Volume 10 Number 93
                       Produced: Tue Dec 28  8:41:09 1993

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Hayim Hendeles]
Rav Shach
         [Marc Shapiro]


From: Hayim Hendeles <hayim@...>
Date: Thu, 23 Dec 93 13:26:52 -0800
Subject: Re: Gedolim

	Subject: Gedolim

	The problem is where we have great scholars who do not meet this
	universal acceptance criteria.  For many of these individuals, the
	reasons that they are not accepted are the same reasons, their views
	cannot be considered to be Daas Torah.

	The two individuals discussed recently in this list are
	examples of the above.  Rabbi Schach Shlita is a great Talmid
	Chacham.  His novellae on Talmudic issues are wonderful.
	However, in addition to the philosophic problems with many of
	his views that have been discussed in length on MJ, we cannot
	forget the vicious attacks that Rabbi Schach made against the
	Lubavitcher Rebbe Shlita.  It was his animosity to a man who
	many consider the Gadol Hador that caused
	[... more of the problems of living in Golus deleted...]

So that there should be no misunderstanding, the reader should be aware
before continuing that I vehemently object to the previous paragraphs.

I am somewhat reluctant to get involved in this topic, but fear
that if I do not say anything I will guilty of remaining silent
when the honor of a Talmid Chacham is being defamed. There are
numerous incidents in the Talmud (e.g. Berachos 19a) where otherwise
great people are held accountable for their not having risen to the
defense of a scholar, whose honor was at stake.

How much more so should this apply to one of the Gedolei Hador!

First of all, contrary to all of our understanding (MYSELF INCLUDED),
the mail.jewish audience is NOT the sole repository of Emes (truth)
in this world. As much as we like to think we know the *right way*,
unfortunately this is not always the case. Truth be it known, the vast
majority of us have been raised in a Western culture and environment,
and undoubtedly have absorbed may of its values and attitudes.

I am sorry to say, that unfortunately, Western values may not necessarily
coincide with the Torah's values 100%. Certainly, there may be alot
of good in it. Perhaps it may even be 99% pure - but that is not
enough. That 1% may play a big role. This 1% corruption factor
that we all possess may represent the difference between the Torah
and ourselves. And it will beehove us to recognize that 
to the level of this corruption factor that we all posess, our values
will deviate from those of the Torah.

Unfortunately, the author of this paragraph fails to recognize this.
To return to the previous quote,

	However, in addition to the philosophic problems with many of
	his views that have been discussed in length on MJ, we cannot

The obvious implication being is that the mail.jewish audience is in
posession of the standards by which Gedolim should be judged.
Nothing can be further from the truth! 

Whether *you* or *I* choose to recognize a Gadol, does not affect his
stature in the least. After all is said and done, the Gadol is
recognized by Klal Yisroel as a Gadol, and you and I are not. And
therefore, I submit to this audience, that none of us are qualified to
judge a Gadol.

In the same vein that a lay-person would be foolish to walk into an
Operating Room, and criticize a world-famous surgeon for performing
surgery incorrectly, none of us are qualified to judge the actions of a
Gadol. Certainly we can say we don't understand it, and we can even
question it.  And I would go even further - if we have the opportunity
we are even *obligated* to do so (after all, if he is wrong there is
a mitzvoh of tochacha).  But this must be done with the utmost
respect, in the manner the Shulchan Oruch teaches us how to give
tochacha to our Rebbe. And it must also be done with the recognition,
that perhaps *we are in error*.

Rabbi Shach shlit"a is an undisputed Gadol in Klal Yisroel, as is
the Lubavitcher Rebbe shlit"a (may Hashem grant him a Refuah Shlema).
While there are undoubtedly differences in their avenues of Avodas Hashem,
they both live their entire lives 100% L'shem Shamayim.

Perhaps I don't understand how and why Rabbi Shach has done as he has
done. But that doesn't take away from the fact that he is an accepted
Gadol, nor does it take away from the fact that (most probably) while
the rest of us are only 99% pure, he might be 99.9% pure. Perhaps (dan
es chaveiro lkaf zchus) this extra .9% (that we don't have and can't
understand) is what motivates Rabbi Shach to take the position he has,
and is what prevents us from understanding his position.

Unfortunately, this is not the first time in Klal Yisroel where one
recognized Gadol attacked another recognized Gadol. In the early
1700's, Rabbi Yaakov Emden zt"l labeled vicious accusations against
Rabbi Yonasan Eibshitz zt"l. Despite having been lifelong "enemies",
the Hashgacha ordained it through a whole series of unusual events,
that these 2 Gedolim, after 120 years, were buried next to each
other. Interpret this as you wish, but *IMHO* this was a Divine sign,
that these 2 great leaders made peace in the next world - where
only Emes exists.

