Thursday, March 13, 2008

Zal's Continued Response

Zal responds again. I think his emails are of value because they are illustrative. As before, my comments are italicized.
Golus…we’ve got to get out of this place…and mindset

|Mr. Arbitrator

With all due respect, and I DO mean this, I don’t know who you are. I don’t know which chain of rabbis you’ve contacted, and frankly, don’t want to know if, as you’ve stated, unflattering information will be reflected upon them.

I want to be perfectly clear. The unflattering information does not reflect on the rabbonim I've consulted. It reflects on the signers of the ban. It is what the people around them (and they themselves) are telling the rabbonim asking for clarification.

But, others have not been let down in the same way, and our lists of rabbis to call for various eitzah and hadracha are quite extensive. My Rav has his cell phone number clearly posted in shul, Rav Dovid Cohen, Shlita, has regular phone hours, even during his VERY busy day. Others as welI….

Rav Dovid Cohen didn't sign the ban.

Many years ago before I began working at Atlantic, I went to my Rav, a man I have known since the mid 60s, (my favorite Rebbe, I might add), to ask aitzah to see if I could indeed take the job considering the type of people I might be mixed with and the type of work I’d be involved with, listening to secular music day in and day out.

He said; let me get back to you in a day or two. He did, after asking aitzah of a Godol, Rav Bick, zt’l, I believe, and the answer my Rav gave me was, “NOW you can take it”, implying that had I come 20 years earlier, when I was considerably more “susceptible” to what I will here call those “secular” influences, I WOULD NOT have been given the green light for the job. Asey L’cha Rav, it says in Pirkei Avos.

How many people here have one?

You probably don't mean to sound patronizing, but this is very condescending.

It helps a great deal to have one.

I would add, in a different vein, that Rav Shmuel, for example, do you think his future actions will be adjusted due to this situation? After all, he gave straight-forward answers.

I do think Rav Kamenetzky will likely adjust his future actions with regard to signing bans. I respect the fact that he acknowledged the obvious breakdowns in the process.

Will others also so adjust their decision making process? I say YES. You’re NO NO NO misses my point. It can and MUST work.

Thus far, they haven't acknowledged error. Why would they change their process (or lack thereof) if there's nothing wrong with it? That's why it's important for them to either acknowledge that they made mistakes, or else justify what they did. They've done neither.

Would you have beynonim (or less) making these decisions? Are THEY knowledgeable enough to “hit the spot” and “do the trick”? Do they have the spiritual sensitivities required? I will say to that, “NO NO NO”.

This is a straw man. No one is asserting that "beynonim" should make the decision instead.

The solution is for those making the decisions to obtain the facts before deciding on issues. They sent Rabbonim to India to investigate Hindu practices with regard to Indian hair wigs. They couldn't make a local phone call in this case before signing?

By all means, let the gedolim decide. But only after they've done the research and obtained the facts. They have to ask questions before ruling.

I see, then, that what I said was seen with the glasses you are presently wearing. I mention sensitivity and I find rage. I don’t really say (or at least mean) much different from what your sentiments are (as far as the need for things to be fixed), but how to do this, and how publicly done this should be are our differences.

We obviously have very different perspectives on this. Some think Kavod HaTorah is preserved by quietly ignoring travesties. Others, va'ani besocham, believe that the chiyuv for Kavod HaTorah atzmah requires that people speak up.

Much of this has been justabout nobody’s business except the ones actually involved and affected (of course, all of those bored people who can’t go to the concert will say they have been affected royally-and that’s a whole ‘nother story).

If this were the only ban, or takana, made without first doing basic research and/or contacting the people affected, I would agree. However, that is not the case. This has happened over and over again. The major issue here is not the concert. It's about a system wherein people engaged in a permitted activity, whether it be wedding musicians, authors, or concert promoters, are financially sandbagged by new rules that weren't in effect at the time the enterprise was undertaken.

In some cases, people have essentially been informed that their career is no longer viable. For someone who spent many years developing a skill as a means to support their family, this is a financial death sentence.

When leaders commit abuses, everyone is affected. Rav Kamenetzky says the process was abused.

What I see here is the potential (for) counter-askanim at work, with their own agendas, and as you say ,many are not shomrei Torah U’Mitzvos, or are but in varying degrees.

I have no idea where I'm supposed to have said that, but it's a straw man too. Emes should be accepted regardless of where it comes.

That can be bad, too.
A final comment. Zal has now made more of an effort than the rabbonim involved (with the exception of Rav Kamentzky). He deserves to be commended for engaging on the issue.