In Response To Harry Maryles

UPDATE: Harry has now apologized for his post. Although he blames me for my “lack of clarity”, which is untrue, I’ll take what I can get. Thank you, Harry.

For all those curious about my anonymity, this should explain it clearly. Had my name been known, thousands of people would’ve been falsely been told what an Haredi extremist I am, someone who believes that Modern Orthodox Jews are the same as Reform, which is ridiculous. I see no need to subject myself and my family to this type of abuse. Also, take a look at this horrifying post from a non-Jewish blogger..

The original post:

Harry Maryles has a post attacking me today. Here is my response:

Reb Harry,

Let me start off my stating that it is never my intention to offend anyone personally, not mention that I don’t know you and for all I know you may be true tzadik. Since it appears that I have, I ask for your mechila. However if the offense comes from my opinions of your hashkafas or the group you may or may not belong to, that is another matter. My goal is twofold: 1) to defend charedim 2) to pint out the hypocrisy and distortions of their attackers. By necessity there may be some hard hitting, which as you know, is nature of the blogosphere. I am hardly the first one to do it.

Now to your post:

“Harediandproud. What a wonderful name for someone who is proud of his Hashkafa. That is the alias of an anonymous blogger and frequent commenter (of late) on my blog. It’s a shame that he couldn’t just be proud of his Hashkafa without bashing everyone else’s.”

I consider that inaccurate. Feel free to check my blog for even one post where I bash other people’s hashkafa. What I do, and mostly in the comments, is point out the hypocrisy of those who are bashing charedim. It’s called the those-who-live-in-glass-houses-shouldn’t-throw-stones defense. Crude, but effective.  If you call charedim thieves because of ploni, I will ask you why MO aren’t thieves because of almoni.

What amazes me is how you can say that with a straight face. Here are some choice quotes of you bashing charedi hashkafa and charedi leaders.

Re: The Asifa This is a far cry from a Kiddush HaShem if you ask me.”

As I also predicted this was not only about warning people about the dangers and how to go about avoiding them through filters and the like. It was about control. (emphasis added)

What they don’t need is the fire and brimstone of a right wing Kanoi telling them that they have lost their Olam Haba.

Satmar and the Asifa – Achdus or Isolation?The entire post is one big attack on an hashkafa you disagree with.

I guess for Satmar there is no Achdus outside of Satmar.

somehow just can’t believe that Satmar Chasidus is the direction that God wants His people to go.

There are some people that have mental issues that should stay away from the internet.

Yes, these rabbinic leaders are human. And they are often ill-equipped to deal properly with any given issue(EA. Have I said anything remotely similar about MO Rabbis?)

This obsession you now have with sitting separate as some sort of requirement of Tznius is nothing more that than Chasing down the Chumros of Chasidim.

Your extremist from of Judaism would take us down a path of isolationism unheard of since the time of the Essenes. Fortunately most of Am Yisroel is not following you down that path

Being a brilliant Talmid Chacham does not excuse one from having simple Mentchlichkeit. (Based on a story you read on the internet, you condemn a chashuve rav)

Your double standard extends further. You moderated a comment of mine because I mentioned an MO Rav in a way you found offensive, but you have no problem with this.

You would be shocked at who described the antics of Rabbi S. in terms usually reserved for Reshaim. (HM)

Maybe he’s not the talmid chochom you think he is. (Re; RA”S, commentator)

What they don’t need is the fire and brimstone of a right wing Kanoi telling them that they have lost their Olam Haba. (Re: RE”W, HM)

Rav G. was good at excoriation. It lead some to wonder if he ate with the same mouth. (commentator, after moderation by HM)

Not to mention the endless vitriol directed at me and charedim in general by your readers. Did you admonish them to stick to praising their own and not bash others?  (No need to link, it can be found on pretty much every post.)

 I can’t see it as anything other than an expression of extreme {charedi} hubris: “Everyone look at us, look at how we made this big thing, look at how important we are.”

the last great asifa of the Jewish People….the result was a Golden Calf! (now Matan Torah is bad)

 No, no, no. Haven’t you been taught? The Gemara says that whoever thinks that David sinned is in error. Of course the folks doing the “teaching” ignore the next phrase that acknowledges his sin, and also ignore his own confession. (now we’re mocking the Gemara)

You’re also unable to control yourself from showering bile on your fellow Jews for whom you have such obvious distaste. I hope that someday, when you badly need a 10th man for minyan to say Kaddish, you’ll have to rely upon one of us. (directed at me)

That is where our so called “leaders” today fail…… They could learn a thing or two from Moshe Rabeinu and Dovid Hamelech – humility.

