Monday, June 11, 2012

Chillul Hashem - and resulting crisis of faith

Rabbi Eidensohn - I salute you.

In your recent blog posts, you have touched repeatedly on something that has been deeply troubling me for a very long time.  Because it is relevant to this discussion, I include a letter I wrote to my Rav  a few months ago.  You can insert the phenomena of intimidation and abuse of victims mentioned in your blog to my list of disillusionment.

If you would like to post this on your blog (anonymously of course) I would be grateful to see what response it gets.  

And I would also very much like to know how you deal with this situation.  Can you see any way forward?  Can Klal Yisrael be saved from this horrible scourge where "frum" social policy is effectively dictated by a bunch of corrupt, immoral bullies?
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Rebbe,

I have for a long time harbored several misgivings about the Charedi world.  You already know my opinion about the seeming obsession with chumros.  Moreover, I find the very concept of categorizing Jews quite offensive: was David Hamelech charedi?  Was he Dati-Leumi or Tziyoni?  No, he was a Yehudi.  OK, I can tolerate as much as saying which shevet you belong to, so maybe I can deal with Sefardi and Ashkenazi labels, because we have different minhagim - just so long as there is mutual respect, and my saying I'm Ashkenazi doesn't mean I think less of the next guy who happens to have made aliya from Iraq.  But these days, when someone says they're Charedi, it usually carries implications that everyone else is somehow a lesser Jew, holding at a lower level at best; off the derech and an apikoros at worst.  And this last series of events in Beit Shemesh and Mea Shearim is only serving to solidify this perception in my eyes.  Notwithstanding the unbelievable chessed and selflessness of individuals in the Charedi world (e.g. Zaka, Yad Sarah, Hatzola etc.) it is becoming increasingly apparent to me that the mainstream Charedi establishment is becoming more and more openly hostile to and deprecating of all other Jews.

And it comes from the top.  Rav Elyashiv may be a sacred cow, but this letter that was trumpeted all over the Charedi media just blows me away.  I didn't trust the media to translate and excerpt it for me; I read it in full, with my own eyes - and it is totally unambiguous.  No to the army.  No to secular studies.  No to any form of contact with the secular world.  And the startling claim "אשר לא שערום אבותינו" - that our ancestors never learned these things.  So Rambam wasn't a physician.  Rashi wasn't a vintner.  The Chayei Adam wasn't a businessman.  Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov weren't shepherds.  And people like me, who committed the sin of learning a trade and don't spend our time in full time learning - and especially those who go to the army - are clearly outside the fold, תועים and חטאים, in the opinion of Rav Elyashiv, the Official Gadol HaDor.

My best דין לכף זכות is that R' Elyashiv did not write this letter, and that his signature at the bottom is forged.  But considering that the learned Rav has not protested against the forgery of his signature here, we must conclude either that he agrees with the content, that he is being kept in ignorance by his askanim/handlers, or that his protests are not being allowed to be publicized.  And whichever conclusion we come to, it makes it very difficult to take anything I hear in his name seriously.  If he is so out of touch with the outside world because everything reaching him or emanating from him is so thoroughly filtered and perverted by his askanim, then frankly he is no more than a puppet.

Irrespective of whether or not Rav Elyashiv actually wrote this letter, the common perception now is that this is the Official Charedi Position on life.  Any True Believer must forswear any secular education, accept the privations associated with having no professional qualifications and therefore the extremely high probability  lifelong poverty and reliance on handouts from the aforementioned חטאים and תועים with whom he should have no contact (beyond extending his palm to them).  And not a breath of protest or dissent from anyone.  Since it comes from Rav Elyashiv, this is Torah MiSinai, and to question it is apikorsus.

I'm not buying the apologetics anymore about Charedi society being centered on chessed.  Haven't bought it since the charedim turned their backs on the Jews of Gush Katif.  If the Jew in need wears (or wore) a different kind of kippa, it's not for us to protest if he gets kicked out of his home and has his life ruined - just so long as the government keeps funding our yeshivos.  We'll protest about desecration of ancient graves on Kvish 6 and remain silent about the desecration of fresh graves in Neve Dekalim.  The behavior of the Sikrikim in Beit Shemesh and Mea Shearim does not strike me as an aberration, but rather the logical conclusion of a certain attitude about life that seems to characterize the Charedi world in general.  So it makes perfect sense that the Rabbonim don't condemn it; why should they, if it serves their purposes?  

