An unrepentant fool. That was my description or ‘Rabbi’ Yosef Mizrachi about a year ago when he first let the world know just how much of a fool he is. Unfortunately not everyone thinks he’s a fool. Let alone how dangerous he is as a man involved in bringing Jews closer to Judaism. He is a personality that is often invited to speak to large numbers of people for that purpose.
When I addressed this issue last January, I believed he was finished. Surely I thought that the exposure he got after he made his revisionist Holocaust YouTube video claiming that less than a million actual Jews were slaughtered - that no one would ever take him seriously again. Especially after viewing a series of additional ridiculous videos he made prior to that. Some of which I listed and linked to in a subsequent post. But he keeps popping up like a bad penny – to further his absurd and hurtful claims.
To the best of my knowledge his Kiruv organization still exists. He has several websites and a facebook page. His Kiruv organization distributes – free of charge - DVDs, Audio CDs, MP3 CDs spreading his hurtful and disgusting messages to Jews seeking to learn about their Jewish heritage.
According to Wikipedia, 1000s of his these items have already been handed out to unsuspecting innocent Jews, believing that he is teaching them the truth of Judaism. What makes him even more dangerous is that he actually believes what he preaches and he mixes it with traditional Jewish thought all jumbled up and presented as a package of truth.
British Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis was quoted recently in the Times of Israel referring to Mizrachi as a ‘Preacher of Hate’! They added:
An online petition, which describes Mizrachi’s views as “cultish, divisive and contemptible,” has been signed by 600 people, including leading figures in British Jewry.
Condemnation of this fellow is not limited to any particular Hashkafa. One might think that the Agudah Moetzes would be reticent to publicly critcize any Orthodox Jew. But here is what Rabbi Yaakov Perlow, the sitting head of the Agudah Moetzes said last year when he was informed about Mizrachi’s outrageous claims about the Holocaust:
“I condemn in the strongest terms possible the outrageous claim that fewer than a million halachic Jews were killed in the Holocaust. This claim is demonstrably false, profoundly offensive and extremely hurtful. It is an affront to the Six Million Kedoshim, precious, holy, Jewish souls whose lives were snuffed out by thesonei Yisroel. Minimizing the degree of the terrible destruction of Churban Europa, in a most morally irresponsible manner, does a grave disservice to truth, and only gives enemies of Klal Yisrael ammunition for their lies.”
And yet, like the ‘Energizer bunny’ he keeps on going. His influence must end once and for all. In that vein I am pleased to report that I received letter signed by a group of prominent rabbis from across the spectrum of Orthodox Jewry. I was asked to make it public. I am happy to do so here. Here is what it says:
As rabbonim and mechanchim, we are greatly concerned about the popularity in some circles of a “kiruv” approach that does not bring honor to the Torah ha-Kedoshah but, on the contrary, creates considerable chilul Hashem.
Earlier this year, Rabbi Yosef Mizrachi apologized for one particularly offensive statement he made on several occasions. But he has voiced, both before and since that apology, many things that reduce complex issues to simplistic and misleading sound bites. He has also repeatedly arrogated to “know” why unfortunate things happen to various people and has presented subtle statements of Chazal in superficial and deceptive ways.
That method may entertain and even stimulate some audiences, but it does no justice to the Jewish mesorah. And, especially with the worldwide audience enjoyed by any public speech these days, misleading assertions even when offered with the best of intentions, are particularly objectionable, and even dangerous.
Jewish institutions must be discerning about the credentials and the histories of those to whom they offer the honor of acting as teachers of Torah. We urge all shuls and organizations to act responsibly and take seriously decisions about whom they invite to address their gatherings.
Here are the signatories:
HaRav Gedalia Dov Schwartz Rosh Beit Din, Beis Din of America and Chicago Rabbinical Council
Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein Editor, Cross Currents
Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein Editor, Cross Currents
Rabbi Shalom Baum President, Rabbinical Council of America
Rabbi Yosef Benarroch Rosh Midrasha, Midreshet Eshel Mara D’atra, Adas Yeshurun Herzliya Synagogue Winnipeg, Canada
Rabbi Moises Benzaquen Mara D’atra, West Coast Torah Center Rosh Hayeshiva, Harkham Gaon Academy Los Angeles, CA
HaRav Mayer Alter Horowitz, Bostoner Rebbe of Yerushalayim
Rabbi Joseph Dweck Senior Rabbi of the Spanish and Portuguese Sephardi Community of the United Kingdom
Rabbi Daniel Feldman Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary
Rabbi Ilan D. Feldman Mara D’asra, Congregation Beth Jacob Atlanta, GA
Rabbi Efrem Goldberg Mara D’asra, Boca Raton Synagogue Boca Raton, FL
Rabbi Micah Greenland International Director, NCSY
HaRav Michel Twerski Mara D’asra, Congregation Beth Jehudah Milwaukee, WI
Rabbi Shaya Karlinsky Rosh Yeshiva, Darche Noam Jerusalem, Israel
Rabbi N. Daniel Korobkin Mara D’asra, Congregation Beth Avraham Joseph (BAYT) Toronto, Canada
Rabbi Avi Shafran Media Liaison, Agudath Israel of America
Rabbi Yitzchak Shurin Rosh Midrasha, Midreshet Rachel V’Chaya
In my view the letter is worded too gently. A much stronger condemnation is in order. And I regret that there are not more rabbinic leaders signed on. But this is still an impressive and inclusive list of distinguished and respected rabbis across the Orthodox spectrum. It ought to be posted in every Shul, Yeshiva, Seminary… every Jewish organization. Especially those involved Kiurv. Hopefully it will serve its purpose and once and for all shut this guy down. Maybe then Mizrachi can get some help! He really needs it!