on the Internet that contains anti-Torah views, and while frum people don't let them into their homes, BTs would be allowed to keep up with their newspaper subscriptions, have TVs and are allowed to go online because they are just BTs who will one day grow to be like full-fledged FFBs.

    "I was told by a reliable source that R' Eliashiv himself has said he doesn't have ruach hakodesh."

    RaP: The term "ruach hakodesh" can be used in many ways, and in this instance it means that Rav Eliashiv is endowed with a "Godly inspiration". It does not mean that he has the ruach hakodesh of a Rashi or and ARI and not of a Nazi. And here too he was being humble as he should be and as he truly is.

    "I'm sorry, please clarify: are you saying that if R' Tropper indeed schemed as charged, he had solid halachic and hashkafic grounds to do so?"

    RaP: Yes.

    "If so, by all means, please show us the source literature."

    RaP: What do you want a Mishnah Brurah? Try this is as your source: See how Rivka "fooled"her own husband Yitzchak, and Yaakov played along to "trick" Yitzchak into giving the brachos to Yaakov and deprive Esav of getting them. Or how Shlomo Hamelech tricked the woman who was not the mother of the baby to "out" herself by saying that he would have the bay sliced in half. Or how Rebbe Yochanan Ben Zakkai fooled the baryonim and kannoim into thinking he was dead in his coffin and got out of besieged Yesrushalayim and went on to greet Vespasian as Ceaser and asked that yavneh and its sages be saved. These are all samples of the "fifth" chelek of the Shulchan Oruch at work, if you are awre of this idea.

    "The point is that R' Meiselman, although speaking as an insider on the Rav, is a well-known revisionist of who the Rav was. See the references at fn.4 at his Wikipedia article and http://academicfreelancers.blogspot.com/2008/09/r-meiselmans-view-of-rav.html . I'm not refuting you here, just clarifying to the olam that being an insider doesn't necessarily mean as much as people think.

    RaP: Ok. Fine. Whatever.

    Check out who else believes in this cockamamy theory that R' Slifkin invented: http://torahandscience.blogspot.com/2006/04/sources-indicating-that-chazal-did-not.html

    RaP: Sure, there are lots of people who wish that Evolution was true and that the world is destined to be more than 6000 years old. What is your point? That Slifkin has backers? Noone disputes that. But the Haredim won when they gave Slifkin's writings the boot from their camp once and for all.

    "What sci-fi statement does he write about those animals that the rabbanim don't agree with?"

    RaP: You miss my point, that Unicorns, mermaids, dragons, phoenixes in the name of "Sacred Monsters: Mysterious and Mythical Creatures of Scripture, Talmud and Midrash" by an author who absolutely swears by the "fact" of a universe that is billions of years old sounds more like Purim Toireh="Sci-Fi" to us common folk.

    You probably blog more than I do these days, through this website in particular. ;)

    RaP: True! But I have other projects waiting for me.

    ReplyDelete
  21. And here too he was being humble as he should be and as he truly is.
    I'm reminded of the scene from Life of Brian when Brian is shocked that everybody is proclaiming that he's the messiah. "Look, the messiah!" "It's the messiah!" He tries to dispel these notions: "No, no, you're all mistaken! I'm NOT the messiah." The response: "Only the TRUE messiah would be so humble as to proclaim himself not the messiah!"

    Certainly, hypothetically speaking, one couldn't be faulted for taking a gadol at his word that he doesn't have ruach hakodesh.

    See how Rivka "fooled"her own husband Yitzchak, and Yaakov played along to "trick" Yitzchak into giving the brachos to Yaakov and deprive Esav of getting them. Or how Shlomo Hamelech tricked the woman who was not the mother of the baby to "out" herself by saying that he would have the bay sliced in half. Or how Rebbe Yochanan Ben Zakkai fooled the baryonim and kannoim into thinking he was dead in his coffin and got out of besieged Yesrushalayim and went on to greet Vespasian as Ceaser and asked that yavneh and its sages be saved.
    And these are comparable to R' Tropper!?

    We can actually extract business law from Biblical cases of deception (e.g. Yaakov tricking Esav vis-a-vis the lentils) or we can justify how they were able to trick each other by referencing certain halachas. Cases of deception are qualifiable by the halacha and hence quantifiable. For example, R' Yochanan ben Zakkai was deceiving because he was saving Yavneh and it's sages. So yes, a teshuva would be nice.

    These are all samples of the "fifth" chelek of the Shulchan Oruch at work, if you are awre of this idea.
    I am, and according to the Chazon Ish, it is the provence of only true talmidei chachamim.

    But the Haredim won when they gave Slifkin's writings the boot from their camp once and for all.
    I don't know what you mean by "won," but it doesn't seem relevant to my original question. Please elaborate on exactly what was "cockamamy" about R' Slifkin's view that Chazal are fallible in science.

    You miss my point, that Unicorns, mermaids, dragons, phoenixes in the name of "Sacred Monsters: Mysterious and Mythical Creatures of Scripture, Talmud and Midrash" by an author who absolutely swears by the "fact" of a universe that is billions of years old sounds more like Purim Toireh="Sci-Fi" to us common folk.
    One shouldn't judge a book by it's cover.

    True! But I have other projects waiting for me.
    As do I.

    (actually, bizrat Hashem, you're going to see one in about 20 days. But I'm gonna let it be a surprise)

    ReplyDelete
  22. Recipients and PublicityDecember 1, 2008 at 2:35 PM

    Sorry, I notice a serious typo, there are a few others I made but this one is serious. When I wrote: "Rav Eliashiv is endowed with a "Godly inspiration". It does not mean that he has the ruach hakodesh of a Rashi or and ARI and not of a Nazi." I mistyped and it should say Navi ("prophet")!! My apologies!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Recipients and PublicityDecember 1, 2008 at 3:25 PM

    Baruch said... "...Certainly, hypothetically speaking, one couldn't be faulted for taking a gadol at his word that he doesn't have ruach hakodesh."

    RaP: This kind of discussion is actually a waste of time. Like debating what the nature of a gadol's sichas chulin really means. I am not sure of every last person on the Moetzes councils, but when it comes to Rav Eliashiv you are certainly being far, far too flippant which I would not be if I were you.

    "We can actually extract business law from Biblical cases of deception (e.g. Yaakov tricking Esav vis-a-vis the lentils) or we can justify how they were able to trick each other by referencing certain halachas."

    RaP: Why not, if it comes in the context of years and years of immersion of learning. They say the GRA only learned from a Chumash towards the end of his life. But honsetly, why do we learn and leyen the Tor all the time, just as an exercise in blowing hot air while we reach for scientific journals for serious reading? C'mon now, you have to be more serious than this please.

    "Cases of deception are qualifiable by the halacha and hence quantifiable."

    RaP: You are confusing yourself. The Torah does not only teach Halacha. It teaches many things including chochmas hachaim and hashkofas. You think that the Torah is just there to be broken down by a Tosfos alone? This is sheer naivete!

    "For example, R' Yochanan ben Zakkai was deceiving because he was saving Yavneh and it's sages. So yes, a teshuva would be nice."

    RaP: Not everything in Yiddishkeit is achieved through "teshuvas" -- if it was, then, as an example, Dr. Eidensohn would not be laboring so hard and long to clarify this and that "da'as torah" and all these winding and controversial debates would be moot because all we would need to ask for is kindly point us to the relevant teshuva please that sounds like "tourists" who are "touring Torah" assuming that there are simple guides always around when quite often there are non.

