Friday, April 15, 2011

The Impostors Of Jewish Journalism

Guest post by Guravitzer

Ki Lo Ami should be the name of the magazine. These editors are not part of my nation, and their beliefs are not mine. Editorial slant is always discernable, most discernable in yellow journalism. Hate journalism. Fear-mongering journalism. There are impostors among us! Rise to action! Which is obviously impossible, because this is fear of thought – how is the average frum citizen supposed to take action against the thoughts of their spouse, friend or rabbi? The call to action is spurious. “It’s a story about the dangers that the Internet poses to emunas Yisrael” is their editorial summary. Locking up the internet will not remove kefira. As is the case with every journalistic call to fear, people with questions of Emunah have always existed, will always exist, and people who continue to keep Torah and Mitzvos while harboring questions of Emunah have always existed as well. The dangerous use of yellow journalism is evident throughout. “Aharon is a fraud.” “Infiltrators in our communities.” “They behave and dress like you and me.” “Pose many more dangers to society.” “Duplicitous, heretical infiltrators.” “These fifth-columnists.” “An ominous rebellion.” “These heretics are among us.” “Almost…mentally ill.” “Be forewarned: He may be the one coming to pick up your daughter tonight.”

This article is not an indication of the failing of these dangerous, ominous, fraudulent, infiltrators who dress like you and me (I pity them – hopefully they have better dress sense than I do). This article indicates the failing of the Litvishe world. There are failures in every community, this article is in particular about the Litvishe failing. The vaise zoken mentioned in the article don’t fail for the reasons mentioned. There are two statements of Chazal to consider here. “A person can’t proclaim themselves wicked.” In context of forcing a divorce although Halachah states the husband must be willing, “We compel him until he states, I am willing.” The Rebbe would often remind us of the Rambam’s explanation of the legal reasoning. Every person is willing to do Hashem’s will – even if unaware. It’s subconscious. Since subconsciously the husband’s Neshama wants to do the right thing, and he proclaims that he is willing to do the right thing, the fact that he had to be compelled is irrelevant Halachically. We trust his inner Neshama, not his outward boasts. And the first statement of Chazal tells us that we don’t trust his outward boasts either – if a person declares that they no longer believe, there is room to disbelieve them. If they perform Mitzvos but declare themselves a Mumar, why shouldn’t we trust their actions? The editorial slant is therefore not only tragic, but incorrect. There is no Psak Din here about drinking their wine, which would have to be given case by case. This is whether we accept them as one of us and find the fault within ourselves, or stage them as the enemy with ourselves as innocent victims.

The Litvishe world has made a conscious decision for centuries to ignore all matters of Emunah. The books they have reluctantly written are nonsense. The Creator they speak of, the Almighty, has no logical coherence. This world has no answers to the questions – and that is the true danger. As was once said in response to a report of apikorsus, “the G-d they believe in, I don’t believe in either.” The many logical fallacies in this article demonstrate the logical inconsistencies of this world. There is almost no paragraph without such errors. Eliyahu and his declaration to stop following both Hashem and Baal has no place here. Those people held dual beliefs, this article is about people who profess no belief but follow the instructions of Hashem. A vibrant appreciation of beauty and truth of Mitzvos is declared the antidote, but beauty is in the eyes of the beholder and truth is only arrived at by questions and answers. In fact, these people have a vibrant appreciation of Mitzvos – they still observe Mitzvos! They found cultural value in Mitzvos. Perhaps more so than those that decry them in this article. To say that, “He outwardly pretends to be…observant,” is incorrect as fact, and any decent editor would catch this. He is observant of Mitzvos. Lack of Emunah doesn’t negate that and make it pretension. This is evident again in the story of a yungerman without belief watching a believing man commit an aveira – the sinner must be at risk to the editors, at the same level as the yungerman. In reality, the believer may simply have indulged his desires while still believing.

