Avodah Mailing List

Volume 03 : Number 052

Friday, May 14 1999

< Previous Next >
Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Thu, 13 May 1999 21:42:04 -0700 (PDT)
From: Moshe Feldman <moshe_feldman@yahoo.com>
Shoah and the Rav

Someone wrote me offlist (and I have decided to reply onlist since I
imagine that many of you may have had similar thoughts):
> You have portrayed R. Schachter as "picking up" on
> just "one
> side" of the Rav.  Given the lengthy relationship that R. Schachter
> had
> with the Rav ZT"L, I do not think that is a fair analysis on *your*
> part.
> Now, if you could cite a similar Talmid Muvhak of the Rav (e.g.,
> Rav
> Lichtenstein SHLITA) to support your position, that would be a
> different
> matter because then it would not be *you* claiming that R.
> Schachter only
> "picked up" on one "side" but rather another Talmid Muvhak who
> would be
> supporting that assertion.  However, as currently formulated, I
> think that
> your position as stated needs "re-thinking".   
I cannot cite Rav Lichtenstein on the issue of the Holocaust without
having heard him speak on the subject.  OTOH, I consider Rav
Lichtenstein to be my rebbe muvhak (since he and Rav Rosensweig--who
was my mesader kiddushin--are the biggest influences on my derech
ha'limud) and think that it is obvious to any talmid of both Rav
Schachter and Rav Lichtenstein that the former is much more
right-wing than the latter.  In fact, in my posting I deliberately
listed my rebbeim who were talmidim of the Rav to demonstrate just
that point.  Also, anybody (and I spoke to a number of "Talmidim
Muvhakim" of the Rav) who heard the hespedim of the Rav from his
various talmidim (and I heard as many as I could) was struck at the
differences between Rav Schachter and most of the others.

If you are saying that I am not entitled to my opinion unless it is
first validated by an acknowledged posek, that is your right (and you
must be of the Right).  However, Rav Rosensweig (in my opinion the
clearest mamshich of the Rav in YU today) personally told me that
someone at my level of learning has the right to formulate his own
halachic positions (not paskening for others, just myself).  See his
article in one of the first two volumes of Torah U'Maddah Journal
(dealing with personal creativity and halacha).  I do not see any
difference between the issue of deciding concrete halachic issues and
making the more fuzzy judgements associated with what the Rav would
have said had he been alive.

Good Shabbos.

Do You Yahoo!?
Free instant messaging and more at http://messenger.yahoo.com

Go to top.

Date: Fri, 14 May 1999 00:59:16 -0400 (EDT)
From: Zvi Weiss <weissz@idt.net>
More on Sho'ah et al.

> From: Moshe Feldman <moshe_feldman@yahoo.com>
> Subject: Re: More comments about Sho'a and sefira
> - --- Zvi Weiss <weissz@idt.net> wrote:
> > 
> > ==> The point that the Rav ZT"L (and the other poskim make) is that
> > based
> > upon their understanding of the Kinot, the Rishonim have told us
> > that we
> > cannot make up any additional days of mourning.  This seems to have
> > been
> > accepted not only by the CI ZT"L and the Rav ZT"L but by other
> > poskim of
> > our time...  
> What about Tach V'Tat in Eastern Europe?  Also, the Rabbanut HaRashit
> designated Asara B'tevet for kaddish k'lali.

===> Tach V'Tat may actually "prove the point".  Because it was not
"fitted" into an existing "framework", it ended up "falling by the
wayside..  As for the Rabbanut, I thought that all they did was designate
it as the YAhrzeit for those who did not know the "real" Yahrzeit of their
relatives who perished... I did not know that it was meant for ALL to say
Kaddish on that day...

> > In addition, the while point is that the Tach V'Tat
> > massacres
> > have NOT been commemorated on a naitonal scale.  
> OK, so let all Ashkenazim who had any relatives killed in the Shoah
> do the observance.

===> Perhaps, they do -- or perhaps, they prefer to focus on their own
PERSONAL Yahrzeit...  In any event, this is no longer a "national" event
-- once you limit it to "relatives"...

