Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Halt Kup!

See Seforim Blog for one of the hardest hitting threads on a Torah personality (The "Ba'al Torah Temimah") I've seen in a long, long time. It's also the longest, so "Halt Kup!." They include accusations of falsifying stories, making up "facts" and events about people, and plagiarizing large parts of his Torah Temimah.

"......... When Mekor Barukh was published there were still plenty of people alive who had known her and it would have been impossible to entirely fabricate her personality. The same can be said about Epstein’s report of the Netziv reading newspapers on Shabbat. This is not the sort of thing that could be made up. Let’s not forget that the Netziv’s widow, son (R. Meir Bar-Ilan) and many other family members and close students were alive, and Epstein knew that they would not have permitted any improper portrayal. It is when recording private conversations that one must always be wary of what Epstein reports.

......In fact, when the Torah Temimah first appeared, the editor of this work published a booklet, Sihah Temimah, accusing Epstein of fraudulent behavior. Here are the first few pages of this booklet."

Read On


Anonymous said...

all popular torah authors were accused of plagiarisms as Pashnovsky Pardes Yosef, Kasher in his Hagada and Magolies on the Zohar, its a Jewish disease

Objective Onlooker said...

Is it his story about the tzemach that really bothers you?

if yes, say it!

Hirshel Tzig said...

in Lubavitch there is no "Tzemach," that's Vizhnitz talk. He's known as the Tzemach Tzedek.

I happen to like Reb Boruch, not that it matters. I read My Uncle The Netziv. I just thought I'd give you guys the "heads up."

IIRC the Lubavitcher Rebbe zy"a used the T"T Chumash too.

Milhouse said...

The Rebbe used the chumash and the collected maamorei chazal, not the commentary itself.

Milhouse said...

Mondshein already debunked his fairy tale about the Tzemach Tzedek about a year ago.

Anonymous said...

If you want to take Marc Shapiro seriously about the Torah Temimah, then why not bring the rest of the post where he points out that todays Lubavitchers are quite clueless, for example having never heard of R'Zevin or Kopust?
Are you doing some kind of 'palginan diburoi' or just not being very truthful?

Hirshel Tzig said...

The post is 3 miles long; I can't bring the whole thing. That's why I linked to it. Also, I beg to differ as far as most Lubavitchers hearing about R' Zevin or Kopust.

chabakuk elisha (in a rotten mood) said...

I am disgusted by these "scholors." They travel around like serial killers seeking to destroy anything and anyone that ever did anything. Mekor Baruch was a beautiful and inspiring work, and I dare say that no book will survive super scrutiny. Why do they seek to destroy everything? Because the can.

They decide what people intended? How do they know with such certainty? What makes them so holier than thou? Bah, they disgust me.

"Nothing is as peevish and pedantic as men's judgments of one another." - Desiderius Erasmus

y.u guy said...

Begginig to differ with Shapiro is your right, bringing nasty stuff from him about others while ''begging to differ'' makes you part of the 'pick and choose team' which is inherently unreliable.
You want readers or do you want Lubavitchers who always agree with you?
It's ur choice

Hirshel Tzig said...


I'm not sure what you want of me. I should agree with him that Lubavitchers don't know about Zevin or Kopust? The Lubavitchers I know do know of them. Maybe he was talking about the guy he meets in YU, not exactly the regular Lubavitchers.

I want all kinds of readers, and I believe I have them.

yehupitz said...

It's been known in my Yeshiva circles for decades that the 'Torah Temima' had huge plagarized chunks in it. This is one of the reasons, unrelated to the "My Uncle" fiasco, that Yeshivish people are not fans of R Boruch Epstein. So while the article had a lot of interesting details in it, it was not a monumental discovery for me.

Hirshel Tzig said...


If I were a bettin' man I'd bet who those 2 young Shluchim were. Not exactly the typical. But whatever.

on the mountain said...

regarding prof. shapiro's comments on the seforim blog, it seems to me that he has an agenda of making litzanis of anything that he thinks erliche yiden have put their beleif's in, i don;t think his comments belong in the seforim blog in any case, there is a need for a blog just disscusing seforim there are enough blogs out there promoting MO

Anonymous said...

the Ozhorever Rebbe has also criticisim on the TT in his biography

Shmuel said...

Can someone help a dense guy like myself a wee bit please??

Yehupitz and others claim that it's 'well known in their circles' that The Torah Temimah has 'huge plagiarised chunks'

Now what I don't understand is:The Torah Temimah is a compilation of all the various 'derashos' in Sha's,Yerushalmy etc.So where did he plagiarise from?? Quoting a Gemaro? Word for word?

