Maran Rav Shach: Who Are the True Baalei Machlokes?

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rav-shachBy Rabbi Yosef Shubert, Matzav.com

[Video below.] Words of disrespect recently written about the Rabbon Shel Yisroel, Maran Rav Elazar Menachem Man Shach zt”l, compel us to share the following video in which Rav Shach succinctly relays the message that those who stand up for kevod Shomayim and battle those who seek to veer from the path of Torah are not baalei machlokes. Rather, it is those who seek to spread a message or ideology that is foreign to the Torah derech who are the baalei machlokes in this world.

The lies, misrepresentations and chutzpah related about this malach Elokim cannot go unanswered.

Rav Shlomo Lorencz, an emissary of numerous gedolei Yisroel, including Rav Shach, related that when a certain movement began its messianic propaganda, Rav Shach, with his wise vision, understood what would eventually happen and to what dimensions this movement would reach if he did not take steps to quell it with an uncompromising battle.

Rav Shach did not engage in that effort with equanimity, Rav Lorencz stated, but with reluctance. On one occasion, Rav Shach told Rav Lorencz that he would have preferred that others wage this war in his stead. But seeing that no one wished to involve himself, he felt responsible to do everything in his power, brooking no compromise.

Rav Shach’s mesirus nefesh in this battle knew no bounds. Rav Lorencz described the outcry of Rav Shach, who said, “Even if I knew for certain that they would burn me alive, I would still not desist in my campaign against false messianism, for this is bona fide avodoh zorah.”

It should be noted that despite his milchemes Hashem against the messianic group, Rav Shach nevertheless recited Tehillim when the person who was being declared Moshiach became sick. At the time, Rav Lorencz asked him for an explanation, and he obliged: “My battle,” said Rav Shach, “is against his erroneous approach, against the movement, but not against the people in any personal way. I pray for [his] recovery and simultaneously I also pray that he abandon his invalid way.”

In the final stage of his life, Rav Shach endured unimaginable pain and a tortured soul, suffering when certain circles dared blame him for imagined opposition to the Chassidic public and in causing dissension within the Torah-loyal community.

Those who were close to Rav Shach know to what extent he desired peace and only peace. Rav Lorencz testified personally that there was no lover of shalom and pursuer of peace like Rav Shach. But when certain actions were taken that were contrary to halacha and to the Torah way, he was forced to react.

However, whenever he spoke out against a negative phenomenon, he was forthright and showed no distinction between one community or following and another, one circle or another, between those who were distant from him and those close to him.

Rav Shach did not bear rancor against any person, and would forgive all those who insulted him. However, he often clarified his stand, both in speech and in writing, that the slander spread against him about his persecution of chassidim was something he could never forgive, for it had transformed him into a baal machlokes at a time when he loved peace and pursued it to the nth degree.

Rav Shach said during one of the toughest times that whoever was in the position of decision-making must have no fears or reservations regarding being branded a ‘quarrel monger.’

At the founding meeting of Degel Hatorah in 5749, Rav Shach stated: “They say that we are quarrel seekers… I heard in the name of Rav Yehoshua Leib Diskin an explanation of Chazal on the verse, ‘And Bnei Yisroel mourned Moshe.’ Rashi quotes that this refers to the men. When Aharon Hakohen, who was a pursuer and lover of truth, passed away, it says that all of Klal Yisroel wept over him since he would make peace between man and wife, friend and enemy.

“Rav Yehoshua was puzzled by this. The Torah seeks to tell of Moshe’s praises. Why, then, mention here that only the men mourned him?

“The truth is that there is a great element of praise here. Aharon Hakohen loved peace and pursued it, so it is no wonder that everyone loved him. But Moshe Rabbeinu’s task was to judge and pass sentence in matters of argument and disagreement, in dinei Torah between two factions. He had to rule in favor of one side and against the other, so that it was inevitable that people would be hurt or might accuse him of favoritism, prejudice and fomenting dissension. It is impossible to justify everyone. The fact that not all of Klal Yisroel mourned his passing shows that he was truly impartial and ruled according to the dictates of pure justice.”

Rav Lorencz once wrote that “Applicable and fitting are these words to the very one who uttered them. By innate nature, Rav Shach was basically a peace lover, yet he was not deterred from overriding this trait if he felt it necessary as a leader to denounce one public or another when they conducted themselves contrary to the way of the Torah.”