> <snip>
> > 
> > ===> Possibly true (about the "liberal Talmidei Chachamim"). 
> > However,
> > regardless of that, in this case, there appears to be sufficient
> > p'sak
> > ALREADY "generated", that it would take a lot of "chutzpa" to issue
> > something agianst it...
> > 
> I assume that if a recognized posek were to issue a psak to have some
> form of mourning for the Shoah, that posek would not be considered
> "chutzpadik."  Didn't you yourself quote R. Berel Wein as saying that
> we are waiting for the gedolim to formulate a policy on this issue;
> that implies that the current inaction is not meant to be permanent.

===> I *think* that whatever policy is formulated will not run counter to
the p'sak becuase (a) the reasoning given seemed to have been accepted by
all the poskim of the time and (b) the disruption would be "too much" if
there was a "real" reversal"...  So, I think that we will see a greater
emphasis on the Sho'ah in terms of observance of 9-Av.  For example, I am
seeing more Kinot including the Kinot of R. Schwab ZT"L and others...

> I would also like to reiterate my point, which does not seem to have
> been sufficiently appreciated: What RYBS and CI did in the 1950s (in
> the immediate aftermath of the Holocaust) is not necessarily relevant
> 40 years later.  There were other pressures at the time, e.g. people
> becoming non-observant as a reaction to the Holocaust (read Eli
> Wiesel's books on this issue).  Had the Rav been 40 years old today,
> I have the feeling he would be more proactive with regard to this
> issue.

===> That is still a very speculative statement.  Given that the Rav cited
the actaul verse from Kinot, it does not seem so obvious that there would
be a reversal...  Perhaps, he would have worked harder to incorporate it
into 9-Av so that just as the Crusades are "immortalized" there, we would
see the Sho'ah similarly "immortalized"...

> See the upcoming edition of Tradition where both Eli Clark (who
> showed me his letter) and Rabbi Blau write letters disagreeing with
> R. Meiselman's characterizations of the Rav.  Eli told me that he
> takes issue with R. Meiselman's suggestion that he was part of the
> Rav's inner circle; in fact only the Rav's children and sons-in-law
> were part of that circle (receiving special shiurim, etc.).  R.
> Meiselman, a nephew, was not.  Moreover, R. Meiselman, as one clearly
> to the right of the Rav, is more likely to recreate the Rav in his
> own image.

===> OK.  However, I do believe that R. Schachter *did* have an
extraordinarily close tie to the Rav.. (I have heard it described as being
almost as close as R. Lichtenstein...).  Also, while you can note that R.
Schachter is PERSONALLY "more conservative" (perhaps) as in the case of
"women's minyanim" where R. Schachter seems to develop a concrete "ISsur"
(as opposed to the Rov's refusal to sanction such constructs -- without
formally describing an Issue)... I do not think that would indicate that
hge would distort the Rov's haskafot...  Seems to me that the only others
who could "really" comment on this would include R. Lichtenstein, and the
various grandchildren of the Rov ZT"L who had a significant chance to get
to now him....

> > Unless we are going to
> > say
> > that everyone else has somehow a "distorted" picture because they
> > "prefer
> > conservative", maybe we just have to say that the Rav was not the
> > "liberal
> > Posek" that people in the Modern Orthodox world might like to see..
> > 
> I can just tell you that--as a talmid of many of the Rav's talmidim
> (Rabbis Schachter, Willig, Rosensweig, Genack, Lichtenstein) and a
> student of his son R. Chaim-- R. Schachter (with whom, interestingly,
> I have the closest relationship on a personal level) has the most
> conservative view of the Rav (and I read through the Halachic
> portions of N'fash HaRav at least 3 times).  (Also, as a person
> utterly obsessed about the Rav, I ask every person who knew the Rav
> about him.  Some of the more liberal views of the Rav I would not
> publicize because some on the Right would take them negatively.)  

===> That may be true -- it also may be most valid...
As for teh "liberal views", I suspect that there was very valid basis and
they were not so "off the wall"....

