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September 22, 2014 / 27 Elul, 5774
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Taken to the Charedi Woodshed

A few years ago, on Erev Yom Kippur, Jonathan called Rav Aharon Rakeffet and apologized to him for a similar dressing down in another article.

Jonathan Rosenblum is the director, spokesperson, and founder of Jewish Media Resources, an organization which attempts to clarify journalists' understanding of Haredi Jewish society.

So there will be a prayer rally in New York next week and I ‘can’t wait’ to hear the hateful rhetoric blasting the State of Israel once again for attempting Shamd on the Torah True faithful. Videos like the one made available on the internet yesterday would make that kind of rhetoric laughable. And the last thing the Agudah et al wants is to be laughed at. So the video was restricted to the public.

Thankfully many people have already seen it – including me and many of my readers.  And I believe I gave a pretty good description of what Jonathan said. Which he said was his own view – and not the official view of anyone or any organization. I have always admired Jonathan for his intellectual honesty; his integrity; his willingness to tell it like is; and his talent in expressing those views so well in writing.

Honestly expressed views by people with the integrity of a Jonathan Rosenblum should not be stifled – even if they are in direct opposition to those of his leaders. It is not disrespecting them to disagree with them.

That is where the Charedi world fails in my view. Their Hashkafa of Daas Torah trumps all else. If in their view one of their own has an opinion they don’t like, they will assert Daas Torah and that ends the conversation. The idea of being Mevatel (subordinating) yourself to the Gedolim – forces you to negate your views no matter how much you believe in them.

I don’t know how such thinking can continue to prevail in an large community of basically very smart people. And yet it does. I’m sure that Jonathan is OK with withdrawing his words from the public. That is what his conscience tells him is the right thing to do when he is told that his words contradict Daas Torah.

Which is one reason the internet is such a wonderful tool. The light of truth will surely clarify reality and no longer will there be a sole reliance on the rhetoric of one subset of Orthodox rabbinic leadership. So, in the absence of that video, my post about it (or one like it) should be circulated far and wide – especially at that prayer rally next week.

Update I spoke to Dr. Irving Lebovics at whose home Jonathan spoke. Dr. Lebovics attended Yeshiva University and Yeshivas Mir in Israel. He currently heads the Agudah in LA. He told me that the decision to make the video pass protected was a joint one by both him and Jonathan. Jonathan felt that he was misunderstood and that he did not clearly convey what he meant that evening – even though he did say what I said he did. He realized this after reading my post and some others on the internet. I appreciate Dr. Lebovics phone call. My hope is that Jonathan clarifiies his position in writing, his true forte.

Visit Emes Ve-Emunah .

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 hmaryles@yahoo.com.


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One Response to “Taken to the Charedi Woodshed”

  1. Dan Silagi says:

    There is one fallacy in Maryles' otherwise excellent article. He states Haredim are "very smart people."

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Binyamin and Chaya Maryles, uncle and aunt of Emes Ve-Emunah author Harry Maryles.
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