Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Lashon harah?

Reuven sent you a message.

"Hello, as a Rav and a mechaber of seforim, I don't understand how you can run a "blog" that becomes a forum for all types of lashon hara?"


  1. This person has a definite point. Many times these discussions devolve into lashon hara. Here are some examples of comments that don’t seem to further discussion and in my opinion more than meet the criteria laid down by the Chofetz Haim for lashon hara:

    "Anti-zionism includes all of Chareidi Judaism" and a sizable chunk of Mizrahi Jews as well. Basically, it is everyone whose extended families have not intermarried with Christians (fictitious and valueless conversions or not) and come under the influence of macho European Crusader theology.”
    This effectively slanders large numbers of Gedolim and Jews in general.
    “Like me, she has noticed that especially Chabads but also many of the Modern Orthodox shuls she has visited around the country (for singles events) are full of many women who are obviously not born Jewish, mainly Asian and Northern European but also many Latinas. Obviously our Rabbis have not slowed down their pace of continuing to perform intermarriages under the false pretense of "converting" the Gentile woman. This has left thousands of wonderful Jewish women with no Jewish men to marry.”
    Here we have effectively slandered the Lubavitch and MO communities and their respective Rabbanim
    “Several years ago, I received a phone call from Mrs Judy Kaplan on behalf of the Miami Beach Mikveh. She told me that a recent outbreak of chlamydia, a STD was traced to the Miami Beach Mikveh and that she was required to call all members and tell them to be tested.”
    Finally we have a Mikvah and attendant slandered by something that is not biologically possible. This even was elevated to a main post.
    So yes in my analysis a good amount of lashon hara does occur in the discussions and comments on this blog. I am not sure what the solution is, but it should be no shock that it does happen.

  2. Speech is considered to be lashon hara if it says something negative about a person or party, is not previously known to the public, is not seriously intended to correct or improve a negative situation, and most importantly, is true.

    There are times when a person is obligated to speak out, even though the information is disparaging. Specifically, if a person’s intent in sharing the negative information is for a to’elet, a positive, constructive, and beneficial purpose, the prohibition against lashon hara does not apply. And if the lashon hara serves as a warning against the possibility of future harm, such communication is not only permissible, but, under certain conditions, compulsory.

    I have my shailas regarding each of the above items as to whether or not it is permissible to spread them.

    The answer that I was given is, not only is it permissible, but it is REQUIRED to broadcast them to as many Jewish people as possible.

    I have asked shailas and am following my Rav.

    Mekubal, I am sure that you have a Rav whom you ask also. If your Rav believes that reading this blog is forbidden, then you will have to follow your Posek also.

  3. Jersey Girl,

    If you specifically have asked a Rav on each of the statements, the way you worded them above, then please provide written proof from that Rav.

    Give us the Rav's name. So that we can ask him and hear from him how slandering people like the Gerrer Rebbe is allowable. Because you said,
    "Anti-zionism includes all of Chareidi Judaism" and a sizable chunk of Mizrahi Jews as well. Basically, it is everyone whose extended families have not intermarried with Christians (fictitious and valueless conversions or not) and come under the influence of macho European Crusader theology."
    Since every Gerrer Rebbe since the Imrei Emes has been pro-zionist that means that by default you include them. I want to see what Rav allows one to talk about Gedolim in such a manner. I will bet dollars to doughnuts that if your Rav were confronted with your specific statements that he would disavow any heter he may have(or you claim he has) given.

    Secondly within your own criteria the statement has to be true, however you said,
    She told me that a recent outbreak of chlamydia, a STD was traced to the Miami Beach Mikveh and that she was required to call all members and tell them to be tested.
    As was demonstrated through ample sources including those from the CDC this is IMPOSSIBLE. The very impossibility of the statement rules out any possibility of truth. Thus this isn't really even lashon hara, it is shem ra.

    My own Rabbanim have not ossured this site, but they have stated that in all my interactions they expect me to act within the bounds of halacha, which includes refraining from spreading lashon hara, and confronting those that do.

    You need to check your sources again on what is considered to be lashon hara. From my reading of the Hafetz Haim, even if it is known to the public it is still ossur. Also as far as to correct or reprove only goes as far as reporting it to ones own Rabbanim or the Rabbanim of the individual.

    Finally please tell me how any of the statements that I quoted above could at all be seen as corrective?

    How is telling the world that the Gerrer rebbe has a faulty Yichus(ChV"Sh) at all a warning to the greater Jewish public, let alone one that we should take seriously?

