Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Mesorah Of Chesed | The 5 Towns Jewish Times: An essay my good friend Barry

The Mesorah Of Chesed | The 5 Towns Jewish Times

By Barry Jacobson -

A beautifully arranged presentation, graciously hosted by the Wolfson family, was held this past Motzaei Shabbos regarding the upcoming plan in Eretz Yisrael to conscript yeshiva bachurim into the IDF. Sadly, at the conclusion, I left with a feeling of disappointment.

No questions were permitted from the floor. I had the opportunity to speak with one of the speakers afterwards, who generously listened to me. But that was not the same as a full discussion of a difficult issue.

I am grateful to Rabbi Bender for his infinite chassadim to my family in numerous areas. Any comments I make are in no way intended to minimize the tremendous feelings of respect I have for him. Similarly, I had the opportunity to know the father of Rabbi Ginzberg from my days in yeshiva. He was a paragon of seiver panim yafos, friendship, kindness, and concern about the welfare of all the bachurim. Any points I raise here are only intended as an exchange of ideas and an expression of deep pain for what I and many others see in the current state of affairs.

I was inspired to devote a number of years to learning in my early youth. The warm feelings towards Torah, Yiddishkeit, and a Shabbos table filled with ruach will never be dimmed. The desire to maximize that path motivated me to send my kids to chareidi yeshivos where they were given a warm and meaningful Torah education. However, I am deeply disturbed at what has been happening on a wider level in the klal as a whole. I believe I speak for many others, and I know my chaverim have discussed these issues with me, as well.

After introductions by Rabbi Kobre, Rabbi Bender opened with a discussion of the importance of Torah in protecting the klal. He quoted the Gemara in Cheilek that one who says “Mai ahanu lan rabbanan, ldidhu karu ldidhu tanu,” is an apikorus. (One who says, ‘What do the rabbis help us? They only learn for themselves.’ He is considered an apostate.) Rabbi Bender discussed how there were a certain number of yeshiva bachurim learning, while the soldiers fought, during the times of Tanach. He also mentioned how the chareidim have a much lower rate of incarceration in Israeli jails than the general population, thus demonstrating that the Torah teaches good behavior. Finally, he mentioned that there are a number of chareidi organizations which do much chesed for the klal as a whole in Israel, not just for the frum segment, such as supporting the poor and providing assistance with medical issues.
Rabbi Ginzberg focused on why even people who had respect for gedolim in the past, such as those of the stature of Reb Moshe Feinstein, now seem to have wavered, and why questioning daas Torah has become more widespread, particularly on blogs.

Rabbi Eli Paley focused on some of the technical issues, such as how many soldiers the army really needs, and some of his own experiences in the army which seemed to be difficult for a chareidi lifestyle. He seemed to imply that the army is used in some ways as a form of indoctrination and acculturation with the secular viewpoint, rather than as an absolute necessity for security.

Rabbi Kobre mentioned some of the problems chareidi soldiers have recently faced, including medical exams which intruded upon their sense of privacy, and that even in the newer chareidi programs, 25% of the alumni come out non-frum. He took umbrage with a statement from a high level army chief that the chareidim are a worse problem than Ahmadinejad. Rabbi Kobre concluded that this is a state of emergency, and we all need to cry out for salvation.

All of this is true. But it is totally beside the point. The main problem that needed to be addressed, but was totally ignored, is why the chiloni sector has turned on the chareidim at this point in time. It is my belief that we are largely to blame. If it were only a matter of logistics, with the enrollment of more chareidim, suitable infrastructure would be set up so as to better serve them. But that is not at all the point of this article.

For the past 100 years, the chareidi world has been fighting Zionism like it is some kind of poison. They coined fiery slogans such as the Zionists didn’t become frei in order to build a state; they built a state in order to become frei. Aside from being totally foolish, as one can become frei by going to the McDonalds down the block without going through the backbreaking effort of building a state, it is an insult to the downtrodden Jewish people. After suffering 2,000 years of persecution, poverty, plagues, and pogroms at the hands of their host countries, which caused the spirits of many to break, is there no understanding why the status quo was unbearable? Many were converting and leaving Judaism in droves because they couldn’t take the anti-Semitism, discrimination, and misery. Many fled to America or wherever else they could get into.

Theodore Herzl warned that things would only get worse, and his prophecy was 100% correct, as we saw in the Holocaust. He knew the answer was for the Jews to get a place of their own, and he tried his best to help his suffering brethren, despite whatever personal failings he may have had. He did magnificent work. Think about how hard it is to organize a shul dinner, and then imagine how hard it is to organize a country. He had to rally the Jews, raise funds, meet with countless heads of state. The chareidim totally vilified Herzl and forbade any hazkarah in his honor within the city of Brisk after he passed away. The rav of the main shul in town locked the doors to prevent it. But the population was undeterred and broke the lock and held a massive service with thousands of people in attendance. To this day the vilification continues.
In 1923, the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah passed a resolution condemning the efforts of the Zionists and vowed to fight any attempt to set up a state with all means at their disposal. This was 25 years before the saga of the Yemenite children whose peyos were allegedly cut off. This fighting and denigration of the medinah continues until this day. Chareidim refuse to say the tefillah for the medinah or for the chayalim in their shuls, citing all kinds of Kaballistic reasons, or because we don’t have power to write new tefillos (despite that we say new kinnos on Tishah B’Av for the Shoah) or other creative points. However, in the old siddur Otzar HaTefilos, written about 100 years ago, there is a tefillah for Czar Nikolai, his wife, his parents, and children, mentioning them all by name, with effusive praise for each. We are allowed to say a tefillah for this individual who was no friend of the Jews, but for our brethren in the Israeli government, it would somehow ruin the davening.

The average Jew is tired of this stuff already. When a Jew goes to Israel and is greeted at the airport by the sign, Bruchim Habaim L’eretz Yisrael, his heart soars. When he enters Yerushalayim and sees the beautiful floral arrangement spelling out Bruchim Habaim LiYerushalayim, and sees the Old City and the Kotel, his heart is torn with emotion. When he sees young soldiers guarding the streets with dangerous weapons, the same age as our kids, who are often roaming the pizza shops, he is amazed at the level of responsibility and maturity they have achieved at such a young age. When he sees how advanced the country has become technologically, such that it exports its know-how all over the world, in areas such as military technology, water management, agriculture, medicine, electronics, software, and nanotechnology, his heart bursts with pride. When he realizes that there is freedom to set up as many shuls and yeshivos as he pleases, without any fear of pogroms or anti-Semitism, he is overjoyed and dumbfounded that for the first time in 2,000 years, this is possible. Medinas Yisrael is the biggest berachah the Jews have received since the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash.

