Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Yated Newspaper - Unmasking the Oppostion

Yated Newspaper - Unmasking the Oppostion

Rabbi Shmuel Bloom (!) attacking my friend Barry. Gratuitous anecdotes, ad hominem innuendo and no substance. You would think Barry is the sitra achra! In reality, if the Ginzbergs and the Blooms of the world have no more cogent and coherent responses for an oved and mevakesh and a tamim like Barry than to taunt, insult and belittle him, then Charedi Orthodoxy is in deeper trouble than one would have imagined in one's most negative moments!

V'al da vadai ka'bachina.

42 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dear Rabbi,
from my days in skokie I always wondered where you stood in hashkafa. Now I have my answer, you hold yourself to be a big gadol in your own right. It comes out you realy are just a huge baal gaavah.

Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer said...

It is an honor to suffer your cowardly (anonymous) effrontery in the cause of supporting a dear friend who is being attacked rather than answered. Moreover, if you think yourself the authority on what I hold myself and what I really am, then clearly you must yourself to be an even "bigger" "gadol" and it comes out that you are really just an even more "huge baal gaavah."

Be that as it may, since we seem to be acquainted from days of yore (I have to take your word for it), best personal regards!

Reader said...

I have serious doubts that the first commenter above knows you from Skokie, and strongly protest his words. I think Skokie talmidim typically communicate in higher manner than that.

Re the Yated piece, I find Rabbi Blum's closing anecdote interesting, but have doubts whether such an emissary, as described, actually exists.

Anonymous said...

I can't begin to understand how you can consider this barry to be a tomim. His lack of respect towards gedolei yisroel is beyond pale. To refer to Maran Harav Shach Zatzal's viewpoint as "another Rav who spewed vitriol" is Bizuy Talmid Chochom of the worst kind.

Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer said...

I can consider Barrt a tomim because I know him very well. You don't understand how a temimus'dik guy might perceive Rav Shach's crusade against Lubavitch as vitriolic??? (That is irrelevant of whether he was in the right or not.)

Anonymous said...

The key issue isn't "vitriol". Its "Another Rav", who "spewed" vitriol

How can you tolerate him dissing off Harav Shach ZT"L as just "another Rav" who spewed. That is so low. No matter whether you agree to Harav Shachs viewpoints or not, he was a Gadol B'yisroel, not just another Rav

Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer said...

Sorry, that seems like nit-picking to me. The LR is "One Rav" and RS is "Another Rav." Is it a problem that he didn't say "One Gadol" and "Another Gadol?" Or that he said "Gadol" and "Rav."

MIghty Garnel Ironheart said...

The article is the usual fluff.
Everything revolves around the Chareidim. The Chilonim don't do anything other than sit around day and night wondering how to screw them.
Everything they do, everything they initiate, it's all about attacking the Chareidim. They think of nothing else.
The usual piffle, best ignored nowadays.

Barzilai/Eliezer Eisenberg said...

I don't know Barry, I don't know Rav Bechhoffer well enough to pass judgment on him, but I did know Reb Moshe, who respected the Lubavitcher Rebbe, while he was also Rav Shach's close acquaintance from their youth. I am sure that he totally disagreed with Rav Shach's characterizations of Lubavitch and of the Rebbe. But he never did and never would use the expression "another Rav who spewed vitriol" about Rav Shach, and I guarantee that if he heard a member of the family use that expression he would have made it crystal clear that the person was a chatzuf and an az panim. It's not the "vitriol" that's objectionable. Rav Shach certainly expressed himself with vitriol It's the spewing, with its implication of incontinent spraying of vomitous and foolish
words.

Being a tamim is not an excuse for being pogei'a in the kavod of a man like Rav Shach, any more than being primitive is an excuse for sticking a fork into an electrical outlet. The machloksim of the gedolim are for the gedolim, and only fools ape their strong words. Worse, it is not a good idea to hear bizayon talmid chacham and remain silent.

I also know that there are metric gears and standard gears. Each works perfectly in a mechanism that is geared for their system. A metric gear gear in a standard mechanism system is not just wrong, it is deadly, and a smart mechanic will make sure there are no such gears in any toolboxes in the factory. Same thing with Lubavitch, or Satmar, or Reb Tzadok, or Ner Israel, or Philly, or Ponovezh. We don't have an a la carte religion.

Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer said...

Barzilai, your last paragraph leaves me stumped. I have no clue what you mean.

As to the preceding text of your comment, Barry apologized in his response to RAZG. Nevertheless, in my opinion you are nit-picking. You agree with the characterization as vitriolic but take umbrage at the adjective spewing?

