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Rabbi Ysoscher Katz of Open Orthodoxy Deepens His Assault – A Second Response

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Rabbi Katz has done it again. Only this time it is worse. He has repeated his vile and untrue accusations that it is widespread for Lakewood poskim to pasken that גזל עכו”ם is permissible and hence such גזילה is widespread in the community. He has repeated his wild theory that this is because they are stuck on some psak in the past that says that it is mutar. This is because, in his mind, they have a fossilized approach to halacha. Having found their Rishonim (who say it is assur but still…), they are now impervious to any changes both in their environment and in the halacha that were established at the time of the Rishonim. This is all a figment of his malicious imagination.

To condemn an entire community, as if they are all busy setting up shell companies, funneling money through relatives and the like in the secular press – that is beyond the pale.[1] To do it without substantiation is a malicious, libelous accusation. Yet, he claims in his response to me that, “It was merely the musings of a soul that perpetually searches for divine truth that, on the surface, seems elusive and out of reach.”

To Rabbi Katz, I have this to say:

The reason I am addressing your remarks (now for the second time) is not because of anything personal. We have never met. It is because you did great damage. You attacked an entire Torah community to a secular audience and an audience that includes many non-Jews. In the end of the day, they will not make the fine distinctions you wish to make. They will all be turned against Torah. I am not sure whether that damage can be undone. This is serious stuff.  

I feel constrained to address your remarks in the hopes that you won’t ever do this again. I hope you understand and respond accordingly with your own regret and teshuvah.


Avraham Edelstein

This is now the third time that Rabbi Katz has brought up such issues. In an earlier article, he accused the Torah world of being “small, purist, and exclusionary.” Rabbi Katz felt that this awful indictment needed also to be delivered to a predominantly secular Jewish and non-Jewish readership. (Again in The Times of Israel). And this from a man who can only dream of doing as much outreach to the non-Orthodox world and teach them as much Torah as the “exclusionary” targets of his vile.

But Rabbi Katz’s העזת פנים  is not done. He states further in that article that “My deep love for the Jewish community forces me to cast my lot with the second group (who are open, inclusive, and creative.” So, Rabbi Katz is now the outreach man! Beware of those lovers of the Jewish community whose poisonous pen they direct against just those they should feel the most love for!

Back to Lakewood. Rabbi Katz’s footnote purports to show that the positions of many Rishonim and Achronim are the basis for allowing Lakewood poskim to posit that gezel akum is permissible.  Yet not a single source he quotes says that it is mutar. They all say clearly that it is אסור. How did he get it so wrong? How did he manage to come up with: “The authoritative status of the lenient opinions towards gezel akum has a very strong basis in halakha, it is a view held by many of the classical Rishonim and Achronim”?!  and “An unadulterated read of halakha may in fact permit this kind of cheating. Many poskim assert that gezel akum (stealing from idolaters) is technically mutar.”

To understand how much poor scholarship went into the footnote, you can read the Appendix at the end of this article where I show that R. Katz’s “learned” presentation is at best irresponsible scholarship (especially for a person serving as Chair, Department of Talmud and Director of the Lindenbaum Center for Halakhic Studies at Chovevei.) And at worst, he aggravated and caused a Chillul H’, a most serious transgression.

Rabbi Katz, without retracting anything he wrote in the first Lakewood article, now writes that what he meant by saying stealing is “technically” permitted by many Rishonim and Achronim was that, according to them, this was not the סיבת האיסור. (He doesn’t quite manage to get those words out, but that is his intent.)  Now remember that Rabbi Katz was writing to a secular audience. So, I showed his original sentence to some students of mine and asked them what they thought the author meant. All of them said the same thing. “Technically” permitted means that it is permitted but is not in the spirit of the law. But that is not what those commentators Rabbi Katz quotes in his footnote say! They say it is forbidden because of חילול ד’ – as a Torah prohibition, or מדרבנן, for various reasons. Rabbi Katz, you are being dishonest when you communicate something which clearly means one thing, and then, when you are caught on that, say that it means another. You are being dishonest if you don’t clearly retract the fact that you stated “An unadulterated read of halakha may in fact permit this kind of cheating” and instead try to fudge it. (I have shown in the Appendix how poor this attempt is.)

At the end of his footnote, R Katz writes:

בנוסף לשיטות הנ”ל שמעיקר הדין הוא מותר לגמרי.

Anyone reading this would understand that essentially the איסור is only a חומרא. But Rabbi Katz again means by this that the סיבת האיסור is not לא תגזול or לא תעשוק.  The underlying reason that Rabbi Katz plays with acceptable definitions is beyond exploration right now, but it reflects a part of a radical new approach to Judaism that is not within the consensus. To do this, he needs a new vocabulary. Torah Jews are now branded as “originalists” by R. Katz’s slight of pen that goes a long way to reveal the Open Orthodox movement’s agenda.

But it gets worse. Because, according to Rabbi Katz, if the סיבת האיסור of גזילה is because of חילול ד’ (or if it is דרבנן) then “it is not considered prohibited stealing and therefore one only needs to refrain from doing it for secondary reasons.” The Gra says that the prohibition of stealing from a non-Jew is because of חילול ד’.  Ah! He does not say that it is because of the prohibition of stealing. But actually, חילול ד’ is worse than the prohibition of stealing. Stealing is a straight לאו. The Rambam states that we receive atonement on Yom Kippur for a straight לאו. But for חילול ד’  we only get a final כפרה upon our death.

According to R. Katz the Gra was morally deficient by today’s standards!!

And what, Rabbi Katz, will you do with the Tosefta which says that stealing from a non-Jew is WORSE than stealing from a Jew, because of the חילול ד’ involved!

Rabbeinu Bachaya explains that when one steals from a fellow Jew, his fellow Jew blames only him, not G-d. But when one steals from a non-Jew, the non-Jew questions the entire faith of the Jewish people as well as their Torah. (Similarly, one who does not return a lost article to a non-Jew in a place where the majority population is Jewish will cause the non-Jew to say, אין אמונה בישראל.) “Secondary reasons,” Rabbi Katz?

The ספר חסידים  tells us that the גדולים wrote that they have seen with their own eyes that those people who gained from the mistakes of non-Jews did not succeed and lost their possessions as well.  By contrast, those who were מקדש שם שמים and returned טעות עכו”ם became successful, affluent, and left much wealth to their descendants.

In contrast, according to R. Katz, the license to steal is rooted in a sense of superiority to the non-Jew. How could any honest reading of these sources lead to that conclusion?

