Signing Off

When I first started blogging, it was before the Asifa. Post-asifa, there arose the question whether I could (and should) continue. Consulting my mentor, we had thought that this may be litoeles, which, if not essential, may have fallen under the exception category (see Bava Kama 83a). He asked for some time to think it over, while in the meantime I continued blogging.

Originally of the mind that this was okay, he has come to the conclusion that a different direction was better, both with regard to me personally as well as to that of my blogging endeavor. Gedolei Yisroel consider bloggers to be cranks and haters and as such should be treated the way such people are treated in normal, civilized, human society: marginalized by being ignored. Responding to haters just legitimizes them and adds fuel to the fire.

I will no longer be blogging, neither here nor anywhere else. Baruch shetzivanu lishmoa divrei chachamim.

I would like to take a moment to express my gratitude to all those who’ve read and commented on this blog. I would like to single out bloggers who were kind enough to link to this blog and publish my comments on their own blogs, even though I was often severely critical of them: Harry, Dovid, Tzig, Garnel, Eli, Bray and others. Thank you.

Centrism Is Dying – And For Good Reason

Rabbi Yitzchak Meir of Gur, popularly known as the “Chidushei Harim” used to go out of his way to pass by the docks of his city where he was greeted daily by a group of rough-looking longshoremen. They would line up in a row, hat in hand and say “Good Morning Reb Itche Meir” to which he would respond “Good morning my fellow Jews”. They would continue to stand in respectful silence, until he passed from view.

An inquiring chassid, aware of how much the Rebbe valued his time, suggested that perhaps they make use of a shorter route in the future. The Rebbe’s reply was priceless. “These unlearned and unobservant Jews,  besides for expressing their respect for a Torah scholar when I pass, are also observing one of the basic tenets of the Torah: the mitzvah of U’Bacharta Bachaim, You shall choose life. Not all are capable of doing what is required of them, due to circumstance or whatnot. However, by choosing to admire and respect those who do, they are demonstrating the purity of their hearts. The choice at least, is still within their means to make, and I will not deprive them of that”. And so he continued day in and day out walking past these “people of the street” and allowing them to pledge allegiance (as it were) to the crown of Jewish existence in this world: the Torah and it’s scholars.

Hot off the press comes the following from the NYT:

After decades of decline, the Jewish population of New York City is growing again, increasing to nearly 1.1 million, fueled by the “explosive” growth of the Hasidic and other Orthodox communities, a new study has found. It is a trend that is challenging long-held notions about the group’s cultural identity and revealing widening gaps on politics, education, wealth and religious observance…

“There are more deeply engaged Jews and there are more unengaged Jews,” said Jacob B. Ukeles, a social policy analyst and one of the principal authors of the study, which was sponsored by UJA-Federation of New York. “These two wings are growing at the expense of the middle. That’s the reality of our community.”

This is just the latest in a series of studies confirming a noticeable trend in the Jewish community. The center is hemorrhaging believers to the wings as people abandon “moderate” ideologies for the more rigid “right” and “left” extremities. It would be accurate to point out that this phenomenon is hardly restricted to Jews. Moderates across America bemoan the increasingly partisan divide which they claim has made reaching consensus more difficult then ever before. Too much time has passed to dismiss this mass migration as an aberration, a passing fad. It therefore behooves us to examine what is causing this universal flight from what would appear to be a reasonable and sensible, middle-of-the-road, approach to life for the often demanding diktats of a less accommodating path.

Moderates would like you to believe that a number of societal ills are responsible for what they see as the “fragmentation of society”. Explanations range from the lack of proper education to the general immaturity of the younger generations. What moderates refuse to do is take a long hard look in the mirror. One can hardly blame them though; chances are they wouldn’t see much of substance staring back.