> <snip>

> > ===> Understood. But R. Schachter and R. Meisleman HAD a
> > relationship
> > BEFORE his wife had passed away.... 
> I agree.  But in the mid-1960s, the Holocaust was still relatively
> fresh and there were good reasons (which I mentioned above) why the
> Rav may have preferred inaction.  By the 1970s and 1980s, when action
> by the Rav may have been more appropriate, the Rav was not as active
> as he had been before his wife's passing.

==> Again with the "maybe"...  Given the unequivocal manner in which he
expressed his thoughts on this...  the assertion here seems to rely upon a
massive "leap of faith"...

> > Also, I am a bit leery of
> > trying to
> > say that "times have changed and the Rav *would have* done it my
> > way --
> > were he still alive"... Maybe yes and maybe no....
> > 
> Don't get me wrong.  I agree that it is impossible to speculate what
> the Rav would have done.  But, because of that, I would support a
> posek who would take a more active approach with regard to the Shoah;
> I wouldn't view such a posek as necessarily DISAGREEING with what the
> Rav would have done.

===> Maybe not NECESSARILY disagreeing.. but this is really dicey...

> >> Perhaps at the time, the Crusades were.  But today, from a
> > historical
> > > perspective, there's no comparison.
> > 
> > ===> Again, that has an arrogant ring to it.  
> No it doesn't.  I say this as someone who took Dr. David Berger's
> course (at Revel) focusing on the Crusades.

===> The comparison of suffering IS arrogant.  The fact that it is
"cloaked" under academia does not automatically make it less arrogant...
> You missed my point.  As I recollect from the courses I took at Revel
> (where I studied for a M.A. with an emphasis on Medieval Jewish
> History), the Crusades did not cause a major disruption in Torah
> learning.  You correctly note (as I parenthetically noted, using the
> word "during") that Rashi lived both before and during the Crusades
> and that the Baalei Hatosfot lived after the First Crusade.  Thus,
> the leading figures in the Ashkenazic world continued their work of
> disseminating Torah.  Contrast with the Agudah world which often
> claims that we have no Gedolim today because no Gedolim were produced
> post-Holocaust.

====> I think that IN RETROSPECT, we can say that they did not cause a
major disruption -- I.e., the EFFECT was not as horrific as feared...
But, AT THE TIME, I have no doubt that the terror was perceived as Most

> > 
> My coursework with Dr. David Berger does not bear out your assertion.
>  At most, the Crusader mobs wished the Jews to convert; they did not
> specifically go after the Gedolim.  In fact, the leaders of the
> Church, who would have been most likely to wish to decimate the
> Gedolim, tended to try to dissuade the mob from attacking.

===> It is true that this was often done by rif-raff ... I think that it
was STILL *perceived* as an attack on Torah...

> > 
> > ===> Not really.  In the case of salvation, it is fairly
> > straightforward
> > to identify the "day" to celebrate.  In the case of Aveilut, it is
> > a bit
> > more difficult to pick a specific day -- and, hence, it becomes
> > much
> > trickier to specify a "ritual of mourning"...
> > 
> True, but my point was that we can deduce from Purim that events that
> are physical (dying, being saved) rather than spiritual (being forced
> to abandon mitzvot) also demand commemoration.  I agree that it is
> not easy to specify a ritual of mourning, but that wasn't what I was
> trying to derive from Purim.
==> Even in the case of Purim there was avery great reluctance at first...

> > > But why can't we swallow the mourning for the Holocaust into
> > Sefirah
> > > as well?
> > 
> > 
> > ===> How?  We seem to be in a society that is looking for ways to
> > the nourning associated with Sefira...
> > 
> So let people shave during Sefirah (as permitted by the Rav) but take
> upon themselves not to eat fancy meals.

===> Define "fancy" and then explain how it fits into the categories under

> > 
> > ===> Really?  What did the Rabbanut institute?
> Saying Kaddish k'lali on Asara B'Tevet.

===> I thought that I had referred to THAT all the way "up front"....

> Kol tuv,
> Moshe
> __

Go to top.

