They slandered him with the claims that he was prepared to sell out the entire Torah. True, these lies were based on the different approaches of Rav Steinman and Rav Shmuel Auerbach shlita regarding the draft, but from that, the situation deteriorated to the point of slander. Over the last weeks, people have brought me pamphlets and notices discrediting Rav Steinman, with contents so shocking I cannot even repeat them.
I have met several young people who are actually convinced that Rav Steinman and Rav Chaim Kanievsky have left the path of Torah!
Rabbi Grylak goes on to blame the Israeli Yated - specifically naming its editor Nati Grossman for fomenting all of this enmity and violence by vilifying anyone that does not agree with extremist views.
Does this sound familiar? I have been saying this over and over again. The kind of violence that is perpetrated by the extremists in places like Bet Shemesh and Meah Shearim does not happen in a vacuum. Their violent behavior may be based on the ‘lunacy’ of those individuals who act out. But their motivation comes from the same kind of rhetoric from their rabbinic leaders and supporters as did the motivation of the lunatic who attacked Rav Shteinman who got his motivation from his leaders.
I think it took a lot of courage for Rabbi Grylak to ‘tell it like it is’. But I have to wonder if it will make any real difference. My guess is that it won’t, unfortunately. In fact if I had to predict what will happen the fight will escalate.
On the one side you have a government that insists on carrying out its current policies with respect to Haredim. and you have a Chiloni and Dati Leumi public that supports them.
On the other side – you have a Haredi public that strongly opposes it and is divided on how to react. Rav Shteinman’s rational approach advocates peaceful compliance and continued prayer asking God to intervene against the ‘evil decree’ Rav Auerbach’s extremist approach advocates massive civil disobedience which is an incitement to violence. Which has already reared its ugly head causing a lunatic Haredi Avreich to physically attack 100 year old rabbinic leaders.
I don’t know how this will end. But from my perspective here in Chicago, I don’t think it will end well.
About the Author: Harry Maryles runs the blog "Emes Ve-Emunah" which focuses on current events and issues that effect the Jewish world in general and Orthodoxy in particular. It discuses Hashkafa and news events of the day - from a Centrist perspctive and a philosphy of Torah U'Mada. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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