    Take the field of kiruv and the shaylos that arise today, there are hardly any Halachic precedents for an era when people en masse are returning to Yiddishkeit after generations of being frei. One has to go back to eras a tanch of Ezra and Nechemia for how to view and digest and gain some sort sense of a historical shift in eras. One notable exception is the book by Rabbi Moshe Weinberger of Aish Kodesh congregation in Woodmere NY on "Jewish Outreach" where he deals with the nitty-gritty Halachic aspects of people becoming frum and it's all trailblazing stuff, worth reading. Do it! It was put out together with the AJOP outreach organization.

    So don't ask for too much at a time when noone knows how to put to rest all the issues that arise from the challenge of the modern era to Yiddishkeit. Rabbi Slifkin tried it his way with science and zoology, and Rabbi Tropper tries it his way with strenuous pressures on guys to hurry and become lamdonim, and I am not sure which way is best, but one thing is for sure it's a battle royal between all the schools of thought and there are lots of dirty tricks from all sides at play at any given time.

    Rabbi Slifkin got a big knock, but he should stop being a cry-baby and carry on a like a man and do what he has to do, It is ridiculous for "teshuvos" and "shaylos" in the heat of the battle so to speak, so yes, the Chumash will have to do as a guide very often, it is after all, THE Torah!

    "These are all samples of the "fifth" chelek of the Shulchan Oruch at work, if you are awre of this idea.
    I am, and according to the Chazon Ish, it is the provence of only true talmidei chachamim."

    RaP: Ok, so I assume that all those gedolim like Rav Eliashiv and the others qualify according to the Chazon Ish and according to Rabbi Tropper he is a Rosh Yeshiva and qualifies too. But again, there are gradations, and each Torah true Jew must use common sense and sometimes even intuition each day as they aspire to live as Halachic Jews and it is that common sense and sense of intuition that serves as everyone's fifth chelek like a sixth sense as it were. You are being too much of a purist.

    "But the Haredim won when they gave Slifkin's writings the boot from their camp once and for all.
    I don't know what you mean by "won," but it doesn't seem relevant to my original question."

    RaP: They won, because they removed Rabbi Slifkin's writings from the Haredi homes and book stores. What is not clear about that?

    "Please elaborate on exactly what was "cockamamy" about R' Slifkin's view that Chazal are fallible in science."

    RaP: I already quoted you the whole litanny of rabbis and what they said from that Wikipedia article. You know, for someone who just quoted the Chazon Ish you have some nerve to posit that Rabbi Slifkin is in a position to take on not just today's gedolim but also many of the chazal from yesteryear. Don't you see what a grand chutzpa that is as well as so silly. It's as bad as the quote from Rabbi Emanuel Rackman when he was told that Rabbi Moshe Feinstein has a different view than he does and Rabbi Rackam uttered his immortal line: "Rabbi Feinstein is a rabbi, and I am a rabbi"! and this is what you are saying here that "Chazal are rabbis and Rabbi Slifkin and his supposed supporters are also rabbis"! Well guess what , aside from the sheer stupidity of that, it's such a joke that I suggest to prove it you run it by the nearest yeshiva bochurim in the nearest yeshiva to you. Tell them there is this Rabbi Slifkin who says that chazal make "mistakes" and see what kind of response you will get...probably fits of hysterical laughter if they don't throw you out or worse. Questining chazal, especiually of the Gemara who DID have ruach hakodesh, is like questioning Hakdosh Baruch Hu and that is how Rabbi Slifkin comes across to haredim with his hard-nosed attitude and determination that "he" is right and that chazal are "wrong"!!

    "One shouldn't judge a book by it's cover."

    RaP: And one should not believe in false messiahs!

    "True! But I have other projects waiting for me.
    As do I. (actually, bizrat Hashem, you're going to see one in about 20 days. But I'm gonna let it be a surprise)"

    RaP: Ok. Tell us what and where to look for it when it happens. Will it be something like ..."it's a bird, it's a man, it's super-Baruch"?

    ReplyDelete
  24. To RaP:

    Keep up your writing. You are overwhelmingly entertaining!

    I see that you know a thing or two about the Slifkin Saga. Perhaps you can help me with some questions I never got satisfying answers to.

    The Yeshuous Yaakov, Godol Hador of his time believed that the earth was flat and that it was heretical to claim otherwise. I think it is relatively safe to say that none of today's gedolim believe in a flat earth. The Rambam believed that the moon was gaseous. It seems that we are able to hold onto our steadfast mesora until it becomes impossible. What happens if at some future date evolution becomes impossible to deny (I am asking for the sake of asking. I personally don't believe in evolution)? Will the gedolim of that era then go ask mechila from Rav Hirsch - who at least opened the door to such a possibility?

    Rabbi Scheiner said on the original proclamation against Rabbi Slifkin that believing that the world is millions of years old is a heretical belief. Yet Rabbi S. Kamenetzky and Rabbi Y. Belsky say (although they may not believe it themselves) that such a belief is not heretical. Are Rabbis K and B kofrim according to R. Scheiner?

    The Torah says that the Shafan and/or Arneves, commonly translated as either rabbit, hare or hyrax, chew the cud. Yet the simple scientific fact is that this is not true. Rabbi Slifkin attempted to answer this question. How do the rabbis who banned him answer the question?

    The yeshiva world look up to Rabbi Elyashiv Shlita as the posek hador. Yet he prohibits Shaitels, college and shaving with an electric razor. How do the yeshiva people reconcile the fact that he is the posek hador yet ignore him when it comes to issues that they claim are "different" in America than in Eretz Yisrael. Why then are Rabbi Slifkin's books not OK for Americans.

    Oh, and please correct the notion that Rav Binyamin wrote a buch about Reb Yaakov. It was his brother.

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  25. I see we are on completely different wavelengths.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Recipients and PublicityDecember 2, 2008 at 8:28 AM

    da'as torah says: "Oh, and please correct the notion that Rav Binyamin wrote a buch about Reb Yaakov. It was his brother."

    RaP: I stand corrected, it was his brother Rabbi Nosson Kamenetsky. Pardon my error please. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Recipients and PublicityDecember 2, 2008 at 9:50 AM

    Yaakov said... "To RaP: Keep up your writing. You are overwhelmingly entertaining!"

    RaP: Thanks. I know! But you are being facetious methinks.

    "I see that you know a thing or two about the Slifkin Saga. Perhaps you can help me with some questions I never got satisfying answers to."

    RaP: I never claimed to be an expert, I was just joining this discussion and giving my two penny's worth. Not much more. Take it or leave it. Being a Jew means you will always have questions. The problem is, it seems you come to give answers!

    "The Yeshuous Yaakov, Godol Hador of his time believed that the earth was flat and that it was heretical to claim otherwise."

    RaP: This is a matter of perspective and you are being silly. You assume that everyone thinks of the Earth as a little ball floating in Space, but there are different ways to view and perceive and experience reality.

    For all intents and purposes, if you were walking on the Earth, mile after mile, there would be nothing to indicate that the Earth was not flat.

    Once the explorers of the Middle Ages got sailing the globe on their little boats they found that they went down past the horizon, so they came up with the notion that they were sailing on a huge curve ball. But in practical terms there is no difference when yoiu are in any one given spot on Earth as you either sail of walk, (unless you are in Space itself on a spacewalk) because no matter what you "believe" at the time you are walking or sailing on the Earth it is always giving flat senstaion and appearance. I do not believe that rabbonim and gedolim have sleepless nights about this and why should you. And why sling mud at the notion of a gadol as a cheap shot.

    "I think it is relatively safe to say that none of today's gedolim believe in a flat earth."