Date: Fri, 14 May 1999 10:48:42 -0400
From: richard_wolpoe@ibi.com
Rav and Kinnos

Personally, I myself heard from RYBS that we do not even have the
perogative to add kinnos on the Churban of Europe to the 9 Av liturgy - it
requires a Rishon. I think this is extreme, but it is interesting to note
that common denominator between the CI and RYBS.<<

It's possbile that the Rav might have said this, but one can ask a lot of 
kushios on this.  I suspect the Rav said this as a Havo Amino.  He often said at
his Tisho B'ov shiruurim that w/o Yirmeyhau syaing Eicho, we would have no 
reshus to be mekanein at all.  By extension, adding kinnos might be considered 
as somethiing requiring a "high authority". 

Those close to the Rav have told me first hand that he resisted any changes to 
davening - even wishing to say Tachanun on Heh Iyyar 

Rich Wolpoe 

Go to top.

Date: Fri, 14 May 1999 10:10:05 -0400 (EDT)
From: micha@aishdas.org (Micha Berger)
Re: Rav and Kinnos

Rich Wolpoe writes:
: Those close to the Rav have told me first hand that he resisted any changes
: to davening - even wishing to say Tachanun on Heh Iyyar 

I don't know about that. His nusach was far from Ashkenaz, incorporating many
changes of the Gra, R' Chaim, his father, himself (such as always saying "Sim
Shalom", like nusach S'pharad -- although his basis is the Rambam), and in at
least one case, R' Velvel (returning to the original text of "Laminim

OTOH, philosophically, I think the thoughts of "The Lonely Man of Faith" made
the Rav's attitude toward prayer. Prayer, after all, is the paradigmatic Adam
II (man as covenental partner, seeking redemption) exercise. This divorces
prayer from Adam I (man as pinnacle of creation, seeking dignity).

So, for example, we find a number of divrei Torah from the Rav about the need
to seek permission to pray. This is his reason for saying Ashrei -- so that
we can invoke the precedent of our avos in "Dor lidor". The Rav's whole
relationship to prayer is one of yir'ah (in the sense of awe), spoken by
someone needy. Ahavah in tephillah, AFAIK, just isn't addressed.

Creativity is an Adam I thing. That's why the Rav can find creativity as
primary aspects of halachah and teshuvah -- internal processes -- but not

So, while he'll accept a change in tephillah made by another, or accept
another version of tephillah as more correct, the Rav was prone to be wary
true innovation.

How very unlike the Chassidim of his childhood whose minyan he praised over
the years as a paragon of d'veikus.


Micha Berger (973) 916-0287          MMG"H for 14-May-99: Shishi, Bamidbar
micha@aishdas.org                                         A"H O"Ch 318:50-56
http://www.aishdas.org                                    Eruvin 80a
For a mitzvah is a lamp, and the Torah its light.         Haftorah

Go to top.

Date: Fri, 14 May 1999 10:22:36 -0400 (EDT)
From: micha@aishdas.org (Micha Berger)
Re: An Analysis of Darchei HaLimud

R' YGB writes:
:        In Brisk they would mockingly say that in Telshe one would 
: klerr (analyze) the following chakira (problem): 
:          What makes tea sweet, is it the sugar or the spoon 
:          stirring? 

In truth though, searching for either-ors is what a Brisker would klerr.
A Telzer would ask "Why is tee sweet?" or "What's the tachlis, in terms
of avodah, of Hashem allowing tea to get sweet?", depending on what
variant of Telz you're speaking of.

While the article does much to explain the d'rachim, it glosses over a very
important point -- that they are different d'rachim. Not only are the answers
different, so are the questions. What people seek to analyze, and what people
see as the goal of learning, differ between the d'rachim.


Micha Berger (973) 916-0287          MMG"H for 14-May-99: Shishi, Bamidbar
micha@aishdas.org                                         A"H O"Ch 318:50-56
http://www.aishdas.org                                    Eruvin 80a
For a mitzvah is a lamp, and the Torah its light.         Haftorah

Go to top.

Date: Fri, 14 May 1999 10:36:00 -0400
From: "Clark, Eli" <clarke@HUGHESHUBBARD.COM>
The Rav (R. Soloveitchik): Liberal or Conservative?

