Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Daas Torah vs Academic Analysis

Rabbi Isaac Hutner's "Daat Torah Perspective" on the Holocaust: A Critical Analysis
Tradition, 18(3), Fall 1980 235

Introduction Three years ago The Jewish Observer, a magazine published by the Agudat Israel of America, printed a discourse by Rabbi Yitzhak Hutner Shlita, Dean of Yeshivas Rabbenu Hayyim Berlin and a member of the Moetzes Gedola Ha Torah, the rabbinical council of the Agudah, on the subject of teaching the Holocaust in religious schools (" 'Holocaust'—A Study of the Term and the Epoch It's Meant to Describe," October 1977). This discourse aroused a good deal of discussion and controversy within the Orthodox Jewish community, both inside and outside the pages of The Jewish Observer. Nevertheless, despite the variety of comments, criticism, and clarifications—in particular Rabbi Yaakov Feitman's chazarah clarification essay, "Reviewing a Shiur" (The Jewish Observer, January 1978)—the discourse has not as yet elicited the thorough, rigorous, and dispassionate scrutiny that, in light of its importance and controversial nature, it so evidently deserves. Rabbi Hutner's discourse is important for several reasons. First, Rabbi Hutner is perhaps the leading thinker in the traditional yeshivah world, and a discourse of his on the delicate and important subject of teaching thc holocaust in religious schools is bound to carry great weight. Second, as will become clear in the second part of this article, Rabbi Hutner's discourse indicates that the yeshivah world and the Agudah, of which Rabbi Hutner is an outstanding representative, despite their pragmatic accommodation with the State [...]

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  1. I'm telling y'all, best $2 you'll ever spend.

  2. See following link for a critique of Dr. Kaplan's treatment. (for free)

    "The Relationship Between Daat Torah and Malchut and the Issue of Submission"

    (I wonder if this counts as "cyberstalking"?)

  3. That's actually not a critique of this treatment by Dr. Kaplan.

    That article's a critique of Dr. Kaplan's article in the Orthodox Forum volume, available for free at

  4. IMHO this article reinforces and extends the chiluk I made in the earlier academic post. If you are a believer in daat torah in its strong form then you will accept that even if the "proofs" brought by R' Hutner about the mufti/reaction to secular zionism are not "academically" supportable, his conclusion (that the zionists were culpable) is still "a fact".

    Joel Rich


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