Sunday, January 31, 2010

Tropper & Silence of the Rabbis/R' Ribiat (II)


5Towns Jewish Times

On January 21, 10 Rabbi Dovid Ribiat released an interview regarding the Tropper scandal. His remarks generated a lot of interest, and he was asked on Jan. 29 for another brief interview to address some of the many questions that have since been raised.

Rabbi Ribiat heads the Kollel Ohr Yaakov of Forshay in Monsey NY, and is regarded as a prominent Halachic authority across the US. He is also the author of several Seforim, including the world-renowned four-volume work on the 39 Melochos of Shabbo [...]


45 comments :

  1. The bottom line is that it is being maintained a) the tapes are fake and b) there is no halachic method for a Beis Din to accept as evidence tape recordings (as with today's technology they may be a very well done fakery.)

    Additionally, it is being said even if the Rabbonim agree and find him guilty, they can only hope he agrees to remove himself from the scene as Rosh Yeshiva, as they have no enforcement powers to force him out.

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  2. Note: It isn't Rav Ribiat maintaining such position, but rather Rabbi Tropper.

    Additionally, Rabbi Tropper released a press release stating "He wishes to express his regret for the turmoil caused by his departure from the Eternal Jewish Family organization and for what has appeared to be conduct not within our significant laws of modesty."

    http://www.vosizneias.com/45491/2009/12/24/suffern-ny-rabbi-troppers-statement-to-recent-events/

    Is this not an admission of some sort? Now it appears he is denying it completely.

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  3. Recipients and PublicityJanuary 31, 2010 at 10:35 AM

    Someone should pass on to Rabbi Ribiat (and the Monsey rabbis and whatever potential batei din may ultimately be involved) the rulings and statements of Rav Moshe Shternbuch, the Ra'avad of the BADATS, the many definitive expressions of his da'as and pesak about Tropper as well as past rulings from the BADATS against Tropper's EJF.

    Unlike Rabbi Ribiat, Rav Moshe Shternbuch is clear about Tropper and has allowed his statements to be publicised by the owner of this blog Rabbi Dr. Daniel Eidensohn, specifically these key posts:

    "Rav Sternbuch:Tropper is guilty! (December 26, 2009) There are increasing comments popping up that there is no evidence against Tropper. That the tapes are forged or misunderstood. Let me present something rather basic that Rav Sternbuch has said recently to someone who asked about Tropper's guilt.

    Rav Sternbuch, shlita said the following:

    The fact that this story with the accompanying accusations has been printed in newspapers around the world, the normal thing would be to hire the best lawyer in the world and issue a public denial and sue all the papers for libel. The mere fact that this has not been done is the biggest proof the accusations are true. It is an example of what our Sages say that silence in the face of an accusation is understood to be an admission "Shetikah k'hodah"."


    See also:

    Daas Torah said (January 28, 2010)...Can we take protective action against him without a formal beis din? The answer is yes. As a minimum he should be removed from any position of rabbinic responsibility until a beis din renders a ruling.

    Can he be punished because of the rumors without a beis din? Yes as the above gemoros state.

    Can we rely on circumstantial evidence to say someone is guilty even with out a beis din? yes.
    Rav Sternbuch in fact requested that I publicize the fact that he holds tropper is guilty.

    Thus his defense of tropper is incredibly embarrassing.

    It is similar to the one made by R Menashe Klein that unless we have two kosher witnesses we can't deal with cases of child abuse - contrary to what a wide range of poskim hold.

    Someone about whom there is public percept of gross misbehavior is punished or at least removed from his position of teacher. Any teacher who had this type of evidence - even without a formal beis din would be as a minimum expected to suspend himself from teaching.

    Rav Sternbuch rejected these arguments and said to call him a menuval. Rav Dunner similarly responded."

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  4. Recipients and PublicityJanuary 31, 2010 at 10:36 AM

    See also:

    The two official letters against Tropper and EJF by the BADATS that were sent to many rabbinical RECIPIENTS and about which there was PUBLICITY that laid the foundation of the Halachic invalidation of EJF and Tropper its "rabbinic" leader and mastermind, TWO YEARS AGO:

    *Bedatz letter regarding conversion (November 18, 2007), see the Hebrew original: "The senior dayanim of the Bedatz met today to discuss allegations that certain kiruv activists are actively proselytizing the children of intermarried couples to convince them to convert...We therefore are turning to the poskim and the roshei yeshivos not to participate in their conventions...This approach is directly causing serious problems..."

    *Bedatz Letter regarding EJF signed by Gaavad (February 14, 2008): "...stop and break off association with this organization (Eternal Jewish Family) which is a danger to the future of the Jewish people...desist from participating in this program (of the Eternal Jewish Family). It is a public danger. G‑d should assist you."

    Tropper cannot dodge all the bullets forever. Too many rabbonim, poskim and batei din have ruled against him and EJF by now. The rabbis in Monsey needn't fear anything and go through the motions of "re-inventing the wheel" of how to deal with Tropper. A quick call to Rav Shternbuch of the BADATS in Yerushalayim or to R. Aba Dunner of the London Bais Din in London will confirm the obvious that Tropper is guilty and must be removed from all his positions by public rebuke and censure from the gedolei harrabonim in America. Their silence only exacerbates and compunds the global Chillul Hashem and stench of immorality, r"l.