Now, would you want to say that some of his own comments at the bottom of the page???Don't know, but most people look up the Torah Temimah chumash for the Talmudic sources ,not for the notes.

Me thinks that this may be a bit of rivalry/jealousy.After all, the Torah Temimah chumash is one of the most popular of all times and this done by a man who was a banker!!Not an official rov.

yehupitz said...


What I heard was about his peirush at the bottom, which he claimed was his commentary. You are correct in saying that the compilation is of course not "plagiarizing" Shas. (Unless he took the compilation from someone else. But I know nothing about that.)

You are also right that most people look it up for the shas sources, not his comments. That is why the Yeshiva had copies of Torah Temimah chumashim on the shelves, despite the alleged faults of the author.

But I cannot understand your statement about rivalry. From whom?? That doesn't add up at all.

wisegornisht said...

R. Kasher in Torah Shelemah really takes apart the Torah Temimah at length and detailed with very sharp - and substantiated - accusations, end of vol. 26 and vol. 27 (Vayikta-Shemini)!

schneur said...

Most serious Chabad people I met know who R. Zevin was.
Many even have heard of Kopust but probably do not know much about that.
But lets state the follwoing many YU people (even in RIETS vesnifeo)can not tell you when Reb Yitzchok Elchonon lived and where he was the rav !!
How many YU people ever heard of Modern orthodox figures like Dr. leo JUng or Herbert S. Goldstein.
Zevin was a gaon and mechaber but in the hoif of the rebbes he was not of the leading lights.
I am an "alte" critic of Chabad but believe me one can be a spitz Chabad in good standing and never have heard of Rav SY Zevin.

willoby sheezel said...

wisegornisht said...
R. Kasher in Torah Shelemah really takes apart the Torah Temimah at length and detailed with very sharp - and substantiated - accusations


Rabbi Kasher ain't exactly so perfect himself. Here is something that was recently forwarded to me from a blog about some serious accusations about misprepresentations and maybe even fraud in his writings:

Being one of the old-timers here, let me inform the newbies that this topic has been discussed a number of times.

I attach something that I wrote about 6 years ago - and BH saved on my computer. I have sent it privately previously to a number of our chevra but AFAIK haven't had an opportunity to post it. I suggest that anyone relying on HH to upshlog the VM - is deluding himself.

(And yes, I definitely agree that both seforim should be studied together - especially by talmidei chachomim.)

I have only browsed both seforim and am far from impressed with the HH. Eg, something that caught my eye was the flippant way he deals with VM p. 90 (siman 75) where he talks about how those who claim that seeing that the goyim didn't fulfill there part of the 3 shevuos (not to be too 'cruel' to Yidden) therefore we too are released for keeping the oaths. The birur in VM takes up 9 full pages.

And the HH's upshlog? A 2-liner comment in the notes of p. 176 !!

Even worse, he follows it with some nasty/childish comment about the VM's quote from the Hagada of Rav Shlomo Kliger and deliberately leaves out the bulk of the VM's words.

Anyone doubting me is invited to look up - the original in VM p. 98 (dh Uka'eis) and the read the HH's note on page 176.

I wouldn't be surprised to learn that this is R' Kasher's style throughout his sefer and the reason why (except for some in the RZ world) - the HH has been totally disregarded. After all, many/most charedim are not davka Satmar Chassidim or kanoim and often disagree with the VM (eg voting for Knesset), But you will never see any of them using the HH as a tana demesaye.

>>>Chapter 13 for instance rejects the view of "sefer echad" who said that leaving churches standing in the Old City after 1967 is "lo ta'avdum vehu bichlal yehareg ve-al yaavor ... ". This unnamed "sefer echad" concludes that the conquerers of the old city in 67 thus became ovdei AZ mamash. RMMK shows this is incorrect.

Sure. Please look up the VM -siman 90 (p. 106- 111) where he cites Rishonim and Achronim on this matter and then see the HH's response 9p 260-271).

>>Conclusion: Dont learn VM without HaTekufa HaGedola!

Farkert, don't learn HH without checking every single quote he brings from the VM - to see whether it is in context or is completely and shamelessly twisted and distorted as per above examples.

And to give you a proper perspective of the reliability of HH, here is what I wrote around 6 years ago:


The Misrepresentations of Hatekufah Hagedolah

Following the mention here (again) of the sefer Hatekufah Hagedolah by R. Mendel Kasher, and its use by many as a 'Mareh Mokom' for "religious" pro-zionist views and even as proof of Charedi acceptance of the "Aschalta DeGeula" concept, my attention has been brought to the sefer "MiKatowitz ad Hei B'Iyar" by well known Yerushalmi lawyer/to'en rabboni R' Zvi Weinman, who (amongst other topics) deals quite severely with the HH - revealing deliberate misquotes and deletions of its author – resulting in complete misrepresentation and falsification of the facts (bimechilas k'vod toroso).