This world is enveloped in darkness, where Sheker (Falsehood) often
mascarades as Emes. Gedolim have developed a hyper-sensitivity to
this situation, and as such, *in their best judgement* are forced
to make a call. Right or wrong, this is their duty in this world.

The fact is, that it is only their vigilante approach that has
preserved Kllal Yisroel throughout the long Golus. As I once heard,
Chasidism owes its survival to the vicious attacks leveled against
it in its early days by the Misnagdim. For these attacks and
accusations are what kept the movement in check, at the time, and
prevented it from degenerating into what the Critics had feared. And the
fact is, no history of Golus can overlook the positive influence
Chassidism had on our survival.

Hayim Hendeles


From: Marc Shapiro <mshapiro@...>
Date: Sun, 26 Dec 93 16:26:26 -0500
Subject: Re: Rav Shach

	There has been a lot of talk about gedolim and especially about
Rav Shach. Before people make any judgements I think it is important to
know something about the man and his teachings. If what I say appears
harsh, let me assure the readers that I have said the same things to many
rabbis and they have agreed with me. Since the views I will be expressing
are also those of numerous others it would be best for the moderator not
to censor it. I realize that others are afraid to speak out so I will say
what everyone else is thinking. Needless to say, the Lubavitchers have
spoken out and been a great deal harsher than I will be but that is for
good reason. Rav Shach has branded the rebbe a heretic. Furthermore, he
has branded the entire movement as heretical. Most people respond harshly
when they have been called heretics, Especially since the other gedolim
seem to have no great problem with Habad. They don't support everything
Habad does but you don't have other gedolim using the inflammatory rhetoric
of R. Shach. 
	In fact he is very inconsistent. He mocks the Lubavithcher
rebbe's Rambam learning program saying that people knew about the
Rambabm before Lubavitch came around and that no one should follow
Habad's program and it is forbidden to innovate and yet he praises Daf
Yomi. Well, people knew about learning Talmud before R.  Meir Shapiro.
The difference is that when Rav Shach likes something, when it comes
from his circles, then it is ok. However if an innovation, no matter how
good, comes from another circle then he viciosly attacks it.
	In general, everything that comes out of his mouth is criticism.
He does not believe in building but in destroying. All of his volumes of
letters are attacks against everything from Lubavitch, to religious
Zionism, to Hesder yeshivot, to Rav Goreh (who has no yirat shamayim
according to Shach), to R. Steinsaltz (another heretic). When the rest
of he Jewish world was celebrating the Entebbe raid and R. Moshe said it
was an open miracle Shach gave a talk saying that what the Government
did was forbidden. This is exactly what the Satmar rebbe said! He gave
his famous talk last year viciously attacking the kibbutzim. Why? We all
know that they don't keep kosher there but why attack them. Is this the
way to bring people together and bring them to yiddishkeit? Is this
love?  Lubavitch knows how to be mekarev, they do it through love. Shack
simply attacks. And then he attacked President Herzog for no reason.
Herzog did more for religious Jewry than any president and he is a fine
man but Shach viciously attacks him just like he attacks the kibbutzniks
who have laid down their lives so that he could live in peace. And he
expects the secularists to keep subsidizing the yeshivot at the massive
rate they have been?
	Rav Shach has no value in his life other than that of learning
Torah.  People can't feel good about anything other than learning Torah.
There is no value to the State of Israel other than that it enables us
to learn Torah and its destruction would be no great tragedy if Torah
continued to be learnt. He opposed the annexation of East Jerusalem and
Golan because it will get the goyim mad. He doesn't recognize the
concept that Jews should see something positive in annexing our
capital-- East Jerusalem. He also speaks of not provoking the Gentiles,
a concept which has no validity when Jews have a state, although he
thinks that the State is just as much a galut as N. Y. and London. He
says that Jews in Israel should act as if they were dancing before the
Polish nobleman. In other words, the fact that Jews now have a state
means nothing about how they relate to the world. They still must have
this inferiority comples. There is something wrong with having pride and
holding one's head up.
	His views have infected the Haredi community. We all know that
they dodge the draft but it is even worse. They refuse to say a mi
shebarakh for IDF even though the latter protect them from the Arabs.
They refuse to say a prayer for the government which gives them millions
of dollars. In the diaspora they alwasy said a prayer for the government
but not in Israel. In the Diaspora they always acted patriotic and if
there was a moment of silence for war dead they wouldn't dream of
breaking with the practice. However in Israel while everyone stands at
attention on Yom Hashoah they go about their business. Do they realize
how much of a hillul hashem this is and how it hurts the feelings of
