Thursday, September 01, 2011

// // 16 comments

Not the Time for Silence

Reprinted with permission.  Our good friend Rabbi Lazer Brody, shlita wrote this very important article on his blog, Lazer Beams.  It’s a very powerful statement for our time for every Jew to read, but especially those in religious community.

Not the Time for Silence, by Rabbi Lazer Brody, shlita

Yesterday evening, we ushered in the new month of Elul, the month of teshuva and the last month of the Jewish New Year. This was the day that Moses began his 40-day prayer stint atop Mount Sinai, begging Hashem to forgive the Children of Israel for the golden calf fiasco. The forty days ended on Yom Kippur, when Hashem told Moses, salachti kidvarecha - "I have forgiven as you have requested."

Yesterday I met with one of Israel's leading rabbis. I asked him, "Honorable Rabbi, why are all our spiritual leaders silent in the face of everything our people are facing now? Why don't they get up and speak? Why are you silent?"

The Rabbi answered me, "Our people are broken. They can't stomach any chastising now. We shouldn't speak if they won't listen. Besides, it will only make things worse."

I humbly disagreed. I told the Rabbi that in the army, the only way to bring a shell-shocked soldier out of his stupor is to slap him in the face. I also told him that in my humble opinion, all our troubles are the result of continued intramural hatred. Sure, there are so many wonderful things about our people - their Torah, the thousands of new BTs, mutual aid societies of every shape and form. But, the petty jealousies and the stupid infighting are still there - both of which are manifestations of lack of emuna. The Rabbi shrugged, indicating that the discussion was over.

Business as usual? Yesterday, we lost another magnificent tzaddik, Rabbi Moshe Yosef Reichenberg of Monsey, of blessed memory. Rabbi Reichenberg gave his life trying to save a child who in all likelihood he didn't even know. This was an act of the greatest form of ahavat Yisrael that can be. I have no doubt that Rabbi Reichenberg has already been ushered in the highest portals of Gan Eden.

Leiby Kletzky, Baba Elazar, and now Rabbi Moshe Yosef Reichenberg, all of saintly and blessed memory. Who needs more martyrs? Sorry Rabbi, I'm tired of funerals and Katyusha rockets. And what aboutSyria's doomsday arsenal of the most unthinkable deadly chemical warheads, all aimed at us? And what about a whole new stream ofweapons pouring into Gaza from Libya? And what about the new wave of terror from Egypt and from the so-called Palestinian Authority? And what about the continued bombing of Israel's south? And what about Egypt's new regime that also wants to destroy us, starting with Eilat? And what about the back-to-back earthquake and hurricane in the USA? Is Hashem not raising the volume to make us listen? In 3 short weeks, the nations of the world will try to delegitimize our country by recognizing our enemy's so-called right to a homeland on our tiny piece of G-d given real estate. Do you know what that means? How can you be quiet?

Honorable Rabbi, with such a stormy start of Elul, you - who so many people look up to - can no longer be quiet. As a leader of our people, it's your task to raise your voice even if it's not the most popular thing to do right now. Now is a time for action. Being frum doesn't help much if you turn your nose up at a dark-skinned Jew. When Rabbi Moshe Yosef Reichenberg jumped out of his car in the middle of a hurricane to save a little boy, he didn't ask the injured lad what shtiebel his father davened in. Rabbi Moshe Yosef acted like Hashem's bravest commando. That's how we all must act - with dedication and willingness to risk everything for a fellow Jew, no matter who he or she is.

I'm sorry, Rabbi. You have forgotten more Torah than I have learned. I am dust at your shoes. But I'm sick of the sacrifices and sick of seeing my neighbors wince every time they hear a siren. Hashem expects us to cry out in behalf of our people and to repair what we need to repair. That's exactly what Moshe Rabbenu did for the 40 days that begin today. Please forgive my insolence, Honorable Rabbi, but this is not the time for silence. 

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Regarding the supposedly saintly Baba Elazar:

http://parsha.blogspot.com/2011/08/was-baba-elazar-con-artist.html

tal said...

sorry. this article by r' brody is the height of insolence and arrogance. b'emet hashem yerachem aleinu.

Dov Bar-Leib said...

