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Jerusalem - Op-Ed: The Leadership Vacuum Facing Ultra-Orthodox Jewry

Published on: January 13, 2012 09:08 AM
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Photo illustrationJerusalem - On the top floor of a Jerusalem hospital lays a very old man. He is slowly dying, but he won’t be left in peace. A small circle of courtiers around him continue to issue in his name edicts and rulings, ensure that his signature still appears on letters and when his medical situation improves temporarily, they will remove him from hospital and seat him in his chair at the synagogue, where everyone can see him. The hospital staff grumbles that all this just prolongs the old man’s agony, but there is nothing they can do as the retinue controls all the old man’s moves.

Only a tiny handful of relatives and trustees are allowed to talk with him, and they jealously guard his real mental situation while everyone is told that he is fully lucid and talking with his family and doctors, praying and studying as normal.

This is how the great rabbis die nowadays. These were the circumstances of the last years of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, as the Chabadniks fought over him, manhandling him to the window of his study so he could wave to the crowds on Eastern Parkway, steadily deifying him as he descended into his last coma. His body died in 1994, at the age of 92, but many of his followers still believe he is with us.

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Rabbi Elazar Menachem Shach suffered similar indignities when visitors to his home in Bnei Brak were shown the volume of Talmud he was studying from, but were not told he had been on the same page for 10 years. Just before he turned 100, he was finally allowed to retreat from the public stage and given a few years of rest before he died at the age of 102.

The retainers of Kabbalist miracle-maker Yitzhak Kadouri bodily carried him to events well into his 11th decade, making sure he muttered the required incantations, shouting in his near-deaf ear the names of those to be blessed, and continued a brisk trade in his handwritten amulets until death finally liberated him from their clutches at 106.

By some accounts, 101-year-old Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, the great sage of the “Lithuanian” ultra-Orthodox community, is undergoing the same treatment as these words are being written. For months now he is being shuttled back and forth from hospital to his tiny apartment in Mea She’arim; but despite growing reports on his frailty, he still seems capable of publishing momentous rulings on the pages of Yated Ne’eman, such as the one that appeared two weeks ago forbidding Haredi men and women from participating in military or academic vocational courses under non-Haredi auspices. While there are those who treat these verdicts as the word from up on high, speculation is growing that for months now, if not years, Rabbi Elyashiv’s name has been appended to endorsements and prohibitions he has never heard of.

Modern medicine has created an intractable theological dilemma for Haredi Jewry. While it prolongs the lives of rabbis well in to their 90s and beyond, it does not guarantee soundness of mind. But how can a community brought up on the doctrine of “Da’at Torah,” rabbinical infallibility, accept that their leaders’ memory and reasoning can deteriorate. They liken their rabbis in old age to Moses, whom the Torah tells us that at the age of 120, “his eye was not darkened, nor his moisture ceased.” And above all, their mind, this god-given gift to an entire nation, surely cannot fail, only gain strength and wisdom. But that is simply not the way of the human body.

And human nature being what it is, those surrounding the great rabbis are reluctant to relinquish their meal ticket. For decades they have derived a living and social standing from a proximity to his holiness - it is too much to expect that they supply the faithful with an accurate account of the revered sage’s medical condition. To publicly admit to his physical limitations is tantamount to transferring power to a rival court.

But the inability to own up to a great rabbi’s frailness goes beyond theology and avariciousness. There is literally no replacement to this dying generation of nonagenarians and centenarians. Elyashiv earned the title “Posek Ha-dor,” the arbiter of the generation, decades ago - long before he replaced Shach as the supreme leader of the Lithuanians. But his followers have splintered into warring sects and there is no other rabbi today with such a consensus behind him.

Likewise, among the “Admorim,” the hereditary leaders of the Hassidic dynasties, there is no figure who commands respect that transcends their courts - most of them have trouble keeping even their own flock together. Lubavitch did not appoint a successor to Schneerson - how could anyone stand in the messiah’s place? Neither does the Sephardi ultra-Orthodox community have a viable candidate to fill 91-year-old Rabbi Ovadia Yosef’s gigantic shoes when the day comes. His sons are already quarreling over his estate, but none of them will command anything near the same authority and they certainly won’t allow an outsider to prevail.

And while there is no shortage of wizards, soothsayers and wonder-doers, the fierce competition between them assures that we will not see another “Zekan Ha-mekubalim,” elder of the kabbalists, after Kadouri.

Ultra-Orthodoxy is the fastest-growing demographic in the Jewish world, not just in Israel but in the United States, Canada, Britain, France and other major communities as well, but it is facing a leadership vacuum. The yeshivas are booming, the number of men with a comprehensive grounding in all fields of Torah and Talmudic learning is unprecedented in Jewish history, but their prospects of one day becoming a venerated Gadol ha-Dor, the greatest in the generation, are nil.

The younger generation of rabbis are today under a level of scrutiny their predecessors never had to undergo. The details of their personal lives and foibles are circulated on websites. Rival factions have multiple channels through which to disseminate damaging gossip and promote their own champions. The mythologization necessary in constructing the image of a gadol is impossible. The successful resurrection of the yeshivas after the ravages of the Holocaust produced thousands of charismatic and learned rabbis. The market of Torah greatness is wide open and no competitor has a chance of cornering it.

In previous generations, leading rabbis could rely on the relative ignorance of most of their followers, who could not spend decades of their own in study, but tens - if not hundreds - of thousands of Haredi men, and a small but increasing number of women, are capable today of analyzing rabbinical rulings and picking and choosing their preferred rabbi.

It is impossible to predict how the ultra-Orthodox community will evolve in this new era of choice. Will rabbis try and rival each other with excessively hardline edicts, or will there be competition with those trying to liberalize Haredi ideology, making it more compatible with a modern lifestyle? Most likely we will see both these developments simultaneously.

As the last of the generation of rabbis born in the early 20th century close their eyes, an age of rabbinical hegemony is coming to an end.



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Read Comments (81)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Jan 13, 2012 at 09:33 AM Anonymous Says:

Very well written, and so true. I remember them shlepping around Reb Yolish after his stroke. They treated him like a Puppit.

2

 Jan 13, 2012 at 09:50 AM Anonymous Says:

while it is unfortunately true that most of the older gedolom are manhandled by people around them and things are said in their name which is untrue and their signatures are put on a rediculous statements we will always have leaders and we are required to listen to them.

3

 Jan 13, 2012 at 09:50 AM Weeee Says:

We should not waste time with this article. How can he say the great men of wisdom may not be of sound mind at their ages? HK'B has granted these wonderful men with torah knowledge and an inteligence none of us can comprehend. To say they can't even think for themselves anymore is total shtuss.