Now we run into a problem. When somebody tells us that daas Torah is opposed to this, or that the founders of the state were wrong, or bad people, or that we should not say the tefillah for the Medinah, should not celebrate Yom HaAtzamaut, should not sing Hatikvah, should not stand for the memorial sirens on Yom HaZikaron and Yom HaShoah, the average Jew becomes rather confused and torn, with his heart telling him one thing, and all kinds of yeshivishe propaganda that has been drummed into his head telling him another thing.

A little while ago, there was a picture on the front page of the 5TJT of a young child hugging his father’s grave at the military cemetery. The father died so we can enjoy the freedom and the shuls, yeshivos, and mekomos hakedoshim of Eretz Yisrael that we now have. Can chareidim not give this poor child respect for two minutes and stand still while he cries? How dare any leader not emphasize basic decency in his yeshiva. When a frum IDF soldier is stoned and rained with trash when he enters Meah Shearim, the rest of the country is sickened. We often hear that it is one meshugeneh. Totally wrong. When verbal violence is preached at the top levels, physical violence results at the lower levels.

All the chesed that the chareidim do, while certainly well appreciated (as it is here in the Five Towns, as well), it doesn’t come to a drop in the ocean of the chesed that the Medinah does. The chareidim may provide transportation, food, or advice to people in need of medical treatment. But who provides the hospitals, medical training, medicines, instruments, research, universities where training and innovation is carried out, and roads to transport the patients and medicines, etc. They also pay for the care, to begin with.

The chareidim give generously to the poor, but how many mouths does the government of Israel feed? Who ensures that the economy runs smoothly, that there is electricity, and engineering training to design a power grid, and water, and chemists who know how to test its safety? Who protects this vast infrastructure, and provides army personnel to stand watch day and night? The Medinah dwarfs all chesed organizations put together. Where is the hakaras hatov?

The klal craves achdus and warmth. The constant anti-Zionist propaganda spewed forth by chareidim is causing giyul nefesh (utter disgust) in me and many of my chaveirim who learned in chareidi yeshivos, not to mention the chilonim themselves.

Rabbi Ginzberg asks why there is a reduction in respect for gedolim. Well, Sunday following parashas Korach there was a massive demonstration where two warring brothers found that they don’t hate each other more than anything else in the world, as previously believed. It turned out that they hate the State of Israel even more. And the entire ideology is based on some obscure aggadeta (Shalosh Shevuos) not brought down in any of the classic codifiers, which is itself based on a verse in Tanach, from which we don’t generally derive halacha, anyway. Incidentally, a possible message of the Shalosh Shevuos is not to rebel against one’s hosts, out of derech eretz. Would that, perhaps, be applicable as well to Jewish hosts, or are they less deserving than King Henry VIII or Queen Isabella? This movement often resorts to outright lies, such as that the Zionists colluded with the Nazis, when letters have recently become available that Ben Gurion begged the British government to allow Jewish fighters to go to Europe to fight the Nazis. They also claim that enormous numbers of Jews have died as a result of the Medinah, when the number is 25,000 in 150 years, far less than in many other similar eras in Jewish history.
Another rav Rabbi Ginzberg is fond of quoting spewed forth the same type of anti-Zionist vitriol for years. 

One can open up a book of his transcribed speeches in English. This same rav also founded new political parties. One would think some important ideology was at stake. But it was his dislike of a certain rebbe. For some unknown reason, despite this rebbe’s incredible erudition, breadth, and kindness to all segments, this rav considered the rebbe to be inferior to himself. He disliked that rebbe so much that when that rebbe’s wife passed away, he told other rabbanim not to pay a shivah call. The klal is mortified and tired of this. These types of things have led to a weakening of faith in daas Torah.

Is it telling that the preceding two-brother chassidic movement, and the preceding rav’s yeshiva are now both torn asunder by internal machlokes? Walls have had to be built and smoke bombs have been thrown in the beis medrash of one of the world’s most prestigious yeshivas in Israel. Midah kneged midah? Perhaps. But maybe just the natural progression of things. When multiple generations have been raised on hatred and sinas chinam, the imbibed hatred is then used on each other, as well.

A few years ago, there was a major chinuch protest demonstration, with all chareidim in Israel urging their followers to attend. What was the issue? The Israeli government was upset that a certain school was separating the Sephardic girls from the Ashkenazic girls by means of a fence in the middle of the school building, and down the middle of the playground. Personally, even if a thousand gedolim held a demonstration with a million followers urging people to be cruel to young Sephardic girls, I would follow my heart and simply ignore it, and instead welcome them with open arms. The hamon am is disgusted.
Torah has become an exercise in mental gymnastics, with the primary message being ignored. When Rebbe Akiva said that v’ahavta l’rei’acha kamocha is klal gadol baTorah, he meant it. It supersedes all other considerations. Am I ignoring or denigrating daas Torah? I hope not. Rabbi Ginzberg has mentioned on more than one occasion the importance of keeping mesorah. There is one mesorah we have which is even older than the mesorah of learning—by about 500 years. It is the mesorah of chesed. It was taught by Avraham Avinu. When three individuals who he actually thought were idol worshippers (see Rashi) showed up at his door, he did not spit, as some chareidim now do, at priests of other religions. Rather, he served them a delicious meal and gave them a place to rest, before sending them on their way. Chesed comes before ideology.

When Avraham was told that anshei Sdom were going to be punished, he didn’t smirk that they deserved it, but he screamed to the Ribbono Shel Olam, “Hashofet kol ha’aretz lo ya’aseh mishpat!?” Will the judge of the entire world not do justice!? He was our father, and the father of all peoples of the world. Av hamon goyim.