Amazing, Rav Brody did not even mention his name and somehow it is the height of "insolence and arrogance". He did not even mention all of our collective sins that need to be cleansed, most of them in the area of basic human decency. And we dare not speak of them and what has to be done. Since I do not care anymore about whose big toe I might step on, let me mention one. It is obvious with all of these problems with Gaza, that the unilateral evacuation was an abysmal failure. It bought us about two weeks of international admiration, and then they started demanding more. Hamas took over Gaza, and is now importing through its open border with Egypt uncountable amounts of missiles with ranges that I am sure can reach Tel Aviv. And this Iron Dome, well sometimes it works, but when G-d decides to send a message, it does not work. A week or two ago, G-d decided to send a message. Three missiles got through to targets in Ashdod from the precise place in northern Gaza where 4 yishuvim peacefully existed over 6 years ago. The missiles had eyes. Two of them hit religious institutions of one of the outfits that enabled Sharon's disengagement coalition when his government was about to collapse. Just another coincidence for those who prefer to remain blind. Will the Rebbe of this religious outfit do a Cheshbon HaNefesh for putting a quarter of a million people in imminent danger of long range missile fire? I guess if this "great Rabbi" gets his way, no one will bother to talk about it. Again I am not mentioning any names except if you do some research into the public record, you will figure out about whom I am writing. By the way because so many people were placed in harm's way from the evacuations, the teshuvah will have to be very public for those who enabled Sharon in anyway whatsoever. So we may as well continue to talk about the teshuva that is needed as publicly as we possibly can.

Efraim B. said...

This is straight to the point from another commenter where Rabbi Brody's post originally was published:

Dear Rabbi Brody:

The Honorable Rabbi who you quoted sees things one way and you see things another way.

Emotionally, I'm with you concerning this issue but nevertheless I would defer to the Rabbi's point of view because you have told us that he is one of Israel's leading Rabbis. This means that it is assumed that he see things more clearly than we do.

This is no small point, Reb Lazer. The whole basis of Daas Torah and emunas chachomim rests on this.

How is it possible for a person to come to any level of emunas chacomim if his bottom line is always going to be how "he" sees things?

Emunas chachomim is not about picking and choosing according to our view of the world. It's about accepting the view of the Gedolai HaTorah even when we totally disagree with them.

Everybody and his cousin holds this to be true, Reb Lazer, and so should you.

Meir Zev Mark
EmunahSpeak.blogspot.com

Akiva said...

In response to the comment of Meir left by Efraim...

Emunas Chachamim is not nevua nor even ruach hakodesh. We do not believe in the infallibility of our leaders. Further, if the Gemora teaches us nothing else, it's that different leaders (and even the little people) bring different positions. What is the emunas chachamim when one leader says left and other says right? (We see that frequently in this time with HaRav Ovadia Yosef, shlita on one side and HaRav Elishav, shlita, on the other.

If you hold by one aren't you dismissing the other???

We are not bound by everyone's sheeta, only our rav's.

Dov Bar-Leib said...

I profoundly disagree with Mr. Meir Zev Mark. We as individuals have to find for ourselves a Rav and stick with him, accepting his teshuvahs and his piskei din. A Rav is not chosen for us. We have to seek him out. There is no one Gadol HaDor today in the Ashkenazic world. We are in the post Achronic era in large part because the Shoah shattered our world. I truly believe that those gedolim who have concerned themselves with being decent mentschen and having decent human beings as Talmidim, and then proceeded to teach their Talmidim Torah will be the leaders of the Sanhedrin when Mashiach comes. Human decency is kadmah to the Torah. Without it the Torah is worthless. With it, the Torah is built on a level foundation not a pile of sand. May I suggest that someone like the Admor of Sadigora is potentially the Gedol HaDor for Ashkenazim when Mashiach comes. There are many others. I am just mentioning one. Emunat Chachamim is for men who can see straight because they are decent first, and their Torah depth is built upon that. They can see most clearly because their Torah is built on a level foundation. Now the Admor of Sadigora is not my Rav, but if he ever told me something that I needed to know, I would believe him because of the above reason.

Efraim B. said...

