Sunday, May 04, 2008

Taking a Firm Stand

Question. "Why don't Rabbanim take a firm stand on developments in frum life, such as denouncing perversions and corruptions, wrong agendas, wrongdoers?"

This is a question asked in Mishpacha Magazine by a Charedi journalist to leading Poskim in an article addressing the "burning issues" facing Charedi Jewry today.

Rabbi Shlomo Miller - a prominent Rosh Kollel in Toronto - responded that Charedi Rabbanim do indeed take stands on these issues: "Charedi rabbanim opposed the views espoused by Rabbi Natan Slifkin, and rejected him speaking in the name of Orthodoxy."

Baruch HaShem. A most important achievement! My mind is now set at ease. One huge problem solved. Charedi Rabbanim have saved Yiddishkeit from disaster. We now understand that authentic Judaism rejects the scientific evidence that age of the universe is billions of years old. I’m glad that ‘perversion’ has been settled.

We now also know that the science quoted in the Gemarah is accurate and true. For example we now realize that the sun slips over a dome just below the horizon on the west every night - reverses direction and reappears on the east after slipping under that dome just below the horizon - and starts the process all over again. Back and forth every day. I’m glad that’s been cleared up.

What about those other perversions? Sure they’re serious but at least one big problem has been solved.

The next problem we must solve is the one Jonathan Rosenblum wrote about. Although he re-considers the issue in a later column, he writes about a discussion he had with a Rav whose wisdom has always impressed him. That Rav thinks that the biggest problem facing the Torah world is now is ‘Five Star’ Pesach vacations. That is… the elaborate vacations taken for Pesach at luxury hotels by wealthy families. This is what is going to do Judaism in. That is now our biggest problem.

I now know what Jewish priorities are and I thank these two Charedi rabbinic figures for setting me straight. The age of the universe is 5768 tears old, Gemarah science is infallible, and Pesach vacations of the wealthy are too elaborate.

But I wonder which is worse? Which of these issues should we be most concerned with? What if the ideas if Rabbi Slifkin resurface and try to take hold again in the Torah world? Should we deal with the ideas promoted by Rabbi Slifkin first, or deal with the elaborate Pesach vacations? I can’t seem to decide. Maybe I should give Rabbi Kolko a call and see what he thinks. I understand that he is free at the moment.