Sunday, December 25, 2005

Books and Bans: The Nosson Slifkin Epilogue

The Gedolim of the Agudath Israel Moetzes have now seen fit to publicly accept as legitimate, the view of an aged universe. Rabbi Gil Student has postulated a theory about the current state of affairs in the Slifkin controversy. I think he is absolutely correct about what is going on and you can read it at his blog "Hirhurim" available as a link right here on my blog. Unlike their Israeli counterparts who consider such a view heretical as per their original explanations for the ban, the Americans are content with just banning the Slifkin approach specifically and not his general approach which has been written about by others.

Last week, there was somewhat of a backpedaling even by Israelis. In a Yated article they stated that the only books banned were those of Nosson Slifkin and not other books expressing similar views. The explanation given was that the Rabbi Slifkin was arrogant in his views and brazen towards Gedolei Yisroel and ...THAT... was really why the books were banned.

I don't think that is really what happened. I do not believe that Rabbi Slifkin acted brazenly in defense of his books. Just aggressively. One of the signatories who I assume spoke for all of them at the time of the original ban stated quite clearly what the reasons were and they were published in the Yated. They called a view that the world is millions of years old Apikursus (or words to that effect).

They then must have found out that other views existed that were legitimate and endorsed by other Gedolei Yisroel. My guess is that when they banned Rabbi Slifkin’s books they didn't even know that there were approbated books that said those kinds of things. So in order to save face they now claim it was... attitude... more than substance.