Thursday, May 30, 2013

A review of Masoras Moshe by Rabbi Yair Hoffman

 [see my previous post on this subject Mesores Moshe - What is it?

update: see my recent post  Get Me'usa an apparent contradiction between Igros Moshe and Mesoras Moshe

Five Towns Jewish Times   [...] R. Mordechai Tendler, who had kept notebooks and letters of his saintly grandfather’s rulings in his 18 years as serving as his grandfather’s Gabbai, has just printed a new book of Rav Moshe Feinstein’s oral rulings.  The rulings number well over one thousand, and most of the them are quite fascinating.

The book has approbations from both of Rav Moshe’s sons, Rav Dovid Feinstein Shlita, and Rav Reuvain Feinstein Shlita, as well as Rav Shmuel Fuerst from Chicago and Rav Dovid Cohen from Brooklyn, both leading and well-respected Poskim in the United States.  Rav Chaim Kanievsky Shlita, of Bnei Brak, appended his signature as well to Rav Dovid Cohen’s approbation. [Rav Dovid Cohen and Rav Chaim Kanievsky are very close]. [...]

It is interesting to note that a similar but much thinner volume of rulings from Rav Moshe Feinstein zt”l was published approximately two years ago by Rabbi Aharon Felder from Philadelphia.  Indeed, the Rav Felder volume contains rulings that were significantly more controversial than this more recent volume.  Certainly, R. Tendler was aware of these rulings as well, yet either he or, more likely, the editors of this volume chose to exclude them.  Of course there have been rulings emanating from Rav Feinstein that appear neither in this most current volume nor in the Rav Felder volume. [...]

In this author’s opinion, the vast majority of Rav Moshe’s rulings that entered into general acceptance when he was alive still remain generally accepted.  There are some rulings, however, where the trend has been to look elsewhere.  For example, Rav Moshe permitted the use of rebar to prevent cement from cracking when pouring cement for a mikvah.  [Rebar is short for reinforcing bar which helps reinforce or compress concrete through either a bar or wires made of carbon steel]. He held that the metal was batel to the cement.  The tendency for the past number of years of Mikvah builders is to stay away from rebar.  Perhaps this can be explained by the development of greater proficiency in pouring, but conversations with Mikvah builders indicate that there is a halachic trend at play here. In a similar vein, numerous Bnei Torah now look at the U shaped insertable Cholent pot as a problem of Hatmana – insulating, relying on the view of Rav Elyashiv and Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach.  This is a position that was summarily rejected by Rav Moshe.

Perhaps only time will tell, but the question of how the arrival of this new volume will affect current halachic rulings of contemporary Poskim is certainly an interesting one.  Finally, family members have confirmed that there will be a total of eighteen volumes to be published. The Sefer is available at all major Jewish bookstores.


  1. YouCantHandleTheTruthMay 31, 2013 at 4:19 AM

    Sort of like the way his Psak that he brings about what R Moshe ruled was permissible to do to force someone to give a Get, right, Reb Doniel?

    1. I don't know any competent posek who would accept Tendler's word on this matter without clear corroboration from other sources. Especially since it seems to go against the accepted normative halacha. You obviously live in a different world than I do.
      The disdain and distrust expressed for Tendler has existed for many years - aside from the scandals. I am simply noting its widespread existence. The 7th volume of the Igros Moshe was referred to as Igros Mordechai when it came out. The 8th was viewed as even more problematic and unreliable. The 9th volume seems be ignored by everyone.

      There were a number of major talmidei chachomim who were close to Rav Moshe who stopped visiting him towards the end of his life. That is because Mordechai Tendler would answer their questions as to what Rav Moshe held - even though Rav Moshe was sitting there. Or even before that got in he would ask them their questions and he would state what Rav Moshe held. Mordechai Tendler has long held he clearly knows Rav Moshe's views and answers questions in Rav Moshe's name. Others view this as questionable.

      My first encounter with Mordechai Tendler was after I published Yad Moshe. He called me up to tell me that his father was threatening to summon me to beis din - for appropriating his Yerusha!!! This is obviously a totally bizarre claim. However who was I to go against the demands of the famous Tendler family. I called a number of rabbis as well as a copyright lawyer and they all said it was totally absurd - from both the halacha and secular law. However I agreed to his demand that he approve the next edition that I would produce. When I translated the English into a Hebrew Yad Moshe I went to visit him in Monsey. I showed him the sefer but he was running a high fever at the time and said he couldn't read it. He generously said he would approve it anyway without looking at it.

      Bottom line - I would not base a psak concerning a sofek doreissa or even sofek derabbonin solely on the authority of what is printed in this new sefer

    2. See my recent posting
      Get Me'usa an apparent contradiction between Igros Moshe and Mesoras Moshe

  2. A document is available from the Pincas Bais Din of Shaar HaMishpat that apparently demonstrates forgery within Rav Moshe Feinstein's Igros Moshe sefer in regards to halacha involving forced Gittin.

    I am not a spokesmen for Bais Din Shaar HaMishpat, but I personally heard Rav Gestetner refer to the issue described in the document.

    To obtain the PDF document showing forgery in Igros Moshe, send an email to with the number 1023 in the subject field. To obtain an index of all the Bais Din documents, send an email to with the number 9999 in the subject field.

    1. The document you cited doesn't show forgery. It does show that there are some places that the nusach was changed between the large and small set of Igros Moshe and the Bar Ilan edition. In this particular case I don't see that there is a significant difference in the psak presented in the 3 places.

      There were also changes that Rav Moshe made between the written teshuva and that which was printed. For example the written teshuva prohibiting translating the Igros Moshe says that Rav Moshe was even ready to go to civil court to stop Rabbi Rakkefet from publishing his index. In the printed version that line has been removed.

    2. @DaasTorah - “The document you cited doesn't show forgery.”: Your claim there was no forgery is in error. On page two of document #1023 (mentioned above), it shows side by side two editions of Igros Moshe. The right side edition is the earlier edition written by Reb Moshe after the FIRST NY state Get law. The people asking that sheilah were referring to the FIRST Get law, which Reb Moshe paskened does not cause real kefiyah because it was a minias tovah, ie the court is denying the husband a favor by refusing to grant a civil divorce. See “sh’yeesribu leeten divorce” on the right side document.

      Reb Moshe never referred to the SECOND NY State Get Law because he was niftar before the SECOND NY State Get law appeared. The, newer, forged Igros Moshe was published AFTER the second NY state Get law. The second NY State Get law was clear that the NY state court can punish the man using financial penalties or imprisonment in order to force a Get. All rabbinic authorities agree this is kefiyah, ie a forced, invalid Get.

      Now notice that the statement “sh’yeesribu leeten divorce” was completely removed in the left side document (the newer edition of Igros Moshe), which mentions a case where the NY state court can allegedly force a man to give a Get. Someone had changed the newer nusach, printed after Moshe's petira, in a way that makes it look like the NY court can force a Get.

      The practical result of this is that the forged Igros Moshe is being used to make it appear as if the second Get law produces a kosher Get according to Reb Moshe, when in fact it actually forces a pasul Get.

    3. Would you like to write a guest post on the matter?

    4. Maybe I'll write a guest post in the next few weeks, bli neder.


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