Emunas Chachamim has nothing to do with nevua or ruach hakodesh. it is simply knowing one's place. Different positions among leaders do not pose a contradiction to emunas chachamim and holding by one in no way dismisses the other. This is such a fundamental pillar of Judaism that to wipe it away with sweeping self-righteous declarations is breathtaking and frankly much more destructive to our people than any political considerations. Yes, so much is going on in the world, but how are we to view it? With the eyes of whom? Especially in a time of no answers, emunas chachamim is paramount, without it we have nothing and are nothing. To make a sweeping supra-historical statement of my own, the test of emunas chachamim is THE test of our generation. Mi v'mi ya'amod b'zeh?! There seems to be a very basic misunderstanding of exactly what emunas chachamim is. It is actually quite simple, but volumes could be written on it. A person needs to know his/her place--a intolerable statement for one with arrogance. Only writing this to make this point a matter of record for people to know that there is a choice. To leave Rabbi Brody's article stand alone on an internet forum, or worse, to give it credence, would be cruel to those readers who really don't know better. And shame on those who do!

Akiva said...

Efraim, you present a strong position. If you can source it and would like to write an article explaining the position, I'd be glad to accept it as a guest post on the blog. While I understand this is a strong cultural position in much of frum society, I'd love to see the sources for it.

Gibbo said...

Wait a minute do our prophets not tell us that before Mashiach comes there will be no true leaders, just our Father in Heaven??!! So let us rejoice that the time is near!!!! There are no true leaders now.
On another note I have to agree with Dov (sadly I must add) and I dont care on whose toe I step on either, enough is enough. Everything reeks of money and misplaced diplomacy & appeasement. I was not in favour of the Glen Beck event but after hearing him speak it makes you wonder why on earth do our leaders not have what it takes to stand up and tell it as it is and have enough emunah in Hashem to know that He is with us!! It annoys me that I have to get goosebumps and tearfull with emotion at hearing a goy speak instead of our leaders. The most shocking thing is that everything we speak about and everything we see I have to ask WHY DONT OUR RABBIS SEE IT TOO? If an ignorant yid like me can see it why dont they? Its really shocking.

Efraim B. said...

Akiva, you are 100% right to ask for sources. Thanks for the offer to write an article, but there are countless others more qualified who could write it in an appropriate way. While sources abound, not sure it would prove anything since after all, we are talking about an issue of emunah, not only in our chachamim, but HaShem HImself. (Didn't Rebbe Nachman say that the Eibishter is running the world now better than ever?) Emunas chachamim is not an opinion or cultural nuance, but rather a bedrock foundation of Torah Judaism. For instance, try to bring sources to prove that "derech eretz kadma Torah." It can be done, but you would be preaching to the converted. I will say this though, these times are so complicated and dark that given the disunity in general, a leader or three raising their voices would promote more disunity, not less, perhaps even leading to civil war. It is not possible right now for even our rabbanim to band together with a unified voice (it will happen in the future, hopefully soon). It is now simply left for each and every one of us to choose, alone, where we stand as we greet Mashiach. It is all about free choice (not coercion). As our earlier chachamim foretold, the turbulence is so great on the physical and spiritual level right now, with nowhere to turn for clear answers including from our leaders (much like pre-during-post shoah, chas v'shalom). This does not diminish or contradict the principle of emunas chachamim in the least. On the contrary, davka during these times we dare not let go. EVERYTHING depends on hanging on. I think every Jew knows this deep down, it is just a profoundly confusing time. Chas v'shalom someone should influence others to let go. Adaraba, encourage them to hang on to our sages, the collective "Moshe Rabbeinu" whoever they may be, sephardi, ashkenazi, etc etc. until Mashiach himself is revealed. To throw an out of context accusation at this unnamed Gadol of turning up his nose at a "dark skinned Jew" is incitement, unfairly firing up people to stumble and cut themselves off from the very place they need to be bound. Our rabbis do see. They just may not choose to respond in the way our worldview dictates.

Your blog is important and I am only writing for the sake of injecting an element of free choice here on a loaded issue for the many readers who log on without comment, but nonetheless look for clarity. Sorry for the length. Shabbat Shalom.

Efraim B. said...

