Anything about JUDAISM
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e Posted - 12 April 2001 20:00
do u know anything about rabbi amnon yitzchak, his followers, and his pholsphies etc?

why did some frum people violently hae rabbi kook? wasnt he a great tzaddik and kabbalist?
wat is the gorel hagra- how does it work? and wen and why did/ do rabbis use it?

MODERATOR Posted - 17 April 2001 23:19
Reb Amnon is a wildy successful Kiruv worker based in Eretz Yisroel. His success is almost exclusively with Sefardim-Israelis. His approach invovles a combination of answering Hashkafa questions and stories about "miracles". The "miracles" part is not really the best way to be Mekarev people, since even evil doers and other religions have similar miracle stories, which may actually be true -- Hashem allows the Satan to make miracles for evil people as a Nisayon, so miracles dont really prove anything. So if a person becomes frum because he heard of a miracle done for a rabbi, whats gonna be when next month he hears about a better miracle done for a Muslim?

But nevertheless, it works for him. He has a tremendous track record of success.

Rav Kook was criticized on numerous fronts. First, his Zionism was declared as against the Torah. Then there were statements he made about non-religious Jews, even enemies of religion being holy because they did things like build Eretz Yisroel, and other such problematic things.

There were those who held that those beliefs made Rav Kook a plain Apikores and it is forbidden to listen to his Torahs altogether; others held that his non-Hashkafic Torahs are OK to use but his Hashkafic opinions are rejected; the Mizrachi (Zionists) held from him completely.

He definitely was a great Talmid Chacham, but he was considered (but not by the Mizrachi) as another Talmid-Chacham that was sadly brought down by the Satan, like Korach (who actually possessed Ruach HaKodesh), Yeravam ben Nevat, Shabse Tzvi, and others like them.

Mos Posted - 19 April 2001 23:32
I am shocked by you comparison of Rav Kook to Shabteu Zvi et the pages of the Aguda's very publication the Jewish Observer has written that Rav Reuvein Bigelis ZT"L & The NTZIV respected him. So fid Rav Shlomo Zalman Aurbach ZS"L, Rav Yakov Weinberg ZS"L & a host of others. Would they have respected Yeravam ben Nivat? I have no problem with the idea of saying that you, whomever you are, saying that you and others disagree strongly with Rav Kook's hashkafah-but to lump him with the greatest villains in Jewish history is sisgusting.
MODERATOR Posted - 19 April 2001 23:53
As I said, different Gedolim had different opinions about how to treat him. There were those who definitely considered him a full fledged villian, others held differently.

But thats not the point. The Yeravam statment was intended to explain how a man of such advanced Torah scholarship can be off the derech. My answer was that people of even higher caliber went off the derech, so it is possible to happen here too. Therefore, if you are correct, that Rav Kook did not fall as far as those others, you have supported my point even more. Because if such great people can fall as far as Yeravam did, surely they can fall as far as Rav Kook did.

Second, Korach had the Roshei HaSanhedrin on his side, who we can assume were greater than all the prominent rabbonim you listed. So just because someone has prominent rabbis respecting him doesnt mean hes not a villian, nor does it mean Rav Kook cannot be compared to any of those others, since they, too, had the respect of many great Tzadikim.

In the days of Korach, too, someone could have said, "Would these great Roshei Sanhedrin respect a terrible villian? So Korach cant be bad!"

So the possibility of being a villian as great as Korach or Yeravam still exists despite having grat Tzadikim respecting you.

PS - The Jewish Observer is not the Mishna Brura.

Edited by - moderator on 4/23/2001 6:08:58 PM

Mos Posted - 23 April 2001 22:02
So how (a) can we know a gadol is a gadol maybe he is Yeravam? (b)If I must suspect gedolim should I suspect everyone? (c) Who called him a villain-do you have a source other then hearsay? (d) How does suggesting he was a villain bring people closer to Hashem - in other words why did you write it here?
MODERATOR Posted - 24 April 2001 0:11
(a) This question has nothing to do with this discussion. How do you know a Godol is a Godol? Or: How would you have recognized Yeravam? This question is equally valid with or without our discussion. But the asnwer is Lo AM haAretz Chosid - you have to be a big maven on your own to recognize bogus Torah methods to be able to distinguish between the Yeravams and the Dovids.

