Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

25 Nissan 5761 - April 18, 2001 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








Produced and housed by
Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Opinion & Comment
Ridiculing Our Torah Leaders

by HaRav Mordechai HaMeiri

Part I

We must first make clear that what we write here is only intended for those who accept the daas Torah of Maran HaRav Elazar M. Shach shlita.

During the heated machlokes against R' Yehonoson Eibshetz, the author of the Urim VeTumim, that gaon sent his disciples a letter emphasizing that he is not at all writing to those who think he is not acting "for the sake of Heaven." He is, however, amazed that those fully aware that his intents are only lesheim Shomayim remain silent in the face of others insulting him. Why do they not protest against those people who are humiliating the Torah's honor?

We too are only writing for those who know how gedolei Torah of the past esteemed Maran shlita. In our times too, even during the last years of "the pillar of fire" that went before the camp, HaRav Yaakov Yisroel Kanievsky zt'l, better known as the Steipeler Rav, we heard his great esteem for the Rosh Yeshiva shlita. He said that Maran has disseminated Torah in Klal Yisroel for decades, and is a transmitter of the Oral Torah, someone possessing real daas Torah. All that HaRav Shach does is only lesheim Shomayim, and the Shechinah speaks from his throat.

What the Steipeler Rav said about Maran shlita is not something we are making public for the first time; it is known to all.

Fifteen years ago Maran shlita set up the Shearis Yisroel Kashruth Organization. Since we realize that some people are not sufficiently aware of the need and benefit of this body, we therefore write the following:

We must stress that the main consideration to set up this kashruth organization was (the following is, of course, according to how we understood what Maran shlita said, and what we heard from him on various occasions) because of the following factors, and the aim of this article is to make this known to the public at large.

First we will start off by emphasizing that the aim was not to set up a body more mehudar in kashruth. At any rate, the level of kashruth of those hechsherim at that time was not the factor that prompted the decision to found Shearis Yisroel. It was the opinion of Maran shlita that if we are forced to set up a kashruth organization that we can trust, it is proper that it be on a level that bnei Torah meticulous in kashruth can doubtlessly rely on. It must be a kashruth organization that does not rely on any leniencies.

It is no secret that those truly loyal to our Torah have needed in the last decades to wage unremitting bitter battles to preserve the pureness of our Torah weltanschauung and the unique character of Klal Yisroel. The main battle was because of the spiritual dangers emanating from secular, nationalist, and various national-religious movements, from whom we suffer until this very day. Lately we even needed to contend with Chabad, which had become exposed as a dangerous nationalist- messianic movement whose views have even somewhat penetrated within our camp. Even today Chabad continues in their warped way and they profess nationalist ideologies, their outlook being identical to the extremist segment of the National- Religious Party.

It is well known that Maran shlita once said about those groups in which Mizrachi ideologies have penetrated that they follow an additional principle to the Rambam's "Thirteen Principles of Faith," and someone who understands the depth of this matter realizes that anyone who follows fourteen principles is actually missing all of the principles.

It is general knowledge what the Chofetz Chaim and the Imrei Emes of Gur zy'a wrote that "national-religious" outlooks are dangerous for Klal Yisroel. Nonetheless, no one at that time except Maran shlita warned about the above- mentioned danger.

We also have not forgotten how the Eidah HaChareidis of Yerushalayim awarded official acknowledgment to the publication of the Shteinzaltz Shas in which the commentary treats Chazal like primitive people who are driven by basic urges, honor, and politics. Maran shlita sighed when he commented, "How can we rely on the kashruth supervision of those who gave a hechsher to something that could not be more treif?"

And also various attempts in several ways have been made to imbue alien hashkofos and ways within Judaism. There were the attempts of Chief Rabbi Shlomoh Goren, the Michlalah in Yerushalayim, and presumably chareidi yeshiva high schools, and others.

Who stood up gallantly against them if not Maran shlita together with Maran the Steipeler Rav zt'l to protect the Torah-observant. If they had not so firmly stood up against the above their ideologies would have undoubtedly penetrated and been absorbed within us, chas vesholom.

Even today we see who is fighting against the "show" of the so-called heter mechirah that makes a farce of the mitzvah of shmita, against those educating the public that the laws of the Torah are "problems that must be solved" according to the spirit of the times, and was not afraid to defy the Chief Rabbi and others, since only the pure truth guides him.

In a related topic everyone knows who are concerned that Sephardic boys integrate the true yeshiva outlook and shake off superficial world outlooks that some try to imbue within them. Those Torah leaders know what is truly important and protest strongly against anyone wanting to minimize the problem and create an attitude that guarding the character, form, and essence of the yeshivos is not a life-threatening matter.

