Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Lipa Letters and Links

Today's Hamodia included the following letter from Rabbi Avi Shafran entitled "Correction."
In my recent article published in Hamodia, "The Really Big Event," (Wednesday, March 5) among the errors in a New York Times article I cited was "granting semicha to a radio talk show personality." That turned out to be an error of my own. The personality referred to is Zev Brenner who, although he doesn't use his title on his program, informed me that he is in fact an ordained rabbi, having received semicha from Kollel Eshel Avrohom. My apologies to him and to the readers.
Anything I'd add would be superfluous.

Zal Schreiber writes: [My comments in italics]
Oh L-rd, please don't let me be misunderstood

Firstly, I would like to state that I had no intention of offending you nor did I imply any possibility of a cause and effect reaction concerning your Free Lipa post, chas v'sholem, to the tragedies that occurred. What I wanted to bring to light was that the Sattan waits for his opportune moments to perpetrate his dastardly deeds and machlokes is one of his favorites. The issue at hand here, while I will concede is of great concern, and then with the new postings continuing the saga, is small potatoes compared to what I did suggest we really all hope for; Hatzlacha, Parnassah, Gezunt and Nachas. But all those desires were shattered for our people in one fell swoop. Galus is a fragile place

OK. So we've seen laymen from across the board, many respectfully, requesting that something be done to change the status quo, and people in these parts have lost some respect...of the Gedolim?? I respectfully ask those who are religiously aligned/inclined to have their rebbeim be the ones who approach their religious mentors, and onward, all the way down the line...up to the top, to also respectfully inquire as to the (possible, or alleged) errors that occurred and how to avoid similar mishaps in the future, and how to heal any (possible) welts and wounds that this situation may have caused.

No, no, no! A thousand times, no! This is exactly what's broken here. Playing telephone does not work. (It so happens that I did this here, playing the "game" to get the "official" Daas Torah explanation. As I wrote previously, there isn't one. What the "telephone hierarchy" does confirm is not flattering to the leadership.) The gatekeepers are part of the problem here.

I will point out that the publication of a teshuvah (responsa) explaining the Halachik reasoning used, rather than a ban, would have avoided some of the issues. There's no reason why people should have to guess possible reasonings and then play games to get answers. The ban signers ought to publicize their explanations.

They're also the ones who have to engage the healing process. That is, if they want to preserve the relationship.

So, yes, we have to be careful. And we must know, that when it comes to the frum community at large, resources are spread thin. Too much to do with too little. B'seeatah D'ishmaya we get done what we need to...and I hate to add...maybe. Hashem knows, but we are human.

Being human means making mistakes. Being a true leader means acknowledging mistakes when made.

Maybe, after all of this, good will come. Liaison amongst community members keeping the Rabbeim up to date, informed and knowledgeable so no mistakes take place. Are the Rebbeim informed on all the issues they need to be in the know about? If not, we, or someone reliable and responsible, needs to tell them. But, when it comes to personal interests, how do we know we are getting objective reports, not shaded by greed, other or personal agendas?

Liaisons? Anyone who signs onto a ban like this has an obligation to do their own personal investigation. Lipa says all of the Rabbonim he's spoken to have asked mechila for not contacting him prior to the ban's issuance. It should have been SOP to call him before signing anything. The liaison system clearly does not work.

How about a return to the days when you could reach a gadol like Rav Moshe ZT"L on the phone if you had a question?

I have firsthand knowledge of several cases where Rabbonim who did basic investigations before signing Kol Korehs or issuing psakim were convinced not to do so, while their colleagues who didn't investigate and signed perpetuated avlos. Sometimes, a Rav has to learn from what he's not told.

I don't know if there are easy answers, but now that everyone knows there can be problems, maybe we can all help with working out a solution.

Unfortunately, although it's evident, not everyone has agreed that there is a problem.

PS. Additionally, while you say that Lipa's and Sheya's acceptance (in the end) are irrelevant to the ultimate issue at hand, well, then freeing him was irrelevant as well, yes?

It seems pointless to explain the humor. Either you get it or not.

PPS. One major mindset that I think was missed about my posting was that I have an implied “perhaps” throughout my writings. Beware lest…be careful not to get out of hand…watch out when Gedolim are criticized….perhaps we need to be more careful about loshon hurrah….did I actually accuse or did I ponder? I think people are presently super sensitive, and that’s not good either.

Whether it's accusatory or simply pondering, the effects of this kind of thinking out loud are not good, as I've shown. If you think there's a problem, study the inyan, and get some clarification.

I saw someone bringing reference the writings of the Chofetz Chaim in criticism of activities that caused great tzahr to individuals. I believe the same should/could be said about treading on the Kavod of the Rabbonim. There are ways and means, but they are not everybody’s and there must be sensitivity…all around.

And, finally, my caveat that we can not say everything that we want, or read everything that we want…does not mean that one who adheres to this is blind and like the ostrich.
For if that were true, there would be no useful words of support from the Chofetz Chaim to back up ANYONE.
David writes:
Yes, I agree with you. I am no fan of concerts or the like, but many of us felt that due process was not given, and that is the problem. I wrote to Hamodia a few times, sayings they had no permission to put an add without first checking it out.

Look into Chafetz Chaim, k'llal yud, seef 31 at the end. Also, to know what a Gadol is, look at Darash Moshe from Reb Moshe Zatzal, in the beginning of TeTzava.

Keep up the good work
Some more links here...

Wolfish Musings posted "One Final Note On The Lipa Concert"

The former Godol Hador posted "Dude, you're getting a ChareiDi hELL"

Holy Hryrax wrote "Learning from History"