Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Questioning Agudah!!

***YESHIVAWORLD EXCLUSIVE*** Rabbi M Orbach 22 Skylark Drive Spring Valley, NY 10977 Between DAAS BAALEI BATIM and DAAS TORAH Dear Editor, (The Jewish Observer) Your recent issue (April/Nissan, 5766) concerning Metzizta B’Peh was a most enlightening and frustrating read. It would have been too easy to ignore this affront on our Mesorah, but a minimal sense of responsibility to the Klal allows me no such liberty.Never before have I so clearly seen and understood the dictum “Daas Baalei Batim Hu Hepech Daas Torah”, than was obvious in the contrast between your “insider’s account” and the scholarly article of Rabbi Reisman.While Rabbi Reisman eruditely clarified a Torah perspective on this issue, the prolix essay was a mixture of self-congratulatory posturing and a subtle outcry of a “sour grapes” attitude. To an outsider, it would seem that this essay was primarily about asserting Agudath Israel’s lay leaders’ monopoly on politically correct shtadlanus while the topic of our cherished Mesorah was deftly used as camouflage. The author implores the readership for recognition and credit for his efforts, (the first-person pronoun, (i.e. I, we, our etc.) was used no less than 41 times in his vainglorious narrative). Many of your constituency’s Rabbonim and askonim believe that the Agudah may be doing more harm than good in this campaign. To paraphrase the words of an American president, “What is good for the Adudah, is no longer necessarily good for the Jews”.While Rabbi Reisman’s “A Call to Reason” deplored intellectual dishonesty, Mr. Zweibel quotes Harav Elyashiv “Shlit”a” and others of our Gedolei Yisroel in passing, but adroitly fails to mention that they were and are the architects of what was maliciously labeled as “shtadlanus folly of the highest order”.When these “misguided rabbonim and askonim” valiantly convened a Rabbinical meeting (February 23/06 in Ateres Chaya, Brooklyn) to discuss ideas for shtadlanus in this matter, over 250 Rabbonim from across the Chareidi spectrum showed up en-masse to show their confidence in them. Meanwhile, Agudath Israel’s askonim seem to be on the wrong side of Daas Torah, in the view of many, if not most, of the Rabbonim that occupy the dais at Agudah functions. When the acclaimed leader of pre-war Lithuanian Jewry, Harav Chaim Oizer Grozhensky, was approached for his opinion on establishing Agudas Yisroel, his (unfortunately, prophetic) concern was that it will eventually be governed by the “secretarin” (bureaucrats), and not by its Torah leadership.As someone who has been close to this issue from the very start, it seems that the lay leaders of Agudas Israel tidied their affectation “arrows” early on in this campaign and only then painted their rationalism “target” based on what they desired the Daas Torah to be.To parse the entire article with its many errors of omission and commission would be too painful and time-consuming. Suffice it to say, that slowly but surely, the Agudah is becoming an irrelevant relic of our past, that no longer represents the Bnei Torah world and its Rabbonim. Hachoseim B’dema. Mordechai Orbach Marah D’asra, Cong. Sharei Tefila Monsey, NY
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