Monday, January 19, 2009

A Lesson In Futility -------

----- by Rabbis Schechter and Feldman, zollen zein gezunt un shtark.

This video was filmed at an event at Bnei Yeshurun in Teaneck on March 5th, 2006. At the event, attendees were given the opportunity to ask questions of Rabbonim including R' Aaron Feldman, Rosh Yeshiva of Ner Yisrael, R' Mattisyahu Soloman, Mashgiach of Beis Medrash Govaha of Lakewood, and R' Aaron Schechter, Rosh Yeshiva R' Chaim Berlin. This clip shows R' Aaron Schechter responding to a question about the reconciliation of Torah and science in general, and the ban on R' Nosson Slifkin specifically.

I was never into the whole Slifkin fiasco. I don't get it, and I don't see the point of his holy war, not on his part and not on the part of his Rabbinic opponents. If a bunch of so-called intellectuals want to believe in some sort of Torah-Science hybrid, then so be it. More power to them. Leave them be. There's no great threat to the existence of old world pure Torah belief. Most people do not have the intellectual capacity of reading his books and having them change their minds. Even if they tell you that they believe in evolution or hybrid Torah/Science chances are they're stam hakking a chynek. You'd be better off not looking like an angry man who seemingly is not well-versed in the subject so he tells people that these are נסתרות that are best to be left alone. Even ignorant people like myself can see that. Then again, being that Teaneck has a reputation of being somewhat of a more intelligent city, one where many or most inhabitants are college graduates that have some background in Science, I would think that the approach that "you need not know, leave it to us, we know what's best for you" wouldn't really go far in convincing these folks that Slifkin is treyf. So what exactly was accomplished there by the two?!


Mottel said...

So much anger in his speech. I couldn't help think - Baruch ata . . . shlo asani misnagid

Anonymous said...

This post is filled with incorrect points, but I will address the last line only.
You ask "So what exactly was accomplished there by the two?!".

I live in Teaneck.
Although I was not at this particular function I did get a lot of feedback on it, and I can tell you that Rabbi Schecter did indeed make a very profound mark on the community when addressing this point.
Before you go and post this filth, why not verify the facts. Come to Teaneck and ask around; dozens of people here were steered away from the Slifkin book and the likes as a direct result of Rabbi Schechter.

Anonymous said...

"so he tells people that these are נסתרות that are best to be left alone."

Is he wrong?
Did he not have a Medrash mefureshes that said the same?!

Anonymous said...

I wonder how many Lubavicher boys have the intellectual capacity of reading the Tanya,but, as Hartman points out "It's not the Tanya that made me stay Jewish;its the lollipop that I got in shul that did it". intellectual reading does not change a person's mind, it's the warmth and feeling for community that changes the person.

Milhouse said...

Off topic: mazel tov to regular commenter isaac balbin on his son's engagement.

Anonymous said...

mee too said:

so he quotes the can also point to Chagigah which speaks about maaaseh markavah etc. So whats with Chassidus? Perhaps you shouldnt learn Chassidus because it speaks to the briah?

The Rabbi says that "all you know" is the world you operate in! He is the definition of the Rebbe's teitch that there are no misnagdim just olamshers. What is an olamsher - a one worlder.

I agree - sh lo asani olamsher

Anonymous said...

You comment makes me think "Baruch shelo asani Motel". Are you aware that the comment you made is severe, public lashon hara about a major Rosh Yeshiva and that one is considered al pi din, an apikores for being m'vazeh a talmid chacham? You need to t'shuvah and fast.

Anonymous said...


"you can also point to Chagigah which speaks about maaaseh markavah etc."

Yes you can point to that Gemara. But just because the Gemara does mention it that does not mean that every person should delve into it! You can also learn that Gemara k'pshuto and not dig down to the bottom of ma'aseh merkava.
There is a reason that most of the world has taken on the chumra brought down in Bac"h not to learn Kabbalh until one in 40 years old and has already mastered nigleh.
It's just not for everybody.

"He is the definition of the Rebbe's teitch that there are no misnagdim just olamshers."

I once heard a LUBAVITCHER say that RAS is the biggest baki alive in Tanya.

You can ask the CBT or the other regular commentators who are familiar with RAS about his mastery in all areas of torahs hanistar. Few people alive today can comprehend the man's knowledge and understanding of nistar.
All he is saying is that it is not for the hamon am, that it is not for the average fellow in Teaneck or even for the average fellow in CH!

And to all those who seem to think that RAS is a misnaged, well you obviously don’t know anything about him.
He is anything but a misnaged. Go to CB and listen one of his ma’amorim, you’ll

Anonymous said...

Once again Tzig... Good job!

You are doing a wonderful job of being marbeh motzie shem rah, lashon harah and rechilus!

After quite a few failed threads over the past few weeks you have realized that your readers are only interested in is shmutz!