    RaP: How do you know, have you done a survey of all the rabbonim in Bnai Brak, Yerushalayim and Brooklyn, and how they explain this great worry of yours? The real question is why you care at all? Will it improve the quality of your life if you force every last African-Asian-European and American that the Earth is EXACTLY as you think they should see it? What gives with this cultural hegemomistic attitude?

    "The Rambam believed that the moon was gaseous."

    RaP: Myabe it was the smell from all that cheese up there? Are you on the level of the Rambam to assertain what he truly held? How is your classical Arabic and the classical Greek to go through all the Rambam's works in their orginal form and translations at that time and see what he meant.

    And are you saying that Rabbi Slifkin is now a greater chochem than the Rambam? Do scientists know what makes up the milky way? Or what the center of the Earth is like or the , not to mention the zillions of stars out there? Some say comets are inter galagtic gas clouds. Noone even knows what all meteors are made up of for sure, is it solids or gasses or particles? And at what point of creation is one talking? After all didn't Einstein prove that all matter, be it solid or liquid or gas is all made from atoms, so that on some level everything, animal vegetable and mineral is equal "physically"? Why is this so troubling to you? Will it change what you eat for breakfast, how you will treat your kids or how many daf you will learn this week?

    "It seems that we are able to hold onto our steadfast mesora until it becomes impossible."

    RaP: Seems you never held onto it in the first place and that you don't believe in it from the way you sound. Scepticism is nice but not if it cuts you off from the very heart of Torah true Yiddishkeit.

    "What happens if at some future date evolution becomes impossible to deny"

    RaP: Then we will go to the zoo or to Africa and ask for mechila (forgiveness) from all the monkeys and baboons (gorillas are almost extinct), if there will be any surviving species that is by then.

    "(I am asking for the sake of asking. I personally don't believe in evolution)?"

    RaP: Yeah I know you like to have fun, that is, when you are not shouting at people not to speak loshen hora.

    "Will the gedolim of that era then go ask mechila from Rav Hirsch - who at least opened the door to such a possibility?"

    RaP: No, as I said they will ask mechila of the monkeys. By the way, where did Rav Hersch say people could come from monkeys and apes?

    "Rabbi Scheiner said on the original proclamation against Rabbi Slifkin that believing that the world is millions of years old is a heretical belief."

    RaP: It's not his personal view. The Gemara in Sanhedrin, 97 says the world will exist for only 6000 years. 2000 years of "tohu" (from LITERAL Creation to when Avraham BECAME a CONVERT, from "es hanefesh asher asu becharan"), 2000 years of "Torah" (from Avrahama till the chasimas haMishnah by Rebbi Yehuda HaNasi), and 2000 years of mashiach (from Yehuda HaNasi till the end) and we are now 5769 years into that count and 231 years from the end of the world as we know it (see the Rambam in end of Hilchos Melachim who describes possible scenarios for the ending on this galus and the rebuilding of the 3rd Bais HamikDash). This is from the OU's Pardes Project, by Rabbi Yaakov Haber http://www.ou.org/pardes/here.htm :

    The Jewish timeline has a beginning and an end. Generation after generation we walk this line not to create a future, but rather to explore and discover that which already lies before us. The sages of the Talmud have taught us that the world in which we live will last 6,000 years. (We are now in the year 5760.) During this 6,000 years, the world will develop. The first 2,000 will see the development of civilization itself. During those two millenia we traveled from Adam and Eve to 70 nations with different languages, cultures and geographical locations. The second 2,000 years are the years of Torah, illumination and enlightenment. In fact in the year 2,000 Abraham began his campaign to teach the pagan nations of the world about G-d. Those 2,000 years ended with the redaction of the Mishna by Rabbi Judah the Prince. Thus a new era began. The last 2,000 years are referred to by our sages as the days of redemption.

    From the moment the final trimester began, false Messiahs appeared in all corners of the world, each claiming that he was to deliver the redemption the Prophets spoke about. While many have proclaimed, bemoaned and even celebrated the "end of days," we Jews patiently waited. It took 2,000 years for civilization to mature and a second 2,000 years of analysis, debate and struggle to evolve from the teachings of Abraham to the extremely sophisticated interpretations of the Talmud. The period of redemption is a 2,000-year period. Today, we are nearing the end of that period. It's completion will bring G-d's 6,000-year project to fullfillment. If we perfect it a bit sooner, say the prophets, we may not even need to wait the full 2,000 years.

    Where do we stand on the timeline of history? Do we create history, or is history just something that happens to us? If the road, the distance and the destination are all laid out, what is our part in shaping the future? The sources quoted in this Pardes discuss the past, present and future. Nobody knows what will happen when we reach the end of time. If, as Jews have always believed, the end of days is pre-destined, then how do we give meaning to our choices?

    Yaacov Haber


    See also "THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld" at
    http://dafyomi.shemayisrael.co.il/sanhedrin/insites/sn-dt-097.htm

    Sanhedrin, 97
    THE 2,000 YEARS OF TORAH
    QUESTION: The Gemara divides the 6,000 years of the world into three parts. The first 2,000 years are "Tohu," the following 2,000 are "Torah," and the final 2,000 are "Yemos ha'Mashi'ach."
    Why does the Gemara say that there are only 2,000 years of Torah? Certainly the years of Torah will continue even in Yemos ha'Mashi'ach!

    ANSWER: RASHI (DH u'Shnei Alafim) explains that the Gemara limits the years of Torah to 2,000 merely in order to parallel the other historical eras.

    The VILNA GA'ON (Likutim, end of Safra d'Tzeni'usa) explains that after the 2,000 years of Torah, if the Mashi'ach does not come, then the world returns to "Tohu" and the secrets of the Torah are kept hidden again from the world. During the following 2,000 years, we must work to uncover the secrets of the Torah in order to bring Mashi'ach.

    The Vilna Ga'on's intention seems to be that at the end of the 2,000 years of Torah, there is a tremendous revelation of Torah she'Ba'al Peh, to a degree unsurpassed since the Time the Torah was given. This concurred with the time of Rebbi Akiva, who lived approximately 120 years after the Churban. The Gemara in Menachos (29b) describes how Hashem showed Moshe Rabeinu a lecture of Rebbi Akiva, and Moshe did not understand what Rebbi Akiva was teaching because of the depth of Rebbi Akiva's knowledge of Torah she'Ba'al Peh. The Gemara says that Rebbi Akiva was able to learn Halachos from every part of every letter in the Torah.

    The Gemara in Bava Basra (8a) teaches that through learning Mishnah (Torah she'Ba'al Peh) in times of Galus, the Jewish people will merit the Ge'ulah. Perhaps this is why Rebbi Akiva wholeheartedly supported Bar Kochba's revolt and declared him to be Mashi'ach (see RAMBAM, Hilchos Melachim XX). However, Rebbi Akiva's students failed to properly learn the teachings of their mentor, and 24,000 students died in a plague (Yevamos 62b). As a result, Bar Kochba's revolt also failed. The Gemara in Yevamos describes the state of the world -- after the death of Rebbi Akiva's students -- as "desolate" ("Shamem"), until Rebbi Akiva found five new students to whom to impart his teachings. These students were Rebbi Meir, Rebbi Nechemyah, Rebbi Yehudah, Rebbi Shimon, and Rebbi Yosi (as mentioned in the Gemara in Yevamos (see Insights there), and in the Gemara in Sanhedrin 86a). They rejuvenated the study of Torah she'Ba'al Peh.