    To be succinct let's call the above statements what they are. Ugly harmful slander not aimed to help, but rather to cause harm and division amongst the Jewish people and to spread fear.

    Personally I think that the OP has a point. Perhaps there should be stricter safeguards on what is allowed to be posted on a site devoted to Torah.

  4. Mekubal wrote :"If you specifically have asked a Rav on each of the statements, the way you worded them above, then please provide written proof from that Rav."

    JG :In Orthodox Judaism, a "shaila" is a question asked of one's Rav. An answer is not customarily given in written form. When a shaila is asked, the answer given may also vary from from person to person.

    I once asked about a specific situation and was told to report it because I have first hand knowledge of the situation. I was also told that other members of my family may not report or discuss the same situation because they do not have first hand knowledge of it.

    Mekubal wrote :"Give us the Rav's name. "

    JG: I do not believe that you are looking for a new Posek, so why would you care about private halachic conversations between me and my Rav?

    Are you such a control freak that you wish to censor any Rav who does not share your opinions?

    Are you so full of yourself that you believe yourself to be a greater scholar than a Rav who is a Gadol Hador??

    Do you think that you know more halacha than R'DE who is the author of Yad Moshe, or the Poskim that R'DE consults with??

    Mekubal wrote: "So that we can ask him and hear from him how slandering people like the Gerrer Rebbe is allowable."

    JG: A Rav who is a student of the Chazon Ish and who himself considers Zionism to be a form of Christian theology would not consider this to be a slanderous statement ""Anti-zionism includes all of Chareidi Judaism" "

    Mekubal wrote: "Since every Gerrer Rebbe since the Imrei Emes has been pro-zionist that means that by default you include them."

    JG: The Sfas Emes was a great opponent of Zionism. It is not correct to say that the subsequent Gerer Rebbes were not opposed to Zionism.

    The Imrei Emes, was also very strong in his opposition to Zionism. However, he did encourage his chassidim to move to Eretz Yisroel, and made trips there to strengthen the community.

    As a member of Moetzes Gedolei Hatorah, he was criticized by Rabbi Chaim Elazar Shapiro, the Munkaczer Rebbe, for the Agudah activists excesses in stressing emigration to the Holy Land. In response, the Imrei Emes said that he was only the honorary president but had no actual power over the activists:

    "In truth, I already dislike bearing the title of honorary president of the Agudah. I would willingly give up the honor and I wish I had never taken it on. For what do I need such a big responsibility? Who am I that people should blame these things on me? I would like you to suggest a different way for religious Jews to unite, so that there might be no complaints against us." (Tikun Olam, p. 19)

    In the years immediately prior to the establishment of the Zionist state, Agudah policy was dominated by Isaac Meir Levine, son-in-law of the Imrei Emes. However, he was mostly unable to consult with the Imrei Emes (who was then in his last year of life) or other gedolim, and the decision reached by him and other Agudah activists to enter the provisional government was not based on any ruling from the gedolim. See Mikatowitz Ad Hei B'Iyar, Chapter 6.

    The Gerrer Rebbes' policy from then on has been to vote, but that does not mean that they would disagree with the halachic sources forbidding the establishment of a state.

    Gerrer Chassidim forbid prayers for the welfare of the State of Israel which anyone who has ever visited a Gerrer shteible can attest to.

  5. The issue of spreading infection at the mikveh is very much addressed by our Rabbis. Keeping our mikvoth clean and hygienic should be a top priority in our communities.

    The NY State Health Dept. has had a number of outbreaks of disease transmitted via mikvoth in the NY area and worked together with Jewish leaders to upgrade the hygenic standards of mikvoth.

    see New York's Jewish Jews
    By Jenna Weissman Joselit pp 120-1

    And from Nishmat:

    Impetigo possibly being transmitted via the mikveh and towels.

    Yeast infection immerses at the end of the shift

    Addressing the issue of contracting infection from the mikveh with a pick line

    And in the medical literature.

    "In May 1996, the North York Public Health Department was notified of three laboratory-confirmed cases of cyclosporiasis among persons who attended a luncheon at a religious institution. A ceremonial bath (mikvah) was initially identified as a possible source of exposure to contaminated water"

    Can J Public Health. 1999 Nov-Dec;90(6):399-402.


