[An email exchange sent to me recently, where a "Chareidi" and a Talmid on the edge of the Chareidi world have an exchange of words. The Chareidi explains to the Talmid the concept of Daas Torah, who has it and who doesn't, and why it needs to be this way: He uses a letter from Reb Elchonon Wasserman HaYad to bolster his claim. (And, please folks, don't lose your sense of humor, OK?]
R' Elchonon Wasserman HY"D wrote: All Torah leaders have Daas Torah to a certain degree. Some have 50%, others 25%, etc, while the rest of the person's mind is not Daas Torah – it is perhaps business daas or other people's opinions or some other type of understanding. Pure Daas Torah is only found amongst Gedolei Torah who have cast off the transient vanities of this world and are loyal exclusively to the Torah perspective .
Talmid asks: Fine, so does "Daas Torah" include opposite de'ahs?
Chareidi: But of course!
Talmid: That's what I say -- So let them allow for other De'ahs to be heard!
Chareidi: Too risky; you must know by now the dangers of allowing people to think for themselves - they will have too many options and we cannot tell where this may lead. The very definition of Judaism could be lost in the sea of possibilities... who would gain from that? No, it is best if people just stay within our stated terms and all will be well - there is nothing to gain from diversity of thought other than confusion and pain. Really, it's for the best - if the masses would understand this they would thank us for it.
So ends this exchange between the Chareidi and the Talmid.
A short time later, the Talmid sends another email to the Chareidi:
I am feeling calmer already. Thanks to your wonderful advice, I have realized that I never enjoyed thinking for myself anyway. It was just something that my parents, who were modern Jews, wanted me to do so that they would feel that they succeeded in raising what they narrow-mindedly considered a healthy, well-rounded, existentially-focused and creative child. They had no idea how stressful this could be for someone who was more inclined to blind conformism and the incomparable pleasures of couch-potatohood.
With deep gratitude,
The Chareidi's response comes quickly.
We appreciate your frankness, and we would like to point out that these were, no doubt, secular ideas that your esteemed Jewish parents had adopted, that caused them to feel the desire to influence you to think out out of the box. It is disconcerting that you still (even now) may associate this with their being Jewish - I assure you that had they been protected from foreign influences they would not have done this. We understand that many of our parents had to deal with many struggles - they were turbulent times - but it is our sincere hope that we can eliminate this attitude and at the very least save the future generations, even if some of the past generations were unfortunately harmed. We cannot stress the advantages of staying in line with our mainstream positions. Stick with us and you will find true peace. We wouldn't tell you this if we didn't really care.
Agudas Gedolei Olam For A Better Tomorrow
But the Talmid has another dilemma:
Rabbi, I'm so mechubad that you deigned to answer me about my search for inner peace. I've just renewed my prescription to the Chareidi Observer and plan to stick to you like a fly to fly-paper from now on. BTW I have a Halachic she'eiloh: do you think it would be ba'al tashchis to destroy all the grass that grows between the cracks in the sidewalk in my neighborhood? It looks so antinomian and unaesthetic...
We are pleased with your progress. Hashem is with you. And don't worry, we're the good guys; you're on the right team now. As to your shayloh: Removing the grass is not halachically problematic, but it's beneath the dignity of the Jewish people to take part in the removal. Therefore, a goy should be rented for this practice.
Talmid: Rabbi, I knew that Hashem created Goyim for a reason! I just don't get why He created grass...
To keep Goyim & animals busy of course!
(Sarcasm is only one of the many sevices we offer here at Circus Tent)