Wednesday, December 24, 2008

HaRav Eliashiv, shilta - Kiruv of intermarried couples


The following is an except of a letter that Rav Efrati wrote regarding Rav Eliashiv's views regarding kiruv where part of the audience consists of non-Jews. This is the beginning paragraph and the ending paragraph of the letter.
“According to the facts that I have received - the community being discussed here is one that is far from observing the mitzvos according to halacha. Recently talmidei chachomim have come to the community in order to encourage their observance. However they discovered that some of the members of the community are actually goyim who mistakenly think that they are Jews. However the entire community thinks that they are in fact Jews. It is very difficult to treat them differently than the rest of the community. Even concerning Torah lectures which these avreichim give to the community, these goyim are in the audience. According to the information that has been given, trying to separate out these goyim from the rest of the community at this stage and keeping them from attending the Torah classes will result in the cancellation of all the classes....

Rav Eliashiv, shlita has repeatedly said that those living as intermarried couples cut themselves off from the Jewish people. Furthermore he holds that we are obligated to distance ourselves from them and their society and to cut off all connection with them. However this community is different because its members mistakenly think that the non‑Jewish spouses are Jewish. Therefore it is permitted to maintain ties with the Jewish spouses in order to draw them closer through ties of love and to bring them under the wings of the Shechina.”

21 comments :

  1. x - added by DT - please do it yourself!December 24, 2008 at 6:42 PM

    Now, explain. Can you? You have not yet. Maybe, others will try. I think that what I presented is the only way to look at it. Maybe, you intend to do so in the next response.

    Also, focus on my second part in my last post. We are doing unfinished business that the convert initiated. Why look at things in a bad way if we can see it in a good way.

    I really do not want to hear that R. tropper insulted R. Sternbach. No doubt, some gossiper excited him to react. Let us look for peace and not fights. Why is everyone want to not see him in a good light. He means well as all of us so.

    He is showing love and kindness to bring them tachas kanfe hashechinah. Sounds like R. elyashiv supports R. tropper.

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  2. x - added by DT - please do it yourself!December 24, 2008 at 6:43 PM

    I give up. All you said was he does not mean what I am saying. You do not impress me by being nasty. It is a sign that you do not understand. Maybe those who seem to support you can help you.

    If you cannot tell me how you show love and bring them in then say so. Don't say I can't read. Should I kiss him?

    Beli neder this has to be my last post. I have done my best to show you that there is another way of looking at what R. Trooper is doing as well as understanding what R. elyashiv means. You are entitled to ask him to elaborate with some suggestions how to show this love.

    BTW I do not accuse you of base motives. What i am saying is that the attack is ill founded. That is bad. And, i apologize if I said anything to you that I should not have. But, I did have a point to make and it seems that you d not "get it".

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  3. X - you still don't grasp that Rav Eliashiv is saying - stay away - push away intermarried couples. R' Tropper is saying - we need to convince the non-Jewish spouse to convert in order to facilitate kiruv for the Jewish spouse. Therefore any couple which a kiruv Rabbi has convinced to be interested in Judaism - is a valid target for Rabbi Tropper. Proselytize for kiruv.

    Rabbi Tropper - but not Rav Eliashiv - is saying - do kiruv with intermarried couples until the non-Jewish spouse becomes interested in Judaism and then we will convert her.

    Rav Eliashiv's reference to expressing love and bringing them close is ***only*** where they and their community think they are Jewish already. Where they know the spouse is not Jewish - Rav Eliashiv says "push the couple away."

    Rav Eliashiv is saying the same thing Rav Moshe did concerning the Ethiopians. Where you have a group of people who are mistakenly convinced they are Jewish and who will mingle and they or their children will intermarry - try to get them to be halachically Jewish.

    Rabbi Tropper is focused on how to facilitate ***kiruv***. Everyone else is saying that we discard, ostracise, abandon intermarried couples - unless they have already infiltrated the community because they sincerely believe they are Jews.

