Wednesday, June 25, 2008


From an email synopsis I received (read the full essay at the link above):

Rav Mantel's declaration, which angered many in the community, came at a sit-down kiddush at Dr. Raphael Moller Hall in Washington Heights after Shabbos morning services. He said that only Rav Hirsch, a great man who knew the fine boundaries between what is religiously permissible and what is prohibited, could make Torah Im Derech Eretz workable.

Our generation, he said, must follow today's gedolei HaTorah (great Torah leaders).

After Shabbos, Dr. Eric Erlbach, KAJ president for over two decades, resigned.


  1. Is that a relative of yours mentioned in the article? Do you think that Rav Mantel is justifying the facts on the ground or is he staking a new position for the kehillah?

  2. First cousin. I think Rav Mantel is just "justifying the facts on the ground." I also am certain that KAJ knew that Rav Mantel was no adherent of TIDE when they hired him, but hired him anyway because of his other, truly outstanding, characteristics. Doubtless the same was the case with Rav Gelley and (albeit not quite to the same extent) with, l'havdil bein chaim l'chaim, Rav Schwab. If one really wants to get historical, then the Hunsdorfer Rav, who was hired after the petirah of Rav Salomon Breuer for the original KAL/IRG in Frankurt was doubtless no adherent of TIDE either!

  3. Whoops! Typo - that should have been "KAJ/IRG"

  4. Absolutely true. This a sad - but not suprising - development in the history of KAJ. I would take the Hunsdorfer Rav out of the trend - because A) He was appointed to get passed the political controversy regarding the weisse blett and Rav R. Breuer. And B) KAJ was truly the creation of Rav J. Breuer and had very well publicized "ideals". These Ideals have been slowly and steadily eroded under Schwab, Gelley & Mantel.

  5. Sad - so very sad. It is absolutely true that KAJ has been drifting further and further away from TIDE ideology. Mainly thorugh the direction of R' Schwab. However - this is a true break. When the Rav of KAJ can say in public that TIDE could only work in the era of SRH - there has been a complete break with the ideology that built the shul. One wonders why the Austritt concept is not also considered a horaas shaoh?

    It is a sad commentary - not suprising - but truly sad.

  6. It may very well be the facts on the ground that TIDE is no longer their derech. But that being said, I cannot believe no one challenged his additional statement that the it was necessary for to have a R. Hirsch - who could only be in his generation - to have TIDE function?...this is saying it ONLY existed, and was ONLY viable when *he* was; this is tantamount to saying it was a horaat hashaah, which R. Hirsh rejected in his own writings. Was R. Hirsch wrong to hold by R. Hirsch, who was "wrong" in saying 1)TIDE did not need a R. Hirsch, 2)TIDE preceded and followed R. Hirsch, 3) TIDE is a normative path of Sages...? 9sources in R. Leiman's essay from "Judaism's encounter with other cultures"). That the rabbi with the shul...could articulate what is tantamount to a historical revision of this scope - *AT KAJ* itself - and no one countered it? R. hirsch stated that TIDE was the NORMATIVE disposition of TRUE Judaism over the millenia. by saying it was so bound to R. Hirsch's presence and time *when R. Hirsch himself said otherwise*, how can people say it is not yet more, blatant, proud yeshivishe revisionism? its one thing to say "someone one stepped into the shul and said suchandsuch"...but the rabbi of the shul says this, and says a Torah way of life is not Torah any longer. there is one way he says, in the shul.
    in tears,

  7. Wow Just in time for This weeks Parsha another Start of a Machlokes Hence Rashi Says PARSHA ZU YAFFEH NIDRESHES in every situation you can give Drashos on this Parsha.