אמר רבי אלעזר אמר רבי חנינא: תלמידי חכמים מרבים שלום בעולם.  
I am no Talmid Chacham, and I cannot judge who is a Talmid Chacham.  But I am pretty well grounded in logic.  And if the above statement is true, then it logically follows that anyone who increases machlokes in the world ipso facto cannot be a Talmid Chacham.  

Rebbe, I have to tell you, if I had not learned Torah under Rabbi G' ZTz"L, I probably would have come to the conclusion by now that there are no Talmidei Chachamim left in the world, and maybe even that Torah produces self-righteous, self-centered and elitist bullies who don't give a tinker's cuss about anyone outside of their narrow world.  If it were not for you, presenting a sane alternative to the insanity of the rest of the Charedi world, I might already have packed my bags and gone back  so that I could educate my children in the school that Rav G' founded, and draw my inspiration from what seems now to be one of the last sources of genuine Torah in the world.  Torah without politics.  Torah without divisions.  Torah without judgmentalism.  Just Torah.  And Shalom.

Chillul Hashem cuts deep.  It's not just chilonim who are alienated by this disgraceful behavior and the שתיקה כהודאה of the Charedi world.  It's even frum Jews like me.  And who knows how many people never learned Sane Torah under a Rabbi G', and have been pushed off the derech altogether?

Please convince me I am wrong.  And please tell me who the talmidei chachamim are in our generation who are increasing Shalom in the world.  I am sick to my stomach, disillusioned, and frankly, hanging on to the thread that is Rabbi G' to maintain my own faith.

Sincerely,

30 comments :

  1. Rav Elyashiv's letter is nothing new. East European rabbis have opposed university education for a hundred years and more and regarded themselves superior for it. If you don't feel superior for forswearing good jobs, how will you have the strength to continue? However, there is a difference between feeling you are doing the better thing and feeling you are intrinsically better. Rav Aryeh Levine certainly felt he was behaving more properly than non-observant Jews, but understood that intrinsically speaking, no one knows what the other person's been through and what G-d thinks of him. In short, opinions like that of Rav Elyashiv have been circulating since the 19th century. See introduction to Birkas Shemuel.

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  2. Excellent post.

    Please note that there are two Haredi worlds.

    1) If you go to a Haredi community and meet the people there.

    2) What you learn about it through second-hand information.

    I have found that 1) is very good most of the time and 2) is very bad most of the time.

    The big question is which do you believe: 1) or 2)?

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    1. While there is some truth to what you say, my observation is that it's not such a complete dichotomy. There is an unquestionable sense of superiority among even the most moderate in the Chareidi world.

      In more mixed communities this sense gets submerged, both because it's not PC to be overt about it and, more importantly, because they interact more with non-Chareidim and see that "others" can be just as "frum" and learned.

      However, as a community begins to become more homogeneous, the sense of superiority becomes more acute, its members become more xenophobic by losing touch with "the other" and internally there becomes a never-ending spiral of one-upsmanship in acting and looking "frum".

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    2. Menachem,

      It's not perfect, and everything you say is true. But it's a heck of a lot better than the outside world. I've lived both ways. There's just no comparison.

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  3. I understand that Rav Shach said that even the charedi Touro College is full of heresy and it is forbidden to go there. Obviously tons of charedim go to Touro even though the "gadol hador" said not to. So people don't necessarily follow the official ideology. In my opinion the concept of Gadol HaDor itself has been very harmful to Orthodox Judaism in general. Where does it originate anyway? Is it even a halachically legitimate concept? What happened to the practice of hearing both sides of the story and issuing written opinions explaining one's reasoning psak, rather than issuing conclusory opinions second-hand through askanim?

    How can someone be a gadol hador, or even a gadol at all, if they don't conform to historical norms (and perhaps halachic requirements) of halachic decision-making? It's one thing for chassidim to hang on every word of a rebbe they consider a great tzaddik. But to consider every rumor about what the gadol hador said to be binding on all Jews...it just doesn't make sense.

    For example, R' Ovadiah Yosef, R' Schachter, R' Willig and others approve of the RCA prenup, but apparently people say that R' Elyashiv says it creates a get meusa, so most Ashkenazi charedim seem unwilling to use it. One little psak by R' Elyashiv and all the sudden no one whose mother was divorced through a RCA prenup can marry a charedi? Isn't this madness?

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  4. If you stake your Judaism on a pashkavil type of document which does not look at all like a psak of Rav Elyashiv, then you are facing deep trouble.