But thats not enough, since big people who were mevinim erred with Korach and Yeravam. But Rashi says that the reason Korach was able to convince the Tzadikim to be on his side was because they took money from him. In other words, if you want to know the truth about something you cant have any vested interest in it. If we disabuse ourselves of the benefits we receive from having certian ideologies or belonging ot certain groups, if we forget what we WANT to be the truth and rather look for what IS the truth we maximize our cahnces of finding it. The idea is to be psychologically, socially, and financially independent. When we start from that point, we maximize our abiltiy to succeed.

(2) You are not "suspecting Gedolim". You are figuring out how to recognize a Godol. Big difference. And this does not invovle being suspicious. It invovles making an intelligent decision as to who you want to follow, and who to believe regarding who is a Tzadik and a Godol in the first place.

(3) What makes you say there is any hearsay invovled here at all? Actually, the differing opinions are well documented. For example, see the Responsa Divrei Yoel (Chosen Mishpat), in a responsum to Rav Yosef Chaim Zonenfeld, and the following teshuva after that.

d) For the same reason our Gedolim told us this. And for the same reason we point out any deviant ideology or its theologians. To make sure people understand what is the right and wrong derech. Should we just tell people Korach or Yeravam were legitimate?

Mendel Posted - 07 May 2001 20:33
I'm confused. It seems that you're saying that it was possible that the Netziv viewed Rav Kook in the wrong way just like the Roshei Sanhedrin viewed Korach incorrectly. Then, in response to Mos's first question, you say that the Roshei Sanhedrin had a vested interested in Korach's validity. Are you saying that the Netziv had a vested interest in, for example, allowing only Rav Kook to wear tefillin all day long?
MODERATOR Posted - 07 May 2001 20:57
Don't be confused. Rashis didnt say the Roshei Sanhedrin had a vested interest in Korach's legitimacy. Merely that they benefitted form his money, which is legal tender whether he is legitimate or not. His odnations were nto contingent upon his being a Tzadik.

But that is merely an example of on way gret people can err. It has happened throughout history. Great people originally thought Shabse Tzvi was Moshaich; that Rav Yonason Eyebushitz was a follower of Shabse Tzvi; that the Ramchal was a heretic and a villian; and more.

This happens for many reaosns. The Maharsha (Gittin 56a) explains that if the followers are not worthy, Hashem will, as a punishment, make the leaders foolish. The Hafla'ah says the same thing. This has happened even in the days of Chazal. If the generation is not worthy, Hashem blinds the eyes of its leaders. This is a punishment for the generation, not necessarily an imperfection in the leaders.

And "vested interest" doesnt have to have financial value. The Marahrashdam writes that, regarding the Halachah of following the majority, that it only applies if the entire group sat down together to discuss the issue, and the majority of peoplewithin the group decided one way. But if individuals decided amongst themselves without discussing it previously in a group setting, that is not considered a majority, since everyone did not hear the counter arguments. And, he continues, once you decide one way or the other, it is too late to then get together with the group, because once you formed your opinion, you have a vested interest not to change it.

Of course, I do not mean to say that any specific person has any vested interersts in anything. Rather, that a disagreement such as this cannot be diluted by saying Rav Kook had people who respected him, since history - and the Halachah - shows that having good people respect you is not proof of your legitimacy. It does not disprove those who say he was a villian even if he had great peopel who respected him. That has happened in the past, even with villians.

And especially with Rav Kook in particular, where during the earlier part of his career, his objecitonable statments were not yet made by him, or not yet publicized.

Beautman Posted - 09 May 2001 1:27
>>>>Rather, that a disagreement such as this cannot be diluted by saying Rav Kook had people who respected him, since history - and the Halachah - shows that having good people respect you is not proof of your legitimacy.>>>>

Presumably, then the converse is also true: the disrespect of good people is not proof of illegitimacy.

I think your important comment was that one must be mavin to form a justifiable opinion of certain matters, and that opinion still may be incorrect. For the majority of us who do not qualify, maybe it would be a good idea to "suspend judgment" a bit more often and recognize that we're in no position to reach conclusions either way -- with respect to many things in life, but especially the torah of gedolim.