And so on and so on. So civility for thee but not for me?

He speaks with a condescending air of superiority that is rare even for the most self assured Charedi. His message? My way or the highway. Meaning that if one does not buy hook line and sinker into his Hashaka – he is not only not Charedi, he is not even part of Klal Yisroel (…defined as a Shomer Torah and Mitzvos).

More from Harry:

He actually believes that when a major world class Posek bans the internet from all private homes and one doesn’t adhere to that ban, he is in the category of a Heterodox Jew.

Now where did Harry get that from? Where did I say that if you are not charedi you are not part of Klal Yisroel or that you are not orthodox? He continues:

I want to be clear about this. Haerediandproud actually believes that an entire parent body of an Orthodox day school whose parents are Shomer Shabbos, Shomer Kashrus and Taharas HaMispacha are equal to the non observant Jews of Heterodoxy. To him the only difference is how much of Halacha they choose to reject!

Again, were did I say or imply anything of the sort?

He quotes me:

“The “realignment” is a new definition of klal Yisrael, which is in fact the age old (Chareidi) definition; Klal Yisrael includes only those who adhere to the dictates of gedolei Yisrael, and only those.”

What I meant with realignment was… with regard to the issue of the internet itself. A new wall has been erected and those who are in are in and those who are out are out. All are welcome to come in, truly.

 We wish you all the best and would help you as we would any Jew, but a family or a person that has unfiltered internet access is assumed by charedim to have been tainted by it.

 Now it sure seems like he got me right, no? I do say “Klal Yisrael includes only those who adhere to the dictates of gedolei Yisrael, and only those.”, don’t I?

 But here’s the teensby, beensy problem . THOSE ARE NOT MY WORDS!! Those are the words of DS. See for yourself, toward the end of the page. My words begin here: What I meant with realignment was… with regard to the issue of the internet itself. A new wall has been erected and those who are in are in and those who are out are out. All are welcome to come in, truly.” By which I meant the walls around THE CHAREDI CAMP, not Klal Yisroel!

 I for one don’t have a definition of Klal Yisroel (Harry it seems has no problem excluding chilonim from Klal Yisroel). What I do have is a definition of charedi and that is what changed by the asifa, as I understood it. Internet rules have become a matter of importance, occupying the same severity as TV. No Haredim consider anyone who owns a TV to be a Haredi. Orthodox? Sure. A good person. Why not, absolutely, who’s even judging? Not me. But not Haredi. The same with the internet.

A new wall has been added to the charedi machne by Gedolei Yisroel. Those who don’t abide by it will be considered michutz lamachne (hacharedi) or as R” Schneebalg of Monsey said “second class citizens”. This is not my opinion, this my understanding of what took place at the Asifa. Agree or disagree, your quibble is not with me. I’m just the messenger.

Someone who does not follow these takanos may not be charedi, but he is definitely Orthodox. I’ve never said otherwise and I don’t believe otherwise. So where did Harry get his (mis)information from?

Anatomy of a misunderstanding.

In a previous post, Harry wonders that being that he no longer has an Olam haba, maybe he should eat a cheeseburger. So let us follow Harry’s thought process here. Rabbi Wachsman said that not following the takanos means no Olam Haba which means not following takanos means you’re not orthodox which means that anyone supporting what was said at the asifa ALSO thinks Harry is not orthodox. Bingo I’m disgusting.

Well until now, I never mentioned R”W words. Why?

1) He is not my Rebbe nor a Gadol Hador, nor have I seen a consensus on this, therefore it is just his opinion.

2) My understanding of his intent is different than Harry’s. To me he was trying to emphasize the importance of sticking with the tzibbur, so he brought the R”Y. Not for the letter of the law (because that may involve specific criteria that may not have applied in this case) but for the spirit. Call it a Darshan’s license if you will (similar to a Gadol who called the draft Yeharog V’eall Yavor, which Harry interpreted figuratively instead of literally). Of course, Harry, you are entitled to understand R”W however  you please, but you are NOT entitled to put words in MY mouth.

You go into an entire shpiel about the kindergarten class, and not being meztarif you to minyan yada yada, all based on your misquoting and misunderstanding what I’ve written. You call me names “arrogant, condescending, and disgusting” based on an error.

An apology  (and a correction) would be appreciated.

Let’s move on.

His blog is a masterpiece of mischaracterizing the intent of many Jewish bloggers – imputing all kinds of nefarious motives to them – using the most pitiful terms imaginable. It is obvious from his blog that he includes me among them.

