DarkBlueHat

My thoughts on the Slifkin ban.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Good news from Rav Scheinberg

While there are many signatures to the ban on Rabbi Slifkin's books, there are three that I primarily care about: Rav Elyashiv, Rav Scheinberg, and Rav Dovid Feinstein. My Rebbeim have frequently asked them shaylos, and they are considered by many to the Poskei HaDor. Their psak on Rabbi Slifkin has really upset me as my posts to the right in the Halakhah category explain. If I had to choose between those three Gedolim rescinding their psak or the other twenty, I would choose those three in a heartbeat. That they haven't done so have been very painful for me, and I'm not quite sure how to react.

In the case of Rav Scheinberg though, there is a major loophole. I can consider him my Posek and still ignore his psak by Rabbi Slifkin. How, you ask? Very simple. There is a marvelous sefer called Divrei Chachamim by Rav Aryeh Zev Ginsburg. The author went around asking different shaylos to different poskim. Rav Scheinberg wrote in his haskamah to the sefer that he testifies that whenever the sefer quotes him it is accurately presenting his position. On Page 290 (Reish Tzadi) of the sefer, point number 10, Rav Scheinberg says that today there is no issur to shop around and to go to a second a Posek to get a kula if you aren't happy with the psak of the first person you asked. (Though it is obviously better to get permission form the first one.) Now if you choose Rav Scheinberg as your Posek, there is no problem in shopping around for a psak on any area you want – including the Slifkin ban. Shop around until you find Rabbi Hershel Schachter, who will tell you in person that there is no problem with Rabbi Slifkin whatsoever. (It would be nice if he would say it louder and more often, but that's for another post.) The important thing is that while Rav Scheinberg signed a letter saying Rabbi Slifkin's books should be burned, he allows you to find a Posek who would say that not only is it an issur gamur to burn them, it is a great mitzvah to learn them. So one person can burn the seforim while another person learns them, and they each have the approval of Rav Sheinberg, albeit to different extents.

If anyone has any knowledge of Rav Sheinberg changing his mind on the Slifkin ban, please let me know. If anyone has any information about any of the signers of the ban publicly retracting and saying they are not kefirah, it is not assur to learn and to teach their contents, and they should not be burnt, please let me know. I want to have a post on where each of the signers of the ban stands, and the more information I have the better.

67 Comments:

At 2:04 PM, Blogger Godol Hador said...

Rav Sheinberg never knew what it was about in the first place. A close talmid of his, Rav x (I spoke to someone who spoke to him) asked Rav Sheinberg what was going on and he said he didn't really know, but some choshuv guys from Bnei Brak came to see him and asked him to sign against kefirah, so he did. Other reports say that Rav S is going slightly senile.

 
At 11:43 PM, Blogger The Rabbi's Kid said...

DBH,

Good luck in the ongoing battle against the forces of darkness. Godol, doesn't it worry you that he can sign such a thing, and how does that refelct on his ability to issue psak halachah based on knowledge and a full appreciation of the facts involved in any particular case?

TRK

 
At 5:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"it is not assur to learn and to teach their contents,"

That wouldn't follow. EVen those who say the books aren't kefira, stand by the ban.

The party line is that the books are "Very, very wrong" but that they are not kefira. They are still "ossur" to read or teach (what issur is involved is a good question).

And people wriggle to get to that end point in different ways.

Some say that most didn't mean it's kefira (which is what most people believe). Some say "some think it's kefira, but it's a machlokes if it's really kefira, so we can still count Slifkinites in a minyan" And so on. But the net effect in the charedi world is that the ideas are marginalized as "ossur" but no one has to literally act as though Slifkinites are kofrim in the sense that one can't count them in a minyan, drink their wine, etc.

People try to preserve the form of halachic reasoning to justify the conclusion that these ideas are very wrong, and ossur, but not kefira. They come up with all kinds of pseudohalachic formulae (if every gadol agreed w/ R Elyashiv then we couldnt count someone who believes these ideas in a minyan, but since there's dispute we can, even though I personally follow R Elyashiv) that don't really make much sense, but serve to tide them over.

The real dilemma for those who follow the ban is that they are looking for a litviche, halachic analysis /response to a move that is essentially imported from the fanatic chassidic world, where the strict halachic implications of kefira are basically beside the point.