4

 Jan 13, 2012 at 10:09 AM Ari Nachshoni Says:

There was no unsolicited advice here, it was a pure eye opener. Good job!

5

 Jan 13, 2012 at 10:08 AM elireb Says:

divrei emes veyatziv !!!! WHO is the author?

6

 Jan 13, 2012 at 10:08 AM Ari Nachshoni Says:

Wow! This is a good article! Who wrote this? I'm very curious to know who's masterpiece this is.

7

 Jan 13, 2012 at 10:07 AM ChachoMoe Says:

reminds me of an old stroy, a Gabai of certain admor that passed away used to celebrate his admor's yom hilllula/Yahrtziet a week earlier than the officail day. when asked why not the day he died, he replied, i was there at the time and I saw the rebbbe....
nothing new in all the above. only then no one asides the gabbai had any clue...

9

 Jan 13, 2012 at 10:03 AM Anonymous Says:

This seems like it was written either by a goy or someone who has no clue of yidishkeit.

10

 Jan 13, 2012 at 10:02 AM Ben_Kol Says:

The first part of the article ("handlers" issue pesakim in the name of gedolim who have no idea of what is going on) is very true. But the second part (about an upcoming leadarship vacuum) is just a wishful thinking on the part of Haaretz, a virulently left wing anti-religous newspaper. Of course, there are successors to R' Elyashiv SHLITO! Can anyone say "R' Chaim Kanievski"?

11

 Jan 13, 2012 at 10:01 AM Babishka Says:

Wishiful thinking by Anshel Pfeffer, who wants all the old Chachamim to pass away and nobody to take their place and all the Haredim, without leadership, give up their Yiddishkeit.

Do you think he really cares about the dignity of our beloved Chachamim? He just want them to pass away and be forgotten.

12

 Jan 13, 2012 at 10:00 AM chaimme Says:

very well written. If true it is very upsetting to see so called Rabbis writing in the name of Harav elyashiv without his direct knowlege or misquoting him.

13

 Jan 13, 2012 at 09:59 AM eighthcomment Says:

What a crocka buloney- always doomsayers and BH we always have leaders-Hashem runs the world, the transition in Mir was very smooth, and yes fighting has always been part of leadership this is not new-many of the great yeshivas and hassidic courts had internal strife for centuries-just look at R Elazar ben Azarya and R Gamliel- we don't understand much, but an oped from Haaretz is basically a last resort of jealousy at the success of Orthodox Jewry and Daas Torah- they can't stand it...

14

 Jan 13, 2012 at 10:16 AM CampRunamok Says:

The likelihood is that it has always been this way with aging Rabbonim. The difference is that now it has become much harder to maintain the myth. The videos of the L"R on the porch in 770 revealed a frail shell of the Rebbe we had seen and heard over the years and made much of the circulating mythology hard to swallow. Recent clips of askanim visiting Rav Elyashiv show him looking and sounding confused while said askan would raise his voice and make his point "mit grobbe finger". The recent forked tongue pashkevil from the Eida Charedit, coupled with much thinly veiled denial and dissembling, did not do any favors.

The Kohanim and Leviim in the Beis HaMikdosh had to retire at age 50 because they were no longer up to the physical tasks of the daily Avodah. In more recent years, many Va'adei Shubi'm have imposed mandatory retirement at age 70 for shochtim. Perhaps it is time to do similar for Rabbonei Morei Hora'ah.

15

 Jan 13, 2012 at 10:22 AM BaalMussar Says:

Only confirms, that we are now closer to the coming of Moshiach than ever, as this is one of the signs the Gemoro gives us, being in a generation that there will be no leaders. But one has to wonder why this editorial was written now, specially in a frei newspaper all of a sudden worrying about the frum leadership.

16

 Jan 13, 2012 at 10:22 AM stamm Says:

isn't there a a source that states that before Moshiach comes the yidden will be poor of leaders?
while there are less and less leaders of that stature i don't think chareidim will modernize, chas v'sholom,. there will be those that leave the fold and those that come into the fold.

17

 Jan 13, 2012 at 10:23 AM Yidele Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

Very well written, and so true. I remember them shlepping around Reb Yolish after his stroke. They treated him like a Puppit.

Da'as Baal Habayis is NOT Da'as Torah.
Judging a old age Gadol betorah must be evauated by baaley Torah and not by a Blog writer like this.
I was at the meeting of the Great Rabonim from Jerusalim at Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum Z"L (or like you call him reb Yoilish). it was in June 1978 and many gedoilay Hado'r like Harav Y. Hutner Z"L, Harav Kaminetsky Z"L. Harav Birnbaum were listening to Reb Yoilish who was 91 years with a very ill Body. But a Very Fresh Mind.
All the Rabonim there were amased how pure and fresh Reb Yolish Z"L was addressing the meeting & remembering their meetings of many years before.
if a old rebee or Yeshiva is old and has poor functioning brain. it belongs to the Baaley Torah to rule on it. Not you & not the low level people who never learned the paragraph of Chazal. "Ziknay Talmiday Chachomim, kol zemen sheMazkinim, Daatom mityashves". Ziknay Am Haaratz ...........

18

 Jan 13, 2012 at 10:24 AM Miguel Says:

OMG the truth! Run!!!!!!!

19

 Jan 13, 2012 at 10:24 AM A. N. Says:

Writer: Anshel Pfeffer writes for Ha'aretz, covering military, international and Jewish affairs. Previously, he was (2004) deputy managing editor of The Jerusalem Post. Pfeffer is of Polish Jewish extraction, and his family lived in Manchester where his first four years of formal education were spent at a small Jewish day school in northern England.

20

 Jan 13, 2012 at 10:30 AM Anonymous Says:

this artikle in "Haaretz" is for sure a write up of a "Am Haaretz". which is the opposite of a Talmid Chacham. So his opinon has no value to orthodox jews. its a opinion for Goyim and reform jews.

21

 Jan 13, 2012 at 10:32 AM Eat it Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

Very well written, and so true. I remember them shlepping around Reb Yolish after his stroke. They treated him like a Puppit.

From the way you comment it seems that you have issues with Rabbi Teitelbaums leadership, and you want to question his Pesukim by stating that they shleped him around. Unfortunately for guys like you, all the things you don't like him for, were said and written before his stroke, that people wanted to clamour to him, is also due to the fact that there were too many unfit candidates vying for his post.

