Friday, November 21, 2008

Catching Up

The unexpectedly timely start of the semester, a quick trip to the US and a week in bed with the flu has kept me from the keyboard. So much to write, so little time and energy (still).

Anyways, a few starting points:

1) Want proof that Tzippi Livni is 'Englishly challenged' (and, IMHO, a boor)? See here.

2) I am very proud of being a born and bred Litvak (Minsker and Grodner Gubernyas) and misnaged. Our family is part of the Gra's 'Cousinhood' (through his grandfather R. Moshe Kremer). My forebears learned in Mir and yours truly learned, of course, for almost ten years by the Rav זצ"ל. Nevertheless, partly owing to my late father in law's inspiration and to the Rav's example, I am a great admirer of Kotzk and its subsidiary branches, Ger and Sochatchov (whose rebbeim were always respected in the Beis Medrash).

In the latter context, I wanted to tell a story about the Kotzker (IIRC, from שיח שרפי קודש). It seems that the Kotzker was adamently opposed to 'Rebbeish' trappings (tischen, pidyonos etc.) Once a famous Rebbe came to spend Shabbos with the Kotzker and the latter pulled out all of the sops and held a tisch etc. After the guest left, his hassidim asked the Kotzker: You don't believe in any of this! Why did you prave a tisch and act treat him like royalty?'

The Kotzker answered: 'I was simply obeying an explicit rule in the Shulchan Arukh (Yoreh De'ah 250:1). The din is that if a rich man is impoverished, one must provide him with everything he had lost (די מחסורו אשר יחסר לו). This person considers himself a Rebbe. I, therefore, had to be charitable and provide him with everything he lacked.'

It is with the Kotzker's comment on the spiritual poverty of contemporary Rebbeim (and with my Sfas Emes on Bereshis ready for tonight's Dvar Torah), that I refer to this (Hattip: Gil).

3) For equal time, check out the great agreement between Rav Elyashiv and Rav Ovadiah on the burning issue of.....drumroll, please...sheitlach!

4) There is no doubt in my mind that the present attempt to throw the residents out of Beit HaShalom in Hevron is politically inspired, and directly related (in any number of ways) to the upcoming elections. It also testifies to the total lock that the ideological Left has on significant sectors of the Judiciary.

Nevertheless, epecially after Amona and especially in light of the intensifying Jewish sentiment in the country, it would be absolutely disasterous for opponents of the evacuation to resort to violence. That is exactly what the commissars of Haaretz (and allies such as Moshe Negbi, Yariv Oppenheimer and Ophir Pines-Paz) are praying for (if they actually believed in God). Opposition is in order. Violence is not. In light of that, I find it incredible that the organizers of this week's protest against the decision to enforce the evacuation order allowed a lunatic like Shalom Ber Wolpe to speak. He is an off the wall extremist (who also thinks that the late Lubavitcher Rebbe זצ"ל is part of the Godhead). Haaretz made predictable hay about it.

Until I have time to fully formulate my views, consider the advice of Rabbi Yuval Sherlo, here, and the observations of Oleh Girl.


Anonymous said...

1. your proof of livnis boorishness is poor. she misused an english expression -- this is not the first time an israeli politician has done this, and is not the last. also, the error was not at all egregious. she wanted to use a french term, and didnt want to seem patronizing [didnt work]. i think your preconceived notions about her are coloring your judgment.
2. sherlos article was also dissappointing. while i do agree with him, he only provides the broadest conceptual lines of response -- if building doesnt work here, try there. gee whiz. what to do in chevron/beit hashalom, now, with the current situation? how to respond when the govt makes politically motivated decisions to throw people out of their homes, homes build with hearts dedication? zero guidance from sherlo.
3. by feting wolpe, the rz world has shown they learned little from the disengagement. part of what has ailed the rz world is the false belief that if you are with us in building israel everything else will fall into place; if you are not with us in our greater israel aspirations you are suspect [see treatment of ariel sharon pre-disengagement, and aharon lichtenstein for much of his life in israel]. just because wolpe believes giving up land is the grossest of religious violations [while simultaneously holding neturei karta views on the state, strangely enough!], is no reason to give him a position of honor in the rz world.
furthermore, for some reason the ideas of david berger regarding chabad messianism hold virtually no water in the israeli rz world. on the grounds of bergers arguments alone wolpe should be anathema to religious jews, or even mildly traditional jews with any sense of history.
i think your assessment of livni and sherlo are colored by your general views of them. if you did not know the provenance of the articles or statements i do not think you would have responded in quite the same way.
on another note, i always enjoy seeing your responses to comments.

Jeffrey said...

1) I agree with your points about Livni and Sherlo and have modified the post accordingly.

2)I don't think you were strong enough about Wolpe. He's an idolator (of the late Rebbe and of Eretz Yisrael). He plays to the alarming tendency to treat all of Torah as contingent upon Eretz Yisrael.

Anonymous said...

thanks, much appreciated. i look forward to a full formulation of your views.

Ben Bayit said...

Everything Sherlo writes is pure speculation. There is simply no proof that civil disobedience - even violent civil disobedience will lead to the dismantling of the state/army or to the irrelevance of the national religious public. Frankly I have two proofs (not speculation) that counter his argument - 1) there have been no attempted evacuations since amona. 2) the spiritual descendant of the SDS and the Weathermen was just elected President of the US. It's also been about 2 decades since Vietnam draft evaders were recognized and rehabilitated.
So I'd love to know which crystal ball Sherlo looks into every night - especially as he is the spiritual son of a yeshiva which vehemently denounces Rabbis who claim to look into crystal balls!!

moshe said...

Re: Wolpe

From what I can tell, many if not most of the Merkaz Rabbis hold similar views regarding EY. Doing mitzvos in chul is just practice etc...