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September 4, 2015 / 20 Elul, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘dov lipman’

And the Bashing Continues…

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

Rabbi Avraham Edelstein seems like a nice enough fellow. He is the founder and director of Ner LeElef, an organization that trains people for outreach. That is a good thing and something I support.

I am however dismayed by an article he has written in the Times of Israel. Therein he does what a lot of Haredi rabbinic leaders have done. He bashes Rabbi Dov Lipman about his proposed solution to the economic crisis facing the Haredi world . The funny thing is that he actually agrees with Rabbi Lipman’s assessment of the problem.

I have to wonder how the people he trains for outreach and the very targets of that outreach see his approach to Rabbi Lipman.

First he indirectly challenges his credentials by referring to his “oft-claimed status as a Haredi rabbi.” This implies that Rabbi Edelstein does not personally accept him that way. He further challenges R’ Lipman to tell us what the Haredi community stands for and why he wishes to belong to it – as though his every action argues against that.

Rabbi Edelstein also asserts that Rabbi Lipman is late to the game vis-à-vis putting Haredim to work with better jobs through better education. Haredim are already in the workforce, he says. And they have received training in all fields. And that even now further training programs are in the planning stages ready to be launched.
The irony of all this is that (as I pointed out) Rabbi Edelstein obviously agrees that there’s a problem. What he doesn’t agree with is a Rabbi Lipman’s solution. Why? The following excerpt says it all:

Placing the Haredi-community under siege, pre-determining how many Haredim are going to be shoved into this box or that box – all of this will halt the momentum of progress – and lead to exactly the opposite of the intended effect. This is the work of fools – to attempt to create by legislative fiat a transition that needs, in fact to take one or two decades. Rabbi Lipman is certainly not the first rookie politician who dreams of leaving his legacy through some grand social engineering. He will add his failure to the pile of forgotten attempts.

The deeper problem with these self-styled saviors of the Haredim, is that they fail to recognize the real and important values that this community is providing the broader world…

How sad that he takes the good intentions of a sincere individual whose only goal is to help his own community and bashes him for it. Even if he disagrees, why does he question his integrity, compare him to fools and deride him with appellations like “rookie politician” and “self-styled savior” implying that his entire goal is self aggrandizement via building a legacy through ‘some grand social engineering’?

The very real state of Haredim entering the work force was made in passing by Rabbi Edelstein:

The females have ironically been far more qualified than their male counterparts…

Ironically? What he doesn’t seem to realize (or admit) is that there is a very good reason for that. Haredi women are better educated than men in limudei hol (secular subjects). They have a core secular curriculum in high school. Men have none whatsoever. Of course women are more qualified. There is nothing ironic about it.

He is critical of Rabbi Lipman because in his “oft-claimed status as a Haredi rabbi.” He should be talking about Haredi positives. But… not to worry, Rabbi Edelstein will set us straight. Haredim “get it right” by being disinterested in materialism – unlike that the rest of the world that glorifies it.

Really? How black and white of him. Only Haredim have these values?! No other community does? And are Haredim truly – disinterested? I know a lot of Haredim who are not exactly disinterested in material things. As I do non-Haredim who disavow materialism. That Haredim have less material things than others is just the reality of their financial situation and not necessarily a choice.

What about his hashkafa (outlook) of placing the highest value on Torah study? As I have said countless times – I have no issues with a hashkafa that places the highest value on Torah study. I actually agree with that. Talmud Torah k’neged kulom (Torah study is equivalent to all other commandments).

What I do not agree with is a policy that excludes limudei hol in its entirety. It is one thing to love Torah study to such an extent that they “approach their Torah studies with an unprecedented intensity.” But that does not require eliminating limudei hol in its entirety as most American Haredim who have studied limudei hol in their high schools can tell you.

Eliminating all secular studies is taking “Talmud Torah k’neged kulom” to an absurd extreme. And yet that is standard Haredi policy in Israel. That is what Rabbi Lipman is trying to change. The efforts to “put people to work” currently underway that Rabbi Edelstein describes is simply too little too late.

