Welcome, Guest! - or
Easy to remember!  »  VinNews.com

New York - OpEd: Words Matter _ Rabbi Makes Serious Usage Error

Published on: October 20, 2017 09:03 AM
By: Rabbi Yair Hoffman
Change text size Text Size  
The editorial against Yaffed published in Hamodia by Rabbi Heschel The editorial against Yaffed published in Hamodia by Rabbi Heschel

New York - The Mishna in Pikei Avos (1:11) tells us, “Chachomim, hizaharu b’divreichem – sages, be careful with your words.”

In the age of the internet, these words have never been more applicable.

In a Hamodiah piece  published Oct 1,  Rabbi Abraham Y. Heschel, correctly took to task a group of people that are attempting to undermine the Torah education system by “altruistically” advocating for stronger secular education.  Rabbi Heschel, however, made a significant error in his critique - violating the above cited Pirkei Avos.

Truthfully, we do need to enhance the secular education in our Yeshivos, but there is no question that this particular group that Rabbi Heschel was addressing has another agenda in mind.  That agenda seems to be to destroy the Chasidic Yeshiva system. 

Advertisement:

Last year, the founder of the group, Naftuli Moster, wrote an op-ed in the New York Daily News claiming that Chasidic Jews are more likely to engage in violence on account of the specific nature of their educational system. He actually tied the horrible attack on Taj Paterson to the Yeshiva education system.

This was clearly an outright fabrication - designed to denigrate the Chasidic Yeshivos.  It was also very revealing of the true agenda of the head of the organization.

Nonetheless, in his Op-Ed - Rabbi Heschel made a grievous error.  He cited a story about a crazed teen who was slashing volumes of the Talmud with a knife.  That teenager then turned toward a baby while still holding the knife. The Chofetz Chaim then disarmed the teen – because he felt the baby’s life was being threatened.  Prior to that, the Chofetz Chaim felt that it would have been too dangerous to attempt it.

Rabbi Heschel then writes:

“Later, the Chofetz Chaim used this story to illustrate a very relevant lesson. He said that there are segments of Jews who have trampled on the teachings of Chazal. They have slashed into maseches Brachos and have stopped observing the halachos pertaining to blessings. They have trampled on maseches Shabbos and stopped keeping Shabbos. They have cut deep into maseches Chullin and stopped keeping the laws of kashrus. But these groups are downright dangerous, and to speak out publicly against them entails a matter of pikuach nefesh, so, reluctantly, the Torah world is forced to remain silent.

“But when they seek to harm the chinuch system, it is forbidden to remain silent!” the Chofetz Chaim declared. “For in this case, they are considered to be rodfim! When they seek to thrust a knife into the children, we are obligated to be moser nefesh to save them!”

Certainly, Rabbi Heschel never stated or even implied that he was advocating that those who are attacking the Yeshivos are to halachically be considered rodfim.  Rather, he was saying that the Jewish community should speak up to disarm them – just like in the parable.

Nonetheless, the paragraph should certainly have been edited.  It should rather have said, “For in this case, there is a matter of pikuach nefesh involved!  We are obligated to be moser nefesh to save them!”

Some will think that this is being excessively picayune.

It is not.

The team behind YAFFED has a track-record of portraying Yeshivos in the worst light possible. The slightest bit of research would have revealed this. The founder, in his September 2016 Op Ed, describes Yeshivos as “institutions masquerading as schools, but which really teach stereotypes and fear.”

YAFFED’s founder has publicly spoken at such venues as “Preserve Rockland” sarcastically explaining that Chasidic children from a very young age are taught that they “live the most fulfilling lives filled with the joys of studying Torah.”

There is no question that a person who has so publicly expressed his visceral hatred of Yeshivos and connecting those who beat up Taj Patterson in Williamsburg with the Yeshiva education system will certainly attempt to falsely portray Rabbi Heschel’s carelessly written op-ed.

And Naftali Moster, head of the YAFFED organization, has already done just that.  Apparently, he had convinced a well-meaning councilman to write a letter to the New York City police commissioner that the editorial penned by Rabbi Heschel and printed by HaModiah is a death threat.   He urges the commissioner to launch a full fledged investigation.

Shlomo HaMelech, King Solomon, (Mishlei 18:21) said it best when he said, “maves v’chaim b’yad lashon – life and death are in the hands of the tongue.”  In the Mishna in Pirkei Avos (2:9), Rabbi Shimon recommends that the right path in which to follow is to be ro’eh es hanolad – to anticipate what might ensue in the future.  Rabbi Heschel should have known better.

The author could be reached at yairhoffman2@gmail.com 



More of today's headlines

Jerusalem - Security guards at the Western Wall prevented a group of men and women promoting gender-egalitarian prayer for accessing the holy site’s main plaza with a... Frankfurt - German public prosecutors have charged a 96-year-old former guard at a Nazi death camp with having been an accessory to murder, as Germany races against time...

 

Total11

Read Comments (11)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Oct 20, 2017 at 09:27 AM Anonymous Says:

Yes, it should have been edited. But the intention is difficult not to see, and Moster, with his councilman who has no idea of what anything means, jumped. Their jump is nothing more than an instigation. There is no doubt that the secular education issue is a real one. But Moster is really NOT fighting for that. He is a rebel who is seething with anger (probably justified) that is directing his energy to inflict as much damage as possible to the yeshiva system.