One of the speakers mentioned that we are experiencing a war against Torah Judaism, an oft-heard refrain of the last hundred years, that the chilonim and Zionists are aiming to destroy Torah and see the chareidim as its symbol. This is needlessly inflammatory (but admittedly effective as a way to rally the troops) and simply false. Reb Aryeh Levine dressed chareidi. Yet the Knesset dedicated a special day in his honor and made a special plaque which was awarded to him in a major presentation. He worked with all his might to help the fighters in the early days before the state. After davening, he walked tens of miles on Shabbos to the prisoners in jail to tell the families how their loved ones were doing. He cried out on Rosh Hashanah, mentioning each by name, when they were sentenced to the gallows. The chilonim recognized that he loved them with all of his pure heart. The chilonim, in turn, loved him with all of theirs. If we acted like Reb Aryeh, and gave the chilonim the slightest bit of hakaras hatov and warmth and appreciation for the amazing achievement they accomplished (bsiyata deshmaya), not just as a condescending ruse to be mekarev them, but with a sincere and full understanding of the miracle they created and the intense effort they put in; and if we offered to move our yeshivos to the army bases to keep them company in times of war and be mechazek them with kindness; and if we stopped our foolish and angry (and baseless) rhetoric, they would never think of drafting a single yeshiva bachur. We have only ourselves to blame for this miserable situation. Let us try to rectify it before things get worse.

For now we need to know that there is nothing more to Yiddishkeit than simple kindness and mutual love and respect. In the words of Hillel, idach perusha hi—all else is just commentary. Perhaps it is not the chilonim who have gone off the derech. Perhaps it is us. I am not rejecting daas Torah, rather I am relying on the daas Torah of Reb Aryeh Levine which goes straight back to Avraham Avinu.

The author may be reached at


  1. well said. thanks for posting it.

  2. R' Bechofer,
    As someone who has listened to many of your shiurim and who regularly reads your blog, I am a bit confused and disappointed. I read this article and was extremely underwhelmed. I've lived in Israel. My mother is Israeli. My grandfather fought in the Jewish Brigade as well as in '48-'54. I have an uncle who learned by R' TY Kook and who is now a prominent educator in the Chardal community in Israel. I myself learned in a prestigious yeshiva in the US and learned in Kolel for many years and then went on to become an attorney. Thus, I am very familiar with both what the author calls the "Charaidi" world and the Chardal/Dati Leumi world.
    I am the first one to admit that there are real problems and challenges facing the Charaidi world. The tendency to become close minded and to forget the tafkid of a Yid are two things that come to mind. The more "Frum" one holds himslef out to be by necessity requires the person to be a better Yid in both the Halachic and Hashkafic sense. As my grandfather who learned in the great Yeshivos of Lita often told me, Jews who act in an non-halachic manner are not Frum. Period.
    My disagreement with this author, however, is the disparaging tone that he takes with regard to anyone who disagrees with him-including Gedolim. It is true that oftentimes Gedolim may disagree with each other-even strongly and sharply. But to essentially malign their intentions is simply a hackneyed Maskilic response to everything that Gedolim do that they do not like (yes I've read much Maskilic literature). The author fails to raise any new arguments. He simply regurgitates much of what has been regurgitated for the past number of years. It's the old American Mizrachi arguments. From my perspective, as a Jew who would like to be a good Torah Jew and would like to raise his children as such, the ones to listen to are those same Gedolim who this author callously and casually maligns. Rabbi Bechofer - I listened to your lecture on why the non-religious in Israel turned on the Charaidim, and I agreed with most of what you said. The bottom line, however, is that the author does not address those specific issue that you raised in your lecture. Rather, he in his infinite wisdom takes on virtually every prominent Rabbi on the last 60 years in the US and flippantly disagrees with them-quite disrespectfully as you Rabbi Bechofer are quite aware (virtually every Rosh Yeshiva in the US annuled (yes that's the proper term) to Rav Aaron and Rav Shach. Moreover, the vast majority of Halachic authorities in both the US and Israel were anti Zionist, including incidentally the Lubavitcher Rebbe. The cultural aspects of the Charaidi world are irrelevant to the argument regarding the legitimacy of the State of Israel. It is a Halachic issue that most prominent American Rabbis held to be a valid Halachic issue. That said, the Satmar position is a completely different position.
    In sum, Charadim do not serve in the IDF for the simple reason that IDF life is anathema to a regular religious lifestyle. Yes, even the Chardalis recognize this. Thus, there needs to be some sort of accommodation to reflect realities on the ground. I am very disappointed in you Rabbi Bechofer that you gave your stamp of approval to this article. Not that I a one to give Mussar, but cynicism is a very dangerous thing, as well as Gaavah. You are a bright fellow Rabbi Bechofer, but I think that you need to take a long hard look in the mirror and ask yourself some hard questions....V'dal.

  3. Radishkovitzer:

    I know the author personally for years. We grew up together. He is a fine, sincere and eidel person (who also happens to be brilliant). He is not cynical. His questions, queries, difficulties and problems come me'umka d'liba, and are expressed with pain and anguish. I would suggest that, in fact, you and I, who have made our peace with the worlds in which we live, defects and all, are the more truly cynical than my bewildered friend. Look past the rhetoric, if you find it distasteful, and grapple with the anguish.

    I would like to pick up on another point you raise. "Annulled (yes that's the proper term)..."

    Until relatively recently, there was tolerance for a broad spectrum of ideologies within the "Charedi" world. The Charedism of the Ponovhezher Rav zt"l, or of R' Chatzkel Sarna zt"l, or of R' Chaim Shmuelevitz zt"l, or of RSZA zt"l was not the same Charedism as that of Rav Shach zt"l. In fact, neither was the Charedism of R' Yaakov Kamenetsky zt"l, or of R' Moshe Feinstein zt"l, or of R' Yaakov Ruderman zt"l or of Rav Hutner zt"l. The dominance of Rav Shach's version of Charedism is not a good thing. Monolithic theological and ideological straight-jackets are not indicators of a healthy society. There must be many dei'os to accommodate many partzufim. That is why the demise of PAI - celebrated in certain quarters - was, in the long run, a very bad thing. That is why the extinction of TIDE - also celebrated in certain quarters - is an extremely bad thing.

    In matters that are not strictly halachic nor ikkarei ha'das there must be allowance for multiple - even paradoxical - approaches. We can have "anti-Tzahal" Charedim, but we also must tolerate "pro-Tzahal" Charedim. Similarly, we can have "pro-college MO" but we also must tolerate "ant-college MO." It is this lack of toleration and accomodation within the various groupings that is being marbeh sinas chinam and being me'akeiv the geulah.

