Monday, 30 May 2011

Strange happenings at Aguda

european aguda - Copy

Yes I know I’ve been silent for too long. The newspapers are full of elephants in the room from attempted murders in upstate New York to our own local TV program Wonderland and now this secret meeting at the buffoon’s headquarters. But I’ve got some hungry mouths to feed and writing is not my day job. I’d like to say I wish it was but it would mean procrastinating in front of a blank screen for most of the day which isn’t something I relish.

Anyhow, for the moment, can someone enlighten us about the above notice? It is intriguing to say the least. European Aguda calls a meeting which it is only hosting but not convening or endorsing or something like that. The venue is the Joe’s headquarters in order to prevent unnecessary publicity. Joe of course being chair of the UK Aguda. On the agenda are issues like shechita, cemeteries, shortage of places at educational institutions (is the ‘rabbi’ invited? he should be able to assist) Reform Jewry and the chareidi press, you know the press that hasn’t so far reported about the meeting. And yet we’re not allowed to know about it. Not that anyone cares but that’s another matter.

Look, I wish I had the time to delve deeper into this but I don’t. The meeting however is tomorrow at 1 pm and the venue is on the notice. If a reader with some spare time and a camera wishes to go along please share with us some snaps of European Jewry’s celebs on the red carpet. And if you are privy to any of the discussions I’ll be happy to publish it.

But more than anything, what the heck is going on?


Anonymous said...

This seems to be an invitation to rabbonim of kehillos. Since when is the gur rosh yeshivo a rov of a kehillo. They are going to discuss 'halachos' about shechita. Is the aguda the venue for that. About newspapers yes his dear tribune is already at the 'goses' stage. Reform, thats always a good one, talk about others never about oneself. Dont worry there wont be anything worth reporting.

Anonymous said...

There is more to it than that. There is an organisation called the Rabbinical Council of Europe or something like that which is notionally frum but not heimish. Definitely not heimish enough for the Halperns and Padwas to sit round the table. This meeting is I think an attempt to undermine them. Aguda and Joe don't want to go public because they first want to gauge whether they can put something together.

So this is more of a conspirators meeting how to blow up the current order rather than any concern for cemeteries and what not.

I also saw something on the Israeli site on the watermark of the notice but I can't find the link.

Moish said...

I didn't realise that there are people within the UOHC who are looking to undermine the Halperns and Padwas. I thought the point of the UOHC is to love, honor and obey them.
The real question is when the London charedi kehilla will grow up a bit and realise that it doesn't need to accept direction from a few families, especially as it is so large and diverse. Why on earth should Belz be forced to toe the Padwa line? Why should all those who are not modern orthodox in NW, (but who are not Halpern devotees Of which there are many), have to be forced (or 'subtly advised') to not follow the guidance of their own rabbonim because Halperns control the schools?
Any self-respecting kehilla would find this state of affairs intolerable yet we continue to abase ourselves for a sodden plot in Enfield...

Moish said...

Oh and as far as I am aware, the RCE is mostly a chabad organisation, which is an alternative to the Conference of European Rabbis which is lead by Aba Dunner and affiliated with Dayan Ehrentrau. Reb Chuna used to be part of the RCE, but left 'on the advice of his colleagues' (See here - Dayan Lichtenstein of the Federation is affiliated with it too. The allegiances are obvious to anyone who is aware of the various fault lines in the European rabbinical constellation.

IfYouTickleUs said...

Thank you Moish for that bit of info. So Aba Dunner and Ehrentrau are also not kosher enough? Did they invite Dayonim Gelly and Abraham or are they looking for shmaltz only?

If what they're after is a European heimishe hisachdus then Aguda are the wrong people to be spearheading it as it would exclude satmar and their satellites, Schlesinger and possibly even Bobov or Monsey Viznitz.

On the other hand if it's less extreme right then why not work within A Dunner's organisation. What is it they're trying to establish that doesn't exist already?

One of the Council/Conferences issues a pamphlet every so often written in Hebrew and for all I know published by the Israeli foreign ministry as its fingerprint is so heavily Israeli. Its design and content is more like the Va'ad Horabonim/Kupat Ha'ir ragsheets and at least they promise you the world.

In any event the joke is on them because no one cares. The UOHC would barely be relevant if not for Kedassia and Enfield. This is even worse since generally we'd put UKIP to shame with our euroscepticism. It is unlikely to be much more than grand letterheads, pompous titles and get-away weekends in some euro resort with as much relevance as the 'closed door sessions' at the Normandie talking shop.

Moish said...

