The Matzav Shmoooze: They Answer to No One

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internetDear Editor,

How much more will we take?

How much more can we take?

This past week, we saw how the internet can be used for unmitigated zilzul chachomim.

At this point, it doesn’t matter what “side” you were on or whose derech you followed. Each person should have followed the directives of his rabbi, rov, rebbi or rosh yeshiva. But no one had a right to mock, disparage, belittle, or scorn other Jews – no matter which group they associate with – and especially Torah leaders.

Dare I say that it is those who have no person they will listen to, no moral compass, no accountability, no sense of right or wrong, no rebbi, who betray all of us by employing slander, mockery and downright childishness to promote what they think is right, doing so completely on their own, without any rabbinic support or even simple, sane guidance. They make up their own “hashkafa,” and then mow down everyone who they think feels otherwise.

They do it no different than they would in a camp color war. For them, it is indeed like color war.

They think they are standing up for something. In truth, they stand for nothing.

I once met a rov who had a congregant who had been doing and saying things publicly that were hurting his shul‘s image and doing damage to that specific community. When I respectfully asked the rov about it, he put his hand on his eyes and said, “Believe me, I’ve tried. I’ve tried again and again. I have no control over [that person].”

Unfortunately, those who embarrassed frum Yidden this past week, and maybe even do so on a regular basis, are under the control of no one. They won’t listen to gedolim, rabbonim, roshei yeshiva, or even their family and friends. They won’t listen to sincere Yidden who email and plead with them to be sensitive, to be smart, and to think of the big picture and what Hashem truly wants. In fact, the more people ask them to exert self control, the more emboldened they seem to get and the more outrageous their conduct becomes.

It is up to regular people, erliche Yidden who want the Name of Hashem to be protected and want the dignity of our nation to be maintained, to stand together and say that we will not have this anymore, making our feelings felt to those who patronize or otherwise aid and abet those who work unilaterally, using the internet to do what they want, when they want, and how they want to do it, all in the name of “news,” caring not a bit about the damage they cause to us Yidden individually and as a community.

No internet news website, at this point, is perfect. But before you read a site, conduct the following quick test: Would you be comfortable allowing your child to read the various posts and portions and chat segments, etc. of the site? If you had to think that long to come up with an answer, then I think you already have your answer.

Thank you for reading.

[P.S. I refer not to those who rightly battle individuals or organizations who seek to redefine Orthodoxy, ordain women, inflict damage to yeshivos, or seek to help those who wish to regulate mitzvos such as bris milah. I speak about an entirely different issue, which is likely obvious to the informed reader. I don’t think further elaboration is necessary.]

C.D. Shtern


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  1. I understand your point, but your last paragraph undermines the whole thing. You say that some issues can “rightfully” be battled. Where do you draw the line as to what can “rightfully” be battled? You listed metzitzah as one issue. Yet many people feel just as strongly regarding Israel as others do about metzitzah!

  2. Just like it is assur to go to nivul sites it is ossur to go to those sites i never go there, never went there and dont even know or want to know what words to type to reach there. cant we control ourselves and not go to these sites just like we dont go to prosta sites they are each prust and there is no heter to view them!

  3. Well done!
    There exists a void in the “Vayameenu baShem uvMoshe Avdoi.”
    Truth be told if we are lacking in our Lavod Rabbonim we are lacking in our Kavod Shamayim r”l.
    Thank you Matzav for posting this letter.

  4. the rabbonim of these website owners have said the same thing: they have no power over them. It’s a world gone wild of loose canons doing whatever they want

  5. You fail to ask the obvious question: Why on earth are there right now within the machne people who feel it is permissible to forge letters in the name of gedolei hador, to confuse, obfuscate, mislead, all in the name of their perception of the needs of the tzibur?

    Why are you ignoring this massive chilul hashem?

  6. While this is 100% spot on, I implore the greater olam to not only extend this idea to gedolim, but to Jews of all camps, no matter their hashkafa.

    Will the moderators extend this same ruling to Rabbis associated with the MO community? With even, dare I say it, YCT? We have our differences, sure, and we must stand up for emes in torah. However resulting to name calling and lashon hara will get us nowhere, and in essence puts in the same camp of the people who attempt to belittle our gedolim. The Chazon Ish (YD 2:16) says that our generation is one of fixing, of love, of acceptance. May we not only extend love to the rabbonim/Jews we most associate ourselves with, but with the greater klal as well…

  7. SPot On,

    No! You missed the writers point! YCT deserves to be lambasted! They are trying to destroy Yiddishkeit! YCT and AVi Weiss are no different than Reform leaders. They deserve to be publicly criticized.
    The writer is talking about something else entirely.

  8. @TO spot on.

    I understand, I sense a bit of hypocrisy with that comment though, especially when the author said
    “But no one had a right to mock, disparage, belittle, or scorn other Jews – no matter which group they associate with – and especially Torah leaders.”

    The hate will continue to delay moshiach

  9. To me, the worst bizayon was the placard demeaning Rav Shteinman SHLITA, The person who carried/wrote that poster should have his mouth washed out with soap

  10. Even in the time of Moshe rabbenu when he was the ONLY leader you had a Koarach.Now days we do not have a leader like a MOSHE RAbbenu.Just like in Egept ,we were saved by HASHEM ,NOW only HASHEM can save us

  11. The long and short of it – is have a Rav and belong to a community. We all need caring people who can put us back in line when the confusion and temptations of this world cloud our vision. The fact that these missteps are on the internet and seen by all makes its impact even worse – but the rule is the same. Seek out a Rav – it is easy to get lost in the community these days -but it is OUR responsibility to “Make ourselves a Rav and aqcuire friends”.

  12. If you’re going to write a public letter you should say what you’re talking about. If you think what you’re talking about should not be stated publicly then you shouldn’t write about it at all.

  13. #7 yichusdik- You bring up the more important issue. Instead of worrying about people outside our Machne we should worry about people in it

  14. An informative and accurate posted letter EXCEPT there is no forum for questions, understanding and inquiries about ‘burning issues’.
    This past Motzi Shabbos in 5towns there was a well-done speakers’ forum on Israeli issues, with NO QUESTIONS ALLOWED, wouldn’t you say that its slightly odd? Intelligent, thinking people have questions and would appreciate the respect of an adequate answer. (without zilzul, finger pointing or negation of Torah leadership)

    For instance, last week Matzav posted an article about the silence of Religious Zionist Kehilla as a FACTUAL PIECE. Huh??? Where are the reporters, writers, investigators that should know what is truly occurring? Should we sit back and say, “Oy, vey”…and just accept every post as Truth. That is why Reb Noah ztk”l established ‘Honest Reporting’, cant we do the same?

    Gut Shabbos…

  15. The authos of this piece is 100% correct. Even websites that call themselves frum, have the worst of the worst comments that are full of every sort of issur. Even this website is far from being immune, though it is better than the others.


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