The statements of the professionals and Gedolim further illustrate the faults of this world. Contrast the story of finding comic books and declaring that reading silliness means this person can’t pursue intellectual studies, which flies in the face of reality, to the Frierdike Lubavitcher Rebbe stating for American-raised bochurim that, while intellectual and romantic novels damage a person’s Neshoma, reading political ideologies is just silliness which is easily remedied. Comic books wouldn’t even merit a mention. With all due respect to the Bais Halevi, this statement is wrong on every level: “The end proof of faith is faith, and the best someone else can do for the avowed Apikorus is to daven for him.” This is the ultimate expression of the confusion in the Litvishe world, then and now. We are maaminim bnai maaminim, that is faith, and we are commanded to know Hashem, that is theological and philosophical proof. Where the Bais Halevi ends in davening, that is only the beginning for us. Answer the questions. If you don’t have the answers, step down from your position of Godol and defer to the Lubavitcher Rebbeim in matters of Emunah just as you did in matters of Askonus. Did Reb Boruch Ber really fight for years to remove one statement of mockery from his mind? Fight fire with fire, fight mockery of us with mockery of the world and kofrim, as Chazal tell us, “all mockery is forbidden, other than mockery of avoda zara which is permitted.” As Chasidus teaches, this refers to any avoda which is zar to us. For the grand finale, the reporter passes judgment. “After all, I did not have much in common with one who has lost his last vestige of spirituality and G-dliness.” Yes, you do. Spirituality and Elokus is not determined by you, it is gift from Hashem. You both have a nefesh hoElokis. You both have a nefesh haBehamis. We are all children of One father. May He have mercy on your souls, dear journalist, dear editors, and dear publisher.


azi said...

Nice work here.

That article really made me sick.

Hirshel Tzig - הירשל ציג said...

tell us what bothered you, azi.

Anonymous said...

YUK. Typicle Chabad drivel and Chutpah. The guy could wear jeans, is still looking for Daf Aleph, learns an hour of Chasidus a week, and still thinks he "starts" where an Adom Godel (who fainted by indadvertant moving of mucktzah) "ended". Fech! And you also believe that the cherem was a mistake? Incredible!

Yosef Greenberg said...

Beautiful and well, written, with some glaring flaws as well.

Shkoia'ch, Tzig.

dovy in jersey said...

either this was meant to be comedy or the writer is about 16 years old.

Anon3 said...

Excellent post.It's detractors did not read read the original article as written in Ami,have a poor understanding of the English language or are the usual knee jerk morons who never have anything positive to say about Lubavitch.Probably all of the above.

Anonymous said...

Teaching enumah the right way; "Ve Vant Moshiach Now!"

Normal said...

Maybe there is a lack of emunah when people, especially the young, look around and see so many older Rabbis and frum people behaving so obviously badly and no-one says a word, ranging from stealing, fraud, molesting, court cases about money and power etc.

Anonymous said...

So stupid, and what happened in tomchei tmimim of lubavitch if a bochur was found with any foreign books? was he talked to the gibberish of this article or sent packing???

Anonymous said...

"where an Adom Godel (who fainted by indadvertant moving of mucktzah) "ended". Fech! And you also believe that the cherem was a mistake? Incredible!"
the last time I heard this story, it was on a CHASSIDIC REBBE not a misnaged, it happened with ren aron chernobler.I dont think that if some foolish boy does some harm, you can put in cherem jews like the Alte Rebbe, Berdichever Ruv, reb Shmelke of Nikolshburgh, and reb Yisroel of Koznitz.

Anonymous said...

Nonchssidic world has classics of machshova also. The real distincttion is between pnimiyos and chitsoniyos and between small peolple and deep people.

Anonymous said...

"The Litvishe world has made a conscious decision for centuries to ignore all matters of Emunah. The books they have reluctantly written are nonsense."
Your ignorance is only exceeded by your arrogance.If you have found a derech in avodah that resonates with
with your mahus,realize that there are other paths which need not agree with yours.Not better,just different.

Yankel said...

the Frierdike Lubavitcher Rebbe stating for American-raised bochurim that, while intellectual and romantic novels damage a person’s Neshoma, reading political ideologies is just silliness which is easily remedied

Source please?

evanstonjew said...