No, the whole point of this extravaganza is that it is only for rabbonim whose commnities are entirely frum. That excludes the United Synagogue affiliated dayonim of the LBD, who in turn are affiliated with the CER. It is the CER which is not entirely heimish (associated with the Chief Rabbi and Dayan Ehrentreu), and that this organisation seems designed to compete with. Apparently these meetings have been going on for a year or so.

Moish said...

And the sophisticated Hebrew material is produced by the RCE (merkaz rabbanei europa) - ie Dunner's opponents, which has Israeli lubavitchers working for them. Much of their material seems very well produced.

The rav said...

Have you every read Gulliver's Travels and the ferocious wars between the two groups of Lilliputians, the Big-enders and the Little-enders who had violent battles over the doctrinal issue of which end to open a boiled egg. The book was a satire on the Irish church in the 18th century, so nothing really changes. The same theme was explored by the Monty Python team in the film Life of Brian

Moshe C said...

I live in NW London

I love the Rabbis Halpern - especially Reb Chaim, but the others as well - and I consider them to be like Malachei Hashem Tzevo-os.

Just saying


Moish said...

Mr Halpern chasid - perhaps with your extensive devotion to this family you will be able to help me with a query that has bothered me for a while. As can be seen on page 48 of this document
R. Chuna's son, R. Sholom Yosef is a signatory to the kol korei that announced the Boro Park eruv (he's on the bottom left hand corner). Now, you may be aware that R. Moshe Feinstein was fiercly opposed to eruvin in Boro Park, yet this Halpern didn't seem to have to much of a problem with this. I am reliably informed that this was not against his father's wishes. On the other hand, the kol korei hanging up in Halpern senior's shul with his signature on it declares that London is a reshus harabbim because of the psak of R. Moshe Feinstein (and Dayan Weiss). Now if you can successfully explain to me why R. Moshe's explicit psak about Boro Park should be ignored whilst using that exact psak to designate London as a reshus harabbim, I will give you a fiver.

Anonymous said...

So what happened?

Moshe C said...

@ Moish

I'm not needed or worthy to defend Tzadikkim like them.

If you ask my humble opinion, you have a fantastic opportunity to be mekayim the mitzvah of "Lo sossur etc" the way one of the Rishonim brings down, "afilu omer lecha al yomin she-hu s'mol"

You couldn't have that more clearly than here, the 2 psaks seems at first glance to be literally contradictory as you point out.

When do we get an opportunity like this? normally, most psaks are at least comprehensible, even if we don’t agree 100%. Here you have a golden opportunity!

If you are looking, despite this, to find some sort of rationale, you probably know as well as I do that there are usually a raft of reasons and considerations that go into a psak. The reasoning of Reb Moshe is one s’vora, which - in conjunction with many others - means Reb Chuna has paskened against the Eruv.

In the case of Boro Park, there are some factors missing and some new factors present that mean that the s’vora of Reb Moshe doesn’t swing it in that specific case.

People (usually kofrim) like to say “where’s there a Rabbinic will there’s a Halachic way”. In fact they are 100% right. What they don’t realise is that whether there is a “Rabbinic Will” or not in the first place, is itself a matter of Halacha!

In the case of the NW Eruv it is clear that there is a “Rabbinic will” against by the Rabbis Halpern, Rabbi Roberts etc.

That’s Halacha L’Moshe misinai for me, that’s Rashi’s “Libi Omer Li” (about the shape of the Ephod) for me, that’s the will of Hashem revealing itself in the Rabbonim accepted by the frum Yidden, for me.

That’s why I considered them like Malachim.

Moshe C

PS: I do empathize, though if the lack of Eruv really causes you a problem. I was going to tell you to find a Shul and a Rov that paskens it’s ok, what’s your problem anyway, then I realised that maybe they won’t let your kids into a school unless you don’t use the Eruv.

(although I would be surprised at that, I know a family whose father is a US Rov and whose family sues the Eruv whose boys and girls went to Beis Yaakov, Menroag Grammar etc)

But if that was the case, I could understand why someone would be upset. Perhaps move to Edgware? I know people from GG and SH who moved there and love it, would never go back.

Anonymous said...

FYI Beis Yaakov does not stipulate that parents can't use the eruv and does not use this as a criteria in assessing the suitability of aplicants to the school. Reb Chaim is the effective Vaad Hachinuch.

Moish said...

So no actual answers to my question then. Thought not.

Moshe C said...

@ Moish

I think my answers were reasonable but I suspect you prefer having the question to having an answer. (possibly as it gives you an excuse to be disrespectful to Tzadikkim and Rabbonim - as you showed in your original post to me - and to wrongly feel that you are their equal or superior in Torah)

As I believe (a different) Reb Chaim famously said, I can answer "kashes" but I cannot answer "terutzim".