  4. Dear Rabbi Bechhofer, Thanks for your kind defense. If there is anybody who had more chashivus for gedolim than myself, all through my life, would be hard to find. Yet, certain opinions and actions were hard to swallow. Now, because of all the chaos in Israel, it has become intolerable. How do Chareidim view the constant fighting and splitting among themselves? A Rabbi in his drasha this past parshas Korach listed a number of sects plagued by infighting. I believe one group had three rebbes, and another as many as five! Parents and children, and siblings were not talking to each other because each follows a different rebbe. BTW, the lack of parnasa alternatives makes matters even more complicated, since if one child becomes Rebbe, what are the rest supposed to do for a living?

  5. " and I, who have made our peace with the worlds in which we live..."

    How did you do this? What's the secret?!

  6. Sorry, Sam, for not being clear. Not internal peace but an external desisting from hostilities. That being said, however, I have come to realize that I cannot: a) Change the world; b) Find a better alternative. So I try: a) To have as much positive influence as I can, and have nachas from the individuals and small groups I have interacted with and continue to interact with; b) Create mini-alternatives within the larger groupings.

  7. Barry makes some good points.

    However, there are some serious flaws in his piece that cry out for a response. I will attempt, with the help of Hashem, to address them now.

    1) He writes regarding the great leader of Klal Yisroel, Maran HaRav Schach ztvk"l, as follows,

    "Another rav Rabbi Ginzberg is fond of quoting spewed forth the same type of anti-Zionist vitriol for years.

    One can open up a book of his transcribed speeches in English. This same rav also founded new political parties. One would think some important ideology was at stake. But it was his dislike of a certain rebbe. For some unknown reason, despite this rebbe’s incredible erudition, breadth, and kindness to all segments, this rav considered the rebbe to be inferior to himself. He disliked that rebbe so much that when that rebbe’s wife passed away, he told other rabbanim not to pay a shivah call."

    Although he doesn't mention Rav Schach's name, it is clear who is meant.

    It is a disgusting slur to imply that Rav Schach's opposition to Lubavitch, and their messianic aspect in particular, was due merely to his 'dislike' of the late Rebbe and 'considering him inferior to himself.' Where did Barry pick that up? In a vodka induced haze at some farbrengen? From a Lubavitch propaganda handbook? You may not agree with Rav Schach, but there is very good reason why Rav Schach and others have come out strongly against Lubavitch messianism. Now we can easily see what damage it has caused, but gedolim saw the danger many years earlier. I am mocheh, protest strongly, lemaan kavod haTorah, the disgusting slur. Barry should apologize and ask mechilah for it.

    Additionally, he follows the above slur with another real winner, against Ponevezh and Satmar (also not explicitly named, but clearly so), as follows,

    "Is it telling that the preceding two-brother chassidic movement, and the preceding rav’s yeshiva are now both torn asunder by internal machlokes? Walls have had to be built and smoke bombs have been thrown in the beis medrash of one of the world’s most prestigious yeshivas in Israel. Midah kneged midah? Perhaps. But maybe just the natural progression of things. When multiple generations have been raised on hatred and sinas chinam, the imbibed hatred is then used on each other, as well."

    So Barry is drawing a contrast, painting Lubavitch as a religion of love, as opposed to Ponevezh and Satmar, who have now been stricken with machlokes, midah kineged midah. The problem is Barry, that your 'religion of love', Lubavitch, is also riven asunder with machlokes. In Crown Heights and elsewhere. How does that fit in to your explanation? It just doesn't. So your explanation, aka attack on Ponevezh and Satmar, falls apart.

    I would have taken you to task in the 5TJT where your piece appeared, however, since its publisher, Larry Gordon is a Lubavitcher, I wasn't confident about getting a fair opportunity to speak there.

    Barry, please don't mar your good arguments with things like cheap pot shots against Maran HaRav Schach zt"l. Besides being wrong, such actions really hurt your credibility.

    Thanks R. YGB for letting me raise these important points and mazal tov re your simcha.

  8. I find Reader's critique fair.

    I received a similar critique from a respected correspondent who asked me to post it anonymously. I concur with his comments.

    The author's pain over the issues he raises is palpable, which brings him only credit. Whether or not we disagree with all or some of his positions, we cannot doubt his sincerity, and one hopes we have not deteriorated to the point where we cannot even allow opposing viewpoints to be raised.

    However, he made one strong accusation which I feel a sense of justice cannot allow to pass unchallenged. The author wrote: "Another rav Rabbi Ginzberg is fond of quoting spewed forth the same type of anti-Zionist vitriol for years.

    "One can open up a book of his transcribed speeches in English. this same rav also founded new political parties. One would
    think some important ideology was at stake. But it was his dislike of a certain rebbe. For some unknown reason, despite this rebbe’s
    incredible erudition, breadth, and kindness to all segments, this rav considered the rebbe to be inferior to himself. He disliked that rebbe so much that when that rebbe’s
    wife passed away, he told other rabbanim not to pay a shivah call."

    This presentation, I'm afraid, is decidedly biased, and factually unsound. It leaves the reader with the impression that the Rebbe in question was an innocent bystander, a נעלב ואינו עולב, שומע חרפתו ואינו משיב, which was decidedly not the case. Moreover, statements like "he considered the Rebbe to be inferior to himself" and "he disliked the Rebbe" are inflammatory and baseless. A perusal of the relevant writings, as the writer, himself, suggests, shows clearly that Rav Shach focused on the issues, rather than making ad hominem attacks. Whether or not we approve of "Rav Shach's charedism" as Rabbi Bechhofer mentioned in a comment, is a fascinating subject which can perhaps be discussed at length in a dialogue devoted to that topic, and the origins and merits of his disagreement with the most recent manifestation of Chabad-Lubavitch also deserve careful analysis, but offhanded dismissal of his views - and, by clear implication, his person - is unacceptable, and distracts from the more important points the author desired to bring to the fore.

  9. Reader brings up the following points:

    1) Lubavitch is bad because of Messianism.

    To this I reply that the messianism comes from an inability to get over the grief of the passing of their Rebbe. It is doubtful the Rebbe ever declared himself Mashiach, just talked about it Mashiach a lot. As far as I'm concerned, one can believe Donald Duck will be Mashiach, as long as he keeps Mitzvos. We have all kinds of eccentric, yet harmless types in our religion, like Na Nach, Carlebach Chassidim, etc. This makes it fun and interesting. It should not evoke anger. The Rebbe did not harm anything, as did Shabtai Zvi. When the RBSH brings the real Mashiach, we will all know. What was the donwside of viewing the Rebbe as Mashiach back then, it could lead to a loss of faith, if he died. Well, the Zohar writes explicitly that Mashiach will come by 1648 AD, based on gematria BZOS yavo aharon el hakodesh. Are you in favor of banning the Zohar because it may cause a loss of faith?