A good percentage of Orthoprax are not yeshiva people at all. Some have no more than an 8th grade yeshiva education. Some are b't. Some are chasidim stuck in their communities with a wife and kids. There is no commonality.
Would you please sketch what in Chabad Chasidus would answer the doubts of an Orthopraxer? Do you believe the variations on the theme how what appears as material is from another perspective spiritual, the sort of a view that is particularly appealing to a skeptical rebellious person influenced by Bible criticism?

Anonymous said...

"the last time I heard this story, it was on a CHASSIDIC REBBE not a misnaged"

What about the first time you heard it?

Anonymous said...

How did you know that the article was speaking about the Litvish world? And why are there more heretics on Crown Hights Kfar Chabad etc than Lakewood? Will you stop lying? Chasidus doesn't prevent people losing faith. (If so we wouldn't have the tremendous amount of wayward kids from the best families in our midst) Chasidos helps those souls who finds its depth, soulfulness, Divinity, a nourishment to their yearning soul and spirit. Its no antidote to nagging and gnawing questions of Kefirah. Even in Reshabs Tomchei Temeimim many left the faith from the best and brightest families . The writer who is a typical herd Chabad idiot has no clue about history or current reality and probably shallow knowledge in Chasidos. Stop being a false prophet and selling the wrong medicine for the wrong disease.

(Written by a current fervent Chabad Chosid who dispises the illusions and buble that many in Chabad are wrapped)

klainer said...

Anony. 5:10 Your words are refreshing. A little honesty is wonderful.

Anonymous said...

" And why are there more heretics on Crown Hights Kfar Chabad etc than Lakewood"
with Jeans ? or with black hats?

@ anon 5:10 said...

Come on!
A fervent Chabad Chosid should know how to spell 'Crown Heights'....

Ende Tsadik said...

I went out and bought Ami this week on the back of the article I saw here. Although the Pesach issue had no article to compare with that one I found their editorial tone and the articles to veer between sickeningly sentimental and nauseatingly smug.

Either the price of paper amongst chareidim is spectacularly cheap or it must be the words that have little value. Mounds of drivel are churned out every week each trying to outdo the other in the superlatives for the gedoilim, sanctimonious gloating for ourselves and patronizing sympathy or downright contempt for those who have yet to see the light.

Ami tries to stand out from the crowd by publishing pseudo sophisticated and relevant 'true life' stories of a warring couple and mentioning problems of the 'frauds'. Oh, and they're not into racism either because they write that the Chasam Sofer knew about black people from the haftorah 'haloi kivnei kishuim atem li'. I sincerely hope the Chasam Sofer was rather better read than that.

An article about Toldoth Aharon and the new madness of beshawled and burkahd women appeared to be classic Amis. Most Ami readers would retch at the sight of either of the above. Yet they can nonetheless feel smug reading a magazine in their long robes while their hubbies are fressing tsholent that on the one hand must be 'echt' chareidi by gaining access to places where other magazines cannot reach, and on the other hand dares to write about issues that others daren't touch.

Yeah, they even managed to interview Soshe Teitelbaum for another suger coated insight into her father's court without any mention of the intrigue, plotting, back stabbing and all but fratricidal relationships.

So how about an article on those shenanigans? The rabbinical frauds who dress up on stage every Shabbos after a week's conduct that would make a mafia godfather proud? Or an article on the financial frauds? Are they too defrauding their wives and kids and '000s of chasidim or is that ok?

It's Erev Pesach and I wish I had more time to write. But I'll finish with a vort of the 3rd Belzer Rov. Hanistorois Lashem Eloikeinu, the concealed relationship one has with God such as love and fear of God are matters between God and oneself and no one else's business.

However, vehaniglois, things we do in the open like shabbos, kashrus, Pesach, they are lonu ulvoneinu, for ourselves and our children to see and emulate. Financial fraudsters belong to the latter, ideological 'fraudsters' to the former.

It is after reading articles like that that I'm proud to remain a chosid (and stick to The New Yorker)!

A koshern in freilichn Pesach

Avromie said...

Anonymous 5:10:
Thank you, you said it all. Chassidus is wonderful. But this problem is unrelated, and the author does himself a disservice by contaminating his otherwise accurate article with wild assumptions and fantasies about it.

