Mishpacha Magazine: “Reintroducing” Rabbi Soloveitchik “to the World in the Idiom of the Yeshivas”

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mishpacha-rav-schechterRabbi Doniel Neustadt Responds to Matzav.com Inquiry Regarding Interview

Two months after featuring an interview with Rabbi Yehudah Krinsky of Chabad Lubavitch, Mishpacha Magazine‘s English edition features an interview this week with Rabbi Hershel Schechter, rosh yeshiva of Yeshiva Rabbeinu Yitzchok Elchonon and posek for the Orthodox Union. The article focuses on Rabbi Schechter’s rebbi, Rabbi Yosher Ber Soloveitchik of Boston. Mishpacha contends, in its introduction to the interview, that Rabbi Schechter is “reintroducing his rebbi to the world in the idiom of the yeshivas.”

In his introduction to the article, author Rabbi Yitzchok Frankfurter, Torah editor at the magazine and husband of Mrs. Rechy Frankfurter, Editor of the English Mishpacha Magazine, states:

It is difficult if not impossible to draw a fully rounded portrait of Rav Yoshe Ber Soloveitchik, a scion of Brisk known to many simply as “The Rav,” a man who straddled many disparate worlds. Much as bands of light are scattered by a prism, Rav Soloveitchik’s multifaceted persona was refracted and absorbed in different hues and shades by his many students. Yet of all those students, Rav Hershel Schachter, a noted talmid chacham and prominent posek, is recognized for his exemplary exposition and elucidation of the teachings of Rav Soloveitchik. In a riveting conversation with Misphacha, Rav Schachter shares his personal memories of the Rav Soloveitchik that he knew.

Jonathan Mayer, a member of the Modern Orthodox community told Matzav.com that “The fact that a chareidi magazine is running this has caused great excitement in the Modern Orthodox community. They see it as bridging the rift between them and the chareidim. Since the Jewish Observer ran a very negative obituary on RJB Soloveitchik after his passing in 1993, there existed a seemingly unbridgeable gap between the two Orthodox camps,” contends Mayer.

“The Mishpacha article is truly groundbreaking and sensational,” claims Mayer.

Matzav.com contacted Rabbi Doniel Neustadt, the head of the rabbinical board at Mishpacha Magazine, who was gracious in discussing the interview.

The Matzav.com reporter who spoke with Rabbi Neustadt, who also serves as the Yoshev Rosh of the Vaad Harabbonim of Detroit, asked the following:

Many of Rabbi Soloveitchik’s views were rejected by gedolei Torah in the chareidi world, and while he was respected for his acumen and his truly remarkable mind and Torah knowledge, many of his stances and shitos were not accepted by the leaders of the Torah world. Was this taken into consideration by Mishpacha, and if yes, how was the decision made to look passed that?

The following was Rabbi Neustadt’s response:

If one reads the article, it becomes readily apparent that it is written from a Chareidi perspective and there is no attempt to promote any of the positions of Rav Soloveitchik which Gedolei Yisroel opposed. On the contrary, the writer clearly distinguishes between the Modern Orthodox camp and the Chareidi world view.

“While we may reject each other’s opinions, in the end we must treat each other with respect, grace and ahavas Yisroel. That is what we try to do at Mishpacha, every single day, every single issue.”

{Dovid Bernstein-Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. “Many of Rabbi Soloveitchik’s views were rejected by gedolei Torah in the chareidi world, and while he was respected for his acumen and his truly remarkable mind and Torah knowledge, many of his stances and shitos were not accepted by the leaders of the Torah world. Was this taken into consideration by Mishpacha, and if yes, how was the decision made to look passed that?”

    At first, it says gedolei Torah in the Chareidi world. A bit later, it says leaders of the Torah world. Why the change? Modern Orthodox rabbonim, such as R’ Shachter, are also leaders of the Torah world. You should have stuck with saying the chareidi world.

  2. while those in the MO community refer to us as Charedi we refer to ourselves as Torah jews, or rather: what you call Charedi is what we call Torah Jews… Either way we love everybody!! Who cares about labels.

  3. If you ask me, there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with a chareidi publication printing an article on someone who definitely impacted Orthodox Jewry in a very big way. It doesn’t mean that Mishpacha condones the actions or views of Rabbi Soloveitchik, rather all it means is that Mishpacha thought that Rabbi Soloveitchik is a personality that would spark interest and would intrigue its readers.

  4. everyone knows morienu horav gifter szl;s famous speech on pesach regarding yu and the fact that the yeshiva was one of many subjects taught in the college, not the main as we see they include many groups that are forbidden in the torah
    thats why he is not included in the frum world

  5. Did Chazal or the Rambam or the Shulchan Aruch ever diffrentiate between Modern Othodox and Charedi. These polarizing labels are manmade. Let us do away with them once and forever. Kudos Mishpacha and Rabbi Frankfurter.

  6. Did Rambam differentiate between orthodox and reform? (Not to say that they are reform just a point.) just because someone was not around then does not mean that they approved. If the hashkafah is corrupt the label doesn’t matter Al tistakel bakankan…

  7. Hey, Rav Gifter’s talmid. Don’t invoke your esteemed Rebbe’s name when you are promoting sinas chinam. Remember Yaakov Avinu’s tefilla: B’khulom al teichad kvodi”? The Bobover Rebbe z”l once said: “When I’ll inherit the Tzanzer Rav’s kedusha then I’ll adopt his machlokes with Ruzhin as well.” Wise words.

  8. Huge credit is due to Mishpacha Magazine to go where others are afraid to go.
    We are”yidden” from the same father- Avinu Shebashamayim”. We sacrificed together and even died together Al Kiddush Hashem! We would help each other without any hesitation during any and all times of severe need. Lets love and respect each other even if we may have different perceived “titles”. I think it is time for us to grow up and look to what unites us and not what separates us.

  9. If you wish to critique him, you surely did not know him.
    A Man who paced the halls late into the night as he battled with a difficult Ramban. Who lived with the Rambam by his side.

    Here is another way to think about it:
    People who stay up late on shevuos and learn the whole night without a break are very proud of themselves. They learn maybe 4 hours without a break.
    In his youth, he would learn without a break for 16 hours straight. I am talking daily.

    The comments about including him in this camp or the other, are utter nonsense.
    People don’t get it, he could care less what you thought of him.
    Take a lesson in how to be a real person.

  10. Mori VeRabi Rav Mordechai Gifter never tolerated any denigration of Rav Yoshe Ber Soloveitchik. He disagreed with those positions that he disagreed with, but revered the Torah within. He contributed a Torah article to a journal that was published in honor of Rav Yoshe Ber. I was present when he stated that the article was written “lichvodo”, and does not serve as a vindication of Rav Soloveitchik’s positions. In the “famous” speech on Pesach, at which I was present, there was not a single mention or allusion in the slightest to Rav Soloveitick.
    One thing which the Rosh Yeshiva, Rav Gifter absolutely detested was anonymous attacks. If a thing is a “dvar emes”, one attaches his name to it.

    Hachosem bekavod hatorah velomdeha

  11. I dont see anything wrong with what the Mishpacha wrote. Everyone knows what type of magazine Mishpocha is, taxing the intelligence of people. Any intelligent half bright person knows this.

    Its amazing to me that people even discuss and argue about what they write as if it is of any consequence. Its a little magazine. It would however be nice if they raised its level of writing that would be fitting for the people reading it.

  12. When the Mishpacha mag. apologizes for endorsing the pro “Mishkav Zachor” Bloomberg for Mayor, I’ll take what they say seriously! Until then it’s worthless!

  13. Mishpacha is to be commended and applauded for its feature on one of the gedolei olam in many a generation the Rav ZTL, whose brilliance and super human comprehension and teaching of Torah to thousands of Talmidim has few parallels in Jewish history…and its portrayal of the Gaon Rav Schachter Shlita. I am not quite sure why there are those who are irritated or disturbed… Mishpacha stocks will surely go up with those who believe and practice Ahavas Torah and Ahavas Yisroel together with genuine derech eretz for real gadlus be’torah.

  14. there is was and only will be one way…….that is the torah!!!!!”M,O”is just a term or excuse not to follow the torah ways,even the rov,my rebbi,would’ve agreed.

  15. To Seichal:

    Interesting name for a guy like you. Maybe the Skulener Rebbe shlita should apologize for recieving him warmly and shaking Bloomberg’s hand?? And why did the Satmar Rebbe ztz”l meet the mechalel Shabbos Mayor Beame? Learn a bit of history.