Rabbi Katz’ other major distortion is to try to make the leap from those who say that the איסור of גזל עכו”ם is  דרבנןto saying that it is technically מותר (and hence paskened that way, according to his wild imagination, by Lakewood poskim).  Someone once said in front of the Chazon Ish that Shmittah was only rabbinic in our time. The Chazon Ish got up onto his feet and said, “Almost everything we do is rabbinic today.”  Such mitzvos as  שמיטה, תפילה and most מצוות התלויות בארץ are today דרבנן. R. Chaim Vital says that there is no מצוה to work on your midos, and Rav Saadia Gaon says that there is no מצוה to believe in G-d. Some say that, according to the Rambam there is a מצוה of תשובה, only to do וידוי if you want to do תשובה. According to the Rambam there is no מצוה of ישוב הארץ, and believing in מעמד הר סיני is also not a מצוה. According to most ראשונים, marriage is only a הכשר מצוה of פרו ורבו. Many ראשונים hold that there is no generalחיוב דאורייתא ofחינוך בנים . Only the סמ”ק says that there is a מצוה of צניעות. By Rabbi Katz’s twisted logic, we could land up with a Judaism where there is no prayer nor teshuvah nor need to work on character, nor get married, nor educate one’s children!

I suggest that R. Katz go and read the Shaarei Teshuva, beginning of Shaar Gimmel where he talks about the implications of disobeying a rabbinic mitzvah.

The Ramban writes on Chumash about the reasons for the mitzvos in general (to מתקן our own midos, etc.). According to R. Katz, when, this shows a disdain for our fellow Jew, for the סיבת האיסור is not for the intrinsic value of the Jew we are giving to, but rather for our own benefit. Similarly, all the mitzvos relating to צער בעלי חיים. According to the Ramban, it is not because of the intrinsic worth of the animal but rather to develop our sensitivity towards the animal. According to R. Katz, God is introducing a moral insensitivity to the animal world.

Rabbi Katz, let me ask you a question. The Gemorrah cites two לא תעשה’s to prohibit גזילה – לא תגזול and לא תעשוק רעך.  These overlap, though the Gemorrah already discusses their possible differences. There are also potentially two עשה’s involved as well. לא תעשוק רעך prima facie excludes non-Jews, because it says רעך. לא תגזול doesn’t. Would we then say that לא תעשוק teaches us that non-Jews are inferior (since there are places where the two don’t overlap) while לא תגזול teaches us the opposite? Clearly, no-one can learn Gemorrah with this kind of philosophizing and come out with the right conclusions. In fact, I could write a whole book on the absurdities that would arise from such an approach.

The distortions emerging from Rabbi Katz’s approach arise because he came with an agenda. He shot an arrow and then proceeded to draw the target by looking for “proofs” that would back him up. This reminds me of the early Conservative writers. They would decide something like, “It is permissible to drive to shul on Shabbat.” Sure enough, someone would then go and write a detailed teshuvah with a lot of sources to show just this. Of course, we know that this was false scholarship; that the conclusions did not emerge from a reading of the sources. But we knew what target they were going to draw in advance!

With that in mind, let’s repeat R. Katz initial assertion: “An unadulterated read of halakha may in fact permit this kind of cheating. Many poskim assert that gezel akum (stealing from idolaters) is technically mutar.”

The problem that R Katz is facing is that no one, not one Rishon, says that such stealing is mutar. And the pashtus of the majority of them is that it is an איסור דאורייתא.  Moreover, the entire  שלשלת ההלכה from the time of the Shulchan Aruch pasken that it is assur – the Mechaber, the Rama,  the Shach, the Nesivos, the Gra, the Sma,  the Chacham Tzvi, the Aruch HaShulchan – all the discussion is only about what this or that Rishon holds the סיבת האיסור is. And it is clear from the Shulchan Aruch, the Gra and others that this is an issur Deoraaisa. (See Appendix for full discussion.)

So, Rabbi Katz is making a fantastic claim about Lakewood rabbis permitting such a thing. He is saying that they made something up – here are his words: “It is also true that the opinions that believe that gezel akum is “technically” mutar have normative status in my native community (the community in which I grew up),” and “The refusal by the poskim to emphatically promote the stringent opinions that prohibit gezel akum is undoubtedly informed, at least partially, by philosophical attitudes about “others” and theological notions about the immutability of halakha.”

According to R. Katz, the Lakewood poskim rely on a  תמיה-dik Rashi, the dochek פשט  of the Kesef Mishneh  on the Rambam, the Bach on the Tur, etc. – all not accepted by the mainstream שלשלת הפסק (see Appendix below). But, even these approaches say that stealing from a non-Jew is prohibited. According to  R. Katz, since they don’t say that such stealing is prohibited as a Torah prohibition of לא תגזול, “and therefore one only needs to refrain from doing it for secondary reasons”, like חילול ד’,  the Lakewood rabbanim are able to take the leap and say thatגזל עכו”ם is מותר altogether!  After all, “There are those who say “technically” gezel akum is mutar, meaning that it is not considered prohibited stealing.” Even Rabbi Katz’s weak scholarship cannot make that leap without a sinister motive.

The tragedy of all this is that I suspect Rabbi Katz is capable of learning up these sugiyas properly. Rabbi Katz wants to get to, “They do not believe that psak is a process whereby nuances are crystalized over the course of many years” as if there is no שלשלת הפסק amongst these poskim.  How sobering to see what happens when someone with an agenda applies that to לימוד התורה!

So far off the edge has this man gone that he claims not to know what I am talking about. “I, therefore, am at a loss when it comes to making sense of your implied critique…” Let’s see, a man claims that “Chareidi poskim,” (no longer just Lakewood poskim) “many of whom are resolutely wedded to an originalist approach to halakha on this matter,” are simply inclined to ignore a clear and undisputed psak of the Shulchan Aruch, because of a new label. They are “originalists!”

This is wild and outrageous!

But Rabbi Katz is not done.

Having failed as a למדן, Rabbi Katz tries his hand at sociology. This is his attempt. He is going to make a vicious claim against an entire community and its poskim – that they widely support גזל עכו”ם. He won’t be able to bring a shred of evidence, because it is all kept oral. But should someone defend them, this will be so baffling to him that it must be that said person doesn’t know the community well enough. All those tens and tens of beautiful families I know in Lakewood, it is all a front. Secretly, they steal from goyim! In his words about me:

“At the same time, I am surprised by your seeming ignorance as to the normative nature … of the opinions that say that gezel akum is “technically” mutar.”

And….“[your] dislike of liberal Orthodoxy made it impossible for you to take my words at face value.”

Rabbi Katz’s evidence? None. Remember what happens to you if you ask for any: You are out of touch and biased. Remember that all this is enough for Rabbi Katz to publically condemn the Lakewood community (and all those of their ilk) to a secular and non-Jewish audience!

A miniscule percentage of a certain tzibur sins. Its poskim and rabbanim publically condemn their behavior. But you, Rabbi Katz, know that what was behind this was a particular approach to psak, an entire approach, backed up by it leaders and thinkers and you go public.

Rabbi, in the social sciences, there is a rule. You can have a hunch and all sorts of theories. But if you want to go public you had better have evidence.  Otherwise, keep your hunches to yourself.

Okay, so Rabbi Katz is not a lamdan. He is certainly not a sociologist. So, perhaps he is a philosopher.

Here is his poor attempt:

In his first article:

“‘How could people with such high religious standards commit these inexcusable crimes’ we wonder. The jurisprudential philosophy of this community could at least partially explain this conundrum.