Anonymous said...

Ende Tadik
David Remnik and Hirtzberg of the New Yorker are not more objective or less biased then the Black hatter Frankfutter, I have been there.They and the NYT are officialy 1 sided media, Unless you buy for the short fiction.

Anonymous said...

ende tzadik,

no one could ever attempt to compete with hubris, and hyperbole of kfar habad and bays messiah. the cult that you have created surpasses anything the snags will attempt to. a new religion with new ikkarey emunah imbedded to you from childhood on cannot allow you appreciate the other derochim in yidishkeyt. forget about fake ahavat yisroel. Your hatred at other frum jews drowns any "ahavat israel" you display to other jews. It shows that it is all for self aggrandizement.

The bottom line: take care of the off the derechof habad and those who dress with a kapote amongst you but believe in almost nothing (except for the belief in the rebbe which so many of you brag that even after your go otd they still believe in the rebbe!). But waste no time besmirching ami or other yidden for the non believers amongst you and the otd and those who display pritzus publicly are greater amongst your circles than almost any other circle amongst frumme yidden!).

with best wishes of a liberating passover!

Anonymous said...

"a new religion with new ikkarey emunah imbedded to you from childhood on cannot allow you appreciate the other derochim in yidishkeyt"
at least there is some emuna new or old, doesnt the torah have to be Kachadoshim?
Only in chabad they imbed emuna from childhood?
you are almost turning me in to a chabadnik.

Anonymous said...

"who dress with a kapote amongst you but believe in almost nothing"
this Kapote people have shemiras shabos use mikvahs, kashrus,

bobov chusid said...

this article (like most of r` hershil`s) is so on target, i thank hashem that we have such great people among us.
in the big shul (60 x 60ft) in the tiny village of belz, they would not wear a kittel on yom kippur, because the "neshumes" (souls) would come down and the shul became packed packed, you were`nt able to put a needle, so they came up with great idea, they took off their kittel and suddenly there was place, the neshumes did not come down to the people just at the roof, so there was more than enough place.
today this became theit minhag, no kittel (white long shirt) is worn in belz on yom kipper. although in bobov like others do were the kittel.

Gimpel said...

How does the Beis HaLevi get his due respect? You are using your own argument to prove itself. Is this the intellectual system you learnt in Lubavitch? Do you think the whole world should therefore defer to Lubavitch for a logical system of teaching emuna?
The Ramban in the hakdomo to Milchamos says that there is no such thing as 100% proof to anything in Judaism. (Take that Beney berak). That imho is the point of the Bais HaLevi. If a person wants to follow his own intellect and not have an ol of Torah, he will never be convinced of the truths of the 13 ikarim. (BTW, keeping mitzvos for their cultural value is not the ol of mitzvos, and the yetzer hora for prikas ol can ignore the actual performance of mitzvos). Most proofs to the veracity of our beliefs are not absolute, but they explain to the listener how his normal routine lifes beliefs, would include emuna in the 13 ikarim. E.G. R' Chatzkel Levenstein saw his family search for the manual for the refrigerator that they had just bought. He saw this as proof to Torah Min HaShomayim. Obviously the proof is pretty weak. However, his point was that just like you live your life with a belief that everything complicated has a manual with it written by the manufacturer to explain how to use it, so too you should instinctively feel that the complicated world we live in has a Manual written by the Manufacturer.
Something to think about.

Gimpel said...

Bobuv chusid - Your iluyish tzushtel and its meaning eludes me. Please explain the connection your point has to the article

Anonymous said...

Did the Ramban say that on Emuna Vedayois?
no, he did not say it on Emuna Vedies, don"t confuse the masses with slogans

Gimpel said...

The Ramban does not diffrentiate between Halocho and Emuna VaDeios. However, if it can be proven that the Ba'al HaMo'oir never disagrees on the Rif in Inyanei Emunos VaDeios, you could have a point. I do not have time to research it.
I am not sure who these masses are and what slogan I used. The Ramban is a serious point and it explained to me, as I got older, the futility of trying to reconcile everything and the acceptance of polar-opposite opinions in Judaism.
The other fact I mentioned is pretty much proven. Without a willingness to hear and understand, no amount of rational proof will persuade an atheist. He will stay an atheist because of his lusts. This removes any exoneration of the Apikorsim of our generation. They are not Tinokos Shenishbu. They are a bunch of selfish fressers, who do not want to take responsobility for their actions.