    Men's ritual baths low on hygiene
    From: Jerusalem Post | Date: August 13, 1995| Author: Judy Siegel, POST HEALTH

    Upgrading the standards of hygiene and safety in our mikvoth should be a priority in our communities.

    To say that such a discussion is "lashon hara" is absurd. Perhaps you might wish to address your concerns about discussing women's health issues involving mikveh via the internet with Rabbi Yaacov Varhaftig, Dean of the Institute, or Rabbi Yehuda Herzl Henkin, halachic advisers to Nishmat, pnone 972-2-640-4333.

  6. I posted some of these links before, but it is relevant regarding the risks of transmission of infection via community mikvoth.

    Community mikvoth in many cities are monitored by the Dept. of Public Health and the waters are regularly tested for infectious organisms. When there are outbreaks, notification of the members becomes mandatory. This was the case in Miami Beach.

    Ms. Kaplan was NOT an employee of the Miami Beach mikveh. She worked for a public health clinic at the time. It was a considerate choice of the Health Dept. on behalf of the women of the community, that they had a community member notifying the women who had used the mikveh.

    See also: Caring for Jewish Patients By Joseph Spitzer pg 168.

    A discussion of the prevalence of cellulitis and fungal and bacterial infections of the lower limbs among Chassidic men who use the mikveh on a daily basis.

    Here is more from Nishmat:


    There is a legitimate concern about infection in women undergoing chemotherapy [1]. For this reason, many physicians recommend against swimming in public places. Fear of infection may also lead them to question mikveh use [2] [3]. It is very important to be aware that arrangements can be made to minimize the risk of infection. The mikveh water can be drained, and the mikveh pool cleaned with a disinfectant such as bleach and refilled with clean new tap water. The woman at risk can be the first to immerse that night. With these precautions, the risk of infection from mikveh immersion is probably less than that from bathing at home.

    The preparation rooms in the mikveh present a higher risk of transmitting infection. However, it is perfectly valid for a woman to do all her preparations at home. Most women who prepare at home take a short shower at the mikveh. However, a woman for whom infection is a more serious concern can simply rewet herself in the mikveh water (prepared as described above) before she actually immerses.



    "A modern mikveh will meet all standards of the local health department for public bathing facilities. For women at higher risk, special arrangements can be made. The pool can be drained of all the water and wiped down with a disinfectant solution. For halachic reasons, it has to be carefully dried prior to refilling and thus a thorough job will always be done. The pool is then refilled with fresh clean tap water. The high risk woman will be the first to immerse in the pool before others do so. [On the other hand, if a woman has a potentially infectious condition, special arrangements can be made for her to be the last to immerse before the pool is drained and disinfected].

    Many women prepare for mikveh immersion in preparation rooms provided at the facility. While these are kept clean, the fact that they are used by many women does increase the chance of infection for women at high risk."


    "Infection control issues should be discussed with the mikveh in advance. Depending on the system, it might be best for her to be the last one to use the mikveh at night, and for the water to be changed before the next day."

  7. The issue of when and how to speak up and and when it is or isn't loshen horah to do so is not a new topic on this blog.

    For the ebenfit of those who don't recall some of the main realted posts related to this topic here is an overview:

    For example, see Lashon HaRah vs saving others (November 23, 2008):

    "Riva (Vayikra 19:16): One should not stand idly by concerning the blood of your fellow man. Rashi explains that it means you should not stand idly by and see the death of another person - if you could save him.

    Another explanation connects Rashi’s understanding with the first part of this verse, “Don’t spread gossip amongst your people.” Even though you are commanded not to be involved in lashon harah – don’t stand idly by concerning the blood of your brother. In other words if a person told you that he was planning on killing someone – don’t stand idly by but go and inform the intended victim so he can save himself…"

    Or, as in the issues of Child abuse & Lashon HaRah/HaRav Moshe Sternbuch, shlita (July 31, 2008) with an original source cited.

    In another instance there was a discussion related to lashon hora that of provoking sinas chnom at Sinas Chinom - the danger of unexpressed hatred (August 12, 2008):

    "Anonymous said...
    Very appropriate that I came across this blog on tisha BAv. The question I have for you is when you will face Hashem will Hashem say you helped Moshiach come sooner or you were part of the Tishah BAv problem of sinas chinom etc. and delayed the Geula. In your heart I hope you have an honest answer and you will close down this hateful site before it is too late to fix the damage you are doing.

    Anonymous said...
    I agree with the comment that this is adding to sinas chinom and machlokos. I urge the blogger of "Daas Torah" to realize that this blog is against "Daas Torah".

