Sunday, December 20, 2009

Rav Reuven Feinstein, shlita - An Open Letter

HaRav Reuven Feinstein, shlita,

Someone recently asked me to find the teshuva (Y.D. III 96.9) that your father wrote to you concerning your 20th birthday for his son's 20th birthday. It is especially relevant in your present situation in which your reputation and loyalty are keeping alive an organization which has become a disgrace and embarrassment to the Jewish people. Those who agree with me, will hopefully send a copy of this letter to you.

Yeshiva and Mesivta of Staten Island
1870 Drumgoole Road, East
Staten Island, NY 10309

Phone: (718) 356-4323
Fax: (718) 356-5412

Your father described that birthday as the day you would become punishable for sins also by the hand of Heaven. He was responding to your request that he advise you on how you should conduct yourself the rest of your days. He wrote:

The most important thing is the study of Torah and to be engaged in the struggle of understanding it. Rashi notes in Bechokosai that this is needed in order to avoid making mistakes in halacha. Our Sages note that even the inadvertent errors of a talmid chachom are considered deliberate because he should have learned the halacha in order to reach a true understanding and then G-d would provide assistance to grow in Torah and to know everything clearly. This study will then lead to observing the halacha because our Sages say that the observance of mitzvos is greater than the study. Also your goal in life should be that for all your days that your sole activity will be involvement in Torah study. If that is so I am sure that G-d will help you and will send you generous parnosa with bountiful beracha. Because one's livelihood is entirely a gift from  G-d Who sends it by means of what ever endeavors a man choses to do. This is stated at the end of Kiddushin (82b). It says that one does not suffer poverty because he picked a particular trade nor does one become rich because of a particular trade - but everything is determined soley from Heaven according to his merit.  However, chas v'shalom, to accept this in the manner of an oath which is prohibited. Rather it should be strongly implanted in your thoughts and consciousness and you should do it without taking an oath.

Furthermore you need to train yourself in good midos. The main thing however concerns anger - for which it is necessary to go to extremes to avoid. That is because pride and anger are the attributes one needs to avoid most of all. If you wish to strongly deal with these midos by training yourself properly then G-d will help you. However also in this matter, chas v'shalom, to accept it in the manner of an oath as I mentioned before. It is also important to be careful to honor your mother. This is very difficult for most people because of the habits of childhood - therefore it is necessary to be extremely careful about this. That is because even if she forgives you, chas v'shalom, to rely on this. This that you ask whether you should fast various fasts - this is not appropriate for you and for all those who are engaged in Torah study because this can, chas v'shalom, lead to loss of Torah study. Even if it doesn't result in a quantitative loss but it will result in a qualitative loss. Our Sages (Ta'anis 11a) say that a person who engages in fasting is called a sinner. Similarly one should not afflict yourself in any manner but should increase Torah study. My words should always be before you and G-d should help you always.
                              With deep respect,

                              Daniel Eidensohn


  1. Recipients and PublicityDecember 20, 2009 at 1:10 PM

    This is not something new.

    When Noson HaNovi came to Dovid HaMelech and told him that he had sinned and that Hashem was therefore angry with him, Dovid HaMelech did not hesitate to listen to the Novi and do a teshuva gemerua on the spot.

    The gadlus of Dovid HaMelech was that he was mekabwl tochacha and he was mekabel the emes and he did not fight the obvious truth of what Noson HaNovi was telling him. Maybe Dovid HaMelech had terutzim and sfeikos in his head that he could have uttered. But he kept that to himslef, and instead the Tanach says that Dovid did teshuva and for that he was seen as a GREATER person and not lesser in any way, because of bemokom sheba'alei teshuva omdin...

    So the lesson is clear, the gadlus of Rav Reuven Feinstein will NOT be lessened if he walks away from Tropper and EJf in public and decalers the whole EJF/TRopper adventure over with and null and void. There is no shame to that. The Modern Orthodox had a mossad a few years ago called "Eidah" that was full of hope, but after ten years it shut down and became defunct.

    Even Sura and Pumbedisa shut down. The NETZIV even closed down Volozhin because he did not want to dirty its name with limudei chol, and here we have EJF being dirtied with the terrible ma'asim of Tropper its founder and guiding leader. Tropper=EJF and EJF=Tropper, no getting away from that. EJF cannot be retrofitted to seem like something "new" when it was Tropper's own brainchild with Tom Kaplan and without Tropper there is no EJF and now Tropper's sex scandal has dirtied EJF in the worst light from which it will NEVER recover.

    The horrible stench is rising. It's been boiling over on the Internet. It's only ONE week since this broke and Tropper was forced to quit. All the "kosher" sites and even the Jewish Press announced that Tropper quit and everybody by now knows it was a shameful story. The blogs are fearlessly publishing every detail. You can hide nothing in today's world. It was already reported in the NY Jewish Week and now it's in the NY Post, and this is only the end of the first week. "Sex, lies and video tape" is what this is and what the modern culture will never forget.

    It is NOT going to die down and there is no point in "riding it out" because Tropper was the one who put so much of his own koiches into fighting people and to being mevazeh and intimidate so many groups that no one will let this go like the passing of an innocent "activist" rabbi. No, this is a subject about a "monster" that is finally getting what it deserves, like a Frankenstien or an out of control golem that is being put out of commission for the sake of everyone's welfare.

    It therefore behooves Rav Reuven Feinstein to do the right thing and step back, overcome his shock, reis kria, sit shiva and say kadish for the memory of Tropper and for the end of EJF. They came they saw but they did NOT "conquer" B"H.

    "All good things come to an end" they say, and people go on with a sad smile, and in this instance it's provable that we have a kal vachomer that it's a bad thing that's coming to an end, and that it is appropiate to shed tears and say goodbye to Tropper and EJF forever because they will never have any credibility ever again.

    Please put yourself out of this undeserved misery!

  2. Rav Reuven,

    Your father was the posek hador not just because of his charifus, but his honesty. He feared no on except hashem and was a kanoi for halachah. He took bribes from no one. Unfortunately you were too close to Leib Tropper who was mezalzel dayanus by extorting favors for conversions. Please end all connections to EJF and help others reveal the takers of Troppers bribes and help reveal those who feared Tropper more than hashem. Please do it as a matter of kibbud av and as a matter of restoring kavod hatorah.

    Please. Please.

    Yerachmiel Lopin, a great admirer of your father's integrity.

  3. can anyone provide a working fax number where rav feinstein can be reached, in order to voice our protest of his lack of protest and send him this letter?

  4. I do not like this letter. Are you suggesting that the problem at hand is in essence a mistake in Halacha?


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