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  4. x - added by DT - please do it yourself!December 24, 2008 at 7:44 PM

    THank you for the post. I read what you wrote and googled up the EJF website to listen and read once more. According to what they write they are NOT bringing in these people the way you say it. They require recommendations and so on.

    I do not accept loshon horoh that they are not doing what they adverise.

    To be honest, I did not get your point until you spelled it out because I did not get that impression from reading what he has to say. And, I believe people. Remember I said I got on board recently and have missed all the stories posted. I am not going to investigate at this point.

    I met him and do not see him as a bad person. I refuse to hear all the "stories" about him on posts. I am not my brother's judge. I have a friend on the vaad of a midwestern city who approved him. When I told him waht you said - he responded "He has his cheshbon".

    I do not want to partcipate in atttacking another until I verify first hand that he is doing what you say. I am not mekabel.

    But, if you KNOW better then you do what you think think is right. I do not know what to believe and give people the benefit of the doubt. He does run a Yeshivah.

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  5. x wrote
    I do not accept loshon horoh that they are not doing what they adverise.
    ==================
    Great - we now have a common understanding. You however say you refuse to believe that Rabbi Tropper is doing something other than what is on his website.

    BTW I have never said he wasn't a nice person or wasn't sincere - he though he has personally slandered me.

    Why don't we start with his recent advertisement on the internet - soliciting intermarried couples or those that know intermarried couples - who might be interested in being convinced to convert? I assume you will trust Rabbi Tropper and his organization to tell the truth about what they are doing?

    http://daattorah.blogspot.com/2008/12/ejf-proselytizing-advertisement.html

    You might want to read the publicity written by Jonathan Rosenblum in the Jewish PRess regarding his spending millions of dollars to wine and dine intermarried couples and present them with the best motivational speakers - to convince those who might be interested in the possiblity of converting. All of his literature and PR pieces are on this blog including the actual brochure is also on this blog.

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  6. However this community is different because its members mistakenly think that the non‑Jewish spouses are Jewish.

    What is "this community"?
    In most communities if a couple is hanging out in shul, going to shiurim, buying kosher products, attending tzedakah events the assumption is that the COUPLE IS JEWISH. It is not traditional to ask people for their yichus tree, unless you are interviewing their children for enrollment in a yeshiva.
    It seems IMHO that this dvrei rav is not clearly articulating the yes/no position.

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  7. Tropper belongs in CheremDecember 24, 2008 at 8:02 PM

    "He does run a Yeshivah'

    So do the Jews for Jesus.

    "Remember I said I got on board recently and have missed all the stories posted. I am not going to investigate at this point."

    What you are saying is "I don't know anything about the topic, I refuse to read and learn from what is here and yet I am qualified to judge".

    How absurd!!! Do you also tell your heart surgeon how to operate when you don't know the first thing about cardiology!!

    Do you think that you can read a single article on the topic and then proceed to berate the heart surgeons who criticize the quacks who claim to cure an arterial obstruction by having their patients drink detergent!!

    This is an apt analogy. Intermarriage has always been handled by pushing away the Gentile while not rejecting the Jew who might someday return (I have seen it dozens of times).

    Along comes Leib Tropper and his "drink detergent" method of solving the intermarriage crisis "just declare the Gentile a Jew and then it won't be an intermarriage" and his multi level marketing of his "cure-all" which puts Shaklee and Amway to shame IMO!!

    Read this website through from start to finish and perhaps then you might understand the degree of threat Leib Tropper potentially poses to the future survival of the Jewish people.

    Troppers grand plans to legitimatize intermarriage have the potential to be FAR more devastating to the Jewish people that Adolf Hitler could ever hope for.

    Tropper MUST be stopped and our Rabbonim, with the exception of Rav Sternbuch shlita have not done enough.

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  8. x - added by DT - please do it yourself!December 24, 2008 at 9:50 PM

    [X WHY ARE YOU REFUSING THE ELEMENTARY DERECH ERETZ OF WRITING IN A NAME? IF YOU CONTINUE TO REFUSE TO COMPLY WITH THIS BASIC RULE THEN I WILL SIMPLY REJECT YOUR FUTURE ANONYMOUS RESPONSES.- DT]


    Allow me to just comment on the link you provided in #5. He was very careful in how he put it. The people he is inviting must be "interested in ...". He is not trying to sell gerus. He says "If you are there and need help etc".