Despite the respect for his monumental Torah Sheleimo, many have been uncomfortable with RMK's Mizrachi-style views as stated in HH, and which have made him into something of an ideologue in Religious zionist circles.

At the time of its publication the tone and content of his sefer upset some and not surprisingly, the Beis Din of the Edah Charedis, led by Rav Pinchos Epstein z'l, issued a warning against the reading the HH, labelling it as 'Deyos Kozvos' and adding that 'shahneh minus d'moshcheh..."

But, it is doubtful if even those who railed against him at the time, expected RMK to resort to doctoring and censoring material to
'manufacture' evidence for his ideas. It seems surprising that a person with his vast knowledge required the use of misleading and deceptive information to prove his case.

And if a layman like RZ Weinman can cut right through important historical facts of his book, one must wonder what a Talmid Chochom could do to the mareh-mekomos used in the rest of HH?

(Those who complain about Artscroll altering/deleting pro-zionist sentiments in some of their publications, may be surprised to learn that it doesn't come anywhere near the distortions that RZW reveals in the HH!)

RZW goes to the heart of the Kol Koreh and printed in HH, p.374, which is a call to vote for the Chazit Datit Me'uchedet, and featuring the notion of "Aschalta DeGeulah" following the establishment of the state of israel. This KK is signed by chief rabbis Herzog and Uziel plus over 150 rabbis and Roshei Yeshivos - a number of them highly respected in the Charedi world.

The propaganda value of this KK can be seen from the fact that it is referred to by RMK again and again as clear and open 'proof' that even the Charedi gedolim accepted the Aschalta Degeula status of the new israel. (BTW, I have yet to see proof for any sighting of a repeat of this comment by these gedolim.)

However RZW goes further in his book (from p. 131) and discusses the background to this and the 2 other Kol Korehs of the time (one by the Admorim and another by Roshei Yeshivos - neither which mention Aschalta DeGeula). He also notes that the AD'G-Kol Koreh was only published in the Mizrachi newspaper Hatzofeh - and NOT in the Agudist press (obviously they would have 'smelled a rat.').

Upon investigating the matter and contacting some of these signatories for their explanation, he found that they NEVER SIGNED THIS Kol Koreh!

The modus operandi of the organizers for the KK was simple. They mailed out the text of that KK, notifying the recipients that anyone who does not send in an objection, will have his name added to it.

This explains - writes RZ Weiman - the signature of Rav Menachem Kooperstock, who had passed away TWO AND A HALF YEARS prior to the date on the KK!!! He simply couldn't object...

RZW comprehensively debunks RMKasher's statements (p.231) that "k'mat kol gedolei hatorah vechol Rshei Yeshivos bo'oretz" accepted the concept of AD'G, and: "...kovu v'ishru 200 rabbonim miyisroel kimat kol rabbonei ho'oretz gam chavrei Agudas Yisroel (milvad HaNeturei Karta).. hashkofas daas hatorah merabonei ho'oretz bli pipukim vechashoshos...shehakomas medina
hi...kehashgocho protis min hashomayim K'ASCHALTA D'GEULA." (HH page 387)

RZW says that these quotes from HH are regularly used by those who need it, to prove that the Gedolei Yisroel accepted the AD'G. (So I was not surprised to see in my copy of HH that RM Kasher considered this KK so important, that he refers the reader to it - **right at the beginning of his book** - even before his foreword!)

RZW continues, that not only did he speak to the Gedolim, who denied ever signing such a KK, but - after much effort - found the original document - with the signatures...and of course the document with signatures NEVER has the words "Aschalta DeGeula" on it!

The actual words there are (reproduced in his book): "...hanitzonim horishonim shel KIBBUTZ GOLIYOS..."
(The HH version: "...hanitzonim horishonim shel ASCHALTA DEGEULA."!!!)

(Incidentally, RZW adds, that at that time no one yet had any idea that this "kibbutz goliyos" would also cause with the mass Haavora al hadass in the Olim camps.)

RZW notes (p.144) that his criticisms of the HH were originally published in the Z'eirei Agudas Yisroel monthly Digleinu (Shvat 5738) - whilst RMK was alive, but he obviously wouldn't or couldn't respond. (This is despite the fact that at the end of his foreword, RMK invited comments.)