  17. proud talmid – MO is an excuse not to follow the torah if you want it to be, just like chareidi can mean I wear a hat, but my actions are not confined to halacha.

    I am sure that you know that MO is a very widely used and abused term, but very few people know what you are talking about when you say “centrist” orthodoxy or “torah true judaism”.

    For some reason people have a need for labels. I highly doubt Rav Schachter would use the MO label in the same way that you have.

    I find it strange that Rabbi Neustadt says “there is no attempt to promote any of the positions of Rav Soloveitchik which Gedolei Yisroel opposed” as if Rav Soloveitchik and his Talmidim are not Gedolei Yisroel themselves.

  18. When it comes to THE ROV one must realize that NO generalizations can be made about him nor his Talmidim. The Rav firmly believed that there was not only one single derech to HKB”H, (providing of course that the Torah is the map.) The eclectic, varied nature, and diversity of those who can consider themselves Talmidim of his, thus precludes painting them all with the same brushstroke, (e.g. “MO”)

  19. As a reader of Mishpacha magazine since issue #1, I can say that it is truly a breath of fresh air to read a frum publication with no religio/political axe to grind. All subject matter that they deal with is treated with respect and fairness. I was frankly not one bit surprised that they did an article on The Rav/Rav Shechter. They are both Torah Giants regardless of what color their neckties are, and a magazine that is not afraid to publish an article about them has earned my respect, once again.

  20. Regarding the issue of labeling (brought up by some previous comments), it is the Modern Orthodox who label themselves. They consider themselves a movement:

    See the article “Defining Modern Orthodoxy” by Mandell I. Ganchrow, President of the Orthodox Union in the June 4, ’99 issue of the Jewish Week. It is clear the MO consider themselves a “movement” separate from traditional Orthodoxy, and intentionally label themselves as such.

  21. Modern Orthodoxy was created as a response to a problem. The problem: The new world. America. Things will be different there. America is not the place for traditional Torah Orthodoxy. In the words of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveichik: “we would be enveloped by a new economic order. The lion’s share of Jewry would be centered in the Western world, and society would be based on science, where “the sun and the moon and the eleven stars” will radiate scientific learning and technology; where every scientific discovery will be publicized in the newspapers as the greatest sensation’ where all professions will be linked to higher education . . .it was [therefore] forbidden to rely on a continuation of the status-quo . . . great changes were about to occur in Jewish life for which we would have to be prepared.” (Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveichik, Five Addresses, p.31) “There is secular culture, great and powerful technology creating wonders and changing the foundations of our life . . . This secular culture entails destructive elements, many negative and perverse aspects; it may be a blessing and a curse simultaneously, and thus AS LONG AS ONE CAN LIVE WITHOUT IT SO MUCH THE BETTER FOR THE SPIRIT – [but] finally we will have to relate to it. The confrontation will . . . take place . . . in a new and alien land where the tempo of life is greatly accelerated and fundamental changes occur daily. G-d’s decree: “your seed will be strangers in a land not their own” will be fulfilled sooner or later. In a “land not their own”, I fear, we will not be able to maintain a separation between us and the surroundings. If we will not be prepared for new conditions, the environment will swallow us! Our intellectual forces will completely assimilate. On the other hand, if we think for the future, we can plan for . . . a new economic and social order.” (ibid p.28) “Providence demands of us now, perhaps for the first time in Jewish history, to meet the outside world . . . “ (ibid p.154).

    This was not Rav Hirsh’s philosophy, and this was not anything suggested before. This was, “for the first time in Jewish history”, a reluctant, kicking and screaming integration into the secular social order because it was the only way its proponents knew how to counter the terrible power of that social order. In the words of Dr. Norman Lamm, President of Yeshiva University: “The Modern Orthodox Jew in America represents the product resulting from the confrontation between authentic halakhic Judaism (sic) and Western thought. He is a novel kind of Jew, a historical experiment in the reaction to the great dialogue. His survival and success may very well have the most fatal consequences for Jewry and Judaism throughout the world.” (Dr. Norman Lamm, Faith and Doubt, p.70).

    “Jewry and Judaism throughout the world” depended on the survival of this movement. Rav Soloveichik did not believe that he was merely helping a segment of Orthodox Jewry — he held that “the future of Torah in America” depends on following his approach. He held that the “separatist” Orthodox will die out and only YU and MO will survive. He held America was too strong for the real, pure Orthodoxy. Those who insisted on continuing the “old style” Orthodoxy would, he said, be come nothing but tourist attractions and die out eventually. What cannot be understated are the words of Rav Soloveichik, “secular culture . . . . AS LONG AS ONE CAN LIVE WITHOUT IT SO MUCH THE BETTER FOR THE SPIRIT”. The traditional Ultra-Orthodoxy (Rav Soloveichik refers to them as “isolationist” (sic) Orthodox, or “extreme” (sic) Orthodox) would theoretically be the best choice. But in America, it can’t survive. Forced by a new “economic and social order” and high-speed advances in technology to abandon our traditional Torah Orthodoxy, which will get “swallowed” and “completely assimilated”, we must “prepare”. “Preparations” included, among other things, creating a “new type of Talmid Chacham”, who “you will find . . . in the free professions such as medicine, science, law, and also in business” (ibid, p.155), and joining Mizrachi in the building and supporting of the State of Israel, since “we cannot pin much hope on the Diaspora. Assimilation grows daily . . .True, there is a bit of Torah in the Diaspora; however the number of Torah students in proportionately very low, and it is impossible to forecast what will happen in future generations. . . whereas in that very non-observant Israel the future of Torah and traditional Judaism is far more secure.” (ibid p.33) “We reject the theory of isolation as dangerous for the continued existence of the people. The force of circumstances in recent years that lead to the majority of Jewish people being moved to the west and becoming connected, language-wise, economically, and politically with society in general, has rendered the approach of the isolationists suicidal. In such an approach lurks the danger that we shall dwindle to a small sect with little life expectancy” (ibid p.176)

    Rav Soloveichik in his Five Addresses clearly states that “separatist Orthodoxy” would disappear and only MO will survive. Quotes are cited above. “Tourist attractions” he says we would end up. Clearly he was 100% mistaken. And it was that which he said justified “Modern Orthodoxy” – survival, nothing else. If these words seem a bit difficult to understand today, you must appreciate them within the context of the prevailing secular social attitude during the time they were said, the early 1960’s. Many people were dazzled by the “new social and economic order” and even frightened about the future of Torah in America. The typical alter litvishe water carrier didn’t seem to fit in to the picture of what they imagined to be the technologically fueled, fast-paced, high-educated America. Once a Rebbi in Yeshiva University, a super chareidi of the Brisker school, who did not even speak English fluently, who was vehemently opposed to Modern Orthodoxy, was asked why he left MTJ (Rav Moshe Feinstein ZT”L’s Yeshiva) to accept a job in YU. “[Rabbi Soloveichik] convinced me that the future of Torah in America depends on YU”, he said in Yiddish, shaking his head in disbelief at his own decision. This was in the mid 1980’s.

    Indeed, Rabbi Isaac Elchonon Theological Seminary itself was evidence of the irresistibly of the “new American social-economic order”. When REITS was founded, it was not a secular studies Yeshiva. In 1896, Rabbi Moses Malin founded the Rabbi Isaac Elchonon Theological Seminary on the East Side of Manhattan, named after his beloved Rebbe, Rav Yitzchok Elchonon Spektor of Kovno, who passed away that year. Modeled after the Eastern European Yeshivos, the seminary’s official purpose was to educate and prepare students to become rabbis. There were no secular studies. The school was designed to pick up where the existing East Side Yeshiva Eitz Chaim, which was founded 10 years earlier, left off. Graduates of Eitz Chaim were able to attend RIETS.

    The Agudas Harabbonim, an American rabbinical organization, then endorsed RIETS. The Agudas Harabbonim saw in RIETS a counter-force against the Conservative JTS (Jewish Theological Seminary). In 1906, when RIETS moved into its new building on 156 Henry Street (next door to Eitz Chaim), the Agudas Harabbonim helped create a smicha board in RIETS, publicly denouncing the rabbis who graduated from JTS. But the new “American social-economic order” struck, as the students demanded secular studies in RIETS. The board of directors was undecided about whether to concede. But pressure mounted, and in 1908 the board expelled 15 students for going to secular schools during time allotted for religious studies. This spurred a student strike. Many students left the school. Resulting financial pressure and bad publicity caused RIETS to compromise their principles and after three weeks, they caved in. They re-accepted the 15 expelled students and instituted a secular curriculum. Apparently, RIETS was unable to withstand the pressures of the “new economic and social order”. Many believed that the fate of RIETS awaited all who stepped foot into the “Golden Medinah”. As time passed, the secularization of RIETS accelerated, due to various influences. Harry Fischel, a philanthropist, became vice president of RIETS in 1908. He was bent on step up the secularization of the institution. In 1915, with the completion of the new RIETS building, Fischel made a speech stating that his goal is to “unite Orthodox Judaism and Americanism”. The Agudas HaRabbonim were not happy.