Rav Shach was the biggest oheiv Yisroel of the last generation. And his battle was one that was fought lesheim Shomayim. Unfortunately, we have some in our community – our own Torah kehillos – who, overtly or not, in print or via some other medium, have shown by their actions that they’d prefer to make believe like Rav Shach’s stances were meaningless. They’d prefer to do what is comfortable to them, rewriting history and ignoring what Rav Shach said and what Rav Shach taught. Their actions and their complete dismissal of Rav Shach’s hashkafah are an insult to the manhig hador of the last generation and to all bnei Torah who followed his direction and still do to this day.

We in the Torah community cannot allow this revisionist history to be perpetuated under our noses time and again.

And never, ever, should we allow those in the supposed “peace camp” to accuse the protectors of Torah and mesorah of being baalei machlokes. That’s an old trick that Rav Shach, himself, in the video below and elsewhere, identified and refuted.

Those who fight for the authenticity of Torah are not baalei machlokes, but pursuers of truth.

Those who refuse to bend to false calls for peace and the rewriting of history are not baalei machlokes, but pursuers of emes.

Those who seek to pay homage today to those who were distanced by the gedolim of the last dor do so with immense audacity and impudence.

Likewise, let us add that:

Those who fight individuals who wish to “open” up Orthodoxy, adulterating our way of life from within, are not baalei machlokes, but protectors of mesorah.

Those who fight the ordination of women rabbis and individuals who seek to cross the line in this regard are not baalei machlokes, but protectors of our Torah way of life.

Those who fight for true tzedek against those who wish to hijack the term for their own twisted agenda are not baalei machlokes, but protectors of our Torah way of life.

Those who fight for truth over all else are not baalei machlokes, but those who have the courage to stand up for the Word of G-d.

Click below to watch the message of Maran Rav Shach, shared with a broken heart and with tears. May we merit to emulate his purity, his strength, and his love of every Jew.

Click below to watch:

[media id=1176 width=400 height=300]

{Rabbi Yosef Shubert-Matzav.com Newscenter}

76 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you Matzav for posting this article. You are truly the only site that represent the views of our gadoly Israel. Don’t back down, keep it up!!

  2. ohev sholom verodefsholom ohev es habrios umekarvon latorah

    that was the ponivithcer rosh hayeshiva zttztz””L

  3. I have rarely read such a smartly written article that is factual and on the mark. I give great credit to the author. Emes laamito.

  4. What is the response of supposed frum publications that claim to cater to Bnei Torah but have spit in the face of the gedolei hador?

  5. Yasher keyach, very good and important.

    The bottom line is, we have to be careful not to fall for simplistic, cheap, emotional slogans, like “Moshiach now” and love. Instead we need real daas Tayreh, which goes beyond the surface and seeks the emes.

    Yasher keyach Matzav and R. Schubert!

    ????? ?? ??? ????”? ??? ?????, ????? ???????? ????? ??????

  6. You can add that those who fight for the truth in this regard are also following the Steipler and all the other gedolim who felt the same way

  7. what does the answer that #10 answer to? also, if you look at the history not the “his” “story” the hatred came up not with the moshiach issue, it was there previously when discussing returning part of eretz yisroel for supposed peace and other issues as well. before everyone gets all worked up, maybe everyone should get the real facts.

  8. I don’t know what words of disrespect Rabbi Shubert is referring to, but…

    “Rav Shach was the biggest oheiv Yisroel of the last generation.”

    Perhaps it was the Satmar Rebbe? Perhaps R. Leizer Silver? Perhaps R. Yaakov or R. Pam?

    Further, while a am a farhitzte Litvak, I believe that it is an incredible chutzpah to refer to one of the world’s largest chasidic dynasties and the de facto founders of the baal teshuvah movement as “the messianic group.” Whatever problems we have with them, remember that the Chasidishe olam aside of some Hungarians has few problems with them.

  9. Wow. I’m impressed! We have a sacred obligation to love every Jew, but not to validate the lifestyle of every Jew. A true Gadol and oved H-shem, Rav Schach could say, “Anachnu holchim baderech hayeshara!” (Loosely translated, “We are following the straight- righteous path”). It is up to us to follow our Gedolim and not to pay too much attention to all the plossy publications out there that would have us believe that there is Emmes where it does not exist.

