Friday, February 27, 2009

Some Interesting Side Points About the Concert Ban...

There are a few website that have reported about the apparently-failed ban on this year's concert. Most of these sites allow user comments and there are a few people that have made comments that are worth addressing.

Over at VIN, someone had the following comment:

It seems to me that everyone has missed the point in this machlokes. Some months ago the Gedolim in Eretz Yisroel made a gezerah against a concert in Yerushalayim. They reasoned that it would lead to untzniusdik mixing of Yeshiva learners with Bes Yakov girls. At a time when the menuvlim were fighting in courts to march in the streets of Yerushalayim HaKodesh, what zchus would it be for Torah Yidden to abandon the Beis Midrash for a concert? I feel that in these difficult times with thousands of Yiddishe Mishpuchas loosing their parnassas, with Eretz Yisrael facing a terrible draught of geshem but at the same time the rain of Iranian missles, with the world facing a great depression, history will write that the Yidden in New York went to a huge concert and laughed and played and paid no mind. It is time for some sanity and to refocus the Frum Kehillas eyes toward what is essential in these times. The time for concerts from anyone is just not right. We need hisorarus and learning Torah as zchusim. Rejoice on Purim and sing Brucha Ester, Baruch Mordachai and that will be the zchus that might turn things around. Yidden do what is right.

His argument, in essence, boils down to "there are troubling things going on in the world (and with Jews in particular) now and therefore the concert is not appropriate.

I suppose there is some merit to the argument. One can certainly agree that there are circumstances under which the concert should be canceled. But a general "there are troubles in the world" is not really sufficient... after all, there's unfortuantely, always trouble somewhere in the world for Jews. Using this logic, there would never been any concerts... or any recreational activity.

Over in the Yeshiva World Coffeeroom, there is some discussion as to whether or not R. Shmuel Kamanetzky really allows people to go to the concert. One poster pointed out that R. Kaminetzky refused to sign the ban, but another said that he heard it from R. Shmuel's mouth that it's assur. When asked why R. Shmuel doesn't speak up, the following story was related about R. Elyashiv and something that he did not say but was widely reported:

Reb Elyashav said - I know, they did, but I never said that - they are wrong. So they guy asked, well why don't you come out and say that you never said that - it's a huge mistake. To which he responded - If I would go and refute every time someone quotes me wrong, I wouldn't have any time to do anything else because it would take up all his time every day. So it's very possible it's not true and he wouldn't nec. publicly deny it.)

My response is that if that's the case, then he should establish a rule that unless you hear it from his mouth (or his appointed spokesperson) then it's not real. If R. Elyashiv (or any other gadol) is aware of the weight and power of his words then he cannot allow people to co-opt that power without any protest. He *must* come forward and set the record straight.

I've always felt that, in this day and age, the gedolim need some official medium to get the word out. Relying on askanim and people with an agenda is a very poor way to run things. I would almost recommend that the gedolim have a blog.

The Wolf


הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

I mean, even in a concert environment there can be some heavy-headed moments. Theoretically there can be someone anouncing that "we are playing music, but it should be taken with a grain of salt due to the troubles, etc.".

I mean, in all honesty, things were never that good, but our real halakhic concern is with the Temple having been destroyed. Since the destruction there have been a number of enactments placed to verify that our happiness is checked. In most cases if they are properly performed they should be enough.

(If anything we should have special celebrations that we have come this far; in our own land again, with our own army, etc. ..we have the 5th of Iyar, but it's a bit larger than that).

Observer said...

Why does anyone have to "establish a rule" - that "rule" already exists and is called "common sense". If you "hear" something you need to make sure that the source is verifiable (ie you hear it from the ba'al dovor, it's something signed by the ba'al dovor, from someone who heard it firsthand and has ne'emanus etc.)

Anything else would never stand up in a court of law, secular or Beis din, nor would any academic use something like that. Even most newspeople would never use something like that in publishing.

Mikeinmidwood said...

Woah! "the gedolim should have a blog", now youre talking.

josh waxman said...

I've heard in the name of Rav Kanievsky:
כל מה שאומרים בשמי הוא שקר

which appears to be just that rule.

Anonymous said...

Some of these posts could use a little English translation!