    2)The machlokes in Lubavitch is not personal. It is a machlokes in shita of whether he is Mashiach or not, or which should be the accepted view. It is not a fight of I want to be Rebbe and not you.

    It is not pleasant either, but one doesn't get the sense that there is a personal attack going on there about whether someone is qualified or not to be a Rosh Yeshiva or Rebbe.

    I doubt that in YU or the RCA one would have fistfights and splits in the organization. If there were a disagreement, would probably be handled like in a corporation, where one is advised to resign, and then an announcement that he wants to pursue other avenues is made. There is a certain professionalism, not all out vildkeit. It would be a shanda, otherwise.

  10. There were some very serious issues with Lubavitch, both regarding Moshiach and other issues, which Rav Shach ZT"L considered very dangerous to our religion. Check out the following:

  11. And from the old frumteens moderator site:!&M=0

  12. I would not look up Frumteens material. He is too incendiary to be trusted.


    "It also forces the reader to focus on the merits of his arguments, rather than to link his words to his politics..."

    Is there anything he says anywhere which you have found to be factually untrue?

  14. Is there anything he says anywhere which you have found to be factually untrue?


    P.S. This post is referenced at

    where additional conversation is taking place, and in the duplicate piece at

  15. I understand from Barry that he will be attacked in the Yated tomorrow. I don't get the Yated. Can anyone please post the article and/or a link?

  16. What have you found on frumteens that is untrue?

  17. Be more specific. Your talking about R' Aron going into YU one time? That's meaningless.. That was in 1935, before R' Aron moved to this country and established his yeshiva... R' Aron's refusal to walk into YU was spurred by the institution's pushing of Torah and Mada as the only mode of Orthodoxy viable in post holocaust America. That would only apply post holocaust....

  18. I hope it's ok if I post a small response to Mr. Jacobson's Mesorah of Chesed article.

    Dear Mr. Jacobson, I enjoyed reading your powerful piece, "The Mesorah of Chesed," in spite of the fact that I deeply disagreed with it. You are obviously a thoughtful and caring Jew as the Rav of my shul, Rav Moshe Wehl (son of your Rebbe, R' Yaakov Wehl) confirmed.

    While there is much that you mentioned that I would like to comment on, including the definition and role of daas Torah and the view of the Yeshiva world vis a vis Zionism, I will refrain because I will not convince you regarding these issues. I will merely point out the following:

    I find it interesting that you look on with disdain at the Yeshiva world's attitude towards Zionism, yet I would argue that we do much to strengthen it. While close to 1 million Israelis, mostly secular, have made yeridah, the primary source of immigration to Israel takes place in the religious sector. After all, since one of the stated purposes of a secular Israel was to be like all other nations, then they might as well go to those other nations which may be more economically viable. We, on the other hand, have a reason to make aliyah.
    Rav Moshe Wehl told me an interesting story that occurred to his father, Reb Yaakov. He stated that although R' Yaakov Wehl was ardently anti Zionist, he encouraged the boys to learn in Yeshiva in Israel. Once, a student wanted to speak about this in front of the class. The student recounted how he asked a certain Rabbi who was a leader in the World Zionist Organization, as to whether he should study in Yeshiva in Israel or go to University in America. The Rabbi advised him to attend University here. The boy was incredulous - the anti Zionist Rabbi Wehl was pushing him to Israel while this Zionist Rabbi was encouraging an American University! Who are the real Zionists?

    Chareidi Yeshiva boys and seminary girls who study in Israel pour tens of millions of dollars into the Israeli economy each year. Chareidi Tzedakos bring hundreds of millions more in. I and many of my fellow Mekarvim, graduates of Lakewood, Chofetz Chaim, Ner Yisroel, etc, have brought tens of thousands of secular students to Israel on intensive learning and touring trips to Israel. Kiruv groups would not bring these students to Israel, with the tens of millions of dollars that go with it, if there were no chareidi community. Last month, when my group was wondering around the Tveriah boardwalk, I noticed that 85% of the people there were from Kiruv groups under the aegis of the Wolfson family. Perhaps the Tveriah shopkeepers should have written the Wolfson's a thank you note. Indeed, a mesorah of chesed. Thousands of our students have attended Yeshivos in Israel, most of them the 'typical' baal teshuva yeshivos and some of them hesder Yeshivos and many have gone to the army. Thousands have gone on to study in Israeli Universities. Hundreds of our students have made aliyah to Israel over the past ten years - some religious, some not. So I ask you, are we not contributing to Zionism?

  19. You state that Israel's chesed dwarfs that of the chareidi community - this in spite of the fact that the biggest chesed organizations in Israel, which are chareidi run, serve the entire populace. But how can you compare state sponsored social programs, which, while admirable and deserving of our hakaras hatov, are not substantially different than the programs of any current Western democracy? The State of Israel is doing what all current democratic states do for their citizens. Yet you compare that to individuals who dedicate their lives, money, families to doing chessed? Surely you realize the distinction between people whose waking hours are totally devoted to helping a stranger, to large government programs. Can you show me another group of private people anywhere who do chesed on that scale? Furthermore, I sincerely hope you aren't equating government funding of programs, to private individuals who donate their own funds to these charities. Either you sound like a big government liberal or perhaps I sound too much like a tea party activist.

    Your attack on Rav Shach ZT"L was way off. His concerns of rampant Messianism have, unfortunately been proven to be prescient. Furthermore, you have no way of knowing what his intentions were and to ascribe his statements to petty ego is beneath someone of your standing.

    The notion that the Yeshiva world considers every present Rebbe or Rosh Yeshiva a gadol, or that they have daas Torah, is simply false. How, pray tell, are the disputes within certain chassidic groups or their Rebbes, representative of the average Yeshiva man? Rav Hutner (Letter photographed in "Rabbi Sherrer" biography page 210) wrote that "very few today (in the 70's) have daas Torah." How much more so today. This was not only Rav Hutner's attitude, it is also the attitude of most yeshivalite that I know of. Furthermore, just because this Rebbe or that Rav states something, does not make it representative of all of the Yeshiva world. It is the equivalent of saying that every statement of anyone associated with the State of Israel represents Barry Jacobson.

    The time has come come for us to agree to disagree on the issues yet love each other unconditionally.