This one has already attracted some fine people who are attacking a big Rosh Yeshiva.

Job well done!

Hirshel Tzig - הירשל ציג said...


Thank You!

I love complimets! me, me me ! keep them coming! I love LH and rechilus!

Anonymous said...

*End of last post didn't make it for some reason...

Last words were: see what I mean.

Anonymous said...

u r missing the point partially.
People should focus on understanding on their own level.
If someone has a elementary school science education then Slifkin's book is irrelevant for him.

Anonymous said...


We know, we know, we know!
That is what the self-stated purpose of this blog is, is it not?
"To provide a counter opinion to the Chabad bashing"

And we all know that Chabadniks don't engage in intelligent conversation.
They either:
A- Avoid the questions.
B- Just start yelling and screaming nonsense to avoid conversation with outsiders all together.
C- (This is apparently your favorite tactic.) Avoid the many problems within Chabad and unsuccessfully try to point out how every Rosh Yeshiva, Rebbe and Chacham is a piece of dirt; thereby deflecting and avoiding the problems within Lubavitch!

Let's take a look at your blog.... When was the last time you put out a piece of Pro Lubavitch propaganda? A very long time ago.
And how often do you do it? Rarely, almost never!

You would rather point out how the Munkatcher Rebbe, the Seret-Viznitz Rebbe, the Belzer Rebbe, the Roshei Yeshiva of Chaim Berlin, the Roshei Yeshiva of Poneviz, the Teimani Yidden, etc etc etc..., are all a bunch of lowlife clowns for one reason or another. And you think that that is a counterpunch?! It's a bad joke at best!

If you really want to provide a counterpunch to the ever-prevalent Lubavitch bashing, try explaining the whole moshiach madness, try explaining why Lubavitch rarely -if ever- shows interest in helping and supporting communal affairs outside of CH or K'far Chabad, try answering all the major questions that almost every Jew alive has on your clan. That would be a counterpunch, that would silence the critics.

Anonymous said...

"If someone has a elementary school science education then Slifkin's book is irrelevant for him."

Get real, the science in Slifkin's books are on a high school level at best.

Anonymous said...

Anon@12:12 - Last time I checked high school came after elementary school.

Anonymous said...

>>You can ask the CBT or the other regular commentators who are familiar with RAS about his mastery in all areas of torahs hanistar. Few people alive today can comprehend the man's knowledge and understanding of nistar.
All he is saying is that it is not for the hamon am, that it is not for the average fellow in Teaneck or even for the average fellow in CH!

It is said by the maveinim out there that the greatest baki in nistar in our time is the Admor of Pruzhan-Stutchin.

Anonymous said...

>>People should focus on understanding on their own level.
If someone has a elementary school science education then Slifkin's book is irrelevant for him.

But his readership--with its high school education in science (Slifkin did not go to college, and obtained his knowledge in science from popular books)--has an elemntary school education in learning, at best. So they should not read it, either.

Akiva said...

I happen to have 2 of R. Slifkin's books, signed by the author.

Mysterious Creatures addresses some very serious questions that aren't so simple to just sweep away. The Gemora discusses some creatures that clearly don't exist - or creation processes that don't exist (lice from sweat for example). Fine, dump on R. Slifkin's book - but give your wonderful alternative. The answer of "the nature of science/the physical operation of the universe/the modes of life must have changed" is about as viable as evolution.

You can certainly convince all those BT's that a Torahdika way of life is best. But convincing a doctor that lice generate from sweat, mice grow from mud, a kind of lamb grows from the ground, that's going to be a little harder.

Note that R. Slifkin's 3rd book, The Challenge of Creation, actually is somewhat weak. You can literally see him running away from certain issues and hedging around with lots of "maybe's" and "if's" after being beaten up previously.

I simply fail to understand how we have such depths of Torah learning, pshat, drush, sod, etc, and yet when we move to these issues in the Gemora we suddenly become 100% literal and pshat-ists. (Yet we don't do that when it comes to Gemora medical advice, aggada, or mystical advice {anyone rubbed any black cat afterbirth burnings in their eyes recently?}.)

When did Judaism suddenly become anti-intellectual, anti-science, anti-questioning?

Soon we'll be avoiding technology like the Amish, memorizing instead of learning for understanding like the Muslims, and hiding our women like the Taliban. Oh wait, we're mostly there aren't we?

Anonymous said...