    Along with the new building in 1915, there came a new president, Dr. Bernard Revel. Revel expanded the secular curriculum at RIETS. Then, together with his Hebrew Philology teacher, Dr. Solomon Hurwitz (editor of The Jewish Forum), he decided to open a Jewish high school – the Talmudic Academy (T.A.). TA was opened in 1916, under the leadership of Hurwitz. Hurwitz’s desire was to “bridge the gap that exists in the life of the immigrant child between ultra-oriental Judaism and an ultra-occidental Americanism” (Between Tradition and Modernity, Seth Taylor, p.11). Revel claimed he wanted to create a Torah school with American ideals. Ironically, even the non-Jewish faculty members would preach “Judaism and Americanism” in TA. After Hurwitz’s death, Dr. Shelly Safire, biology teacher in Stuyvesant HS, became principal. Safire further expanded the secular dimension in the school. In 1921, because of the WWI immigration, the school had over 200 students.

    That year, the school joined the Mizrachi Teachers Institute. Revel had hoped to attract more orthodox people with this move, since at this point many Orthodox shied away from RIETS, unable to recognize much difference between it and JTS. In 1923, Revel unveiled a plan to create a four-year yeshiva college (sic). The board approved, and Harry Fischel donated the first $10,000 of the five million dollars needed for the project. Plans were made for a building. It would be modeled after the architecture during the time of King Solomon. There would be 8 buildings, with twelve pillars representing the 12 tribes. However, other than a small Shul on campus, there was nothing there to make it look distinctly Jewish. Revel died of a burst blood vessel in 1940, partly attributed to the strain of supporting his institution during the impossibly difficult financial period of the Depression and post-Depression eras.

    The Agudas HaRabbonim, who originally approved Revel’s appointment, now wanted someone with different ideas. They had opposed Revel’s “Americanization” of the yeshiva. The Board of Directors, however, ignored the directive of the Rabbonim and appointed Dr. Samuel Belkin, who strongly believed in revel’s ideas of Americanization. Revel’s goal was accomplished through Belkin, and Yeshiva University was established. Rav Soloveichik succeeded his father as Rosh yeshiva in 1942.

    Nevertheless, Rav Soloveichik admits that his movement did not impress everybody. He explains why: “This is the reason why certain American personalities . . . claim and even swear that they are in love with the true orthodoxy that arranges melave malke parties and sings Bnei Heichalah soulfully [a Chasidic seudah shelishis custom] , but they cannot tolerate modern orthodoxy, as it were (they write “modern” but they mean Yeshivat R. Yitzchak Elchanan, the Rabbinic Federation and the Mizrachi!) . . . For this reason a famous representative of secular Jewry in Israel said in a talk with Dr. Belkin and myself that he respects extreme orthodoxy but not the mizrachi and hapoel mizrachi. THEY ARE ALL AFRAID OF US because we employ a method of conquest, but they have no fear of those who shut themselves behind walls.” (ibid p.155)

    And the Torah leaders? He admits that they, too, did not accept the Mizrachi. He compares the rejection of the Mizrachi by Torah leaders to the rejection of Joseph by his brothers. And why don’t his “brothers” see things his way? Simple. “However, to our great sorrow, while the tribes of G-d thousands of years ago finally admitted Joseph’s righteousness, and begged his forgiveness, ‘please forbear the wrong of your brothers and their sin, for they caused you evil (Gen. 50:17), today a segment among our brethren still LACK THE CAPACITY TO SEE REALITY AS IT IS AND THE COURAGE TO ADMIT THEIR ERROR. Even today, after Treblinka and Auschwitz – as assimilation putrefies a great portion of Diaspora Jewry . . . they hold fast stubbornly against their brother “Joseph” (religious Zionists)”. (ibid p.33)

    This was the Modern Orthodox mind-set in the early 1960’s. Ultra-Orthodoxy will be swallowed up by the all-too-powerful American culture, and the “new type of Talmid Chacham”, the secularly educated, religious Zionist will “conquer” the new world. (“Conquest” is a word often used in Rav Soloveichik’s lectures). That was then. Before long, the tune began to change. Yeshivos, chareidi-style yeshivos flourished and grew. Kolleim, yes, Kolleleim, where married men with families would “shut themselves behind walls” and spend their entire day immersed in Torah, began to spring up all over the country. Ultra-Orthodox Kiruv organizations were succeeding in attracting even the most Americanized youths. People laughed at Rav Aharon Kotler when he said that American students would be willing to go to Yeshiva full time with no college. Now look at who’s laughing at whom. Where we used to see articles announcing the pending death of “ultra orthodoxy”, we saw, in the 1980’s, articles by such Modern Orthodox spokesmen as Rabbi Dr. Emanuel Rackman, of Fifth Avenue Synagogue on Manhattan and later Bar Ilan University in Israel, decrying the spirit of “Ultra Orthodox Triumphalism”. When the ArtScroll series of English Torah classics came out, we saw an article, I believe it was in Tradition magazine, complaining about how ArtScroll, by using good English and high quality production, gives the false impression that they are really “Modern”, when in reality they are “ultra orthodox” in disguise.

    Today, Rabbi Dr. Walter Wertzberger, Adjunct Professor of Philosophy at Yeshiva University, Rabbi Emeritus of congregation Shaaray Tefila, Lawrence N.Y. former president of the Rabbinical Council of America and of the Synagogue Council of America, correctly points out: “Of late, there seems to be no end to articles in learned journals and the daily press lamenting the impending demise of Modern Orthodoxy. Although I am fully aware that in Jewish religious circles the pendulum has swung to the right, I dismiss the prophets of doom and gloom” (Is Modern Orthodoxy an Endangered Species? By Walter S. Wurzburger, Orthodox Caucus). Forty years after Rav Soloveichik made those addresses, things were not supposed to end up like this. Ultra-orthodox yeshivas are bursting at the seams, and their neighborhoods are expanding, multiplying, multiplying, and spreading to the most unlikely places. Something changed. Something went wrong. In this atmosphere of “Ultra orthodox Triumphalism” (sic) we find more articles on the identity crisis taking place within Modern Orthodoxy. Dr. Mendel Ganchrow, President of the orthodox Union, begins a June 4, 1999 article in the Jewish Week called, “Defining Modern Orthodoxy” by saying, “The question of who or what is a modern Orthodox Jew is a new one”. He is right. But the question is being asked. And not in the Chareidi circles of Bnei Brak, but within the Modern Orthodox camp itself. Continues Dr. Ganchrow: “These days, the modern Orthodoxy of my peers and myself is under suspicion. In screaming headlines and news articles, we are told that a new modern Orthodoxy is setting out to provide “closer ties between Orthodoxy and the outside world” and to encourage its adherents to have “the courage to be modern and Orthodox”. When I wore a kippah to my medical office or made rounds with a five o’clock shadow while wearing sneakers on Tisha B’Av, wasn’t I exhibiting that courage? . . . I have always been proud of being a “centrist” Jew; but of late, I find myself being stripped of my identity. “ Dr. Ganchrow is referring to “Edah”. A February 26, 1999 JTA article by Debra Nussbaum is titled: “1,500 modern Orthodox converge to define identity”. “1,500 modern Orthodox Jews who gathered here over the Presidents Day weekend for a conference whose goal was to re-articulate just what it means to be a modern Orthodox Jew today. “The conference, which was organized by the nascent group Edah and drew twice as many people as expected, came at a time when many of modern Orthodoxy’s adherents are struggling to define their movement’s philosophy. . . . “To be a modern Orthodox Jew today is often to feel lonely, to be without a community in which to ask ideological questions,” said Rabbi Daniel Lehmann, who was ordained at Yeshiva University and is now headmaster of the pluralistic New Jewish High School, in Waltham, Mass. . . . “Dassi Rutman, one of about 200 university students who attended the conference, said she came from Ontario, Canada, hoping that she would “feel more secure with my identity.” “I’m modern Orthodox, but I feel the pressures from people around me, friends who are moving to the right,” said Rutman, who studies biology at York University . . . In his keynote address kicking off the conference, Berman, Edah’s director, said that modern Orthodoxy is a religious path defined by “maximum integration with society,” with adherents who “simultaneously affirm a passionate total commitment to halachah,” Jewish law. “

    Who would have though that in 20th and 21st century America, which was going to “swallow up” Ultra Orthodoxy, that a Modern Orthodox biology student in NYU would feel “pressures” to become more Ultra orthodox? Truly, something extraordinary happened.