    Meir Goldberg,
    Rutgers Jewish Xperience - Meor

  20. Barry's response to Reb Meir (part 1):

    Please see below response I wrote to Rabbi Goldberg.

    Also there is a Tosfos I think somewhere near daf 65 in Kesuvos, that says that the reason Rebbe Akiva said he would bite a talmid chacham before he began learning, is because he thought they hated him and would hurt him, like gemara says am haaretz mutar lnochro afilu byom hakippurim. We need shalom and ahava all around. The metzius is that we have a beautiful country now. We need to stop fighting. And furthermore, those who have taynas on the chilonim because they wanted to keep Hashem's name out of the declaration of independence must realize their anger at the RBSH. For 2,000 years Jews were tortured and Hashem hid his face, and many Jews were furious at Him. Gemara in Bava Basra (around 14-15) says that when one curses RBSH out of tzaar, He doesn't hold it against him. Rashi says that is lesson of entire sefer Iyov.

    Below is my response to Rabbi Goldberg.

    Dear Rabbi Goldberg,

    Thank you very much for taking the time to write at great length and detail.

    My Rebbe, Reb Yaakov Wehl ZL,was a tremendous hashpaah on me, and pushed me to learn after high school for many years, which probably never would have happened without him. I wrote a second piece a week later mentioning him specifically. I owe much to him, as do many others. He was one of the most colorful people one would ever meet, and to this day, HANC boys tell over his maasim to each other with great simcha.

    I will tell you one. I had come home from shul one Friday night, and my wife had invited a newly married couple, the daughter of Rabbi Shnayer Leiman, with whom she taught Talmud Torah, and her husband. I never met the fellow in my life, and he was wearing a black suit and hat. My wife tells me his name is Fisher, and actually went to HANC (after my time). Without saying a word, I screamed at him in the loudest voice ever, FISHER, DO YOU THINK YOU'RE PATUR FROM LEARNING? Without batting an eye, he yells back, TAKE THE DAY OFF (which Rabbi Wehl would say if one was late or not dressed properly). I said to myself, never having met him, but if he gave that response to my outburst, I know who his rebbe was.

  21. Part 2:

    But unfortunately, many people are hurt by this kannaus. I am not saying chareidim don't do chesed. We invented it, but it is now in our genes. Im lav neviim heim, bnei neviim heim, including the chilonim. Yes, many states do this type of work, but I am convinced Western Civilization learned it from the Jews. When people knock Western Civ as narishkeit and bitul zman, I say, they are knocking our contribution to the world. The chilonim can learn much from the chareidim, but they won't, if they think the chareidim hate them. Unfortunately, now, chareidim are doing many vilder things. Reb Ovadiah Yosef just called a frum Rav evil, and within a day, he was beaten up at a wedding. We have Satmar fighting in archaos shel nachrim. I didn't mean that Rav Shach was motivated by ego, but he was mevazeh the Rebbe. Unless he thought he was bigger, how did he have a right to judge an adam gadol? Did he give the Rebbe a farher? And my family took me to get a bracha from the Rebbe before my Bar Mitzvah, and was close with Chabad, who were a big hashpaa on my father through Reb Shlomo Zalman Hecht ZL of Chicago. Rabbi Wehl told me it was a big inyan to get a bracha from the gadol hador. Rabbi Shlomo Wahrman, who is one of the gedolei hador and knows kol hatorah kula mamash, as can be seen by spending 5 minutes with his sefarim, was extremely upset how Rav Shach was mevazeh the Rebbe. He told me some yeshiva boys would come to visit him, and when they saw a picture of the Rebbe on his wall, along with other gedolim, they told him, What's that shmutz doing on your wall? Get that shmutz off the wall. My kids went to Chabad preschool, as well.

    I apologized for my poor choice of words regarding Rav Shach in a second piece, and did so in a rebuttal to R. Ginzberg, that hasn't been published yet. In a last piece, I will write a shtickel to make shalom and be fully makir that Rav Shach acted lshem shamayim, but still feel his approach was not right. He also insulted Rabbi Soloveitchik from YU and any rabbonim who contributed to sefer Kvod Harav in his honor. He put Rabbi Baruch Chait's high school in Cherem. He was a very big takif, and this has made chareidim do vilder things which hurt people.

    Please tell Moshe Wehl I apologize for overly harsh words, and that I will never forget how much his father did for me, even though he was a huge kannai, and now that I am older, I believe we need total ahava to all yidden. We just made a yahrtzeit shalosh seudos a few weeks ago in Far Rockaway.

    I named my own child's third name Elimelech in honor of Mike Tress ZL, head of Agudah, who I never met. He was a wealthy executive in the Esquire Shoe Polish Company, but sold off stock time after time to give to Vaad Hatzala, until he was so destitute that he had no money to pay for his own medical care. His ahavas yisroel knew no bounds, and literally pierced the heavens. He was not a Zionist. I have no negios. And the bris was held in the Lakewood Kollel in Boston. We were relatively new in town, and I did not know all the yungerleit. After I explained the names, one of the chavrei kollel runs over and tells me I am Mike Tress's grandson! And he became the Rebbe of my oldest boy, and his wife the morah of my oldest daughter in Torah Academy, the CHareidi school in Boston. Imagine the nachas (and hashgacha pratis).

  22. Part 3:

    We must all stop fighting and be makir tov to all types of yidden. Even nonfrum deserve hakaras hatov (from Rashi on Chava). Again, I am sorry I used harsh words on Rav Shach. But all the fighting seriously started to get me worried that maybe some people can be geonim in learning, but not 100% when it comes to dealing with people. Remember Bobby Fischer, who was gaon hageonim in chess, but every word out of his mouth was vile insults. I mamash started to wonder. But I have charata, and will forward you my thoughts how it could all be lshem shamayim.

    Please forward this to Moshe Wehl, or explain to him.

    Thanks very much for writing, and may we all be zocheh to true shalom. That is the only way we'll be mekarev the chilonim.