Although maranan verabbonon zt'l vyblc't waged and wage arduous and continuous battles against those groups, unfortunately what the Maharal of Prague, "the wise man who is greater than a prophet," wrote in Gur Aryeh in parshas Mishpotim, has come true. Our Torah leaders were ridiculed publicly and many of those who call themselves frum not only stood on the side and did not dare say openly what is daas Torah, they also cooperated with them either overtly or covertly. Even to the present day they are trying to intimidate those following the way of the gedolei Torah, who are ensuring that no crack in the wall of Torah and mitzvo observance should evolve in which shatnez ideas could penetrate. Without full cooperation from the public, success in the current battles for guarding the pureness of our camp is almost hopeless.

Our spiritual leaders, the Chofetz Chaim, HaRav Chaim Ozer Grodzinsky, the Chazon Ish, HaRav Yitzchak Soloveitchik, the Steipeler Rav, zt'l, and ybtc"t the contemporary gedolei Torah continuing their way, guided us and outlined for us ways to protect those few who have remained loyal to the Torah from the influence of the dangerous world views from the above- mentioned sects, and how to save ourselves from them. The main aim of these gedolim was to teach us how we can implant within us true Torah outlooks and also disseminate them to the rest of the nation.

One resourceful idea was to unite the Torah-observant into one organization and reinforce within them the clear Torah path. Such an organization ties the masses together, makes them into a fortified wall, and prevents spurious ideologies from penetrating into our camp. This can only be accomplished when we act together. The power of individuals doing a mitzvah is incomparable to the power of many doing a mitzvah. This is somewhat as the novi Malachi (Malachi 3:16-17) writes: "Then they who feared Hashem spoke to one another and Hashem hearkened and heard it and a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who feared Hashem and took heed of His name. And they shall be Mine, says Hashem, Master of Hosts, on that day which I appoint as My particular day; and I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him."

Only in this way can we be saved from the poisonous atmosphere immersed with alien ideas that is widespread before the advent of the Moshiach Tzidkeinu, as the before-mentioned pesukim teach us. The zechus that the public has when it collectively strengthens itself to be saved from those false ideologies helps tremendously. Only in that way can come true the promise of the novi in the name of Hashem that HaKodosh Boruch Hu will have pity on the camp of yirei Hashem and save them from the misfortunes that will destroy the resho'im who possess the bogus ideologies that are today popular.

The Akeidas Yitzchak in parshas Lech Lecho writes that one benefit that the Torah wanted to bequeath us through the mitzvah of milah is so, "all members of the bris, those who possess a marvelous sign and imprint, unite in added love more than others . . . to become one heart to call in the name of their G-d, Who is their partner in the bris." From this mitzvah we can construct additional frameworks both uniting us and fencing us from others.

Our gedolei Torah, whose entire aim is to benefit us, have set up organizations to unite us so we can know what is the unadulterated Torah. These bodies save us from false ideologies and enable us to intensify the influence of the true Torah scholars, so that their opinions and advice in all we need, without any deviation from the way passed down to us from Sinai, will be loudly heard even by those far from Torah observance. If all of Torah Jewry would have gone in that way, and would have bravely, openly, and clearly declared all of the above, we would neither have needed a special newspaper nor a special kashruth organization. But since, unfortunately, indifference was rampant for all the above, indifference that lowers the level of yiras Shomayim, we therefore needed a special newspaper in which special ideologies would be expressed, and also a special kashruth organization that would unite us all into one group, which would be obedient to the spiritual leadership that follows the way of our mentors, the Chazon Ish, the Brisker Rav, and the others, zy'a.

The enormous benefit derived from organizations of yeshiva alumni throughout the country or other organizations that exist among other parts of Torah-true Jewry is well known. Through them we can as much as possible save ourselves from the magnetism of society. Without them who knows what we would look like today.

Today we see how important closing ranks around a certain topic is. Only by doing so can we withstand the trend to uproot Torah from the Jewish Nation. It is evident that the strength of our organizing together for the sake of Judaism has caused that the enemies of the Torah must take into consideration the needs and opinion of the yirei Hashem.

Rabbenu Yonah (Sha'arei Teshuvah III:168) writes about the punishment for those detaching themselves from the public: "When the heads of the nation and the sacred communities assemble together to worship Hashem, and agree to set up mitzvos for themselves, they are sanctifying Hashem, as is written, He was king in Yeshurun when the heads of the people and the tribes of Yisroel were gathered together (Devorim 33:5)'. . . The man who separates himself from their ways denounces the consensus to serve Hashem . . . and shows he does not desire to share their secret and be written together with them . . . has no part in the World to Come. Secondly, when they detach themselves from the ways of the public they are dissuading the hearts of those weak in their acceptance and are causing them to sin."

End of Part I

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