“The seemingly blasé attitude towards stealing from the government is partially informed by the belief that halakha is static; that its meaning and application do not at all change through perpetual clarification and constant crystallization.”

In his second article:

The approach to Judaism of the Lakewood world is that: “allowing halakha to accommodate human moral intuition could jeopardize the absoluteness and religious supremacy of halakha.” is “an originalist approach toward halakha.” What happened in Lakewood, “plausibly accentuates the pitfalls of such an approach to psak.”

The solution?  Rabbi Katz wants “halakha to accommodate human moral intuition.”  Rabbi Katz stays clear of uttering anything more than abstract babbling on the subject, his only example seems our case at hand, i.e. that he with his moral intuition was able to understand that the halacha says that גזל עכו”ם is אסור but the Lakewooders, who lack this, couldn’t figure this out!

But we already know of many other instances of Open Orthodoxy, of which R. Katz is a leader, where people use their moral intuition: on intermarriage, on whether the miracles of the Exodus really took place, and many others. For Open Orthodoxy, intuition is a referee for influencing what should or should not be Torah.  In this light, R. Katz’s pathetic attempt to learn a sugiya is directly guided by his moral intuition.

So, Rabbi Katz is not a lamdan. He is no sociologist. And now we see that he is no philosopher. What he is – a spokesman of a dangerous and distorted approach to Judaism – is something outside of the Torah consensus. Rabbi Katz states that I misrepresented his “understanding of the halakhic process” – a view which he maintains is “held by many, perhaps even most, Modern Orthodox thinkers.” This is outrageous. Rabbi Katz, let me be clear. There is no daylight between myself and my Modern Orthodox colleagues on everything that I have written above.

Rabbi Katz has retracted exactly nothing in his second article.

Rabbi Katz, I will end as I have started; with personal words to you:

You have damned the people of Lakewood. You have damned their rabbis. By implication you have damned the great rabbis who guide those rabbis in turn. You have done injustice to an audience that will react by feeling further away from Torah as a result.

Instead of your libelous and condemnatory remarks about the Lakewood community, here are the facts. The community is overall shocked. Their rabbanim condemned the theft. They all adhere to the Shulchan Aruch/Ramah who state unambiguously that it is forbidden to steal from a non-Jew. Those who stole represent a minuscule percentage of the population.

Rabbi Katz, are you with me?

APPENDIX – An Analysis of Rabbi Katz’s Scholarship

“An unadulterated read of halakha may in fact permit this kind of cheating. Many poskim assert that gezel akum (stealing from idolaters) is technically mutar. And almost all of them believe that cheating idolaters is allowed.” (R. Katz, first article)

Rabbi Katz has climbed down from his tree on טעות עכו”ם.  Nor did he mention in his second article his first sentence quoted here, the most problematic one, that “an unadulterated read of halakha may in fact permit this kind of cheating.”  But the whole point of both his first and second articles was that Lakewood poskim pasken that גזל עכו”ם is מותר based on these opinions.

In his second article, Rabbi Katz redefines what he means by “technically mutar” i.e. that if the סיבת האיסור is not because of לא תגזול then it is technically מותר. But what Rabbi Katz has inadvertently done – and he was forced to do so by the halachik facts – is to make his claim even more absurd. Now, the Lakewood poskim, according to him, pasken that גזל עכו”ם is mutar even though all opinions say that it is assur.  In short, Rabbi Katz cannot make any opinion say what he wants them to say.

So much for the big picture.

But I was bothered by something else as well. Despite Rabbi Katz’s impressive bekius, he presents an accumulation of errors – be they of judgment, or proportion, or selectivity – which together misrepresent what the mainstream Torah opinions say.

Here are the details:

  1. First, one has to get the sugiya right. The issue is that some Lakewood families are accused of stealing from the government. True, that is an issue of גזל עכו”ם. But it is also an issue of דינא דמלכותא דינא, which he failed to mention at all. And it is much worse than cheating on taxes. The three greatest poskim of our age, Rav Feinstein, Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach and Rav Shalom Elyashiv all paskened that it is prohibited to cheat on your taxes in America. The question of permissibility in our case does not begin. Actively soliciting undeserved moneys from the government is much worse than stealing on your taxes. So let me repeat, since R. Katz did not get my comment the first time around: No posek – none – allows what the couples in Lakewood are currently accused of.

So too, he deals with השבת גזילה as if it is the same issue as the איסור גזילה, whereas this requires a separate עשה of והשיב את הגזילה and is hence a separate סוגיא. In other words one can be עובר on an איסור דאורייתא of גזל עכו”ם but still not beחייב  in an  עשה of השבה. This is a machlokes Rishonim. Rabbi Katz’s two-liner at the end of his Hebrew footnote does not show that he understood this distinction.

  1. Secondly, one has to quote what is the main highway of the sugiya before one begins quoting unusual pirushim.  There are two main sugiyas in the Bavli on גזל עכו”ם  of which the sugiya in Bava Kama (דף קיג עמא-ב) is the עיקר. We pasken like Rebbe Akiva there who says that גזל עכו”ם is אסור. The vast majority of the Rishonim  say that גזל עכו”ם is Deoraaisa. This was lacking from Rabbi Katz’s presentation.

  2. Thirdly, you have to avoid mixing up Rishonim and Achronim and quoting them all as one cholent. The Achronim are responding to the Rishonim and they do not have equal status. Once again, the vast majority of Achronim – the Mechaber, the Rama, the Shach, the Beis Shmuel, the Nesivos, the Gra, the Sma, the Chacham Tzvi, the Aruch HaShulchan and many more – say גזל עכו”ם is Deoraaisa.

  3. Fourthly, if a Rishon has a פשטות  of understanding according to the majority but there is also some Acharon who understands this Rishon in an unusual way, then one has to lay out the main way of understanding that Rishon before quoting the unusual פשטים.  One has to know what is a דוחק pshat and what is not. This would apply to the Bach’s understanding of the opinion of the Tur as being only דרבנן – which he only made because otherwise he thought that the Tur contradicts himself. But this is not the normal way we understand the Tur.  And, in any case, the Tur is not talking about the איסור of גזילה there, he is talking about לא תעשו עול במדה ובמשפט.

This would also apply to the Kesef Mishneh’s understanding of the Rambam. Firstly, it is disingenuous of Rabbi Katz to quote the Bach and the Kesef Mishneh as part of the same proof, because it is pashut to the Bach that the Rambam holds that גזל עכו”ם is דאורייתא (which is what forced him to say that the Tur must hold otherwise) whereas the כסף משנה says that the Rambam holds that גזל עכו”ם is דרנבנן.

The Kesef Mishneh we know as Rav Yosef Karo. In his Beis Yosef he seems to hold that the Rambam holds that גזל עכו”ם is מדאוריייתא and he certainly doesn’t give his pshat in the כסף משנה any credence in his psak in the Shulchan Aruch. It does not seem consistent with other places in the Rambam. And it is not consistent with how most other meforshim understand the Rambam.