In recent years, we have observed advocates for a just cause take up their gauntlet fueled by their personal rage. They typically take their eye off the ball, and instead of repairing a broken system, they funnel their energy into creating as much destruction as possible. That passion needs to be directed toward building, not destroying. Moster is a destroyer, and is thus deserving of all the disgrace that he is getting, plus. These "advocates" are "fanatics" and "rebels". The cause they cite is just the means to their goal of creating havoc and chaos. Shame on them.

2

 Oct 20, 2017 at 10:14 AM inNY Says:

Moster started a good cause and I supported him, but he lost me when I than read his Daily News op-ed about Taj beating linked to lack of secular education. such stupidity, then I realized the man has ulterior motives.

3

 Oct 20, 2017 at 10:20 AM nope Says:

Bitter people are everywhere. They are in your family, they are your friends, they are the strangers you have to deal with each day, and they are the random people who try to make you feel bad through social media or other means. When you get excited about life, they try to shoot you down to their level. When you are around them, they try to bring you down to their level. They are all about being miserable and making other people miserable.

The reality is that if you surround yourself with bitter people, you will become bitter yourself. Your attitude about life will shift, and it will affect your life, your other relationships, your career, and everything else. You need to figure out a way on how to deal with bitter people for your own sanity.

The above basically wraps up Moster.

4

 Oct 20, 2017 at 11:30 AM Anonymous Says:

Just remove the "t" of moster. Hes a moser of the worst kind. A disgrubtled despicable person seeking where he can dishonor and discredit Chasidic Jews. Another bored rotten apple to deal with.

5

 Oct 20, 2017 at 12:14 PM yonasonw Says:

As with many emotional and controversial issues, the truth I think is some where in the middle. Anyone who denigrates a Torah education has a problem...but so does anyone who can't acknowledge the travesty that is Chareidi delivered "English" education.

6

 Oct 20, 2017 at 12:22 PM crazy stuff Says:

And just to think that a former-chasidic rock-star aligns himself with this horrible group too..

7

 Oct 20, 2017 at 12:43 PM yonasonw Says:

A dangerous and disingenuous disconnect:

1. Rabbi Heschel writes:

"For in this case, they are considered to be rodfim! When they seek to thrust a knife into the children, we are obligated to be moser nefesh to save them!”

2. VIN Editors write:

"Certainly, Rabbi Heschel never stated or even implied that he was advocating that those who are attacking the Yeshivos are to halachically be considered rodfim."

Huh?

Reminds me of those who called for Rabin's death and then tried to hide under a claim of hyperbole.

Rabbi Heschel said what he said...and what he said was "...they are considered to be rodfim..."

Among the most troubled elements among us are those who might be prone to violence, and they certainly would not parse allegorical meaning into Rabbi Heschel's words; rather, they would feel emboldened and enabled by them.

Shame on you.

8

 Oct 20, 2017 at 02:22 PM hernoor Says:

Give me a break! Are you kidding me?! Hamodia had every right to write that Moster is a rodef. He has evil intentions. Many frum people, myself included, support a basic secular education especially in the English language but we would never agitate against yeshivas like Moster does nor write insidious and ridiculous articles skewing the reality of the yeshiva system. Rabbi Heschel, thank you very much for saying it as it should be said.

9

 Oct 20, 2017 at 04:18 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #7  
yonasonw Says:

A dangerous and disingenuous disconnect:

1. Rabbi Heschel writes:

"For in this case, they are considered to be rodfim! When they seek to thrust a knife into the children, we are obligated to be moser nefesh to save them!”

2. VIN Editors write:

"Certainly, Rabbi Heschel never stated or even implied that he was advocating that those who are attacking the Yeshivos are to halachically be considered rodfim."

Huh?

Reminds me of those who called for Rabin's death and then tried to hide under a claim of hyperbole.

Rabbi Heschel said what he said...and what he said was "...they are considered to be rodfim..."

Among the most troubled elements among us are those who might be prone to violence, and they certainly would not parse allegorical meaning into Rabbi Heschel's words; rather, they would feel emboldened and enabled by them.

Shame on you.

You are the target of the shame. Perhaps the writing should have been edited, but it takes a warped mind, such as what you usually post on this site, to side with the anti-semitic councilman. You are a complete disgrace. I say this while it is still Tishrei, and my conscience is completely clear.

Now, what have you done to resolve the situation besides trying to cause damage?

10

 Oct 23, 2017 at 08:51 AM yonasonw Says:

Reply to #9  
Anonymous Says:

You are the target of the shame. Perhaps the writing should have been edited, but it takes a warped mind, such as what you usually post on this site, to side with the anti-semitic councilman. You are a complete disgrace. I say this while it is still Tishrei, and my conscience is completely clear.

Now, what have you done to resolve the situation besides trying to cause damage?

Oh chill out...I'm not siding with anyone...I am saying that it's irresponsible and dangerous for a Rabbi to publicly label one a rodeif.

11

 Oct 23, 2017 at 08:12 PM berish Says:

Reply to #9  
Anonymous Says:

You are the target of the shame. Perhaps the writing should have been edited, but it takes a warped mind, such as what you usually post on this site, to side with the anti-semitic councilman. You are a complete disgrace. I say this while it is still Tishrei, and my conscience is completely clear.

Now, what have you done to resolve the situation besides trying to cause damage?

you are right about yonoson.....hes anti torah views are all over...goes with out saying anti tru/mp because the left is anti torah so automatically anti trump as the left is anti moral laws

12

Sign-in to post a comment

Click here to sign-in.

Scroll Up
Advertisements:
Sell your scrap gold and broken jewelry and earn hard cash sell gold today!