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  5. EJF's attempt to claim authority it does not have as well as the Slifkin affaire, Tropper's breaking up shidduchim, his "anullment" of a geirus, etc, etc, etc... are all relevent.

    R' Ribiat writes "In any case, the Slifkin issue is not really relevant here."

    I don't see how that's true. It is part of a longstanding pattern of Tropper's abuse of power. He is accused of using his authority over a troubled woman who seeks his help in converting, financing her divorce proceedings (and keeping her abusive husband away from the children), and is there to listen to her (including, in the recording, bolster her flalling ego). Tropper has no chezqas kashrus when it comes to power and control issues.

    That he lied in order to get Slifkin's works banned is relevant to that.


    That said, the interviewer failed by making the "the gedolim" fallacy. The people who condemned Slifkin's works are not the same rabbanim who R' Ribiat says are trying to confirm the facts first, now. There is no grounds for asking why one group being willing to condemn without much deliberation differs from another group requiring such deliberation. There isn't just one "the gedolim hold".

    Although one can ask why that first group, the ones who do wield the tool of banning quite readily are altogether silent. Perhaps they feel that because they themselves were repeatedly his victims, allowing themselves to be manipulated by someone even willing to lie to make his case, they felt that speaking out would be perceived as a personal gripe and not add constructively to the dialog. (I wouldn't agree, but at least that's an explanation for that camp's silence that isn't cynical or demeaning to gedolei Torah.)

    -micha

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  6. Anyone who truly thinks that R' Tropper is innocent, please put forward the cash to have the tapes authenticated and thus disproven.

    I know why Tropper hasn't done this, he knows what they would find.

    Anyone else who truly believes that he is guilty, I can put you in contact with people who are able to check the tapes and will stand behind them, even in a court of law.

    The only issue is the fee.

    Here is the reason that the Torah World hasn't don't this. Do not be fooled a proper check takes only hours, a day or two at most. The issue is that most will not do it for less than $5-10K and frankly we are in a financial crisis when many Yeshivot and other Mosdos are struggling to keep their doors open.

    BTW
    The fact that this story with the accompanying accusations has been printed in newspapers around the world, the normal thing would be to hire the best lawyer in the world and issue a public denial and sue all the papers for libel. The mere fact that this has not been done is the biggest proof the accusations are true. It is an example of what our Sages say that silence in the face of an accusation is understood to be an admission "Shetikah k'hodah"."


    This doesn't work when Rav Dunner says that anyone who was innocent wouldn't need to proclaim their innocence. This is a catch 22. If Tropper says he is innocent, R' Dunner slams him. If he doesn't R' Shternbuch slams him.

    However, what is clear is that whoever foots the cash to authenticate the tapes will put an end to this thing once and for all.

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  7. rabbi eidonsohn i think that you carring on like a 2 year old very nice r shternbuch from the badatz has his opinion its not in writing nor has the rest of the bais din said anything so we have 1 rabbi by word of mouth and r,dunner i dont belive he is more than an organzational head lets see a few signatures before you make demands from the gedolie hador they clearly not so hot headed and are letting halacha prevail over this lynch going on here p.s. i know it make take a lamden to figure the following out " the rabbis belive since tropper has not infuenced any bais din with his promises of geirus this becomes a personal scandel and however embarassing does not demand to embarrased his already embarased family " just remember we are dealing with abisrayuhu of retzichah look in rabeinu yonah.

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  8. R' Ribiat said:
    I think that it should be mentioned that even if the allegations are proven to be true, we do recognize that Rabbi Tropper has also made positive contributions in the past.

    Yes, he did give out lots of money. But for us, that's a large part of the problem here, not an extenuating circumstance.

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  9. micha, The Rabbinic establishment stands by its actions regarding Slifkin. Hence the statement that the Slikin issue is irrelevant to this issue.

    In any event, R. Tropper played a small - almost irrelevant - role in the Slifkin issue.

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  10. Dave said...


    In any event, R. Tropper played a small - almost irrelevant - role in the Slifkin issue.
    --------------
    not so. He was influential in convincing a number of gedolim that R' Slifkin's books were destructive and cited as example two of his students who he claimed were malachim who learned constantly - closed their gemoras and went off the derech because of them. In fact one of them went to YU and stayed frum only because of the books and the other was a weak student whose commitment was not influenced by the books.
    One of these gedolim was approached by someone who had investigated and the gadol said he wasn't interested in discussing the matter since tropper's testimony was sufficient and the matter was closed.

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  11. Dave,


    My earlier point about the interviewer applies to your comment as well. There is no one "rabbinic establishment". "The gedolim" refers to a fuzzy set of people, whose definition is relative to the speaker, and whose opinions are frequently in disagreement with each other.

    Second, Tropper's lie about two students who went off the derekh because of Slifkin's books was part of the packet passed around to the banners. It was the only threatening story used. His role is far from insignificant.

