Sunday, January 10, 2010

Shabtai Zvi, Bar Kochva and the E(x)ternal Jewish Family

I don't need to be a world class pundit. There are many bloggers who do, but not I. I do not shy away from discussing any topic, but I do not need to discuss every topic. My mission is to present and/or clarify the Torah's perspective on relevant issues. I consider this my contribution to the blogosphere because, Heaven knows, it is sorely lacking. Hence, if I have something to contribute, I am happy to write about it. If I have nothing to contribute, there is no point (but I can always pledge...).

So you might say that I was a bit thrown when a reader suggested that I write about the EJF debacle. Like, do you mean to say that you haven't already read enough?

In any case, here is what the fellow wrote me (in dark red) followed by my reponse (in navy blue). First the entire message:

Rabbi Hirschman:

Perhaps something related to the tremendous chillul Hashem and systemic breakdown of ‘Daas Torah’ over the recent Tropper ‘affair’ would’ve been more appro? I don’t think folks on your side realize how much damage was (and still is being) caused and the ramifications of which will be felt for decades to come. It looks like a decision was made by everyone except for a few yechidim like Rav Shternbuch that “there’s nothing to see here, so just move along!”

And the response:

Perhaps something related to the tremendous chillul Hashem and systemic breakdown of ‘Daas Torah’ over the recent Tropper ‘affair’ would’ve been more appro?

What do you suppose I could possibly say that hasn't already been said by more outspoken people than I?

I don’t think folks on your side realize how much damage was (and still is being) caused and the ramnifications of which will be felt for decades to come.

What do you mean by "your side" (i.e., my side)? My side of what? - the ocean, or the One Above and Seven Below divide? (have you read my book?) Which side are you on?

It looks like a decision was made by everyone except for a few yechidim like Rav Shternbuch that “there’s nothing to see here, so just move along!”

What were the other options?

Though I may be coming across a bit cynical, let me explain something. The "chareidim" and the "gadolim" did not establish EJF. No panel of gadolim or Roshei Yeshiva secretly (or publicly) convened and said, "We need to do something to control geirus or fix intermarried families, let's find some devoted individual and we will appoint him as our emissary to be the geirus-monger for the chareidi world."

And they did not go ahead and find Tropper and recruit him for this noble task on their behalf as if they really needed or wanted an organization like EJF. Such a thing was never on the agenda of any Knessia Gedola or Agudah Convention. Tropper invented EJF all by himself on his own behalf and then he solicited support from some gadolim and Roshei Yeshiva - which, incredibly, he succeeded to obtain (כי צייד בפיו ).

In other words, the gadolim (those who were associated) did not create this monster, not directly nor indirectly. Nevertheless, they fell in with it after the fact and signed on to what turned out to be fraudulent. Some may have fallen for it out of naivete and they genuinely thought it was lishma, some because of monetary incentives as some critics allege, and some due to peermanship (i.e., if Rav Ploni who is very reputable supports it, then I should support it as well).

Note that Tropper never had unanimous support from the Chareidi "establishment". There were many that were suspicious from the start and never supported him.

All this is exactly what happened by Shabtai Zvi and when Rabbi Akiva supported Bar Kochva. It is a case of human failing.

Thus, from "our side" the debacle is that some gadolim and Roshei Yeshiva supported and endorsed an unworthy undertaking - which they did not establish. On an individual basis, they certainly need to answer for it, but as for the Klal, the only remedy is to say, "Sorry. I got suckered in. From here on I don't support it or endorse it..." and just move along.

Thank you for writing.

4 comments:

rtw said...

<On an individual basis, they certainly need to answer for it, but as for the Klal, the only remedy is to say, "Sorry. I got suckered in. From here on I don't support it or endorse it..." and just move along.

Rabbi Reuven Feinstein disagrees :)

rtw said...

<On an individual basis, they certainly need to answer for it, but as for the Klal, the only remedy is to say, "Sorry. I got suckered in. From here on I don't support it or endorse it..." and just move along.

Rabbi Reuven Feinstein disagrees :)

sheri said...

"Clear in the wilderness a way
for Hashem,make plain in the
desert a highway for G-d." Isa:40 There is a lot wrong, that
has to be exposed & corrected.

Yechezkel said...

>>There is a lot wrong, that
has to be exposed & corrected.


When there is something wrong, it certainly needs to be corrected. It does not necessarily need to be exposed---UNLESS, it must be exposed in order to be corrected. There is then a very serious problem when people abuse the "expose and corrected" philosophy to go out of their way to do the exposing when they have no real avenue of doing the correcting.

This does more harm than good to all parties involved.