Rabbi Katz does something else here, subtle and manipulative. The opinions that say the Rambam holds that גזל עכו”ם is דאורייתא are not mentioned by name at all, whereas those who hold that the Rambam says that גזל עכו”ם is דרבנן are quoted in detail. This focuses one’s attention on the latter and doesn’t allow one to properly asses the issue.

Then there is Rashi, one of only two Rishonim who say clearly that גזל עכו”ם is דרבנן. (The other is the Ran.( The Gra says that Rashi is a תמיה. The שו”ת חוט המשולש  agrees with the Gra. In fact, the חוט המשולש goes further. He rejects the understanding of the Maharshal on Rashi – and shows that learning like this would lead to this Rashi contradicting himself in Bava Kama. He proves that Rashi in Sanhedrin only meant to say his opinion according to one מאן דאמר.

Moreover, the חוט המשולש shows that Rashi himself in Bava Kama says that according to Rebbe Akiva (according to whom we pasken), even with הפקעת הלואתו, where there is no איסור גזילה, there is still an איסור דאורייתא of חילול השם.

The Maharshal paskens like Rashi. But the words of the Maharshal are seen as תמוהין מאד in the eyes of the חכם צבי, (not just האריך להקשות as Rabbi Katz downplayed it) and he left out the reason that the Maharshal was so difficult to the הר צבי. And yes, the מהרש”ל has his defenders, but once again, the balance of the presentation did not reflect the overall balance of opinions fairly.

  1. The custom is, Rabbi, to quote exact sources. Not just the דף but the עמוד. Not just the עמוד but the דברי המתחיל. In an exceptionally long תשובה in particular, you need to cite the דברי המתחיל of the paragraph. If the language of the quoted source is not crystal clear you need to bring it and comment what the דיוק is. Your piece is so full of these problems – sometimes with just the person quoted and no source at all! – that it is not only poor scholarship, but it is designed to make it extremely difficult for anyone to independently verify what you are saying. This approach is not transparent.

  2. One also has to understand and explain each quoted source properly.  Rabbi Katz, the Minchas Chinuch is coming to מחדש a distinction between גניבה and גזילה – and hence what he says about גניבה cannot be used for גזילה.

Most notably you were misleading about the Meiri.  The Meiri makes it clear that even the opinion in the Gemorrah which we don’t pasken like, who says that גזל עכו”ם is מותר, would agree that today (in his time and onwards) it is an איסור דאורייתא.  But you wrote “”וכן הוא דעת הר”ן והמאירי שם, i.e. that the Meiri holds that גזל עכו”ם is only דרבנן. The Meiri only held that for עכו”ם mamash, who lived in the time of חז”ל. Astonishingly, he says that we are even חייב in השבת אבידה to non-Jews of our time. He states that:

כל שהוא מעממין הגדורים בדרכי הדת ועובדי האלוקות על איזה צד אע”פ שאמונתם רחוקה מאמונתנו אינם בכלל זה אלא הרי הם כישראל גמור דברים אלו אף באבידה ואף בטעות ולכל שאר דברים בלי שום פקפוק

i.e. that today we are חייב מדאורייתא on גזילה and even השבת אבידה.

It is also disingenuous to say that the תנא דבי אליהו is a support for the idea that, in your words, עקרונית אין סיבה לאסרו. The תנא דבי אליהו is coming to tell us that the meta-principle behind the giving of the Torah to Klal Yisrael is Kiddush HaShem. All חיובים are informed by this. Rabbi, by suggesting that really G-d didn’t mind if we stole from non-Jews according to this source, you have changed the emphasis of the message. That is a subtle manipulation and not acceptable. What you should have said according to the תנא דבי אליהו is that מעקרונות העקרונות אסור לגמרי!

Oh this just goes on and on. Here are some more:

  1. Since we want to get to psak halacha here, we need to stick to the mainstream halachik opinions. Quoting the Minchas Chinuch (which Rabbi Katz does), who specifically does not deal with issues that have been well dealt with, and who is coming to arouse things in lomdus, and not psak, then becomes out of bounds.

  2. My dear Rabbi Katz, not every opinion has equal standing. The Shach and the Sma have more standing in halacha than the שער אפרים, for example. The Shluchan Aruch Harav and the Aruch Hashulchan, when they too go like these earlier Achronim create a very high barrier which requires significant force to oppose. If I wanted to, I could take the Nachalas Shiva, and break Shabbos every week to do kiruv. But, that would be dishonest, amongst other things, as it would not represent the mainstream of halacha.  This is too big a subject to discuss here.

In summation, stringing a whole lot of opinions together without contextualizing them is misleading, Rabbi Katz, or else it is just very poor scholarship. Any one of us could have made one or more of the errors that you made and I apologize if I have been wrong in my assessment of any one of them. However, the accumulation of such errors (as I have shown above) just does not make the grade. Your footnote certainly does not lead to the conclusions you wish it to, even though you shot the arrow before drawing the target. If this is what you meant by, “The words of G-d are often ambiguous, cryptic, and open for interpretation,” then we are in a lot of trouble indeed.


Read original Article here.

[1] Rabbi Katz did request that we post his response, Understanding Lakewood (2)… Continuing the Conversation with Rabbi Avraham Edelstein  on NLEResources.com. After perusing the content of his submission, this was rejected on grounds that it did not meet the standards of truth and scholarship which our postings demand. Perhaps Rabbi Katz then tried finding another Orthodox venue and perhaps they too rejected him for the same reasons. Rabbi Katz should have then withdrawn the article. Clearly, he cares nothing for the kavod of the Jewish people, and is perfectly happy to take his unfounded condemnations to a broader audience, one totally unequipped to evaluate his remarks and easily predisposed to what may appear to them as a fact-based, reasonable argument.[2] http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/the-gra-redux-on-the-book-why-open-orthodoxy-is-not-orthodox/

[3] This is the full quote of the first article and not just the selection of the last

[4]  רמב”ם, הל’ תשובה פ”א הל’ ד

[5] בבא קמא פ”י  ח: הגוזל את הנכרי – חייב להחזיר לנכרי. חמור גזל נכרי מגזל ישראל, מפני חלול ד’. הגוזל את הנכרי ונזבע לו ומת – אינו מתכפר לו, מפני חלול ד’.

וכתב החזון יחזקאל שם: “כאמור בקרא (יחזקאל לו): “ויחללו את שם קדשי באמור להם עם ד’ אלה” והם גוזלים וחומסים.

[6] ויקרא כה נ

[7] עיין עוד בבית יוסף רסו א וב”ח שם, רמב”ם הל’ גזילה יא ג

[8]  מובא בערוך השולחן חו”מ ס’ שמח סק’ ב ובבאר הגולה ‘ שמ”ח ס”ק ד

[9]  ופשוט כל שכן בנוגע לגזל עכו”ם.

[10]  שיטת הרמב”ן, השגות על הרמב”ם שזה חסד של הרבונו של עולם כלפינו ואינו חיוב. וכן פסק להלכה המשנה ברורה ורוב אחרונים.

