Thursday, September 06, 2007

A Charedi Hero

“I still remember when the Pirchei Agudas Yisrael put on a play and concert more than forty years ago in Montauk Junior High School. ( The play was based on the book Family Aguilar. ) There were some who tried to convince the rabbonim to put a ban on it. Since I was the president of Pirchei at the time, Rabbi Moshe Sherer z.l, asked me to go down to the venerable gaon hador, Rabbi Moshe Fienstien z.t.l., to get his halachic opinion. Not only did he not ban it, but he gave it his blessings. He understood only too well the importance of giving the boys a kosher alternative; otherwise they would soon find their pleasures elsewhere. One must be very careful before imposing restrictions”

“When some tried to ban the Miami Boys Choir Concert in N.Y. and tried to get Rabbi Pam z.t.l.s’ signature as well as that of the Mirer Rosh Yeshiva to ban it, they both refused to sign.”

“When sports and concerts are forbidden, and all forms of kosher entertainment are off limits, we are asking for trouble. If our kids can’t find a place to vent their energy within a kosher environment, then they will find it elsewhere. In a time of war even the Torah itself permitted one to marry a captive non-Jewish girl under certain conditions. Chazal explain the logic behind this law. The Torah understood that a person is only human and therefore in this instance, while fighting a war, it gave him some leeway”

“But in every generation we have the likes of Doeg and Achitofel who misled great people such as Shaul and Avshalom with falsehoods and lies that caused them to try to kill Dovid. Doeg even succeeded in getting Shaul to kill all the Kohanim in the city of Nov. This shows how falsehoods can be spread, how easily they are believed, and the terrible damage that can result. Even the greatest of the great are vulnerable to such camouflaged slander and can be misled by advisors they trust. Just turn to Shmuel II chapter 16 and read the story of how Dovid who knew better than anyone else of the great dangers of an evil tongue was himself taken in by Tziva who fabricated a false story about Mefiboshes. If even the greatest of the great can be misled, then we’d all better be very careful and constantly on our guard least we too fall into the same trap.”

“Things haven’t changed much since ancient times. Today, too, we have self proclaimed agitators and charlatans who have nothing to do with their time but to go around to our leading Torah sages and try to convince them that separate-seating concerts are a threat to our Yiddishkeit and to ban them. They falsely claim that there is pritzus in the hallways plus other fabrications. Exaggeration is a blood relative to falsehood, and almost as bad. A gossip is one who can give you all the details without knowing all the facts. Unfortunately, they often succeed in their mission. All it took was one Korach to convince the 250 heads of Sanhedrin of the holiness and purity of his mission.”

The preceding comments were not made by me. Not this time. They were made by a Chashuva Rav by the name of Eli Teitelbaum on the Charedi blog, Yeshiva World.

When I make similar comments, I almost immediately hear, “How dare anyone say such things as this?” “Is this not Bizuy Talmidei Chachamim?” “Do you really think that the Gedolei Yisroel are so gullible?” “Does a blogger sitting in Chicago presume to know more about Torah than these giants?” “Daas Torah Hephech Daas Baalei Batim!” “What a Chutzpah!” “What a Chilul Hashem!” “You should be begging Mechila from these Torah giants!”...And my personal favorite, “I don’t envy your Olam HaBah!”

All my protestations explaining that this does not denigrate anyone but just recognizes reality… are scoffed at. When I point out that Chashuva Charedi Rabbanim have privately agreed with me, I am accused of lying if I don’t reveal their names... ignoring the very real Issur of Lashon Hara involved… all while constantly accusing me of it.

I never reveal the names of these Rabbanim because of the reality of severely negative repercussions that such publicly expressed views could have for them. It could so negatively impact upon their careers, that it could destroy them entirely ...and in the process destroy the peace and well being of their families.

I of course could not agree more with Rav Teitelbaum. In fact I agree with the vast majority of what he says in the article, including his comment about the destructive forces that dominate the various media so pervasive in western culture. Of course I do not see everything in his article the way he does. But as it pertains to this issue we are in complete agreement. People who read this blog regularly already know that.

Is it possible Rav Teitelbaum reads my blog? (…asked with tongue firmly implanted in cheek.) Who knows? But I doubt it. But he certainly reads my mind. To me Rabbi Eli Teitelbaum is a hero. Her has the courage of his convictions and tells it like it is. I envy his Olam Habah.

I would ask my critics be consistent in their criticisms. Should Rabbi Eli Teitelbaum be begging Mechlila from these Torah giants? Is this not Bizuy Talmidei Chachamim? Does he really think that the Gedolei Yisroel are so gullible? How dare anyone say such things! Does he know better than the Gedolim? What Chutzpah! What a Chilul HaShem! Daas Torah Hephech Daas Baalei Battim. I don’t envy his Olam HaBah!

Any takers?