22

 Jan 13, 2012 at 10:33 AM qazxc Says:

Reply to #3  
Weeee Says:

We should not waste time with this article. How can he say the great men of wisdom may not be of sound mind at their ages? HK'B has granted these wonderful men with torah knowledge and an inteligence none of us can comprehend. To say they can't even think for themselves anymore is total shtuss.

Your comment leads me to believe you might be an expert in shtus.

23

 Jan 13, 2012 at 10:40 AM qazxc Says:

Reply to #13  
eighthcomment Says:

What a crocka buloney- always doomsayers and BH we always have leaders-Hashem runs the world, the transition in Mir was very smooth, and yes fighting has always been part of leadership this is not new-many of the great yeshivas and hassidic courts had internal strife for centuries-just look at R Elazar ben Azarya and R Gamliel- we don't understand much, but an oped from Haaretz is basically a last resort of jealousy at the success of Orthodox Jewry and Daas Torah- they can't stand it...

You prove the article is correct.

You shout your fidelity to the gedolim over the internet they have banned.

24

 Jan 13, 2012 at 10:42 AM Rav Elya Svei Says:

Reply to #3  
Weeee Says:

We should not waste time with this article. How can he say the great men of wisdom may not be of sound mind at their ages? HK'B has granted these wonderful men with torah knowledge and an inteligence none of us can comprehend. To say they can't even think for themselves anymore is total shtuss.

Even though Rav Elya Had Alzheimers he was of sound mind and his Daas Torah was intact right? Ok if you beleive that i have a bridge in brooklyn to sell you.

25

 Jan 13, 2012 at 10:43 AM Anonymous Says:

Excellent, it is as sad as it is true. That is why we have heard almost no comment from the Gedolim after the disgraceful conduct that occurred the past two weeks, i.e. the spitting, the despicable donning of concentration camp inmates uniforms with yellow stars, the disrespect shown to so many Bnos Yisroel on the buses-not being "frum" does not lessen their status as a Bas Yisroel-I still cannot get the image of what seems to be a parent or older "chasid" behind the little boy with his hands up mimicking the infamous picture of the child in the Warsaw ghetto, etc. (by the way, if you access the photo and look at his face, he is beaming with "nachas" how well his kid is pulling it off-, I was and still am nauseous). Regardless, I wondered, where are the Gedolim? Now I know the answer, they are clueless, and uninformed as to what is/was going on, Excellent article.

26

 Jan 13, 2012 at 10:44 AM Erlich Says:

Great article. Must read. Divrei Emes.

27

 Jan 13, 2012 at 10:45 AM Halaivy Says:

Rav Elyashuv still gives his nightly shiur. Just because this Haaretz writter asumes that we don't have our gedolim without any reffrence to his source that dosn't mean anything.

28

 Jan 13, 2012 at 10:52 AM Reb Yid Says:

When I looked up "fiction" in the dictionary, it showed me this article. There are no sources, and at least one statement is patently false ("daas torah" doesn't mean "rabbinic infallibility", it means the gedolim are smarter than we and know more torah and have a torahdicke world view). Also, the age of Youtube gives lie to yellow journalism like this, as we can all see Rav Elyashiv talking and interacting with others like an alert godol.

29

 Jan 13, 2012 at 10:54 AM Anonymous Says:

While I can't vouch whether all that is being said in Rabbi Elyashuv's name is actually from him, I was actually at a shiur that he gave in front of over a hundred people 3 years ago when he was "only" 98 and no one was telling him what to say and people were asking him questions and he was answering them. I think his head is working better than mine at a third his age. it is just jealusy of a person who can't understand how we have Gedolim and they don't . After a certain age they just send their elderly out to pasture with an occasional visit on Father's/ Mother's day. Ziknei Am Haratzem.......

30

 Jan 13, 2012 at 11:02 AM bubii Says:

Reply to #3  
Weeee Says:

We should not waste time with this article. How can he say the great men of wisdom may not be of sound mind at their ages? HK'B has granted these wonderful men with torah knowledge and an inteligence none of us can comprehend. To say they can't even think for themselves anymore is total shtuss.

Well like it or not that is how nature operates you can protest as much as you want but it is the truth, beyond the shaddow of a doubt

31

 Jan 13, 2012 at 11:02 AM Agee58 Says:

This is from the Haaretz newspaper - take it with a grain of salt!

32

 Jan 13, 2012 at 11:03 AM Raphael_Kaufman Says:

Dor holeich v'dor bo ve ha'olam omeddes la'ad.

33

 Jan 13, 2012 at 11:07 AM jackr Says:

Reply to #3  
Weeee Says:

We should not waste time with this article. How can he say the great men of wisdom may not be of sound mind at their ages? HK'B has granted these wonderful men with torah knowledge and an inteligence none of us can comprehend. To say they can't even think for themselves anymore is total shtuss.

you are an idiot. are you really saying that jsut because a person was a Gadol BTorah at some stage of his life, he will always be of sound mind and always able to command the same cognitive process? Look around and see how people and their brains deteriorate, Gedolim are no different.

34

 Jan 13, 2012 at 11:07 AM Ina Says:

I believe this to be a well written honest article. I do not believe we have any leaders today, nor do I believe we have people who even wish to lead. We do have many who love posing for the photo ops in every weekly newspaper. However, leaders who actually step up to the plate and deal with the issues facing Orthodoxy -- well, where are they?

35

 Jan 13, 2012 at 11:26 AM Right! Says:

Having been through tough times with loved ones, I can attest that this writer knows nothing what he's talking about! This "I know he's not capable of anything" "I know he's incapacitated", "I even spoke to a doctor who told me in this state he's got no mind", is just total rubbish! People, listen here. If anybody goes into any elder man who did have a stroke and hangs out there, you can see that they are usually much more capable than these malachim doctors who "know it all". In my case, the only thing that finally made doctors treat my family member, was the videos which proved them to know NOTHING! after having been explained that he can't understand, can't feel pain, only videos proved them that their 5 minutes with the patient wasn't a sample at all of every other 5 minutes in the day.