    My experience has been with people who have tried and had difficulty. I remember a case from England that took a deacade-he did it in the USA. In Europe is or was almost impossible. It is this type of candidate he is reaching ou to. Why would someone who does not want giyur nor kehalacha already come?

    Are you reading too much into it?

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  9. tzipschum said...

    However this community is different because its members mistakenly think that the non‑Jewish spouses are Jewish.

    What is "this community"?
    In most communities if a couple is hanging out in shul, going to shiurim, buying kosher products, attending tzedakah events the assumption is that the COUPLE IS JEWISH. It is not traditional to ask people for their yichus tree, unless you are interviewing their children for enrollment in a yeshiva.
    It seems IMHO that this dvrei rav is not clearly articulating the yes/no position.
    ==================
    This whole blog as well as the Bedatz involvement goes back to this. A kiruv organization had sent me some bochurim for Shabbos. In the course of the meal - the only one who was genuinely interested in asking questions - stated that while his mother was Christian and he had been raised as one - since his father was Jewish he knew he was Jewish.

    As Rav Fuerst has stated - Rav Moshe said that one does not have to discourage someone who comes with a mistaken Jewish identity - but you don't run after them either.

    R' Tropper is dealing with those who do not have a Jewish identity but are married to Jews.

    The community being discussed here - not only had goyim who sincerely but mistakenly thought they were Jews. They were the leaders of the Jewish community. Any perception that they were being treated disrespectfully - would have led to the collapse of the whole kiruv program.

    R' Tropper's literature clearly states that 1) they encouraged those who had any curiousity about being Jewish to attend classes which were designed to convince them to be Jewish. 2) He stated in an interivew with Mishpacha magazine that he found it amazing that these people attending the classes - after being enouraged - eventually came to being genuinely interested in Judaism.

    Christian missionaries also deal only with those who are "interested". If no one listened to them it would be clearly a waste of time.

    You might want to also read the orignal postings on this blog in which a Jew who was in R' Tropper's program - describes how he pressured his non Jewish wife to participate.

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  10. Does this mean that according to Rabbi Elyashuv, if a Jewish woman is intermarried we should push away her and her Jewish children?

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  11. Surely there's room for a customized approach.

    In my practice, I once took on a middle aged couple that revealed to me after a few visits that they were Jewish but had no real contact with Judaism and had been raised as non-Jews. So I sent them to a friend of mine in the local kollel my community had at the times (we're accepting donations for a new one, BTW).

    At the time, the wife was far more interested in learning about Judaism than the husband. Yet his investigations led him to conclude that it was far more likely that he was Jewish than she. Shades of Rav Eisensohn's story.

    Someetimes a couple will present with one of the partners being a non-halachic convert but with both partners sincerely interested in Judaism.

    Sometimes a couple will present (there's one in our shul) who are quite proud to admit they're intermarried and who don't think it should affect their status (like him getting kibudim) in the community because they don't think there's anything wrong with it.

    Why the cookie cutter approach? Why not just say that you assess each situation and determine what the best way to deal with it is?

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  12. x - added by DT - please do it yourself! said... [X WHY ARE YOU REFUSING THE ELEMENTARY DERECH ERETZ OF WRITING IN A NAME? IF YOU CONTINUE TO REFUSE TO COMPLY WITH THIS BASIC RULE THEN I WILL SIMPLY REJECT YOUR FUTURE ANONYMOUS RESPONSES.- DT]December 25, 2008 at 1:00 AM

    I will read HIS advertisments. As I said, I know a BD that he uses and they speak highly of him. In kiruv things happen. I know a few prospects.

    I do not know who Rosenbloom is and cannot comment. Can you speed up my search by providing a link.

    I hope R. Tropper is not doing what you are saying.