Zvi Weiss writes:

>Unless we are going to say
>that everyone else has somehow a "distorted" picture because they "prefer
>conservative", maybe we just have to say that the Rav was not the "liberal
>Posek" that people in the Modern Orthodox world might like to see..

Moshe Feldman (after quoting me out of context) writes:

>Moreover, R. Meiselman, as one clearly
>to the right of the Rav, is more likely to recreate the Rav in his
>own image.

>I can just tell you that--as a talmid of many of the Rav's talmidim
>(Rabbis Schachter, Willig, Rosensweig, Genack, Lichtenstein) and a
>student of his son R. Chaim-- R. Schachter (with whom, interestingly,
>I have the closest relationship on a personal level) has the most
>conservative view of the Rav (and I read through the Halachic
>portions of N'fash HaRav at least 3 times).

I am finding this discussion to be parochial, reductionist and somewhat
lacking in proper respect for the talmidei hakhamim mentioned.

The attachment of simplistic labels to individuals, even when accurate,
is rarely a fruitful endeavor.  In the case of the Rav, however, it is
not merely pointless, but utterly distorting.  The Rav was a complex
individual who combined within himself many seemingly conflicting and
contradictory impulses.  An arch-Litvak in temperament and learning, he
drew philosophically from Zohar, Tanya, and religious existentialists.
A staunch advocate and proponent of his family's derekh, he neverthless
broke with family tradition on critical issues of hashkafah.  He was a
Zionist who insisted on staying in America, a philosopher who focused
his energies on Gemara, a "leader" and "spokesman" who shunned the
spotlight, and a modernizer who saw modernity as both a blessing and a
curse.  The Rav also constantly reexamined matters, often coming to
different conclusions at different times.

Given this complexity, it is simply inevitable that different talmidim
of his will have different impressions of their rebbe.  I am certain
that none is consciously "recreating" the Rav in his own image.  I am
equally sure that each remembers those aspects of the Rav that resonated
most with him.  As Zvi indicates, there is left-wing revisionism, and as
Moshe writes, there is right-wing revisionism as well.  On this issue, I
will quote from my rebbe, the Rav's talmid and son-in-law, from his
letter to the Forward.  In my view, and I am  you will agree, none can
say it better:

:"[T]he shallowest cut of all is the attempt to pigeonhole the Rav
within the confines of a current narrow 'camp.'   At the recent Edah
conference, a paper decrying right-wing revisionism concerning the Rav
was widely circulated.  Surely, however, left-wing revisionism -- in the
form of convenient conjectural hypotheses regarding what would have been
his position with respect to certain current flashpoints -- is no less
deplorable.  Had the Rav been compelled to choose between what [Forward
reporter] Ms. Kessler describes as 'the fervently Orthodox yeshiva
world' and its denigrators, there is not a shadow of a doubt as to what
his decision would have been.  The point is, however, that he did not
want to make that choice, and he did not need to make it.  He sought, as
we should, the best of the Torah world and the best of modernity.  For
decades, sui generis sage that he was, the Rav bestrode American
Orthodoxy like a colossus, transcending many of its internal fissures.
Let us not now inter him in a Procrustean sarcophagus."

Kol tuv,

Eli Clark

Go to top.

Date: Fri, 14 May 1999 11:47:39 -0400
From: richard_wolpoe@ibi.com
The Sho'a vs. mourning for the Crusades

Moshe Feldman <moshe_feldman@yahoo.com>
>>RYBS was fairly conservative in this regard, no different than his 
position with regard to Hallel on Yom Haatzmaut--not only don't say 
it with a bracha (despite recognition of the miracle) but don't say 
it during tefillah, only afterwards, in order not to be mishaneh 
mi'matbeah ha'tefillah.  Others are more liberal, certainly with 
regard to hallel on Yom Haatzmaut.