MODERATOR Posted - 09 May 2001 2:41
Do you really mean "suspend judgement"? That would ential entertaining the possibility of Rav Kook being an Apikores, his writings totally forbidden, and his ideas heresy. That being the case, you would not be objectively justified in reading them, since there is the possibility that they are severly prohibited, and of course nobody says there is an obligation to read them. It's like a piece of candy that some say is poison and others say it is not. Would anyone in their right mind eat it?

But two things. First, the issue over here is not Rav Kook's Zionistic ideas. That was unanimously agreed upon by the great Gedolim to be terribly midguided. Like I said, the Gedolei Yisroel were dead against creating a Jewish State. Only the Mizrachi was for it. Nobody else. That his ideas are heresy there was not much disagreement. The issue is, does having such ideas make him personally a heretic? Or merely misguided? Is he to be ignored or disgraced? That is the disagreement. The Chofetz Chaim, the paragon of Shemiras Halashon, who as far as we know did not publicly or privately declare rav Kook to be an Apikores, responded, when presented with one of Rav Kook's infamous staements about the "holiness" of the chiloni soccer players, quote:

"Kook shmook".

That's from the Chofetz Chaim. Whether you are going to consider him an Apikores for making such statements of not, we certainly reject the statments themselves, in nothing but the strongest terms.

Beautman Posted - 09 May 2001 19:32
I think your first comment is a bit circular. Suspending judgment is not the same as suspending thought. Speaking in the abstract, and not specifically with regard to Rav Kook, entertaining possibilities need not inevitably result in a good-for-the-jews/bad-for-the-jews conclusion: the other possibilities are too soon to tell, or that answering the question is beyond our understanding.

The candy analogy is false. Deciding not to eat the candy is of course rational, but that is not the same as concluding, much less demonstrating, that the candy is poison. (You might argue from the candy example that, given the sharp criticism of Rav Kook, we'd be better advised to utilize our limited time learning something else, but that had not been the topic under discussion.)

Neither the Chofetz Chaim nor Rav Kook, lived to see the formation of the State of Israel, or the role it has played the past 53 years. Many, many non-Mizrachi orthodox from all over the spectrum take great advantage of its existence and participate to varying degrees in civic life. How strongly do today's gedolim hold to the pre-war criticisms of the zionists? And why are the actions of many on the "right" (so-to-speak) inconsistent with being "dead against" the state?

Finally, I don't understand how Rav Kook's ideas, even if wrong, would make him a "heretic" if he did not reject torah but, to the best of my understanding, developed his ideas with sincerity from within the traditional torah paradigm.

MODERATOR Posted - 09 May 2001 21:16

Where did I mention anything about suspending thought, or "good/bad for the jews"????

The issue over here is not whether the State is good or bad for the Jews. Not politically that is. The issue is a Halachic, theological one, which is not touched by the "good" or "bad" that we see happening because of the State. If it is against the Torah then it should not exist regardless of the good it does, for Hashem knew of the good it will do, but said don't do it anyway. And vice versa.

The Torah leaders were opposed to the State not because it would be "bad" for the Jews politically but because it is against the torah to have Jewish soveignty in Eretz Yisroel before the coming of Moshiach.

As far as the candy goes, I did not say that the possiblity of it being poison makes it poison. Rather, such a possibility would enduce a clear thinking person to refrain from it because maybe it is poisonous. So too, it is logical to refrain form doing something that you admit can possibly harm your Neshoma, especially when nobody says it is an obligation to do it. If you do read Rav Kook's writings, that means you have in fact made a judgement, either rejecting the possiblity of it being wrong (which you admit you are nto capable of doing) or disregarding the possible damage to your soul (not a rational decision).

Taking advantage of the existence of the State does not imply approval of such existence. The Chofetz Chaim's position was based on Torah theology, not political predictions. Predictions can be wrong, but the Torah does not change.

