Sunday, October 06, 2013

Consider the Source

Rabbi Yitzchok Frankfurter (left) seen here with the Skverer Rebbe (right)
I wish to apologize to Rabbi Yitzchok Frankfurter for an error in an earlier version of this post. I inadvertently misread an editorial and commented about what I perceived to be a specific slight of Rav Soloveitchik. 

I somehow grossly misread a ZTL after the Rav's name as ZL. I was wrong. It's there. This does not mean that I give him a pass. I still feel the article did not give the Rav the respect he deserves - as the rest of the post will show. But I erred and unintentionally misstated the truth. And for that I truly apologize. The revised post follows: 

One of the things that really upset me is when the right wing uses Gedolim they have little respect for to forward their agenda. This is what happened this week in an Ami editorial by Rabbi Yitztchok Frankfurter.

That he has little respect for the Rav (Rav Yoshe Ber Soloveitchik) is made obvious by the following.

First Rabbi Frankfurter did not refer to him with the title Rav… the way he would with Charedi Gedolim. He called him ‘Rabbi’ Soloveitchik – the same way he might refer to anyone with Semicha. Again not such a slight to the unititiated. But to the right – a clear and purposeful  lack of proper Kavod.

He further proceeds to bash the Rav because of his positive views on Religious Zionism which broke with the right. He calls Rav Soloveitchik’s views controversial - drawing the ‘ire and fire’ of various Gedolei Yisroel - especially Rav Schach. It sould be noted that he did not say ‘other’ Gedolei Ysroel. But Gedloei Yisroel which means that he clearly does not recognize the Rav as
 a Gadol!

I have no issue with those who disagreed with Rav Soloveitchik… even strongly. But I do have issues with people like Rabbi Frankfurter who use these disagreements to denigrate him.  Especially in this insidious ‘plausibly  deniable’ way… subtle to the uninitiated but very clear to the right! Right wing readers will see this as a  justifiable bashing of Rav Soloveitchik. Make no mistake about it. Rabbi Frankfurter does not value Rav Soloveitchik’s views at all – despite some positive articles about him no doubt run to increase Ami’s circulation numbers!

As I said, Rabbi Frankfurter has no compunction using Rav Soloveichik to suit his own purposes. He unabashedly deigns to know what the Rav would say about Religious Zionism today. That he would change his mind about supporting it now that it favors legislation in unfavorable to Charedim . I understand that Rabbi Frankurter is upset.  But what right does a man who had never experienced one moment with the Rav… a man whose views are among the most right wing in Orthodoxy and a man who very likely did not study his great works (like Halakhic Man)  claim to know what the Rav would have held? Does he know anything about the Rav besides all the negative rhetoric with which  he has been indoctrinated?

I freely admit that I don’t know how the Rav would have treated this subject.  I’m not even sure his greatest Talmidm can say for sure what his views would be today. But the one person whose speculation is completely without value is a man who would use a Gadol he bashes to serve his own purposes.