1. many years ago in a "flam fierdike" Drosha , Rav Shach stated " die velt eksisdirt sayn hundrete tausendike yoren." As you said only the very few are really interested in the age of the world, and many of those for 'scientific" reasons.
Teaneck, is not a city where all Jews are the same. There is a very large young YU contingent. A sizeable older YU group, which is a bit less outwardly frum, hundreds of people with no YU background and hundreds of families with a BT sort of background. there are ex BP people and many who have attended yeshivas like Ner Israel and RSA. I am sure there are even a few who studied in the Brooklyn yeshivas like TVD and RCB. The Chabad place also gets a nice crowd on Shabbes. A great many of the men and women in their 40-60 range are also children of Holocaust survivors rather than Yankees.
So perhaps a few and even more were nispoel by Rabbi Schechter's arguements. The majority had little interest and really wondered when after rabbi Solomon and rabbi S spoke in Teaneck, rabbis Lamm, Willig and JJ Schacter wuld be invites to speak in Lakewood or Passaic. I think they are still more interested in that question thna in the age of the earth.

Anonymous said...

This is not what RAS and RAF came there to talk about and spoke, there was a Q&A session, and so he answered that question.

Anonymous said...

"Admor of Pruzhan-Stutchin"

Name please?

Anonymous said...

It is frightening to see how this talk by RAS in March 5th, 2006 is a radical departure from RAS's previous lifelong normal routines and self-imposed guidelines. Like his rebbe, Rav Yitzchok Hutner (RYH) who as a matter of disciplined policy NEVER spoke out in public forums, he would show up sometimes, but NEVER SPEAK!!! only giving shiurim and ma'amorim in the actual building of Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Berlin, and of course, behind the scenes talks and meetings with people mostly in his office or in the privacy of his home and sometimes at meetings with other gedolim or big machers at Agudah being that he was on the Moetzes, but the general public never got to hear RYH speak (and he was a truly marvelous speaker) and even at ma'amorim that were not on Yom Tov or Shababos in yeshiva, RYH had some cronies go around and STOP and even CONFISCATE any people caught recording him on tape-recorders and definitely no films of him were allowed. All very smart, actually brilliant, moves!

But it seems that in this instance of these videos RAS departs from that practice and not only speaks out on a super hot topic in public, it gets videod (the Internet was around in 2006) and now it's on YouTube and being downloaded and dicussed on many Jewish websites, and the reviews so far are mainly very negative. Why did he need this altogether?

The really big question is why RAS broke with his own studied self-imposed HUTNERIAN silence in Teaneck, NJ on March 5th, 2006 and get himself taped like this, in a way that people can actually see his level of anger, aggressive body language and angry words.

By comparison, just look at poor old Rabbi Feldman in this vedeo who comes across as being "submissive" to RAS, a poor display of how RAS works with other gedolim and rosh yeshivas, and who should have and could have answered a lot gentler and a lot better than RAS.

In his yeshiva RAS's talmidim get used to it, they are told it's a "compliment" if the rosh yeshiva yells and screams at you, as in the days of RYH when they said the same thing. But why do this in front of people who may get the wrong impression?

It would seem that this is a fatal foreshadowing of things to come because as we all know by now, things went from bad to worse when from March 5th, 2006 onwards, RAS made a series of very public blunders that opened him to public ridicule and attack, as he ventured into the banning of the sheital macher fiasco and first wrote a letter in the CB mailing list smashing the sheital macher store and then when the sheital macher backed down he wrote another letter to re-correct and update what he holds. Then came his signing on to the banning of the first L>I>P>A concert, even when he was informed it was a fake and it would cause harm, and the whole afair has now been conclusively proven to be a set-up and fraudulent as LIPA is now about to hold another approved concert, and then came the distarous Isaac Hersh affair, a crescndo of public disasters from which RAS has not recovered.

So all one can say is that these public appearances by RAS are a TRAGEDY and were part of pattern of RAS's decline and one hopes, as he has done in recent months, that RAS will stick to the old smart ways and policies of his rebbe RYH and follow the old old dictum of "...velo matzatzi yafeh mishtikah"!

For the record. I agree 100% with RAS's hashkofa in these videos (but not his methods of character assassination) on the subject of Slifkin.

But, there are better and smarter ways of battling ideas and notions you disagree with. Banning of books is done in dictatorships. You can ban books in your yeshiva and your private home, but you cannot issue decrees to the world to ban books just because you disagree with them. Plenty of talmidim in CB have read and studied books that are not part of Torah while they were taking high school secular studies or going to college.

Rav Hutner NEVER banned books, he let his daughter Rebbetzin Bruria David (RBD) go to Columbia University and get a PhD, like quite a few of RYH's talmidim went to college and got PhDs, and he would encourage his talmidim to make their Torah ideas and shiurim more intersting and compelling so that his talmidim would not want to read anything else out of ahavas HaTorah and not scare the heck out of them for reading secular books by screaming at people IN PUBLIC to frighten them into submission to act like submissive zombies, as RAS is doing so horribly here for the world to see.

Anonymous said...

I listened to Part 1 and although I rank among those who believe in freedom of information acts... the rabbi has a point as there are many undereducated in both areas of knowledge and will be screwed up by not being able to process the data... hung up / crashed etc... pass out candy !