But… for the sake of argument, let us grant that Rabbi Edelstien has a point. That the job situation is indeed improving more than anyone knows. Let us even say that forcing a core curriculum upon Haredi schools is a bad idea since it would be counter-productive – as he asserts.

Does that mean he has to bash Rabbi Lipman for suggesting it? …accusing him of doing this for his self aggrandizement? …and then resorting to name calling and degrading remarks?

As I said he also accuses Rabbi Lipman of failing to speak about the real and important values that the Haredi community is providing the broader world. Says Rabbi Edelstein: “Here is a community where values are not only being studied – they are being practiced.” (My my… what an idyllic community where only good values are preached and practiced.)

Yes, there are many good and decent people in the Haredi world who do have the values illustrated by the examples of Rabbi Edelstein. Probably most of the mainstream Haredi world is like that. The problem is that as wonderful as these examples of lived values are – there are other values that seem to be ignored. Just to pick one – the lack of expressing hakaras hatov (appreciation) to the government for all the financial aid it has gotten till now – while instead Haredi politicians curse them for daring to take some of it away.

Rabbi Edelstein accuses Rabbi Lipman of making this a confrontational issue. I do not see that at all. I believe the opposite is true. The Haredi rabbinic leaders and their surrogates in the Knesset and Haredi media are the ones being confrontational… using some of the most disgusting characterizations about those with his views.

And for what?! Because he wants to inject a couple of hours a day of limudei hol into the classroom?! For this he is called a self-styled savior? … failing to recognize their values? …whose ideas will end up in the dustbin of history?!

Rabbi Lipman is a hero – if for no other reason than he stood up to the ‘good midos’ (positive traits) of some extremist Haredim in Bet Shemesh who called a little girl a whore. Where were Rabbi Edelman’s Haredim then? How many joined him in standing up to those thugs? I don’t recall seeing any…

It would behoove Rabbi Edelstein to re-think his poorly thought out essay and realize that his characterization of Rabbi Lipman is as wrong as was Rav Aharon Feldman’s initial reaction to Rabbi Lipman as a Shana U’Porush. If Rav Feldman can admit a mistake, then surely Rabbi Edelstein can.

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Changing the Paradigm of the Haredi Jew

Sunday, April 21st, 2013

I have just read Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz’s article defending the Haredi way of life as the quintessential way for a Jew to live …and criticizing those who believe that Judaism is not a “one size fits all’ religion. He is entitled to his opinion. And I am entitled to believe he is wrong. I don’t know how many times I have written about why I think so. Probably too many to count. So I am not going to do it here.
What I will say is that it isn’t just that he disagrees. It is the condescending way in which he does it. It is beyond his understanding that a Rabbi Dov Lipman who self identifies as Haredi can say the things he did, things which contradict the Haredi narrative.

Rabbi Lipschutz does a nice job explaining what he believes Haredism is about. It is about

“basking in the glow of Abaye and Rava, Rashi and Tosafos, the Rambam, the Ramban and the Rashba, the Ketzos and the Nesivos, Rav Chaim and Rav Aharon, as well as the giants of our day.”

OK. I understand that. Limud HaTorah in his world is exactly that: the joy of studying the minutia of the Talmud and all of its commentaries. It is about trying to understand its subtleties and absorbing its entire corpus and discussion of biblical and rabbinic law – which is the source of Jewish law as we practice it today. To use a phrase the Yeshiva world uses – it is about the geshmak of learning Torah.

In the course of extolling the virtues of the Haredi way of life that he cherishes – he attacks those who veer even slightly form that narrative. Only this time it is not the secular or Dati Leumi crowd. It is Rabbi Dov Lipman who has himself imbibed in the “Geshmak of Torah.” He has “basked in the glow” of all those great historic religious figures. As a self-defined Haredi he has never really left it.