    But that's not what's important here. What IS relevent is that the man did lie, and had no problem passing his lie around to gedolei poseqim to get his opinion promulgated. Even if I agreed that his role was a minor piece of the puzzle in terms of impact, Tropper demonstrated a very relevant character flaw. He blew his ne'emanus on this and numerous other incidents.

    In the past he lied to gedolei haposeqim in order to manipulate halakhah rather than prove his point as objectively correct. Control issues occluding the ideals he claims to hold dear. You don't see the relevance?

    -micha

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  12. he rabbis belive since tropper has not infuenced any bais din with his promises of geirus this becomes a personal scandel and however embarassing does not demand to embarrased his already embarased family " just remember we are dealing with abisrayuhu of retzichah look in rabeinu yonah.
    =============
    Since they haven't convened a beis din on what basis are you claiming this?
    On what basis do you claim that this massive chilul hashem is just a "personal matter"?

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  13. my understanding is that every bais din that was efliated with ejf are standing by there geruis no bais din feels they were influenced to do a geruis they would not have done the rabbinic community has done extensive reveiw in this area and being they belive there was no compramise it boils down to a rabbi making a promise he could not keep so although they appeared together with him and are very embaraased they dont see that as a reason to say anything and further the scandel etc ofcourse im sure many leading rabbis learnt the hard way about guilt through association

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  14. monsey yid said...

    my understanding is that every bais din that was efliated with ejf are standing by there geruis no bais din feels they were influenced to do a geruis they would not have done the rabbinic community has done extensive reveiw in this area and being they belive there was no compramise it boils down to a rabbi making a promise he could not keep so although they appeared together with him and are very embaraased they dont see that as a reason to say anything and further the scandel etc ofcourse im sure many leading rabbis learnt the hard way about guilt through association
    ==========
    are you saying that each beis din associated with EJF investigated itself to see whether they were improperly influenced and declared that they weren't? Or are you saying an independent body investigated the matter?
    You have got to be kidding?

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  15. micha, My comment about the "Rabbinic establishment" (and I suppose others when they refer to the Gedolim), was about the Rabbinic establishment that took action against Slifkin. THEY stand by their actions on Slifkin.

    Additionally, they (those that took the action against Slifkin) accept the testimony regarding those two students in question. So although you may vociferously disagree and believe it was exagerated (or worse), they still accept it (the description of those two students) as factual ad hayom hazeh.

    So your contention that R. Tropper lied is in contention with the beliefs of the Rabbinic establishment (again the one that made the decision regarding Slifkin.)

    One other technical point about your first comment. You used the tapes and the recordings heard on those tapes in your 'case' against Tropper, yet as Rav Ribiat pointed out in the above interview the Rabbinical establishment (the one evaluating the Tropper issue) does not currently accept the authenticity of such tapes or the recordings herein.

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  16. RR: This may seem hard to believe, but the Rabbis have been warned that, given today’s advanced technology, tapes and even videos could be fabricated or manipulated with amazing results. In fact, Rabbi Tropper claims that he is being harassed by powerful adversaries with the desire and resources to do this. Therefore, a Beis Din cannot use them as evidence unless they are authenticated.

    Who warned them? Tropper?

    INT: Is this being done?

    RR: I can’t get into details...


    Don't you think it's time for a little transparency? People are losing faith.

    ... A Beis Din must also be concerned about the potential of a libel suit, and must be protected legally.

    That is VERY interesting! Would tropper go to secular court against bais din, or would he take bais din to a din torah for stopping him from operating until this is "cleared up"?

    All this is taking time, and is also expensive...

    All what is taking time? Authenticating just one tape? With all due respect, that is nonsense. It sounds like you are just waiting for it to die down, which it threatened to do a few times already.

    But bear in mind that even with good evidence, a Beis Din may be limited in what it can do if a subject is recalcitrant – they cannot call the sheriff to remove someone from his premises. Even a large group of Rabbis making a joint statement can be limited legally in the language that they may use in a condemnation.

    Backpedalling. They can put anyone in Cherem who works with him. They can go to Tom Kaplan as representatives of the orthodox community and ask that he stop dealing with tropper. They can asur EJF. There are lots of things they can do, as little people who have felt their power know so well.

    In any case, people should realize that these Rabbonim, who have their own personal responsibilities, are donating their precious time, and even money to assume an unpleasant task for the sake of Klal. They are not being paid for their efforts...

    So there is no system for be'arta harah mikirbechah? We should be grateful that some powerful people are doing us a favor in their spare time to get to the bottom of this, and not be too demanding that it is done correctly? Or quickly? Or well? Then those with the money really do control this system.

    INT: There have been rumors for years about Tropper’s immorality. Isn’t there something in Halacha about constant rumors being a kind of evidence?

    RR: What you’re referring to is a concept known as “Kola D’lo Posik”, which means “rumors that do not cease”. Yes, there is such a thing as rumors that carry some legitimate weight as evidence. However, not all rumors are alike. In this case, the rumors do not qualify because the subject, Rabbi Tropper, has many detractors. We must consider the possibility that the rumors might have originated from those sources; they are Halachically not acceptable evidence.