Now If I would've heard it from lets say, hamodia, or any frum magazine with no bias against the haredim,I would've listened to it. The fact that it's haaretz, I don't have to replay their anti haredim, everybody who read any article in the 20 years I have been reading theirs, could attest that they aspire to bash and degrade anything haredi or rather frum. no grain of salt,rather a ton of salt

36

 Jan 13, 2012 at 11:47 AM qazxc Says:

Reply to #17  
Yidele Says:

Da'as Baal Habayis is NOT Da'as Torah.
Judging a old age Gadol betorah must be evauated by baaley Torah and not by a Blog writer like this.
I was at the meeting of the Great Rabonim from Jerusalim at Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum Z"L (or like you call him reb Yoilish). it was in June 1978 and many gedoilay Hado'r like Harav Y. Hutner Z"L, Harav Kaminetsky Z"L. Harav Birnbaum were listening to Reb Yoilish who was 91 years with a very ill Body. But a Very Fresh Mind.
All the Rabonim there were amased how pure and fresh Reb Yolish Z"L was addressing the meeting & remembering their meetings of many years before.
if a old rebee or Yeshiva is old and has poor functioning brain. it belongs to the Baaley Torah to rule on it. Not you & not the low level people who never learned the paragraph of Chazal. "Ziknay Talmiday Chachomim, kol zemen sheMazkinim, Daatom mityashves". Ziknay Am Haaratz ...........

Where in shas did you find the concept of daas torah hofuch medaas balabatm?

37

 Jan 13, 2012 at 12:08 PM Babishka Says:

In 1972 the Israelis were rolling out a drooling, senile Ben Gurion for Israel Bonds and other fundraising events.

38

 Jan 13, 2012 at 12:11 PM Babishka Says:

Reply to #19  
A. N. Says:

Writer: Anshel Pfeffer writes for Ha'aretz, covering military, international and Jewish affairs. Previously, he was (2004) deputy managing editor of The Jerusalem Post. Pfeffer is of Polish Jewish extraction, and his family lived in Manchester where his first four years of formal education were spent at a small Jewish day school in northern England.

Nothing in the CV of Anshel Pfeffer that you have cited shows that he has any special knowledge or expertise to write about "Haredim."

39

 Jan 13, 2012 at 12:16 PM Shtarker Says:

This article says nothing that we didn't already know. The difference is that previously we have only whispered it among ourselves, and now it's in print for everyone to read.

40

 Jan 13, 2012 at 12:18 PM TheMaven Says:

Reply to #10  
Ben_Kol Says:

The first part of the article ("handlers" issue pesakim in the name of gedolim who have no idea of what is going on) is very true. But the second part (about an upcoming leadarship vacuum) is just a wishful thinking on the part of Haaretz, a virulently left wing anti-religous newspaper. Of course, there are successors to R' Elyashiv SHLITO! Can anyone say "R' Chaim Kanievski"?

First of all, Rav Chaim shlita, zol ehr layben biz hundret un tzvontzig, ain't not youngster.
Secondly, while he does answer shailos, he is not your typical "poisek" to which people would be able to send their shailos to on a steady basis.

41

 Jan 13, 2012 at 12:26 PM Lodzker Says:

please let us remember its a halacha to give honor to the torah. a torah scholar requires this honor as well, even when the torah is removed from his mind due to frailty and becoming senile or having a stroke, he requires the same kavod he had before his stroke. thats the halacha. before going on condemning how these gedolim are "manhandled" to sit at tish or wedings or whatnot, thats the halacha.

42

 Jan 13, 2012 at 12:33 PM shredready Says:

Reply to #3  
Weeee Says:

We should not waste time with this article. How can he say the great men of wisdom may not be of sound mind at their ages? HK'B has granted these wonderful men with torah knowledge and an inteligence none of us can comprehend. To say they can't even think for themselves anymore is total shtuss.

then why do they die and get sick every person even a gadol can become diminished in their older years they are not super human just great humans

43

 Jan 13, 2012 at 12:33 PM Yazmach Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

Very well written, and so true. I remember them shlepping around Reb Yolish after his stroke. They treated him like a Puppit.

AFRE LEPIMCH

The Satmar Rebbe zt"l was the bal tefilah for misaf on Rosh Hashonah and Yom Kippur for 5000 people year in year out (they came from all over the world to hear his mussaf), you could hear a pin drop because people wanted to hear every word. That alone should tell you the state of his mind. He also was the bal tefilah for shabos mevarchim elul the last full day he was alive, there was an unusually large crowd for that shabos in kiryas yoel as if people felt this will be his last shabbos.

After his stroke he had to pull back from day to day activates (which also involved being a father mother brother and sister for the orphans of the holocaust) as result he was no longer able to hide his holiness under a mask of ordinary activates his face was aglow from kadshiah something that left a lasting impression who ever saw his face. Therefore his assistance bought him to events so people could see his holy face and hear his blessing and sometimes divri torah.

44

 Jan 13, 2012 at 12:38 PM shredready Says:

Reply to #20  
Anonymous Says:

this artikle in "Haaretz" is for sure a write up of a "Am Haaretz". which is the opposite of a Talmid Chacham. So his opinon has no value to orthodox jews. its a opinion for Goyim and reform jews.

yes because only goyim and reform Jews believe that older people including gedolem can get dementia and Alzheimer and other ailment

Orthodox Jews know that is a shtuz

45

 Jan 13, 2012 at 12:41 PM shredready Says:

Reply to #35  
Right! Says:

Having been through tough times with loved ones, I can attest that this writer knows nothing what he's talking about! This "I know he's not capable of anything" "I know he's incapacitated", "I even spoke to a doctor who told me in this state he's got no mind", is just total rubbish! People, listen here. If anybody goes into any elder man who did have a stroke and hangs out there, you can see that they are usually much more capable than these malachim doctors who "know it all". In my case, the only thing that finally made doctors treat my family member, was the videos which proved them to know NOTHING! after having been explained that he can't understand, can't feel pain, only videos proved them that their 5 minutes with the patient wasn't a sample at all of every other 5 minutes in the day.

Now If I would've heard it from lets say, hamodia, or any frum magazine with no bias against the haredim,I would've listened to it. The fact that it's haaretz, I don't have to replay their anti haredim, everybody who read any article in the 20 years I have been reading theirs, could attest that they aspire to bash and degrade anything haredi or rather frum. no grain of salt,rather a ton of salt

if I where you I would not got to a doctor since they know nothing

there has been many cases that relatives think the incapacitated person is responding and it turn out it was just muscle twitches and not a response to a question.

It is natural that a person does not want to believe when a loved one is gone but still alive

46

 Jan 13, 2012 at 01:08 PM haskail Says:

The author of this article,which I find insightfull,and soul searching,is a big Chizuk.
We all lament,the vacuum,of great leaders.We mostly hear,that,it is what is classified,as "yeridas hadoros".In other words,klal yisroel,is moving downwards,and there is no optimistic outlook,for future generations.
Here,we can come to just the opposite conclusion.Doros are contiuing to improve faster,and more rapidly,then the development of the leaders.
As average people know more,they learn more,and acquire a more broad knowledge,we don't accept so easily as Godol.
Also,as more information is available on anyone,that comes into the public eye,so is the scrutiny, more intense,and criticism is made public.
All this can be is to the good,in the long term,as more truth will be available,even tough,it may be a cause,that Gadlus should not be entrusted,to one Godol,who supposedly has a monopoly on Daas Torah.