I’m sure he still agrees that if one is capable, has the love and commitment to it, he should do exactly that: continue basking in it. Those who have this kind of dedication and discipline are the rabbinic leaders of the future. No matter what hashkafa one has, there is no question that Torah knowledge is paramount to rabbinic leadership.

Unfortunately Rabbi Lipschutz does not understand that. He sees Rabbi Lipman as some sort of sellout. Why? Well for one thing because he dares to praise as heroes those who are kovieh itim (set times) and learn Torah whenever they can – but spend most of their time supporting their families.

Rabbi Lipschutz obviously sees them as second-class citizens. They no longer bask in the glow of a R. Akiva Eiger for example. They must suffice with learning daf yomi (a page daily) on a train on their way to work. It’s not that Rabbi Lipschutz criticizes them. Its that he criticizes Rabbi Lipman for praising them as the true heroes.

They are true heroes. They are moser nefesh for limud HaTorah and do so even though they spend a full day working to support their families. Either by waking up early and learning in a shiur or with a havrusa before shachrit, learning late at night, or on their way to work on a train. Are these people any less valuable than an Avreich who spends the entire day learning – leaving support for his family to others (e.g. his wife, parents, in-laws, or the Israeli taxpayer)?

R. Lipschutz is critical of the philosophy that values equity in army service, claiming that for the first time, the status quo agreement reached with Israel’s first prime minister David Ben Gurion exempting Yeshiva students will be broken. He is critical of Rabbi Lipman for joining in the political party that advocates that. And he is even critical of Orthodox Jews who have welcomed him into their synagogues to hear his views.

None are as blind as those who will not see. Rabbi Lipshitz is guilty of willful blindness. The kind that refuses to see or understand that no one in Israel wants to destroy the Haredi way of life (except for some on the fringes of the left). Least of all Rabbi Lipman. He actually wants to save it by creating a way for Haredim to be more self sufficient and do their fair share.

Army service is about sharing the burden. It is also about mainstreaming Haredim into the workplace so that they can earn a livable wage and support their families. It is not about destroying a way of life… unless we are talking a way of life that is rapidly descending into a poverty in ways that they will not be able to overcome.

The Real Yair Lapid

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

Yair Lapid is already predicting he will be Israel’s next prime minister.  Unfortunately, he never finished high school, or completed his baguryot (high-school matriculation exams) or went to college. However, as a media personality he got into Bar Ilan’s accelerated doctorate program — which is supposed to only be for those who finished an undergraduate degree with honors… he was eventually thrown out of the program for not meeting the admission requirements.  Granted there are many autodidacts who lack academic accreditation and attain success in business or academics or education; Lapid isn’t one of them.

Lapid is pretentious yet grossly ignorant at the same time.  While he may come across as a dynamic media personality, when he puts pen to paper, his lack of intelligence shines through.  Let’s take an article he penned about Israel, “Israel Democracy Institute says 81 percent of the public wants a constitution; not me.”   

Lapid explains why the U.S. Constitution is work of art — “because it was penned by a single author [sic], John Adams[sic], as opposed to a committee [sic]”  — which is the way Israel is attempting to create one.

Israel’s proposed constitution by consensus is an erudite text, maybe overly so. It lacks the emotional depth of the U.S. constitution, not to mention the moral courage of the “Founding Fathers” to deal with controversial issues. It could be that the different way in which the two constitutions were written influenced their content.

One very inspired man, John Adams, wrote the U.S. constitution. The Israeli proposal by consensus, with all due respect to Meir Shamgar, the former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, was written by a committee.

It would have helped had Lapid had the time, energy or acumen to at least read the Wikipedia article on the U.S. Constitution to know that it was written by committee, not one man, and certainly not John Adams who wasn’t even on the committee or in the U.S. at the time, he was in London.

If you think that’s embarrassing, its only the tip of iceberg. Here’s a short video (in Hebrew) with a whole slew of intellectual gaffs by Lapid which appears to show a pattern of attempts to drop names and facts which aren’t that factual or connected.