    Again with all due respect, people questioned his actions and he was vindictive, hurting a lot of people who became his detractors. That is the source of the rumors, and why the rumors are admissible. Are you saying that only rumors against someone like R' Aharon zt"l or R' Moishe zt"l would be acceptable evidence, chas v'sholom?

    This is a whitewash. The backpedalling has begun.

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  17. Rabbi Ribiat's argument's are really irrelevant. The whole issue of “proving the authenticity of the tapes” is a red herring. No one is asking for any legal action to be taken against Tropper. All they want is a public condemnation by the rabbis, in the same way that was done against Slifkin, Lipa, and R’ Kaminetsky (when he wrote his history book, “Making of a Gadol”). There is no need to determine court admissible evidence to simply have rabbis issue a statement. They just need to speak up and say how terrible this person is (or what he’s done) and the public reaction will take care of the rest (just like in those other cases).

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  18. Additionally, Rabbi Ribiat’s claims that he “can’t comment” on the other issues ring hollow. This current scandal might specifically be focused on Tropper but it’s also more generally about how the rabbinic establishment appears to be, at best, woefully inept, and at worst, morally bankrupt. That they move swiftly and harshly against questionable issues such as books, music, sheitels, and bugs, but display overly prudent caution regarding rabbinic adulterers, rabbinic felons (Spinka and others), rabbinic molestation, and other grave issues in the community speaks volumes about how skewed their moral compasses have become.

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  19. I just received this letter from Kol Yaakov yeshiva. It is postmarked January 28, 2010 and the letter itself is dated January 25, 2010 on Kol Yaakov letterhead. I typed it out because I don't have a scanner.

    As you can read below, whomever sent this letter still believes in Tropper and fund raising is still on-going.

    Dear fellow alumni,

    Every morning for the past 26 years, without fail, Hilchos Lashon Hara from the sefer Chofetz Chaim have been learned in the Bais Medrash of Kol Yaakov, your Bais Medrash, after shacharis. This emphasis on binding together learning and character development in a tangible way is part of what makes Kol Yaakov so special.

    This past month, Kol Yaakov Torah Center has endured one of the most challenging periods of its 29 year history. Kol Yaakov has emerged whole and is forging ahead.

    Just this past Sunday, Rabbi Tropper and alumni of the yeshiva from Lakewood, Passaic, and Philadelphia gathered together in Lakewood for an asifa. Everyone took time out of their busy schedules to hear Divrei Torah from Rabbi Tropper, spend time with fellow alumni, and to gain new chizuk and direction.

    As alumni of Kol Yaakov, you are the most important people outside of the walls of the yeshiva to its health and continued growth. Please take the opportunity to be personally mechazek the yeshiva: taking time to learn and daven in the Bais Medrash, calling the yeshiva office to share your simchos, and donating much needed funds to help ensure our future. Even if you are not able to visit the Bais Medrash personally, please reach out and call Rabbi Tropper and the yeshiva – reconnect to Rabbi Tropper and your Makom Torah.

    Together, we will continue to emerge from this nisayon not as only as strong and healthy as before but in an even better position to broaden and intensify the yeshiva’s mission of teaching Torah, helping create a new generation of Tamidei Chachomim and strengthening Jewish life.

    B’yedidus,

    Yonason Meadows Binhyomin Segall Amitai Bielinki Yaakov Gruber

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  20. Let's face it: 'Da'as Torah' has died and the sad Tropper saga was it's death knell.

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  21. Yehoshua said...

    I just received this letter from Kol Yaakov yeshiva. It is postmarked January 28, 2010...


    It is hard to keep a topic straight when it is double posted. This has already been posted and commented upon at
    http://daattorah.blogspot.com/2010/01/chilul-hashem-why-is-tropper-still-rosh.html

    ReplyDelete
  22. r aaron feldman of the left wing of the moetzes put out a book recently where he stands by the ban on slifkin to the tee! after dealing with all the issues....

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  23. The Hedyot:

    By Slifkin, Lipa, and R’ Kaminetsky there was no serious dispute regarding the underlying facts on the essence of the issue. (i.e. Slifkin & R. Kaminetsky what they wrote; and Lipa what/how he sings.)

    Apparently with Rabbi Tropper there is a dispute if anything happened (with Orand) at all.

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  24. INT: There have been rumors for years about Tropper’s immorality. Isn’t there something in Halacha about constant rumors being a kind of evidence?

    RR: What you’re referring to is a concept known as “Kola D’lo Posik”, which means “rumors that do not cease”. Yes, there is such a thing as rumors that carry some legitimate weight as evidence. However, not all rumors are alike. In this case, the rumors do not qualify because the subject, Rabbi Tropper, has many detractors. We must consider the possibility that the rumors might have originated from those sources; they are Halachically not acceptable evidence.
    ----------------------------------
    if rumors can be excused by the fact that someone has "many detractors", when is the concept of kalo dilo posik applicable? coudnt you always say that the rumors do not qualify because said person has enemies?

    can r' eidonsohn shed some light on this?

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  25. Recipients and PublicityJanuary 31, 2010 at 7:51 PM

    "Yehoshua said...I just received this letter from Kol Yaakov yeshiva. It is postmarked January 28, 2010 and the letter itself is dated January 25, 2010 on Kol Yaakov letterhead. I typed it out because I don't have a scanner."