47

 Jan 13, 2012 at 01:10 PM Unasked_Question Says:

Reply to #20  
Anonymous Says:

this artikle in "Haaretz" is for sure a write up of a "Am Haaretz". which is the opposite of a Talmid Chacham. So his opinon has no value to orthodox jews. its a opinion for Goyim and reform jews.

Did you read the article ?
If yes, I'm sure you can distinguish between "Opinions" and "Facts".

Some things in his article are unfortunately very true and imho must be addressed.
If you are looking for the truth, focus on the message not on the messenger.

And please -if I may ask- next time don't speak for me ;-)
I'm not a goy and not reform and - Jaw dropping - His opinion does have a value to me -and others- .
That does not mean that we accept his opinion, but it holds value; especially the points that has nothing to do with Halachah.

48

 Jan 13, 2012 at 01:15 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #10  
Ben_Kol Says:

The first part of the article ("handlers" issue pesakim in the name of gedolim who have no idea of what is going on) is very true. But the second part (about an upcoming leadarship vacuum) is just a wishful thinking on the part of Haaretz, a virulently left wing anti-religous newspaper. Of course, there are successors to R' Elyashiv SHLITO! Can anyone say "R' Chaim Kanievski"?

Can I tell you a little secret ???
There "is" a leadership vacuum today, it's not "Upcoming"....

( I would love to hear why the write thinks that it's upcoming )

49

 Jan 13, 2012 at 01:17 PM enlightened-yid Says:

Leave it to secular journalists from Haaretz to write an honest article about Orthodox world that the Orthodox world is otherwise treating as an elephant in the room.. The most eye opening part is where Anshel writes about proliferation of yeshiva/kollel institutions where every second guy has Torah knowledge today that previous generations had no such luxury, but with so many educated men, the system is still failing to produce Gadolim/leaders of 20th century level. So the question is, is it necessary to continue a failed system of excepting everyone to "learn" and operating basement yeshivas on every corner, or is it about time to start focusing on life and work skills to lift up the community out of chronic poverty?

51

 Jan 13, 2012 at 01:27 PM SG11224 Says:

Quite the contrary.
Just last week Rav Elyashiv w s the Sandik at my Grandsons Bris.
Nobody held his hand, nobody told him what to do and he performed
his duties quite admirably. The only thing I saw was someone holding
his walker at the ready should he need it.

Good Shabbos to all without agendas.

53

 Jan 13, 2012 at 01:44 PM Weeee Says:

Reply to #42  
shredready Says:

then why do they die and get sick every person even a gadol can become diminished in their older years they are not super human just great humans

The die because HK'B feels we have had their guidance for long enough and now he needs them by his side

54

 Jan 13, 2012 at 02:04 PM Anonymous Says:

There are at least 2 things wrong with this article, particularly as it pertains to non-Chassidic Jewry.

One is "“Da’at Torah,” rabbinical infallibility,". This is a myth. It's not that they are infallible. The Torah itself says "Asher Nasi Yecheta", not "Im Nasi Yecheta". Humans are humans. However, their Daas Torah does make them the address of choice for appropriate matters that come up.

Worse, though, is the contention that there will be no future gedolim. CH"V! There are many great Torah leaders today and one or more will eventually have to assume the mantle of leading the generation and he/they will do so well, BE"H. While the concept of "Niskatnu HaDoros" holds true, and we don't have a Moshe Rabbeinu, nor a Vilna Gaon nor a Chafetz Chaim, Hashem blesses us with Torah greats in each generation.

May Hashem redeem us all, BB"A. (Then, HaAretz will see how their secularism is bankrupt, too.)

55

 Jan 13, 2012 at 02:22 PM Babishka Says:

The "chacham" Anshel Pfeffer hut gezugt:

"Ultra-Orthodoxy is the fastest-growing demographic in the Jewish world, not just in Israel but in the United States, Canada, Britain, France and other major communities as well"

When did this become a meme? Twenty and even ten years ago, during the "National Jewish Population Survey" the secular pundits were predicting that Orthodox Jews were dwindling and dying out.

Of course when you look at an exponential growth curve it starts out very slow and then suddenly shoots up to infinity as it approaches "e"

56

 Jan 13, 2012 at 02:32 PM brooklynjew Says:

For a lie to be believed it most contain some truth, and that is exactly what this article is about...
age is a factor by some gedoilim, but to take all gedoilim and disqualify them as soon as they reach 80 or 90 is ridiculous...
All you have to do is you tube recent clips from r' elyashiv and see for yourself how he handles random questions from visitors even now in his old age...
Reb chayim's door is open to the public so I guess we are not speaking about him even though he is in his eighties...
Rav vosner sharp as a needle...
Rav ovadia answers questions day and night...
Rav shteineman, have you listened lately to his public shiurim ?...
Yes talmidai chachamim kol zman she'mazkinin daton misyasheves...
The few gedoilim who are locked in and truly are too weak to handle sheilos, the public is not stupid, most people know when rulings are manipulated by the inner circle...
A gadol even when young and in good shape must always ask outside of his inner people to find out the truth, cuz otherwise can be manipulated as well as the elders....
We believe that gedoilim have siyata dishmayeh, and more importantly klal yisrael as well...
No future for gedoilim says the article, well the torah says otherwise, dor dor v'dorshov, gedolim will match their generation, yes the various websites are a disaster, but you wanna know something, what to us might look like where do we go from here, is in heaven just another challenge for another generation...

57

 Jan 13, 2012 at 02:50 PM Sampo Severin Says:

Reply to #54  
Anonymous Says:

There are at least 2 things wrong with this article, particularly as it pertains to non-Chassidic Jewry.

One is "“Da’at Torah,” rabbinical infallibility,". This is a myth. It's not that they are infallible. The Torah itself says "Asher Nasi Yecheta", not "Im Nasi Yecheta". Humans are humans. However, their Daas Torah does make them the address of choice for appropriate matters that come up.

