Tuesday, June 13, 2006
What happened to Yiddishkeit?
(REV, RAK, RMB in Marienbad)
FROM MIKUSHER, ECLUSIVELY FOR CIRCUS TENT
I realize that R’ Moshe Finestein is credited with bringing R’ Aharon to the USA in the hope that he would be able to establish Yehivos that maintain the European high level of learning. But that does not mean that Reb Moshe had no regrets…
Judaism, for a couple thousand years, was Rav-centric. It was the Rabbonim who dealt with people’s problems – be they Halachic, political or even for advice. What was the role of the Roshei Hayeshivos? For the most part, they studied and taught Torah. That’s not to say that (especially in the Lita) they weren’t vaunted and highly respected by the masses, nor is it to say that they never stepped into personal or political matters, but it was clearly not their area.
No longer is this the case. Anyone paying attention cannot miss the fact that the signers of proclamations are full of Roshei Yeshiva; the same is true when it comes to political/halachic opinions – historically purely rabbinic territory. Just look at the people “appointed” by the establishment for Godol: Rav Shach, Rav Shteinman, the Novominsker… they’re not from the rabbinic ranks – they’re Roshei Yeshiva. Where does this come from? This is the fulfillment of R’ Aharon’s dream.
R’ Moshe didn’t appreciate it – and he in fact was very critical of it. He is said to generally refer to R’ Aharon by his last name only, and had no problem telling R’ Aharon to take a seat at an Asifa when he decided R’ Aharon had said enough. Even though the Aguda/Artscroll white-wash wants us to believe that R’ Moshe & R’ Aharon were close friends and we now carry on their tradition, it was quite clear to the two of them that they were polar opposites, and true ideological enemies. Chassidim were of much less importance, since there was a separation between them anyway, but R’ Aharon & R’ Moshe were swimming in the same general pool.
Much to R’ Moshe’s frustration, R’ Aharon was the victor; in fact, it seems that R’ Ahron has been the winner in most of his battles:
1. He was pretty successful in defeating R’ Moshe and the Rabbonim, redefining the structure of 2000 years of Judaism.
2. He successfully created the (seeming unsustainable) Kolel community and ideal.
3. He successfully won over the Chassidic communities to the yeshiva system, and Litvishe values.
4. He (with help) successfully fathered the movement to re-energize the Misnagdic-Chassidic battle, even ultimately turning the tide somewhat in favor of those who oppose Chassidim.
There were definitely things that helped him: The future rabbonim come through the (his) Yeshiva system… He studied under famous Gedolei Lita and was R’ Isser Zalman’s son-in-law, something even R’ Moshe couldn’t claim… There was no other Reb Moshe to carry the Rabbinic torch… Chassidism has faded with the lack of great leaders… the PR machine is behind him…
But, as a Lubavitcher Chossid I know always tells me: ‘It’s all Hashgocha Protis, man.”