  22. Mishpacha did a great thing, writing such an article. Rav Shechter is great talmid chacha, in certain ways unsurpassed by few. Letmanylearn from him andallfromall. Thatis the wayto increase achdut!

  23. Mishpacha dares to go where everyone else is afraid to go. Why is intelligence equated with “less frum”? Mishpacha, you always have and still have my vote.

  24. It’s so sad that there are individuals that are bothered by a magazine publishing an article about a Gadol B’Torah. Regardless of the fact that Reb Yoshe Ber Zt”l had certain shitos that were not followed by rov of the klal-he certainly had broad enough shoulders to be a das yachid. The mere fact that someone can take issue with the article just shows how far they are from the mehalach of the Gedolei Hador of the previous generation.
    The criticisms stem from unhappy individuals who seek machlokes.
    They do not represent chardeidim or the yeshivisha velt.

  25. I have a question: Why is being “daring” considered “intelligent”? Why is blurring the lines considered “daring”?
    Why is it considered acceptable for a magazine that considers itself chareidi to publish whatever it wants? Imagine if the Yated or Hamodia or whatever published what they do. The newspapers would be lambasted.
    In the Chabad article, there was no mention of the Meshichist movement other than one paragraph of Rabbi Krinsky whitewashing the issue. This was a bizayon to Rav Shach by making believe like he didn’t exist.The magazine has already been mevazeh harav Yisroel Belsky shlita after he made strong statement about a certain group in a roundtable forum with other rabbonim in the magazine, and the next week, the magazine “apologized” if anyone was offended by it! Apologizing for Rav Belsky?! Do they apologize for those who are offended by what gedolim say? A disgrace.
    And now this. I happen to be a HUGE chossid of Rav Shechter. I listen to his shiurim and would follow his p’sak anytime. He is gaon in halacha and a super human being. I love the man. Literally. He is phenomal person and talmid chochom. But to make believe that a quick disclaimer in the article – as Rabbi Neustadt alluded to – is enough to now kasher this is wrong. It is a bizayon to those who spoke out against the ideologies that the Rav stood for.
    This magazine has lost its compass if it ever had one. It is a mitzvah to be mefarseim this so that people are protected. In fact, there is a mitzvah to be mefarseim this, because it is not the first time that the gedolim have been mevuzeh by this publication.
    Rabbi Neustadt is a great man, and I wish him well, but the magazines hashkafos are off the map. The only other listed member of their Rabbinical board is Rabbi Galinsky. Phone calls to the magazine to find out who the otehr members are have yielded nothing. It appears there aren’t any other members of this “board.” I for one will not purchase this magazine again, nor will I support any advertiser. I encourage you all to do the same.
    It is about time we start standing up for our gedolim.

  26. What kind of labels would there have been 1000 years ago? Not a rhetorical question, I’d seriously like to hear your answer.

  27. Kol hakavod to Mishpacha magazine for their cover story on the Rav. Anyone who has listened to the Rav’s tapes of drashos & shiurim is mesmerized by his clarity of thought and his Gadlus. Recordings of many of his shiurim/drashos can be downloaded for free at bcbm.org among other websites.

  28. Stoner,

    How far does your sinas chinam go? Did you read the article? Do you know who your dealing with? Rav Schachter is a gaon oilam, tremendous bal midois and marbitz toyreh sh’ein kamohu.

    How far does our velt have to sink to realize we are blindly hating ohavei Hashem.

  29. You people are all sonim. Rav Schachter is one of the biggest talmidei chachamim in the country if not the world. Have any of you ever spoke in learning with him, he would put you and your rosh Yeshiva to shame. Until you about what and who you speak, you should not. And Matzav, why the need to try and get the mishpacha editor to engage in a mchlokes. Clearly he felt it was important to have this interview, why the need to ask him questions about things people said about the Rav and embarrassing obituaries that were written by now defunct magazines. Why fan the flames of machlokes?

  30. Ahavas Yisroel is very important. So is maintaining a true mesorah. It’s time for mishpacha to honor our mesorah and not just Ahavas Yisroel – as important as the latter is. Mishpacha seems to take pride in it’s liberal style “acceptance” of everyone at the expense of possibly having people erroneously follow unsuccessful jewish movements.

  31. Many of RAMBAM’s views were rejected by gedolei Torah, and while he was respected for his acumen and his truly remarkable mind and Torah knowledge, many of his stances and shitos were not accepted by the leaders of the Torah world. Was this taken into consideration by Yeshivos that allow the study of the RAMBAM, and if yes, how was the decision made to look passed (should be past) that?

  32. Yosef wrote – “Who would have though that in 20th and 21st century America, which was going to “swallow up” Ultra Orthodoxy, that a Modern Orthodox biology student in NYU would feel “pressures” to become more Ultra orthodox? Truly, something extraordinary happened.”

    That extraordinary thing was the Vietnam war. It led to an unexpected surge in those attending kollel.

    And is the kollel system not on the verge of collapse? The deep pockets of the fathers-in-law are drying up, and as the economy continues on its path, the pockets of major donors as well. More and more men are finding that they must leave kollel in order to provide for their families (remember that think called a k’suba you gave your wife?) and as they go out into the workforce, many of them find the need for “secular education.” Rachmana litzlan. Isn’t it wonderful that they don’t receive any education beyond the elemetary level and now even that is disappearing?

  33. It is this article that highlights the danger
    of Mishpacha magazine, it represents itself as a chareidi publication, while numerous articles are in fact beyond the pale.

  34. reform wrote-And now this. I happen to be a HUGE chossid of Rav Shechter. I listen to his shiurim and would follow his p’sak anytime. He is gaon in halacha and a super human being. I love the man. Literally. He is phenomal person and talmid chochom. But to make believe that a quick disclaimer in the article – as Rabbi Neustadt alluded to – is enough to now kasher this is wrong. It is a bizayon to those who spoke out against the ideologies that the Rav stood for.

    please explain – because “gedolim” disagreed with the Rav on certain issues, it is a bezayon to write an article about him? This from a “huge chossid of Rav Schachter?”

  35. To anyone who hasn’t yet picked up on the fact that Mishpachah has an agenda that is not in line with that of the Chareidi world, it’s time to wake up. That’s not a theory, it’s a fact and one can either like it or not. If you are uncomfortable with that, don’t buy the magazine. I stopped a long time ago and haven’t regretted it once. I don’t appreciate many aspects of the magazine [their support of the global warming agenda among other liberal stances] and won’t shell out five dollars weekly for it. It’s a shame that they don’t sell Mishpachah Jr. separately because that’s a better magazine than the adult one.

  36. I wonder if this is happening during chanuka as a wake up call to worn us that we ae letting in faren ideas in to our machana.and that we must stand up against all odds and fight for our yidishkite with all our strenth!!!


  37. Rav Aharon Kotler ZTV’L, in Mishnas Rabi Aharon (Vol. 3, Hesped on the Brisker Rav) states that the essence of Modern Orthodoxy is the same as the Reform and Conservative. That is, change Judaism into something that more people will be willing to accept.

    “Sometimes the Modern Orthodox halachic foolishness which is flirting with the anti-Torah establishment, may border on heresy. This is all part and parcel of the spiritual confusion of the dark ages in which we happen to live” (Rav Shimon Schwab, Mitteilungen, Bulletin of Khal Adas Yeshurun April/May 1989).

    “However, in addition to the legitimate shitos we have discussed, there is yet another, more modern version in vogue called “Torah Umaada”. Apparently this is identical with Torah Im Derech Eretz, especially since both claim a belief in the priority of Torah over maada. Both seems exactly alike, but like two left gloves which cannot be worn together, they don’t fit! . . .