Worse, though, is the contention that there will be no future gedolim. CH"V! There are many great Torah leaders today and one or more will eventually have to assume the mantle of leading the generation and he/they will do so well, BE"H. While the concept of "Niskatnu HaDoros" holds true, and we don't have a Moshe Rabbeinu, nor a Vilna Gaon nor a Chafetz Chaim, Hashem blesses us with Torah greats in each generation.

May Hashem redeem us all, BB"A. (Then, HaAretz will see how their secularism is bankrupt, too.)

"One is 'Da’at Torah', rabbinical infallibility,"

Is "rabbinical infallibility" the same as papal infallibility? For myself, I have never hard before of this nonsense being applied to Judaism.

58

 Jan 13, 2012 at 03:02 PM shredready Says:

Reply to #41  
Lodzker Says:

please let us remember its a halacha to give honor to the torah. a torah scholar requires this honor as well, even when the torah is removed from his mind due to frailty and becoming senile or having a stroke, he requires the same kavod he had before his stroke. thats the halacha. before going on condemning how these gedolim are "manhandled" to sit at tish or wedings or whatnot, thats the halacha.

respect yes

putting your head in the sand no

if true the manhandles and the ones who are disrespecting him

59

 Jan 13, 2012 at 03:07 PM shredready Says:

Reply to #49  
enlightened-yid Says:

Leave it to secular journalists from Haaretz to write an honest article about Orthodox world that the Orthodox world is otherwise treating as an elephant in the room.. The most eye opening part is where Anshel writes about proliferation of yeshiva/kollel institutions where every second guy has Torah knowledge today that previous generations had no such luxury, but with so many educated men, the system is still failing to produce Gadolim/leaders of 20th century level. So the question is, is it necessary to continue a failed system of excepting everyone to "learn" and operating basement yeshivas on every corner, or is it about time to start focusing on life and work skills to lift up the community out of chronic poverty?

true

just like everybody can play baseball, but not everybody can make a living and become a major leaguer

learn yes , but why not go out and earn a living if one cannot earn a living from Torah.

learn before one goes to work or after work just like some people wake up 5am to go to the gym or after work to go to a gym

unfortunately many in kollel treat it as a 9-5 job

60

 Jan 13, 2012 at 03:10 PM shredready Says:

Reply to #53  
Weeee Says:

The die because HK'B feels we have had their guidance for long enough and now he needs them by his side

so no gadol ever got sick, never became senile never ever had dementia or Alzheimer?

Please to ignore the signs just because one is considerer a gadol is foolish

61

 Jan 13, 2012 at 04:05 PM belzer gabbai Says:

Wow!!! It's been a while since I read such a good article. I never heard of the author before, but let me tell you: every word is worth a kiss.
What I think is going to happen is there'll be those who will go on without a rebbe such as lubavich, breslov and bnei yoel, who seem to do quite well, and then there'll be those who don't want t be forced to make decisions and would rather follow a rebbe blindly. Either way is fine, in my opinion.

62

 Jan 14, 2012 at 11:58 AM NeveAliza Says:

The article is 100% emesh and the background of the writer has nothing to do with his ability of pointing out the truth.

63

 Jan 14, 2012 at 12:14 PM Partially correct Says:

There are definitely Gefokim who have been propped us as leaders even when they were no longer fully capable.
And there are definitely Gedolim who made it to their centenaries with completely sound minds.

Even not assuming Divine special care of Gedolim, this is true of any group of octo-nona genarians.
as to what the case is with Rav Elyashiv, go see for yourself. If you really care. Relying on rumors or on Anshel Pfeffer is stupid.
As far as the many comments about us "having no leaders", my observation has taught me that what ppl really mean is "no leaders who think exactly like ME".
That is indeed a problem bit only for YOU. you don't really want a leader, u want someone to prop up as a leader, so u can be the "handler".
Basic hypocrisy.

Actual leaders of an entire generation have rarely existed and that's probably a good thing.
We Jews are too heterogenous to be put in a single box.
Local leaders, court leaders are definitely the way to go until moshiach arrives.
There is also no doubt

64

 Jan 14, 2012 at 03:00 PM Berl Says:

Reply to #10  
Ben_Kol Says:

The first part of the article ("handlers" issue pesakim in the name of gedolim who have no idea of what is going on) is very true. But the second part (about an upcoming leadarship vacuum) is just a wishful thinking on the part of Haaretz, a virulently left wing anti-religous newspaper. Of course, there are successors to R' Elyashiv SHLITO! Can anyone say "R' Chaim Kanievski"?

R' Chaim Kanievsky is a Gadol BUT that does not make him a Posek like Rav Eliashiv, his father in law sat for many years as a Dayan on a Beis Din along with Rav Ovadiah Yosef, this is where he got his credentials as a Posek . R' Chaim NEVER held an official position, and to top it all off R' Chaim is also old and not in the best of health.
I remember at the Levayah of Rav Aharon Kotler, HaRav Leizer Silver zt"l the Legendary Rav of Cincinatti Ohio, a Torah Giant, head of Agudas HaRabbonim of the USA AND Canada, Posek and rescuer of thousands of Jews from the Holocaust gave a hesped and said, "The Chofetz Chaim is no longer with us, Rav Chaim Ozer is no longer with us, Rav Aharon is gone and I am growing old!"

65

 Jan 14, 2012 at 07:16 PM Anonymous Says:

Actually I'm not surprised that this site has published this article - written by a secular Israeli who has chosen to study and write about haredim for a living (it's certainly easier and less peer-reviewed than economics). I'm even less surprised at the comments that support it, whilst seeking yet another opportunity to cast spertions on Orthodox Jewish leaders. These comments come from people who clearly have never spent time in the company of true gedolim, or who would even wish to, yet revel in the opportunity to sound off against them. I wonder how they justify calling themselves religious at all, or is their knowledge of Torah so minimal that they find no contradiction between their knowledge and their actions?

66

 Jan 14, 2012 at 09:32 PM Darth_Zeidah Says:

Reply to #62  
NeveAliza Says:

The article is 100% emesh and the background of the writer has nothing to do with his ability of pointing out the truth.

"The article is 100% emesh ..."

That much is true; it was, after all, published the day before yesterday!

67

 Jan 14, 2012 at 09:19 PM bigwheeel Says:

Reply to #11  
Babishka Says:

Wishiful thinking by Anshel Pfeffer, who wants all the old Chachamim to pass away and nobody to take their place and all the Haredim, without leadership, give up their Yiddishkeit.

Do you think he really cares about the dignity of our beloved Chachamim? He just want them to pass away and be forgotten.

You are usually on point. That leaves me wondering why you say so. Do you know Anshil Feffer personally?! Imh"o, he gives a very realistic assessment of the present day situation and how it changed in the past Fifty Years.