Chaim Herzog said...

From AJNWatch and Aussie Chabad affiliated blog:

Exaggeration creates mockery

Guest post by Chosid-Maskil

Like most of my fellow Chabad chassidim I highly respect Rabbi Heschel Greenberg. He is one of the most prominent names in Chabad. Thus I was somewhat disappointed reading his article in the Shabbos Hagadol issue of "The Lamplighter", where, writing about the Rebbe he makes the following statement:

"...never before in history has one individual impacted the lives of so many diverse people in so many different ways. Never before has one Jewish leader connected directly or indirectly with as many Jews on so many levels..."

This naive and childish observation was reminiscent of the ridiculous ‘accolade’ oft repeated about Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz and justifiably blasted on this very blog some time ago.

"Once-in-a-millennium scholar”? Really?

I have noticed over the years that every time Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz gets mentioned in the AJN - whether it be an article or an advertisement we are reminded that the internationally renowned Maven on Torah scholars and rabbis - Time magazine - labelled him as a “once-in-a-millennium scholar”....I am always amazed at the childlike naivety of the average person in accepting and repeating such nonsense. Rabbi Steinsaltz is indeed an extraordinary and notable scholar. But to make and repeat such an absurd statement is mind-boggling. Is he really a greater scholar than the Rambam, Ramban, Rashi, Rosh, Rav Yosef Karo? Or even more recent Gedolim, eg, the Rogatchover, the Chafetz Chaim, the Chazon Ish, etc etc?

Does Rabbi Greenberg expect his readers to believe that the Rebbe ‘impacted’ and ‘connected’ with more Jews than, say, Moshe Rabeinu or Dovid Hamelech or even the Baal Shem Tov!?

Please, I beg my fellow Chassidim, let's not make a mockery of our Rebbe. There was so much true greatness that can be extolled and written about, so, why of why, publish articles that makes us look like naïve and dimwitted adolescents that certainly bring no Kavod to the Rebbe?

(This photo seems to be the Rebbe himself asking the same question...)

Avromy said...

Interesting to note that despite your claim :"If you don’t have the answers, step down from your position of Godol and defer to the Lubavitcher Rebbeim in matters of Emunah" it's actually in Lubavitch that you have a movement of "Borenuniks".Apparently some lessons need to be taken by Lubavitchers about the dangers of taking a "yelud isha" and making nonsensical claims of omniscience and omnipotence and where this can lead to

Gimpel said...

Interesting, Gravitzer is the proof that nobody has all the answers, and nobody should defer to anyone legitimate. Read the excellent book, Chayim Gravitzer and you will see this fact expressed clearly. Every group has an equal amount of dropouts and there is no organization that we can blame for this phenomenom.

Anonymous said...

"if it can be proven that the Ba'al HaMo'oir never disagrees on the Rif in Inyanei Emunos VaDeios.
the Rav Ilphas never wrote on subjects not pertaining agadata, so your theory of the Ramban making that stement makes no sense.
Did you ever see Mark Shapiro quasi kefira book on the 13 principle? he likes the idea that everything in torah is in the gray, no black and white on anything.

Anonymous said...

"Rebbe ‘impacted’ and ‘connected’ with more Jews than, say, Moshe Rabeinu or Dovid Hamelech or even the Baal Shem Tov!?"
I do believe that the Rebbe and many other Jews in their lifetime impacted more people then the Baal Shem Tov in his lifetime, Obviously you are correct that for generations to come, they had a much bigger impact, but with the limited communication abilities of the Besht era, his impact was on a smaller scale and could not reach to a very big audience

Gimpel said...

anon 3:56
Are you judging me with guilt by association? I did not say that I had proof. I merely suggested a method of proving my point. BTW, by fortiori, if halocho has nothing black and white, hashkofof definitely does not.