    RaP: Thank you for confirming the existence of this letter. It is important. It reveals the state of panic within Tropper's/Kol Yaakov's world. It has some small clues that may reveal even more.

    "As you can read below, whomever sent this letter still believes in Tropper and fund raising is still on-going."

    RaP: Indeed, Tropper will not stop until he is brought to a stop. His INTERNAL mechanism's cannot be stopped they huff and puff like the steam inside a boiler, he can only be stopped with the application of unequivocal EXTERNAL pressure.

    "Dear fellow alumni,

    Every morning for the past 26 years, without fail, Hilchos Lashon Hara from the sefer Chofetz Chaim have been learned in the Bais Medrash of Kol Yaakov, your Bais Medrash, after shacharis. This emphasis on binding together learning and character development in a tangible way is part of what makes Kol Yaakov so special."

    RaP: Resorting to this "curriculum" is often done by groups and individuals who have something to hide and wish to control or suppress what is said about them. What is not that well known is the Tropper was utterly opposed to classical mussar teachings, and in the light of his sexcapades we know why.

    "This past month, Kol Yaakov Torah Center has endured one of the most challenging periods of its 29 year history. Kol Yaakov has emerged whole and is forging ahead."

    RaP: Indeed, blame it on your own "rosh yeshiva" for bringing this on yourselves.

    "Just this past Sunday, Rabbi Tropper and alumni of the yeshiva from Lakewood, Passaic, and Philadelphia gathered together in Lakewood for an asifa. Everyone took time out of their busy schedules to hear Divrei Torah from Rabbi Tropper, spend time with fellow alumni, and to gain new chizuk and direction."

    RaP: In Lakewood? With Tropper's usual deviousness it makes it sound like maybe it was sanctioned by Bais Medrash Govoha yeshiva aka as "Lakewood" but in this case Tropper probably drove up to someone's condo and gave pep talk to his troops as if they were atop Masada and they all know they can't win in this "suicide mission" he is asking of them.

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  26. Recipients and PublicityJanuary 31, 2010 at 7:51 PM

    "As alumni of Kol Yaakov, you are the most important people outside of the walls of the yeshiva to its health and continued growth. Please take the opportunity to be personally mechazek the yeshiva: taking time to learn and daven in the Bais Medrash, calling the yeshiva office to share your simchos, and donating much needed funds to help ensure our future."

    RaP: Does this mean that Tropper is setting up a "legal defense fund" for his upcoming defense in court and bais din and that perhaps Tom Kaplan has finally dumped him? In recent years Tropper never bothered asking his alumni for cash, he had tens of millions coming from Tom Kaplan and Guma via the Lillian Jean Kaplan Foundation. He is now on skid row and if he is not there yet he is headed there very quickly. It does not look good in Camp Tropper.

    "Even if you are not able to visit the Bais Medrash personally, please reach out and call Rabbi Tropper and the yeshiva – reconnect to Rabbi Tropper and your Makom Torah."

    RaP: Really? All while Tropper claims he's not available to talk to more serious callers who seek clarification from him about the truth about what happened that forced him to resign from the near-defunct EJF and unleashed a firestorm of news reports about his alleged shameful sexcapades? Surely he should deal with the serious problems first and take social calls from disciples and shmooz when the dust settles?

    "Together, we will continue to emerge from this nisayon not as only as strong and healthy as before but in an even better position to broaden and intensify the yeshiva’s mission of teaching Torah, helping create a new generation of Tamidei Chachomim and strengthening Jewish life."

    RaP: The "nisayon" is Tropper's and it's his to carry. He is responsible for it and he unleashed it. He should cut loose his disciples and and not tschepper them with cockamamie pleas and crocodile tears. Let them be, they are having a hard enough time as it is and would no doubt love to slink into the woodwork and not be rallied to the cause of the disgraced Tropper who should deal with his problems himself like abig boy and NOT drag the world down with him or use his stunned dumbfounded disciples as fig leaves to cover up the charpa and busha he and his wife are solely responsible for (of course with the enablement of Kaplan and Guma and the rabbis who went along with them.)

    "B’yedidus,

    Yonason Meadows Binhyomin Segall Amitai Bielinki Yaakov Gruber"

    RaP: What a sad bunch of people these are for taking on this pointless, thankless and sterile job. H-shem yerachem aleihem!

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  27. Can someone explain how a man can be on the faculty of tropper's 'yeshiva' AND be a dayin of the EJF beis din in Monsey (which meets in the EJF building) and not be influenced by tropper?

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  28. > Apparently with Rabbi Tropper there is a dispute if anything happened (with Orand) at all.

    First of all, no one really doubts the authenticity of the tapes. It’s a preposterous claim being utilized only by his defenders, and everyone knows it. Plus, even if they were trying to verify it, it doesn’t take a month to do so, so it’s further evidence they’re just stalling.

