Volume 10 Number 100
                       Produced: Thu Dec 30  0:12:30 1993

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Diversity of Opinion
         [Irwin H. Haut]
mail-jewish and Rav Shach
         [Anthony Fiorino]
Marc Shapiro on Marc Shapiro on Rav Shach
         [Marc Shapiro]
Rav Hirshfeld's Letter to JO
         [Shaya Karlinsky]
Rav Shach
         [Hayim Hendeles]


From: Irwin H. Haut <0005446733@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Dec 93 21:05:26 -0500
Subject: Diversity of Opinion

Sitting here in brooklyn, quietly reading all the submissions i am
troubled by what appears to be an almost monolithic view of orthodox
judaism. Except for some brave souls, such as aliza berger and freda
birnbaum, who speak up bravely regarding many issues, such as women's
prayer groups, and the role of women, i sense the atitude that divergent
views are somehow prohibited in and of themselves.

I assert initially, that such is no the sole prevailing view in orthodox
judaism. a case in point is, of course, the atitude of the Rav, z"l,
toward teaching women Talmud, which he permitted, and indeed,
encouraged, and the atitude of Rambam toward the study of philosophy.

Another case in point is a recent comment cavalierly relegating modern
methods of study of the Talmud to the realm of apikorsis.  As I have
pointed out elsewhere, these methods are worthy of study and of serious
consideration by the Yeshiva world.  No one in his right mind will
assert that we know more than Rishonim. But we yet stand on the
shoulders of those giants.  In light of modern textual studies, and
based upon manuscripts coming to light presently, our generation is able
to shed new insight upon ancient Talmudic texts. indeed, it is our
obligation, as students of the Torah, so to do, and to interpret anew
those texts, provided that we do not intend thereby to change, or alter,
existinh Halakha, as i have also pointed out elsewhere.

some substantial degree of tolerance for divergent views is in order.

irwin h. haut


From: Anthony Fiorino <fiorino@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Dec 93 21:19:40 -0500
Subject: mail-jewish and Rav Shach

Esther Posen wrote:

> If this forum is to be a bastion for Centrist Orthodoxy I clearly do not
> belong.  If it would like to appeal to the few of us right wingers who
> have the time, access and interest to belong it will need to show as
> much respect to the "right wing" gedolim as it requests for its own.

I think this forum is not "suppposed" to be anything.  Though the crowd
seems to be somewhat Centrist, there does seem to be quite a mix.  Thus,
the number of postings, which give the overall character to the list, may
tilt that way, but, in theory, that shouldn't make a difference when the
issue is kavod harav.  And I would point out that although an infrequent
post slips through which doesn't demonstrate the proper kavod, the vast
majority of posts show great kavod for rabbaim, whatever their orientation
might be.  And I have found the response to "out of line" postings to be
quite good -- when someone crosses the line, the members of this list do
not hesitate to say so.  I have seen it in response to attacks
(inadvertant or intentional) on Chasidim, Sefardim, Centrists, and (for
want of a better word) the right wing.  We even recently saw the defense
of someone quoting a Reform responsum!  Furthermore, such protest has been
from *all* segments of the mail-jewish "community." I think that we should
not be discouraged, but rather encouraged, by that kind of response.  No
community is free from those who sometimes cross the line -- I wish that
there could in *all* situations be a response to such people the way there
is on mail-jewish. 

> It has been asserted that Rav Shach is a big talmud chacham who is
> misguided in his views.  Has anybody entertained the fact that this may be
> precisely what the black hat yeshiva world felt about Rav Solevetchik. 
> (Albeit, JO included, although I did not see the point of their writeup,
> with far more respect than is exhibited here.)

