Thursday, January 08, 2009

Mistakes of the Past Come Back To Haunt

Firstly, I'd like to thank everyone who wished me well when I was feeling ill earlier this week. I had been under the weather to one degree or another since the previous week, but Tuesday was, by far, the worst day. Normally, I fast extremely well, but Tuesday was such torture for me that by 1:00, I had to give it up. I ended up eating on a fast day for the first time since my Bar Mitzvah -- truly a weird experience. Baruch HaShem, I am feeling much better now. Now, on to business...

HaMercaz is reporting that R. Shmuel Kamenetzky is not objecting to Lipa's new concert. I suppose that's a good thing. The article goes on to discuss the events surrounding the cancellation of Lipa's "The Big Event" last year. In the article R. Kamenetzky is quoted as saying that people are upset about the cancellation from last year, and he doesn't understand why.

What's difficult to understand is why R. Kamenetzky doesn't understand the reason for people's anger. After admitting that he signed the banning document in undue haste, that the rabbonim did not follow the standard procedure for deciding on such matters and that they did not do due diligence in investigating the circumstances surrounding the concert which resulted in the loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars for the concert's organizers and the loss of revenue for a worthwhile charity, I would think that he would understand why people are upset.

If people are going to entrust our rabbonim with the power to decide that certain events are permitted or prohibited, it is encumbent upon those very same rabbonim to investigate the matter before making a decision with large finanical consequences for many people. Had the rabbonim done their best to investigate the matter and gotten it wrong, I think that not so many people would be upset -- none one (including the rabbonim) are perfect and they, like everyone else, can make mistakes. But when they make important decisions without performing a diligent investigation into the matter, that's when people get upset. People expect leadership based on facts and information. People will accept if a rav says assur (prohibited) or muttur (permitted), provided that the decision is based upon a proper review of the facts surrounding the situation. But when the rabbonim "wing it" (so to speak) and make decisions based on a lack of information (or worse, biased and blatently false information), that's when people rightly become upset. To quote Stan Lee: with great power comes great responsibility. If a gadol is given the power to make important decision, then he has to be responsible for the inputs that goes into those decisions.

And, of course, the damage to Lipa is still ongoing. In the article, R. Kamenetzky relates the following:

“Last night I was at a certain affair,” R' Kamenetzky said on Monday. “Reb Lipa had to come there for some reason. He sang. And someone came over with Tainas to me. And I said, as far as I know there is no problem with letting him sing. As far as I know he is an Ehrliche Yid.”

The Wolf

Related Posts:
The Big Event Cancelleation: Lipa Says The Rabbanim Were Lied To (linked to in the post)
The Gedolim And How They Relate To The Common Person


Anonymous said...

Of course Rav Kamenetsky has no clue why people are upset. For him, life is quite simple: Daas Torah said the concert was bad so why would people be upset it was cancelled? On the contrary, they should be happy they didn't attend such a to'eivah.
It's no different than if I had paid $100 for a great steak and then Rav Kamenetsky wandered by and discovered it was pork and threw it in the garbage before I could take a bite. I shouldn't be upset, I should be happy I didn't sin.

And also I'm glad you're feeling better, Wolf.

Anonymous said...

Look, I am mamash an apikores, and have no desire to defend 'gedolim' in general, but i REALLY think it is POSSIBLE he meant, the askonim and Israelis are still upset about Lipa being able to attract a large crowd. The 'journalist' tells you what the rabbi meant (that he doesnt understand why they are upset about the cancellation of the big event) , but if you look at the only real quotes from the rabbi, and put them together (remember it was a "brief interview", which i interpret to mean everything in quotes is the sum total of what he said;)), and use a little seichel in re his particular personality (not anywhere near as black and white as a Shach or Eliashiv) you can see he really might have been zetzing the askonim, why are they still upset, we determined he is in fact erliche, not treif.
here are all the quotes put together, without the edit(orializing)
“I hope they should have hatzlacha,”
“Some people are still very upset — I don’t know why.”
“Last time we were told that he was supposed to sing and the Israeli rabbonim,” including Rabbi Yosef Sholom Eliashiv, had a problem with it, Rabbi Kamenetzky recalled this week
“Last night I was at a certain affair,” Rabbi Kamenetzky told The Jewish Star on Monday. “Reb Lipa had to come there for some reason. He sang. And someone came over with tainas [complaints] to me [that he was allowed to perform]. And I said, as far as I know there is no problem with letting him sing. As far as I know he is an ehrliche yid.”
meisiach lefi tumi

Anonymous said...

Wolf its not your fault. Judaism is a ridiculous religion and you are making your life miserable for it.

Having a fast that long is unhealthy. This religion demands too much from you. And its excessive legalism is precisely why it produces so many apostates. Notice the more jewish you get (as in orthodox) the more you need to reproduce in order to make up for all those apostates.

There are better religions out there. The fact that you have this blog shows you have the doubts. Leave Judaism. Its not worth it.