    [Rabbi Eidensohn:] The above comments need to be addressed. They are accusing me of producing sinas chinom and increasing machlokess. Both of them presuppose that if I didn't have this discussion on my blog there would be more peace and ahavas Yisroel in the world. That Lubavitchers and non-Lubavitchers would have greater love for each other if they didn't communicate with each other.

    I strongly disagree with that assertion. In fact it is obvious from the strong feelings on both sides of the this dispute that I did not create any anger - but rather I am allowing the feelings to be expressed.

    Is there anything to be gained by allowing feelings to be expressed? Perhaps it is best to keep the disputing parties separate and not encourage communication? From what I have seen on the many posts, I personally feel I have a much greater understanding of the issues than when I started. There have been some truly deep and insightful comments - even in those posts with hostile language.

    There seems to be a built in assumption of many in Chabad that there is a genetic predisposition of the rest of us to hate them. They perceive any criticism as proof that they are being hated. What I hope has become obvious is that there is a sincere desire to hear justification for what they are doing. I have detected some awareness of the Chabad posters that they do in fact realize the need to do outreach to their fellow Orthodox Jews and that they are in fact viewed as acting or thinking in ways that arouse fears and concerns. I also hear that some Chabad posters are not fully convinced about the wisdom of the path that the organization has taken.

    Finally regarding the accusation that I am not following Daas Torah. What Daas Torah am I not following? The Chofetz Chaim makes an insightful comment concerning the Torah command of not hating your brother in your heart (Vayikra 19:17) which he says is the prohibition of sinas chinom. Hatred which is kept in one's heart because it is not expressed - destroys and ruins the essence of a person. Hitting another effects primarily the external limbs of a person. It is better to express the anger and communicate to the other person that you feel he is doing something wrong.

    If these discussion are creating more hatred and upset than existed previously than in fact they are problematic. While some have asserted that any criticism or questioning of their practices is proof of hatred, I hope at this point such an attitude has been attenuated in at least some of the participants. In short, there is a Torah obligation to give tochacha to those we feel are doing something wrong. This forum provides a controlled environment for both sides to fulfill this Torah obligation - and hopefully both sides will be improved by the experience."

    Just to remind everyone, for some context to this blog, way back at start, the owner Rabbi Dr. Eidensohn/da'as torah pointed out that he had become the subject of an EJF smear campaign (December 13, 2007) and was told to "drop dead!" vs. "you are not acting leshem shamayim" (December 24, 2007) simply for asking basic things like The issue is - What is the halachic basis of EJF? (December 21, 2007) and Why is EJF refusing to have open for-the-record dialogue? (March 4, 2008).

    In response, Rabbi Eidensohn made it clear that the Chazon Ish says it is halachicly proper - and perhaps even imperative - to reveal negative information about influential rabbis (March 14, 2008) and its worth repeating now, a year later, because it addresses the core concern of the rabbi worried about potential "loshen hora" ch"v going on here:

    "amicusEJF (the defender of Eternal Jewish Family) questioned my public criticism of Rabbi Tropper's conduct in relationship to Rav Sternbuch, shlita and myself. The following quote of the Chazon Ish justifies my conduct. A person as influential as Rabbi Tropper has to adhere to a higher standard of conduct than others and is legitimately subject to revelations of his misconduct that are not appropriate of non-influential rabbis and roshei yeshiva. The quote of Rav Yaakov Kaminetsky zt"l shows that it is also relevant for influential rabbis who are deceased.

    Chazon Ish(2:133):Knowledge about a talmid chachom who shapes yiddishkeit is similar to that of an artisan. Just as one is permitted to convey accurate information about an artisan if there is to'eles so it it permitted to reveal information about a gadol if there is to'eles. Of critical importance is to be totally accurate otherwise it is slander. This implies that expressing negative information about others is relevant for those who are considered influential authorities – in order to understand the degree to rely on them...

    Rav Yaakov Kaminetsky (Emes L'Yaakov- Bereishis 37:18): I was asked by a student why the Torah tells the story about how Yosef was treated by his brothers – isn't it lashon harah? I answered firstly that the prohibition of lashon harah in fact only applies to the living but according to the Torah it is permitted to speak lashon harah about the dead except for an ancient cherem (Orech Chaim 606:3). And this cherem only applies to slander but not to facts even if they are not flattering... [see the original citations provided.]"