On the subject of ADG, RZW brings the words of two disparate leaders of the Charedi world, the Lubavitcher Rebbe z'l and the Ponowitz Rosh Yeshiva Rav Shach zt'l who comprehensively dismiss the view that israel is either a geula or an aschalta degeula.

(If anyone has any doubts on this point, here are the words of Professor A. Ravitzky, in his book Messianism, Zionism and Jewish Religious Radicalism (1996 by The University of Chicago).

"...For example, the late Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneersohn (1902-94), explicitly stated: "The period in which we are now living is not the beginning of the redemption, and the aliyah of many Jews to the Holy Land is not the ingathering of the exiles, but rather the possibility of rescuing many Jews during the time of exile... The false redemption does not allow the true redemption to be revealed, for those who think that they are already living in the redemption do not perform the (religious) actions required for the going forth from exile and the revealing of the true redemption; they cause the rolongation of the Exile, the exile of the individual, the exile of the community, the exile of all Israel, and the exile of the Shekhinah."

Similarly, his outstanding critic Rabbi Eliezer Menahem Schach, the leader of the Lithuanian rashi yeshivot in Israel, declared, "The Jewish people is still in exile, until the arrival of the redeemer, even when it is in Eretz Israel; this is neither redemption nor the beginning of the redemption..." Ad kaan leshono (of Ravitzky).

For more please click here:


Later on (p.282) in his book, RZW brings further evidence, that RMK's bias and prejudices caused him to censor/misquote and misrepresent facts in an article in the Rabbanut publication "Shono Beshonoh", in order to give the impression that his pro-zionist views were not in conflict with the majority of the Gedolei Yisroel.

He further brings (photostatic) proof from an article in the Rabbinic journal "Hapardes" on the Knessiya Gedola in Marienbad in 1937 reporting the 7-hour discussion on the question of a Jewish state, which was blatantly and unashamedly doctored by RMK, to give the impression that the only rabbonim against, were those from Hungary and Czechoslovakia (and conveniently deleting/censoring the names of RE Wasserman, RA Kotler and Rav Rottenberg of Antwerp.)

He also deleted the sentence that those voting against - held this view under ALL CIRCUMSTANCES - even if such a medina was built upon 'yesodos hadass', because, this (an independent state) would be "Kefirah b'emunas bias hamoshiach..." and especially one built " yesodos hakefirah, venimtza shem shomayim mischalell."

In page 286 he also shows how RMK in HH distorted the words of the Gerer Rebbe (Imrei Emes) z'l at that meeting.

Another person who published (in 5729) an attack on RMK is Rav Moshe Sternbuch shlit'a who was then a Rosh Kollel, living in Bnei Brak. His main aim is the Kol Hator which RMK attached to HH - claiming it is the work of Rav Hillel Shklaver z'l purporting to be the views of the Gr"o z'l on Inyonei Geula etc - which somehow fit in very nicely with the views of HH.

RM Sternbuch notes that the clear evidence that the entire sefer is not from the Gr"o or his students is the fact that it contains many modern Hebrew words and it is therefore unclear what is from the original and what was added later. In his opinion Kol Hator should not have been published - being a "Dovor She'eino Mesukan".

He also expresses his surpise at RMKasher who ignored the Cherem Hakadmonim issued by the Bes Din of Vilna after the petira of the Gr"o not to publish anything in his name without the haskomo of the Bes Din..

RMS continues that RMK well knows the opinion of "rov minyan ubinyan gedolei hador hakodem vedorenu" (including RC Brisker, REC Meisels, RE Wasserman, RBB Leibowitz, RA Kotler and most of the gedolei Hachasidus) on these matters. But he disregards them and only brings those who are leshitoso.

RMS then goes on to prove that even in this version of KH there are many rayos which clearly disprove RMK ideas in HH and goes as far as calling him a 'megaleh ponim beTorah shelo kehalocho"!

His 'maamar' runs approximately 10 pages with point after point disproving RMK's pshat in the KH and the Gr"o's shittos.

Hayotze Lonu Mizeh, that it's more than obvious that when it came to stand up for his prejudices, RM Kasher was quite prepared to openly and/or surreptitiously doctor, censor and distort the facts. Thus, IMHO, his book should not be used as serious proof for any debate on matters relating to the medina and the views of the Gedolei Yisroel. And, as mentioned previously, all his rayos etc misforim vesofrim must be double and triple checked - before being quoted as "Toras Emes".

It seems to me that this distortion and misrepresentation shows that even this renowned Torah scholar knew that without doing so he could never convince the (Torah) world that an independent medina prior to bias hamoshiach was the ideal choice of the recognised gedolim.

And of course he relied on the hope that those looking in his sefer will not look up his 'sources'