    RAV ISAAC CHAVER finds an allusion to these five Talmidim in a verse in Parshas Balak. When Bilam wanted to curse the Jewish people, he took Balak to "Rosh ha'Pe'or that overlooks the plains of the Yeshimon" (Bamidbar 23:28). Rashi explains that Bilam brought Balak to that place because it was there that the Jewish people were destined to receive their punishment for the sin they committed at Pe'or (Bamidbar 25:3). Rav Isaac Chaver explains that the "Yeshimon" also alludes to another time at which the Jewish people would suffer -- the time of the deaths of the Talmidim of Rebbi Akiva, when the only ones who would remain to maintain the Torah in the world would be the five Talmidim whose names form the abbreviation, "Yeshimon" -- Rebbi *Y*ehudah, Rebbi *Sh*imon, Rebbi *Y*osi, Rebbi *M*eir, and Rebbi *N*echemyah. ("Yeshimon" is spelled with two Yud's and no Vav. The word "Yeshimon" itself is related to the word, "Shamem," which the Gemara uses to describe the desolate state of the world until these Talmidim learned Torah from Rebbi Akiva.)

    The word "Yeshimon" appears again in Parshas Ha'azinu (Devarim 32:10), where the Torah says that Hashem built up the Jewish people from "nothingness, wailing, desolation" -- "Tohu Yelel Yeshimon." In this verse we see a clear association between "Yeshimon" and "Tohu," which alludes to what the Vilna Ga'on says -- when the Torah of the Ge'ulah does not accomplish its goal, the world returns to "Tohu" and desolation.

    Our mission during the 2,000 years after the time of Rebbi Akiva, after Rebbi Akiva restored Torah she'Ba'al Peh through his five new students, is to reveal all of the secrets of Torah she'Ba'al Peh and bring the Jewish people back to the level at which it is possible to bring the Ge'ulah. This is done through the Mishnah and Midrashim that they redacted. The greatest of the Talmidim of Rebbi Akiva was Rebbi Shimon bar Yochai, who proclaimed that his teachings were "the best of the best" of Rebbi Akiva's teachings. He also compiled the Zohar, teaching the secrets of the Torah that he had received from his teacher, in which he writes in a number of places that through learning the Zohar the Ge'ulah will be hastened. (Based on the words of RAV MOSHE SHAPIRO shlit'a.)

    May we merit, through Dafyomi's worldwide study of Torah she'Ba'al Peh, the arrival of Mashi'ach and the final Ge'ulah.


    Hope this helps.

    "Yet Rabbi S. Kamenetzky and Rabbi Y. Belsky say (although they may not believe it themselves) that such a belief is not heretical."

    RaP: Ok, fine, we all know that.

    "Are Rabbis K and B kofrim according to R. Scheiner?"

    RaP: Definitely not, and it's a poor use of logic because you are mixing up subjects. It's less than you who says you don't believe in Evolution but it may be possible according to some.

    "The Torah says that the Shafan and/or Arneves, commonly translated as either rabbit, hare or hyrax, chew the cud. Yet the simple scientific fact is that this is not true."

    RaP: Ok, and the Torah says that there was Creation ex-nihilo, that there were ten plagues in Egypt including waters turning to blood, that there was krias Yam Suf, that there was Mattan Torah and that God came down to Mount Sinai, and that the Israelites are commnded to kill out all Amelekites which is a form of genocide, and that people lived to really old ages, and that Lot's wife turned into a pillar of salt, and there will be terrible times as per the tochachas...Look, the list of tough topics is endless and the discussions are endless, but see what Shlomo Hamelxch says in Kohelses the mani thing is FEAR of the LORD,
    יג סוֹף דָּבָר, הַכֹּל נִשְׁמָע: אֶת-הָאֱלֹהִים יְרָא וְאֶת-מִצְו‍ֹתָיו שְׁמוֹר, כִּי-זֶה כָּל-הָאָדָם.
    13 The end of the matter, all having been heard: fear God, and keep His commandments; for this is the whole man.

    יד כִּי, אֶת-כָּל-מַעֲשֶׂה, הָאֱלֹהִים יָבִא בְמִשְׁפָּט, עַל כָּל-נֶעְלָם: אִם-טוֹב, וְאִם-רָע.
    14 For God shall bring every work into the judgment concerning every hidden thing, whether it be good or whether it be evil.

    Debates and questions are endless onece you start with questions and that is because the Torah is not a book of Science, the Torah is the Mind of God, it is nivdal and Eloki like the Jewish soul it is unlike goyyishe science. Get a Torah life.

    "Rabbi Slifkin attempted to answer this question."

    RaP: Why does he spend so much time hugging king size lizards and kissing camels and monkeys? There is something that is just not right with this picture. Do not goad (goat?) me into trying to "psychoanalyze" Rabbi Slifkin and his motives who I think is the prisoner of his id (not "yid", without the "y") and has never seen the light of the heilige super-ego.

    "How do the rabbis who banned him answer the question?"

    RaP: They don't deal with such questions. The questions are not important for the life of a Torah Jew. Let people who have all the intellectual detritous of public schooling or of modern Orthodox day schooling worry about tm and hopefully purge it and get it out of their systems with all the Torah talk they can get from sympathetic teachers and friends, and stop ignoring other more important things, like Shlomo HaMelech advises. And he should know, he was the wisest of all men to ever live, or does Rabbi Slifkin argue with that as well?

    "The yeshiva world look up to Rabbi Elyashiv Shlita as the posek hador."

    RaP: Everyone in the Torah world does. Not just the yeshiva world.

    "Yet he prohibits Shaitels, college and shaving with an electric razor."

    RaP: He also learns for 20 out every 24 hours and lives in Meah shearim, so what does that mean we should all stop blogging, learn Torah for 20 out of every 24 hours and squeeze into one bedroom apartments in 200 year old stone buildings in Meah Shearim? Don't you see how silly your question is.

    "How do the yeshiva people reconcile the fact that he is the posek hador yet ignore him when it comes to issues that they claim are "different" in America than in Eretz Yisrael."

    RaP: He has never tried to impose his personal chumras on others. A big diferrence you don't grasp. But you are getting out of the main loop here.

    "Why then are Rabbi Slifkin's books not OK for Americans."

    RaP: Ask him or ask your local Orthodox rabbi, and who is stopping you or Americans from reading them if it's what thet want to do so badly? I think they would rather go to Lipa concerts than read Slifkin's books.

    "Oh, and please correct the notion that Rav Binyamin wrote a buch about Reb Yaakov. It was his brother."

    RaP: I just did, and said it was Rabbi Nosson Kamenetsky, sorry. But they all act as a family, so it's easy to confuse them. Sorry for any mix up of Kamenetsky names.

    "I see we are on completely different wavelengths."

    RaP: Vive la difference!

    ReplyDelete
  28. *My new comments in asteriks*

    Recipients and Publicity said...
    Yaakov said... "To RaP: Keep up your writing. You are overwhelmingly entertaining!"

    RaP: Thanks. I know! But you are being facetious methinks.

    *No. Actually I was giving praise to your writing.*


    "The Yeshuous Yaakov, Godol Hador of his time believed that the earth was flat and that it was heretical to claim otherwise."

    RaP: This is a matter of perspective and you are being silly. You assume that everyone thinks of the Earth as a little ball floating in Space, but there are different ways to view and perceive and experience reality.

    I do not believe that rabbonim and gedolim have sleepless nights about this and why should you. And why sling mud at the notion of a gadol as a cheap shot.

    "I think it is relatively safe to say that none of today's gedolim believe in a flat earth."

    RaP: How do you know, have you done a survey of all the rabbonim in Bnai Brak, Yerushalayim and Brooklyn, and how they explain this great worry of yours? The real question is why you care at all? Will it improve the quality of your life if you force every last African-Asian-European and American that the Earth is EXACTLY as you think they should see it? What gives with this cultural hegemomistic attitude?

    "The Rambam believed that the moon was gaseous."