    “Rav Hirsch ZT’L has inscribed two emblems on his banner. One is Torah Im Derech Eretz and the other is the so-called “Austritt”, which means severance, or total and non-recognition of any type of institutionalized heresy, “minus” or apikursus. This is also a resolution not to contribute, participate in, or support any cause which accords validity to the disbelief in Hashem or to the denial of the authenticity of Torah shebiksav or Torah shebaal peh. In other words, “Austritt” states that the Torah is our sovereign ruler, and it makes us independent of all those who deny its Divine origin…

    “To summarize, Torah im derech eretz without Austritt is considered treif l’chol hadeios! Even if you call it Torah Umaada.” (Selected Essays pp.160-162)

    “Let me single out two examples where silence is not permitted . . . “The first item is Modern Orthodoxy . . . most of it has become stale, stagnant, and fossilized, and we could not call it modern anymore. “In the meantime, the contemporary generation has advanced and risen to higher standards, Boruch Hashem. We are witnessing the rise of a new type of American Orthodoxy. This is the Yeshiva and Bais Yaakov generation . . . This is the new generation of Bnei Torah and baalei batim who do not intend to stand still and remain satisfied with a tiny yarlmuka or a teaspoonful of Jewish knowledge…They are marching on! And so we are zocheh, Baruch Hashem, to prestigious yeshivos gedolos in America and American-born Roshei Yeshiva , rabbanim, and poskim. “Today, our youth in America is the real Modern Orthodox, if you must use this expression, and they are marching forward. Whether they belong to chassidishe, yeshivishe, or Torah im derech eretz variety, they are marching forward, step by step, to a more wakeful form of avodas hashem. . . Their greatest pride and joy and nachas consists of children who are talmidei chachamim, bnei torah and bnos Torah.” (ibid p.89)

    “Shameful are the ways of the glorified am haaretz who . . . condones the aberrations which Hirsch condemned, such as religious nationalism, Orthodox-Reform collaboration and neutral Judaism. Foolish are those who sympathize with the “Department Store Academy”, where Brisk and Slobodka are offered on the first floor and Graetz and Dubnow on the second. When such a person takes Rav Hirsch’s name in vain, wielding Torah im derech eretz like a weapon against recognized Torah schools, he becomes somewhat ridiculous! “What a travesty! Rav Hirsch, who was the warrior without compromise against those who hated the Torah, has to let his memory be invoked today against those who love the Torah. . . (ibid p. 151)

    This, from the Rav of the Torah Im Derech Eretz kehilla. TIDE is not an integration into any foreign culture nor an entry in any sort of way, into the outside community. The idea there is for Jews to be literate and learned enough to present a positive impression and an effective message to the “outside world”, plus, the ability to withstand the powerful anti-Torah impressions and messages of the outside world. TIDE does not espouse sending Jewish children to outside Universities. Rav Hirsh made his own schools – he did not send his students outside of the community. TIDE also includes what Rav Hirsch called “austritt”, meaning that secular knowledge is only acceptable after it is separated from and discards secular culture, values, and environment. Modern Orthodoxy has omitted this fundamental condition.

    Nobody is questioning the fact that there are people who would be willing to be MO or not religious at all. The issue is, What is MO and is it the preferable mode of Judaism? The fact that it is, to some, the only version, or the maximum, that they are willing to accept does not address the issue at hand. If Modern Orthodoxy would be a Kiruv stage for people who aren’t yet ready for real Torah life, that would be fine. The problem is that they consider themselves not a b’dieved, but a l’chatchilah – a full fledged legitimate lifestyle. They often even make claims of being superior to Torah Judaism. That is the problem – compromises sometimes have to be made for individuals who are on their way up. But to take those compromises and make believe they are not compromises at all, thereby fooling people who WOULD be able to go higher that they need not, or worse, that they are already the highest, is a terrible crime. While it is true that on an individual, private, level, we are allowed to even proactively cause someone to sin if by doing so we will have prevented him form committing a greater sin, nevertheless, we may never, ever institutionalize those sins, making a b’dieved into a l’chatchilah, making the exception into the rule.

    (The problem with the mixed swimming issue is not the sin itself, but rather the institutionalizing of it, using it to represent your mode of Orthodoxy, as in “Modern Orthodox Type Bungalow Colony”, which they explain to mean that that have mixed swimming. It matters not what the Rabbonim permit, it matters that those people are creating for themselves a group of official Revolutionaries against G-d. It would be comparable to a Shul called “Cong. Anshei Embezzlers”. That’s the difference.)

    The reason why it would be a mistake to view MO as merely responding to the times as opposed to making compromises, is because when a response involves lowering standards it becomes, by definition, a compromise. MO has incorporated their inadequacies into Orthodoxy – they officially allow, encourage, and even support things that are wrong. They changed the definition of wrong and right. The difference between traditional Orthodoxy and MO in regard to meeting the times is NOT a difference of quantity. It is the difference between keeping exceptional cases as exceptions versus making them into the rule.

    The problem with Modern Orthodoxy is not what their Jews do, but what their Judaism says. Jews are imperfect – we know that and accept it – but Judaism is perfect, and unchangeable. We do not make over G-d in our own image.

    The reason the opposition to modern orthodoxy today is muted, is because modern orthodoxy poses no danger to anyone nowadays – it is completely irrelevant and not taken seriously by Bnei Torah. It’s just some deviant group of confused groups of Jews, and everyone knows that. In the days of Rav Aharon Kotler ZT’L, when modern orthodoxy posed a danger because there were those who said that the traditional style Torah life is not livable in America and that things need to change – and in those days, after the war many ppl believed that – Rav Ahron did in fact strongly oppose it in all forms and manner. But nowadays? No need. They’re harmless – except to themselves. That having been said, even something as baseless as what they call modern orthodoxy can fool some of the people some of the time – and if you see that happening to someone you know, you should of course oppose it in that context, as strongly as necessary. But on a general global scale, there’s no need.

    Across the board, traditional Orthodoxy has requested, importuned, begged, and pleaded with Modern Orthodoxy to change and join us. And to a great extent, MO has moved to the right, Boruch Hashem. And our hand is still outstretched. Any assistance that can be offered, is available. No Modern Orthodox Jew need think that if he wants to become traditionally Orthodox he shall not be accepted. We recognize MO as our brothers in Mitzvos, who have been straying in certain ways, but nevertheless are our brothers. Although Rav Aharon Kotler ZT’L compared them to Reform, he did not mean that they are considered Mechalelei Shabbos or eaters of Nevelah. He meant only that the justification for the modernizations that MO instituted and those that Reform instituted were based on the same mistaken pretense — that Judaism needs the changes. He did not say that the level of changes are anything comparable.

    Here is an example of a plea to Modern Orthodoxy from Rav Shimon Schwab ZT”L, Rav of the Torah Im Derech Eretz Congregation Adas Jeshurun in Washington Heights:

    “And now we address ourselves to our chaveirim bedeah, our achim bemitzvos of the Orthodox Rabbinate of America. Ad masai? How long do you want to remain a branch, without becoming part of the tree? . . . We say to our achim b’mitzvos, “have Rachmonus with yourselves, and lemaan Hashem, part company with those who have given obscene semichah to to’evah clergymen” . . . Have rachmonus with yourselves, and break off your professional relationship with those who, for instance, consider Yishu HaNotzri merely a failed moshiach . . .We implore you . . . to part company with those gravediggers of Torah. I know it is a painful subject but it is unavoidable . . . We call on you to join us, the true Modern Orthodoxy [Rav Schwab is referring to previous statements of his that MO is today outdated and “anything but modern”], which is a generation of sincere mevakshei Hashem”. (Selected Essays, pp. 90-91)

    This does not sound like rejection, but a plea for MO to join us, hand in hand. The mistakes of MO are not the issue. That is for Hashem to judge and deal with, however He sees fit. Punishment for misdeeds is not our business. Unity is. And MO has been – and still is! – implored, “lmaan hashem” to join us in the traditional Orthodoxy ways. The issue is not the past. It is the present and the future.

  38. The Modern Orthodox predicted the demise of everyone except themselves. This is clear in the Five Addresses of Rabbi Soloveichik. Others espoused that too. It was common MO rhetoric in the 60’s. In the 80’s however, we had the same MO rabbis denouncing what they referred to as “Ultra Orthodox Triumphalism”. Something didn’t work out the way they thought it would. Rabbi Yeruchem Gorelick ZT’L was asked what induced him to go work in YU. He said (in Yiddish), “Rabbi Soloveichik convinced me that the future of Torah in America depends on YU.” Then he slapped his head, as if to say “What was I thinking?”

    The questions will remain, after you determine “the range of beliefs held by people who describe themselves MO”, aren’t these beliefs shared by those who do not describe themselves as MO? And isn’t it true that what one group considers MO, another group who also consider themselves MO will call “beyond the pale” (such as Edah)? And why is it that these beliefs generate a new substrata of orthodoxy? If I hold that one may daven Minchah after Shkiyah, for instance, does it make sense for me to call myself a “different type of Orthodoxy”? Modern Orthodoxy is nothing but a label. It is used by different people at will to describe so large a range of beliefs and actions that there are MO who consider beyond the pale the beliefs and actions of others who are called MO.

