Friday, September 07, 2007

Truth Must Be Told

It important to note that this key paragraph from Rabbi Teitelbaum’s original article was omitted in the modified version now up on the Yeshiva World Blog:

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.

Why was it omitted? Did he receive yet another nasty letter in the mail from a prominent Rosh Yeshiva?

If what he originally wrote is true then it is vital for us to know that. If ‘self proclaimed agitators and charlatans’ are influencing the decisions of great rabbinc figures, how can we ever listen to anything they ever say again? How can we even listen to what they said? Their words are based on the ‘fabrications’ and ‘exaggerations’ of ‘agitators and charlatans’!

As of now, the words spoken by these leaders are treated as infallible DaasTorah by the vast majority of the Charedi world! But should they be in light of the above? Rabbi Teitelbaum did not nake anything up. These are his beliefs. And now he is being denied their expression.

As I stated in the past, I have concluded… based on the very same observations that led Rabbi Tietelbaum to write the above paragraph… that there are no Gedloim today in the sense of ‘leaders of our generation’.

And ince again to be abundantly clear I want to reiterate that I do not God forbid belittle people like Rav Elyashiv. He is holy man who possesses more Torah knowledge than the vast majority of Jews anywhere on earth and whose only concern is the spiritual and material well being of Klal Yisroel. But because of the ‘charlatans who have nothing to do with their time’ and upon whom Rav Elyashiv and others great Rabbanim rely, they have lost their status as leaders of our generation. How can anyone lead based on lies?

Rabbi Teitelbaum’s inference is clear. And it took a great deal of courage to express it.

Obviously there are some who feel that this information should not be shared with Klal Yisroel. And they have prevailed upon Rabbi Teitlebaum to remove it from his essay. Apparently they feel that Kavod HaTorah has now been restored.

The mentality which says, ‘How dare anyone even remotely imply that the edicts of ‘Gedolim’ are wrong’ …would say, ‘Yes! Of course it has been restored’ The removal of such offensive remarks was imperative.’ ‘Our Gedolim must never be undermined. ‘We must listen tot the Gedolim, mo matter what.’ ‘Once you undermine them, you undermine Torah itself!’

The Charedi world view is that our Daas is Batul to theirs no matter how much we don’t understand it. Because of their great Torah knowledge, we must deny our own ...ours being so much inferior to theirs. They are the true possessors of Torah wisdom. We are not.

But this ignores the fact that they are so often misinformed and that their edicts are based on that misinformation. In my view, removing this paragraph has the opposite effect. Kavod HaTorah has not been restored but undermined.

If rabbinic leaders are misinformed they cannot be considered leaders. Their Daas Torah is not applied to reality and any resulting Psak is incorrect. Even the most diehard adherent of this version of Daas Torah must admit to that.

The bottom line is that whoever prevailed upon Rabbi Teitelbaum to remove the offending paragraph has in effect aided and abetted the ‘agitators and charlatans’. And that will perpetuate the kind of harmful ‘bans’ Rabbi Teitelbaum was talking about.

What will result from all of this? Well to put it the way Rabbi Teitelbaum did in the name of his father:

“Restrict everything and everything becomes permitted.”


Since this post was written, the modified version of Rabbi Teitelbaum's article has been removed from the YW blog. How has Klal Yisroel been served by this?

I don’t know if we will see yet another modified version. But it would not surprise me if the final ‘approved’ version has no resemblance at all to the original.

Modified: 9/7/07 6:08 PM CDT