  10. Speaking of opening up orthodoxy, our friend “Rabbi” Maroof started a new website

    http://sephardicbetmidrash.blogspot.com

    supposedly it is on inyonei halokheh but I am sure he will use it to spread more of his kefirahdik reform shitos and I hope matzav will keep an eye on him so when the truth comes out you will expose him

  11. Thank you Rabbi Schubert for an excellent article! I’ve dissagreed with you in the past & have expressed my strong opinion’s right here on Matzav (usually it gets edited out), but I’ve got to give credit where credit is due and this piece “red tzum zach”! Thank you!

  12. In the 1950s, the Brisker Rov, when shown a publication from that group said ‘Er vet zach bald avekshtellen far ah moshiach’. ‘He will soon set himself up as a Moshiach’. Our gedolim have tremendous forsight and can read signs that others can’t see.

    Thank you Matzav, for taking this stand. It’s enough we need to fight the enemies from without. Worse that we have to fight the enemies who think they are within.

  13. torah torah chigri sak – that we dont have Rav Shach anymore.

    but at least we have Matzav.com to share his words. please post this article every day.

  14. I printed out the article and hung it up in the coffeee room! The olam was going nuts!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  15. I was around during the heat of his milchama to save klal yisroel
    \
    i agree that there was no greater lover of jews than harav shach.

    I met him over a dozen times. Never in my life did i meet someone who cared so much about every Jew.

  16. Oh how we miss Rav Shach.

    And oh how we miss Rav Elya Svei and Rav Gifter and otehr gedolim who wouldn’t let certain people get away with what Rav Shubert calls “revising history.” So so true. they’ll interview anyone and everyone even those close to the messianics and then totally ignore the messianic proclivities as if they never happened.

    oy lonu miyom hadin

  17. The emes huirts for some people

    I saw blogs which have taken Rabbi Shubert’s piece and tried to criticizeit, but there is nothing to say, because Shubert hit the screw on the head

  18. Thank you Matzav for standing up for he truth, fearlessly.

    The messiani group’s story isn’t over. The cult/large new religion it seems to be growing into is very very sad. How many souls have been lost this way? Imagion Rav Schach ZT”L wouldn’t have sspoken up; how much worse it would be….

  19. It’s odd that we and our Gedolim often accused by off-the-track groups of being cold and hostile. More often then not, we have actually cut these groups far too much slack to avoid their barrages of hate speech and intimidation.

  20. The movement wrote themselves out of Torah true Jewry loooong before messianism. Ask any one of them what they think of Rav Ahron Kotler, zt’l. The way they speak about the indiviual most responsible for the rebirth of Torah in America after the war, is enough to warn us that there is something seriously off the Torah derech with them.

  21. The dumb immature comments that were left on the article (Tuesday) regarding the Yartziet of Reb Schnier Kotler ZT”L, is what prompted this piece today. Rabbosie, you have to haltz kup over here at Matzav. Nu.

  22. The Olam Hatorah has shown what it can do. You can have a talmid of Rav Shach like a Rav Pinchos Lipschutz who leads a campaign to save Rubashkin.

    This is lesheim Shomayim. Matzav, oy Matzav, what would we do without you?

  23. In 1982 when the honor and standing of Rabbi Shach were challenged by various segments of the Orthodox press, a protest for his honor was held in New York. It was attended by Rabbis Shneur Kotler, Avraham Yaakov Pam, Aharon Schechter, Henoch Leibowitz, Shmuel Berenbaum, and other roshei yeshiva. A similar protest was held in Baltimore, where Rabbi Yaakov Yitzchok Ruderman and Rabbi Yaakov Weinberg spoke.

    Source: See Dos Yiddishe Vort, 5742:229 – http://www.hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=24449&st=&pgnum=13

    At the same time, a letter supporting Rav Shach was circulated in Israel, signed by Rav Yaakov Yisrael Kanievsky, Rav Yosef Shalom Eliashiv, Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, Rav Yechiel Michel Feinstein, and Rav Meyer Chodosh.

    Source: Karyana D’Igarata – http://www.hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=24449&st=&pgnum=16

  24. Ashreichem! Eloquently and magnigficently expressed EMES. Oy lanu that we even need to say these things to our own B’nei Torah…

  25. what is the point of this article?

    is it to establish that the rosh yeshivah ztz”l was an ish shalom? we all know that

    the rosh yeshivah was a tremendous ohaiv yisroel

    a rayah his disciple reb pinchos lipshitz put his name and business on the line for the rubashkin family

    and im sure the rosh yeshiva would have done the same

    reb pinchos shlitta said that birabbim in the lakewood asifa a year ago rosh chodesh av

    but what is to gain from the article?

    im not sure

  26. First of all, this is the very first time I ever opened this site, at someone else’s recommendation.

    This is absolutely true and completely correct. However, I wish people – including this website – would keep the same in mind regarding Rav Shach’s position on Zionism and the settlements. His position on that issue was quite clear as well.