    Kol Tuv,


  23. Regarding Rav Shach ZT"L, here are some pertinent quotes from recent gedolim:

    In 1982, Rav Moshe Feinstein, Rav Yaakov Kamenetsky, Rav Yaakov Yitzchok Ruderman, and others signed a document which protested the slander being said about Rav Shach. The document protested "the slander and vituperation [being leveled] against one of the greatest of our generation's gedolim, the elder of the roshei hayeshivos in Eretz Yisroel, who raises the banner of daas Torah high and expresses the Torah's views on every matter relating to Klal Yisroel."[1]

    Whenever it would come to signing a public proclamation or letter on behalf of Klal Yisrael, the Steipler insisted that Rav Shach's signature appear before his. It was not uncommon for the Steipler to come to Rav Shach unannounced in order to consult with him on a matter of vital concern for the Jewish people.[2] Rabbi Shlesinger, son-in-law of Rabbi Shlomo Lorenzc, lived in Bnei Brak and served as an emissary between Rav Schach and the Steipler. On many occasions, when Rabbi Shlesinger would bring the Steipler documents and letters from Rabbi Schach to sign, the Steipler would sign them without even reading them. The Steipler constantly said that since Rav Schach did not move daled amos without Torah, the Ribono shel Olam gave him the ability to pasken in every aspect of this generation’s needs.[3]

    "It is difficult to give expression in just a few words to the great loss to Klal Yisroel with the passing of the unique one in his generation, HaRav Eliezer Menachem Man Shach ztllh"h, but we should draw attention to a special point about him: in addition to his holy labor in disseminating Torah he took upon himself the yoke of leading the whole generation. The yeshivas have indeed lost a rosh yeshiva who guided them in the paths of Torah and yiras Hashem and Klal Yisroel has lost its leader. Everybody knew already during his lifetime that he was carrying the burden of the generation [on his shoulders]. Everyone remembers how HaRav Shach ztllh"h fought for the preservation of religion and acted on his own with mesirus nefesh, and Hashem granted him success in putting religion on its proper foundations. His whole leadership ability stemmed from his omol and yegias haTorah. . . He merited a lot of things by virtue of the 48 ways of acquiring Torah and by his omol haTorah." - Rabbi Yosef Sholom Eliashiv[4]

    "You should ask HaRav Shach. His guiding, primary axiom is daas Torah."[5] "I do not know how HaRav Shach studies. But one thing I am sure of: his initial impression is the psak halocho. He does not have to look it up in any sefer, just ask him the question and the first thing he tells you is the psak halocho."[6] - the Steipler, Rabbi Yaakov Yisrael Kanievsky


    [2] Sunset: Stories of Our Contemporary Torah Luminaries, Zt"l, and Their Spiritual Heroism. Page 175. By Hanoch Teller, Marsi Tabak Published by Feldheim Publishers, 1987






  24. "I bear full witness that the Rosh Yeshiva was an averred hater of controversy and dissension; he despised it. One cannot describe to what extent it was abhorrent to him. He was an extreme pursuer of truth but without allowing any forgoing of kvod Shomayim in the least. He would not permit any leniency on fundamental, ideological issues of Torah and Yiddishkeit; these were things relegated to a trustworthy heart. . . Maran said to me, `This can I testify before the Heavenly Court: I dealt with communal matters with honesty and trustworthiness.'[7] " "My father and rebbi zt"l [Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach] said Am Yisroel has not had such a leader for many generations, and I heard the same thing said by Rabban Shel Kol Bnei HaGoloh Maran HaRav Elyashiv shlita [Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv]. I heard this from both of them on several occasions. . . Once somebody asked avi mori gaon Yisroel [Rabbi S.Z. Auerbach] regarding a certain directive Rabbeinu Hagadol zt"l had issued. My father got very angry and told him that despite everything we know about Maran and his achievements and the strength of his decisions and approach, more of him remains hidden than revealed, and he is considered a tzaddik nistar”.[8] - RabbiShmuel Auerbach

    "He had pure daas Torah. . . When a person is the embodiment of Torah and his whole being is immersed in Torah and he is totally removed from the matters of this world, and without any personal negios, and he has unlimited devotion to his fellow man, then he necessarily has daas Torah and is protected by Hakodosh Boruch Hu from failure. Such is the siyata deShmaya of a leader of Klal Yisroel, and such was the Rosh Yeshiva zt"l." – Rabbi Michel Yehuda Lefkowitz[9]

    "His opinions and rulings were certainly literally daas Torah. . . Anyone who knew Rav Shach saw his gutkeit and his feinkeit. . . The Rosh Yeshiva was a combination of genius in knowledge and understanding of Torah, immense toiling in Torah, good middos and intelligence. He also had incredible mesirus nefesh. . ." - Rabbi Aharon Leib Shteinman[10]

    Rav Yechezkel Levenstein once called Rav Shach the “greatest ba’al chessed of our generation”[11]





    [11] Rabbi Elazar Menachem Man Shach ZT”L: Forever Available for Any and All by Rabbi Shlomo Lorincz. Prepared for publication by Yonoson Rosenblum. The Jewish Observer. October, 2007.

  25. Anonymous, you do understand that the accolades for Rav Shach, as impressive as they are, are all coming from a relatively small, self-referential circle of Gedolim, not from the entire gamut? Moreover, that they were mostly bestowed relatively "late in the game?" They will prove nothing to anyone who did not accept, a priori, their premises before having seen them. As such, I fail to perceive their relevance.

  26. The gedolim of the previous generation who Rav Shach had a shaychus to (i.e. Reb Chaim Ozer, Chazon Ish, Brisker Rav) also recognized his gadlus... Not sure what you mean "late in the game"...

    What do you mean " relatively small, self-referential circle of Gedolim"? These are the gedolim that knew Rav Shach well...

  27. Chazon Ish - "After the Brisker Rav and Rav Isser Zalman, HaRav Shach is head and shoulders above the rest..."
    "Harav Shach has everything a great man needs to have!"

  28. Brisker Rav - "He is one of the Gedolim of our time and certainly does not need my haskamah!"

  29. Check this out:

    Rav Pam,
    Rav Gifter,
    Rav Shmuel Kamenetsky,
    Rav Elya Svei,
    Rav Aharon Schechter,
    Rav Yaakov Weinberg,
    Rav Henoch Leibowitz,
    Rav Reuven Feinstein,
    Rav Malkiel Kotler,
    Rav Zelik Epstein

  30. Check out what Rav Zev Leff says here:

    #1196, 1577, 1599

  31. BTW, still waiting for something from the frumteens moderator which you found to be untrue...

  32. Check this out:

  33. Anonymous of the many comments citing and quoting sources concerning the Gadlus of RS,

    What I mean should be obvious: If someone perceives the LR as also having been an honest-to-goodness Gadol b'Torah, then you will have to find someone who holds both RS and the LR to be Gedolim who will be machri'a beineihem.