    A psak of the Rav would be focused on the source meforshim for the psak and wouldn't be a diatribe against all forms of external activity.

    Try to find a genuine confidant of Rav Eliyashiv to see what he really holds.

    There is no question that Charedi rabbonim are aware of and supportive of people engaging in work to support themselves. Any other position is not tenable.

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  5. I have felt this way for years and I believe most frum bailei battim feel the same way.

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  6. Very well written letter. Thank you for posting it.

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  7. I bet there are plenty of approachable high level poskim qualified to rule on important matters who are not walled off by askanim and the like.

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    1. Chardali posek Rav Shlomo Aviner gives mini-teshuvot via text message and email. The email is done through his assistant, who directly asks R' Aviner the question and answers back incredibly fast.

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  8. "Try to find a genuine confidant of Rav Eliyashiv to see what he really holds."

    One of the problems is the total lack of accessibility or transparency with the charedi "gedolim". Almost nobody can get to them to find out what they really mean, and even then you get screened and screened. They rarely make public statements.

    Contrast this to the prominent Dati Leumi and Modern Orthodox poskim. Many are listed in the phone book under their real names, and they return phone calls. Some have congregations. Most have lots and lots of students who continue to ask them shilahs. One has even published his SMS text messages that he has sent in response to shilahs. Just try sending a text message to any charedi gedol! You can be sure that if you don't know what one of the DL/MO poskim think on a subject it is because they have not publicly expressed an opinion, not because they are being manipulated or fed false information by the people who surround them.

    It isn't just that the charedi system of isolationism doesn't work, it is that the charedi system of Torah doesn't work! You can't have Torah without access and transparency.

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    1. I am not a rabbi, but remember being able to walk into Rabbi Scheinberg's apartment during his hours and ask him anything, without getting an appointment and without having to wait too long.

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    2. That is simply untrue. With the possible exception of particularly elderly rabbonim in Israel, it is generally very easy to reach even prestigious rabbonim. Most are listed in the phone book, and most answer their own phones. I personally have called several roshei yeshiva and spoken directly to them. A friend of mine who was a young bachur at the time even approached R' Belsky to discuss the particulars of possibly his most controversial psak. I thought at the time that he would be upset at the bachur, but he just discussed the ramifications of the psak with him openly.

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  9. Actually an Orthodox JewJune 12, 2012 at 8:29 AM

    I am absolutely shocked at anyone -- especially an Orthdox rabbi -- publishing a piece that questions the leadership of our greatest Rabbis. Especially the leadership of Maran. And ESPECIALLY in the area of hashkofa.

    Obviously it is Rav Eidensohn who has the problem. I am removing his blog from my browser, and if I ever see him I will not only not talk to him, I will endeavor not to daven with him.

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    1. Was that parody? It was very good - you come across exactly as the caricature of the "All Charedim Are Innately Perfect And Everyone Else Is Wrong, Evil And Apikorsim" type of induhvidual.

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    2. It is important to note that Rav Moshe Feinstein was asked by Rav Benyamin Silber whether it was permitted for him to move to Bnei Brak because he disagreed with the Chazon Ish's view on a number of points.

      Rav Moshe answered that there is no problem with a talmid chachom disagreeing with the Chazon Ish - even in Bnei Brak.

      Rav Moshe of course had no difficulty with those who disagreed with him - as long as they had their own sources or understanding of the issue.

      During the Sheitel crises a few years ago - Rav Belksy was interviewed by the New York Times - he stated that he accepted the psak of Rav Eliashiv - "until he had time to investigate the issue himself"

      I was in the car with Rav Eliashiv about 15 years ago when someone raised the issue of voting. One of the passengers noted that Rav Sternbuch had prohibited voting in the election - which directly contradicting Rav Eliashiv's psak that everyone should vote. He simply smiled.

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    3. If he was for real, then there's an awful lot of people that he can't davven with - even in the most charedi shuls.

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  10. I have a better idea, how about not believing letters that Rav Eliashiv wrote while in critical condition in a hospital bed.

    Personally I don't intend to believe another word that supposedly comes from him until he is(G-d willing) back in his home and giving his regular Gemarra shiurim.

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    1. Rav Shteinman said pretty much the same kind of stuff, live in Beit Shemesh. I was there and heard it myself, but you can read Rav Slifkin's account of it here.

