MATZAV SHMOOZE: I Need To Know: What Would You Do?


Dear Matzav Shmooze,

A few weeks ago Ira Zlotowitz used social media to get advice on a workplace issue. It just so happens that I also have an problem and I hope the Matzav readers can give me some hadracha or at least some insight.

My job gives me many opportunities to work for the Klal, which is a responsibility I don’t take lightly. I never make an important decisions without speaking with either my Rav or my Rosh Yeshiva, whose words of wisdom are always an important factor in whatever undertaking I begin.

Recently, after several discussions with my Rav, I made the decision to help out with a project that my Rav felt would benefit the Klal greatly. I worked out what needed to be done and how I would get this project off the ground and was all ready to begin the groundwork for this project when I got a call from Rosh Yeshiva asking to meet with me.

My Rosh Yeshiva sat me down and explained to me that this project would in fact be detrimental for Klal Yisrael and in no uncertain terms he told me to cancel all plans to move forward. When my Rav got a wind of what happened he immediately called me back and stressed again the importance of what I was to do and made it clear that I need to get to work on this project right away.

So now I am in a quandary. I can’t choose one side over the other because these are both my rebbeim who are gedolim and tzaddikim that understand the issues much more than I ever can. It is my unique position that allows me to run this project in the first place so I cannot just delegate the job to others in my place.

In situations like this I would normally take the stance of shev v’al taaseh and just not do anything. But here is my biggest problem. If I take the position of shev v’al taaseh the project would fall apart. In my head this isn’t choosing not to take sides, doing nothing would be picking my Rosh Yeshvia over my Rav. My lack of decision is itself choosing a side so this isn’t an option for me unless I choose to go against my Rav.

I also know that my Rav and Rosh Yeshiva have discussed this problem among themselves many times and that having them meet to decide on what to do won’t help. Each one has his reasons to believe what’s best for the Klal and also firmly thinks the other is mistaken. I can’t use my own logic to decide who is right because they each have very valid points.

So I have this decision to make and my normal channels of Daas Torah are not open to me. So I am turning this question over to the readers of What would you do in my place?

In a Pickle


  1. Wow, that’s a tough one.
    An am’aretz like me has no place making such a decision, but here are just a couple of questions that come to mind:
    1) Is one of these rabonim your rav muvhak?
    2) Is there a third party (or a group of people) who these two rabonim would be OK with to decide which way to go?

    Tizku lemitzvos for your respect for your rabonim and your being oisik in the tzurchei tzibbur. May you have syata d’shmaya in coming to the correct decision.

  2. Did you ever hear of aylu voaylu divrei Elokim chaim? So do whatever your heart tells you to do and you won’t be wrong.

    Our history id filled with machlokes and all the ones that were and are lshem shomayim have a kiyum. If there is any ego involved or non leshaym shomayim involved then obviously stay away from that side.

  3. so go to a Kasuv Hashelishi. R’ Dovid Feinstein is on a caliber to bring them together and decide.
    He can be reached by reaching out to his Talmidim

  4. In a Pickle,
    1. Are you in a half sour mood, or full sour?
    2. Maybe you’re in a barrel… or over a barrel…

    Either way, disengage from both Rabbonim, and approach someone who is widely considered to be a Gadol B’Yisroel, like Reb Dovid Feinstein, Shlita, or Reb Shmuel Kamentezky, Shlita, or even Reb Chaim Kanayevsky, Shlita. Tell them you are coming to them because your Rabbeim gave you conflicting advice and you’re not in a position to reject either one.
    You have to have someone with very big shoulders to make this decision for you.

  5. Every person has to have one person who to him is the final word, אפילו אם אמר על שמאל ימין ועל ימין שמאל. In this case, you have two such madrichim that you consider to have such a role for you. On this we say יבא השלישי ויכריע ביניהם… Contact a gadol whom you consider to be off the stature that he would be a שופט הדור and that your משפיעים מכניע to, and ask him to pasken.

    I’m assuming that this letter is a joke, but regardless, what I’m about to say is true: the absolute last place to get advice in such an instance is the anonymous comment section on a website. (Yes, I’m aware I’m more than likely falling for a troll, but I feel this statement should be made regardless even though it’s irrelevant in this case.)

  6. In the business word there is something known as the MVP test. Minimum Viable Product – first you create the most minimum version of what you need to create and you test if anyone is interested in it. You can use the same model here and actually test it on the Klal and this way you’ll know the facts if this is something worthwhile to work on or not.

  7. 1. This is the wrong place to turn to for advice.

    2. You are not even giving details so any advice is meaningless, as no one knows what they are advising on.

    3. You are not even signing your name.

    4. Is this a pre-Purim post?

  8. Take your pickle and put it back in the jar. You are a loser who has no life. someone that posts his personal dirty laundry on the internet, is an idiot with no self-worth.

  9. 1) What do you think? In a case like this, if the Ribono Shel Plan has put you in this situation, then He expects you to delve into it and clarify the halacha yourself.

    2) Sometimes שב ועל תעשה is indeed עדיף. Remember, כשם שקבלת שכר על הדרישה…..

  10. Since they, between themselves have discussed this issue, why don’t you make a 3-way conference call among yourselves, and come to a conclusion?
    It seems to be the MOST logical thing to do.

  11. So let me get this straight. You got one opinion from your Rav and another one from your Rosh Yeshiva, and since they’re both “Gedolim and Tzaddikim.” So what do you do? You turn to the readers of Matzav for their eitzah v’sushiyah.
    And then you have Matzav who publishes this letter.

  12. I don’t really understand your quandary. Why not present your quandary to a renowned gadol, such as Rav Elya Brudny, and follow whatever he tells you to do?

  13. Why don’t you ask them directly what to do?

    There must be more to do the story. Roshey Yeshiva don’t call up Talmidim requesting meetings in order to give them unsolicited advice not to get involved in a project. Particularly if the Talmid did so on the instructions and impetus of a Rav the Rosh Yeshiva respects. Unless that project is VERY controversial.

  14. Assuming (Which I’m not) that this isn’t a Pre Purim post I’ll say

    Rav Yaakov Kamenetsky once gave a speech in Camp Ohr Shraga when a very heated debate was going on. In it he said “If there is a difference in opinion between me and the Satmar Rebbe whether a specific person is a Tzadik or a Rosha then it is probably because of a larger haskafa issue and go with whoever you usually turn to for hadracha. But if despite our similar hashkafa there is a difference in opinion between me and Rav Moshe Feinstein whether a specific person is a Tzadik or a Rosh then no matter who your Rebbe is, stay away from that person!!!”

    I don’t know the situation but if your Rosh Yeshiva felt that this is so detrimental to the Klal that he told you to stay out without you even asking his opinion there probably is a pretty decent chance that IS potentially detrimental. Don’t do it without asking a neutral third Adam Godal

  15. hashkafically you are correct – up until you wrote
    “If I take the position of shev v’al taaseh the project would fall apart”
    nope. if Hashem wants it to happen it will happen with or without you.
    if not – not; with or without you.
    [assuming shev v’al taaseh is correct approach , then that sentence is fundamentally wrong!!!]


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