In fact, there are those, such as Rav AHaron Ktoler ZT"L, who held that the existance pf the State is wrong, but now that it is unfortunately here, we should at least try to make it as Torah-oriented as possible, and therefore you should participate in elections and others affairs of state in order to accomplish whatever can be accomplushed. But all this is merely the "lesser of the two evils". Others, such as the Satmar Rabbe, held that such participation in the affairs of a State that was wrong to make in the first place, makes you an accessory after the fact.

But they both agree that it shouold not have happened. the only disagreement is trying to help ex post facto is good or bad.

Nobody has changed their mind about the theological prohibition of the State.

If anything, the past 53 years have proven the Zionist fantasies about eliminating anti-semitism, "normalizing" Judaism, and creating a "safe haven" for Jews, to be lies. The State has not reduced anti-semitism - on the contrary - it has made the Arabs into bloodthirsty enemies of the Jews (and this even the Zionists agree to - they just feel it's worth the price in Jewish blood to have a state, as quoted above from Rav Soloveichik); and it is anything but "safe": more Jews have been murdered in Israel in the past 53 years than everywhere else in the world put together. This, despite the jews in Israel being less in number than the amount of Jews in Chutz La'Aretz.

It is true that the Torah leaders also predicted this, screaming that Jewish lives that will be lost by creating a State is not justifiable. Jewish lives are more valuable than any Jewish land - even the Bais HaMikdash itself.

The whole thing did not work out the way the ZIonists thought it wouold. Instead of being a "normalized" nation-among-the-nations, we have constant terror and bloodshed, huge sacrifices of life limb and resources, zero reduction of anti-semitism, and more anti-semitism and murderous enemies in the middle east than ever before.

We have less "normalcy" than ever before. As Rav Shach shlita writes (Letters, I:5):

"To me, the idea that giving back land endangers lives is not clear at all, and there are many officials in the Army that say just the opposite, and that the peace that can be achieved through giving backm land will reduce the bloodshed. To me, there is not even a shadow of a doubt, that when peace will come the bloodshed will be reduced. Also, you need to consider not only our situation here in Eretz Yiaroel, but our situation all over the world, for when there is no peace in the [mid]east, this causes unrest in the entire world, for the world powers get invovled and there is pressure on other nations to join their side, this nation joins this side, and that nation joins the other side, the need to supply arms builds and in the end there will be war. WHen that happens, what will be with us? What value will our possession of land have when nowadays they have weapons that can destroy entire states and countries from far away? And how can you say that we may not give up what is our rightful inhertance from our fathers - for even now, without the support of the United States, for even one month or less we would not be able to survive on our own. And all these people that talk so big - "We, ourselves, and us, will be victorious!", they are nothing but poor people acting arrogant, something that hashem hates."

No, the "Zionist dream" did not work, by any stretch of the imagination.

More Jews were killed in the "safe haven" since its inception than everywhere else in the world put together, despite that fact that since its inception, there have always been more Jews outside the safe haven than inside.

What's wrong with this picture?

simple Posted - 16 May 2001 18:55
Moderator - unfortunately you seem to have equated Rav Kook with Korach, Shabtzai Tzvia and others. Chalilah. He was a Godol B'Yisroel, even though his mesorah differed greatly from ours.
MODERATOR Posted - 16 May 2001 23:43
Having a mesorah means having Rebbeim and Rebbeim of those rebbeim who handed down your positions. Yet Rav Kook had no such thing. No predecessors or line of tradition that he was continuing. If such a tradition exists in our religion, how come nobody except Rav Kook ever heard of it?

Rav Kooks' position was created by himself, as opposed to any such chain of tradition.

The Chofetz Chaim's dismissal of him ("Kook, Shmook!" is the exact quote) doesnt sound like something that paragon of Shemiras Halashon would say about someone following a legitimate Mesorah, no? Or Rav Yosef Chaim Zonnenfeld's description of him as a "Purim Rav the whole year". Yet both do not come close to the blunt labels of villian, apikores, and kofer that other Gedolim heaped upon him.

There are numerous opinions about Rav Kook, but none of them claim he was merely following a "different mesorah" than we are. He was either sadly mistaken, misled, a simple apikores, or, as the Zionists hold, correct.

Where would such an alternate mesorah come from? Who are its sources? No, there is no such mesorah.

