Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Rabbi Dov Lipman's response to Rav Ahron Feldman's personal attack

Baltimore Jewish Life   Rabbi Lipman wrote: 

To the Baltimore Jewish Community:

I owe so much to Ner Yisrael and want to be clear from the outset that my words are not against the yeshiva.  Tremendous damage for me and the yeshiva has been caused by an audio tape in which I am quoted as saying something which I never said and anyone who knows me knows I would never say.  I was quoted as saying that "all yeshiva ketanos in Israel should be closed" and then for all intents and purposes I was called a rasha and equated with Amalek and Haman.  The following is what I actually have said and what my political party Yesh Atid is working for:

1) The Israeli government should not fund institutions which don't teach basic math and English.  Yeshivos which don't do so will not be closed down but they won't receive government funding.  It should be pointed out that there are numerous yeshivos which already take zero government money and continue to flourish. Adina Bar Shalom, Rav Ovadiah Yosef's daughter appeared before the Knesset task force to help Haredim enter the work force which I founded and begged us to implement math and English because 50 percent of the boys in her chareidi college drop out due to their lack of math and English.  I meet regularly with chareidi young men who are still completely in the chareidi world and they tell me that the one thing which is necessary is some basic math and English.  I believe it is a sound decision for a government to make and look forward to seeing the yeshiva ketanos flourish and continue producing gedolei Torah while teaching basic math and English.  Ironically, the basis for my supporting this plan knowing that gedolei Torah can still be produced if general studies are taught is actually Ner Yisrael which produces.[...]


  1. So Haredim call him Amalek/Haman, for supporting army conscription. Obviously these ha\redim are unfamiliar with the Torah. The Tora comamnds us to fight Amalek militrily, and these particular haredim wish to prevent this mitzvah. Also, it was Mordechai and esther who managed to get permission for jews to take up arms to fight haman. So now, they are suggesting that taking up arms is the work of haman?

    1. was this meant as a serious comment?!

    2. Which part of the comment do you dispute?
      Purim is a military event, as is Hannuka.

    3. you assertion, "Obviously these haredim are unfamiliar with the Torah."

    4. RDE- when Eddie says they are obviously unfamiliar with the Torah, he does not mean it literally. It is a facetious way of saying "Their calling him Amalek makes no logical sense in light of what the Torah says." Do you dispute his point?

    5. That is a rhetorical statement - I do not agree with Lapid/Benent/Lipman, but neither do many Israeli disappointed voters who face tax hikes. BUt the jump from austerity to Amalek is a bit contrived. I do not agree witht heir funding policy to yeshivot - but again, is this the same situation as Germany in 1933 that we can justify calling them Amalek.?
      And, again, re military service - if the IDF is fighting against Hamas and other murderous regimes, then how exactly is it Amalek to serve in the Army? It is quite the opposite.

  2. I wonder if Rabbi Feldman will respond

    1. be careful what you say, especially when talking about people who are humble and fear heaven
      and fight with all your strength for the Gedolim

  3. If the argument is DAAS TORAH verus your DAAS and G'dolim verus your opinion, or the difference between ISRAEL & AMERICA Yeshiva's then the entire piece from each side is a 'Waste of time, effort and energy'

  4. This back and forth between Feldman and Lipman is the greatest indictment of the Moetzes Gedolei Hatora and the begining of the end of "Daas Torah" as it is defined by the Moetzes.

    Here we have a member of the Moetzes and a Rosh Yeshiva speaking in hyperbole and attacking a shomer torah u'mitzvos for something he did not say.

    On the other side, you have Lipman responding with measured words and with real arguments. Feldman either didnt know that he was being taped or didnt know what a mockery of Torah he made.

    Which one comes across as more dignified?

  5. Rabbi feldman was not behind his speech. He was railroaded by the hanahalah of ner israel and other askanim to say what he said in his speech. Question is will he yeshiva retract.

    1. I wondered how long it would take before someone "defend" Rav Feldman by saying he was nothing but a puppet dancing on strings manipulated by mysterious askanim.

      Rav Yosef Gavriel Bechofer put it another way in a comment on Haemtza:

      Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer •

      A FB conversation with a sincerely bewildered lad:

      6:41:33 PM - Reuven: have you been following this whole rabbi lipman thing
      6:44:22 PM - YGB: yes
      6:45:17 PM - Reuven: Can you explain to me why he is being attacked by rabbi feldman what is he doing wrong
      6:45:40 PM - Reuven: doesnt seem like a bad idea if kids learned math and english and can support their families
      6:46:23 PM - YGB: Rabbi Feldman is a reactionary zealot.
      6:47:44 PM - Reuven: can you explain their mind set he has dedicated his life to Torah he oviously wants whats best for the Jewish people doesnt he know that there are thousand of charedim living in poverty and many of them want to work
      6:48:00 PM - Reuven: and doesnt rabbi shmuel aurebach know this
      6:48:03 PM - Reuven: and so on
      6:50:40 PM - YGB: They do not care about people, only about Torah.
      7:00:21 PM - Reuven: hows the possible caring about people is part of caring about Torah
      7:00:40 PM - Reuven: is the same with rav shteinman
      7:00:48 PM - Reuven: does he feel the same
      7:08:56 PM - Reuven: it would just seem like then there the charedi leadership is gone if all t hese rabbis dont see what rabbi lipman does
      7:18:21 PM - YGB: You won't get an argument from me...
      7:19:59 PM - Reuven: I must be missing something cause these rabbi are considered the leaders and know so much Torah and I dont know his name but there was great rabbi in Europe who were against putting english and math in the schools
      7:23:29 PM - YGB: They aren't leaders. They are scholars.

  6. Lipman is still fighting the yeshiva system as the chareidim want it. They do not want a system geared lechatchila to produce baalei batim. The Maarava highschool was opposed because of this. So it is unlikely there will be any retractions.

  7. I find Lipman's response lacking an many of the comments here supporting him disturbing. The complete lack of Kavod HaTorah for Rabbi Feldman, no matter if you agree or disagree with him is shocking!

    The problem with Lipman is his lack of Kavod and his haughtiness as if he knows what is best for Klal Yisrael and will force it on other. I happen to agree with with him that there should be basic secular studies for Chareidim, but the Chutzpa to think that he can force this (and yes, cutting the subsidies to Yeshivos is forcing) on the Gegolim that have fought for generations not to allow any Leimudei Chitzonios in their system (right or wrong) is unacceptable.

    A much better approach in my mind is to establish an after school program for the Chareidi system, where children can study math and English without altering the Yeshiva system. You would see that over time more and more children will enroll in these programs. Why do we need to the zero sum game, my way or the highway that is so prevalent in the Israeli society?


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