    See some posts related to concerns about what being said, like the Reply to Baruch's objection to blanket criticism of conversion organizations (April 2, 2008) and Cheshbon Hanefesh - Let's pause to take an accounting (April 11, 2008) that makes it very clear that the owner of this blog is fully cognizant of the severity, complexity and the danger that discussions of this nature ar fraught with:

    "There has of late been significant dispute and strong disagreement on this blog between our commentators - especially since Eternal Jewish Family seems to be fading from the picture. I have basically stayed out and not expressed my views on these internal dispute - even though I do have strong opinions on the matter. However by not publicly judging the views - I think a great deal of relevant information has been presented - mostly with great clarity and cogency.

    It is important to keep in mind that we are dealing with a complex halachic issue which is complicated by contradictory social realities and muddled by unclear and inconsistent goals of the various authorities and communities involved. That is why I am being very cautious about what I post. My silence should not be interpreted to mean that I agree with the comment. Nor should my lack of support indicate that I doubt the veracity of the information. I have gained much insight and clarity through the sincere - though sometimes abrasive - debate. While some of the comments have been abusive and insulting - I realize the pain and genuine concern that motivated them. They would have been more effective if presented in a more respectful manner.

    The information that I post - as well as the comments - are being read daily by many people around the world. The number of daily hits has been significantly increasing as well as the influence of this blog on these issues.

    I just want to express my appreciation of your efforts and to update you on what is happening. I also greatly appreciate the material which has been sent to me directly - some of which has been the basis of a number of my postings."

    Here is another virtue of blogs like this one that was posted Impact of blogs - "Sometimes the good guys win" (June 5, 2008) and a good discussion of Chillul HaShem of Renegade Kanoim (June 29, 2008) versus another outlook by Rav Yaakov Kaminetsky, zt"l: Zealotry is necessary - but only if guided by a clear understanding of Torah (June 23, 2008):

    "Emes L’Yaakov (Bereishis 49:7): ... Look at what I wrote previously in Bereishis (34:5). There I explained that it is certain that that this represents a punishment for Shimon and Levi, nevertheless Yaakov specifically appointed these tribes to these exalted responsibilities of educating the children and supervision of holy food. That is because only Shimon and Levi manifested the kano’as (zealotry) required for these jobs. This was seen by their response to Yaakov concerning the rape of their sister Dinah (Bereishis 34:5): “Is our sister to be a prostitute?” They alone were referred to as the brothers of Dinah because they were willing to sacrifice themselves for her welfare. Thus for these positions to be fulfilled successfully it is necessary to appoint people who have the attribute of kano’as (zealotry) and mesiras nefesh (total devotion) to serve G-d and His Torah. These positions require men who when they see something irregular, will immediately be aroused for the sake of G-d like an inferno and they will serve their position well. Therefore Yaakov specially appointed Shimon and Levi for this work.

    However if we look carefully to see whether they in fact did these jobs according to their father’s expectations, we see that only the tribe of Levi actually did the work of education but not the tribe of Shimon. It was only the tribe of Levi that served as a strong barrier against those who arose to nullify the covenant with G-d. In contrast we don’t find that Shimon was involved in this work. The reason for this is clear. Only the tribe of Levi was exempt from working for Pharaoh during all the years of slavery. Thus only the tribe of Levi was able to sit and be immersed in Torah study. Only when kano’as (zealotry) is grounded and defined by Torah parameters - is it successful. That is why when the Leviim saw the terrible chilul HaShem that resulted from the sin of the Golden Calf they immediately expressed their zealotry for G‑d and killed even friends and relatives who were participating in the sin. Similarly when there were Jews in the Wilderness who wanted to return to Egypt, it was the Leviim who were in the vanguard against them. During the entire time that passed from the events concerning Dinah until the Redemption from Egypt they maintained their zealotry - but it was always bounded and guided by their deep knowledge of Torah.

    In contrast, while the kano’as of Shimon was also strong it was not guided by Torah and thus did not have proper nature. When did his “kano’as" manifest itself? It was in the events of the worship of Baal Peor. It was Zimri who expressed this “kano’as” against the rule of Torah provided by Moshe. It was used to uproot the attribute of modesty which was then prevelant amongst the Jews. He expressed his zealotry by his open involvement in sexual immorality with the non‑Jewish woman. Therefore it was only the kano’as of Pinchus, from the tribe of Levi ,who was guided by the laws of the Torah who was able to attack Zimri and defeat him and stop the plague that was punishing the Jews. Kano’as which is not guided by halacha does not have the ability to be successful because it ultimately just destroys the kanoi. It is only the gedolim in each generation who have the proper intuition and sensitivity to know and decide when it is necessary to be a kanoi and to protest and when it is best to remain silent. This ability is only acquired by those who have the keys to Torah in their hands."