BTW, as a young lad in NIRC I myself had grave difficulties with the protests and the invective against the LR. When Rabbi Weinberg proclaimed that the LR stuck a knife into the heart of Torah, I was very disturbed, and went to complain to the Mashgiach. (I was a temimus'dik bachur back then myself.)

BTW, you may find the discussions at http://www.hydepark.co.il/topic.asp?whichpage=1&topic_id=2556255&forum_id=20422 on נאומיו של הרב שך נגד חב"ד giving you some pause.

Anonymous said...

I'm still waiting for an article by a charedi where it actually has ideas on how to move forward and not just full of attacks.

Barzilai/Eliezer Eisenberg said...

My last paragraph meant that what makes perfect sense in one system of hashkafa is worse than nonsense in another. Eilu v'Eilu does not mean they can work together. I assume you know that Rav Rudderman had a Tanya on his nightstand, but he was not an advocate of the Lubavitcher hashkafos. Just as one side says "ploni is a rasha gamur and should be killed" and the other says "ploni is a tzadik yesod olam" and each says the other side is reshoim gemurim, I think it works the same in hashkafa. Rav Shach was entitled to say what he said about Lubavitch, just as the derech of the Bavli and Yerushalmi are very different. I wish I remembered where that Tosfos is that says on a kashe that it's nonsense, then brings the kashe from the Yerushalmi.

Nit picking? Would you like someone to say that you suffer from logorrhea? Or that you vomit forth vitriolic insults?

Speaking of being mevazeh talmidei chachamim, I need to mention that the first anonymous is an idiot, lefi aniyus daati. I am a talmid chacham, albeit a little one, and so am entitled to an opinion as to ranking. Rabbi Bechhoffer is a talmid chacham of the first water in Gemara, Tanach, Hashkafa and Halacha, and only an idiot would be so foolhardy as to castigate his opinions with such chutzpedikeh words.

Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer said...

Al acharon rishon, "Barzilai" is no "little" TC - but a great one. Talking to him in learning was a great ta'anug.

Now, let me ask you, isn't the model supposed to be Eruvin 13b - BH were nochim v'shonim divreihem v'divrei BS, and BS first?

Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer said...

Apropos the other component of your point, to which I agree, something I put at the end of an essay some years ago:

R. Yosef Leib Bloch of Telshe made significant use of the Tanya in his system of thought. My grandfather, R. Dov Yehuda Schochet, was a close student of R.Yosef Leib and Telshe Yeshiva who later became a Chassid Chabad. In a 1941 letter to R. Yosef Yitzchok Schneerson of Lubavitch, my grandfather proposed an objective perspective from which our generation might consider the disputes between the disciples of the Gr"a and the disciples of the Ba'al Shem Tov. This approach is based on an insight my grandfather had heard from R.Yosef Leib that to the best of my knowledge is not to be found elsewhere.
The Gemara in Berachos 28b recounts that R. Gamliel was removed from the leadership of the Yeshiva in Yavne and R. Elazar ben Azarya took his place. R. Gamliel had placed a guard at the gate of the Beis Medrash in order to bar students who were not already of the highest ethical caliber from the Yeshiva. After R. Gamliel was deposed, the guard was removed, and it became necessary to add four hundred benches to the Beis Medrash. Seeing this, R. Gamliel worried lest he be held accountable for having prevented so many from Torah. He was then shown a bucket full of ashes in a dream (a sign that the new students were essentially worthless). The Gemara concludes, however, that this was not really the case, but the Heavens showed him this to appease him. R.Yosef Leib asked: How can it be permissible to utilize untruth just to appease R. Gamliel? Furthermore, why didn't R. Gamliel himself realize that the consolation was false?
R.Yosef Leib offered a wonderfully profound explanation: There is a question as to which is the proper pathway through which to attain both ultimate shleymus as the nation of Hashem and ultimate success in bringing the world closer to Malchus Shomayim (the reign of Heaven on Earth). Are these to be achieved by devoting one's influence toward the broadest possible cross-section of the nation in order to uplift it to a loftier plane - even if as a result some outstanding unique individuals will be impeded from achieving their respective capacities? Or are these best achieved by devotion with all might and strength to the nurturing of those of the highest caliber until they become the luminaries of the Jewish people?
It is impossible for any person to resolve this issue. To do so entails taking into account ultimate ramifications for eternity, until the end of days. G-d deliberately placed the issue beyond resolution. Each great Torah sage has no choice, therefore, but to follow his particular inclination and perception that in this or that specific manner he will fulfill his obligation to improve the world.
R. Gamliel, according to his characteristics, perceived his responsibility as one of educating the giants of the nation, its leaders and trailblazers. That is why he barred those who were, in his opinion, not candidates for greatness, from the Beis Medrash. When R. Gamliel later beheld the splendid sight of a multitude studying Torah, doubt entered his heart. The dream was meant to assuage his worries. The Gemara's subsequent conclusion is not that the dream was untruthful, rather, that we should not draw from here a conclusion as to how all generations should conduct themselves. R. Gamliel had to conduct himself according to his understanding - and so do we. There can be no one decisive, conclusive Halachic ruling in such areas. My grandfather theorized that the debate between Chassidus and Misnagdus must be viewed - by us - in a similar vein.

Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer said...

The rest of the essay is at:

http://www.aishdas.org/rygb/forks.htm

Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer said...

One more limmud zechus on Barry's usage (for which, in any event, he apologized). I think he meant this meaning:

to tell everything that one knows; to confess everything. (Underworld.): Lefty was sitting there in the cop-shop spewing his guts out about the bank job.
Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions by Richard A. Spears.Fourth Edition.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/spew

curious george said...

The first guy who insulted you is the reason why so many people, including those inside the community, have a hard time being inspired by chareidikeit.

If they don't like what you, they wipe the floor with you and leave you for dead.

These same nasty people have children who watch this behavior and either adopt as "the derech" or get fed up with the whole pushiness and walk away from it all.

Barzilai OTOH, expressed what was bothering him in a civil manner. The average chareidi kanoi (from skokie or meah shearim) doesn't know the meaning of the word civil.

curious george said...

typo - meant to write if they don't like what you say

Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer said...

Considering the first commenter,seeing that he knows me from Skokie, it cannot be automatically assumed that he is "Charedi." Even if he is, he is probably a "gevorner" and they say that a "gevorner is erger vi a geborner." :-)

RAM said...

I just took the time to read through Barry Jacobson's article on The Mesorah Of Chesed as posted on the Web. It's a maddening mixture of heartfelt indignation in defense of Zionism and Israel combined with some dubious "facts" and innuendo. We would have all benefited if he had throughly researched his own accusations, before releasing this mishmash. For example, the public controversy about the direction of Lubavitch in recent years has been largely philosophical and not personal, and no amount of charisma and accomplishment should be allowed obscure that.

Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer said...

Barry is not a professional writer, and the essay was clearly not appropriately edited. The Chabad criticism is fair, and has been dealt with in the comments section to the prior post on the contretemps:

http://rygb.blogspot.com/2013/06/the-mesorah-of-chesed-5-towns-jewish.html

Anonymous said...

"One more limmud zechus on Barry's usage..."

Anyone with even a micro sized pea brain knows what Barry meant. He meant "spewing" in its derogatory sense. In the same way he dissed the charedi worlds anti zionist slogans as "foolish".

You, RYGB, don't have a pea brain. Which leads to me to think there might be some truth to what the first anonymous wrote.

Anonymous said...

"Barry is not a professional writer, and the essay was clearly not appropriately edited."

Precisely the problem, where every Shmerel Berel thinks he's qualified to publicly slam viewpoints held by Gedolei Yisroel. I don't believe Barry's screed was written out of Temimus. A Tamim doesn't portray Gedolei Yisroel as vitriolic spewing Rabbanim with foolish viewpoints.

Anonymous said...

"curious george said...
The first guy who insulted you is the reason why so many people, including those inside the community, have a hard time being inspired by chareidikeit."

Seeing the Jacobsons of the world publicly denigrating Gedolei Yisroel is the reason why chareidim seek to insular themselves from those outside their communities

Anonymous said...

Jacobson in part 2 writes:

"Nevertheless, I still maintain that if the chilonim hate us so much, we are doing something wrong."

Do you agree RYGB?

Surely you are familiar with the following Gemara Psachim:

אמר רבי עקיבא כשהייתי עם הארץ אמרתי מי יתן לי תלמיד חכם ואנשכנו כחמור

גדולה שנאה ששונאין עמי הארץ לתלמיד חכם יותר משנאה ששונאין אומות העולם את ישראל

According to Jacobson, this means that the תלמיד חכם is doing something wrong.

You agree?

Barzilai/Eliezer Eisenberg said...

"isn't the model supposed to be Eruvin 13b - BH were nochim v'shonim divreihem v'divrei BS, and BS first?"