Mottel said...

Michoel: I wold certainly hope you say "Shelo Asani Motel" - as being a roadside hotel is hardly befitting for one of your stature . . . I'd day you're at least deserving of a 3 star rating!

In truth you are right, it is realy wrong to say "Shelo asani misnagid" it's a brocha l'vatala! After all, shelo asani goy, eved and isha include misnagdim b'derech m'meila!

Now, though, I can say another brocha: shechiyanu. It's been ages since someone bothered to call me "an apikores"! I've been called worse by far greater, but I'll take what I can get these days.

"You need to t'shuvah and fast." Yes sir! Please forgive me for saying that someone who preaches ignorance in a grouchy voice sounds angry . . .

Anonymous said...

Check out the poster and parody poster of the event -

Anonymous said...

there are many undereducated in both areas of knowledge and will be screwed up by not being able to process the data

And how many will be screwed up by being told that they are not allowed to ask the question? Have you seen the book "Off the Derech"? It points out that a lot of people are turned off by not having their questions addressed.

Anonymous said...

the rebbbes hashkofo was uncompromiseing when it came to the age of the world etc but he 1. never banned books and 2. encourraged answering the questions even using scientific approach knowing that different people need to be answered from different angles and never be scxreamed at for asking

Anonymous said...

Firstly, you don't know me at all.
Someone points out to you that you did a very serious aveira and you deal with it but cracking stupid jokes. It is not for "me" to forgive you.

Just imagine for a moment if someone would say in a blog, after seeing a Sefardi Rav express himself publicly, Baruch shelo asani sefardi. Would you find that objectionable? It not, you have serious hashkafa problems.

"I've been called worse by far greater."

I believe you.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't take this guy Michoel seriously.He is the self appointed guardian of the highways and byways of cyberspace.When it appears to him that someone is disparaging an individual whom he considers to be a "godol" whether he be some rotzer rosh Yesiva dYeshiva gedolah DeSheboygen onwards, (that is everyone besides the Rebbe),he will call down all the klolles upon you and remind you in no uncertain terms "that you did a very serious aveira".
On this blog site where so many haters have spit out their bile against the Rebbe,nary a word from him.

Anonymous said...

>>Name please?

I don't know what the holy Admor of Pruzhan Stutchin's name is. But I do know that when I went to hie last night for a yechidus, he looked into my eyes for one second, and told me exactly what was on my mind and gave me a brocho. As of this morning, I can acknowledge that the yeshuva came.

I am not theonly person who is completely taken away by his mofsim. He radiates so much energy, love, warmth, intensity, it was an amazing experience.

Anonymous said...

so what exactly does Rabbi Schecter suggest that we tell a Baal Tshuvah candidate when he asks the same question that he was asked?

Anonymous said...

Anon of 12:40,
Another words, because people are m'vazeh the Rebbe, that makes it ok for Chabadniks to be m'vazeh other g'dolim. Wonderful.

I have never written anything against the Rebbe. And if it a taaneh against me for not defending the Rebbe kavod while defending the kavod of other rabbanim, what will you say for all the Chabadsters that post here that do defend the Rebbe's kavod while being m'vazeh Rav Shach, RAS etc?

A lot of the "bile" is not spilled against the Rebbe but against his chasidim. And you sure do a great job of increasing the motivation!

Anonymous said...

Michoel First off, stop going by the name "Michoel"
your parents gave you a gorgeous name and it's Michael Hersh! Second of all, no wonder you're defending this "rabbi" his is the Shmuck that put you're amazing son in that hellhole in Jamaica.....Michael you are a disgrace to humankind end of story

Anonymous said...

Why stop there? Maybe I'm Rav Aharon Shechter himself.

BTW, anyone who writes a lot of the stuff I've seen on this blog has ZERO ahavas Yisroel and is therefore being completely insincere when they suddenly feel deep pain for Michael Hirsch's son.

Anonymous said...

Are you aware that the comment you made suggesting that RAS has been blogging on the internet is severe, loshon hara about a major Rosh Yeshiva and that one is considered al pi din an apikores for being mivazeh a talmid chochom? You need to do teshuvah fast!

Anonymous said...

You don't need to possess ahavas yisroel to feel deep pain for a child who is sent to an abusive facility. Any decent human being would be repulsed by the existence of such a place.

Anonymous said...

Michoel, you are bashing anyone who "writes a lot of stuff" on this blog. I assume you are including yourself as you have posted quite a few times here.

Anonymous said...

I heard that the school in Jamaica where Isaac Hersh was sent got closed down. I guess it wasn't such a great place after all

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:22,
That is stupid.

Use your brain,
Maybe your right, but you still need to show me that some of the bloggers here qualify as decent.

Anon 8:09,
That is almost as stupid.