    This site, as well, seems to be quite right-wing (ie, pro-Zionist, pro-nationalist) in its opinions relating to Eretz Yisroel. Didn’t Rav Shach speak in very clear words about nationalism? About provocating the Arabs? About looking for war?

    Then – why does Matzav defend people like Dov Lior and Yaakov Yosef? Referring to those trying to get to Kever Yosef as ‘rabbonim’? Would Rav Shach have approved of referring to such provocateurs as ‘rabbonim’?

  27. It is time to stop the meshichist propaganda. Enough. Kiruv shmiruv. It has ruined thousands of lives.

  28. Rabbi Lorencz was takeh a moiridiker mentch. I wish he was here. We could have him tell all the deniers what really went down, but this article says it pretty well. Rav Lorencz knew almost better than anyone else what was going on. He knew the truth.

    And we who lived in Brooklyn knew the truth of what was going on.

  29. An amazing video. You can hear him crying, so pained by those who were ruining yiddishkeit. What a holy Yeed.

  30. What is sad is that there are alot of people that feel that since you can get a cup of Cholv Yisroel milk in singapore noone is allowed to speak against this group. If you cared about HaShem, really cared, you would cry out too. Those that cared spoke. Very few too few but the true Yidden knew!
    Anyone that goes there today and sees a quasi messianic cult of wayfarers will immediately realize the brilliance and truth of Rav Shach Zecer Tzaddik Vekadosh Livracha’s words twenty five years ago.
    I love them as individuals however as a group, they are misguided and lost to say the least.

  31. Contrast the above Video with this. http://vimeo.com/5849572

    The chutzpa of modern day publications to act like there were two sides, so sort of eilu vi’eilu. That, coupled with a few dorm counselors that happen to be eloquent speakers, and they put on rabinic levush, and yente how if not for…

  32. #19 Rav ARYEH LEVIN was known as the Tzaddik in his time and his ahavas yisroel was paramount.

    #48 Those were the days of “Land for Peace” when our Gedolim believed there were partners and possibilities for peace. Much has changed this that time.

  33. I can only commend Matzav for posting this article. Since the passing of Maran Rav Shach zt”l, there is total silence about the terrible things that are hap pining with that messianic group. Many people don’t know what is going on and thing it’s a wonderful group and are being influenced by them. I hope many will take the example from matzav and continue spreading the message of Maran Rav Shach zt”l.

  34. I recall listening to a recording of Moreinu Harav Chaim Stein ZTVK”L LH”H, quoting a Rashi in Sanhedrin 44b who quotes a Yerushalmi (Incidently, someone told me it’s the longest Rashi in Shas):

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    He said both parts are very relevant, the part that we may not hear the disgrace of talmidei Chachomim, and not protest. But more importantly: had Rav Shimon Ben Shotach not done gotten rid of these witches, he would have gotten such a terrible punishment. As the big talmid chochom – the leader of the Torah world, in Heaven they made it his responsibility to stop this. So too Horav Schach. He couldn’t remain silent. He had to get up and protest. As the leader of the Torah World he had to protest this…

  35. Regarding the quote in R’ Shubert’s article (see below), you can see the video of Rav Shach ZT”L here (at 6 minutes and 45 seconds):

    http://www.shofar.net/site/emedia.asp?id=757&Category=3&Prourl=http://oldserver.shofar-tv.com/MEDIA/Documentation_Movies/shach128k.wmv#

    At the founding meeting of Degel Hatorah in 5749, Rav Shach stated: “They say that we are quarrel seekers… I heard in the name of Rav Yehoshua Leib Diskin an explanation of Chazal on the verse, ‘And Bnei Yisroel mourned Moshe.’ Rashi quotes that this refers to the men. When Aharon Hakohen, who was a pursuer and lover of truth, passed away, it says that all of Klal Yisroel wept over him since he would make peace between man and wife, friend and enemy.

    “Rav Yehoshua was puzzled by this. The Torah seeks to tell of Moshe’s praises. Why, then, mention here that only the men mourned him?