    I will not take on the gedole yisrael on intermarriage but I will look for the reference in the Talmud that I saw that chazal did go on expeditions to bring in gentiles. But, this is another assignment. It will not change their pesak although it is interesting from an historical perspective. What you quoted from Professor Feldman is true.

    The statements atttitudes about gerim in the Talmud is mixed. Koshim gerim etc. Many Amorim and many experiences.

    Will report in a few days. I am not out to fight and will be modeh al homeses wherever it goes.

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  13. x - added by DT - please do it yourself! said...


    I do not know who Rosenbloom is and cannot comment. Can you speed up my search by providing a link.
    -----------------------
    X - Jonathan Rosenblum is a Yale educated lawyer BT who is one of the most articulate spokesman for the chareidi world. He has also authored a number of decent Artscroll biographies. He is a mensch and has a lot of commonsense. He is also one of the speakers at EJF's proselytizing conventions.

    He has a regular column in Mishpacha Magazine as well as the Jerusalem Post. He also posts regularly on the Cross Currents Blog. The fact that you have no clue who he is indicates that you have led a very sheltered life - at least when it comes to public Jewish matters.

    You can access the post by simply typing "rosenblum ejf" in the search window at the top of the blog.

    X what are your affliations? You seem so incredibly naive about many things - though I don't doubt your sincerity. You just don't seem to know elementary things. You don't seem to have a solid yeshiva background but you are not worldly enough to be Modern Orthodox.

    Anyway I am glad to see that you are finally opening up to looking at the facts instead of just attacking me without any understanding of the issues.

    Just a note on blog ettiquette. One does not start participation on a blog by coming in with your guns blazing. First spend sometime as a lurker and reading previous postings. What you did was rather rude - and I responded accordingly.
    See Rema(C.M.228:1).

    BTW - no more anonymous posts!

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  14. > First spend sometime as a lurker and reading previous postings. What you did was rather rude - and I responded accordingly.
    See Rema(C.M.228:1).

    Yeah! It's my job to be the SOB on this blog, X!

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  15. Rabbi Eidensohn,

    If a (unmarried) goy thinks he is Jewish (and intermingles as such), Rav Elyashiv and Reb Moshe holds we should proselytize and try to convert him?

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  16. Daas Torah said "As Rav Fuerst has stated - Rav Moshe said that one does not have to discourage someone who comes with a mistaken Jewish identity - but you don't run after them either."

    If a goy mistakenly thinks he is Jewish, why would he come to convert?

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  17. Dear Dt,

    1) Had you had a chance to contact Rav Zilbersteyn? who claims that rav ELyashiv *does* hold that you can help a mixed intermarried to convert?

    2) Even in this ltetter: You do not have a blank condemnation at those who help intermarried people to convert, for while we have in this letter two classes, there is a third class: those who intermarried not knowing the importance of the identity they carry; they do not know the importance of "not cutting oneself from klal yisroel"; they were "tinokot shenishbu" they never heard of yreal yiddishkeyt and what it means so that they did not "willfully" want to cut themselves from klal yisroel. Do you also contend DT: that according to this letter one is not allowed to mekarev these kind of jews who intermarried "ulnatek imam kol kesher" even thoguh they do not know what they were missing? Does "tinok shenishbu" not enter into the equation at least not to "lenatek imom kol kesheR?"

    It obviously follows logically that there is a third class: where although he does not write that one should shun them.

    3) Furthermore: Some of the logic attributed in the first class (where they see themselves as JEws) applies to so many of the tinokot shenishbu, where they do not know that they lose connection to being jewish just by intermarrying. SO while they do not thnk that they are actually "jewish" they feel a Jewish connection. They certainly do not fall in the categroy of those whom one has to shun and to disconnect but may be they belong to the first group which requires one to engage them in a positive fashion and help them and maybe help them convert.