Akiva, you are 100% right to ask for sources. Thanks for the offer to write an article, but there are countless others more qualified who could write it in the appropriate way. While sources abound, not sure it would prove anything since after all, we are talking about an issue of emunah, not only in our chachamim, but HaShem HImself. (Didn't Rebbe Nachman say the Eibishter running the world better than ever?) Emunas chachamim is not an opinion or cultural nuance, but rather a bedrock foundation of Torah Judaism. For instance, try to bring sources to prove that "derech eretz kadma Torah." It can be done, but it is preaching to the converted. I will say this though, these times are so complicated and dark that given the disunity in general, a leader or three raising their voices would promote more disunity, not less. It is not possible right now for even our rabbanim to band together with a unified voice (it will happen in the future, hopefully soon). It is now simply left for each and every one of us to choose, alone, where we stand as we greet Mashiach. That is the test. It is all about free choice (not coercion). As our earlier chachamim foretold, the turbulence is so great on the physical and spiritual level right now, with nowhere to turn for clear answers including from our leaders (much like pre-during-post shoah, chas v'shalom). This does not diminish or contradict the principle of emunas chachamim in the least. On the contrary, davka during these times we dare not let go. EVERYTHING depends on hanging on. I think every Jew know this deep down, it is just a profoundly confusing time. Chas v'shalom someone should influence others to let go. Adaraba, encourage them to hang on to our sages, the collective "Moshe Rabbeinu" whoever they may be, sephardi, ashkenazi, etc etc. until Mashiach himself is revealed. To throw an out of context accusation at this unnamed Gadol of turning up his nose at a "dark skinned Jew" is incitement, unfairly firing up people to stumble and cut themselves off from the very place they need to be bound. Our rabbis do see. They just may not choose to respond in the way our world-view dictates.

Your blog is important and I am only writing for the sake of injecting an element of free choice here on a loaded issue to the many readers who log on without comment, but are influenced one way or the other. Sorry for the length. Shabbat Shalom and may we all receive Mashiach with true yishuv hadaat.

Shiloh said...

Gibbo, that is correct about our faithless leaders according to the Tanach.

Dov, it's amazing how you assume who the Mashiach will choose. I will bet he surely won't have anything much to do with the talmudics. Take that to the bank.

Dov Bar-Leib said...

Shilo, we have an Oral Torah which is as essential as our Written Torah. Sadly in this post-Achronic Era, the main choice of every individual Jew is to understand what human decency is. We cannot depend upon those who know a lot of Torah to have figured it out. Yet, many Chachamim have figured it out, and they are our true leaders and the Rabbaim that we should choose to be our Rabbaim. I will not argue the veracity of the Oral Torah with a modern day Karaite such as yourself. Otherwise blessings to all Jews who care about decency. The next month and a half will be a tipping point in world history.

Anonymous said...

I don't think Rav Lazer has a lack of emunas chachomim. However, the article certainly gives the impression that one can disagree, disregard and be disrespectful with a big Rav. Rav Lazer even mentions that he is dust at this Rav's feet. If he would have said that his Rav or Rabonim do not agree with this Rav then that would have been fine. However, the readers of the "Beams" and now "Mystical Paths" are under the impression that one can disagree, disregard and be disrespectful of any Rav even a very big one.
I suggest that both the "beams" and "mpaths" remove this article and provide a very big explanation - not just in the comment field. Causing the public to sin is not a small sin and no Rav is too big to make mistakes and correct them.

Shiloh said...

Dov, there is no point in arguing the point of the validity of the Oral Torah, we can wait hopefully for the mess to clear then we will know for sure. Just to make it clear, I am NOT a Karaite for your information (they don't like me either as I pointed out their shortcomings too). I don't ignore the Talmud, for me it's simply not from haShem (I know what the Jerusalem Talmud say's about those like me, so I don't care what the Babylonian Talmud states about my opinion), but there is some incredible wisdom when it does not contradict the written Torah. I prefer Moshe for my instruction, not men who have added to it and contradict it. Hope you understand that I prefer this path. You do as you wish and I hope it blesses you in every way.

Yes, you are right, many do get it, as I have talked to many Ultra Orthodox rabbi's (I am surrounded by them daily by the way) who now really get it. But Dov, for me, even if they get it, they still promote a system that I believe strongly is against what Moshe taught in certain aspects. Let's leave it alone at that and let the Mashiach clean it up, deal. When it all shakes out, and much is corrected then probably we both will adjust our views somewhat. I do believe that Akiva will owe me a shwarma though. (;-) You can go for the same deal too.

Have a great week.

Shiloh said...

Last annon, why disregard or delete this information? What, the rabbi's are holier then the pope? They make big mistakes too. You and the rest of the world will answer directly to haShem on judgement day. It is you who is responsible for your derech, not the faithless shephards leading the sheep astray. Search and question everything and everyone. Especially today.

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