    RaP: Myabe it was the smell from all that cheese up there? Are you on the level of the Rambam to assertain what he truly held? How is your classical Arabic and the classical Greek to go through all the Rambam's works in their orginal form and translations at that time and see what he meant. ]
    *My point is that there are some things nowadays that are pretty hard for any thinking man to repudiate. The moon is made of physical matter; or are you of the opinion that Neil Armstrong’s moonwalk was a hoax? I am not an expert in Rambam nor in Arabic, but I remember reading that Reb Yaakov ztl was perplexed with this Rambam in 1969. Therefore, I think we should be careful before labeling someone a kofer. It could be that they are correct.*

    And are you saying that Rabbi Slifkin is now a greater chochem than the Rambam?
    *No. And I am sure Rabbi Slifkin will be the first to admit that.*

    Do scientists know what makes up the milky way? Or what the center of the Earth is like or the , not to mention the zillions of stars out there? Some say comets are inter galagtic gas clouds. Noone even knows what all meteors are made up of for sure, is it solids or gasses or particles? And at what point of creation is one talking? After all didn't Einstein prove that all matter, be it solid or liquid or gas is all made from atoms, so that on some level everything, animal vegetable and mineral is equal "physically"? Why is this so troubling to you? Will it change what you eat for breakfast, how you will treat your kids or how many daf you will learn this week?

    "It seems that we are able to hold onto our steadfast mesora until it becomes impossible."

    RaP: Seems you never held onto it in the first place and that you don't believe in it from the way you sound. Scepticism is nice but not if it cuts you off from the very heart of Torah true Yiddishkeit.

    *Sorry, I am a full believer. However, questions should be answered to the point. It does not help to ridicule the questioner.*

    "What happens if at some future date evolution becomes impossible to deny"

    RaP: Then we will go to the zoo or to Africa and ask for mechila (forgiveness) from all the monkeys and baboons (gorillas are almost extinct), if there will be any surviving species that is by then.

    "(I am asking for the sake of asking. I personally don't believe in evolution)?"

    RaP: Yeah I know you like to have fun, that is, when you are not shouting at people not to speak loshen hora.

    *Where did this come from? Are you implying that I’m some kind of zealot? One minute you call me a skeptic and the next minute I’m a zealot? For the record, I am neither.*

    "Will the gedolim of that era then go ask mechila from Rav Hirsch - who at least opened the door to such a possibility?"

    RaP: No, as I said they will ask mechila of the monkeys. By the way, where did Rav Hersch say people could come from monkeys and apes?

    *Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch, The Educational Value of Judaism, in Collected Writings, vol. VII, p. 264:
    Even if this notion were ever to gain complete acceptance by the scientific world, Jewish thought, unlike the reasoning of the high priest of that nation, would nonetheless never summon us to revere a still extant representative of this primal form as the supposed ancestor of us all. Rather, Judaism in that case would call upon its adherents to give even greater reverence than ever before to the one, sole God Who, in His boundless creative wisdom and eternal omnipotence, needed to bring into existence no more than one single, amorphous nucleus, and one single law of "adaptation and heredity" in order to bring forth, from what seemed chaos but was in fact a very definite order, the infinite variety of species we know today, each with its unique characteristics that sets it apart from all other creatures*

    "Rabbi Scheiner said on the original proclamation against Rabbi Slifkin that believing that the world is millions of years old is a heretical belief."

    RaP: It's not his personal view. The Gemara in Sanhedrin, 97 says the world will exist for only 6000 years. 2000 years of "tohu" (from LITERAL Creation to when Avraham BECAME a CONVERT, from "es hanefesh asher asu becharan"), 2000 years of "Torah" (from Avrahama till the chasimas haMishnah by Rebbi Yehuda HaNasi), and 2000 years of mashiach (from Yehuda HaNasi till the end) and we are now 5769 years into that count and 231 years from the end of the world as we know it (see the Rambam in end of Hilchos Melachim who describes possible scenarios for the ending on this galus and the rebuilding of the 3rd Bais HamikDash). This is from the OU's Pardes Project, by Rabbi Yaakov Haber http://www.ou.org/pardes/here.htm :

    The Jewish timeline has a beginning and an end. Generation after generation we walk this line not to create a future, but rather to explore and discover that which already lies before us. The sages of the Talmud have taught us that the world in which we live will last 6,000 years. (We are now in the year 5760.) During this 6,000 years, the world will develop. The first 2,000 will see the development of civilization itself. During those two millenia we traveled from Adam and Eve to 70 nations with different languages, cultures and geographical locations. The second 2,000 years are the years of Torah, illumination and enlightenment. In fact in the year 2,000 Abraham began his campaign to teach the pagan nations of the world about G-d. Those 2,000 years ended with the redaction of the Mishna by Rabbi Judah the Prince. Thus a new era began. The last 2,000 years are referred to by our sages as the days of redemption.

    From the moment the final trimester began, false Messiahs appeared in all corners of the world, each claiming that he was to deliver the redemption the Prophets spoke about. While many have proclaimed, bemoaned and even celebrated the "end of days," we Jews patiently waited. It took 2,000 years for civilization to mature and a second 2,000 years of analysis, debate and struggle to evolve from the teachings of Abraham to the extremely sophisticated interpretations of the Talmud. The period of redemption is a 2,000-year period. Today, we are nearing the end of that period. It's completion will bring G-d's 6,000-year project to fullfillment. If we perfect it a bit sooner, say the prophets, we may not even need to wait the full 2,000 years.

    Where do we stand on the timeline of history? Do we create history, or is history just something that happens to us? If the road, the distance and the destination are all laid out, what is our part in shaping the future? The sources quoted in this Pardes discuss the past, present and future. Nobody knows what will happen when we reach the end of time. If, as Jews have always believed, the end of days is pre-destined, then how do we give meaning to our choices?

    Yaacov Haber

    See also "THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld" at
    http://dafyomi.shemayisrael.co.il/sanhedrin/insites/sn-dt-097.htm

    Sanhedrin, 97
    THE 2,000 YEARS OF TORAH
    QUESTION: The Gemara divides the 6,000 years of the world into three parts. The first 2,000 years are "Tohu," the following 2,000 are "Torah," and the final 2,000 are "Yemos ha'Mashi'ach."
    Why does the Gemara say that there are only 2,000 years of Torah? Certainly the years of Torah will continue even in Yemos ha'Mashi'ach!

    ANSWER: RASHI (DH u'Shnei Alafim) explains that the Gemara limits the years of Torah to 2,000 merely in order to parallel the other historical eras.

    The VILNA GA'ON (Likutim, end of Safra d'Tzeni'usa) explains that after the 2,000 years of Torah, if the Mashi'ach does not come, then the world returns to "Tohu" and the secrets of the Torah are kept hidden again from the world. During the following 2,000 years, we must work to uncover the secrets of the Torah in order to bring Mashi'ach.

    The Vilna Ga'on's intention seems to be that at the end of the 2,000 years of Torah, there is a tremendous revelation of Torah she'Ba'al Peh, to a degree unsurpassed since the Time the Torah was given. This concurred with the time of Rebbi Akiva, who lived approximately 120 years after the Churban. The Gemara in Menachos (29b) describes how Hashem showed Moshe Rabeinu a lecture of Rebbi Akiva, and Moshe did not understand what Rebbi Akiva was teaching because of the depth of Rebbi Akiva's knowledge of Torah she'Ba'al Peh. The Gemara says that Rebbi Akiva was able to learn Halachos from every part of every letter in the Torah.

