Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Lies and Deception: The Making of a Ban

I am so sorry for Rav Nosson Kaminetsky’s trials and tribulations. How much rejection can one person take from people he respects the most? As most people by now know, Rav Kamintesky’s revised book “Making of a Gadol” has been banned. His first attempt, the original, was banned over a year ago by Rav Yoseph Sholom Elyashiv, a man that Rav Kaminetsky himself has called the Gadol Hador. And the way it happened can at best be described as done through deception and lies. This... from people who are considered great rabbinic figures by many in the Torah world. ...people who surround Rav Elyashiv and people he relies on as a source of information and upon which he bases many of his Halachic decisions.

About a year ago I heard the audio of a speech given by Rav Kaminetsky relating how his original book came to be banned. There was material in it that some claimed was harmful to the reputation of previous generations of Gedolim. While the charge is debatable, what is NOT debatable what happened next. The book which is written in English could not have been read by Rav Elyashiv. And Rav Elyashiv is not so easily approached. He has an army of “Askanim” people who surround him and protect him from the public. To gain access one must go through this “mafia” of Askanim, people who think they are not only protecting his interests but the interests of Klal Yisroel.

When there was an announcement about a possible ban, Rav Kaminetsky asked for a meeting with Rav Elyashiv to see whether it could be avoided somehow. To make a long story short, before the appointed date of the meeting, Rav Elyashiv was lied to by his people and told that Rav Kaminetsky refused to meet with him. Rav Elyashiv then banned the book without ever meeting with him. This all happened while Rav Kaminetsky was out of the country dealing with a health issue. He was informed after the fact. Meanwhile his name was dragged through the mud to the point of people questioning whether they should be M’Shadech with him(consider opportunities to marry into his family)!

Upon his return he wanted to meet with Rav Elyashiv anyway to find out why the book was banned without the promised meeting. He got the meeting. When asked why he wasn’t given the meeting he was promised, Rav Elyashiv related that his people told him that he (Rav Kaminetsky) refused to come to the meeting. A complete fabrication. A boldfaced lie! ...by people whom Rav Elyashiv trusts. Rav Elyashiv apologized to Rav Kaminetsky but he said it was too late and he wasn’t pulling the ban. He then said something to the effect of, “I was lied to and told that you refused to come!” “How should I have known that you were still coming?” Do you think I have Ruach HaKodesh?

Poor man. Thrown to the dogs by a bunch of “murderers”! People who think little about unfounded character assassination and revel at the thought of doing it! These are the kinds of people Rav Elyashiv seems to be surrounding himself with. These are the people he trusts. And these are the same people who “killed” Rabbi Slifkin as well. It was a double header that year. It must have really made them feel good.

So now we have it again. Rav Kaminetsky’s book has been banned again. And people wonder why I think we have no leadership today. Sure, Rav Elyashiv is a Gadol. But as a man in his nineties he is too easily manipulated by others. His Gadlus is not providing true leadership. Yet all other rabbinic figures jump on any chance they get to sign on to a ban that has Rav Elyashiv’s name on it even when they don’t know what they are signing!

It’s time to call a spade, spade. Not just by me but by everyone. We have no Gedolim today.