Sunday, August 22, 2010

An Insulting Chilul HaShem

There are some very talented and charismatic people involved in Kiruv and yet they do not belong there. Rabbi David Orlovsky (pictured) is one of those people. I have been told by many that he is quite a dynamic personality and speaker and that he has a rather large following. But in my view he should resign his position at Ohr Somayach, the renowned Kiruv Institution in Jerusalem.

I have my issues with Ohr Somayach. They tend to hide just how right wing they are. This is a deceptive tactic in my view bordering on Geneivas Daas. But they do have many successes under their belt. So I would not necessarily support shutting them down nor boycotting them in any way.

It isn’t that I oppose a Kiruv organization that preaches a right wing Hashkafa. I am perfectly fine with it as long as they identify themselves that way. I do not believe that Ohr Somayach does so however. They present themselves as the only authentic form of Orthodoxy. And in doing so they denigrate modern Orthodoxy.

Rabbi Orlovsky seems to thrive in that environment. Apparently they give him license to teach in a hateful style. There are two audio clips that have been recorded of Rabbi Orlofsky’s vile and disgusting drivel. He presents those views as Torah true. They are available at Failed Messiah. Listening to it made me ill!

This fellow preaches to venom, hate, and ridicule to impressionable young Jews who come to Ohr Somayach to learn about their heritage. But teachers like Rabbi Orlovsky do not teach Heritage. He teaches hate. He derides and denigtrates any opposition if it comes from a modern Orthtodox perspective. In doing so he manages to delegitimize the beliefs of tens of thousands of Orthodox Jews. Religious figure that dare to disagree with his strident positions are called names and denigrated in horrible terms.

I would call his Hashkafos Gedolim or Bust! He bows down to them as though they were themselves deities. Never mind any questions about what may have been said in their name. Or suspicians that there has been mainipulation.

He ridicules that - and considers it the height of disrespect to even consider the possiblity that an elderly Gadol can be manipulated. Even though the Gadol he venerates the most admitted that he was manipulated (as per Rabbi Nosson Kaminetsky’s testimony).

No way! Gedlolim cannot be manipulated. What a Chatzpah to even suggest it! Doing so takes one outside the pale! - deserving to be pounded with Rabbi Orlovsky’s verbal fists!

That is apparently what gave him license to bash Rabbi Weinreb who dared to defend a Rabbi Natan Slifkin -a man whose books were labeled heresy by a Gadol who was told what was in them. He could not read them himself since he does not read English.

Rabbi Orlovsky can believe what he wants. If he wants to believe the moon is made out of green cheese, that is his right. What he cannot do is call Rabbi Weinreb insulting names. Especially to a class full of impressionable young people trying to find out the truth about Judaism.

Saying what he did in a classroom has a multiplier effect. These students will surely repeat what they heard - fully believing that it is a Mitzvah to do so. After all their Rebbe was very loud and very clear about Rabbi Weinreb. Obviously he wants the word to be spread. Well, it’s all over the internet now.

There is no excuse for what Rabbi Orlovsky said. Not in any context. He probably thought he was being funny in making his point about. His class seemed to think so. One can hear derisive laughter in the backround.

I have no respect for Rabbi Orlovsky. None!

He is invited to speak all over the world – if I understand correctly. But he should not be rewarded for this Chilul HaShem! He should instead be relieved of his position at Ohr Somayach - if he doesn’t resign - and boycotted wherever he speaks.

Furthermore, any apology forthcoming should be handled with skepticsm in my view. I do not believe it will be sincere. His sincerity has already been expressed. We know what he really thinks.