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.