  8. Rabbi Chaim Elazar Shapiro, the Munkaczer Rebbe

    Munkaczer = Satmar through marriage and idealogy. It is one and the same.

    Regarding the POV of Agudah and who are the determining voices, this is has been a point of detention for years. In 1968 Agudat Yisrael held a major conventions known as a Knessiah Gedolah. It was not long after the SIx Day War, and the main topic of discussion was how to explain Israel's victory in the war theologically. (In other words, "Was the victory a miracle or not?). After several speeches it APPEARED that the assembley was going to adopt a resolution accepting the Satmar Rebbe's view that the State of Israel and its victory was an act of Satan to test the Jewish People UNTIL Reb Yaakov Kaminetsky zt"l wrote a note to the chairman of the conference to the effect that the final notes of the proceedings should reflect differently, to quote, "How is it that when tragedy strikdes, when calamity falls, we explain with certainty that it is Yad hashem punishing us, yet when something good happens, when 31/2 millions Jewish lives are saved, we say it is not the hand of God, but of Satan?"
    Reb Yaakov spoke out in another Knessiah Gedolah in 1977 speaking against the issue of zealotry....regarding hashgafa of the creation of the state and miracles of magnitude emanating from a satanic source.

  9. Jersey Girl,

    You claim to have gotten a psake from a Gadol HaDor? Funny I have gotten psakim from R' Eliashiv, R' Ovadiah Yosef, R' Kaduri, and R' Amar and every time I was given a written teshuva for their reasoning. Truth is I don't believe that you got a psak from a Gadol, I believe this is another of your fictitious inventions. I have no desire to censor this supposed Rav, however I do want to check to make sure that you are being honest, but from your reply I see that you are not.

    As far as the Imrei Emes being pro-Zionist. Aside from the many Gerrer Chassidim that I know, as I live close to their enclave in Jerusalem, there is also the book "The Rebbes of Ger" put out by Artscroll(a Chareidi organization) that claims that they are. There are also the numerous joint statements released by the Gerrer and Lubavitcher Rebbe on the subject. Once again you fail to get your facts straight.

    The Chazon Ish, for all of his greatness, was in many ways a Daat Yachid, R' S.Z. Auerbach, R' O. Yosef, and R' Shach all Gedolim in their own right often disagreed with his rulings. He is by no means universally accepted as Halacha. That you quote a supposed unnamed student of his for your defense of your SLANDER against large portions of Chareidi Judaism is suspicious at best, and even if said source does exist(at which point you have to give it a name) then that is still one opinion. For instance I have it from two students of R' S.Z. Auerbach, R' Neunwith and R' Ostroff, that R' Auerbach strongly disagreed with the Chazon Ish regarding whether one was allowed to turn off the lights during a night time air raid(the Chazon Ish says no).

    As far as your mikvah story. First your story contradicts itself. Secondly you have yet to provide any proof that Chlamydia or other STDs can actually be transferred via a mikvah. Anything that you bring deals with extremely imuno-suppressed individuals. The only reputable source you bring is,
    ""In May 1996, the North York Public Health Department was notified of three laboratory-confirmed cases of cyclosporiasis among persons who attended a luncheon at a religious institution. A ceremonial bath (mikvah) was initially identified as a possible source of exposure to contaminated water"

    Can J Public Health. 1999 Nov-Dec;90(6):399-402."

    Then it only is an initial thesis, not a final analysis, there is a big difference. For instance initially people thought Jews spread black plague, and initially people thought X-rays were a good treatment for ringworm. Both have turned out to be highly untrue.

    I doubt that the Nishmat center would appreciate your attempts to spread fear in regards to mikvah. When I get a chance I will talk to the Jerusalem director about it. However, as someone is posek(from R' Yosef, R' Messas, and R' Y. Deri) in Niddah issues, I do not necessarily find all of Nishmat's other information reliable, so why would I take their word on this?

    You can try to defend your behavior anyway that you like. That does not make it right. Your lack of willingness to identify the Rav that supposedly gave your permission to spread such things as publically as possible does not endear you to a high level of credibility.