Centrism has no form of it’s own, it is a hybrid. However, unlike the Prius, it’s components do not complement each other. The disparate matter that centrism wrestles to fuse into one are inherently programmed to work at cross-purposes, not allowing for any meaningful and lasting synthesis. Oil and water don’t mix, fire and water are mortal enemies, so too the Word of G-d and the Idol of Man or (lehavdil) the Milton Friedman School of Economics and the Keynesian Bureau of Government Works will always be at loggerheads with one another. Reality intrudes, whether it is invited or not.

Back to the Jewish scene. On the right are the Traditional Orthodox (i.e. Haredim) who pledge unwavering fidelity to the One True G-d and His Torah. Over to the left are those who, in the tradition of the ancient Arabs, worship the dust of their feet i.e. the Almighty Self (secularists). Along comes Modern Orthodoxy with the suggestion that we worship them both. However, man cannot have two G-d’s as our father Avraham taught us and as was later confirmed at Mount Sinai. One can either give a full measure of devotion to G-d or one can ignore Him (c”v), half measures won’t cut it. G-d, (either the real one or the idol (self)) is either everything or He is nothing. Modern Orthodoxy is vaguely aware of the Catch-22 they’re in, hence the constant “struggle”, the never ending navel-gazing and existential angst that so permeates the movement.

What has changed? Much. What may have worked for the elders is no longer working for the youth and hasn’t been for some time. While the elders have hammered out a practical, workable way of life, drawing lines and boundaries that would confuse Pac-Man, the youth are adrift. They look to the right, then to the left and back over to where they are and want no part of this marriage of convenience. The couple is totally incompatible and they want out. They want a divorce.

They ask themselves “If the Torah is G-d’s word, shouldn’t we embrace it with all our heart and soul, without compromise and apology”? “If however, it is secular humanism that is progress, secular ideals that represent the best in mankind, then where are those ideals? Where are the women rabbis? Where are the gay marriages?” To them, the half-baked excuses that are offered in lieu of a consistent weltanschauung are seen for what they are: nisht aheen un nisht aher, nisht tzu gott un nisht tzu lait (neither here nor there).

As Centrism appears to wither on the vine, one looks back and wonders “where did this come from, what were the conditions that brought forth this unique flower from the garden of history, one that burst on the scene with so much promise only to fade away shortly thereafter”? A cynic would posit that with the dawn of the Enlightenment, the rigors of observance were too much to handle. However, not wanting to totally jettison thousands of years of tradition and wary of unforeseen consequences, enough was held onto to allow for a quick retreat to the embrace of yesteryear should the need arise. In other words, let’s see what we can get away with and still be called “Orthodox Jews”.

However, there is a more charitable view that may pass muster as well. As beautiful, meaningful and rich that Judaism is, it can also be one more thing: difficult. The demands placed on a Jew often appear to be overwhelming and out of reach. It is therefore quite reasonable to want to cut it down to size, to bring G-d down to us if we feel we cannot ascend to him. But as the Talmud tells us (Sukkah 5a), G-d has never descended to this world, if we want to reach him we must go to him. His Torah however, is not in heaven, although it may sometimes seem to be there.

Traditional Jews try to do our best, and but most importantly, we never lose sight of where we ought to go. We strive to always choose life, even if that choice remains in the world of intent rather than deed. We never lose sight of where our standards OUGHT to be, and joyfully honor those who get closest to it. This is the lesson of Ubacharta Bachaim, a timeless idea that is demanding while comforting, showing the Jew the heights he can reach while applauding whatever progress he has made. That’s all G-d wants from us. Just remember, do not lower Him to where you are, do your best and let Him do the rest.

The Twilight Zone

The much beloved Israeli pastime of Haredi-bashing is in mid-season form and gearing up for what promises to be a hard-hitting playoffs.

Hence this gem from the Jerusalem Post: Grasping at straws to defend Haredi isolationism

The writer doesn’t add much to the conversation except for the following hilarious lines:

There is a lot of good in the haredi world. Aside from the plethora of well-known volunteer and educational organizations that Rosenblum and others have listed, most haredi men and women do wonderful things for others on a daily basis. (ea-HAP)

How truly charitable. Is that true, do Haredim do a lot of good? And on a daily basis? Wow! You see, that secular society “does a lot of good” even on a “daily basis” is a given, but you really should know that Haredim ALSO do good! Three cheers for the Haredim, the also-do-gooders!!