Since entering politics a year ago, Yair Lapid tries to portray himself  in the political center, however he has always been far to the left.  Before entering into politics, he spoke his true colors to Germany’s Der Spiegel:

Yair Lapid: The greatest tragedy of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is that everyone knows how it will end. We will divide up the region. Israel will return most of the West Bank, and the Palestinian flag will fly on public buildings in East Jerusalem. The only unanswered question is how many more people will have to die along the way. And so we will fight against the extremists on both sides, including our extremists, the settlers. When you look at the history of wars, they ultimately revolve around one claim: “My god is better than yours.”

It’s clear that Lapid is intent on splitting Jerusalem, something Dov Lipman adamantly denies.  He hates settlers and is intent on ensuring we all know who the “extremists” are.  Lipman has gone on record saying that he’s in favor of keeping settlement blocs — as an FYI, this means Hebron will be of Israeli control (and it also makes you an extremist to expect the Cave of the Patriarchs will remain under Israeli control).

While Dov Lipman claims that the “real” Jewish Home is his own “Yesh Atid” party, Yair Lapid’s Jewish Home is a Reform Temple in Tel-Aviv. I have no issue with Lapid’s connection to the Reform movement in Israel, or even providing them with funding which they deserve. I am concerned that the lowest common denominator of Judaism in Israel will be changed (religious status quo of halachic Jewishness), which will fracture the Jewish people in Israel, prevent marriages, and will result in far more disunity than unity.

Another example of his moral fiber, Lapid used his personal YNET column to childishly insult and viciously lambast an awarded, outstanding IDF soldierand used illegally obtained private and classified IDF information against the soldier.  When sued in court, Lapid lost.  Not exactly the moral and ethical beacon for Israel.

Why is MK-Elect Dov Lipman Afraid of Losing His US Citizenship?

Monday, January 28th, 2013

The Knesset’s basic law requires an Israeli Member of Knesset to renounce foreign (dual) citizenship before being able to enjoy the rights as a member of Knesset:

If a Knesset member holds an additional, non-Israeli citizenship, and the laws of the country whose citizenship he holds permit him to be released from such citizenship, he shall not declare allegiance until after he has done everything required on his part to be released from such citizenship, and he shall not enjoy the rights of a Knesset member until he makes his declaration.

MK-elect Dov Lipman said to Makor Rishon that he “spoke to his lawyers” about this issue, and Haaretz reported wasn’t very happy about having to relinquish his U.S. citizenship:

I am going to be relinquishing my U.S. citizenship with a very heavy heart,” he said. “One side of my family came to America to escape pogroms in Russia, and the other survived the Holocaust. America provided us with a safe haven in which to rebuild our family. My father was someone who was able to become a federal judge while being a religious Jew. It’s painful, but I’ve been told it’s the law. I do so with a heavy heart and of course, there is also the flip side – knowing I’ll be pure Israeli. We decided to figure out if there are any other reasons that MK-elect Dov Lipman doesn’t want to give up his U.S. citizenship.  In our on-line poll – which do you think is correct?

9.    Is afraid he’ll be out of a job a in a year and won’t be able to get a green card to work in the U.S.

8.   Doesn’t want to lose out on U.S. social security retirement benefits

7.    Not willing the pay this small price for peace with the Palestinians

6.    Needs a U.S. passport for refuge when his party’s peace plan explodes

5.    Doesn’t want to stand on a separate line for passport control than his family when visiting the U.S.

4.    Thinks the law should only be intended for Meir Kahana and not for progressive rabbis.

3.    Won’t be able to be considered an “Anglo” representative anymore.

2.    What will the “non-Jews” say?

1.    Doesn’t want to lose out on the $1000 per child IRS tax rebate.

 

MK Lipman – Welcome to the big leagues — Political satire is the highest form of flattery!

PS: If you had any doubts about Yesh Atid’s founder, here’s a great video extolling Lapid’s intelligence on a wide range of subjects.

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