    But more importantly, the broader issue here is not really about whether or not it’s true. It’s how the rabbis respond to issues that arise in the community. With Lipa, the supposed loss of money was close to half a million dollars, and the rabbis responded without hesitation to the askanim’s demands, and for what exactly? That the music was a bit too “rocky”? That there would be some flirting going on outside? Even if it is true, that’s what gets the rabbis so worked up that they react so vehemently without even trying to work out some reasonable compromise?

    Same with Slifkin - yes, it wasn’t doubted at all that he wrote the words in his book. But it was also well established that “those terrible things” he wrote were found in respected achronim and rishonim, that he had haskamos of chareidi rabbonim, and that there was nothing truly heretical about what he wrote. And yet the rabbonim felt it appropriate to act on that flimsy accusation of apikorsis and ruin the man’s reputation and livelihood.

    And now here, we have allegations of truly horrible behaviors by a prominent rabbinic figure (someone of whom many prior allegations of improper behavior have been made) – and what sort of response is there by those same rabbonim? Absolutely nothing. Even if it’s granted that the allegations are not absolutely verified, doesn’t it seem a bit odd that they can’t even seem to muster up the slightest bit of righteous indignation about this travesty? Not even a “we don’t want to say anything definitively, but just in case its true, please be careful” statement?

    The silence is deafening.

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  29. What the courts did with the lie is, as I wrote, irrelevent. The bottom line is that that we know the man has a history of lying, of doing so to get his way, of doing so to manipulate people he alleges to respect and follow, and thus destroyed his ne'emanus as well as demonstrated that control is a particular issue in his life -- exactly what he's being accused of abusing now.

    And don't soft pedal it... To say that someone who switched from his yeshiva to learning in YU stopped being a shomer shabbos is a lie. Not an exageration. To say that someone who never did observe two shabbasos in a row was drawn off the derekh by a book -- when in reality he was never on it -- is also an outright lie. He wrote of two boys who he made shomerei Shabbos who the book brought to chilul Shabbbos and kefirah. That didn't happen. It didn't "almost" happen.

    The fact that they took Tropper's words at face value despite them being outright lies is a problem for those who believe that knowing Torah necessarily translates to a lower chance of fallibility in other matters. For me, there is no problem. It's not a halachic matter; they had what they thought was an upright, reliable eid, and they were wrong. It's not some question I have to defer to gedolei Torah since it's neither a question nor a matter of Torah -- the lie is provable.

    (BTW, how you put someone into cherem without speaking to him is beyond me. But that's even further afield.)

    -micha

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  30. micha, You missed the point that was made. The courts (and Rabbonim in question) do not accept that it is a lie. Not the old stuff (i.e. the 2 students and the other stuff); and the new allegations (i.e. Orand) they said they haven't the proof to say one way or the other. But certainly, according to the court/Rabbonim, their is no "history of lying".

    And it isn't I making these points, but the Rabbonim as explained by Rav Ribiat in the above interview. Your characterization of the issue with these 2 students is not accepted by the Rabbonim involved in the Slifkin ban.

    Re: "those who believe that knowing Torah necessarily translates to a lower chance of fallibility in other matters." That is an incorrect characterization. It isn't "knowing Torah" that reduces the chances; it is being a Godol HaDor.

    (BTW, 1: who was put in cherem? and 2: who put that person in cherem?)

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  31. No, I got your point -- and you're simply wrong. They accepted something that we know was a lie. We have the statement in print as it was given to them, we have the reality. We can compare.

    You are relying on authority as though there is an open question to defer to them.

    The man definitely lied. No maybe, no "the gedolim couldn't have erred". It's demonstrable, they did. They banned Slifkin for writing something already published to the same audience by R' Aryeh Carmell, R' Aryeh Kaplan, and numerous others -- to no complaint.

    Why? Because the request for an issur came with a horror story that was A LIE.

    Tropper lied. It's open and shut. If you think there is a matter to debate, save your breath -- you can't convince me against something I verified with my own eyes.

    Nor do I care, for the sake of this particular argument, whether anyone believed Tropper or not. If you have a different theory why Slifkin's books got different treatment than the same statements from greater rabbanim, fine. The fact that he has a history of controlling people by manipulating them is all that connects these various Tropperisms.

    Say some of them are still misled. Where are the people pointing out the error, now that Tropper's control issues have bloated into the bizarre? Where are the other rabbanim? Why the rush to condemn ideas (R' Kamenetzky, Slifkin, Lipa...) and total silence about the greatest chillel hasheim in a year that saw some major doozies?

    Do we care more about whether or not someone follows R' Avraham ben haRambam instead of a more mainstream (in their circles) hashkafah over basic morality? Did someone repeal derekh eretz qodmah laTorah while I wasn't looking? If we create the illusion that we are less ethical than the unOrthodox movements, teenagers will flee, kiruv will grind to a halt, and worse of all -- immorality will run rampant!

    -micha

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  32. micha, You are calling the Rabbonim wrong, not I - who am merely explaining what the Rabbonim are saying (per Rav Ribiat.) You believe you "know" it is a lie; the Rabbonim disagree with you. And as far as you "have the reality", your version of the "reality" differs from that of the Rabbonim. You say he lied; they say he didn't. You say it is "demonstrable"; they say it is not.