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  11. "Rav Elyashiv's letter is nothing new. East European rabbis have opposed university education for a hundred years and more..." Absolutely correct. And before that they opposed formal schooling for girls; because they were in touch with the world around them, they (with the Chofetz Chaim zt"l leading the charge) recognized that the Beis Yaakov movement was the right way to go. A simple illustration of the same is that the Ramban recommended not looking at someone when you speak with him; today that would be rude, rather than a midat chasidut. Torah doesn't change, but the world in which it is applied does change. That's what psak means, and why we require new poskim for changed circumstances. I believe that comparing the necessity for university education vis-a-vis employment in 5772 with the same in 5672 demonstrates a lack of understanding of a Torah way of thinking. Precedent is only relevant when the world has stood still - and, quite obviously, it has not.

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    1. Dr. Marc Shapiro in the recent Seforim Blog says

      I recently found a very interesting comment by R. Levi Yitzhak of Berdichev, Kedushat Levi ha-Shalem (Jerusalem, 1958), Likutim, pp. 316-317. He asks why we say תשבי יתרץ קושיות ואבעיות, that in Messianic days Elijah will answer all problems. Since Moses will be resurrected, and he is the giver of the Torah, why don’t we say that he will provide the answers? R. Levi Yitzhak explains that only one who is living in this world knows what the situation is and how the halakhah should be decided. This is not the case with one who is dead and has lost his worldly connection. This explains why Elijah will provide all the answers, as he never died and was always part of the world. Therefore, unlike Moses, Elijah is the one qualified to decide matters affecting us. The lesson here is obvious, especially for those who think that every issue must be decided in Israel by authorities who really have really no conception of how American Jews live.

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    2. (3) ספר קדושת לוי - מסכת אבות
      תיקו, הראשי תיבות תשבי יתרץ קושיות ואבעיות. ובהשקפה ראשונה יש לדקדק, הא זה יהיה הכל אחר ביאת הגואל במהרה בימינו אמן, ולמה יתרץ אליהו הקושיות והאבעיות הא יעמוד משה רבינו שנתן לנו התורה והמצוה ולמה לא יתרץ הוא הקושיות והאבעיות. ונראה, דהנה כתוב בספר הדורות בהפלוגתא דרש"י ורבינו תם עם התפילין, דרש"י ז"ל היה משה רבינו בסייעתו, והר"ת לא השגיח על זה ואמר לו שכבר נתן לנו התורה ובידינו להורות כפי הוראות שכלינו בהתורה הקדושה. ונראה להבין זאת ונבאר זאת בקיצור, דהיינו גבי פלוגתא דבית שמאי ובית הלל אמרינן (עירובין יג ע"ב) אלו ואלו דברי אלהים חיים, דהנה יש בחינה שאדם לומד הפשט בהתורה הקדושה כפי הבחינה שלו אם הוא מעולם החסד אז הכל טהור ומותר וכשר כפי הוראות שכלו בהתורה הקדושה, וכן להיפך כשהוא ממדת הגבורה אז הוא להיפך והנה בית הלל מדתם היה מדת החסד ולכך בית הלל לקולא, ובית שמאי שהיה ממדת הגבורה לכך בית שמאי לחומרא. אבל באמת כל אחד לפי מדרגתו דברי אלהים חיים. זהו אלו ואלו דברי אלהים חיים. והנה חכמינו ז"ל שהיו אחר הדור בית שמאי ובית הלל וראו שהעולם צריך להתנהג בחסד וקבעו הלכה כבית הלל בכל מקום לקולא כבית הלל. והנה מי יכול להבחין זאת באיזה מדה צריך זה העולם להתנהג שיופסק הלכה כמותו מי שהוא בחיים והוא בזה העולם הוא יודע באיזה מדה צריך זה העולם להתנהג, אבל מי שאינו חי אינו יודע כלל באיזה מדה צריכה לזה העולם להתנהג בו והנה אליהו הוא חי וקיים ולא טעם טעם מיתה והוא תמיד בזה העולם ולכך הוא יפשוט הקושיות ואבעיות, כי הוא יודע באיזה מדה צריך העולם להתנהג. ובזה יובן מה שאמר ר"ת למשה רבינו ע"ה שכבר נתן לנו התורה ובידינו להורות:

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  12. Actualy... You have freinds there is a new blog that still believes in the rabbi s... Haredi and proud עיין שם

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  13. I'd be interested in hearing what R Eidensohn has to say about the Charedi community. I share a lot of the concerns raised in the letter and seem to be losing more and more faith in the Charedi world that I consider myself a part of. I always found it strange that the Charedi world criticizes work so vehemently but then all over the world Charedi meshulachim are begging all kinds of Jews that work to give them some money for their families, their yeshivos etc. If you believe there is no need to work, then provide for yourselves and don't go begging from those avrayanim that are working.

