Friday, November 27, 2009

Failure of rabbinical leadership to see the consequences of their actions


Mesilas Yeshorim(Chapter 20): It is important to understand that one should not view an act of piety according to its initial consequences but he should examine and think about also the long-term consequences. That is because an action might initially look good but according to its consequences it is bad – so therefore he should avoid it. If he does it anyway, he is a sinner not a pious person. For example consider the incident with Gedalial ben Achichem. It is clear to us that because of his great piety he did not judge Yishmael for the bad and did not accept lashon harah…. The consequences were that he was killed and the Jewish people were dispersed in exile and the flicker of hope that remained – was extinguished. In fact the people that were killed as a result of his actions have been described as if he personally killed them. … We also find that the Second Temple was destroyed because of this type of unthinking piety. This was the incident of Bar Kamtza. It says in Gittin (56a) that the Rabbis thought that they should offer the blemished animal as a sacrifice. But R’ Zechariya ben Avkulas told them that they could not - because people would say that it is permissible to sacrifice a blemished animal. They said so we should kill this animal so it can’t be sacrificed. He replied that people will mistakenly think whenever a blemish is found in a sanctified animal it should be killed. Thus the animal was not sacrificed and the informer went to the Roman government and told them that the had Jews refused to offer the sacrifice. The Emperor came and destroyed Jerusalem. Thus the gemora concludes, “Because of the humility of R’ Zechariya, Jerusalem and the Temple were destroyed and the Jews were sent in to Exile.” Thus we should not judge an act of piety solely by itself. We need to examine it carefully from all the perspectives that a person can think of until he judges it truly as to whether doing the deed is preferable to not doing it. This is found more commonly with the mitzva of chastisement (Vayikra 19:17). Many times a person will chastise another at a place or time when his words won’t be listened to and this will cause the person to strength his wicked behavior. In such a case the chastisement is not an act of piety but rather he should remain silent. That is why our Sages say (Yevamos 65b): Just as it is a mitzva to say chastisement when it will be heard it is also a mitzva not to say it when it won’t be heard. Thus while it is obvious that all Jews should be enthusiastic and run to do mitzva and to try to be involved in them – but there are times when this can lead to fights which actually debase the mitzva and causes a desecration of heaven. In such cases it is clear that the pious person should not try to do the mitzva and even avoid it – rather than causes a profanation of G‑d name.

[1]  מסילת ישרים (פרק כ): והנה מה שצריך להבין הוא כי אין לדון דברי החסידות על מראיהן הראשון, אלא צריך לעיין ולהתבונן עד היכן תולדות המעשה מגיעות, כי לפעמים המעשה בעצמו יראה טוב, ולפי שהתולדות רעות יתחייב להניחו, ולו יעשה אותו יהיה חוטא ולא חסיד. הנה מעשה גדליה בן אחיקם גלוי לעינינו שמפני רוב חסידותו שלא לדון את ישמעאל לכף חובה או שלא לקבל לשון הרע, אמר ליוחנן בן קרח שקר אתה דובר על ישמעאל (ירמיה מ'), ומה גרם? גרם שמת הוא ונפזרו ישראל וכבה גחלתם הנשארה, וכבר ייחס הכתוב הריגת אנשים אשר נהרגו אליו כאילו הרגם הוא, .... והבית השני גם הוא חרב ע"י חסידות כזה אשר לא נשקל במשקל צדק - במעשה דבר קמצא, אמרו (גיטין נו.): סבור רבנן לקרוביה, א"ל רבי זכריה בן אבקולס יאמרו בעלי מומין קריבין לגבי מזבח, סבור למקטליה א"ל רזב"א יאמרו מטיל מום בקדשים יהרג, בין כך ובין כך הלך אותו הרשע והלשין את ישראל, בא הקיסר והחריב ירושלים, והוא מה שאמר ר"י על זה: ענותנותו של ר' זכריה החריבה את ביתנו ושרפה את היכלנו והגליתנו. הרי לך שאין לדון בחסידות המעשה באשר הוא שם לבד, אך צריך לפנות כה וכה לכל הצדדין שיוכל שכל האדם לראות, עד שידון באמת איזה יכשר יותר העשיה או הפרישה. הנה התורה צותה (ויקרא יט:יז): "הוכח תוכיח את עמיתך", וכמה פעמים יכנס אדם להוכיח חטאים במקום או בזמן שאין דבריו נשמעים וגורם להם להתפרץ יותר ברשעם ולחלל ה' להוסיף על חטאתם פשע, הנה בכיוצא בזה אינו מן החסידות אלא לשתוק. וכך אמרו ז"ל (יבמות סה:): כשם שמצוה לומר דבר הנשמע, כך מצוה שלא לומר את שאינו נשמע. ראה פשוט הוא שראוי לכל אדם להיות מקדים ורץ לדבר מצוה ולהשתדל להיות מן העוסקים בה, אך הנה לפעמים יכול להולד מזה מריבה שיותר תתבזה המצוה, ויתחלל בה שם שמים ממה שיתכבד, בכיוצא בזה ודאי שחייב החסיד להניח את המצוה ולא לרדוף אחריה.

5 comments :

  1. Did the rabbis confer with the baal habattim to ask their opinion about the political consequences of failing to sacrifice the animal? The baal habattim might have said, If the Romans hear about it, they'll kill us all. History might have been different.

    I recommend a sefer, authored Rav Yom Tov Schwarz, ztl, "Eyes to See". Its a modern Mesillas Yeshorim.

    Elliot Pasik

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  2. Rabbi Eidensohn:

    Would you mind explaining the history and current piskei halacha regarding being "mafkiah kiddushin"? Is it true that many well known Rabbonim recently indeed were mafkiah kiddushin (I saw a pdf posted on google that had signitures of many well known rabbonim/dayanim)? What do/did the Gedolim hold on this topic? Why is it so unclear if it has been done recently or not (if the Rabbonim did it, they must feel it is muttar to do- so why wouldn't they publicize it themselves)? There's another blog (by Rabbi Tropper) that states in the name of Rav Elyashiv that one who was mafkiah kiddushin can not sit as a dayan- have you confirmed these words? Can you explain the reason(s) why?

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  3. Would you mind explaining the history and current piskei halacha regarding being "mafkiah kiddushin"? Is it true that many well known Rabbonim recently indeed were mafkiah kiddushi
    ================
    That is a tall order. You might want to start with "One Man's Judaism" written by R' Rackman who was the most formost proponent of the idea in practice. He writes there - he appreciates Rav Moshe Feinstein liberal attitutde toward annulment but that it would lead to a degradation of kedusha.

    this is clearly an issue where the consequences need to be examined carefully.

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  4. You might want to start with "One Man's Judaism" written by R' Rackman who was the most formost proponent of the idea in practice....this is clearly an issue where the consequences need to be examined carefully.
    =========

    But what is YOUR halachic position? Do you know what the Gedolim in Eretz Yisrael hold/held regarding the issue? Can you confirm what is said in the name of Rav Elyashiv?

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  5. meinyan leinyan beosso inyanNovember 30, 2009 at 8:43 PM

    This was discussed recently at length. It was Rav Belsky that organized a bittul kiddushin that was ultimately undone when the gedolim lashed out at him.

    The signatories rallied by Rav Belsky are hardly reputable rabbonim.

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