  10. Jersey Girl,

    Specifically you stated,
    "Anti-zionism includes all of Chareidi Judaism" and a sizable chunk of Mizrahi Jews as well. Basically, it is everyone whose extended families have not intermarried with Christians (fictitious and valueless conversions or not) and come under the influence of macho European Crusader theology.”

    Rabbanim that I know are not Anti-Zionist are:
    R' Kaduri(I was a student of His)
    R' Yosef
    Gerrer Rebbe
    R' Mordechai Eliyahu
    R' Yehuda Deri

    Please give specific references of where these great men have a marred Yichut of being intermarried with Christians and non-Jews. In addition, with the Exception of R' Eliyahu, they are not considered Chareidi by the greater Chareidi world. Unless you can do that specifically you have spoke Shem Ra against each of these Gedolim.

  11. We disagree on the Gerrer Rebbe's position on Zionism which is fine.

    My mother's grandmother was a first cousin of Rabbi Simcha Bunim Alter ztl and Rabbi Yisroel Alter, ztl. (The marriage to a "Shvartz yid" resulted in a rift with most, but not all of the Chassidic side of the family).

    My Gerrer cousins are anti Zionist and tell me that this is the position of Gerrer Chassidim.

    We can agree to disagree on Ger's position on Zionism as there are claims to support both opinions.

    My neighbor's brother was the Gabbay of Rav Kaduri ztl. for forty years and told us that Rav Kaduri ztl was anti Zionist.

    A contributor to Wikipedia seems to agree and states "Rabbi Kaduri moved to the British Mandate of Palestine in 1923 upon the advice of the elders of Baghdad, who hoped that his scholarship and piety would stop the incursion of Zionism in the post-World War I state."

    You say Rav Kaduri ztl was a Zionist while others say that Rav Kaduri ztl was a Christian.


    Rabbi Yosef, Rabbi Mordehai Eliyahu and Rabbi Yehuda Deri are employed by the State of Israel. They do not represent the majority of Chareidi Judaism worldwide which you also state in your post.

    It is NOT Motzai Shem Ra to follow a Rav who disagrees with "Mekubal's" Rebbeim.

    "The Chazon Ish was a man of the Shulchan Aruch - and this was reflected in his writings as well as in his every move. In many respects, he was considered the posek acharon--the final halachic authority of his time.

    In his writings, the Chazon Ish departed from the norm of the yeshiva movement in that he was not content to work on the theoretical level alone--concentrating on analysis of the Gemara without consideration to its further, practical application. Instead, he developed every subject from its source in the Talmud through pertinent commentaries, to the halachah as recorded in the Shulchan Aruch. He then united theory with its practical application by explaining the Gemara in a manner that reflected the halachah. "

    from ArtScroll/Mesorah Publications Judaiscope Series.

    Given the Sephardic community's tradition to hold by the Beit Yosef , it should not be a surprise that the Posek for my extended family (and everyone else I know from Deal) for the past 30 years would be a student of the Chazon Ish, ztl.

    If you were, as you claim to be, a member of the Sephardic community, I would not need to tell you who this is.

  12. As a Gerrer Chosid I can personally bear eidus that the Gerrer Rebbe, like his predecessors, have the greatest respect for the Satmar Rebbe ZT'L, his positions, and his Chasidim. The Rebbe (as well as the previous Rebbe) have said so loud and clear and unambiguously. The Rebbe has no major disagreements with the Satmar Rebbe's core positions regarding zionism, just how to interact with the zionists ym's now that they grabbed power and politically administrate the Holy Land.

  13. Jersey Girl,

    Once again you specifically stated,
    "Anti-zionism includes all of Chareidi Judaism" and a sizable chunk of Mizrahi Jews as well. Basically, it is everyone whose extended families have not intermarried with Christians (fictitious and valueless conversions or not) and come under the influence of macho European Crusader theology.”

    First you have yet to state how any of those great men have family that are intermarried to non-Jews and Christians. It does not matter who employs them, your statement says that the only reason they would feel this way is because of a marred Yichut. An accusation for which you need to give proof.

    Second considering that the Chazon Ish was by all respects Askenazi, it does surprise me that you claim to be Sephardi and yet follow him or one of his students. If you told me that it was the Kaf HaChaim, that would be a different story. Yet even if this supposed student of the Chazon Ish felt that Zionism somehow had it roots in Christianity that does justify accusing any of the Rabbanim yet mentioned of having a marred Yichut or being intermarried themselves.