If only we were more like the real, original do-gooders, the chilonim. You know the ones whose society features a daily parade of murderers, gangsters, mobsters, rapists, kidnappers, armed robbers, adulterers, drug dealers, violent racists, drunk drivers,  abortionists, deadbeat dads, pregnant teenagers, 50% divorce rate, single parents, suicide, corrupt and rotten pop culture, lack of identity & finding the Holocaust hilarious teens, violence in schools, etc. etc.

Haredim may not have all of the above, but they are worse, you see, because they don’t work (a canard) and they don”t serve in the army. But they ALSO do good, don’t forget.

Charles Manson sends his regards and wants you to know that he thinks Albert Schweitzer ALSO did good on a daily basis.

In Response To R’ Harry Maryles #2

Harry has another post, from an anonymous contributor, reacting to a comment of mine. Here is my response:

First I would like to commend the OP for both the substance and tone of his comment. I welcome any debate when it is free of animosity and rancor.

As to your post, I am an amateur student of history, who also had, and knew well, multiple relatives from Der Alter Heim. I was friendly with many survivors, including a talmid muvak of the Mir and Kaminentz. To the best of my knowledge, your understanding of Litivsh history is inaccurate and furthermore, fails to place it in the correct context.

In a nutshell, up until the days of the enlightenment (starting approx. late 18th century) Litvish Jewry was what we call today Charedi in every way (except Kollel, which I will discuss later). They looked, spoke, acted and lived as we do. Then,  Haskala came along and caused tremendous damage among Frum Jews throughout the globe. The country hardest hit was Germany leading to great Tzadik RSR”H and his community.

In the Lita, the damage was almost as severe. Most Litvish Jews at the turn of the 20th century were not religious. The “gass” (street) was frei, the communal organization were controlled by maskilim and the overall ruach was tilted strongly to the ways of enlightenment over those of the Torah. As told to me by an old Litivishe Yid, the decision was made to accommodate the prevailing winds in matters that were not of supreme importance i.e. modes of dress. That was the only way the shrinking community of shlomei emunei yisroel could survive. As it were, yeshiva bochurim has tremendous difficulty finding a shidduch, nobody wanted the “bench-kvetchers”. Had they kept the out-dated livush and similar stuff, the result would have been catastrophic. So a CHANGE was made, biles breiera, reluctantly. To claim this bidieved as a new mesora is inaccurate and was specifically denied to me by a number of Litvishe Jews from Der Heim.

The proof of this is that EVERY litvishe rov and rosh yeshiva in Der Heim had a beard and a long coat, levush we would call today “Chasidic”. For the MO to claim they are following the litvishe derech is simply untrue (unless their Rabbis intend on wearing a kolpik, as the Netziv did).

Now, on to your post:

Are you really suggesting that the absence of Chardei blogs criticizing MO is a sign of respect for that approach? In the schools, camps, and communities that I have been a part of it is common practice to put down MO as a matter of course. The followers of that hashkafa are considered inferior and “less frum” whether they are condescendingly called Young Israel members, YU students or Mizrachiniks.

I never denied that we consider MO hashkafa to be less frum, we do. I apologize if that is hurtful and it does not reflect on MO INDIVIDUALS, but as an hashkafa they are too far to the left. In this we are not unique. I would imagine that Harry considers some hashkafas beyond the pale, actually I don’t have to imagine, he has specifically said so about Satmar. So what is good for the goose etc.

However we do NOT spend any time bringing this up, not in private and surely not in public for all the world to see. Hence the lack of anti-MO blogs. Hamodia, Yated and most other charedi media do not hock MO. What is said at a shmuz is no different than the anti-charedi shmuzin given by the MO and are confined to their listeners. They are also quite rare. In my 15 years in yeshiva, I never heard a shmuz about MO, we tend to focus on what we need to do to improve on ourselves.