    Additionally, how was it demonstrated that these 2 students in fact did not go off the derech as a result of Slifkin? Because one or both of these students so claimed (later)? They said "nope, we didn't go off the derech because of Slifkin" or "nope, we didn't go off the derech" ? Who says their statement to that effect is reliable? Perhaps the Rabbonim know that these 2 claim otherwise, yet still accept the version that they in fact went off because of Slifkin. And perhaps they went off the derech (because Slifkin) but came back on the derech sometime afterwards. And perhaps the Rabbonim had sufficient evidence to ban Slifkin even without the incident of these 2 students.

    As far as R' Aryeh Carmell and R' Aryeh Kaplan, I don't know what they said similar to Slifkin nor do I know if Slifkin didn't go any further than R' Aryeh Carmell and R' Aryeh Kaplan is certain areas of his writings. Additionally, and equally as important, I don't know who gave haskamas to the writings in question of R' Aryeh Carmell and R' Aryeh Kaplan -- and if those that gave the haskamas are the same ones who banned Slifkin.

    "Do we care more about whether or not someone follows R' Avraham ben haRambam instead of a more mainstream (in their circles) hashkafah"

    Yes we do. I believe Rav Elyashev addressed this point. Some views, even if expressed by some Rishonim are unacceptable to maintain.

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  33. micha, You are calling the Rabbonim wrong, not I - who am merely explaining what the Rabbonim are saying (per Rav Ribiat.) You believe you "know" it is a lie; the Rabbonim disagree with you. And as far as you "have the reality", your version of the "reality" differs from that of the Rabbonim. You say he lied; they say he didn't. You say it is "demonstrable"; they say it is not.
    ================
    The rabbnonim said they weren't interested in investigating the charges. They accepted tropper's version. Your conjecture as to what happened simply doesn't correspond to reality either Micha's or that of the rabbnoim.

    In other words it was not a dispute concerning facts that were investigated by the two sides and they came up with two different understandings. tropper was the sole source of information.

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  34. The rabbnonim said they weren't interested in investigating the charges. They accepted tropper's version.
    ================
    DT: That's not what Rav Ribiat is saying in the above interview. He is saying the Rabbonim are still assessing this matter and haven't yet reached a conclusion.

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  35. DT: That's not what Rav Ribiat is saying in the above interview. He is saying the Rabbonim are still assessing this matter and haven't yet reached a conclusion.
    ==========
    I was referring to the Slifkin affair

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  36. DT: Tropper's involvement in the Slifkin issue was limited to his comments on the fate of his 2 students who read Slifkin's books. So I am not sure what you mean by "The rabbnonim said they weren't interested in investigating the charges. They accepted tropper's version.

    Tropper's version of what "charges"?

    As far as those two students, my comments/rhetorical questions above stand.

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  37. Tropper's version of what "charges"?

    As far as those two students, my comments/rhetorical questions above stand.
    =============
    He claimed that the books created doubts in students about the significance of Chazal. As proof he stated that he had two students who were malachim who were deeply involved in learning and after they read the books they closed the gemora saying that they didn't see any reason to learn anymore.

    He went with this argument to a number of gedolim who accepted that these books had a pernicious effect on emuna. There was no effort made to determine whether tropper was telling the truth. They simply joined the group banning the seforim

    Thus tropper played a significant role in the banning of the books because this story was believed by rabbis who would not have signed without this testimony.

    tropper didn't do this becaue he personally felt these books were harmful - in fact he had these books in his yeshiva until they were banned. He did it to please certain zealots who used this banning to try and destroy certain rabbis who had expressed approval of the books.

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  38. "He claimed that the books created doubts in students about the significance of Chazal. As proof he stated that he had two students who were malachim who were deeply involved in learning and after they read the books they closed the gemora saying that they didn't see any reason to learn anymore. He went with this argument to a number of gedolim who accepted that these books had a pernicious effect on emuna."

    And the Gedolim accepted his Eidus and the veracity -- and still currently maintain such -- of his account. My rhetorical questions (above) for those who feel the Gedolim should doubt this testimony stand.

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  39. "we do recognize that Rabbi Tropper has also made positive contributions in the past."
    Yes, he has done many many acts of kindness and I and many more experienced it. Not just donating money but actually in other areas of inspiration, guidance and refering one to someone who did help me out and many many more..

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  40. FUNNY HOW YOU ALWAYS COVER YOURSELF UP WITH RAV STERNBUCH.HIS SHITTAH ON THESE ISSUES ARE VERY CLEAR AGAINST ANYTHING SLIFKIN IS PUSHING.ALL OF A SUDDEN YOU ABANDON HIS POSITION WHEN YOU FELL DIFFRENTLY THAN HIM.THAT IS NOT CALLED DAAS TORAH IN ANY WAY.

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  41. Rabbi Shafran posted within the past hour (Comment # 33):

    http://www.cross-currents.com/archives/2010/01/27/a-personal-note-to-cross-currents-readers/

    "Nor do I see (and here too I am being forthright and honest) how a rabbinic figure’s attendance at EJF events before its director was accused of personal wrongdoing somehow indicts the rabbi. Here, too, I’m being entirely honest. Please forgive my naivete, if that’s what it is."

    Agreed.