No, in Eretz Yisrael they do like the Yerushalmi in Shabbos 9:1. Anyway, the Lubavitchers are famous for eliciting terrible anger. There's a man here in Chicago, who came from Russia when the gates opened, comes to davening every day but reads from a transliterated siddur. He has a dear soul, but is a victim of the Soviet extirpation of Jewish education. He told me he remembers that his father, a close talmid of the Chafetz Chaim, had a seder in middle of the night with "Chabadker." He was once awoken in middle of the night by the sound of his father yelling at his chavrusa, and I translate "There is only one God, and that God is not your Rebbe!"

Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer said...

You, RYGB, don't have a pea brain. Which leads to me to think there might be some truth to what the first anonymous wrote.

Tsk. Tsk.

Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer said...

Precisely the problem, where every Shmerel Berel thinks he's qualified to publicly slam viewpoints held by Gedolei Yisroel. I don't believe Barry's screed was written out of Temimus. A Tamim doesn't portray Gedolei Yisroel as vitriolic spewing Rabbanim with foolish viewpoints.

But I know Barry - and I assume you don't? So it doesn't matter what you believe or don't believe, it is true nonetheless.

Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer said...

Seeing the Jacobsons of the world publicly denigrating Gedolei Yisroel is the reason why chareidim seek to insular themselves from those outside their communities.

All the more reason why Charedim should make the logic of their positions clear so as to avoid Chillul Hashem.

Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer said...


Jacobson in part 2 writes:

"Nevertheless, I still maintain that if the chilonim hate us so much, we are doing something wrong."

Do you agree RYGB?


Yes.

Surely you are familiar with the following Gemara Psachim:

אמר רבי עקיבא כשהייתי עם הארץ אמרתי מי יתן לי תלמיד חכם ואנשכנו כחמור

גדולה שנאה ששונאין עמי הארץ לתלמיד חכם יותר משנאה ששונאין אומות העולם את ישראל

According to Jacobson, this means that the תלמיד חכם is doing something wrong.

You agree?


Do you remember Kamtza and Bar Kamtza?

Barzilai/Eliezer Eisenberg said...

This kind of debate reminds us of an essay I recently read that said that "It is impossible for any person to resolve this issue. To do so entails taking into account ultimate ramifications for eternity, until the end of days."

I believe this is why Chazal say גדול שימושה של תורה יותר מלימודה. Without שימושה, your Torah might turn out to be a סם המות. Nebach on those people that are ameilim batorah without Shimush, or with the wrong Shimush.

Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer said...

No, in Eretz Yisrael they do like the Yerushalmi in Shabbos 9:1.

It has always been a mystery to me how noam and chovlim seem to have reversed geography over the centuries!

Anonymous said...

I just discovered this blog and enjoy the inteligent give and take.However it amazes me the absolutism expressed by both sides of this debate.Why can't one take pride in the all the amazing things that the state of israel has accomplished but acknoledge that herzl was not an upstanding jew.why can't one thank hashem for having a jewish country open to all jews but acknoledge that many of the zionist founders like ben gurion were flat out evil.why not acknoledge the horrific history of the israeli govt and the yeminite children but acknoledge thier incredible generosity in the funding of torah.why not acknoledge the reality of daas torah but also recognize that its has become terribly corrupted by unscrupulous handlers shamefull manipulations(ie. Rav elyashivs ztl court).why not acknoledge the huge zechusim of chabad (as I know first hand rav shach ztl did)in their unparalled mesiras nefesh for kiruv rechokim but also acknoledge the rampent meshechistim,elokistim,alchohlism and halachic ignorance their movement consists of.why not acknoledge the radical change needed in the unmitigated disaster that israeli chariedi society but still acknoledge that yair lapid,son of the hatemonger tommy, has the worst of intentions.the list can go on and on,but the bottom line is that nuance and looking at things not denying uncomfortable truths is the best way to advance progress.

Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer said...

Anonymous said...
I just discovered this blog and enjoy the intelligent give and take.However it amazes me the absolutism expressed by both sides of this debate...


For the most part I agree with you on the issues, and it is not important for now to point out where I disagree. But what I agree with the most, is your theme, summarized as:

...but the bottom line is that nuance and looking at things not denying uncomfortable truths is the best way to advance progress.

Anonymous said...

I would still like to know why Rav Bechoffer did not consider Barrys comments to be considered as one who is mevazeh a talmid chacham.

Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer said...

Barry: a) did not intend to be mevazeh a talmid chochom; b) apologized for doing so, however inadvertently.

I assume that now that we have that out of the way, you can address the issues placidly and substantively?

curious george said...

