Sunday, May 13, 2012

Lashon Hara About Gedolim

Recently, I was involved in something and I became aware of the statement of a well known gadol which I found [if my hunch is correct] to be beneath contempt. I was SHOCKED. Of course he has many redeeming qualities but I feel that he sold himself for the [not] eternal DOLLAR. A man must maintain his institutions. OF COURSE there are many other tzadikim who wouldn't do such a thing but it made me believe [together with another story I heard from a reliable source] that something is very corrupt with this man. Today I told a close friend the story without mentioning the name. I wonder if I should have.

Then we got on to the topic of another Rav, while not a gadol, an EXTREMELY INFLUENTIAL personality. I mentioned that I detect in this person that so many people revere some very underdeveloped qualities - in modern yeshivish parlance - "bad middos". My friend confirmed this and added "I've known that for years."

I have spent much time since then wondering if it was lashon hara. As we were talking I reminded myself of what I once heard in the name of Rav Yaakov Katz Shlita, namely, that one MUST KNOW who the true gedolim are and sometimes that involves debunking the "מיחזי כגדולים" the people who SEEM to be great but really leave a lot to be desired. [Rav Katz is a tzadik gamur and he once said about another rav that he is an עם הארץ דאורייתא and explained that we must know this information].

There was a very distinguished talmid chochom and tzadik in yerushalayim named Rav Moshe Myernick. He was Rav Goldvicht's [from KBY] son-in-law and died young of cancer. [He wrote the אסופות מערכות]. In the sefer published in his memory it was related that on one occasion a Rav stood up and said very deep Torah. Rav Myernick said הוא מבלבל את המח, הוא לא מבין שום דבר. Translated roughly as "he doesn't know what he's talking about." Years later it was revealed that he just said over word for word what another [real] Rav had been saying and in fact didn't know what he was talking about.

On another occasion he exclaimed about a certain Rov "הוא חשוד על העריות". Some time later it was discovered that he had in fact been engaged in sexual misconduct ["גילוי עריות" sounds much worse..].

[Rav Myernick told his talmidim "It's not that I can see so well. It's that your vision is beclouded"].

Moral: One must know the truth.

Today a friend [he sends me anonymous emails but he calls me "Rebbe" and is really respectful so he must be a great guy:-)] sent me this from the letters of the Chazon Ish.

Chazon Ish(2:133): Knowledge about a talmid chachom who shapes yiddishkeit is similar to that of an artisan. Just as one is permitted to convey accurate information about an artisan if there is to'eles so it it permitted to reveal information about a gadol if there is to'eles. Of critical importance is to be totally accurate otherwise it is slander. This implies that expressing negative information about others is relevant for those who are considered influential authorities – in order to understand the degree to rely on them.

But still - one must be very careful. We are playing with fire. Sometimes it's an aveira to say, and other times it's an aveirah to remain silent. Sometimes when I know information - I remain silent. Sometimes - I speak. 

May Hashem save us from error.

PS - I would appreciate feedback on this one. מכל מלמדי השכלתי.

Love and blessings!