    "As to the accused himself, I apologize up front if it outrages anyone further, but no, I will not pronounce guilt on the basis of unanalyzed tapes and popular conclusions (no matter how many the tapes, no matter how popular the conclusions). That is not meant as a defense of anyone, nor does it evidence an unwillingness on my part to feel disgusted by the alleged behavior, or to be deeply suspicious of the person accused. But until either a confession or a beis din or court provides conclusive evidence that an individual is guilty of a sin, I will always use the words “accused” or “alleged” with regard to him. If a particular reader’s posek gives him or her permission to not only suspect guilt here but to assume it and write accordingly, I will respect that reader’s doing so. But I have received no such dispensation, and respectfully request that others afford my own position similar respect."

    Agreed.

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  42. Rabbi Shafran (continued)...:

    "It seems that I have a very different understanding of Gedolim and Jewish leadership than at least some who have posted comments. Whether born of frustration or anything else, demands (or even requests) that Gedolim “show leadership” (i.e. do what we think they should be doing) are incoherent. If a leader is a leader, it is ipso facto his choice to decide whether to do or not do something. If leaders need to hew to what some of their ostensible followers, or others, feel they should do, then they are followers, not leaders.

    Yes, silence can be evil. But assuming, based one’s personal perceptions (or those of likeminded persons), that a respectable person’s silence in a particular situation is evil is an evil in its own right. And insinuating that recognized rabbonim chashuvim are useless (or worse) is profoundly wrong. “Mai a’hani lon rabbonon?” is not a sentiment Chazal considered proper, to say the least."


    Agreed.

    "I realize that the sentiment may not derive from any inherent disdain of, or condescension toward, Gedolim. What I suspect is that people are insufficiently respectful of the Gedolim of our day simply because of an assumption that today’s chachomim don’t “measure up” to those of yesteryear. The truth, though, is that yesteryear’s Gedolim were criticized too by some in their time, by people who felt that they too didn’t “measure up” to Gedolim of generations yet earlier. (Even Moshe Rabbeinu, for that matter, as per the Midrash, was subject to gossip and derision.) Plus ca change… What has changed today, though, is the internet’s ability to bring together and amplify the voices and reach of critics. Yes, niskatnu hadoros (as any Godol will readily attest), but the bottom line is “Yiftach bidoro k’Shmuel bidoro.” Each generation’s Torah leaders are their Torah leaders, no less than any earlier generation’s were theirs. And let’s not forget that we, too, are part of the dor that is niskaton. Our Gedolim remain our Gedolim, the chachomim that are the einei ha’eidah for our times."

    Agreed.

    "I fully recognize that the chachomim whom I consider to be those einei ha’ieda may not be the ones that others choose to follow. I respect those others’ choices and would never, chalila, disparage any Jew’s choice of a different recognized talmid chochom as his guide (even if that chochom’s approach to an issue was at odds with the position of those whom I revere). But just as I would not arrogate to judge (much less deride) that chochom’s decisions even if I personally thought they were misguided, so do I expect others to respect decisions of chachomim that I, and many thousands of others, consider to be the leaders of our generation.

    All of which is not to say that any Godol is omniscient or infallible. No chochom could – or would – claim such status. It is only to say that those chachomim and their decisions about Jewish communal life deserve our respect, no less (in fact much more) than any accomplished doctor does in medical matters. One need not understand or agree with any stance to maintain respect for the one taking it. And to criticize a talmid chochom for rendering judgments about evidence entirely before him (whether a situation, an approach or a book) is, in my estimation, to chisel away at the very foundation of our mesorah, based as it is on regard for the chachomim of each generation."


    Agreed.

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  43. .... Agreed.

    February 1, 2010 11:06 PM
    --------------

    the only difference is that yesteryear's gedolim were not APPOINTED as such by anyone. they were recognized as gedolim by all, because of their greatness in torah, pure and absolute honesty.... whereas many of todays "gedolim" are not necessarily known or recognized for any of the above, but rather for the positions they hold (in various political organizations or heads of yeshivas they founded/inherited ).

    that is not to say that there are no gedolim today, only that they are'nt necessarily part of an organization thereby qualifying as such.

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  44. ben - Everything you just said has been said about yesteryear's Gedolim, as wel as yesteryesteryear's Gedolim, etc.

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  45. I read through all of Dave's defenses. Or I should rather call them attempts to have basic logic twisted.

    Micha and Rabbi Eidenson are saying that Tropper's story was very influential in the gedolim's psak against Slifkin. They didn't attempt to probe into this because they trusted Tropper. Those who were involved and knew the story up close have informed Rabbi Eidenson and it seems Micha knows this too for a fact (he is a serious ba'al mussar and doesn't get involved in fights. Read Avodah and Areivim and you'll understand what a talmid chochom and mentsch he is). That equals Tropper lied at least to them who have this inside information verified.

    BTW, many years back I was a talmid of Tropper too. I am utterly disgusted. Yes it is his voice. What's taking so long to verify his voice? The CIA can check OSAMA's voice in a day or 2. Why doesn't Tom Kaplan just pay for Tropper to be proven innocent? He isn't short the cash!

    ReplyDelete

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