10:34 anonymous

everything was going great until you wrote
why not acknoledge the radical change needed in the unmitigated disaster that israeli chariedi society but still acknoledge that yair lapid,son of the hatemonger tommy, has the worst of intentions.

I'm not sure you're right on that one. time will tell

and please! the word is spelled with a W - acknowledge!!!

Dan Berman said...

I am American, but I found this article to make a sound philosophical point.

As one who spends considerable time and energy pondering the intersection of faith and culture within our own (often insane) contexts, the Rabbi's point about the inherent unfairness of life and death rings very true. I can understand why a community would decide it beneficial to support a class of dedicated philosophers to further their long term cultural development. However it is also conceivable that such a role could, over time, require a reminder of just what they contribute, and at what cost. If this class is unwilling to make sacrifices and contributions in ways that they are not used to (I recognize that their skills are more valuable elsewhere), then perhaps this is also problematic.

I won't draw a conclusion, as I clearly am not qualified to pass judgment on such a complex issue.

Rational Thinker said...

@ anonymous Saturday, June 29, 2013 10:34:00 PM-

"However it amazes me the absolutism expressed by both sides of this debate."

immediately after pointing out this very real problem , you proceed to engage in that 'absolutism' yourself, and thus provide another example of the reason for some of the antipathy towards charedism from the secular world (of which I am a part).
Each and every one of your examples of 'nuanced' thinking is anything but.

Why can't one take pride in the all the amazing things that the state of israel has accomplished but acknoledge that herzl was not an upstanding jew

Case in point: Who are you to decide and proclaim that Herzl wasn't an upstanding Jew? How would you react if a secular said,"Why can't we admit that despite the fact that "Gadol X" was a selfish and ignorant fool, his followers commit fewer armed robberies than society at large" ?


why can't one thank hashem for having a jewish country open to all jews but acknoledge that many of the zionist founders like ben gurion were flat out evil.


Are you seriously suggesting that this is nuanced reasoning? From the secular perspective you must first provide evidence that hashem should be thanked. And many seculars including myself consider BG to be a great hero. You want to bridge the gap by acknowledging his and other early zionists' evil while thanking hashem??
why not acknoledge the reality of daas torah but also recognize that its has become terribly corrupted by unscrupulous handlers shamefull manipulations...

Why don't you instead acknowledge that the entire concept of 'daas torah' as currently used is not borne out by facts? Why don't you admit that with almost complete unanimity the gedolim were wrong about the risks from nazism and in opposition to the state of israel?
When you maintain a stance which permits the insulting of and denigration of secular heroes and leaders while at the same you insist that gedolim can't be equally insulted and attacked from the other side, you lose all credibility.
The most uncomfortable truth for the charedi side is that their gedolim were wrong and the 'evil' zionists were right. It is as a result of that the charedi anti-zionism stance has become so entrenched. Because of their need for infallibility of the gedolim, the only option is to insist that Israel really is a mistake. Change would have come organically to the charedim if they would have admitted the gedolim were wrong and Herzl et al were correct and successful. Instead change will have to be forced on them and it won't be pleasant.

Anonymous said...

As anonymous 1034 pm I would like to apologise for my horrible spelling and syntax ,partialy to be blamed on my ignorance and part on my microscopic phone key pad.Now in response to Rational Thinker,I thought it was beyond obvious that this whole blog post was addressing the internal charedi debate as evidenced by the articles in the 5tjt and the yaated and not the debate between secularlist and reliogionists(.I mean cmon!!! )As far as that goes ,I do believe that it would be most savvy and important for a secularist or anyone trying to persuade a charedi to change his lifestyle not to engage in anything other than practical issues(ie the dire financial straits of the charedi tzibbur in israel)and not friutlessly try and debate hashkafa or history.That I believe is a mamoth mistake that rabbi lipman continues to make.

Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer said...

Most recent Anonymous:

I don't know what is the appropriate mahalach. But I am sure that it is necessary and essential that the TIDE approaches to chinuch, to avodah and to chovas ha'adam b'olamo be made viable, legitimate and sanctioned alternatives for the Charedi community.

Barzilai/Eliezer Eisenberg said...

There's always a bitter sense of dej vu to see a man excoriated for taking the Rambam at face value, especially in light of the TIDE mesora, but I wish some posek of international stature would make an unambiguous statement of support for Lipman. Of course, one problem is that such support would be self-defeating, in that it would instantly result in that person's consignment to senility or misguidedness or the Yochanan Kohen Gadol syndrome.