    Ok so you want Rabbanim who are not employed by the state of Israel that your statement slandered. My basis for judging most of these Rabbanim as pro-zionist, and for sure not anti-zionist, is that they exclude Tachanun and say Hodu in their Batei Knesset on Israel Independance day:

    R' Avigdor Nevantzal
    R' Messas
    R' Attia
    R' Beniyahu Shmueli
    R' Shalom Shmueli
    R' Hedayya
    R' Zilberman
    R' Mordechai Sharabi Z"L
    R' Aryeh Levine Z"L

    As far as R' Yosef, he is the Posek HaDor for Sephardim. So it is rather hard to say that he is not representative of Chareidi Juddaism. The only one I said who isn't is R' Eliyahu. However you have yet to state how any of these great men have a marred Yichut, as your initial comment states.

    That you would quote a MISSIONARY "news" source, that has been repeatedly debunked as a source that R' Kaduri was ChV"Sh a christian is APPALLING. His own family and all of his students have repeatedly stated that this story was false from start to finish.

    I never said it is Motzai Shem Ra to follow a Rav that does not agree with my esteemed Rabbanim. However, it is Motzai Shem Ra to state that any who do not agree with your supposed Rav has a marred Yichut, where either they or their family intermarried. It is Motzai Shem Ra to state that a Gadol such as R' Kaduri, a man whom every Gadol in Israel, despite disagreements and politics, paid their respects to, and acknowledged to be a Gadol, was a Christian.

    Being Anti-Zionist implies being against the formation of and the continual existance of the modern State of Israel. Thus one can be opposed to secular Zionism or religious Zionism for haskafic reasons without being an Anti-Zionist.

  14. Y.N.

    A couple of questions. Why does the Sfas Emes Yeshiva in Jerusalem say Hodu on Israel Independance day and string Israeli flags across the street in front of the Yeshiva?

    Why have the Gerrer Rebbeim substituted Modern Hebrew for Yiddishe as the primary language of its Hasidim?

    Why did the Gerrer Rebbe instruct his followers to vote for Nir Birkat instead of Porush on account of Porush having a meeting with the Satmarer Rebbe?

    Why did R' Shach condemn HaModia(the Gerrer paper) as pro-Zionist?

  15. Michael, those are GOOD QUESTIONS.

  16. Michael,

    As a Gerer Chosid who has been with the Rebbe for years, I can tell you that your facts are wrong.

    I challenge you to back up your statements -- as you have none.

  17. Y.N.(Who I believe is a sock puppet of Jersey Girl),

    First Edition of Yated Ne'eman published in 1985 gave as its explicit reason for breaking with HaModia, the only Chareidi daily before then, "the Zionist pollution that has found its way into the Aguda(which is run by the Gerrer Rebbe) and its representitive daily HaModia."

    I believe I may have pictures here somewhere of the Sfas Emes with Israeli flags displayed on Israel indpendance day.

    At least one citation that Gerrer Hasidim use Modern Hebrew not Yiddishe

    Finally I am curious given the Gerrer Rebbe's stand on the use of internet(he ossured it), how did you find this site? How do you make your posts?

  18. The Gerrer Chassidim I know (Boro Park and E.Y.) speak Yiddish.

  19. The one's I knew in LA as well as in Manchester(England) spoke Hebrew and more importantly their day schools are conducted in Hebrew.

    I have friends that live in Manchester part of the year and they specifically send their children to Gerrer schools so that when they come back to Israel they will not have slipped in their Hebrew.

  20. Mike: hearsay (from an editable website or photos you claim to posses but refuse to share) is not proof. You lack it, as it doesn't exist.

    Shmuely: Correct.

    mekubal: Shmuely is correct. The Gerrer Chasidim stick exclusively to Yiddish, except where there is no other choice.

  21. My Gerrer cousins in Manchester and London speak Yiddish.

    My mother's side was Gerrer. They all spoke Yiddish.

    When I was 5 years old, I brought home the Jewish National Fund pishka from the school. I had already gone door to door and collected $13.39, which was a small fortune back then.

    My Bubbe smacked me when she saw the pishka and screamed "schmad".

    My mother got home, we counted the money and wrote a check to Gerrer Mosdos. The little blue metal box went in the garbage.

    When I brought home a Ben Yehuda dictionary, my parents switched the school. We were not allowed to speak Hebrew in the house.

    That was my Gerrer family.


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