But I think you are missing the point here. The charedi world does understand that the gedolim are standing by the social aim of marginalizing the ideas in the book.

 
At 9:24 AM, Anonymous daat y said...

that is quite a revolutionary statement quoted in the name of R.Scheinberg.It would seem that nullifies 'DAAS TORAH.'

 
At 9:33 AM, Anonymous daat y said...

i think you left out'it is an issur gamur' -'not' an issur gamur.

 
At 2:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A bit angry, but worth reading if you haven't already:

http://www.geocities.com/y_berkovits/Slifkin-Ban.html

Perhaps you should link to it.

 
At 10:50 AM, Anonymous moosik said...

Definately worth reading anon. Thanks for the reference.

Hey dbh,
When are we going to see some more installments of the "Torah MiSinai Proofs" series?

 
At 11:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where can I get the full text of Rabbi Feldmans recent letter on the subject?

 
At 11:49 PM, Blogger DarkBlueHat said...

GH - Even I believed that hearsay - which I don't, he still stands by the ban as he has yet to retract it.

TRK - that's one reason why I don't believe the GH's hearsay - the consequences are too scary!

Moosik - to give you a sneak preview, I think it is quite simple to prove level 1 and impossible to prove level 5. There are ways to strengthen the proof that I haven't seen others post about yet, which may move your level of belief in the proof up a notch. And I will use the proof to elucidate other important areas, which is why I brought it up in the first place. More urgent stuff has come up though, so I may not get to it for a while. Sorry.

Anonymous - Rav Feldman's letter pretty much proves my point that the Gedolim meant it as a psak Halachah that the books are kefirah. Since he spoke to Rav Elyashiv directly, you can't possibly call him naive for thinking so as you did me. However, even if both of us are wrong about that, it doesn't affect my deeper issue that you may have missed. I'll have to post about that latter. I want to post about the letter but haven't received permission yet. If anyone wants a copy, start a blog that talks about Rabbi Slifkin with your email address on it, and you'll probably receive an offer of the letter (with minor strings about posting it attached) in no time. Otherwsie wait for Godol to spill the beans and post it with his comments.

 
At 12:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

From what I understand from a Talmid of Rav Scheinberg in Eretz Yisroel, Rav Scheinberg is no longer up to the task of reading and signing all of the bans, so either someone signed for him, or he signed based upon other signatures.

Let's all remember that the broken Luchos were also placed into the Aron, even though they were broken...

 
At 1:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Anonymous - Rav Feldman's letter pretty much proves my point that the Gedolim meant it as a psak Halachah that the books are kefirah. Since he spoke to Rav Elyashiv directly, you can't possibly call him naive for thinking so as you did me."

You will recall that when R Feldman spoke to R Elyashiv personally he came home and wrote a letter saying that R Feldman does NOT think the work is kefira, that he was surprised at the text of the ban, etc. he then printed the short note R Elyashiv wrote, that only said that R Slifkin is not a kofer, and the works are "ossur lavo bakohol"

R Feldman missed that R Elyashiv was being careful not to say more than that R Slifkin isn't a kofer in writing, but he understood exactly what I did.

He later changed his views, without saying that he spoke to R Elyashiv again. he spoke to various hangers on of R elyashiv. Anyone following this knows that R Feldman was pressured to retreat.

As for this:

"TRK - that's one reason why I don't believe the GH's hearsay - the consequences are too scary!"

make up your mind. Do you want to know the truth of what's actually going on? Or do you want to believe what is most palatable for you to believe?

You write these lengthy analyses all based on wishful thinking, as you've admitted several times already you don't want to follow the facts where they lead, you don't want to believe that R Elyashiv is purposefully being ambiguous because that is "too scary", you don't want to believe that What happened with R Scheinberg happened, b/c that is "too scary"...so you have to contort yourself to analyze a situation that doesnt' need analyzing.

If those who signed the ban now say the work is not kefira, the ban will be ignored.
Even if they want to, the kanoim will roast them.
People are being pressured not to retract, and those who retract retract their retraction, and you don't understand what is going on because it's "too scary"?

 
At 1:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"From what I understand from a Talmid of Rav Scheinberg in Eretz Yisroel, Rav Scheinberg is no longer up to the task of reading and signing all of the bans, so either someone signed for him, or he signed based upon other signatures."

Yes and there is at least one other person who signed who is blind.

 
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