[11]  לפי שסבירו הרמב”ם, השגות על מצוה א של הרמב”ם. ו”אנכי” לאו בצורת צווי. והסיבה לכך שכל המצוות הם מבוססות על אמונה בהקב”ה ואין זה מצוה פרטית.

[12]  בהל’ תשובה לא הזכיר הרמב”ם שהיא מצוה, אע”פ שבכותרת בראשית דבריו שם הזכיר שהיא כן מצוה.

[13] וכפי שהשיג עליו הרמב”ן בראשית השמטות שלו על הלאוים בספר המצוות.

[14]  ולא כהמקנה שאומר ש”כי יקח איש אישה” הוי מ”ע

[15]  אע”פ שיש חיוב ללמדו תורה, ולעורר קושיותיו בליל סדר, וכו’.

[16]  על מצוות שלוח הקן דברים כב ו: בכל אחד [מן המצוות יש] טעם ותועלת ותקון לאדם בלבד שכרן … למנוע ממנו נזק או אמונה רעה או מדה מגונה או לזכור הנסים ונפלאות הבורא יתברך לדעת את השם

[17] ומה שכתב היראים, ס’ קכד שגניבת גוי במקום שאינו יודע העכו”ם הוי טעות עוד נדבר בזה בנספח

[18]  שו”ת אגרות משה חו”מ ח”ב  ס’ כט, הגרש״ז אויערבאך מובא בממון ישראל של הרב פינחס בודנר, סוף עמוד

   ומקור הדברים סוגיא בבא קמא דף קיג. וכתב הרמב”ם הל ‘ גזילה ה יא דהוי איסור דאורייתא, וכן הוא בטור ושו”ע שסט ג, ובשו”ע הרב  הל’ גזילה טו. והאיסור שהוא עובר הוא  לא תגזול

וכן בשו”ת מנחת שלמה ח״ו סרפ”ח, הר אלישיב – שמעתי מפיו.

אבל יש לציין שמקור החיוב של דינא דמלכותא דינא (שהוא כרוך במחלוקת ראשונים ונ”מ כלפי ארצינו הקדושה) היא חיוב בפני עצמו. ולרוב הפוסקים דינא דמלכותא דינא הוי דין דורייתא כן כתב האבני מילואים  כח ב, והשו”ת חתם ופר יו”ד שיד ד”ה אמנם, והדבר אברהם א א ענף ב. ועוד ועוד (אמנם עיין בבית שמואל אבן העזר כח ג). ומסתמא העובר עליו עובר על איסור נוסף מחוץ ללא תגזול. אבל איני יודע איזה לאו בתורה הוא עובר בזה.

וגם כן עובר על חלול ד’.

יוצא שהמריח את המכס עובר על שלושה איסורי דאורייתא – על לא תזול, על דינא דמלכותא (אם זה לאו בנפרד) וכל חלול ד’.

ועיין שו”ת חוט המשולש יד ד”ה ולפ”ז

[19]  היינו שאפילו בפוסקים האומרים שאין דינא דמלכותא דינא בארצינו הקודש, ובנוגע להברחת המב אבל פשוט שאין שום היתר לעבור לקחת כסף מהמדיה באופן בלתי.

וכבר כתב השולחן ערוך הרב  (פ״א הערה ד (עמוד יח שלהוציא ממון  שלא כדין מהמלכות   אפילו בשלטון שאין בו משום דינא דמלבותא אין שום היתר וכ”כ בסוף דבריו “ושמעתי שיש מוריםהיתר בזה ולא ראיתי מקור, וג ם גורם להרגיל עצמו בגניבה”. וכ״כ בשו״ת שבט הלוי וכן כתב הפתחי חושן להר’ בלוי  (פ״א הערה ד (עמוד יח עיין שם דאסור מכמה סיבות. וכתב שם שלא ידוע לו שום צד להתיר. (ויש לציין שהרב בלוי כתב את זה בתור דיין של העדה חרדית!) ולכן פשוט שאפילו הגר״מ קליין בשו״ת משנה הלכות חי״ב סתמ״ה שהתיר הברחת מס באמריקה (אבל המליץ כנגד) לא היה מתיר גניבה כזו. ולכן שבט כתב הלוי ח״ה סימן קעב שאסור לגזול מהשלטון באה״ק (והיינו אפילו לדעות שאין דינא דמלכותא דינא בארצינו הקדושה)

וכתב הרב חיים רפפורט בספרו אור ישראל עמ’ קכט דאין מי שחולק על זה..

[20]  המרש”ל שהרמב”ם נוקט דגזל עכו”ם הוי איסור דאורייתא. וגם הים של שלמה הבין שהרמב”ם (גזילה א ה) אוסר באיסור דאורייתא גזילת עכו”ם וחייב להחזיר.

[21] The other sugiya is in סנהדרין נז..

[22]   הרמב”ם, (הל’ גזילה א ב) לרוב הדעות (ודלא כהכסף משנה)

הרי”ף    (ב”ק דף קיד:).

המרדכי (קידושין תצא)

והחינוך ) מצוה רכה( והמאירי (ב”ק דף קיג, ד”ה נמצא )(ובהמשך נביא את המאירי בפנים)

והסמ”ג, ל”ת קנב ד”ה “הגוזל”. (ובנוגע למידות ומשקלים, והטעה עיין בל”ת קנב ד”ה “אחד” שגם זה אסור מדאורייתא.)

וכן הוא הפשטות של הטור חו”מ ס’ רלא (ומה שלא כתב כן הב”ח נציין בהמשך) שגזל עכו”ם הוא מדאורייתא.

וכן משמע  בתשו’ הרשב”א ח”א סי’  תתנ”ב שכתב “וקי”ל נמי בפ’ הגוזל בתרא גזל העכו”ם אסור כר”ע … מה לי עכו”ם מה לי ישראל שהרי שניהם תורת גזל נוהג בהם” והיינו מדאורייתא.

וכן שם ברשב”א בשם הריבי”ה.

ובהמשך נביא את הרש”י בסנהדרין וחידושי הר”ן, (שניהם על הגמ’ סנהדרי דף נז.) האומרים שגזל עכו”ם הוי דרבנן. וזה אולי שיטת התוס’ בבא קמא דף קיג לפי הסמ”ע.

ומה שכתב היראים, ס’ קכד שגניבת גוי במקום שאינו יודע העכו”ם הוי טעות ושריא ואפילו איסור דרבנן ליכא עכ”ל אבל אפשר דבמקום שיודע הוי איסור דאורייתא של חלול ד’. וגם בפשטות מדובר רק על טעות עכו”ם ולא על גניבה אחרת. ובס’ קכה באיסור גזילה לא הזכיר עמדתו כלפי גזל עכו”ם.  אבל החתם סופר בחידושיו לסוכה דף ל שגם דעתו בזה לאסור. (ואין כ”כ נ”מ לנידונינו כי הפוסקים האחורנים לא הזכירו היראים להלכה.)

[23] שו”ע חו”מ ס’ שנט וס’ שמח

[24]  שיטת הרמ”א – אם הוא אוחז דגזילת עכו”ם הוי דרבנן או דאורייתא  אינו ברור דהנה בחושן משפט ס’ שמח, המחבר כתב דהוי איוסר דאורייתא והרמ”א שתק שם. משמע שמסכים למחבר. ואילו בס’ כח באבן העזר כתב שהמקדש בגזל או בגניבת עכו”ם הוי מקודשת. והש”ך הניח בצ”ע. אבל הבית שמואל כבר כתב שבאה”ע איירי במקרה שהגנב לקח בהיתר (היינו עושק) ולכן שם האיסור אינו אלא דרבנן (ולכן החיוב להחזיר הוי  משום קידוש ד’ ולא גזילה) . וכדומה תירץ הנתיבות המשפט את הרמ”א היינו דשם הענין של להחזיר את הגזילה ובישראל עצמו לא היינו יודעים את החיוב להחזיר אלולי חדש לנו התורה את זה (והשיב את הזילה) אבל סתם גזילת עכו”ם הוי איסור דאורייתא גם לפי הרמ”א.

[25]  מסתימתו בחו”מ ס’ שמח, ס”ק ב ורק מקשה על הרמ”א.

[26] בית שמואל אהע”ז ס כח ס”א

[27] נתיבות המשפט ס’ שמח  ס”ק א

[28] ביאור הגר”א חו”מ ס’ שמח ס”ק ח, אה”ע ס כח ס”א

[29] בחו”מ ס’ שמח   סק ה’

[30] בשו”ת חכם צבי,ס’ כו

[31] חו”מ ס’ שמח א וס’ שנט א

[32]  ב”ח, ס’ רלא, ד”ה כתב הרמב”ם

[33]  ולכן הבית שמואל, אבן העזזר ‘ כח ס”ק ה הביא את הטור בפשיטות כאיסור דאורייתא.

וכן כתב הבית יוסף על הטור ח”מ סי’ שמ”ח שכתב הטור וז”ל אסור לגנוב כו’ וכל הגונב אפילו ש”פ עובר על הלאו דלא תגנבו וחייב לשלם א’ הגונב מישראל בין קטן בין גדול וא’ הגונב מעכו”ם שגניבתו אסורה עכ”ל. והב”י כתב שם שדבריו לקוחים מדברי הרמב”ם והיינו דהוי מדאורייתא. וכבר כתבתי שאין לחלק בין גניבה וגזילה.

וכן כתב המרש”ל בים של שלמה ב”ק פ’ י ס’ כ ששיטת הטור היא שגזל עכו”ם הוי מדאורייתא.

וכן הביא הבאר היטב ס’ שמח ס”‘ ג את הים של שלמה בדעת הטור.

אבל עיין בשו”ת שער אפרים סימן ב ד”ה שכתב “ולכאורה נראה מדברי הטור והרמב”ם” היינו דהוי מדאורייתא. ובהמשך דבריו רצה להוכיח לא כן.

[34]  וכמו שכתב בפירוש בהתחלת הסימן וגם בההערה שהביא הרב קץ

[35] כסף משנה, הרמב”ם, (הל’ גזילה א ב), סוף דבריו שם

[36]  בית יוסף ח”מ סי’ שמ”ח (ב): ומה שאמר ואחד הגונב מעכו”ם שגניבתו אסור כ”כ הרמב”ם ז”ל וגו’.

[37]  שו”ע חו”מ ריש ס’ שנט ושמח ריש ס’ ב

[38]  מדכתב בריש הל’ גניבה “כל הגונב ממון מש”פ כו’ עובר בל”ת כו’ וא’ הגונב ממון מישראל או מעכו”ם”  ומזה רואים שעכו”ם וישראל שוים באיסור גניבה. ולא ראיתי אחד מחלק בין גניבה וגזילה

[39]   בבית שמואל, שם, וכבר ראינו שהב”ח דחק להסביר את הטור בגלל שהטור הביא את הרמב”ם בנוסף למה שהביא את דעת עצמו והיה פשוט להב”ח שהרמב”ם הוא אוסר גזל עכו”ם מדאורייתא.

וכן הביא הש”ך ס’ שנט ב והבאר היטב שם ס”ק א ובס’ שמח ס”‘ ג בשם הש”ך והמרש”ל שהרמב”ם נוקט דגזל עכו”ם הוי איסור דאורייתא.

וגם הים של שלמה  )בבא קמא פרק י סימן כ( הבין שדעת הרמב”ם  היא שאוסר באיסור דאורייתא גזילת עכו”ם וחייב להחזיר.

וכן בשו”ת הר צבי,ס’ כו, וכתב שמה שדייק הכסף משנה המרמב”ם שלא כתב בלשון שעובר עליו בלאו אלא כתב סתם “אסור לגוזלו” אין זה ראייה שהרי אפשר שהרמב”ם סובר שעובר עליו בעשה מוחשב אם קונהו או מואכלת את כח העמים.

וכן בשו”ת חוט המשולש ס’ יד בקטע המתחיל “והנה בהפקעת הלואה”  והקטע אחרי זה פשט שהרמב”ם אוחז שגזל עכו”ם ואפילו הפקעת הלואתו הוי איסר דאורייתא. וגם החינוך (ס’ רכה) מביא את הרמב”ם כםשוטו והיינו דהוי מדאורייתא וכמו שברור מהמנחת חינוך (שם) ד”ה או גונב.

אמנם, יש לציין שהחידושי הר”ן, סנהדרין דף נז עמ’ א. ד”ה כותי בכותי. כתב דדעת הרמב”ם הוא שמדרבנן אסור מפני חילול השם וכדאיתא התם ומשמע לי מסתמא דהכי הלכה.

וגם השו”ת שער אפרים סימן ב ד”ה  “אמנם כד מעיינת ברמב”ם” אוחז כמו הכסף משנה. אלא שלדעתו סובר שהרמב”ם אוסר אף במקום שאינו חלול השם. ולסיבת הים של שלמה שלא ירגיל את עצמו בגזילה. ומחמת זה דחק השער אפרים מאד להגיד שגם בריש הל’ גזילה הרבמ”ם ג”כ התכוון רק לאיסור דרבנן.

[40] הרבה פוסקים סוברים שלדעתו [של הרמב”ם] גזל עכו”ם אסור מן התורה, אבל לעומתם יש חבל אחרונים הסוברים שדעתו כרש”י שגזל עכו”ם אינו אסור אלא מדרבנן.

[41] י בסנהדרין דף נ”ז ע”א, ד”ה ישראל בכותי.

[42]  חידושי הר”ן, סנהדרין דף נז עמ’ א. ד”ה כותי בכותי. הא אתיא אליא דמ”ד דגזל כותי מותר מ התורה … ומיהו מדרבנן אסור מפני חילול השם וכדאיתא התם ומשמע לי מסתמא דהכי הלכה.

ויש אומרים שגם התוס’  (ב”ק דף קי”ג) אבל אין זה מוסכם בין המפרשים , ואכמ”ל.

[43]  הגהות הגר”א, בסנהדרין שם, ועיין דברין ג”ב בחו”מ שמח ח, ו  ובאבה”ע סי’ כ”ח סק”ה

[44]  שו”ת חוט המשולש ס’ יד בקטע הראשון ובאורך שם

[45]  ש”ך, חו”ם, ס’ שנח ס”ק ב בשם המהרש”ל

[46]  היינו דכוונתו דאפילו למ”ד גזל כותי אנס היה מותר, נמי אסור מדרבנן. וכתב  שכן שיטת הר”ן בסנהדרין שם.

ומשמע מהרשב”א שו”ת סי’ תתצ”ב שג”כ אוחז שרש”י סבירא ליה דגזל עכו”ם הוי ענין דאורייתא.

[47]  דף קיג

[48]  מהרש”ל,  ב”ק פרק י’ סי’ כ’ , עיין בהש”ך ס’ שנט ב והבאר היטב שם ס”ק א

[49]  שו”ת חכם צבי, ס’ כו

[50]  שלפי המהרש”ל “כי התורה בכללה ובפרטה לשיראל ניתנה” והקשה על זה ההר צבי “ומה ענין” זה לחיובים של ישראל “אטו משום לתא דידיה הוא” וגו’.

[51]  Rabbi Katz quotes the Minchas Chinuch (מצוה רכה, ד”ה או גונב ממון) as if it supports his position. In fact, all the Minchas Chinuch is trying to show is that even those opinions that maintain  גזל עכו”ם is only מדרבנן would agree that גניבת עכו”ם is דאורייתא. Presumably, R. Katz, לשיטתו, would consider the Lakewooders as engaging in גניבה and not גזילה.  Rabbi Katz’s philosophizing leads him to feel that the Minchas Chinuch’s reasoning for this, i.e. that Hakadosh Boroch Hu didn’t want to destroy our midos, puts this – an איסור דאורייתא –in the category of “technically” not גזילה/גניבה.  In any case the Minchas Chinuch never suggests that this is the halacha.

[52]  המאירי, בבא קמא דף קיג  ד”ה נמצא

[53]  וכתב עוד שם (ד”ה היה המוכס): באותם הגדורים בדרכי הדתות … אם באו לפנינו לדין אין מעבירין להם את הדרך כמלא מחט אלא יקוב הדין את ההר אם לו אם לשכנגדו

[54] (שו”ת נחלת שבעה (סימן פג

[55] שו”ע (או”ח סימן שו סעיף טו), שו”ת שבות יעקב (ח”א סימן טז)  

הג”ה (או”ח שכח, י):



  1. What makes Mr. Katz even more dangerous, is that he is a shona upirush. We have to look at OTD’s in a different light. Yes, we have to care for them but we can’t publicize or be machshiv what they say. They have thrown HKB”H under the bus and therefore should be shunned.

  2. Yes, Katz is telling the goyim bad on the Yidden and that’s inexcusable. But we have created the monster of him and the like. ,ווייל צוווישען אונז ברודער איז ליידער נישט דא צו ווועמען צו רעדען, ממילא דער וואס וויל עפעס זאגען האט נישט קיין אנדערע וועג צו ווערען געהערט נאר צו גיין דורך די גאס.

  3. In Mes.Sanehedrin Daf 38A it states that you can have an argument/discussion with an Aku”m heretic, but NOT with a Yehudi heretic. This being (difficult to classify him a Rabbi) Katz, who at one time was a respected and well known Daf Yomi magid shiur, has sunk so low, that according to the RAMBA’M ‘s 13 Ikrim, can not be counted to a minyan! How could such a lowlife have such a grand stage as Matzav and other Charedi forums? No one should give him any exposure.

  4. I’m sorry, but I find one major mistake throughout – you keep calling him “Rabbi”.
    My Rebbe, who is an RCA rabbi, doesn’t recognize their Semicha, just like the RCA doesn’t. In fact, once when speaking about his relative who was visitng, he kept using the first name.

  5. What is the difference between Open Orthodoxy? Conservative? Can’t compare it with Reform because they’re not necessarily Jews since of most them intermarried and whoever has a real Jewish mother has most likely nothing to do with our heritage.

  6. Why do you call him “rabbi?!”

    Rabbi David Hollander z”l made it a point NEVER to address the Conservative or Reform clergy with the “rabbi” title.

    We should all do the same.

  7. I have begun having in mind during davening every day that the Open, “Orthodox,” and Reform/Conservative/Women of Wall should all do tshuva and NOT influence otherwise uneducated and unsophisticated Jews with their dangerous silliness.

  8. Reform is not Judaism.
    Conservative is a “wannabe-Jewish-but-don’t-know-how” version.
    Modern Orthodox is a “Know-how-but-let’s-rebel” version.

  9. Rot new. The open orthodoxy is fish city. Christian influences and hands of the mirror of methodist faced thought.

    The gospel is in their cradle.


  10. It’s so sad.
    I remember yisocher katz when he would give a nightly Daf Yomi Shiuer in boro park at the starfishe shul. Something happened in his life that must of possessed him to flip out. It’s sad when someone who learnt so much and fell off the cliff. Joining the fake open orthodox heretics is a future to gehinom. They give out certificates to stores that treat their workers right with top pay but yet when they hired non union workers to enlarge their riverdale Hebrew joint they are ok. In fact union workers picketed them. For every mom and pop little store must pay top salaries but their million dollar construction is permitted to use illegal aliens. They spearheaded the campaign to put Rubashkin in jail. Their big issue now is accepting Toeiva members. This is a anti Torah dangerous movement.

  11. next weeks article should scrutinize alle deh chassidishe mishagasin with the very same rigorous process? or they get a free pass because there mishagas seems familiar already?

      • In general lets forget about the chassidic comment for a second and instead focus on why ideas with no consensus of authenticity can be so widespread in the Jewish community and spreading by the minute.
        tell me does schlissal challah seem like a jewish custom? does upsherin? does tying a red bendel seem jewish? seems the gemarah mentions of a similar practice but not of jewish origin! what about lead pouring?

        i am not necessarily taking open orthodoxys side. but if you you are gonna put so much effort in to going after open orthodoxy why ignore whats sitting by the front door. and it happens to be chassidus gets a free pass.

        • Those practices, whatever their origin, in the final analysis, are not assur. If someone has a custom to eat Viener-schnitzel every Erev Rosh Chodesh, it maybe silly but it’s basically harmless. There is no reason to ‘go after’ these things even if they’re easy game, at our front door. They can just as well be left as they are and no harm is done. Whereas Open-Orthodoxy directly opposes and violates the most fundamental Torah laws and values. Get the difference?

