Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Rabbi Don Segal

The Mashgiach they called him in the Hebrew article. Apparently he is a big name in the Charedi world. I am told he held such positions in Yeshivos in the past.

His name came up in another context not long ago. His brother was a secular Jew. In fact if I recall correctly he might have even been an atheist. Or at least very anti Torah. He died not long ago. Rabbi Segal then went to Rav Elyashiv to ask whether he was required to sit Shiva or in any other way mourn for his brother. He was told that because he was so anti Torah that he should not mourn for him - and he didn’t.

There was a lot of controvery about that decsion at the time. But that pales in comparison to what he has been quoted as saying. In effect he makes Neturei Karta look good. Or at least gives them theological cover to do what they do.

Rabbi Segal made his comments in an interview by a Charedi Israeli newspaper. It has been translated and synopsized in English on the Vos Iz Nais blog. Here in major part is what it says:

Rabbi Don Segal, שליט"א, a famous mashgiach, darshan and rabbi from Israel, has ignited a firestorm by a recent speech on the massacre in the Merkaz HaRav yeshivah, in which he claimed that the Holy Land's Jewish community is in grave danger, even greater than that of outside Eretz Yisroel, because of "rebelling against the Shalosh Shevuos." (The so-called Shalos Shevuous is a reference to Gemara Kesubos 111a, which interprets a verse in Shir HaShirim as containing three oaths Jews must not violate while in exile:

1. returning to the Holy Land by force,

2. rebelling against the Nations, and

3. delaying Moshiach by their sins.

Rabbi Segal continued by saying, "Only the Torah and Mitzvos Jews observe here provide protection." Rav Segal also derided the belief that the Jewish State is part of the Torah belief in Geulah, saying that the attack was a sign from Heaven.

This is exactly the argument used by Neturei Karta. If this were the leader of Neturei Karta, we could just write it off. But it isn’t. This is a ‘famous mashgiach, darshan and rabbi from Israel’.

When there are famous Mashgichim in Israel who use an opportunity like this to bash the institution that was so brutally attacked and with young students murdered in cold blood… is there any wonder that there is no Achdus in Klal Yisroel? The pain is still fresh. People are still sitting Shiva. The main euologies are still to come. And Rabbi Segal decides to philosophize and blame the victim?!

Of course he didn’t make up this theology. As mentioned it is in fact based on a Gemarah in Kesubos. It was in fact the original Satmar Rebbe, Rabbi Yoel Teitelbaum who used this Gemarah as the basis his strong opposition to the state of Israel. It is a legitmate position, but it is not accepted by any other mainstream segment of Torh Jewry. Not Charedim, and certainly not Modern Orthodoxy. To the best of my knowledge, no one outside of Satmar believes in that theology other than Neturei Karta a radical break-off from Satmar. They use it to actively seeks the destruction of the State no different than Iran or Hamas. They too wish to wipe the State of Israel off the map.

Neturei Karta is the reviled by just about every segment of the Torah world. Left to right. No one gives them any credence. They are in effect shunned even by Satmar who espouses the every same theology. They should be reviled. Not supporting Israel doesn’t mean you side with the murderers who would annihilate every Jew in the State of Israel given the opportunity.

But now we have a respected Mashgaich saying exactly the same thing Neturei Karta says.

It is to the credit of Rabbi Aaron Teitelbaum - who it seems is becoming more recognized as the Satmar Rebbe than his brother- that he understands that the time to assert the theological arguments of his great unlce, Rabbi Yoel, is not now. Now we must mourn our brothers… his brothers… fallen Jews, murdered by a Jew hating Islamist Arab. Whose genocidal theology is akin to Hitler’s Jew hating genocidal ideology.

Rabbi Segal, on the other hand chose this time to make his statement now. He blames the victims because of their Zionist ideology.

When prominent mashgichim make these c=kinds of comments in the press, is it any wonder that on the very day of the funeral a Charedi Avreich experienced the following – which is taken from another Vos Iz Nais post?

Following the heart-wrenching levaya I proceeded to a main thoroughfare in Geulah. The mood had suddenly changed. Only several blocks away from where this massacre occurred, festive Adar music was playing and people were going about their business like any other day.

The regular Levaya and Tznius posters were posted on the walls,but something was missing. It was as if everyone had already forgotten about the eight Kedoshim who were slaughtered only hours before.Teenage boys who were brutally murdered as they sat in the Beis Medrash weresuddenly as anonymous as ever.

All of this in a neighborhood where numerous grown men spend countless hours each week protesting and promoting vital matters such as “Mehadrin” buses . Where has all of our Ahavas Yisroel gone? Were these boys any less pure than our own because they wore different colored Yarmulka’s? Levaya, where were you? Isn’t it time that we put all of our petty politics aside and get our priorities in order? It is at tragic times like these that Klal Yisroel must unite.

I don’t think Rabbi Segal is his Rebbe. It almost sounds like he reads this blog.