Sunday, 9 December 2012

Comical Eli

If this was a competition in literary styles there is no question that the Halpern camp would have come up trumps. Indeed I would have been their staunchest cheerleader. The opposition has shown itself to be proficient neither in Hebrew nor in English and doesn’t even know on which side of the page "Bs"d" belongs. On the other hand, Chaim Halpern manages joined up writing fairly well while his father's letter is nothing short of a masterpiece.
Although in delusion it belongs up there in the panoply of Comical Ali's victorious speeches as the tanks were closing in on Baghdad and Colonel Gaddafi's ranting interview on the eve of defeat, in style it is a work of art. It blends its arguments and persuasive tone with the best of biblical metaphor, rabbinical imprecations and chasidic lore to create a magisterial composition. It is truly an epistolary classic of its kind.
So as not to deprive our Hebraically-challenged brethren I have translated the letter so that they too can benefit from the Great Man's important message. I tried to retain its flavour and tone as much as, if not more than, its message but inevitably there will be something lost in translation. The emphasis in the penultimate paragraph is from the original.
The Eve of the Holy Shabbos Parshas Vayeishev 5773 here the Holy City of Jerusalem may it be rebuilt speedily in our days.
The sidra of "And his brothers envied him; but his father guarded the matter" [Genesis 37:11].
I have heard tidings and my belly trembled that there have arisen several Rabbonim to issue a proclamation concerning my beloved son, the treasure of my heart, the Rabbi, the Gaon, the Righteous, Rabbi Chaim Aaron Tzvi shlit'a, the Rav of the Beis Hamidrash "Divrei Chaim". [The proclamation] is constructed on weak foundations, exaggerations, lies and an absolute misunderstanding of his sacred work to rebuild broken homes and broken souls, and not even a single one of [the Rabbonim] has any contact and experience in these matters. They have accepted the words of a few [accusers] without any investigation in accordance with our Holy Torah and with experienced professionals. They then threatened and smeared my son the Gaon and Righteous referred to above on every street corner assisted by the accursed tool of the internet that all the Gedolim and righteous of our times have prohibited.
My son the Gaon and Righteous referred to above has since the beginning of this saga clarified that he has never transgressed a clause of the Shulchan Aruch and that he agrees to an adjudication in front of a Beis Din acceptable to both parties including examination by professionals. However, as is known to all involved in this painful affair, the other side have evaded cooperation with various excuses and lies. [My son] has also clarified that due to the above rumours he has for the last few months ceased his holy work referred to above.
Several weeks ago [the Rabbonim] threatened my son the Gaon and Righteous referred to above and forced him to appear in front of them and they made it a condition that he may have no assistance or representation. They presented him with all their complaints and my son the Gaon and Righteous shlit’a replied on every point. They had however made their minds up prior to his arrival and forced him to sign that he will give up his public roles besides his Beis Hamedresh and shiurim.
After a week they assembled tens of holy vessels [rabbis] and spoke about my son in the worst possible manner which shall tingle the ear of every hearer, and so have many innocents been persuaded.
The above Rabbonim admit that they have not gathered evidence in accordance with the Holy Torah and nor, with distinction, according to the laws and customs of the land. This however is their opinion and, as is common knowledge, many of them are soul enemies of my son the Gaon and Righteous referred to above and of the Union of Chareidi Congregations.
I am confident that my holy ancestors, colossuses of the land, lo they are the [authors of] Chacham Tzvi, Boruch Ta'am, The Magid of Zlotchow, Rabbi Meir of Premizlan and the Tzadikim of the House of Ropshitz and Tzanz will come to his assistance. All who have taken part in the above treachery will not be saved from the judgement of Gehenom while those who assist my son and those who pray at his Beis Hamedrash and their households, may they live - who, with my son the Gaon and Righteous referred to above, are going through difficult and bitter times - and those who listen to his wares at his esteemed shiurim that are full of the Holy Torah, fear of Heaven and Chasidus, and anyone who lends a hand to support him will be blessed with sons, life and ample sustenance and nachas from all their offspring, and the merits of my holy ancestors will shield them to be blessed with all of the best.
Signing in pain and hurt, distant in location but close in heart