I actually glanced this morning, and you haven't even bothered to honestly convey the wording of the notice in "Reb Chuna's". The wording itself makes it clear that Reb Moshe's opinion is one factor. That does not imply that the Rabbonim of London are required to apply that ruling as a "Trump Card" in every case with its own other factors, including the case which Reb Moshe originally paskened.

Moish said...

I have no questions. I know what happened here. If you seriously think there's no inconsistencies, I would suggest you re-read R. Moshe Halpern's letter to R. Kimche and then R. Chuna's teshuva on London in Sdei Elchonon. Many of the points that R. Moshe criticised R. Kimche for are stated by his father in the teshuva. I also have in my possession a response to R. M. Halpern's letter, which demonstrates that the vast majority of claims he makes are wrong or based on a da'as yochid - pretty unfair to criticize someone for ruling in accordance with rov minyan u'binyan shel gedolei haposkim, don't you think? I am happy to provide examples if anyone is interested.
If you want to maintain your view, contrary to all the evidence and reasonable supposition, you're more than welcome to it - just don't expect anyone else to buy the lokshen you're selling.
And don't give me musser about disrespecting rabbonim; what about those who started the machlokes here, be they themselves rabbonim or not? Have a look at this link, and tell me this isn't disrespecting rabbonim:
All I can say is that, chosamo shel hakodosh boruch hu emes, and the truth will out eventually, so you can continue with your ipche mistabres and yemin she'hu s'mol all day long, but the tzibbur is beginning to see sense, as the ruccus at the Q&A session proved.

Moish said...

And regarding R. Moshe's opinion, anyone who has actually bothered to look at the teshuvos inside will realise that there is more reason to allow in London than Boro Park. R. Moshe allowed an eruv in Kew Garden Hills and in Southfield Detroit, despite the fact that these areas are in the midst of very large cities, because they are each separate neighborhoods, even though they are totally built up and contiguous with the rest of their respective cities; this is the reason R. Moshe's son R. Dovid, who does not allow the eruv in Boro Park, permits the eruv in Chicago, in almost exactly the same circumstances as London.
So instead of making things up, why don't you actually ask one of the members of the family you are so enamored with, if they can come up with a good reason why GG is different from Boro Park (or alternatively, if R. Sholom Yosef was inciting people to be mechalel shabbos). You want to believe that there are mysterious 'other factors' - fine - I have tried to discover what these are myself, and I wish you the best of British luck in trying to discover what halachic principles these factors are based on.
Again, of course you have to follow your rov, but it would also be advisable to develop a bit of sechel in order to understand what's really going on here.

Moshe C said...

@ Moish

Your dishonesty is clear for all to see.

Moish #1
"perhaps with your extensive devotion to this family you will be able to help me with a query that has bothered me for a while"

Moish #2
"I have no questions."

For a modern-day Korach like you who likes to clothe himself in the language of Pinchas there is no such thing as honesty, decency or even understanding when it comes to any opportunity for you to expose how your heart really feels about Rabbonim and Tzaddikim. The only "tzibbur (that) is beginning to see sense” would be a handful of other reikim like you.

You are asked a question. I gave you 2 valid answers. You aren't even intelligent enough to understand that. Deal with the actual first question you posted first, and stop obfuscating. (while not even admitting you had an original question)

If you think you are a Rov and an expert Talmid Chochom - then you become a Rov, and while refraining from your unpleasant habit of speaking derogatorily about other Rabbonim (I noticed how you "switched it off" when I called you out on it .. ashamed? Not enough to apologise, clearly…), you are quite welcome to issue your own Pesak about the Eruv.

Or anything else, for that matter. You perfectly welcome to issue your own Pesak on any matter you want. An anyone who wants can follow you. What is your problem with most of the Tzibbur following the Psak of the senior Rabbonim of the area? Have you mamash fallen to the Tochacha-level of “mo-es be’acheirim she’osim”?

What nonsense for you to think your opinion or that of other pamphlet-publisher is of any relevance to a halacha decided by the senior Rabbonim of the area. Did your parents not being you up to understand what "Aseh lecha Rav" means?

If you belong to a different Shul - eg Rabbi Kimche's, or anyone else who paskens like him - then follow them! What's your big problem?


1. It would be perfectly reasonable for any Rov to describe any Halachic innovation or decision with which he strongly disagreed as being “dubious” – that is actually a relatively mild term. If Rabbi Kimche were to refer to the rationale of Rabbinic opposition to the Eruv as being “dubious” would you say that was being disrespectful? Of course not. To try to pretend that can whitewash your unpleasant zilzul of Tzaddikim and Talmidei Chachomim by comparing yourself to a Tzaddik, Tamid Chochom and Yerei Shomayim like Rabbi Roberts is risible! I really would not want to be you when your words are said over to you “one day” – though I hope that my words in this world reduce this.