    4) In light of this letter, one should certainly raise the alarm at those "Rabbis" who not only seek to "convert" those who intermarried, but they false convert them without getting from them any kabbalat hamitzvot and they continue to ramin goyim gemurim and in addition disconnect from klalyisroel but with the additional crime of declaring goyim to be Jewish! Which raises my perplexing question to you: Why do not you raise the alarm against Herbert Bomzer that "converts" the people who have intermarried and disconnected from klal yisroel and furthermore: the conversion does not raise them from being intermarried since they do not commit to observe torah and mtizvot and HaRav ELyashiv has written publicly that without kabbalart hamitzvot thew gerus is null and void! So why don't we hear your blog and voice to attack rabbis like Herbert Bomzer?

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  18. Recipients and PublicityDecember 25, 2008 at 6:07 AM

    Rabbi Dr. Eidensohn/da'as torah reoprted: "As Rav Fuerst has stated - Rav Moshe said that one does not have to discourage someone who comes with a mistaken Jewish identity - but you don't run after them either."

    Dear Rabbi Dr. Eidensohn, would it be possible for someone to approach Rabbi Fuerst and get the above quotes from him in writing on an official letterhead? If it does already exist in print perhaps in one of his sefarim could you repost it please. Thanks a lot.

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  19. Recipients and PublicityDecember 25, 2008 at 6:30 AM

    Rabbi Dr. Eidensohn/da'as torah said: "...Everyone else is saying that we discard, ostracise, abandon intermarried couples - unless they have already infiltrated the community because they sincerely believe they are Jews."

    This conclusion needs to be nuanced some more that the core of the oppostion to EJF's and Tropper's innovation is that Torah Judaism has never adopted and organized mass production-line approaches to going out and finding potential converts in large numbers and then bringing them to hotels for retreats to get them more motivated to convert properly which is the mass proselytizaion that Tropper insists on prmoting and it is that type of approach that he is being castigated for.

    But that does not mean that there may be indivual cases that come up from time to time that may require the traditional intervention of a posek and a Bais Din where they are requested to consider the people and circumstances who come before them on an individual basis, without being prompted by EJF seminars or all the hype and hoopla of EJF propaganda.

    These kind of case by case situations will arise and not every Bais Din will reject them because it is not a result of proselytization nor is anyone being pushed to convert, and the very slow and laborious workings that many Batei Din use, which is the correct Halacha to make potential geirim WAIT, that will in effect help to clarify the motives and sincerity of such couples as they arise so that therefore these kind of cases may indeed receive the same treatment as interfaith couples who have already "infiltrated the community because they sincerely believe they are Jews."

    No doubt according to the strictest views, as in all conversions, some Batei Din may decide to reject them nevertheless while other Batei Din may be willing to examine the situation before them more closely and come to an appropriate decision either rejecting the couple's request to have one convert, or ask that they separate before considering the case, or rejecting the case entirely and saying that they are unable to assist this couple but that maybe another Bais Din would be willing to take up their case.

    This is all in a Bais Din's day's work, but it is nothing on the scale or type of the mass proselytization that Rabbi Tropper and EJF are atempting to foist on the Torah world (The Reform and Conservatives and many of the MOs already have it in full force r"l) at all costs and EJF does so with the ruse that they come to "raise the standards" of Batei Din, all while they plan on "streamlining" and easing programatically mass conversions on a grand scale in the future, unlike the the tried and true piecemeal approach that boils cases down to solitary events and not mass pressures.

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  20. "unless they have already infiltrated the community because they sincerely believe they are Jews."

    There are many Jewish men who marry Gentile women knowing that all they have to do is put their non Jewish children in the schools and the Rabbis will convert them.

    Because of this, the schools should be required to ask after the mother's lineage before accepting a student to ensure that the school is not proselytizing a Gentile as has often become the case in America.

    EJF is but the tip of the iceberg. They are only being forthcoming what nearly every Jewish day school Rabbi in America has been doing for the past generation.

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  21. "EJF is but the tip of the iceberg. They are only being forthcoming what nearly every Jewish day school Rabbi in America has been doing for the past generation."

    Thank you for accepting this fact! Ejf is only doing what others have been doing for decades! and no one objected vehemently. But they are doing with a major difference than all others:

    They do *require* kabbalat hamitzvot! where others would accept "i will eat gefilte fish and latkes"!

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