Dr. Sternberg (the Mathematician at Harvard) gave shiurim 
demonstrating that the conservative attitude of 19th & 20th century 
Orthodoxy was not shared by earlier achronim.  He speculated that 
this conservatism was a reaction to Reform & Conservative Judaism.<<

>>The question is why the frum community must be so swayed by what 
secular do.  If the secular would make Tisha B'Av a commemoration of
the Crusades (to the exclusion of the destruction of the Bet
haMikdash) would we stop commemorating Tisha B'Av or stop saying
kinot dealing with the Crusades?  

Why do we let the secular monopolize the issue of the Holocaust?  Is
it because some have used it as a "proof" for the non-existence of
Hashem?  Because so many frum people perished?  Because our gedolim
told people to stay in Europe?  The Holocaust is the greatest 
to befall the Jewish people since the destruction of the Bet
haMikdash, and the frum community has not come to grips with it.<<

I attirube this to the Chasam Sofer's anti-Reform motto: "Chodosh Ossur Min 

I think it goes to the heart of the chareidi vs. modern controversy.

The Chareidim see any innvoation as smacking of Reform (eg Pre-nups)
Also a lot of chareid hashkofo is highly influenced by Hungarian Gedolimg etc.  
EG, Yeshivas Ner Yisroel circa 1955 discouraged:
1) peios
2) tztis out
3) Beards worn by bochurim (IOW before being married)
In the 1960's ner Yireeole used US milk w/o cholov Yisroel certificaiton. 
During the same era, Glatt Kosher was not yet dereguer in the Orthodox world

The Moderns see a calcification/ossification of yiddishkeit that was never the 
case until the 18th/19th centuries.  Moderns have a lot of roots in the 
Litvisher hashkofo of clean-shaven yeshiva Bochurim whose wives did not cover 
their hair so strictly.

RSR Hirsch is sort of in the middle.  His Torah im Derech Eretz shows a postive 
attitdue towards secular culture. His "Austritt" shito is more akin to the 
Chasam Sofer's, ie. no contact with Reformers even on non-ritual communal 

RYGB thinks that it is "arrogant" for academics to propose changes while the 
gedolim refrain fomr doing so.  Indeed, Reform had a similary agenda.  The 
"moderns" are decrying the general passivity (or perceived passivity) on the 
part of Gedolim.  It does seem that R. Aaron Kotler, R. Moshe Feinstein, the 
RAv, and others WERE boled enough to heed the call.

Illustration.  R. Aaron permitted mixed classes in out-of-town day schools, but 
prohibited them in NYC.  A bold stand.

I think the academics are crying out for more decisive leardship in today's 
controversial topics:
1) Aguna/pre-nups
2) Holocaust
3) communal leadership
4) Assimilation/kiruv

No doubt the Baal shem Tov was willing to rattle a few cages 200 years ago, and 
he was no rishon.  What changed?  Reform! 

Rich Wolpoe

Go to top.

Date: Fri, 14 May 1999 12:06:09 -0400
From: richard_wolpoe@ibi.com
Shoah and Churban Habayis

Some notes:

re: Tiho b'av:

I heard beshim R.S. Schwab that tisho b'av WAS the indirect source of the 
holocaust (I'm not sure if he meant vaivku baleilo hahu or the churban habayis).

IOW, he felt that the holocaust SHOULD be mourned but mourned on Tisha b'av 
specifically as opposed to another day.

Tisha B'av has kinnos for the crusades already. And R. Schwab penned one for the

re: Yomhashoah:

The German kehillos generally have observed  some sort of shoah hazkoro on the 
anniversary of Kristallnacht.  In KAJ, they usually used the Hebrew date, while 
others have doone it around Nov. 9/10.

My shul did a rather large hazkoro on the 50th anniversay of K-Nact that was 
covered by channel 7 in NYC.  A hazkoro/hesped was delivered and we recited Keil
Mole Rachamim.

Rich Wolpoe

Go to top.

Date: Fri, 14 May 1999 11:29:00 -0400
From: "Clark, Eli" <clarke@HUGHESHUBBARD.COM>
The Need To Institute Commemorations

Moshe Feldman asks:

>Why not either (1) go the way of Eastern
>European Jews during the time of the Chmielnitzky massacre and have
>additional fasts or (2) go the way of Ashkenazic Jews in the time of
>the Crusades and increase the severity of Sefirah?

and also:

>OK, so let all Ashkenazim who had any relatives killed in the Shoah
>do the observance.