    I can tell you that in West Hempstead we were not educated to judge which Gadol is bigger and which Gadol is smaller. We were educated to consider issues. Hence, the "my Gadol is bigger than your Gadol" approach - for better or for worse - does not work with us. That is where Barry is coming from. Hence, all your citations and quotations are irrelevant and superfluous.


    Thank you for pointing out that mareh makom! I was there, as a talmid in Ner Yisroel at the time, and Rabbi Weinberg zt"l's speech is the one that deeply disturbed me and drove me to speak to the Mashgi'ach. (I didn't understand Rabbi Ruderman zt"l's speech.) I wish I remember what he (Rabbi Eisemann) said, but I do not, and I do not remember if it made me feel any better. In any event, it still bothers me.

  35. What about it bothered you? I have the recording.... There's a chiyuv to be mocheh when a talmich chacham is slighted, and all the gedolei America agreed a macha'a was necessary at the time (check out the details here -

  36. 1. I admired the LR. 2. I knew that RS had used degrading language in regards to the LR. I therefore was disturbed at the apparent inappropriate harshness and the apparent hypocrisy of the protest.

  37. Can you please upload/send me a copy of the recording? Thanks!

  38. In regards to your second point, Rav Ovadia Yosef was asked this very question:

    כאשר השיב הרב יוסף לשאלות בסיום השיעור השבועי שלו בבית-הכנסת ברוכוב בשכונת הבוכרים בירושלים

    אחד השואלים ביקש לדעת מדוע אין הרב יוסף מגן על כבודו של הרבי מלובביץ' מפני התקפזתיו של הרב שך

    Check out Rav Ovadia's answer here:

  39. Spelling correction: התקפותיו של הרב שך

  40. The recording from Ner Israel is copyrighted. You can buy it from the tape library there:

    (410) 484 – 7204 extension 723, or
    via email at

    כינוס מחאה על כבוד הגר"א שך שליט"א מורנו ורבינו הרב יעקב יצחק רודערמאן,
    מו"ר שמואל יעקב ויינברג
    Yiddish 5742 , NY0403

  41. Rav Ovadia's long answer can be basically summed up in one statement from Chazal:

    במקום שיש חילול השם אין חולקין כבוד לרב

    A similar historical example would be R' Yosef Yedid HaLevi's approach regarding Rav Kook
    (Shu"t Shearis Yosef: Volume 4: Page 432)

    Check it out

  42. And as Rav Leff says here, history has seem to vinciated Rav Shach's serious concerns:


  43. Still waiting for a retraction regarding your accusation of the frumteens moderator....

  44. "He was a very big takif, and this has made chareidim do vilder things which hurt people."

    Rav Shach made it very clear that violence is prohibited:

    Listen to what he says around the 6:20 mark

  45. I started reading this having been sent a link by a friend who was very unhappy with the attacks on Rabbi Lipman coming from some extremist sources. The long article by Barry Jacobson I found very honest, very sincere, and for the most part a reasonable perspective on the very serious internal struggle going on in Israel. Then, there seems to have been a drift towards trying to justify the good name of Rav Schach, and quoting various people who spoke positively about him. I was not aware of Rav Schach's criticism of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, but I have a lot of sympathy for those whose enthusiasm for the Chabad movement has diminished enormously since they became caught up in the whole 'mashiach' business. Nowadays, the only good things said about Chabad that most people can agree on are that they are prepared to go to places where few other Jewish resources exist, especially many university campuses, and offer support there, perhaps as a contrast to the women reform 'rabbis' who work at the Hillel centres. But what I have been aware of is a tirade against Rav Soloveitchik that I saw quoted by a Lubavitch rabbi in England, Rabbi Chaim Rapaport, and that tirade against Rabbhi Soloveitchik and the institution he taught at was so grotesquely inappropriate and disrespectful to one of the greatest Torah scholars and teachers of our time that it certainly would reduce any respect any reader might have had for Rav Schach. But the problems that are illustrated so well in the lead article and in the many responses are nbot going to be solved by one group outshouting the other, nor by one group claiming "I'm frumer than you". They are only going to be not resolved but gradually lessened by the sort of approach Rabbi Lipman is taking, which is to try to talk to Roshei Yeshiva and at the same time have close connections with Israeli secular leadership, so that they can find ways of developing a sense of mutual respect and co-operation to alleviate some of the huge internal problems posed by many very large families living on negligible income and thus supported by the larger majority who are wolrking full-time long hours, and by gradually bringing young chareidi men and women into appreciating that a tiny country surrounded by millions of others who desperately want to destroy it needs some form of public contribution to the physical defence of the country by young people at a stage of their life when they usually don't yet have the responsibilities of a large family, a home, work, mortgages, etc, etc. As Rabbi Lipman himself says, the men (and women) don't have to be front-line soldiers, but there are many very necessary activities that for two or three years they could do as their cohntribution, without compromising their religious standards at all. I can tell you - as can so many others who have children in Israel and visit frequently - that the resentment felt among the mainstream frum community towards the chareidim who object to some form of army/national service while their children are at risk for 2-3 years is astonishing among people who otherwise have a tremendous Ahavat Yisrael and love of their fellow-Jews.

  46. Like most people who use the quotation, בכ"מ שיש ח"ה אין חולקין כב' לרב you are taking it out of context. Accordingly, the application is void. You can, I am sure, find many kana'im, who use it the way you do, but that is no evidence. See the sources, Berachos 19a, Eruvin 63a, Sanhedrin 82a and Shavuos 30b.

    BTW, in conflating RK with the LR, you reveal your true colors...

  47. I pointed out one factual error of frumteens and you came up with a "lomdus" to be "meyashev" him. I'm not interested in going to the mat on Mr. Frumteens. You like him, gezunteheit! I don't. It is merely a distraction to focus on him.

  48. Check out the Rambam quoted here:

  49. Not any different than many other machlokesim throughout our history, such as Rambam vs. Raavad (see the leshonos of the Raavad)...

    Check out what Rabbi Zev Leff says here:


    "There's a website ( which has some very disturbing stories: the Chafetz Chaim and R' Kotler seemingly being mevazeh certain talmidei chachamim. What are we to make of these stories? Isn't one who does this considered an apikorus? What's the difference between legitimate critique and outright bizayon?"

  50. Here's the links to the discussion about Lubavitch and Rav Shach: