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Rav Elyashiv's Mixed Legacy

Last Wednesday night, in the middle of a blazing heat wave, a quarter of a million people flocked to the funeral of Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv.  At the request of the deceased, no eulogies were delivered, but for the rest of the week, the Haredi press spoke of little other than the man, his life, and the vacuum left in his wake. Even the New York Times published a long obituary, and virtually every Jewish media outlet covered the story.

Relevant Links
Paying Respects  Best Jewish Videos. A quarter of a million people lined the route of Elyashiv’s funeral procession, from his residence in Meah Shearim to the nearby cemetery in Givat Shaul. (Video)
A Giant Dies   Yehuda Shlezinger, Israel Hayom. With a single utterance, Elyashiv could topple governments or seal a coalition deal.   
The Newspaper and the Next-in-Line   Kobi Nahshoni, Ynet. The (sometimes physical) struggle for control of a Haredi newspaper is only the latest front in the battle over who will inherit Elyashiv’s position.

Who was Rav Elyashiv, as he was widely known, and why was this 102-year-old so revered?

Those who know enough to judge speak of the rabbi as a staggering Torah mind, with a compendious command of Jewish law, enormous intellectual creativity, and great clarity of expression.  Crowned as the posek ha-dor (the foremost halakhic arbiter of his generation), few wielded greater influence on the Haredi community.  In an age when great rabbis can earn big bucks by running elaborate Hasidic courts or by performing "miracles" for a price, Elyashiv stood out as an unassuming ascetic who continued to live in the dilapidated, one-bedroom Jerusalem apartment in which he and his wife had raised 12 children.  He met with tens of people a day, offering halakhic decisions and personal guidance, and never taking payment or gifts.

Many will be surprised to hear that like some of the 20th century’s greatest rabbis, such as the Hazon Ish and Joseph B. Soloveitchik, Elyashiv never studied in yeshiva—and never taught in one either.  He studied on his own, spending 16-20 hours a day hunkered down in his apartment or this or that synagogue, eating little and sleeping less.  Consequently, his commitment to Jewish law was uncompromising: no amount of political pressure or self-interest could sway him from what he thought was demanded by the halakhah. To the Haredi community in general, and its Lithuanian, yeshiva-oriented strand in particular, he represented the greatest living model of the pious Torah scholar, and the community looked to him not only for halakhic decision-making, but also for political guidance and spiritual vision.

To those outside his natural circle of followers, however, he leaves this world with a complex legacy.  To begin with, Elyashiv’s own perspectives changed over the course of his long life.  He exemplified the changing attitude of some Haredi rabbis to Israel’s chief rabbinate, moving from respectful disagreements and even cooperation, to outright antagonism, to hostile takeover. In his youth and into his forties, though still Haredi, he was close with leading religious-Zionist figures such as Rabbis Abraham Isaac Kook and Yitzhak Herzog (relationships hardly mentioned in the Haredi eulogies). He also served as a judge on the State's High Rabbinical Court.  But he resigned unceremoniously in the 1970s after the “Langer Affair,” in which Rabbi Shlomo Goren permitted the children of a particular woman to marry, despite suspicions that they were illegitimate (and therefore prohibited from marrying according to Jewish law).  To Elyashiv, the decision suggested that the State’s official rabbinate had been compromised by politics and public relations concerns.  For decades afterward, he kept a cold distance from anything Zionist.

That stance changed with his rise to prominence at the end of the 20th century, at which point he began pushing non-Zionist and anti-Zionist rabbis into Israeli rabbinical courts and into chief-Rabbi positions. This was motivated not by renewed warmth toward Zionism and the State, but by concern for unemployed Haredi rabbis, and by the prospects for increasing Haredi influence on Israeli religious and public life. Today, the situation has been fully reversed: religious-Zionist rabbis struggle to find posts in state rabbinical courts, and very few are appointed as municipal rabbis.  Now many Israelis, alienated by the hard-line rulings of the Haredi rabbis, are calling for fundamental reform of the rabbinate, if not complete dismantlement.

Many of those hard-line rulings, including the most controversial ones, were inspired by Elyashiv’s thousands of halakhic decisions. For example, he took a strong stand against putting any pressure—economic, social, or physical—on husbands who refuse to give their wives a get, a halakhic writ of divorce, out of concern that such a divorce might be invalidated as having been granted under duress.  He even opposed the contracting of prenuptial agreements aimed at evening the balance of power between men and women in divorce proceedings.

Further, Elyashiv disputed the validity of conversions of converts who did not adopt an observant lifestyle—despite at least some halakhic precedents to the contrary. This policy led directly to the infamous decision by Rabbi Avraham Sherman to retroactively disqualify conversions performed by the religious-Zionist Rabbi Chaim Drukman, and has since spawned international political and halakhic infighting. In each of these cases, one must ask: Was Elyashiv faithfully upholding the integrity of Jewish law, or was he ignoring the complex religious and political reality of the largely unobservant modern Jewish people and empowering an irresponsible rabbinic establishment?

Either way, Elyashiv’s influence in such matters stemmed from an ideology that may well be in the process of disintegration.  That ideology, known as Da’as Torah, holds that all political, social, economic, and public policy questions should be put to the great rabbis, who represent the sole legitimate arbiters of Jewish practice in all spheres of life.

Elyashiv’s immediate predecessor as leading Lithuanian rabbinic leader was a man who embodied Da'as Torah to the fullest: Rav Elazar Menahem Man Shach (1899-2001) was actively involved in Israeli political life, forging alliances, punishing political enemies, and founding parties.  Elyashiv, by contrast, had little interest in political maneuverings and perhaps a somewhat limited view of the wider world.  He left political and public policy matters to circles of activists (askanim in Haredi parlance). This might presage the democratization of leadership, as suggested by Hebrew University professor Benjamin Brown, but alternately it might mean what it has traditionally meant in circles of power: manipulation by advisors who filter the incoming information, and simple corruption.

Even so, whereas Shach could reasonably claim to be the most powerful Lithuanian rabbi to whom other rabbis must listen, Elyashiv never became such a figure, and perhaps never tried. Other rabbis, particularly in the Haredi stronghold of Bnei Brak, maintain significant followings even after taking more moderate stances than Elyashiv.  It has become clear in recent decades that there is no one Da’as Torah, but many—issued from rabbis with different constituencies and competing perspectives. 

If this by itself doesn’t portend the collapse of Da'as Torah ideology, there is the further fact that Elyashiv's name appeared on a series of bans that were largely ignored by Haredi Jews.  His attempts to prohibit degree-granting vocational training programs for his constituents, or the inclusion of secular studies in the curriculum for young Haredi women (despite their need to financially support their husbands’ ongoing Torah study), fell largely on deaf ears. His name appeared prominently on prohibitions on Internet usage, Internet connections in the home, and cell phones with Internet service: all largely ignored. His name appeared on bans of books written in languages he did not read; the books became quite popular. There are only so many times that a rabbi’s bans can be ignored before his authority is diminished.

And so, the reverence displayed at his funeral notwithstanding, Elyashiv’s legacy is difficult to ascertain. He changed his ideological course somewhat, and his authority was more limited than is generally admitted. Nevertheless, he was a peerless Torah scholar, who confronted the profound challenges of modern Haredi life, aiming to balance Jewish law with communal welfare and self-protection. The stances he took were born of a deep concern for the community to which he devoted his life. Whether they will prove sustainable, only time will tell.

Dr. Yoel Finkelman lives with his wife and five children in Beit Shemesh, Israel. He is the author of Strictly Kosher Reading: Popular Literature and the Condition of Contemporary Orthodoxy.

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YM on July 24, 2012 at 8:16 am (Reply)
I don't believe there is any basis for Rabbi Finkelman to declare what motivated Rav Eliashev. Rabbi Finkelman also makes the common mistake of misinterpreting how Daas Torah is understood in the Torah community. In my mind, this article is slander.
David E Y Sarna on July 24, 2012 at 9:15 am (Reply)
Dr. Finkelman is exceedingly polite. For those who might have missed what I think he was trying to say, I believe that as the Rabbi got older, he became more and more political, and goaded by right-wing politicians, his responsa started reflecting politics rather than halacha.
    Dovid on May 10, 2013 at 1:19 pm (Reply)
    Rav Elyashiv's positions changed not because he was motivated by politics rather than halacha, but because, due to his isolation, he was manipulated by handlers who were motivated by politics and money, not halacha.

    In other words, Rav Elyashiv was always motivated by halacha -- and halacha only. Anyone with ever interacted with him saw that this was how he lived every second of his life, including during his old age.

    However, because he was totally reliant on his handlers for all his information, his psakim reflected the information he was fed.
      DJM on May 11, 2013 at 1:34 pm (Reply)
      Anyone of that stature who knowingly relies on biased Handlers for information without monitoring or vetting them or developing alternate "Handlers", should not get involved in the public sphere or issue binding halachic pronouncements.
      I reject the same excuses for the blinkered and blinded behavior of Rabbi Obadiah Joseph. sad to think that our gdolim are manipulated by their Byzantine courts
      Just shows they are not gdolim in the first place.
Jay A Friedman on July 24, 2012 at 9:22 am (Reply)
On Sunday of this week – at Givat HaTachmoshet , I performed a Mitzvah that Rabbi Elyashiv probably never observed - one that is an anathema to his followers.

I walked in the footsteps of my kippah wearing grandson who responded to the call-up notice he had previously received from the Golani Military Brigade.

For the next few years, Eyal will be one of the privileged who will observe a Mitzvah perhaps unmatched among the 613.

He will defend his nation and his country and his land.
DF on July 24, 2012 at 9:42 am (Reply)
This otherwise balanced and well-written article is marred somewhat by the injection of the author's personal political viewpoints. I refer specifically to his digression into divorce and get issues. The author makes it appear as though opposition to get coercion was one of the "hard line" issues that earned R. Elyashiv opprobrium from the public. He writes that R. Elyashiv "even opposed" prenups, as though this was the ne plus ultra of religious narrow-mindedness. But in reality, these (related) concepts have, at best, the support of only a small minority of orthodox Jews, nearly always in the feminist segment of the modern-orthodox world. Even those who disagreed with R. Elyashiv never cited his views on feminist issues as a reason for disagreement. [Those disagreements centered around Charedim entering the workplace and their place in society generally.] Yoel Finkleman, obviously a supporter of get coercion and/or the prenup, is entitled to his personal opinions, but should not have pushed them in an article about R. Elyashiv.
CJ Srullowitz on July 24, 2012 at 10:21 am (Reply)

You should have much pride in your grandson and we pray that he return home safely along with all chayalei tzahal.

But can you please tell me which of the 613 mitzvos he is observing? What is the mitzvah called and where can I find it in the Chinuch or Rambam?

Furthermore, the Sages teach "Talmud Torah keneged kulam," so as honorable as your grandson's actions may be, they are not "unmatched among the 613."
    Jay A Friedman on July 24, 2012 at 1:32 pm (Reply)
    Mr. Srullowitz

    You and I are so much removed from each other in our definition of authentic (I repeat --"authentic") Judaism, that a dialogue between us is impossible.
      BubbyK on August 2, 2012 at 2:12 pm (Reply)
      And how does attacking Srullowitz answer his question? Defending the land and its people is meritorious. But is it one of the 613?
        Jay A Friedman on August 5, 2012 at 4:54 am (Reply)
        Bubby (from Zaidee) I don’t believe that I attacked Mr. Srulowitz. I merely intimated that we are so far apart from each other that a dialogue between the two of us makes no sense. It would merely be proximity of two monologues. Regarding your observation about the value of defending the Jewish people and the Jewish land and Jewish history and Jewish culture and Jewish faith and Jewish Halacha against those who desire to destroy us – I would prefer to ignore the claim that this value has no place in Jewish theology or ideology. Frankly, I would like to ignore the claimants completely but I am forced by my government to support them financially.
          Sid on August 22, 2012 at 5:40 am
          This is exactly what Rav Elyashiv did. Defend Jewish people, Jewish history, Jewish culture, Jewish faith and Halakha. For the past 2.000 years, did military strength allow the Jewish people to survive in the Diaspora? No ! It was leaders like Rav Elyashiv that were the cause of Jewish survival. Jews were identified by Torah, and ONLY Torah. So the logic is that if for thousands of years Jews survived because of Torah, why do we think that the formula to Jewish survival as a nation would as of now be related to anything else? Rav Eliyashiv just continued what his predecessors did for thousands of years, namely push the Torah agenda for the Jewish people on the forefront. Jewish survival depends on their connection to Torah and Tzadikkim, otherwise they would be wiped off physically or by losing their identity.
simcha on July 24, 2012 at 10:37 am (Reply)
There is no indication that Karelitz (Chazon Ish) ever received smicha (formal Orthodox ordination). He therefore is not a "rabbi."
DJM on July 24, 2012 at 11:52 am (Reply)
Rav Elyashiv zal was, in his post-Zionist phase - the last 40 years of his long life - relentlessly and exclusively committed to the advancement and welfare of his own shtetel - the Lithuanian Haredi community in Israel. He showed no interest or involvement in the issues and troubles of the Jewish community in Israel as a whole, whether Sephardic, national-religious, or secular. Thus he was not and could not be a leader, or manhig of Clal Yisrael - unlike his early mentor Rav Avraham Kook. When the soon to be expelled Jews from Gush Katif appealed to him for help, he couldn't be bothered, and referred them to his circle of machers, who of course left those poor Jews high and dry. As with the issue of rabbinical appointments, he took care of his own at the expense of every other Jewish community. Encyclopedic Torah knowledge and personal brilliance do not a leader make - Rav Elyashivs withdrawal from the majority of his people was a historic missed opportunity . A mind is a terrible thing to waste.
    American lawyer with velvet yarmulke on July 24, 2012 at 1:01 pm (Reply)
    Thank you, DJM - my sentiments, exactly. He was a good posek, for his community, who fielded questions, and gave answers. He should not be deified.
Yoel Finkelman on July 24, 2012 at 1:17 pm (Reply)
David Sarna: No, I was not trying to suggest that he got more political as he got older. He certainly was thrust by circumstances into a more prominent role, and is also certainly true that his name became politicized, in part due to newspaper editors and askanim who surrounded him.

DF: I certainly am not taking a Halakhic stand on the complex issue of "get meusah." Not my place. He may be right halakhically, but it is certainly the case that this is one of the issues in which his decisions had enormous influence and which got much of the rest of the Jewish people quite angry. See, for example - Agree or disagree with Dr. Sztokman, her article is it self-evidence of how much anger there is in the Jewish community over the Halakhic decisions made by the rabbinic courts under Rav Elyashiv's influence.
FrankQ on July 24, 2012 at 1:36 pm (Reply)
What the writer doesn't write is that Israeli secular establishment purposefully supported and still support non-Zionist Haredis like Eliashiv against the Dati Leumi (religious Zionists). The reason for this support is that Secular Establishment is scared to death of Dati Leumi. That is their direct enemy, not the Haredis. In contrast, giving rabbinate positions to Haredis has 3 main advantages - it puts Davke on Dati Leumi, it allows them them to give up land causing more trouble for the nation of Israel, and if the general population becomes disenchanted by the Haredis - so much the better.
Nachum on July 24, 2012 at 3:13 pm (Reply)
DF, you are obviously very concerned with this issue, as you've brought it up again and again. Let me just point out that almost every single Rosh Yeshiva at Yeshiva University- few if any of whom can be described as part of the "feminist segment"- are strongly and publicly in support of the pre-nup and what you blithely call "get coercion."

CJ Srullowitz:

"But can you please tell me which of the 613 mitzvos he is observing? What is the mitzvah called and where can I find it in the Chinuch or Rambam?"

Fighting a Milchemet Mitzvah. It's one of the biggies.

"Furthermore, the Sages teach "Talmud Torah keneged kulam," so as honorable as your grandson's actions may be, they are not "unmatched among the 613.""

Lots of things are described as being "keneged kulam." But I'd say that risking one's life for another is a far, far better thing...well, you know the rest.
    DF on July 24, 2012 at 4:55 pm (Reply)
    Nachum - I thoroughly disagree with you, but will take it up with you offline. Watch for my email.

    Dr. F. - No doubt some people - even many people, let us say - didnt like many of R. Elyashiv's decisions. I include myself among them. But on the specific isse I mentioned, R. Elyashiv was not a decision-maker. He was merely part of the masses, in the sense that he didnt say or do anything of particular import. His teshuvos very much reflect mainstream rabbinical opinion, a fact Ms. Szoktzman of the Orthodox Feminist Alliance is apparently unaware of. It is not his opinions standing in they way of women using the court system, it is the opinion of the vast majority of his predecessors and peers. Even if R. Elyashiv would have given maverick opinions as Ms. Szoktzman would have liked, they would simply have been ignored, just like the other issues you aptly mentioned. Thus, in my opinion, that issue should not have been raised.
Shlomo on July 24, 2012 at 3:18 pm (Reply)
To Jay Friedman, all the best to you and your grandson. Rav Eliashiv, born in the same Belorussian town as my grandmother, Gomel, was a man of tragically small vision. Haredi orthodoxy has created a bitter schism in the nation. Many Israelis now believe that rabbinic Judaism oppresses them and undermines their state. If rabbinic Judaism is to retain its legitimacy as the national church, it must adjust to the realities of modern life and statehood, raise a bigger tent, and serve all of Am Yisrael.
jerusalem on July 24, 2012 at 3:54 pm (Reply)
All I know is that Rav Elyashiv was not 'posek hador', he was 'gadol hador', which means that he was marbeh machlokes b'Yisrael, like Rav Shach before him. Rav Elyashiv did not mind giving advice, but he always said that he cannot pasken, ie, give a halachic ruling. People took what he said and gave it the status of a halachic ruling against his will. How he never found this out - or never put a stop to it if he did find out - I do not know. At any rate, if we have him to thank for the fact that Israelis hate the rabbinate and that perfectly good religious Zionist rabbis cannot find positions, then we have one more reason not to appoint another gadol hador, or in other terms, marbeh machlokes b'Yisrael.

Think: Why was Rav S"Z Auerbach z"l or Rav Puvarski z"l not appointed gadol hador? They were much superior to Rav Elyashiv in terms of halacha! The reason? They didn't hate enough people. Plain and simple. The gadol hador has to hate people - has to hate everyone but chareidim. Otherwise, he's worthless.
    Chaim F on July 25, 2012 at 11:33 am (Reply)
    Rav Eliyashiv was not a hater. He was an ehrlicher Yid. He spoke according to his understanding of halacha. He was not at all in the same category as the tremendously destructive "Rav" Shach who was also not at all in the category of Rav Eliyashiv in terms of his knowledge and learning of Torah (this is not to say that Rav Eliyashiv was of the quality of, for example, Rav M. Feinstein, just that Rav Shach was far below both: see Shach's own letters and his shiurim). The problem with R' Eliyashiv is that popular or public issues were presented to him by people who distorted matters leading to some unpopular statements. Incidentally, Rav Shach became so-called "gadol hador" because the politicians chose him to represent the Litvishe world. As a result, he was in charge of millions of dollars. This was his leverage to become "gadol hador." Unfortunately, the Litvishe world is quite childish about hashkafa issues and rationalizes away Shach's terrible contributions to Klal Yisroel as expressions of yiras shomayam and deep, far-seeing intellect. The opposite, of course, is the truth, as any reasonable person reviewing his statements and responses to various issues will conclude.
Daniel Weltman on July 24, 2012 at 4:17 pm (Reply)
But can you please tell me which of the 613 mitzvos he is observing? What is the mitzvah called and where can I find it in the Chinuch or Rambam?

See Rambam, Hilchos Melachim Chapter 5 paragraph 1-2, and chapter 7:4.
    CJ Srullowitz on August 10, 2012 at 2:12 am (Reply)
    Thanks you, Daniel. I wonder if those halachos apply to modern day Israel or only when there is a Davidic monarchy in place.

    In any event, I located a piece by Rav Aviner quoting Rav Kook that it's a three-fold mitzvah:
Nachum on July 24, 2012 at 4:28 pm (Reply)
There are even conspiracy theories that he has incompetents appointed so as to ultimately undermine the rabbinate, but the "give people jobs" suggested here is more straightforward.
Charlie Frost on July 24, 2012 at 7:51 pm (Reply)
We should not get caught up in reverential veneration of R. Elyashiv because he's dead; secreting oneself and learning do not a mentsch make. The charedi intolerance and arrogance manifested by R. Elyashiv towards Klal Yisrael and, indeed, even to his own children, are indicative of a man far removed from reality; it is this oblivion, hubris and lack of true caring that contribute to the deep rifts in our Jewish world. If R. Elyashiv's flock could see its way to cherish, respect, contribute and serve Am Yisrael the way your grandson is, the Jewish world would be in a far better space than it is today. As an observant Jew I posit that the value of your grandson's service is beyond any of the 613 mitzvot and you are absolutely correct, engaging with C J Srulowitz and his ilk is futile.
    CJ Srullowitz on August 10, 2012 at 2:02 am (Reply)
    I didn't realize I had any "ilk."

    While the phrase "beyond any of the 613 mitzvot" is poetic, it places your feelings on the matter outside the realm of "authentic Judaism" (as Jay would put it).
Jack Bidnik on July 24, 2012 at 8:33 pm (Reply)
It's a free country. If you don't agree with him, you don't have to obey him. There are work-arounds for everything in Israel. Men give their opinions and if they are based in the Torah, there is more in them than otherwise. There is no reason to hate the Torah scholars; the law does not change. It does not lead to calamities like laws made by men, where a slippery slope applies.
Avraham Fuchs on July 24, 2012 at 8:33 pm (Reply)
Indeed a mixed legacy.
Over 10 years ago I assisted at a kind of Yom Iyun with the late Rabbi Professor Meir Hakohen Feldblum, on problems when a marital partnership goes broke.
Somebody related of a Psak of the late Raw Zsolty, not really a partisan of Koach deHetra, gave a psak in the favor of the woman. It ws his last or one before his last Psak, he died several dyas later.
Rav Elyashiv was against it and cancelled or something like this the Psak of Rav Zsolty.
I became aware that while there is a problem when a marital partnership breaks up, but there is also a major problem when the couple lives in harmony.
Take an issue we just read last week in the Torah: why am I entitled to nullify my wife's nedarim, but she not mine?
Hershl on July 24, 2012 at 10:20 pm (Reply)
How do you know he never attended a yeshivo?