    The Gemara in Bava Basra (8a) teaches that through learning Mishnah (Torah she'Ba'al Peh) in times of Galus, the Jewish people will merit the Ge'ulah. Perhaps this is why Rebbi Akiva wholeheartedly supported Bar Kochba's revolt and declared him to be Mashi'ach (see RAMBAM, Hilchos Melachim XX). However, Rebbi Akiva's students failed to properly learn the teachings of their mentor, and 24,000 students died in a plague (Yevamos 62b). As a result, Bar Kochba's revolt also failed. The Gemara in Yevamos describes the state of the world -- after the death of Rebbi Akiva's students -- as "desolate" ("Shamem"), until Rebbi Akiva found five new students to whom to impart his teachings. These students were Rebbi Meir, Rebbi Nechemyah, Rebbi Yehudah, Rebbi Shimon, and Rebbi Yosi (as mentioned in the Gemara in Yevamos (see Insights there), and in the Gemara in Sanhedrin 86a). They rejuvenated the study of Torah she'Ba'al Peh.

    RAV ISAAC CHAVER finds an allusion to these five Talmidim in a verse in Parshas Balak. When Bilam wanted to curse the Jewish people, he took Balak to "Rosh ha'Pe'or that overlooks the plains of the Yeshimon" (Bamidbar 23:28). Rashi explains that Bilam brought Balak to that place because it was there that the Jewish people were destined to receive their punishment for the sin they committed at Pe'or (Bamidbar 25:3). Rav Isaac Chaver explains that the "Yeshimon" also alludes to another time at which the Jewish people would suffer -- the time of the deaths of the Talmidim of Rebbi Akiva, when the only ones who would remain to maintain the Torah in the world would be the five Talmidim whose names form the abbreviation, "Yeshimon" -- Rebbi *Y*ehudah, Rebbi *Sh*imon, Rebbi *Y*osi, Rebbi *M*eir, and Rebbi *N*echemyah. ("Yeshimon" is spelled with two Yud's and no Vav. The word "Yeshimon" itself is related to the word, "Shamem," which the Gemara uses to describe the desolate state of the world until these Talmidim learned Torah from Rebbi Akiva.)

    The word "Yeshimon" appears again in Parshas Ha'azinu (Devarim 32:10), where the Torah says that Hashem built up the Jewish people from "nothingness, wailing, desolation" -- "Tohu Yelel Yeshimon." In this verse we see a clear association between "Yeshimon" and "Tohu," which alludes to what the Vilna Ga'on says -- when the Torah of the Ge'ulah does not accomplish its goal, the world returns to "Tohu" and desolation.

    Our mission during the 2,000 years after the time of Rebbi Akiva, after Rebbi Akiva restored Torah she'Ba'al Peh through his five new students, is to reveal all of the secrets of Torah she'Ba'al Peh and bring the Jewish people back to the level at which it is possible to bring the Ge'ulah. This is done through the Mishnah and Midrashim that they redacted. The greatest of the Talmidim of Rebbi Akiva was Rebbi Shimon bar Yochai, who proclaimed that his teachings were "the best of the best" of Rebbi Akiva's teachings. He also compiled the Zohar, teaching the secrets of the Torah that he had received from his teacher, in which he writes in a number of places that through learning the Zohar the Ge'ulah will be hastened. (Based on the words of RAV MOSHE SHAPIRO shlit'a.)

    May we merit, through Dafyomi's worldwide study of Torah she'Ba'al Peh, the arrival of Mashi'ach and the final Ge'ulah.

    *See the Tosfos YomTov (and others) who states that there may have been worlds before this one. THIS world may exist only 6000 years.*

    Hope this helps.

    "Yet Rabbi S. Kamenetzky and Rabbi Y. Belsky say (although they may not believe it themselves) that such a belief is not heretical."

    RaP: Ok, fine, we all know that.

    "Are Rabbis K and B kofrim according to R. Scheiner?"

    RaP: Definitely not, and it's a poor use of logic because you are mixing up subjects. It's less than you who says you don't believe in Evolution but it may be possible according to some.

    *Can you elaborate on that? I still don’t understand. I don’t believe in evolution, but I don’t think that someone who does is a kofer, because they can rely on Rav Hirsch. But someone who does not accept Rav Hirsch would have to conclude that such a position is kefira. No?*

    "The Torah says that the Shafan and/or Arneves, commonly translated as either rabbit, hare or hyrax, chew the cud. Yet the simple scientific fact is that this is not true."

    RaP: Ok, and the Torah says that there was Creation ex-nihilo, that there were ten plagues in Egypt including waters turning to blood, that there was krias Yam Suf, that there was Mattan Torah and that God came down to Mount Sinai, and that the Israelites are commnded to kill out all Amelekites which is a form of genocide, and that people lived to really old ages, and that Lot's wife turned into a pillar of salt, and there will be terrible times as per the tochachas...

    *Creation ex-nihilo, plagues, miracles…all that is believable and pretty hard to verify since it took place so long ago. But saying that the rabbit/hare/hyrax chew their cud is more difficult.*

    Look, the list of tough topics is endless and the discussions are endless, but see what Shlomo Hamelxch says in Kohelses the mani thing is FEAR of the LORD,
    יג סוֹף דָּבָר, הַכֹּל נִשְׁמָע: אֶת-הָאֱלֹהִים יְרָא וְאֶת-מִצְו‍ֹתָיו שְׁמוֹר, כִּי-זֶה כָּל-הָאָדָם.
    13 The end of the matter, all having been heard: fear God, and keep His commandments; for this is the whole man.

    יד כִּי, אֶת-כָּל-מַעֲשֶׂה, הָאֱלֹהִים יָבִא בְמִשְׁפָּט, עַל כָּל-נֶעְלָם: אִם-טוֹב, וְאִם-רָע.
    14 For God shall bring every work into the judgment concerning every hidden thing, whether it be good or whether it be evil.

    Debates and questions are endless onece you start with questions and that is because the Torah is not a book of Science, the Torah is the Mind of God, it is nivdal and Eloki like the Jewish soul it is unlike goyyishe science. Get a Torah life.
    *I have one. Thank you. Let’s debate the issues, not people.*

    "Rabbi Slifkin attempted to answer this question."

    RaP: Why does he spend so much time hugging king size lizards and kissing camels and monkeys? There is something that is just not right with this picture. Do not goad (goat?) me into trying to "psychoanalyze" Rabbi Slifkin and his motives who I think is the prisoner of his id (not "yid", without the "y") and has never seen the light of the heilige super-ego.

    *Beats me. To each his own.*

    "How do the rabbis who banned him answer the question?"

    RaP: They don't deal with such questions.
    *Perhaps they should. How would you answer the question?*

    The questions are not important for the life of a Torah Jew. Let people who have all the intellectual detritous of public schooling or of modern Orthodox day schooling worry about tm and hopefully purge it and get it out of their systems with all the Torah talk they can get from sympathetic teachers and friends, and stop ignoring other more important things, like Shlomo HaMelech advises. And he should know, he was the wisest of all men to ever live, or does Rabbi Slifkin argue with that as well?

    "The yeshiva world look up to Rabbi Elyashiv Shlita as the posek hador."

    RaP: Everyone in the Torah world does. Not just the yeshiva world.
    *I’m not sure what is the difference.*

    "Yet he prohibits Shaitels, college and shaving with an electric razor."

    RaP: He also learns for 20 out every 24 hours and lives in Meah shearim, so what does that mean we should all stop blogging, learn Torah for 20 out of every 24 hours and squeeze into one bedroom apartments in 200 year old stone buildings in Meah Shearim? Don't you see how silly your question is.

    *No. I don’t.*
    "How do the yeshiva people reconcile the fact that he is the posek hador yet ignore him when it comes to issues that they claim are "different" in America than in Eretz Yisrael."