My request was not for the MO to love us, just refrain from attacking us, non-stop, in public. That comments reveal Charedi “disdain” toward MO is not the point, what I said was that we don’t initiate public attacks, and we don’t. Why is it so hard for MO media to reciprocate? The asifa was not directed against MO in any way, any perceived hurt was clearly inadvertent, but the long knives are out, nonetheless.

In those days yeshiva bachurim were encouraged to develop “breidkait” (to have a real breadth of both intellect and personality). They were supposed to be as sophisticated as the world around them but steeped in torah and mitzvos. That is why in all the great yehsivos – including those run by Rav Aharon Kotler – the talmidim were clean shaven and wore gray hats.

As I’ve previously noted, this is gross revisionism of history. Any “breidtkeit” that was encouraged (which I highly doubt it was, on a general scale, based on the information I’ve seen and heard) was to keep the curious mind from drifting into the Haskala camp. It was a war (and we were losing) so certain battles were lost to win the war. R Aron Kotler himself forbade secular studies which is practiced (albeit half-heartedly) in Lakewood until today.

Are you not aware why Volozhin closed down? It was to prevent the introduction of secular subjects by the Russian Government. Take a look at the Bais Halevy’s tearful drasha at that time.( I imagine you’ll counter with the story about his son, which was not the reason, see my uncle the Netziv for details).

R’ Asher Arieli gives over that R’ Baruch Ber once said that his success in Torah was due to the fact that he NEVER looked in a secular newspaper. Rav Hutner did have more liberal views regarding college and the like. However he and his talmidim are/were charedi and are as far removed from the MO way of life as any other charedi. Pachad Yitzchak came to be as a result of R”H SECULAR education? Wait till the Chaim Berliners hear about this. BTW, R Aaron Schecter is one of the leading figures behind the Asifa in Flatbush.

As to learning full time, you are right it was clearly an Horaas Shah of R’ Aaron Kotler’s and was not done so at all in Europe. However you are wrong to consider this a matter of basic hashkafa rather than one of a more practical nature. Did R’ Aaron attempt to introduce a greater chashivus for Torah then in Der Heim? Not at all! His hope was to recapture some of the chashivus and scholarship that was lost and for that he felt, kollelim were needed. Whether it should still be that way is another story.

When the Netziv – the great Rosh Yeshiva of Volohzin – wanted to bring in his son as his successor the bachurim revolted and he withdraw his candidacy. Did those talmidim not recognize the gadlus of the Netziv; of course they did but he respected their opinions as well and appointed someone else. Can one even begin to imagine a modern day scenario – where yeshivas are simply passed over b’yeruhsa – playing out in a similar fashion?

One of the problems I have with bloggers and commentators is the license they take to comment and criticize on matters on which they have incomplete knowledge.

Yes it does happen today and often. have you followed at all what has just concluded in Telshe? Rav Gifter installed his son and he was replaced. In Satmar the Beirach Moshe wanted R’ Zalman to succeed him and said so, but today we have two Satmar Rebbe’s.

In addition the Netziv himself got his postition b’yerusha as an einekel of R’ Chaim Voloziner. He brought in his son-in-law R’ Refoel Shapiro and his grandson R’ Chaim Brisker as well. RJB”S ZT”L inherited his position from his father along with many MO R”Y (R TY Kook, R’ Ahron Lichtenstein), so it’s hardly a charedi phenomenon.

Finally whether it is noting the fact that we are all makpid on Cholov Yosrael and have total separation of men and women at weddings , while Rav Aharon allowed regular milk to be served in Lakewood (as described by Rabbi Yosef Tendler) and Rav Moshe’s own children’s wedding had mixed seating,

Again, it was a matter of priorities. By the chasunos of Rav Moshe’s einiklach was the seating mixed as well? Did R”M become Frum in his old age? Gedolei Yisroel have always known which battles to fight and which to put off for another time. The fact that we have been able to move the frontlines further and further toward the ways of the Torah is something that Gedolei Yosroel encouraged and would make them all proud. Do we occasionally go overboard? Sure, but in the eyes of Gedolim, MO has left the pool area entirely.