    The reason for this confusion is because, unlike Chasidim, Conservatives, Maskilim, Briskers, and other “movements” stemming from Judaism (some legitimate and some not), MO was never officially created. Rather, it began as simply people violating accepted standards of Orthodoxy, and then, when these low standards became the norm within certain communities, they decided to self-proclaim themselves MO, giving the illusion that their indiscretions are instead some kind of set of beliefs. There were no rabbis that decided “OK, we are creating Modern Orthodoxy. These are our teachings…” the way all the other movements were created. Just the opposite. After certain behaviors became excepted in certain communities, those communities said “Well, I guess we’re just Modern Orthodox!”. And anyone can do that to justify any type of behavior, we have so many diff groups and definitions and people claiming the title for themselves.

    The only coherent explanation of Modern Orthodoxy comes form Rav Soloveitchik in his Five Addresses, which is, in a nutshell, we must compromise our standards in America because traditional Torah standards will not survive here. Only Yeshiva University type Judaism will survive and all else will die out. Which means the integration into secularity must be done to the extent that we must in order to survive. Obviously, the whole idea was a mistake.

    The battle against YU by the Yeshiva world is not, nor was it, a simple issue of Halachic or Hashkafic disagreement which can be dismissed as routine if accompanied with the obligatory respect for the opposing view, as per ailu v’ailu etc. Not so. Rather, YU was viewed as a deviant, dangerous, and anti-Torah entity that doesn’t deserve the respect of a legitimate Torah position, even a mistaken one. Rav Aharon Kotler ZT’L, and Rav Schneur ZT’L after him, would under no circumstances even walk into YU. Rav Elchonon Wasserman ZT’L also, when he came to America in the ’30s, was invited to speak in YU, and he refused to even walk in to the place. Of course, this is all very offensive to the students of YU, and I understand that. But if we’re going to understand what the issues are, then, we need to be honest and put the positions on the table, whether we like them or not. And here are the issues:

    The difference between the inadequacies at YU versus the inadequacies in Yeshivos, is that YU made their inadequacies into philosophical positions thereby not merely doing wrong, but changing the definition of wrong. To do wrong is a violation of the Torah, and yes, many types of Jews do that. But to make wrong into right is to change the Torah, either explicitly or implicitly. YU has done. That amounts to a new, deviant movement within Judaism, and that is the problem with YU. The good, the bad, the gray areas – are all considered part and parcel of the official YU position.

    Please understand, YU is a business, not a Yeshiva, and it is run by the Board of Directors, not the Roshei Yeshiva (except to the extent that leaders – the board – can be pressured by its constituency – the Roshei Yeshiva and students). That’s fine, except when business decisions are understood to be philosophical positions you you have big problems. And although many Boards of many institutions wield influence, please note that YU has and never had any Rosh Yeshiva who was the official leader and policy maker for the institution. The Board has always been the official “Rosh”. Even Rav Soloveichik was merely an employee, and, although he was called Rosh Yeshiva (and even went raising money like a Rosh Yeshiva), his power was still that of an employee, much less than a real Rosh Yeshiva should have.

    Nowhere else will you find the “President” of a Bais HaMedrash constantly representing (and creating) the Torah positions of the institution without reviewing every single word of his speeches with the official Rosh Yeshiva. In YU, Dr. Lamm, though he was merely President, and not Rosh Yeshiva, had full right to get up and speak to the world about the official policies and positions of YU, even though the Roshei Yeshiva may not have agreed with him. Nowhere does a lay leader become a setter of policy for a Yeshiva.

    Add to that the wrongheaded Hashkofos being taught even by some of the Roshei Yeshiva there, and you have a formula for disaster. Example: Originally, RIETS did not even allow English studies. The Rabbonim in charge would not allow it. They were instituted when a group of students went on strike demanding the school toss its standards of right and wrong and teach secular studies. The rabbis were against, the Board was for. And so were secular studies introduced into RIETS. Now, as Dr. Lamm pointed out in his farewell speech, MO (and YU) consider secular studies in and unto themselves, intrinsically valuable, not merely as a utilitarian tool for Parnasa or Kiruv etc. But the fact that all knowledge “comes from G-d” gives all knowledge “value” that demands we spend time pursuing it, instead of spending that time on Torah and Mitzvos.

    This goes beyond the idea that secular studies can – and should – be used as a tool to attain and support Torah and Mitzvos. And it underscores the difference between the secular studies taught in the Yeshiva high schools versus that of YU. YU has made a value out of secular studies in itself. “Torah Umadah” is a totally non-Jewish concept, assimilated into the official philosophy of YU, at least as espoused by their President. To teach secular studies as a concession or an unfortunate necessity, which in the Yeshivos it clearly is, is not changing the values of the Torah. But to espouse that taking people out of the Bais HaMedrash for second Seder and to earn a degree in Law is a step up, is an unacceptable attack on Hashem and His Torah (and no, it is not nearly the same as Rav S.R. Hirsch, which has been discussed several times).

    The Netziv of Volozhen closed his entire Yehsiva rather than institute secular studies, and the reason he gave is, there needs to be a “Havdolah” – separation – between Kodesh and Chol. We sometimes need Chol, but we dare not blur the edge between it and Kodesh. YU has not only blurred the edge between them, but has actually claimed that Chol is in the category of Kodesh. That is its biggest problem. Nothing has intrinsic value except Torah. Everything else is Hevel Hevolim.

    But this is only part of the assimilation into non-Jewish culture and values that YU represents. The unacceptable socializing that goes on between the YU boys and Stern girls, the partying, the inter-collegiate and spectator sports, the bales of Apikorsus to be found in their library, ideas espoused even in the Limudei Kodesh courses that are against the Torah, never mind secular courses where clear anti-Torah ideas and ideals are taught by teachers who have all but carte blanche to say whatever they want, the teaching of Gemorah to girls, and worse yet, the excuse given for it, that “If we teach them medicine and law, they can learn Gemora too”, the Zionism, the allowance of toeiva clubs (money is no excuse; if they were Neo-Nazi clubs, they would not be tolerated – the issue is the lack of understanding that toeiva clubs are just as repulsive to G-d).

    YU’s goal is to create a “synthesis” between secular learning and Torah learning. That synthesis would be bad enough in and of itself – there must be a separation, not a synthesis between the two – but what has happened is not merely a synthesis between the Torah and secular studies, but a synthesis between a Torah and a secular lifestyle, between Torah values and secular ones. And its often hard to tell which is which. The Board of Directors didn’t even want Rav Soloveichik to be the Rosh Yeshiva. When Rav Lazer Silver wrote a letter importuning them to accept him as Rosh, they responded with a scathing answer refusing to do so. Only when the students themselves got involved and protested on his behalf did the Board reluctantly give in.

    Harris L. Selig, an administrator and fund raiser for YU, wrote (“Standardizing the Hebrew Schools of America”): “Practically every great college and university was founded originally as a religious seminary. Harvard as a Congregationalist, and Brown as a Baptist seminary. Our Yeshiva College, too, springs from what was originally a Rabbinical seminary, and is it too much to expect that in time, it too, like other great American institutions, will be one of the foremost colleges in this country….” That YU should become another totally secular college, like Yale or Harvard, that was his vision of success for YU. Rav Soloveichik’s position in all of this is less clear. What is clear is that he definitely believed that secular studies are not only OK, but an advantage for a Ben Torah. Rabbi Moshe Zvi Brodsky, son-in-law of Rav Nochum Pertrovich ZT’L of Mir, once approached Rav Soloveichik with comments on a Yohrtzeit Shiur he just attended. Rav Soloveichik liked the comments. He asked Rabbi Brodsky, “Did you go to college”? “No,” Brodsky said. “That’s a pity,” answered Rav Soloveichik.

    He espoused Zionism, stating that even if Jews have to die in order to have a Jewish (religious) State, their deaths are “worthwhile”. He declared that the reason the gedolim do not agree with him about secular studies is because they “lack the courage” to admit their mistake, even though they know they are wrong (!). For anyone familiar with the courageousness of people like Rav Aharon Kotler ZT’L and his peers, such statements merely cause the listener to raise an eyebrow, shrug his shoulders and wonder.