    RaP: He has never tried to impose his personal chumras on others. A big diferrence you don't grasp. But you are getting out of the main loop here.

    *Of course he doesn’t tell people to live in one bedroom apartments, but he did tell people in a shiur a short while ago not to wear shaitels, he did add his name to the ban on several books…*


    "Why then are Rabbi Slifkin's books not OK for Americans."

    RaP: Ask him or ask your local Orthodox rabbi, and who is stopping you or Americans from reading them if it's what thet want to do so badly? I think they would rather go to Lipa concerts than read Slifkin's books.

    *I think you are missing the point here. My question is that America is different in many regards to Eretz Yisroel. Over there they prohibit college, etc. Yet American poskim have to deal with the reality of the situation here and have permitted college, shaitels, shaving. Being that the case, why did the American rabbonim feel the need to go to their Israeli counterparts in this regard, but not others?*

    "Oh, and please correct the notion that Rav Binyamin wrote a buch about Reb Yaakov. It was his brother."

    RaP: I just did, and said it was Rabbi Nosson Kamenetsky, sorry. But they all act as a family, so it's easy to confuse them. Sorry for any mix up of Kamenetsky names.

    *forgiven, forgiven, forgiven*

    * To summarize, I really do appreciate your writing, I would like real answers to my questions and I would appreciate if you could stick to the issues raised. Thank you.*

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  29. Recipients and PublicityDecember 3, 2008 at 12:32 PM

    Hi Yaakov: Thank you for your serious responses and for all your compliments which I will now graciously accept, and thanks to you for being a good sport!

    I must be honest with you that as I see it, this thread has now run its full course. I am not really that deeply interested in matters of astronomy, science, biology, zoology and debates about the age of the universe, Evolution and how to reconcile science with the Torah, that it should give me sleepless nights.

    Personally, the way I see it, I believe that there is no real conflict as such. The kind of "conflicts" you are pointing out are rooted primarily in errors of logic and lack of clarity about the scientific and Torah/Rabbinical issues. I do not have the time or the tools to give the matter the kind of justice you are demanding of me.

    You maye want to read up on the difference between Science (the fcats of science) and Scientism ("belief" in Scince as a secular and civil religion, no different to any other kinds of "religiously-held" points of view by true believers.) Judaism has no arguments with Science but it does reject claims stemming from Scientism (like "belief" in Evolution) and any claims that are based on theories and postulates that can be proven to be shaky and even unreliable. Even claims that seem 99.99% susre, are still subject to rejection on the level of logic and reason because for a scientfic facts to be true it must always be 100% true and the same at all times. But I am getting into discussions I actually want to bring to closure for now.

    Science deals with matters that are quantifiable and ultimately the Torah deals with Divine Knowledge that while it shares some similarities with other forms of knowledge it is in a different category so that comparisons are usually false and frequently tendentious and are many times used as straw man arguments for people who have an axe to grind against God and religion. I am not saying that you are one of those ch"v, I know you are not, but to me those arguments are a huge waste of time that lead to nowhere and accomplish nothing. Just speculation for the heck of it, hot air and howling to the wind.

    I am not a scientist, nor am I a biologist, zoologist, astronomer or phsyscist so the kind of questions you have and the level of sophistication and expertise you require cannot come from me.

    Try to find experts in these fields who are also knowledgeable about Judaism and are not outright atheists and agnostics (which automatically prejudices them and taints there opinions in any discussion involving the Torah and religion) who have a vested interest in destroying religious and theological arguments and perceptions.

    Therefore I feel we have taken this particulat thread of discussions as far as we can take them. While I am flattered by your demands that I come up with "answers" to some pretty tricky and complex questions, I am telling you that you are barking up the wrong tree here. Whatever I would say would be along the lines and style I have illustrated so far.

    I have already invested man, many hours over many nights formulating and writing up responses to this thread and to the one with micha about the question of goyim not having the souls of Jews, but I too have my limits and must ask for a "requiem" of this thread.

    My gut feelings tells me that the best advice I can give you is what I began to cite above, from Shlomo HaMelech's Koheles. He was the wisest man who ever lived. In chochmah, according to the Rambam he is even greater than Moshe Rabbeinu and will be exceeded in wisdom only by the true Jewish Mashiach when he arrives.

    I devote this to YOU and to ME (and to any readers who have kept up) as I conclude my comments on this thread of the discussion:

    Ecclesiastes Chapter 1:

    1 The words of Koheleth, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.

    2 Vanity of vanities, saith Koheleth; vanity of vanities, all is vanity.

    3 What profit hath man of all his labour wherein he laboureth under the sun?

    4 One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh; and the earth abideth for ever.

    א דִּבְרֵי קֹהֶלֶת בֶּן-דָּוִד, מֶלֶךְ בִּירוּשָׁלִָם.

    ב הֲבֵל הֲבָלִים אָמַר קֹהֶלֶת, הֲבֵל הֲבָלִים הַכֹּל הָבֶל.

    ג מַה-יִּתְרוֹן, לָאָדָם: בְּכָל-עֲמָלוֹ--שֶׁיַּעֲמֹל, תַּחַת הַשָּׁמֶשׁ.

    ד דּוֹר הֹלֵךְ וְדוֹר בָּא, וְהָאָרֶץ לְעוֹלָם עֹמָדֶת.

    Ecclesiastes Chapter 12:

    12 And furthermore, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.

    13 The end of the matter, all having been heard: fear God, and keep His commandments; for this is the whole man.

    14 For God shall bring every work into the judgment concerning every hidden thing, whether it be good or whether it be evil.

    יב וְיֹתֵר מֵהֵמָּה, בְּנִי הִזָּהֵר: עֲשׂוֹת סְפָרִים הַרְבֵּה אֵין קֵץ, וְלַהַג הַרְבֵּה יְגִעַת בָּשָׂר.

    יג סוֹף דָּבָר, הַכֹּל נִשְׁמָע: אֶת-הָאֱלֹהִים יְרָא וְאֶת-מִצְו‍ֹתָיו שְׁמוֹר, כִּי-זֶה כָּל-הָאָדָם.

    יד כִּי, אֶת-כָּל-מַעֲשֶׂה, הָאֱלֹהִים יָבִא בְמִשְׁפָּט, עַל כָּל-נֶעְלָם: אִם-טוֹב, וְאִם-רָע.

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  30. To RaP:

    I'm so sorry it had to end this way. Your intelligent analysis has been appreciated until now. Unfortunately, just as we are about to scale the mountain, and bring some closure to the Slifkin Saga, you bow out.

    Perhaps Daas Torah himself can answer my questions from my previous posts. I am sure that he will be more sympathetic to Rabbi Slifkin, though, my judgement based on his previous record. I am also wondering how he is able to straddle the proverbial fence, having some allegiance to both Rabbi Shternbuch and Rabbi Slifkin.

    Anyone else who has any input - feel free to chime in if you have been following this thread.

    Thanks to all.

    ReplyDelete
  31. I have already invested man, many hours over many nights formulating and writing up responses to this thread and to the one with micha about the question of goyim not having the souls of Jews, but I too have my limits and must ask for a "requiem" of this thread.
    ==================
    Since you are dropping out of this discussion, I think your presentation of the nature of the questioning for a frum Jew needs to be put in context. The following is taken from Daas Torah page 189-211.

    There are and have always been two approaches. We see this in the famous comment of the Ravad to the Rambam's(Hilchos Teshuva 5:5) attempt to reconcile free will with G-d's knowledge.