others who are remembering loved ones. Of course they know but they
don't care. Unlike Lubavitch they enjoy confrontation.
	For R. Shach there is only one truth. He has no conception of
Jewish history and doesn't realize that there can be disputes in matters
of hashkafah, as long as we all accept Torah and halakhhah. Thus when R.
Ovadiah decided to join the government he threatened to ban all of the
latter's books No other gadol has ever made such irresponsible
statements and acted in such a dictatorial manner.
	Everything I have described so far is written in his books. I
have not made any of it up and if gets you mad hearing what he believes
trust me that this is only the tip of the iceberg and there is no way
that anyone who reads this line should regard him as an important gadol,
since everything most of us view as important he mocks (he even says its
forbidden to form rabbinic organizations).
	 To give one final example of this let me refer to Rav Shach's
attack on R. Soloveitchik in vol. 4 of his letters. As everyone knows,
there were always disputes in hashkafah between the Rav and other
gedolim.  However this never stopped the Lubvavitcher rebbe or R. Moshe
or R. Aharon Kotler from being on close personal terms with the Rav and
respecting his gadlus. Obviously R. Moshe and the Lubavticher Rebbe, as
well as the Rav, believed that their own approach was correct and the
others were wrong.  But they never said that the approach of the other's
was forbidden. It was just misguided. Similarly, the Rav never said that
everyone had to learn secular studies, that other aproaches were
invalid. Rather, only that his approach was also legitimate.
	Rav Shach has a different approach, one which shows all of his
feeling of knowing everything and his belief that he, and only he, knows
the truth, the one and only truth. In discussing the Rav's book Hamesh
Derashot he doesn't say that we have a different view or that the Rav is
wrong. No, what he says is that it is forbidden to listen to what the
Rav says. Forbidden.  the Rav goes against Daat Torah and the Rav has
completely distorted Daas Torah (one wonders whose Daas Torah. Doesn't
the Rav have his own Daas Torah?) Since anyone who goes against Daas
Torah speaks heresy it is forbidden to listen to what the Rav says! Does
he realize who is talking about? This is not some Mizrachi functionary
he is mocking (not that this is forgivable either). He is speaking about
R.  Soloveitchik, whom R. Tendler called the greatest Rosh Yeshivah of
our generation, whom the Lubavitcher rebbe stood up for etc. etc. May
God forgive him for degrading our teacher! Furthermore, R. Shach
continues, it is the Rav's secular studies which are responsible for
these distortions. Woe are the ears which hear such nonsense. What
chutzpah, to say that secular studies distorted the Rav's Torah! Rav
Shach goes on for a few pages without any respect for the fact that the
Rav was a gadol and he is entitled to have different hashkafah, also
throwing in some irrelevancies about how Hesder yeshivot have destroyed
any notion of striving for greatness in Torah learning. (He also hates
hesder because their students actually get a job.  For R. Shach, and
Israeli Haredim, as oposed to American haradim, there is something
negative about actually working for a living. There is no concept of a
Baal ha-Bayit. That is why he put Leo Levi's book Shaare Talmud Torah in
Herem, since it advocates a Torah im Derekh Eretz [i.  e.earning a
living] approach).  Shach is also confused how come the rabbis in the U.
S. did not protest The Rav's opinions and furthermore that they
contributed to the book Kevod ha-Rav . This is a great hillul hashem
since by giving the Rav a book in his honor and praising him the
yeshivah students will see this and think that is ok to follow in the
Rav's path, God forbid, and will absorb his views which are completely
	I could go on but I think everyone gets the point. When it comes
to gedolim we should consult R. Eliashiv, R. Shlomo Zalman, the chief
Rabbis, R. Ovadia etc. We should not even take Rav Shach's opinion into
consideration. By adopting such a hateful tone and being so opposed to
everything we consider decent he is not really different than the Satmar
rebbe, who was, as R. Aharon Soloveitchik told me, a great scholar who
made a terrible blunder. So too with Rav Shach. He has slandered great
gedolim and for his sake we should hope that it was all done le-shem
shamayim. When I asked R. Aharon why we don't put him in Herem in
accordance with the pesak of the Rambam re. anyone who slanders a gadol
all he could say was that we no longer use the Herem. One thing must be
said for Lubavitch, even thought R.Shach says they are heretics and that
their rebbe is one of the greatest sinners alive, and going straight to
gehinnom, they have not lost their cool. I don't think there will be any
rejoicing in Crown Heights when he passes away. They realize that this
whole affair is very sad. Unfortunately, however, when the rebbe passes
away there will be rejoicing in Ponovezh because one is supposed to
rejoice at the death of a heretic. What have we come to!
							Marc Shapiro

P. S. As I already pointed out, everything I have said in this letter has
met with the approval of rabbis, none of whom are in the Lubavitch camp. 


End of Volume 10 Issue 93