    There are people in YU – and Stern – that have no idea what among their education and environment is Jewish, what is secular, what is Torah, what is not. And the answer will depend on who you ask. There is a girl, a Russian immigrant, who wrote how after she graduated from a Beis Yaakov school in Brooklyn she decided to go to college at Stern because “at least its Jewish”. What she found, she says, is the same non-Jewishness as the secular colleges, but under the guise of a “Jewish place”. It is so confusing to her, she says, because now she has no idea what in Stern in “Jewish” and what is “secular”. That is exactly the type of misrepresentation that YU and Stern cause, which is due to the Taaruvos – synthesis – of Kodesh and Chol, where there is supposed to be a Havdalah bain Kodesh L’chol. Of course it is possible for a person to be in YU and be a Ben Torah. And of course it is possible for a Rebbi in YU to have proper Hashkofos (its only a job), but the risk is great. And what YU stands for, and what it has come to represent to the masses, is something that our Gedolim wanted to make sure nobody accepts as legitimate.

    Rav Aharon Kotler ZT’L said many times that he will not enter YU because it is bad. His son, Rav Schneur ZT’L, followed suit. (The fact that Rav Moshe went into YU does not show he was not opposed to it, but rather that even if he is opposed to it, that doesn’t mean he may not enter it. Different Gedolim had different ways of expressing themselves in these issues.) Even among those who actually taught in YU, there were those who were opposed to the whole place and would have been very happy if it would have never been in existence (I am referring to Rav Gorelick). Rav Aharon wanted to make a statement in that way – it does not mean anyone who does not make that type of statement disagrees with him Rav Moshe in fact held Halachicly – and this is in writing – that it is assur to go to college, and that the “college Yeshivos” are doing terrible damage to Klal Yisroel.

    The fact that the President of a “Yeshiva” can get up and refer to Bnei Torah as “cavemen” because they do not go to college, and the fact that anti-Torah activities do take place there regardless of whether the “talmidim” go against the Rebbeim or not, means that the institute as a whole must be opposed. The fact that in some classrooms you will not hear and heresy of chutzpah against the Torah does not negate the corruption of the institution as a whole. Because it is a business – as opposed to other Yeshivas who have a business element which does not set policy for the Yeshiva but merely the administrative offices – you can have people like Lamm, or Rackman, or even worse spouting all kinds of drivel in the name of Torah. And you can have an Avi Weiss and others like him teaching under its auspices.

  39. You wrote “Ahavas Yisroel is very important. So is maintaining a true mesorah. . . at the expense of possibly having people erroneously follow unsuccessful jewish movements.”

    Do you not realize that every one of these movements believes that the Mesorah is on their side? YOUR view is only stronger in YOUR eyes. Therefore, Ahavas Yisroel will always trump YOUR view-no matter who you are. (Ahavas Yisroel does not mean to give up your view, see the end of this comment.) What is the entire Torah? “Man d’sani loch l’chavroch lo saavid” Promoting sinah in the name of YOUR view of mesorah is what was the downfall of the Talmidim of Rabbee Akiva. They were not bumbling hatemongers, after all their Rebbee taught them the klal godol baTorah! Rather, they, like YOU, were convinced that their view was the only view, and therefore put down all the view the other talmidim. They did not have a pleasant end.

    If you practice Ahavas Yisroel when it is easy, because the other fellow relates to YOUR mindset, then you have made no effort to perform the mitzvah. Actually, you are merely self-serving. When you have someone totally unlike you, with opposing views to you, and you still force yourself to ACT and SPEAK with Ahavas Yisroel, then you have put effort into the mitzvah.

    So, let us talk mesorah. Does the anonymity afforded by the internet permit you and some other writers on this (and other blogs) to ignore the gravity of the issur to promote hatred, loshon horah, and yes the imperative to act with Ahavas Yisroel? And just what actions in your opinion would portray Ahavas chinom that will bring about the geulah?

    Just so you know, my derech is very far from MO or some of the other (sadly, self-imposed) labels mentioned on this page. My derech does propel me to live up to what I have written. I teach it to my children-not because I am not firm about my Torah hashkafah. On the contrary, because my children are so very clear on our specific Torah world view, I am not afraid that they nor I will be distracted by behaving with Ahavas Yisroel to people from other kreizen. How about YOU?

    I would appreciate a cogent, coherent reply to this if you do not agree, and support if you do.

  40. Some people appear to be bothered by Mishpacha’s coverage of other representatives of orthodox groups. They are afraid that such coverage may lead to “possibly having people erroneously follow unsuccessful jewish movements.” On the contrary, I think that Mishpacha’s willingness to tackle issues or viewpoints that others may want to ignore etc. is probably preventing many thinking teenagers and adults from leaving the more chareidi fold. There is a growing sense that the Chareidi world purposely avoids discussion of or misrepresents certain issues/personalities. This appears to be antithetical to truth and leads to many questioning the leaders. When a magazine that clearly demonstrates its love of and unyielding dedication to Torah and Mitzvos — such as Mishpacha — does not censor those topics that may be politically incorrect, many of us breathe a sigh of relief! Yes, there are people with true Yirah and emes that will not set their agendas merely by the comfort level or popularity that may ensue! Mishpacha — Teleich mechayil el Choyil!

  41. I think that Torah – charedi life is the main ship and modern orthodox are the life savers. Life savers have a purpose,abeit short-term. When drowning in the sea of secularism the lifesaver helps until one gets back to the main ship. It helps save alot of people who may of otherwise drowned. But floating in that life preserver is only a temporary situation until you get back onto the main ship. Staying in that life preserver too long will cause certain death due to overexposure of the elements (cold water.) Once back on the ship the life preserver has no use.The ship is the main carrier. Once aboard there is food, medical help etc. Should anybody on board the ship feel threatened by these life preservers? Only if somebody would suggest to abandon ship and travel to their destination by lifesaver instead of by ship. Should we throw out the life preservers because someone can die in them? No,we should let them be used until everbody get aboard the main ship.

  42. I simply recommend you who doubt the gadlus of Rav Soloveitchik pick up some of his books, or listen to his tapes of Torah; you will be struck by the majesty of his ability to impart Torah. Pick up and read the Mesoras HaRav Machzorim that Artscroll published (without their imprint, mind you) and your Yomim Noraim davening will be immeasurably rewarded by Rav Soloveitchiks insights and commentary. I’ve witnessed many choshuva Lakewood rabbis reading the Machzor from cover to cover.

  43. I am a chossid in boro park who enjoys downloading shiurim from YU torah. Rav Herschels shiurim are really great. They are easy to listn while driving and have loads of halach info in a very organized and clear fashion. I have spoken to a few of the RAVS talmidim and there are basically two groups. Most of the talmidim have moved to the right and send their own children to lakewood and Mir. There are some notably Rav Aron Rakeffet in Isreal who still believe in the old theory of YU as mixed weddings and so forth. The Ravs grandchildren the Twerskis I believe would fit very well into the chreidi world. I think had the Rav lived in NYC instead of Boston he would have similiar beleifs as his famous uncle in isreal

  44. To #44
    The true mesorah is the one that is supported by the majority of “Talmidei Chachomim” and Gedolim. The questionable mesorahs are typically based on “Daas Yochid” and generally did not have the support of most of the universally accepted “Gedolei Yisroel” at the time the movement began.

  45. I hope that the article will enlighten those Yeshivish and even Yeshivish-lite about what Rabbeinu Yitzchak Elchanan is today, who previously based their impression of YU on Bubba Meisses that they heard at their Shabbos tables 40 years ago. These stories are perpetuated with ignorance to this day. Stories about what went on in YU, about their musmachim, etc. I venture to say that very few of those with good long-term memories have ever been to the campus in Washington Heights (or virtually via http://www.yutorah.org) and seen the now two large Batei Medrish full at all hours. While the mosaic might not be pure black and white, the Rambam, Ritva, and Rabi Akiva Eiger are the same sefarim that on shtenders and tables of any Beis Medrish. While there are different tracks to accommodate different backgrounds and needs, the schedule of the Yeshiva Program is comparable to any mainstream Yeshiva in not only quality but quantity as well.

    Hopefully, after reading the Mishpacha article, readers who have never been to the campus might decide to take a curiosity trip to sit in on a shiur or to take advantage of the weekly Kollel Yom Rishon program that takes place each Sunday morning. They could even “talk in learning” with anyone in the Batei Medrish, whether he is wearing a white shirt of a striped one. I guarantee that it will be the same Reb Chaim as they learn in Lakewood.

    Let’s hope that there will come a day when people can speak positively and objectively about YU without including a phrase that begins with “but…….”.

  46. I am thankful Matzav.com which obviously promotes the “correct’ hashkofos will soon be following the call of the “Gedolim” and shut itself down.