I also love how MO is suddenly embracing RM”F. Should we remind them of all the pesakim of his they ignored. Does the Synagogue Council of America ring a bell? You’ve also touched only a small bit of what MO has changed. See Shmiras Einayim, Tznius, Supremacy of Torah, Avodas Hashem and much more.

Bottom line, regardless what you may think of it, MO is a new hashkafa. Why they feel the need rewrite history instead of embracing the modernity they so treasure is beyond me.

Why Bloggers Attack: Follow The Numbers.

Nobody likes to talk to themselves. If you see someone doing so, they are either on a Bluetooth or crazy. Bloggers in particular want to ensure that their hard work is not for naught The worst thing for a blogger is to put in hours of work and research on a post only to have it sit there, ignored and unread. Traffic is the lifeblood of a blog and bloggers are not above doing what it takes to get lots of it.

How To Stand Out In A Crowded Field

The blogosphere is quite a crowded field, hence the dilemma to the average blogger: how do I get those eyeballs to choose my place over someone else’s? The age-old recipe is the answer. If it smells it sells, if it bleeds it leads. What do you think will create more waves, a post entitled The Imperative For Separation From The Nations According To The Torah or SHOCKING: HAREDIM Hate Little Girls!!

A case in point.

Consider this blog post entitled: Be All that You Can Be

As of 5/29/12 at 12:35 PM it has 4 comments

Now consider this post: Haredi and Proud (in which he attacks yours truly)

104 comments

We don’t have access to his internal statistics, but judging by the comments, it is clear what his audience desires. Naturally, he will give it to them.

Another example: Let’s Come Together for Shavuos = 7 comments

Dear Chaya (attacking Haredim) = 323 comments

So there you have it. Controversy, attacks, negativity, Lashon Hara are coin of the internet realm. Asking a blogger to behave responsibly is another way of asking him to shut down his blog. Being that he likes blogging, he is unlikely to comply with either request. Therefore it is up to the discerning reader to make up their own mind: will I get my information from legitimate sources or from purveyors of scandal, bias and yellow journalism.

Biased Or Not? You Be The Judge.

Harry Maryles edited my comment on one of his recent blog posts. Here it is in full:

Harry,

Do you know that this was the basis for cloojew’s complaint? Or is this just another one of the strawmen you conveniently erect so that you can completely demolish it.

I can’t speak for clooJew but I would voice the same criticism based on the fixation you have with issues in the Haredi community vis-a-vis any other one.

Ah, the wonders of the internet. It truly doesn”t forget. Case in point:

Modern Orthodox Boy CONVICTED of assaulting a black teenager.

Only two posts about it in two years. But here’s what he wrote at the time of the indictment: “I am not prepared to call the second story a Chilul HaShem. At least not yet. I simply do not know the details of what happened.”

As of today, post conviction, still no idea if Harry considers this a Chilul Hashem. Just sad for EW etc, but no Chilul Hashem, apparently.

Take a look how calm and judicial Harry is. Evenhanded and nonjudemental. Ahh, a nachas!

Now take a look how he treats a Chasid ACCUSED, not convicted just accused, of fraud.

Now bear in mind that this is just an indictment. Can we expect Harry to reserve judgement? Not quite. Harry is indignant. “What a walking Chilul HaShem!”

In my five minutes of research I came across some more gems of “even-handedness”

“Nor do I agree with his condemnation of the media and government officials for trying to paint all Charedim this way. First of all, who can blame them even if they did

The Charedi system is broken and Charedi leadership knows it. They ought to face the facts, admit the problems exist and stop trying to spin their way out of it.

So Harry I must ask, do you still believe that the charedi system is broken or does the 2012 Rabbi Maryles disagree with the 2006 Rabbi Maryles?

Anybody care to guess why this was edited?

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.