Monday, December 19, 2016

Comments On An On-Line Lecture

Comments on this shiur which was disturbing to me - [the speaker is the father of the woman who set me up with my wife so I mention my hakaras ha-tov].

I don't mean any disrespect. The speaker is over three decades older than I am and has great zchuyos in risking everything to save Russian Jewry and dedicating his life to Jewish education. I ask mechila in advance for questioning. I just think that it is important to set the historical record straight and from the פרט of this shiur one can learn a כלל  about listening with a discerning and critical ear.   

1] The yahrtzeit is the twentieth of kislev [and not the second].

2] He said that Rav Soloveitchik didn't change - of course he did. He became a Mizrachi-ite and veered from his family's general derech [as R"S himself writes about]. Which is fine. People SHOULD CHANGE. Why should a person remain static in life? I am sure that one who follows Rav Soloveitchiks thought will notice a development over the years. How can a brilliant person stay the same? The mind constantly expands it's knowledge and breadth. 

3] He says that the "big show of the week" in Chaim Berlin was Rav Hutner's Maamarim [Pachad Yitzchak]. "It can't be denied." Maybe it can. The Ma'amarim were only on the Yomim Tovim not every week. He also declines to note that there is a sefer of Rav Hutner's shiurim on gemara [written by a talmid]. 

4] He says that the sefer עבודת המלך by Rav Menachem Krakovski is written based partially on scientific Judaism  - but no proof is given for that assertion. From all that I have seen it is pure, traditional lomdus. 

5] "As time went along he went away from Rav Kook". Not completely so and not proven. Rav Neriah tells in one of his sefarim that Rav Hutner invited him to attend a Maamar and afterwards he told Rav Neriah "Did you see how I "reworked" ["ibbergearbedt"] a Maamar of Rav Kook?!" See Pachad Yitzchak Chanuka Maamar Beis and compare to the first Maamar of Rav Kook on the siddur "Modeh Ani". There is no indication that Rav Hutner was ever a complete chossid of Rav Kook to the point that he accepted all of his philosophies such that he changed later. Rav Hutner was never a Mizrachi-ite to start with. But then again - nor was Rav Kook. It was Rav Reines who led the Mizrachi while Rav Kook was not affiliated with them and has barely any letters to them [as pointed out in the sefer מכותבי הראי"ה]. Rav Kook was too big for narrow parties. How Rav Hutner's relationship to Rav Kook changed either as philosophically or personally is not proven. Just stated as fact. [His "proofs" are not proofs. What does the "Synagouge Council" have to do with Rav Kook? Rav Kook was in favor of teaming up with Reform Rabbis?? The politics in America were vastly different than what was going on in Israel]. It could be that he took down Rav Kook's picture from his succah not because he didn't "hold of him" him anymore but because in the Charedi world Rav Kook wasn't accepted and R"H didn't feel comfortable with everyone who walks into his succah seeing his picture. Rav Kook's omitted haskama was explained in a recent post.

6] When drinking to wet one's vocal cords one doesn't make a bracha on water.  

7] Rav Hutner changed to a "theological Satmar position"?? That seems off the wall. If you read Pachad Yitzchak and you read the sichos of Rav Yoelish [the Satmar Rebbe] there seems to be no connection at all. He didn't blame everything on the Zionists as the Satmar's did. He was not a kanoi like the Satmars are. His article in the Jewish Observer about the holocaust is not the Satmar position. He was very far from Satmar. Much broader, much more intellectual, much more litvish-lomdish, lots of Maharal, poetic etc. etc. Is there an indication that he once had one view of why the holocaust happened and it changed later in life as claimed? There is no proof offered.  

8] He often criticizes and mocks Artscroll. They positively revolutionized Torah study for millions. If there are historical inaccuracies in their biographies - they can be forgiven. And they also have to be proven. 

9] How does one speak about Rav Hutner without studying any of his thought and writings. There is not ONE idea mentioned from any of his sefarim throughout the entire talk. So he never knew him, never studied his thought [or so it seems - maybe he really is an expert and is hiding it] and yet is lecturing about him. Odd. 

10] The speaker is a die hard Yankee fan and I grew up rooting for the Mets so maybe that is why I politely disagree with much of what he says. It all started with Ruth. [Agav - What do Yankee Stadium (of old) and malchus Beis Dovid have in common? They are both "The House That Ruth Built"].

I wish the esteemed speaker Rabbi Dr. Rakeffet many more healthy happy years with nachas from his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. I bless myself that I too should have the zchus to teach Torah in Eretz Yisrael for decades as he has.   

If I have erred I urge anyone to contact me and tell me so that I can retract. I LIKE being wrong. Puts the ego where it ought to be - away.