2. Chosamo shel Hakodosh Boruch hu is Emes? You wouldn’t know the word if hit you in the face. Yiftach be’doro k’Shmuel beDoro. El Hashofet Asher Yihyeh Bayomim Hohem. You’re anti- Rabbonim rants are “Emess” lol.

3. My Rov is not Reb Chaim, or any of his family. Nor Rabbi Roberts. The same as most frum people in NW London. Also, the same as most frum people in NW London, I love and respect them and know how blessed we are to have them in our kehilla.

4. “it would also be advisable to develop a bit of sechel in order to understand what's really going on here”. I am proud to be from the “am d’ikabilu Oraisoh v’lo Chakimu” with Shavous soon upon us, and happy that I have not “developed” your pseudo-Chochma d’Erev Rav. When is your big Yom Tov, 41 days later, no?

Moish said...

A query is not a question veda'l.

I was not dishonest in how I quoted the notice in Halpern senior's shul whatsoever. Go and read it again. It brings two poskim who would supposedly forbid the eruv because of reshus horabbim, and claims that according to the Chazon Ish there are problems of karpeifos ve'od - what exactly was I dishonest about? You didn't give any answers at all.

You claimed that in Boro Park there are some factors missing which are present in London - I'd be delighted to hear what these are. You then went on with some nonsense about malochim and libi omer li.

And we know R. Chuna's reasoning very well, since he wrote it in a notice which he pinned up on the board - try and remember it, and the sefer he quotes, and then look up that sefer (it's in the otzar seforim - the author of that sefer is a liar who was caught chopping down eruvin with his own hands!) Go through the mekoros that sefer quotes and look them up yourself - you'll see that there's barely one which hasn't been distorted.

What normal person (and this is directed against the author of that sefer) starts hocking the Chazon Ish for paskening that pirtzos eser is de'rabonon with 99% of poskim pasken that way (needless to say he only quotes the 1%)? What normal person maintains that all the poskim maintain mechuvan is only a din in an ir mukaf choma when it is be'feirush nisht azoi in numerous of the seforim of the gedolei oilom?

And yes, publishing what I linked to in a book for all to read is disrespectful to rabbonim - what do the innocent readers of this book need to get involved with this machlokes for? And the reason he brings as a seemingly illegitimate one for wanting an eruv is actually brought down by the Prisho, so yes, it is totally indefensible.

R. Kimche or Dayan Ehrentrau never stooped to the level of attacking others in writing over halachic matters. There is much more to say, but seeing as you are willfully blind, there is not much point in doing so.

Anyway, it is not me who is being mevazeh tzadikim, it is those who make pesokim that would render the ge'onim and gedolim of Warsaw, Odessa and Yerushalayim, towns with more than 600,000 residents which maintained or maintain eruvin, into mechallei shabbos.

And the point is that just because someone holds a rabbinical position or is affiliated with a charedi rabbinic organisation, it doesn't give them reshus tzu aroisnemen haloches fun shulchen orech. You know very well about that disgraceful kuntres against city eruvin that was put out; instead of being moche for the koved of some rabbonim, why don't you be moche for the koved of Torah and haloche that has been ripped to shreds and distorted beyond belief for political purposes?

Moish said...

Anyway, those with vested interests are lucky that there are people such as yourself around who worship the status quo and are willfully blind to the terrible things that have occurred in this kehillo in part due to certain of the individuals you admire (eg regarding the escape of a certain pedophile to Israel, when other rabbonim where trying to prevent this monster from defiling other children), and instead lash out at anyone who points out the disastrous state we have reached.

So yes, some of us are upset that awful things happen and certain rabbonim take the sides of the perpetrator - but your type will always shout down those who cry out for justice. I presume you would be on the side of those in the American charedi rabbinic constellation who covered up for vile child molesters such as Yehuda Kolko and Avrohom Mondrovitz too; after all they were just as much the 'yiftach be'dorom' and the 'shofet be'yomecho', but that didn't help any of the poor children being molested.

If you know what I'm talking about, then I don't know how you can, in all good conscience, take the positions you do. And if you don't, be quiet or at least find out why people may have legitimate ta'anos before dismissing them as modern day Korach's.

Moshe C said...

@ Moish

"You claimed that in Boro Park there are some factors missing which are present in London - I'd be delighted to hear what these are. You then went on with some nonsense about malochim and libi omer li."