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    1. One way to think about things is that being "charedi" is actually a shorthand for a number of variables: 1) dress, 2) attitude toward outside world, 3) halachic methodology, 4) attitude toward minhagim and chumrot, 5) da'as torah/the gedolim, and (in Israel) 6) attitude toward working for a living. If you believe in 1 through 4 but not 5 or 6, well I would say you could argue that 5 and 6 are not really necessary. Whether that makes you a moderate charedi rather than a "post-charedi" (in Rav Slikfin's terminology for those who have lost faith in da'as torah). There are other valid models of leadership -- we just have the one we have now because of our many sins (and perhaps the lack of courage to promote a different model -- where there is no man, be a man.)

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  14. There is a basis in chassidut for criticizing rabbinical leadership:

    Rebbe Nachman once said, "The world labors under the misconception that a tzaddik cannot make a mistake. I say this is not so. A tzaddik can make a mistake. The mistake remains a mistake and the tzaddik remains a tzaddik."

    Rebbe Nachman "also said of certain Chassidic leaders of his day, 'The tzaddikim are making a mistake by praying after the z'man tefillah.'" (Chayei Moharan 487).

    Selections from Likutei Eitzot:

    "Today publicity and fame go to false figures...There are false leaders, and when people follow their guidance they absorb false ideologies and mistaken beliefs."

    "There are people who impose themselves as leaders and rulers over our poor, bereft nation not because they have been appointed by Heaven but purely through their own arrogance and assertiveness.... They can attain so much power that they can even exact penalties from those who do not wish to bow to their rule. But the correct phrase for this is not `exacting penalties' but `causing damage,' because ultimately they are a destructive force in the
    world."

    "There are leaders who go by the name of rabbi but whose learning has been picked up from the `superficialities' and `waste' of Torah. They are unable to control even themselves, let alone other people. But they still have pretensions to greatness and seek to lead and guide the whole world. You should be very careful to accord them no recognition whatsoever so as not to add in any way to their power or authority. They themselves can be forgiven for what they do: they are no more than the victims of a strong lust for power. It is the people who give them credibility and power and who are prepared to accord them the title of rabbi who will have a heavy penalty to pay."

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  15. I don't know if R Elyashiv wrote this letter or not . I would though understand that his opposition is to the studying of liberal arts and humanities , which is a part of must college degrees. Included in his opposition is any framework aimed at chareidim that is under secular Israeli control. He did not forbid a religious controlled college that does not teach liberal arts. He for sure didn't forbid learning a trade . Actually the Steipler was almost going to have his son R Chaim taught a trade when he thought that he wasn't cut out for learning.

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  16. Blog author wrote,

    "I have for a long time harbored several misgivings about the Charedi world. You already know my opinion about the seeming obsession with chumros."

    There are 2 types of charedim. Talmidei chachomim of the Yeshiva and Chassidish world and the extremists of the sikrikim who seek outrageous chumros that no talmid chochom would support. You seem to be lumping the 2 together. They are strictly separate. I will address your comments based on the first category of Charedim.

    "Moreover, I find the very concept of categorizing Jews quite offensive: was David Hamelech charedi? Was he Dati-Leumi or Tziyoni? No, he was a Yehudi."

    Wrong. He was a charedi Jew that would not follow the anti Torah distortions of the Dati-Leumi elevating the mitzva of yishuv eretz yisrael above all others. Nor would he subscribe to the anti religious Zionist doctrine propounded by the Hertzl outcast.

    We have rachmunous for members of these groups but we can't accept guidance or leadership from them due to their false ideologies.


    "But these days, when someone says they're Charedi, it usually carries implications that everyone else is somehow a lesser Jew, holding at a lower level at best; off the derech and an apikoros at worst."

    The charedim strive for a higher level and the majority of them achieve it and have a right to be proud of it.

    "And this last series of events in Beit Shemesh and Mea Shearim is only serving to solidify this perception in my eyes."

    Here you are confusing the wild non halachic sikrikim chumra chasers with true ruchnius seeking charedim.

    "it is becoming increasingly apparent to me that the mainstream Charedi establishment is becoming more and more openly hostile to and deprecating of all other Jews."

    What is the source of these feelings? Haaretz or Ynet?