  8. Parshas Korach:
    The Gemara in Sanhedrin in Perek Chelek speaks extensively about this week’s Parsha. The Gemara speaks about the group of people who joined Korach’s group in a rebellion against Moshe. The Gemara says he choose קריאי מועד.The question that comes to mind is: What is the significance of this choice? The first thing we must understand is what are they? The Gemara explains the term and says:
    קריאי מועד שהיו יודעים לעבר שנים ולקבוע חדשים
    That is that these are people who know how to figure out when to make a leap year and when to declare a month.
    We must now return to the original question: What is the significance of this choice? This requires further background information to answer so first we ask another question
    What job did Korach want? We know he does not want Moshe’s position because that was not his complaint. as Rashi says:
    אם לקחת אתה מלכות לא היה לך לברר לאחיך כהונה לא אתם לבדכם שמעתם בסיני אנכי ה' אלהיך כל העדה שמעו
    He said “Why did you take Ahron as Cohen Gadol we all heard Hashem decrees not your family alone heard it, we are all holy so why do you grab all the honor for your Family?
    Korach accused Moshe of choosing Ahron because of nepotism. The Rashi later Points out that Korach was not a fool. Then the question arises how he could make such a statement? Everyone knew that Ahron was not chosen because he was Moshe brother but because he was the most worthy candidate. This is established by Rashi when describing the dedication of the Mishkan in Parshas Shemini as there it says:
    לפי שכל ז' ימי המלואים שהעמידו משה למשכן ושמש בו ופרקו בכל יום לא שרתה בו שכינה והיו ישראל נכלמים ואומרים למשה משה רבינו כל הטורח שטרחנו שתשרה שכינה בינינו ונדע שנתכפר לנו עון העגל לכך אמר להם זה הדבר אשר צוה ה' תעשו וירא אליכם כבוד ה' אהרן אחי כדאי וחשוב ממני שע"י קרבנותיו ועבודתו תשרה שכינה בכם ותדעו שהמקום בחר בו
    Translation : Seven days of the installation Moshe set up the Tabernacle and served in it, and took it down every day--- the Shechinoh did not rest on it, and Israel were ashamed, saying to Moshe: "Our master Moshe! All the trouble we went to that the Shechinoh should rest among us, and that we should know that we have achieved atonement for the sin of the Calf. Therefore he said to them: "This is what Hashem commanded you to do and the glory of the Shechinoh will appear to you. My brother Ahron is worthy and [even] more important that I, for by means of his sacrifices and his service the Shechinoh will rest among you, and you will know that the Omnipresent chose him.
    Now it was completely clear then that it was Ahron who was chosen so what was Korach’s complaint. We see that Ahron was so great he did what Moshe could not. What kind of complaint is nepotism .Ahron had already proven himself the man for the job? Reb Yosef Salant answers it must be that Korach’s complaint was that anyone Moshe would have chosen would have had this happen. It was not Ahron per say, but It was that Moshe choose his brother Ahron. That is if someone else would have been chosen they too would have the Shechinoh appear. We see this in Shabbos there the Gemara says דתניא ג' דברים עשה משה מדעתו והסכים הקב"ה עמו He did it and only later did hashem concur
    We now can answer the question; what is the significance of the choice of קריאי מועד? Korach was very calculated he choose the קריאי מועד because we have one place in Halacha with the concept of Hashem allowing himself to be the secondary decision maker. That is allowing people to do the deciding themselves and going along with it. This is the קריאי מועד. By Kiddush Hachodesh the Gemara in Rosh Hashanah says even if Beis Din makes a mistake in calculation, and even purposefully it changes Rosh Chodesh for the good of the people coming to be Oleh Regel Hashem will approve the Beis dins decision. Korach Choose these people who calculated theses dates to illustrate and show the world Hashem made the Shechinoh come down not because Ahron was worthy, but because Moshe choose him. Just like Kiddush Hachodesh and a leap year is because the קריאי מועד choose to make it a Rosh Chodesh or a Leap Year.
    This also explains another Rashi where he brings down a Medrash which can not be understood on the pshat level Rashi says:
    ומדרשו בקר א"ל משה גבולות חלק הקב"ה בעולמו יכולים אתם להפוך בקר לערב כן תוכלו לבטל את זו שנאמר (בראשית א) ויהי ערב ויהי בוקר ויבדל כך (דה"א כג) ויבדל אהרן להקדישו
    Translation: According to the Midrashic interpretation of "morning": Moshe said to them, 'G-d marked His universe with boundaries. Can you possibly transform morning into evening? That is how possible it is for you to nullify this, as it is said, "It became evening and it became morning, and He separated" similarly, "Ahron was separated to be consecrated.
    With this Rashi Moshe is answering Korach’s complaint. Korach said your choice of Ahron was as a Rosh Chodesh meaning: your decision agreed to by Hashem. But with this Medrash we have Moshe answering. No it is not Rosh Chodesh but the decision to pick Aharon is like day and night. Day and night are Completely in Hashem dominion and not for Humans to interfere so to is the choosing of Ahron not chosen by me but by Hashem.
    The Gemara In Baba Basra And in Sanhedrin brings down A story about Rabba Bar Channah Had an Arab who showed him the hole where Korach was swallowed up and He told him at the end of every 30 days every , To which the Rashbam says means every Rosh Chodesh because that was their Mistake now they fixing it.Now every month he comes and you hear him say “Moshe emes Vsoroso Emmes”.

  9. A TIDE Facebook group started up on Ever Shabbos. Worth checking into.

  10. To anonymous #1 who ends the post:

    "....slowly and steadily eroded under Schwab, Gelley & Mantel"

    You follow DE, not TIDE. Even the NYT calls them Rabbi. No one who actually believes in and follows TIDE would drop those titles, divergence of opinion or not.

  11. How can anyone claim that Rav Schwab, zt"l, was not a proponent of TIDE???

    Unless of course your definition of TIDE is indistinguishable from Torah Umadda....

  12. While the incident is, lulei demistafina, another setback for the already fragile and fraying Washington Heights/KAJ community, Rav Mantel said nothing that any Torah authority would argue with: We must be directed by the leaders of our time. "Dor dor vedorshov."

    The German-Jewish absorption into the melting pot of Orthodox Jewish America appears now to be nearing completion. Much of the Washington Heights community blended into Monsey(which has its own KAJ) and other communities. For the most part, all the yekkes I grew up with are, today, indistinguishable from all the other yeshiva guys I went to school with.

    Yekkes are barely any longer a distinct "community," not because they haven't tried, but because the culture of the United States, in all its democratic glory and fiscally upward mobility, does not lend itself to those sorts of enclaves.

    Fortunately, none of that matters. What the Yekkeshe community can take pride in - and this is, lulei demistafina, the ultimate trophy - is that Torah Im Derech Eretz is the de facto standard of American Orthodoxy.

    Most of us go to work, speak unaccented English, and are friendly and honest with the "outside" world. Again, that's most of us. Even in Lakewood, the vast majority of heads of households are not sitting in Kollel but hold jobs that require them to deal with the outside world. Lakewood is not the ghetto that it is perceived - nor that it perceives itself - to be.

    Two centuries later, Rav Hirsch has won not only the battle, but also the war.