I called out the blogosphere as I see it. There are dozens of charedi-bashing blogs out there and most meet my criteria.  Did I have you in mind? No, as a matter of fact, (you seem pretty stable and accomplished),  but you assume I do so you unleash the vitriol,   “I have no idea who this fellow is. He hides his identity but his self assured, self righteous pomposity is undeniable”.

Very mentshlach. And I’m the one who should cut the bashing??

That breed of Charedi is so sure of his exclusionary views, that he has no fear bashing hard anyone who see things a bit differently than he does.

Flat out slander. I do believe in the supremacy of Torah as understood by my teachers. I accept that there are many derachom to avodas hashem. However MO, to me, as to most charedim, is as an hashkafa too far to the left. What exactly is it? Inauthentic,  beyond the pale? Honestly I don’t know and I don’t care. I do know that it is definitely Orthodox and its people, definitely the ones I know are wonderful. It’s Hashkafa (for the most part) may not be acceptable to us as I’ve been taught and so have most charedim, but it’s people are to be respected and loved.

Again, please quote chapter and verse where I bash others out of the blue.

He actually believes that when a major world class Posek bans the internet from all private homes and one doesn’t adhere to that ban, he is in the category of a Heterodox Jew.

As I’ve said I don’t believe that at all.

that he has rejected what Harediandproud believes to be one of the fundamentals of the Torah – listening to his Gedolim who have now Paskined for all of Klal Yisroel.  

It’s not what I believe, all charedim believe in listening to Gedolim. It is one of the cardinal rules of Charedism, indeed Judaism in our opinion. I’ve brought up a number of proofs to this hashkafa, but you didn’t respond. So we’ll have to agree to disagree.

One can be the most religious Jew in the world. If he has the internet in his home, he is disobeying the Gedolim and therefore disobeying God on purpose. Not much differently than if he would be Mechalel Shabbos on purpose.

Wow, what a jump! Yes disobeying Gedolim is wrong, but how does that make you a mechallel shabbos? You seem to relish creating big, fat strawman you can then destroy with gusto.

Differences of opinion about the value of the internet are illegitimate and immaterial – once a Major Posek has spoken to the multitudes. Those who question his Psak are seen as either rebelling or ignorant.

Two points.  For charedim yes, we are required to listen. As for questioning his P’sak, sure, if you’re on his level or following your own rav. Otherwise it’s just silly, especially in matters that are more shikul hadaas than straight Gemara and Poskim.

Ignorance is the only way he can be Dan L’Kaf Zechus to modern Orthododx Jews or even Charedim who visit blogs like mine.  If only they understood the Emes…!  They would quickly get on their hands and knees and beg Mechilla for ever questioning the Psak of such a Gadol and run as quickly and far away from my blog (and every Jewish blog) as possible!

Again, for charedim yes. If Gedolei Harabonim pasken, we listen and don’t question. Definitely not in practice. This is charedi hashkafa, no one’s forcing it down your throat. Can’t you accept an hashkafa different than yours?

I am virtually certain that most of the Charedi Rabbanim whose pronouncements he so vigorously defends disagree with him. Although they see their own Hashkafos as the correct ones, they do not see people who are Shomer Torah and Mitzvos as some sort of new Heterodoxy. They may think we are wrong, but that is as far as they will go.

And that is how far I went. You are not in the machne of charedim. I would think you wouldn’t dispute that. Reread my blog post and you’ll see that this was directed internally, not toward MO. But then again why let the facts get in the way when you can bash me instead?

His assertion that Modern Orthodox Jews do not listen to their Gedolim is absurd in any case. Anyone who has ever read Rav Aharon Lichtenstein’s writings on this subject would know just how false such a claim is.

Where did I make that assertion? I do know that your MO bloggers believe that.

The difference is that we do not see every word coming out of the mouths of our Rabbanim is intended by to be an edict by them.

But when it clearly IS an edict, do they listen or continue to question? Charedim don’t either see every word as an edict but we don’t ignore, or question the ones that are. If you mean to say that MO follow their leaders instructions, and were that Rav Soloveichick instead of Rav Wosner you’d be closing your blog, then I couldn’t be happier. I have no interest in ginning up differences among Yidden, at all.

Then we close with how I spew garbage as gospel. Yeirah hakohol veyishpot. Am I the one who twists and distorts words? Am I the one who puts words and sentiments in other people’s mouths? Am I the one who misquotes? Am I the one who attacks and calls names? Am I the one who “feels” condescension and arrogance on the part of my interlocutors?

This hit piece was uncalled for, shameful, petty and pretty much a lie. An apology is in order.