          • That ‘looked’ Pagan?? Is it Assur or Muttar? That’s all the difference! Maybe to Open Orthodox people, things are judged by ‘feelings’ or appearances or whims or biases, which are based on nothing real, except maybe by whether or not they have heartburn from the Viener-schnitzel they had on Erev Rosh Chodesh. But to shomerei Torah umitzvos, things are based upon what The Torah says is ok or not ok. The Torah, allows shlissel challah and all the rest of the things you nit-pick about. These are non-issues. They should not be compared or presented in the same breath, next to things which are MAJOR MAJOR issues. The positions held by Open Orthodoxy violate The Torah in real and serious ways. The thing that matters is The Torah. And that’s the only thing that matters. The fact that you compare the ills of Open Orthodoxy with schlissel challah, indicates that your guide of right and wrong is not The Torah. Make no mistake about it. Open Orthodoxy is a movement which has no respect for the laws of The Torah.

        • to anonymous 2:33 am

          evry custom ehrlicher yidden have ,shlisel challeh , upsherin etc have a mekor kadosh. your just ignorant. each chassidus have a mekor kudosh going back generations started by the holy tzadikim…i suggest buy the ‘sefar tammy haminhagim’and others like ‘minhag yisroel torah’.do not mock minhag yiroel…upsheren see ohr chaim hakodesh p kedoshim, shavet mussar.. shlisell..see tamay haminhugim. in any case all these holy minhagim were institued by HOLY tzadikum manhigay hador not by some tom dick and harry

    • It seemed you are obsessed with hatred towards Chassidim, This is your second post here with the same tired message, Have you checked your OCD level lately?

      • why is saying to analyze “customs” that were only introduced to Ashkenazim in the last 300 years automatically cause such a visceral reaction from you? can nobody question the infusion especially in the last few years of foreign ideas into the misnagadishe world? why does it bother you? tell me when you cook food do you mix two main dishes in to one? or do you serve them on separate plates? people nowadays picking and choosing different customs and philosophies from all different menus. one from the chassidish one from the sefardish one from the misnagdish? all it does is lead to a mass confusion! and competing and incompatible ideas resting side by side. how does that sound healthy?

        • whhat mass confusion is there if ashkenaizim, sfardim, chassidim adopt each other s custom?

          there are numerous case eg: aashkenaz marries different and the spouse lets gebrogt to make his wife happy (of course after asking his hlachic guide) . So what confusin

          • ideas conflicting with one another. what else could be meant? not every idea in the Jewish community harmoniously fits with eachother. certain ideas are incompatible no matter how much you squeeze them to fit. forget minhaggim talk about philosophically for a second. chassidic and litvish ( i mean actually litvish meaning of origin from lita not yeshivish) are philosophically fields apart.

  12. It seems Weis is shprt on ta;ent in his own community and he has to take “our” leftovers… This reminds me of the Gemara in Bava Basra where the Komer was happy that he had a Levite to run his scam operation.

  13. “That ‘looked’ Pagan?? Is it Assur or Muttar? That’s all the difference! Maybe to Open Orthodox people, things are judged by ‘feelings’ or appearances or whims or biases, which are based on nothing real, except maybe by whether or not they have heartburn from the Viener-schnitzel they had on Erev Rosh Chodesh. But to shomerei Torah umitzvos, things are based upon what The Torah says is ok or not ok. The Torah, allows shlissel challah and all the rest of the things you nit-pick about. These are non-issues. They should not be compared or presented in the same breath, next to things which are MAJOR MAJOR issues. The positions held by Open Orthodoxy violate The Torah in real and serious ways. The thing that matters is The Torah. And that’s the only thing that matters. The fact that you compare the ills of Open Orthodoxy with schlissel challah, indicates that your guide of right and wrong is not The Torah. Make no mistake about it. Open Orthodoxy is a movement which has no respect for the laws of The Torah.”
    Sure ignore jewish history just pretend the status quo has always been the status quo. Ignore that the lines in the jewish community are being blurred between diametrically opposed ideas . And it’s leading to incompatible ideas sitting in the same seat. While people take for granted that certain ideas were foreign just a few years prior!

    • If you are trying to make a point, please specify. So far, You specified about schlissel challah, an argument, the point of which, was completed disputed and demolished here. So what other examples would you like to give to compare to Open Orthodoxy. Let’s see how you try to justify speaking out directly against The Torah R’L. What precedent is there in our history? Go ahead, explain yourself.

      • “Let’s see how you try to justify speaking out directly against The Torah R’L.”
        so you are the direct interpreter of the torah?
        nuu… you have a higher madrega than moshe rabbeinu? nevuah has returned?
        do you also want to justify the practice of “bat/s mitzvas” gaining acceptance in the regular orthodox communities?
        the issue lies when people make up minhaggim from thin air. think of it like this what one person does today now his children/grandchildren etc are obligated in as minhag when born. now should a litvak adopt a custom that some chassid started 200 years ago? or what some reformnik started 100-50 years ago? if people just adopt what looks nice and is hip and doesnt give a second thought to if it conflicts with other ideas that their family or they personaly hold. how could that not lead to confusion

        • [“reformnik”
          Relooked at my comment not sure if reformnik. Is the right word unless it’s used in its literal as a reformer
          If you look at the origins on bat mitzvah it’s hard to pin it to a movement it would be better pinned to conservative. But the part that branched out to reconstructionist.
          Conservative Judaism in the 1920s wasn’t cut off from orthodoxy yet so make of that what you will. ]

          • to anon 7/26 8:51 am reform, reconstruction, conserv Were cout out of klall yisreoel by the TEILUNG by the greatest tzadddikum and geonim of that generation. . ksav sofer, belz tzaddikum, marum ash etc etc.OOwas cut out2 years ago

  14. Interpreter of The Torah? I am not talking about anything that needs interpretation, only about things that are certainly in clear violation of The Torah R’L.
    So the rest of what you said in e very interesting discussion, maybe, bad is irrelevant to this conversation. How dare you you use that as a diversion to thereby excuse the worst of the worst.

    • The issue is let modern orthodox handle this. How many people from “regular” to chareidim are gonna cross paths with yct’niks. Every second has to spent on focusing on articles about this? Did “regular” orthodoxy give birth to this movement? Would yctniks even care what regular orthodoxy does in opposition to them??

  15. Oh, so now we’re being censored and told what we may and may not be up in arms about. By no means! When someone speaks out divray kefira and apikorsus, it is appropriate and mandatory for every Yiray shomayim Jew to be up in arms. Whether Katz cares or not, how can we remain silent when our holy Torah is being desecrated R’L.

    In light of your more recent comments, in which it seems that you agree with me about Open Orthodoxy, I would like you to say openly that you denounce Katz and all that he stands for. Once you have done that, you can go on discussing your other subjects.

    • Tell me can orthodoxy survive without making a boogeyman? How many yctniks are their anyways? Any concrete numbers? How many suicides In the jewish community? How many otd people? How many people unmarried? How many children brought up living with a border income. not growing to a fuller potential for lack of funds? Etc. Etc.
      The question begins what comes first!?

      • So you’re not going to be modeh al ha’emess? We can discuss anything, but first restore respect to The Torah after what you insinuated that Open Orthodoxy isn’t so bad, which is a desecration of The Torah R’L. Denounce it, because you have to undo your position which seemed to give it your support or at least your ‘it’s not so bad’. Denounce it, as teshuva, before you change the subject.


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