    "Rav Elyashiv may be a sacred cow, but this letter that was trumpeted all over the Charedi media just blows me away. I didn't trust the media to translate and excerpt it for me; I read it in full, with my own eyes - and it is totally unambiguous. No to the army. No to secular studies. No to any form of contact with the secular world. And the startling claim "אשר לא שערום אבותינו" - that our ancestors never learned these things. So Rambam wasn't a physician. Rashi wasn't a vintner. The Chayei Adam wasn't a businessman. Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov weren't shepherds. And people like me, who committed the sin of learning a trade and don't spend our time in full time learning - and especially those who go to the army - are clearly outside the fold, תועים and חטאים, in the opinion of Rav Elyashiv, the Official Gadol HaDor."

    If you accept this pashkavil written by a sikrik in the name of Rav Elyashiv, you have been sucked in. What is Rav Elyashiv's interest in stirring up a hornets nest of mahlokes? It's not even written as a halchic decision.

    The army is a nest of atheism and sexual temptation. There is very little accommodation of Orthodox living and should be avoided if at all possible. The asara batlanim are the watchers of the city and not the soldiers. Today they are not even allowed to fight a decent battle but are crippled by rules of engagement that cause more Yiddishe korbanos.

    Association with intellectual sources whose foundations are antithetical to Judaism is certainly to be frowned on. No middling chochom could deny people the right to make a decent living and Rav Elyashiv would never deny anyone who needed to do it.d.

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  17. "My best דין לכף זכות is that R' Elyashiv did not write this letter, and that his signature at the bottom is forged. But considering that the learned Rav has not protested against the forgery of his signature here, we must conclude either that he agrees with the content, that he is being kept in ignorance by his askanim/handlers, or that his protests are not being allowed to be publicized."

    There are so many false things promulgated in his name that it would be a serious waste of his time to declare forgery on any use of his name.

    "And whichever conclusion we come to, it makes it very difficult to take anything I hear in his name seriously. If he is so out of touch with the outside world because everything reaching him or emanating from him is so thoroughly filtered and perverted by his askanim, then frankly he is no more than a puppet."

    This is a silly conclusion based on incomplete and counterfeit information.

    "Irrespective of whether or not Rav Elyashiv actually wrote this letter, the common perception now is that this is the Official Charedi Position on life."

    Perception of whom? The leftists and other deniers of gedolei hador are just panting for an excuse to come to this conclusion.

    "Any True Believer must forswear any secular education, accept the privations associated with having no professional qualifications and therefore the extremely high probability lifelong poverty and reliance on handouts from the aforementioned חטאים and תועים with whom he should have no contact (beyond extending his palm to them). And not a breath of protest or dissent from anyone. Since it comes from Rav Elyashiv, this is Torah MiSinai, and to question it is apikorsus."

    Professional qualification which come at the expense of the loss of emuna are a disaster. In any case, these days professional degrees are very debased. People who work in decent professions such as plumbers make much more money. Lifelong poverty is certainly not the reality or goal of any reasonable charedi Jew. Some will accept it upon themselves in order to elevate their lives of Torah. This is thier individual choice.

    "Haven't bought it since the charedim turned their backs on the Jews of Gush Katif. If the Jew in need wears (or wore) a different kind of kippa, it's not for us to protest if he gets kicked out of his home and has his life ruined - just so long as the government keeps funding our yeshivos."

    Why are you angry at the Charedim for this? What about the foolish Zionistic Jews who went along with this idiocy? What about Sharon and the other villains who perpetrated it?

    "The behavior of the Sikrikim in Beit Shemesh and Mea Shearim does not strike me as an aberration, but rather the logical conclusion of a certain attitude about life that seems to characterize the Charedi world in general."

    You've been taken in by the anti religious propaganda that mixes Rav Elyashiv and other kedoshim with those outrageous idiots.

    "So it makes perfect sense that the Rabbonim don't condemn it; why should they, if it serves their purposes?"

    What is the purpose of this useless slander?

    אמר רבי אלעזר אמר רבי חנינא: תלמידי חכמים מרבים שלום בעולם

    "I probably would have come to the conclusion by now that there are no Talmidei Chachamim left in the world, and maybe even that Torah produces self-righteous, self-centered and elitist bullies who don't give a tinker's cuss about anyone outside of their narrow world."

    You are not looking for the truth if you have come to this conclusion about Rav Kanievsky, Rav Steinman, Rav Edelstein and myriad others.

    The majority of the roshei yeshiva and the true Chassidic leaders provide Torah and peace to the world

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