    We will all benefit from one less place where so called “Chareidim” can spew forth their venim against other Jews.

    I applaud Mishpacha for writing about Harav Schachter. Those of us who learned in “Mir” and other “good” yeshivas have been impacted immensely by him. If you ever met him, or spoke with him, you recognize that you are dealing with one of the gedolie olam.

  47. It’s so interesting to see so many meivinim on YOU and the Rav – who never ever stepped foot into that great institution or learned as alef from the Rav’s torah…

  48. Dear Matzav,
    Just because Mishpacha decides to print something, doesn’t mean you have to follow suit. Mishpacha should reevaluate their own decision making process in regard to publishing controversial topics. You can’t start a hot topic, and then tell every one “please don’t talk about it — ahavas yisroel time”. If you have ahavas yisroel, don’t bring up the topic in the first place. The issue of the R”Y of YU is something of the past , and there was no reason to bring up old thorny subjects.

  49. Bshtei Raglayim:

    What nonsense you utter. If you would know some history u would see that the opposite is true. The Rambam was not of the majority, nor was the Kotzker Rebbe or the Brisker Rav or the Satmar Rebbe ever concerned that the majority of Gedolim were not on their side

  50. B”H, maybe the walls are beginning to crack, and the Klal is coming together.

    Probably the key difference between the Chareidim and the MO is how to view Olam Hazeh. The Chareidim view it as nothing but a nisayon, and has no intrinsic value. Everything is treif except for Torah learning. People who do not learn full time are treif, as well. The only purpose of olam hazeh is to get schar. Life begins in the next world. The Torah is deliberately made to be difficult to keep and incompatible with normal life. The key is to force yourself to go against your grain.

    However the MO person views olam hazeh as a beautiful place with untold opportunities for good and chesed. He views the Torah as the blueprint for a good and meaningful life. By being honest, we enable economies to function. By studying science, we learn the RBSH’s chochma and we develop cures to help people who are suffering which is the biggest chesed there is, and kol hamekayem nefesh achas k’ilu kiyem olam malei. We try to constantly help the less privileged. We enjoy living in this beautiful world and Torah helps us appreciate Hashem’s goodness (food, shelter, health) and encourages us to share what we have with others. We don’t worry about schar in the next world, as that is being oveid es rabo al menas lekabel pras. We worry about making this world a better place for all, and we appreciate what all mankind does whether Religious, Non-Religious, or non-Jewish. We are thrilled with what the Zionists accomplished in returning the klal back to Eretz Avos and the Mekomos Hakedoshim, and providing a safe haven for Jews everywhere, and allowing Torah and Yiddishkeit to thrive on a level not seen in the past 2,000 years, due to all the anti-semitic rulers in our difficult history.

    We can be nispael at the brilliance of an Edison and feel extreme pride at the accomplishments of an Einstein or a Salk. We don’t view them as worthless because they weren’t frum, and we don’t mock them or make derogatory comments. We have derech eretz for anybody who furthers the goal of yishuv haolam. The Torah was not made to go against the grain of human nature, but to be darchei noam and maximize our enjoyment of olam hazeh by keeping us away from destructive behavior.

    Reb Aryeh Levin used to say he was jealous of the streetsweeper who has the zchus of beautifying the streets of Yerushalayim at 6 am, and begged him to let him sweep, too.

    The MO person does not lead a life of contradiction in which he uses many of the things created by nonfrum people, like cars, phones, or the Israeli health care system, and then condems these same people as worthless kofrim. The MO person allows himself to use and enjoy these things and to appreciate the effort that went into developing them, as he views the study of science as a worthwhile purusit, as long as it is used for the positive. He understands that science without Torah is very dangerous, as the Nazis used science to kill. But when science is used by people with Torah ideals, it can lead to the greatest chesed.

    We view improving Olam Hazeh as our focus for now, helping the underprivileged, and let the RBSH worry about what will be in Olam Haba which we know nothing about, but trust the RBSH that it will be at least as nice as He made Olam Hazeh.

  51. #56
    For the record, the majority did recognize the Brisker Rav and the Satmar Rebbe as Gedolim although they had a daas yochid. Please do not compare that to Rav Soloveitzik (who nobody says did not have good intentions but who was considered by the majority as misguided)…

  52. please clarify (58): Nope. (Nor do I know him.)

    Bshtei Einayim (59): The Brisker and Satmar were not daas yochid on their opposition to zionism. (Far from it, in fact.)

  53. kudos to mishpacha mag. typicaly its 2 stepps forward one step back for that mag, this was definitely a huge step forward.

    its also nice to see R shteinman meet with Chabad leaders. Maybe we are seeing a new brotherhood all inclusive of all yidden of different stripes… I can only hope.

    Let those who wish to grasp onto the machlokes, and sinas chinam of yesterday have no part and no say as frumkeit moves forward as we hopefully enter the days of mashiach!

  54. Yasher Koach Yosef. Great material and excellent points. Modern Orthodoxy bears no resemblance to authentic Judaism. Ahavas Yisroel does not mean Ahavas every opinion of every Yisroel. The opinions we can despise, as long as the people we love. Modern Orthodoxy is one of those despicable opinions. The truth speaks for itself, even if some Jews (who we love) don’t listen.

  55. Edison:

    I love you too. But first look around asnd notice how problematic the new charedi lifestyle is. Can any culture have a future without a work ethic?? The Rambam says no. Maybe the charedim will prove him wrong. Who knows.

  56. The Mishpacha article states that the ‘Rav’ represents the ‘Brisker Derech’. Obviously, this means more that the derech of limud. My daughter attended a Seminary in Jerusalem. Her classmates included several Brisker girls. These girls were excused from English class, for learing a foreign language in a classroom setting is outside the ‘Brisker Derech’. This is how the real ‘Derech’ is expressed, ad hayom hazeh.

    Adaraba to the derech the ‘Rav’ promulgated, that we now see, ha yom hazeh, at Yeshiva University. Several years ago, an English Professor, I believe a shomer shabbos, took a Sabbatical. He came back a she. The Professor was tenured, thus the school was in a bind. Rabbi Moshe Tendler was forced to speak out in disgust.

    This article was chazer, sheker; a clear glad to the MO, a ploy to increase market share. The magazine is now treif and should be ossered by all.

  57. Edison and Yosef,

    Whats so “despicable”? Your sin’ah is skin crawling. Do you realize the din and cheshbon that youll be encountering after 120 will be too much to bear?

    Lashon hara against an entire group of teyreh yidden is almost impossible to do tshuva for. goodluck to you and go back to your flimsy, non lishma hateful world

  58. little wolf:

    LIAR!! You believe the he/she was a “shomer shabbos”? show me ONE source that says such a thing. You completely made that up and your lies and distortions are disgraceful.

    AND this has NOTHING to do with the Rav, Rav Schachter Shli”ta or Modern Orthodoxy. You are having a tough time coming up with a true way to denigrate MO so you resort to lies.


  59. Jaime,

    For someone who defends MO, you sure seem to need some tutoring in secular languages, English for starters. I said Modern Orthodox Jews are not the object of our sinah – their philosophy is. Hate the sin but love the sinner. Shouts of “sinas chinam” are not going to intimidate Torah Jews to abandon their loyalty to Hashkofos that have been taught by our sages for thousands of years. Those Hashkofos include the rejection of what is today called Modern orthodoxy as but nothing but a distortion of Judaism, with the same fundamental basis as Reform and Conservative, as Rav Aharon Kotler ZTL stated.

    Shout all you want. you won’t get us to change what the Torah says.

  60. Edison,

    Why don’t you name some of the philosophies of MO that you hate? Going to secular college? ummm then you hate the philosophy of Rav Hutner, Rav Soloveitchik etc… Going to work for a living? Then you hate the philosophy of the tanaim, amoraim.

    Appreciating and finding emunah through mada? Then you hate the philosophy of the Rambam…

    So what exactly is the distortion of Judaism that you speak of?

    Lets hear about these hashkafos that have been taught for thousands of years by our sages that reject MO. Details Details!!

    Cant wait!!

  61. Edison

    Our sages taught us not to study secular philosophies???

    Remember the Reambam and Rabbeinu Saadia Gaon and countless others????

  62. Jaime/68 & Menashe/69,

    See Yosef’s comment’s #’s 42 & 43 for the answer to your inquiry.

    Pay specific heed to the words of Rav Aharon Kotler ZT’L, Rav Shimon Schwab ZT’L, and the others quoted (and sourced) above in those comments.


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