I think this is precisely how people perceive the yeshiva world as
having felt about the Rav.  But I ask you this Esther -- if you subtract
Marc Shapiro's unfortunate posting, what kind of disrespect has been
shown on mail-jewish towards Rav Shach?  None, unless quoting from his
sefarim as Arnie Lustiger did is a breach of kavod.  No one has called
into doubt his Torah prowess, his intentions, and no one has called him
a heretic.  Though you maintain that the right wing world showed for the
Rav "far more respect than is exhibited here" for Rav Shach, I think you
are mistaken.  The list of printed attacks against the Rav is very long.
I wish it were the case that we could say about the right wing world and
the Rav (as I believe we can say about mail-jewish and Rav Shach) "It
was only a stray article . . . it didn't reflect the majority of
people's feelings, and when it was printed, many people protested
against the lack of kavod shown."

For those who are thinking of signing off mail-jewish -- the easy way
out is to dismiss mail-jewish, and perhaps all of Centrist Orthodoxy, on
the basis of one stray posting which *certainly* does not reflect the
attitudes and feelings of the majority of list members, as I think
everyone knows.

Eitan Fiorino


From: Marc Shapiro <mshapiro@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Dec 93 21:52:19 -0500
Subject: Marc Shapiro on Marc Shapiro on Rav Shach

[Subject title is mine, so don't blame Marc for that. Mod.]

I would like to clarify my posting about Rav Shach. In fact I actually
hinted to this in my first sentence (if I remember correctly). What I
wrote does not actually reflect my personal feelings. That is, I really
don't get upset at what Rav Shach says because a lot of people say
things I disagree with and it doesn't pay to always get angry. However,
what I posted is a reflection of the anger I have heard from a number of
people including some well known rabbis whose names many people on this
list would recognize. Since messages are not sent in anonymously I chose
to have my name appear and represent all of the people who feel this
way.  In fact, all of the private mail I received was supportive,
although I don't know how many of them are from Lubavitchers.

[Just to clarify a point, mail-jewish postings may be anonymous, as is
clearly stated in the Welcome message. But I will freely admit that had
the message under discussion come in to posted anonymously, I would
definitly have sent it back for rewrite. Mod.]

So you ask, why am I now distancing myself from what I wrote instead of
defending it, as I originally intended (I even sent in a response
justifying what I wrote based on the Rambam and others, which also was
not original but is a reflection of what has appeared in the rabbinic
periodical Ha-Maor which continuously degrades Rab Shach).  Because
after reading the responses I found myself agreeing with lot of what was
said. Furthermore, there are certain things which can be said in private
conversation but should not appear in print. It was thus difficult to
write the first post, but I thought, incorrectly, that I was providing a
"public service" in representing the views of all those who wrote to
cheer me on. Still it is interesting that many in the modern Orthodox
community are so quick to defend the honor of Rav Shach but members of
his community don't feel the same compulsion (their newspapers degrade
gedolim virtually every day).
        Someone asked if I had been personally offended by Rav Shach. I
haven't but the people who wrote me have been (assuming they are
Lubavitch) and it is their anger I put into words. In fact I have never
spoken to Rav Shach, although I have conversed with his son Efraim, who
is a rebel, having become a Mizrachi man. He also received his Semichah
from YU and I presume he views the Rav as his teacher, although I never
asked him. I never spoke to him about his father, only about his mother
who was a most unusual person. She was a doctor (or something like it--
I don't know if she ever finished medical school) in communist Russia
and attended medical school in Moscow. There were not that many
religious doctors in communist Russia, even fewer women doctors, and
even fewer who were married to Roshe Yeshivah.
         Finally, I said that I hoped Rav Shach's attacks were le-shem
shamayim. For my part I have no doubt that they are le shem shamayim and
history may judge him more favorably. E. g. if Chabad were to become a
real Messianic sect than all of his attacks would, in retrospect, appear
        A number of people have mentioned the Eybshitz-Emden controversy
and it is certainly relevant to the issue at hand. What it has taught us
is that we can no longer use the Rambam's view in hilkhot Talmud Torah
that whoever denigrates a gadol should be put in herem etc. If that were
so there would be a lot of gedolim in herem. Contrary to what some have
said on this line there were some real gedolim who defamed Rav Kook. Are
we supposed to consider them heretics and not use their books. Since R.
Tendler is not attacking every gadol who degrades another perhaps his
response to the Jewish Observer (he was very personal) is a bit extreme.
(Interestingly, R. Aharon Soloveitchik told me that we should not quote
from the books of Rabbi Moshe Stern, the Debrecener, because he said
some terrible things about the Rav and also poskined that it is
forbidden to read seforim from YU rebbeim. However, R. Aharon is not
consistent because if he wants to defend the honor of every gadol he
would have to get rid of if he wants to defend the honor of every gadol
he would have to get rid of a lot of important seforim which were
written by men who defamed others. By the way, even though Stern says
its forbidden to read Bleich, Bleich does quote Stern)
        Finally, someone mentioned that God's providence ordained that
R.  Yaakov Emden should be buried next to R. Yonosan. This is a legend
which, as far as I can tell, goes back to the Hazon Ish (it is quoted in
responsa Divre Hakhamim) They are both buried in the same row but this
has nothing to do with providence, but with the rules of the cemetery.
They are both buried in the rabbis' row. Where else could they have been
buried? (The Emden Eyb. dispute is not dead. Rabbi Marvin Antelman
published a Hebrew pamphet last year in which he argues that Eyb. was a
complete heretic.)
                                                Marc Shapiro