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14 thoughts on “In Response To Harry Maryles

  1. I’m mostly in agreement with your article and many others. But there are some issues that imho were not proper. You write “My understanding of his intent is different than Harry’s. To me he was trying to emphasize the importance of sticking with the tzibbur, so he brought the R”Y. Not for the letter of the law (because that may involve specific criteria that may not have applied in this case) but for the spirit. Call it a Darshan’s license if you will “. I;m sorry (while i did enjoy most of his speech and found it inspiring) this part was inappropriate, offensive and wrong. He is quoting a Halacha and a very harsh one; it is uncalled for and highly arrogant and inciting l to borrow this to use it “figuratively”. Especially, as you acknowlledge that this does not render one “non orthodox” just not “haredi”. Does it mean: If someone ceases to be haredi to become Orthodox he is a “poresh min hatzibur”. This is a statement that harbors a lot of sinas yisroel and gaavah!

    • I beg to disagree. Did you see my comparison to what R’ Shmuel Aurbach said re: IDF service? Sometimes things ARE said to convey the spirit of the law, even of the law itself doesn’t apply in all it’s particulars.

      But I can hear that you understand it differently and memeila why your upset. Hence the other reason I did not refer to his words.

  2. No, no, no. Haven’t you been taught? The Gemara says that whoever thinks that David sinned is in error. Of course the folks doing the “teaching” ignore the next phrase that acknowledges his sin, and also ignore his own confession. (now we’re mocking the Gemara)

    You’re obviously a bright guy so I’m puzzled how you could say that I was mocking the Gemara. There’s no disrespect to the Gemara here at all. It’s a comment about those who misrepresent the story of David and Batsheva, what the Gemara says about it, and of course how they ignore that minor piece of literature known as the Tanach in which God’s prophet Natan, rebukes David for his sin in no uncertain terms.

    Oh, and before you say I’m mocking the Tanach, “minor piece of literature” is sarcastic, a reference to how many of today’s yeshivas don’t bother teaching boys Tanach.

    You’re also unable to control yourself from showering bile on your fellow Jews for whom you have such obvious distaste. I hope that someday, when you badly need a 10th man for minyan to say Kaddish, you’ll have to rely upon one of us. (directed at me)

    And what’s wrong with that? Your online persona is not very warm and friendly. On the contrary, it comes off as arrogant and hectoring. I used the example of saying Kaddish because when it suits their purposes and they need the help of a non-Chareidi Jew, suddenly MOs are no longer chutz l’machane. If you took it as wishing ill upon a family member of yours, well that’s not my intent. It’s the way of the world for children to bury parents. Almost everyone eventually has to say Kaddish for someone.

    You think you’re fighting the good fight, but you’re just feeding your ego. Yesterday I told Rav Moshe Schwab, one of the roshei kollel at the Detroit Kollel, that I’m glad that I know people like him, because if it was based on how Chareidim act online, the rude, superior tone guys like you take, it’d be very easy to walk away from their “Judaism”.

    BTW, if you drop your anonymity, you’ll find that you’ll be much more careful about how you say things. I don’t understand why Chareidi apologists hide their identities. If what you say is the truth, you should be shouting it from the rooftops. Instead, you hide behind a screenname. I’m not ashamed of my opinions. If you really thought that what you were doing was the right thing to do, you’d do it with your real name.

  3. Nice job!
    Thank you for pointing out his continuous inconsistencies. Yelling about lashon harah and “:my way or the highway” attitudes, when that has been his selling point for years. I used to read his blog, but I found 9 out of 10 posts I read were purely anti-Charedi with the classic apology of “my friends and relatives are Charedi.”
    My wife does not let me read it anymore because it makes me too angry.
    Shkoiach!

  4. First you should thank Rav Maryles. Its been statistically proven that blogs he attacks shoot up through the rankings and their hit counts go through the roof. It’s the biggest boost you could ask for if you want your blog to get known.
    Secondly, please remember that perspective is everything. You may feel you’re justly proud of being Chareidi and that defending your community against the bashers is a holy duty but it’s possible your efforts are not seen in that light but differently, hence the response.

  5. R’ Harry seems to be l’shem shomayim. Yet….
    I think that the internet is addictive, to a degree that R’ Harry needs his daily fix of comments and high emotions. Therefore bending the rules of mentchlishkeit, to get what he needs doesn’t sound too bad. Be dan k’kaf zechus, and dont be too hard on R’ Harry, he does mean well, now some of his readers……can’t say they mean it l’shem Shomayim.

    • Agreed, Harry appears to be mostly a thoughtful guy. That’s why I expend the effort to try to get him to be a little more balanced toward Haredim. Were he to do so, he could accomplish a lot of good for Klal Yisroel.

      As it stands now, he probably creates more machlokes then anything else, a fact that would distress him were he aware of it.

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