That was not your original question, which I quite reasonably answered (by pointing out that you had misunderstood them to be claiming that these were factors operating in a vacuum, and that application any of these factors in one case obligated applying them in all cases)

The answer to your new question is: None of your concern. And none of mine. They are the Rabbonim and Poskim of our area, and (l'havdil bein haTohor u'bein ha'Tomei) you are an insignificant, disrespectful yokel.

R Kimche & Dayan Ehrentrau will be rewarded in Shamayim, as any other Rabbonim of their communities throughout Jewish History, for trying to do Hashem's will. And of course the main Rabbonim of the frum Kehilla have their place assured.

I don't know what will be with me after 120. I am far from your level of sophistry and pseudo-Lomdus, and not so great at doing the right thing, so maybe I won't get in.

I have no doubts at all, however, as to where you're going. And to think that you think I am the blind one. I really didn't understand how people could be so well-versed in the chitzonius of Torah and so far away from the Neshama of it. I doubt there is any point talking directly to you - Ba'avur zeh osoh Hashem li - li ve'lo lo.

If you want one last immature attempt to persuade anyone reading that erudite, wise, unbiased, pious little you is the real person we should all follow when it comes to paskening Eruvim and not the local Rabbonim and Poskim of the frum kehilla, Reb Chuna, Reb Dovid, Reb Chaim, Reb Moshe, Rabbi Roberts and so on, the floor is all yours. I probably won’t dignify you with any further reply.

Throw in as much criticism of other Seforim as you can manage as well - it makes you look so much greater.

Moish said...

Just to clarify, I'm not advocating that people don't follow their rabbonim, and my issue is not what the psak is, but whether it is maintained consistently and also with the terrorism used against those who don't toe their line when they are not even members of kehillos whose rabbonim forbid it. Go ask the rov from Eretz Yisroel who was fired from his job there for the groise aveire of coming to help Dayan Ehrentreu be mehader his eruv. Presumably you would justify that as well.

How can R. Moshe Halpern dare to criticize (in an open letter!) R. Kimche for doing sechiras reshus in a democratic country, when he knows very well that city-eruvin have been made in democratic countries across the world, his own brother signed a letter in support of just such an eruv a couple of years earlier, and his father describes doing sechiras reshus from the 'sar ho'ir' when proposing an eruv in London?

And how can he have the chutzpe to call him out for applying the din of mechuvonim to London, when his father does exactly the same thing in his teshuve (see page 264 on the link I provided earlier, in the left hand column, in the middle)?

So you want to pasken that London is a reshus horabbim - no problem; you have an issue yourself with sechiras reshus bizman ha'zeh - OK; tell your community that it is ossur mid'orayse to use the eruv - but to write open letters in which you criticize someone for doing exactly what your own brother did, your own father approved of and which is the consensus psak for many doros - this is below the belt, and yes, for doing this you deserve to get called out.

So, as has been clear from the very beginning of our little brouhaha, I'm not arguing that rabbonim have no right to pasken, merely that being a rov doesn't give you free license to contradict yourself for the sake of political expediency, or to criticize others in print by accusing them of not being mekabel Torah properly just because they didn't give in to you. You seem incapable of grasping this point, or perhaps you need some history and current affairs remedial tuition to understand what has gone on here.

You yourself suggested moving to Edgware if one doesn't like being dictated to and wants a place in school - but if one is following their rov and want a place in a frum school why should they have pesokim in hilchos shabbes dictated to them for explicitly political reasons? Is it normal that people who daven in shuls whose rabbonim allow the eruv are told that they cannot abide by their rulings if they want their kids in a school? I know this has happened, and so do you; it is nothing but despicable terrorism, and you know as well as I do that this has nothing to do with haloche - are there any other disputed areas of hilchos shabbes that people are excluded from schools for - maybe opening cans or using baby wipes? Of course not - elo mai - this is about who NW London belongs to and the haloche is a kardom lachpor bo.

The point of criticizing 'Eizehu Reshus HoRabbim' is not to aggrandize my pseudonym, which would be rather pointless, but to point out what this campaign has descended to. If you need to resort to a bikhel that makes the bald-faced lie that Warsaw had less than shishim ribo on west of the river when the eruv existed, when multiple government and historical sources of the time confirm that this was not the case (see page 18 of the booklet I linked to), then your argument is very weak indeed.

Although it's likely that we're not going to agree on the motivations and quality of all of our rabbinic leadership, and although you regard people seeking online fora such as this to express their discontent as illegitimate, let's remember that in our day to day lives and most of our core beliefs we share more than we differ on, so gut yontev and let's hope the situation works itself out in the coming years to everyone's satisfaction.