>I assume that if a recognized posek were to issue a psak to have some
>form of mourning for the Shoah, that posek would not be considered

I think a critical point is missing here.  The desire, nay, the need, to
express one's anguish in a religious form does not issue from the mouth
of a halakhic authority -- standing oracle-like over his followers.  The
impulse comes from the heart, as it struggles to reconcile itself with
the grievous loss.  There is value -- primarily of an educational nature
-- in lectures, ceremonies, sichot/schmuessin, and the like.  But the
reason the observant community has not taken any of the steps outlined
by Mr. Feldman is not because of the inaction of the Gedolim.  It is
because our community -- as an organic body -- has not sought such an
outlet for its mourning.  If it had, the Gedolim would, I am sure, have
ratified that decision and channelled it as they saw fit.  But the
simple truth is that, at this point, our community has not responded to
the Shoah the way our forebears responded to the Crusades.


This is a much harder question, and I have only a few tentative
thoughts.  One is the effect of modernity.  In an age of radical doubt
the tragedy of the Holocaust is often seen theologically as a challenge
to religious faith.  To my knowledge, this was not the case in the past.
 Past tragedies, such as the Spanish Expulsion and the pogroms of
Chmielnetzky, seem to have brought forth lamentation and messianic
longings, rather than agnosticism and atheism.  As a result, even
staunch believers have found that a profound silence is a more eloquent
response than an equivocal or inadequate statement.

Another issue is heroism.  The martyrs of 1096 were glorified as knights
of faith -- mi-nesharim kallu u-me-arayot gaveru.  Yet, the kedoshim of
the Shoah are not perceived as such.  This may be because of the
humiliating methods of the Nazis.  It may be because the Jewish race was
targeted, as opposed to the Jewish religion.  Or we may simply have
lost, over time, our fealty to martyrdom as a religious value.

In any case, I think it is churlish, highly disprespectful and
wrongheaded  to complain that the Gedolim are somehow at fault for
failing to institute a formalized commemoration of the Shoah.

>Had the Rav been 40 years old today,
>I have the feeling he would be more proactive with regard to this

This statement is simply incomprehensible to me.  No person knows what
he would be like had he been born 40 or 50 years later.  How then one
can presume to know what another person would have been like in such
case?  And how can one say such a thing about a person you did not know?

Kol tuv and Shabbat shalom,


Go to top.

Date: Fri, 14 May 1999 08:41:18 -0700 (PDT)
From: Moshe Feldman <moshe_feldman@yahoo.com>
Re: The Rav (R. Soloveitchik): Liberal or Conservative?

--- "Clark, Eli" <clarke@HUGHESHUBBARD.COM> wrote:
> The attachment of simplistic labels to individuals, even when
> accurate,
> is rarely a fruitful endeavor.  

Agreed.  And certainly, I do not wish to take away any kavod from
mori v'rabi haRav Hershel Schachter.  OTOH, I believe that those who
know the various rabbeim mentioned do categorize them to some extent.
 I have heard people much greater than you or me categorize Rav
Schachter as more conservative than the Rav.  (In fact, I seem to
recall a certain Purim Hamevaser article about Hashem calling to Rav
Schachter about a black pot <inside joke>; talk about the pot calling
the kettle black.)  I believe that such categorization is useful
(e.g., to understand the women's minyanim issue), though obviously it
should be taken with a grain of salt.  

Shabbat Shalom.
Do You Yahoo!?
Free instant messaging and more at http://messenger.yahoo.com

Go to top.


[ Distributed to the Avodah mailing list, digested version.                   ]
[ To post: mail to avodah@aishdas.org                                         ]
[ For back issues: mail "get avodah-digest vXX.nYYY" to majordomo@aishdas.org ]
[ or, the archive can be found at http://www.aishdas.org/avodah/              ]
[ For general requests: mail the word "help" to majordomo@aishdas.org         ]

< Previous Next >