68

 Jan 14, 2012 at 09:10 PM bigwheeel Says:

Reply to #3  
Weeee Says:

We should not waste time with this article. How can he say the great men of wisdom may not be of sound mind at their ages? HK'B has granted these wonderful men with torah knowledge and an inteligence none of us can comprehend. To say they can't even think for themselves anymore is total shtuss.

You obviously missed the point of this article. (Or have an ax to grind.) It is an attempt to give a very realistic assessment of the present day situation in the Torah world. Some will say (As the poster I'm responding to.) that it displays irreverence for Torah. Or, worse, heretic opinions. But most of those, have a personal interest in preserving the present status. Every objective observer will have to agree with most of the points raised.

69

 Jan 14, 2012 at 10:12 PM esther Says:

Reply to #65  
Anonymous Says:

Actually I'm not surprised that this site has published this article - written by a secular Israeli who has chosen to study and write about haredim for a living (it's certainly easier and less peer-reviewed than economics). I'm even less surprised at the comments that support it, whilst seeking yet another opportunity to cast spertions on Orthodox Jewish leaders. These comments come from people who clearly have never spent time in the company of true gedolim, or who would even wish to, yet revel in the opportunity to sound off against them. I wonder how they justify calling themselves religious at all, or is their knowledge of Torah so minimal that they find no contradiction between their knowledge and their actions?

i am surprised.maybe i'm just being naive.even if the author has certain points correct,he is obviously,very obviously,coming from a place of total disdain for frumkait and the fact that it is dispalcing his liberal,huamnistic type of judaism.i see there can be self haters even amongst the frum.

70

 Jan 14, 2012 at 11:26 PM ladyruth Says:

Reply to #10  
Ben_Kol Says:

The first part of the article ("handlers" issue pesakim in the name of gedolim who have no idea of what is going on) is very true. But the second part (about an upcoming leadarship vacuum) is just a wishful thinking on the part of Haaretz, a virulently left wing anti-religous newspaper. Of course, there are successors to R' Elyashiv SHLITO! Can anyone say "R' Chaim Kanievski"?

Also consider Rav Zalman Nechemia Goldberg as gadol hador. He is the son in law of Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach who highly esteemed him Rav Goldberg is modest, kind , sensitive and a mensh as well as being a big talmid hacham according to many including his in laws.
His wife's brother, Rav Azriel , was married to Leah Elyashiv Auerbach. .

71

 Jan 15, 2012 at 11:08 AM Aarons Says:

This was written by somone that worked inside one of the rabbis home; he knows the real story; it is like that everywhere; it's the only way to make $$$$ the world today use rabbi's as tzedukah

72

 Jan 15, 2012 at 11:27 AM yeshaya Says:

The problem is in the current ideology of Daas Torah, which needs to be completely re-thought. The ideology is basically that there is a gadol hador and a small group of gedolim, and no one else's opinion on anything -- halachic or otherwise -- matters. A rabbi even claimed recently that no one has a right to even ask gedolim to explain their rulings or other opinions. The problem is that the halachic or traditional basis for such extreme positions are non-existent. Even Rabbi Moshe Feinstein said that his rulings shouldn't be given any more weight than what they deserve based on their reasoning. The model of leadership in the frum world should not be blind allegiance to whatever is said in the name of gedolim, but rather courage and reasonable discussion explaining one's positions. All people have something valuable to say -- Chazal say we should learn from every person -- and leadership can be exercised even by younger rabbis. The Chafetz Chaim rules (Sefer HaMitzvot HaKitzur, negative mitzvah 64) a judge should "have a strong, fearless heart to rescue an exploited or victimized person from the one who oppresses him." What we need is for everyone to speak up and do what's right.

73

 Jan 15, 2012 at 01:01 PM expatriate Says:

The late Anshel Pfeffer the writers grandfather lived in a large house in Brantwood Road Salford UK. His house was always open for everyone. His father R Yaakov was the gabai of the Machzikei Hadas and brought R D Z Shneebalg to be dayan there and attended his shiur nightly. He also provided the ground plot for the present building. He also was the gabai of the MH Cheder which he supported from his own money. His own house in Broom Lane when he died he left for the Chinuch Neorim cheder which was originally only next door.
How is it that people with so many mitvot under them have such grandchildren.

74

 Jan 15, 2012 at 11:02 PM Chaptz-eihm Says:

this was written by an antisemitic feeling person, just to degrade the value of our sages.. some of the points are correct.. but the agenda is very bad..

75

 Jan 15, 2012 at 11:11 PM Chaptz-eihm Says:

Reply to #64  
Berl Says:

R' Chaim Kanievsky is a Gadol BUT that does not make him a Posek like Rav Eliashiv, his father in law sat for many years as a Dayan on a Beis Din along with Rav Ovadiah Yosef, this is where he got his credentials as a Posek . R' Chaim NEVER held an official position, and to top it all off R' Chaim is also old and not in the best of health.
I remember at the Levayah of Rav Aharon Kotler, HaRav Leizer Silver zt"l the Legendary Rav of Cincinatti Ohio, a Torah Giant, head of Agudas HaRabbonim of the USA AND Canada, Posek and rescuer of thousands of Jews from the Holocaust gave a hesped and said, "The Chofetz Chaim is no longer with us, Rav Chaim Ozer is no longer with us, Rav Aharon is gone and I am growing old!"

Berl, what year did Reb Aharon Niftar? and what year did did Reb Leizer Silver Niftar? and where was this in US or Eretz Yisrueil? and BTW how old were you at the time?

76

 Jan 15, 2012 at 11:33 PM Eli32 Says:

Reply to #3  
Weeee Says:

We should not waste time with this article. How can he say the great men of wisdom may not be of sound mind at their ages? HK'B has granted these wonderful men with torah knowledge and an inteligence none of us can comprehend. To say they can't even think for themselves anymore is total shtuss.

There are 13 ikrei emunah. Where is teh one that says ani maamin that gdolim are not subject to the diseases of old age, including Alzheimers, senility, and dementia. Obviously to make a GENERAL statement that no gdolim can think for themselves in their old age is shtus. Just as foolish is to make up your own belief system that they always CAN think fo rthemselves. What, a tzadik can have diabetes, cancer, or heart disease, but his brain defies medicine?

77

 Jan 15, 2012 at 11:35 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #31  
Agee58 Says:

This is from the Haaretz newspaper - take it with a grain of salt!