P. S. Someone said that my first posting was full of nonsense. Actually,
everything I said was true so there was absolutely no nonsense in it. The
point which others made, and which I agree with, is that it was the tone
that was problematic, but how can a tone be full of nonsense.
        In any event, I promise no more outlandish submissions.


From: Shaya Karlinsky <HCUWK@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Dec 1993 21:52 IST
Subject: Rav Hirshfeld's Letter to JO

Rabbi Hirshfeld asked that I post this letter from him, after he read
some of the responses to his letter to the JO.

Not everything you think should be said.
Not everything you say should be written.
Not everything you write should be published.

I certainly erred in allowing Rabbi Karlinsky to post a private
correspondence with someone on the same side of an idelogical fence,
where what we have in common is taken for granted.  The letter was not
written with the expectation of publication in the Jewish Observer, but
rather as a personal reaction to the many-sided published debate - and
an attempt to gently chide while sympathizing with the editors of the
JO.  Certainly no names should have been mentioned publicly.  Those who
see things differently had every right to take offense.  To these, my


Rabbi Yitzchak Hirshfeld


From: Hayim Hendeles <hayim@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Dec 93 12:20:40 -0800
Subject: Re: Rav Shach

Had the original poster asked why the leading Torah scholar of our
generation has taken such apparently extreme positions - IN OUR OPINION
- then these are valid questions for the *proper* audience to attempt to
answer. There is certainly plenty to talk about, and even a partial
response to this question would be quite illuminating. I can guarantee
you that this would open up horizons that never even occured to the
original poster in his wildest dreams!

(I must emphasize the word *proper audience* in the above paragraph.  If
the audience of mail.jewish consists primarily of so-called centrists,
this would hardly be the proper audience to explain the Chareidi

However, when the poster writes "I hate you because you did this, and I
hate you because you did that", then there is absolutely nothing to talk
about.  Clearly, the poster is not interested in your response; and any
response will only serve to generate more fuel to the fire.

IMHO following such a thread of conversation is pure Loshon Hara! This,
is IMHO a classical case of the Gemara that says in some cases, even
saying good about a person can be Loshon Hara - if it will cause others
to speak evil.

Perhaps, all of mail.jewish ought to do some sort of Tshuva for the
bizayon we caused to one of our Gedolei Hador. There is a Mitzva
of Kavod Hatorah, whether or not we agree with the given Torah Scholar's
opinion, which we have all violated. 


End of Volume 10 Issue 100