    The Ravad says:
    The Rambam did not conduct himself in the manner of the wise. He should not have started something which he didn’t know how to complete. He started with the difficult question of reconciling G d’s foreknowledge and free will. However, at the end when he was unable to answer it, he indicated that it was necessary to simply accept the principle of G d’s knowledge on faith. It would have been better for him to have left the matter in its simple state and not bring it to everyone’s attention and then leave them in doubt which might now genuinely bother them…

    In other words the Ravad is saying don't ask a question you can't answer. The Rambam encourages asking questions of all types.
    This is explicitly discussed in Tosfos Yom Tov(Avos 3:15).

    Unfortunately for Jewish intellectuals the world has shifted to the modern manifestation of the Ravad - the world of Brisk. They have succeeded not only in eliminating "why questions" but also insist on not raising issues that can not be properly answered.

    Rav Chaim (MeAtiki Shemuah) said the following:
    In truth the entire basis of our permission to ask questions and analyze the Torah is because the Torah was given in this manner that questioning and analysis are critical to comprehending the depths of the Torah. Therefore, the question is itself made part of the Torah. Consequently, if a question is valid then both the question and the answer are inherently part of the Torah itself. However if the question is not itself Torah than in truth it is prohibited to ask the question since the material is written in the Torah and therefore one must accept what is written without any questions [the rest of the quote is in Daas Torah].

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  32. Recipients and PublicityDecember 4, 2008 at 3:46 PM

    To Yaakov who says: "I'm so sorry it had to end this way."

    RaP: I am still here, but my time and ability to keep up with three huge threads, as well as with my other writings projects, is very limited. Once Dr. Eidensohn presented the new post about the latest upcoming EJF conference, I wanted to focus on that and wrote up a lengthy piece on it but for some reason Dr. Eidensohn either did not get it or decided not to post it. What happened Doc?

    Anyhow, one has to know when to get on and when to get off a discussion, and while I appreciate your faith in my writing. I must also follow my "inner posek/self" and know my limits.

    "Your intelligent analysis has been appreciated until now."

    RaP: Thank you very much. Your compliment is greatly appreciated.

    "Unfortunately, just as we are about to scale the mountain, and bring some closure to the Slifkin Saga, you bow out"

    RaP: What "mountain"? How on Earth are "we" capable of bringing "closure" to the Slifkin Saga? It is still a very raw and open wound in many circles and it still elicits strong emotions and responses from people.

    In my view this is not about about Rabbi Slifkin. Let me illustrate this by saying that neither Chasidim on one end of the spectrum and the Modern Orthodox on the other end of the spectrum are losing any sleep over the Slifkin brouhaha because as far as Chasidim go they mostly don't read English Judaica period and they are into their worlds of Chasidus and Rebbes thapeople like Slifkin, his books and issues simply do not even reach, yet alone penetrate. As for the Modern Orthodox, at YU's schools they teach Evolution as fact and most of them rely on Biblical Criticism of Torah texts as much as they rely on Chazal, so for them Slifkin is not adding anything new because they are ahead of the game in modernistic thinking.

    The area of the "Slifkin trouble zone" is within the mostly English speaking Litvish Haredim and with them the growing world of Baalei teshuva from that world. For many of them, they are intellectually and often irrationally torn in the struggle between Modernity versus Jewish Tradition and how to reconcile many elements from modern day academic Science with the classical teachings of Judaism and with that of the Jewish sages.

    So while Chasidim are mostly not torn apart and not conflicted at all by these type of issues. They could care less wnat science or biology or zoology says, as far as they are concerned the college/university world is one mountain of sheker, and on the other hand, the Modern Orthodox buy into the secular world view and see no problem in synthesizing and adapting it via Torah Umada and creating a happy shidduch between Modernity and Tradition.

    Not so the poor English speaking Anglo Litvishe yeshiva velt for many of whom, because of their linguistic and intellectual attachments to English and the Anglo-Saxon culture, and they pick all the questions radiataing and floating around them from secular society like magnets, there is still room for doubt in their minds and the jury is often out for them on many hashkafic points, so when along came Rabbi Slifkin and produced a voluminous literature that either threatened or appeared to threaten the reigning Yeshivish hegemonistic hashkafa, especially when he gets into "age of the Earth" questions and does not back off from accusing the chazal of making errors consistently, all hell broke loose and poor Rabbi Slifkin found that he had veered into a minefield not really of his making of his making (like the guy who did not see the "do not smoke" signs in the ammunition room) but was there all along and that he had underestimated how difficult it would be to sail safely through it, once the mines started going off under his boat.

    As I have said, at least he made it to shore and was not totally blasted to smithereens, and at least he still has publishing outlets and anyone is free to seek out his works if they so desire, like people are free to seek out the seminal works of Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan ztk"l, without getting their heads chopped off.

    But this business of killing the messenger, in this case Rabbi Tropper and his cohorts, who went snooping and tracking down Slifkin like scouts who then called in the big guns of the gedolim who eventually fired their cannons at Rabbi Slifkin, is at this time, an exercise in futility and like barking up the wrong tree because taking on decress and bans of the gedolim as that old saying goes is like fighting city hall and it's a total waste of time because it will get you absolutely nowhere.

    Maybe an individial gadol or rosh yeshiva or Rebbe as a genuine da'as yachid can be questioned if there is sufficient opposition to him from a few of his equals. And on the other side of the scale, see how hard it is to "shoot down" Rabbi Tropper and his EJF simply because he does have enough strategic backing from a few gedolim. But Rabbi Feldman was a da'as yachid who in the end could not save Rabbi Slifkin in the face of the larger opposition from more and stronger and more determined gedolim than he. That's just the fcats.

    So in effect for Rabbi Slifkin and his by now marginalized admirers to take on the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah in both Israel and America and basically the whole Agudah world who are backed up in strategic depth and numbers by most of the Chasidish world makes the Alamo, from the point of view of the doomed Americans, look like a piece of cake.

    And besides, rock bottom, the ssues that trouble Rabbi Slifkin don't bother and to be honest I was getting rather bored already with all this knee-jerk love festing for poor lil' ol' Rabbi Slifkin with his lizards, monkeys and toads perched on his shoulders as he appears in so many pictures.

    So as Mr. Rogers used to sing (I think it was him) "it's time to say goodbye" on this thread, and it's time for me to move on from this topic. I am not hired by the banners to defend their actions or views and I have said more than enough. Go ask Rabbi Scheiner, or Rav Dovid Feinstein, or Rav Eliashiv or Rav Shteinman what their motives were. I have already now said a lot again.

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  33. RaP: I am still here, but my time and ability to keep up with three huge threads, as well as with my other writings projects, is very limited. Once Dr. Eidensohn presented the new post about the latest upcoming EJF conference, I wanted to focus on that and wrote up a lengthy piece on it but for some reason Dr. Eidensohn either did not get it or decided not to post it. What happened Doc?
    ===============
    never received it. Looking forward to your comments - please send again

    ReplyDelete
  34. RaP- For all your political analysis, evolution isn't any less true and the world stil isn't 6000 years old. Thousands of scientific papers are being published every year which confirm this picture and everything else we know about the world agrees with it. I promise you that if you come up with a real kashye on evolution or the systems of dating that scientists use, you will become world famous and very rich. There's a reason that none of the creationist literature is respected by scientist and that is because it fails to explain anything and has no factual value whatsoever. To argue on scientists without having any real idea of what you are talking about is just intellectual laziness, and, to be honest, it is ungreateful. The same scietific principles which are used to understand evolution and the age of the universe, are used to develop the medicines and technology that you use. It is the height of chutzpa to make use of all the fruits of science, but to disparage it and the people who spend their lives trying to understand and develop the world.

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