    “The truth is that there is a great element of praise here. Aharon Hakohen loved peace and pursued it, so it is no wonder that everyone loved him. But Moshe Rabbeinu’s task was to judge and pass sentence in matters of argument and disagreement, in dinei Torah between two factions. He had to rule in favor of one side and against the other, so that it was inevitable that people would be hurt or might accuse him of favoritism, prejudice and fomenting dissension. It is impossible to justify everyone. The fact that not all of Klal Yisroel mourned his passing shows that he was truly impartial and ruled according to the dictates of pure justice.”

  36. Some more pertinent material:

    1: Letter supporting Rav Shach ZT”L , written in 1989, signed by Rav Avraham Yaakov Pam, Mordechai Gifter, Shmuel Kamenetsky, Elya Svei, Aharon Schechter, Yaakov Weinberg, Henoch Leibowitz, Reuven Feinstein, Malkiel Kotler, Zelik Epstein, and Chaim Dov Keller:

    http://israel613.com/books/SHACH_DEFEND184.pdf

    2: Rabbi Shmuel Berenbaum had wanted so much l’achar mei’ah v’esrim shanah to speak in learning with Shach, and Rav Moshe Feinstein. But he was concerned that since they were tremendous tzadikim and had suffered greatly, he would not be put within their sphere in Shamayim. He felt he needed yesurim to reach their madreigah. (http://www.5tjt.com/news/read.asp?Id=1972)

    3: Rabbi Yechezkel Levenstein once called Rabbi Shach the “greatest ba’al chessed of our generation” (Rabbi Elazar Menachem Man Shach ZT”L: Forever Available for Any and All by Rabbi Shlomo Lorincz. Prepared for publication by Yonoson Rosenblum. The Jewish Observer. October, 2007.)

    4: “My father and rebbi zt”l [Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach] said Am Yisroel has not had such a leader for many generations, and I heard the same thing said by Rabban Shel Kol Bnei HaGoloh Maran HaRav Elyashiv shlita [Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv]. I heard this from both of them on several occasions. . . Once somebody asked avi mori gaon Yisroel [Rabbi S.Z. Auerbach] regarding a certain directive Rabbeinu Hagadol zt”l had issued. My father got very angry and told him that despite everything we know about Maran and his achievements and the strength of his decisions and approach, more of him remains hidden than revealed, and he is considered a tzaddik nistar. – Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach (http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/article.php?p=26246)

    5: “If someone takes the burden of the klal upon himself, it stems from concern for each and every individual. We find this with the gedolim. . . This means that although the foundation of our life and vitality is certainly limud hatorah, where there is no one to make the dejected happy, the Torah itself obligates those who study it to go and cheer them up. The Rosh Yeshiva of Ponevezh, personified this. He was the father for individuals and therefore carried the burden of the klal.” – Rabbi Moshe Shmuel Shapiro ( You Can Make the Difference pg. 378 By C R Wagschal Published by Feldheim Publishers, 2007.)

    6: Whenever it would come to signing a public proclamation or letter on behalf of Klal Yisrael, the Steipler insisted that Shach’s signature appear before his. It was not uncommon for the Steipler to come to Shach unannounced in order to consult with him on a matter of vital concern for the Jewish people. (Sunset: Stories of Our Contemporary Torah Luminaries, Zt”l, and Their Spiritual Heroism. Page 175. By Hanoch Teller, Marsi Tabak Published by Feldheim Publishers, 1987)

    7: In 1982 when the honor and standing of Rabbi Shach were challenged by various segments of the Orthodox press, Rabbi Elya Svei led the protest for his honor. In a rousing address to the thousands of bnei Torah attending a rally to this end, Svei explained that “the nikleh, the boor, fails to distinguish between weighty matters and insignificant ones; to him all is kal, of little importance. The nichbad, the honorable man, is one who finds gravity, kveidus, in everything because every gesture carries potential for kovod shamayim.” (Guardian of a Sacred Trust – A Tribute to Rav Elya Svei ZTZ”L by Yisroel Besser. Mishpacha Magazine, Issue 253, April 1, 2009, page 41)

  37. #62. When the 6 day war end, Rav Shach called to return all captured land. He stated “Give it back now when you have the upper hand, because eventually you’ll be forced to give it back under much worse circumstance.” Rav Shach opposed the building of Emanuel long before the concept of land for peace. Rav Shach was very upset when he discovered that Kiryat Sefer was on the other side of the green line.

    Rabbonim were never for land for peace, they were for not starting up with umos, then and now. They now oppose giving away land when it endangers lives, because a true oihev yisroel cares about yidishe lives, not eretz yisroel.

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