That simply cannot be true.

It is like saying that someone didn't attend high school in a community where everyone attends it.

He either attended yeshivo in Europe or somewhere else, say, Israel.

What is your source that he didn't learn in a yeshivo?
Hershl on July 24, 2012 at 10:25 pm (Reply)
I just answered my own question.

He did go to yeshivo contrary to what you wrote.

Here is the passage taken from the NY Times obit to which you link:

"After the family moved to Jerusalem, Yosef was enrolled in the Ohel Sara Beit Midrash, where he impressed the land’s chief rabbi, Avraham Yitzhak Hacohen Kook, with his quicksilver grasp and retention of Talmud."
For interest's sake on July 24, 2012 at 11:09 pm (Reply)
Just to clarify: it wasn't that the children in the ''Langer Affair'' could not marry at all: they could only marry other mamzerim, like themselves. Until the ruling, that is.
adam on July 25, 2012 at 8:12 pm (Reply)
Find it interesting that the "Zionist" Rabbis have a tough time in Israel. The reality is that the whole Rabbinic concept is clearly, from what I can see, an imitation of other nations, and when in exile we had to be like other religions. Unlike other religions, God spoke to Jewish males of the time at Mount Sinai. If you read the 10 commandments, Moses when speaking for God was speaking to the men. The women may have not been there since children couldn't be at the mountain as they might have come to touch it. They would share this though with their wives. They wanted Moses to speak for God but this wasn't Moses claiming communication from God that others were not a witness to - which is the case in both Christianity and Islam. And only the followers of Jesus and Mohammed could speak for God. This idea of going to a Rabbi to decide everything is actually denying the revelation at Mount Sinai in my view and of course the Rabbis are threatened by Jewish males that have a country and aren't just slaves to them that existed in some exiles. This talk of "easy divorce" is the same mentality. Most Rabbis want easy divorce as it gives them control over women and their children as they are always promoting some man as their nature of being the helpmate to some man is. I don't know if Rabbis are so necessary in my own view - at least the way they exist today which is an imitation of other religions and political ideas that have no basis in the torah.
    m brukhes on July 26, 2012 at 8:27 pm (Reply)
    ...and WHO can argue with that...?
J. on July 26, 2012 at 2:56 am (Reply)
Hershl - Ohel Sara was not a yeshiva, and the author of the article is correct. There are rumours that Rav Elyashiv spent a few days at the Chevron yeshiva (recounted to me by his great grandson) but beyond that, he learned in a beis hamedrash, without a formal yeshiva structure.
Miriam on July 29, 2012 at 8:31 pm (Reply)
I cringed every time you wrote "Elyahiv " and not Harav Elyashiv! He's not your buddy from 6th grade! Where is kavod hatorah?
Groinem on July 29, 2012 at 11:23 pm (Reply)
Is there any proof that the 'moderate' Rabbis of Beney Beraq disagreed with these pesakim you find troublesome? I do not know of a halachic rationale for allowing the coercion of gittin in regular domestic disputes, and it seems that non-Torah values and ideals of 'equality' and 'womens rights' are driving the movement, not legitimate halachic disputes.
Henry Stadhouders on August 24, 2012 at 6:18 am (Reply)
Interesting to read this assessment of a pious and rigorous Halakhist and be struck by his resemblances with the late Ayatollah Khomeiny, as this secluded ascete was evaluated after his passing way. Les extrèmes se touchent.
Jay A Friedman on August 24, 2012 at 9:57 am (Reply)
I totally disagree with Rabbi Elyashiv’s approach to Jewish humanity as well as the way of life adopted by his followers. As a Jew, I believe that we are obligated to observe Halakhic law as handed down by our tradition which includes loyalty to our people and equality for all.

At the same time, I vehemently object to the association between Rabbi Elyashiv and the despicable Ayatollah and his supporters. There are some things that should not be said or considered – even in the heat of a Jewish debate.

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