Do you take weather forecastas with a grain of salt if they are in Haaretz. What is there to debate? Speak to doctors who hav etreated gdolim. They have the same medical problems that other 80 and 90 year old people do. The fact that this is NEWS is strange to me.

78

 Jan 15, 2012 at 11:41 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #65  
Anonymous Says:

Actually I'm not surprised that this site has published this article - written by a secular Israeli who has chosen to study and write about haredim for a living (it's certainly easier and less peer-reviewed than economics). I'm even less surprised at the comments that support it, whilst seeking yet another opportunity to cast spertions on Orthodox Jewish leaders. These comments come from people who clearly have never spent time in the company of true gedolim, or who would even wish to, yet revel in the opportunity to sound off against them. I wonder how they justify calling themselves religious at all, or is their knowledge of Torah so minimal that they find no contradiction between their knowledge and their actions?

SO you think that 95 year old men are at teh prime of their life and learning? Really? Think of gdolim of teh last 30 years. Did any of them give phenomenal shiurim with lomdus in their 90s? Did they give phenomenal shiurim in their 50s? You know the answer. Our faculties degrade with time. If you mamish think they are nviim, then fine. But you know full well taht Roshei Yeshiva who live into their 90s are rememebered for their shiurim and reaosning of many years earlier. Now, when it comes to tzidkus etc, that may be more when they are older -- I don't know, only HKBH knows. True gdolim aren't immune to old age.

79

 Jan 15, 2012 at 11:45 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #68  
bigwheeel Says:

You obviously missed the point of this article. (Or have an ax to grind.) It is an attempt to give a very realistic assessment of the present day situation in the Torah world. Some will say (As the poster I'm responding to.) that it displays irreverence for Torah. Or, worse, heretic opinions. But most of those, have a personal interest in preserving the present status. Every objective observer will have to agree with most of the points raised.

I agree, but I would point out that it is possible to be irreverant yet objective. Irreverant means lacking reverance. I don't think the writer necessarily has the same kavod for torah that I do, or the same reverence and awe. But lack of reverence isn't the same as hatred or being a laitz (making fun). So the witer MAY in fact be irreverant yet correct nonetheless...

80

 Jan 16, 2012 at 12:00 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #57  
Sampo Severin Says:

"One is 'Da’at Torah', rabbinical infallibility,"

Is "rabbinical infallibility" the same as papal infallibility? For myself, I have never hard before of this nonsense being applied to Judaism.

I'm going to say somethingwhich surprised me when I learned it, but it is true. Catholics did NOT believe in Papal Infallibility until the First Vatican Council voted (and it was a close vote) in July 1870. Guess what led to the belief of infallibility? Most histoprians believe that it was the fact that the Vatican was losing physical control of its territory, as Italy (the modern state) came into being. So as they lost the ability to physically force peole to submit to their authority, the leaders of Chris-ianity created infallibility to essentially say "either you are in or you are out". It is a fact that the use of the term Daas Torah to describe a form of infallibility ocurred soon after. Two questions for those ho believe in Daas Torah as infallibility: (1) Did Bais Shammai AND Bais Hillel both have Daas ToraH? (2) In which Mishna, Gemora, or braissa, is a dispute resolved by determining which one had daas torah?
Da'as Torah means a mindset informed by Torah. There are thousands of people who have Daas Torah. That is what Daas Torah refers to when used by anyone befor ethe 20th century.

81

 Jan 16, 2012 at 12:06 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #54  
Anonymous Says:

There are at least 2 things wrong with this article, particularly as it pertains to non-Chassidic Jewry.

One is "“Da’at Torah,” rabbinical infallibility,". This is a myth. It's not that they are infallible. The Torah itself says "Asher Nasi Yecheta", not "Im Nasi Yecheta". Humans are humans. However, their Daas Torah does make them the address of choice for appropriate matters that come up.

Worse, though, is the contention that there will be no future gedolim. CH"V! There are many great Torah leaders today and one or more will eventually have to assume the mantle of leading the generation and he/they will do so well, BE"H. While the concept of "Niskatnu HaDoros" holds true, and we don't have a Moshe Rabbeinu, nor a Vilna Gaon nor a Chafetz Chaim, Hashem blesses us with Torah greats in each generation.

May Hashem redeem us all, BB"A. (Then, HaAretz will see how their secularism is bankrupt, too.)

You say Daas Torah doesn't mean infallibility, just that they are the 'address of choice'. That is a semantic difference. I was told by my rebbi in yeshiva that when Rav Shach condemned Lubavitch, I had to dislike Lubavitch too. When people who donlt agree with a political pronouncement of certain gdolim are considered to be kofer beikar, you shoudl realize that word games about how you don't really think that gdolim are infallible are silly. To be more precise, maybe YOU don't believe that they are infallible. But that is not the mainstream view. (Again, if you mean that they are THEORETICALLY infallible, bu I can go to gehennim if I vote for a political party npt endorsed by the gdolim whom you identify, then you have identified your choice of gdolim as infallible)

82

 Jan 16, 2012 at 12:09 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #41  
Lodzker Says:

please let us remember its a halacha to give honor to the torah. a torah scholar requires this honor as well, even when the torah is removed from his mind due to frailty and becoming senile or having a stroke, he requires the same kavod he had before his stroke. thats the halacha. before going on condemning how these gedolim are "manhandled" to sit at tish or wedings or whatnot, thats the halacha.

It is not kavod and dignity to prop someone up and dance around him. It is sickening, actually. It is a halacha to honor ALL old people. Go into an old age home, take senile people, and prop them up, bring them to a table, so everyone can sing at them instead of letting them go to sleep. Sorry, It's just NOT kavod habrios to do that to an elder, talmid chochom or not.

83

 Jan 16, 2012 at 12:11 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #9  
Anonymous Says:

This seems like it was written either by a goy or someone who has no clue of yidishkeit.

RIght, because anyone who challenges you to think must be a goy. I guess I'm a goy sheshovus. I should tell my chavrusa.....

84

 Jan 16, 2012 at 01:46 PM Bartley_Kulp Says:

Reply to #44  
shredready Says:

yes because only goyim and reform Jews believe that older people including gedolem can get dementia and Alzheimer and other ailment

Orthodox Jews know that is a shtuz

These are not issues involving belief. They are medical facts and gedolei Yisrael are no differant medically than anybody else. When they get sick (yes they do get sick just like the peblicite) they go to doctors. Brain shrinkage is a medical condition that effects most elderly. Dementia and the like are medical conditions that gedolei Yisrael are not immune from. Nor are they immune from clinical depression any more than other people are.

85

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