Edited by - moderator on 5/20/2001 11:03:45 PM

Haim Posted - 11 July 2001 2:38
I understood that according to Gedolei Yisrael, the Hashkafot of Rav Kook and the Zionists do not follow the Torah (which says that it is forbidden to establish jewish sovereignty in Eretz Yisrael before Mashiah comes. However, is it permitted according to Gedolei Yisrael to follow a Zionist Rav or Zionist Rabbanim in other matters (such as Hilkhot Shabbat, Tefillin and other as important halakhot)?
MODERATOR Posted - 25 July 2001 2:46
I can answer you in general, and can give you what I know are public Halachic rulings by Gedolei Yisroel, but to apply this to any specific individual cannot be done except by a Halachic authority familiar with the individual in question. The label "zionist" can mean different things to different people and in different communities, so let's ignore the label for now, and stick ot the general rules.

You definitely should not have as a Rebbi anybody with anti-Torah Hashkofos, as the Gemora says, only if your Rebbi is like a "malach hashem tzivokos", meaning at the very least, a proper Jew, should you accept him as your Rebbi.

Even regarding specific Halachic rulings and Divrei Torah, you have to be careful who you accept them from, since very often problematic Hashkofos can make their way into seemingly innocuous Halachic issues. Example: The Bach's explanation of what we say in Al HaMichyah, "and we should eat from her [Eretz Yisroel's] fruits, and be satiated from her goodness". The Bach says that if Jews in Eretz Yisroel sin, then they actually polute the land and make it Tameh. And when you eat fruits of Eretz Yisroel you absorb into you the Kedushah - if Mitzvos are done - or Tumah - if sins are done there. So our prayer is that we should eat only form her "goodness" - the holiness that is absobed by the fruits of Eretz Yisroel when righteous peopel do Miztvos there.

I know that this bothers many Zionists, to say that Eretz Yisroel becomes Tameh thorugh sins and eating her fruits is then a detriment. So they kind of ignore this pshat when learning about al hamichyah.

So somethign as innocuous as the meaning of a Brachah Achronah can be affected by a person's problematic Hashkofos.

As the Rambam rules, nowadays, we cannot rely on filtering form an undersirable Rebbi the good things and rejecting the bad. An undesirable Rebbi should not teach us Torah.

Regarding Rav Kook specifically, I have heard that the Chazon Ish ZT"L used to censor his Seforim by taping or marking over the anti-Torah writings in them. Of course, the Chazon Ish was more able to know what is undesirable and what is not, than the average student.

A more hard-line position is found in the Teshuvos Divrei Yoel by the Satmar Rav ZT"L (CM 131), where he rules outright that it is forbidden accriding to Halachah to follow any Halachic rulings of Rav Kook, in any area of Torah. His reasoning is based mainly on the following sources:

1) Birkei Yosef 243:3 - It is forbidden to learn Torah or listen to psakim of any Talmid Chacham that causes a Chilul Hashem.

2) Responsa Bais Shlomo YD II:101 - Any rabbi who misleads the public into sinning is forbidden to be a rabbi, and if he is a rabbi must be removed.

3) Chasam Sofer CM 163 - Any Min (i.e. Apikores), it is forbidden to hear any Torah from him.

4) The Gemora (Shabbos 116a) says that a Sefer Torah that is written by a Min must be burnt, even if the Sefer Torah is 100% proper with nothing changed in it. The reason, says the Rambam, is because we do not want and remnants of the acts of Apikorsim.

So since the Satmar Rav held that Rav Kook was an Apikores, and certianly that he mislead the masses with his Zionist teachings, he is in the catagory of all of the above.

But again, it is wrong ot just label anybody an "Apikores' or a "Zionist" unless you know what you are talking about (Example: Rabbi Teichtel, who is commonly known as a Zionist because of his Sefer "Aim HaBanim Semechah" was declared by the Lubavitcher Rebbe, and quoted in the family's intorduction to the sefer, to have actually been "very far from Zionism". I would think this is because in his sefer, as far as I can remember, he never argues in favor of a Jewish State, but rather in favor of building up the land). So before you can apply these rules, you need a specific Halachic ruling by a capable authority on the specific person in question.

Edited by - admindealing on 15 November 2001 5:35

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