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Jan 15, 2007

And the Slifkin saga continues....



Bet Shemesh is a home to many local rags. Everybody looking to make a buck puts out a weekly advertising magazine. The Haredi community is no different and have their own local rags just like evrybody else. One of those rags is called "Chadash".

"Chadash" is mostly advertising, with some articles and news items affecting the Haredi community of Bet Shemesh. I am told that even a majority of the "articles" are also really paid advertisements by the shul/school/person in the article.

In this past Friday's edition of "Chadash" there was a letter from Rabbi Perlstein printed on the first page, right where it would be most visible. I do not have a copy of the letter to upload and I do not have it in front of me, so I will recap the content of the letter briefly from my memory.

I just found a copy. here it is. Click on it to enlarge...


Translation: Regarding the question about Natan Slifkin, it is definitely prohibited to participate in the lectures of one who castrates the words of Chaza"l. Woe to the ears of one who hears such nothingness, and specifically all the Gedolei Yisroel of both Israel and America have declared that it is rohibited to read his books and to listen to his lectures, and it has already been publicized many times, who would not be careful from keeping his distance from him. When the expert doctors warn someone from eating something specific because of possible danger, who would dare eat it, and this is a "Kal V'chomer" that the gedolei yisroel have said with definity that his writings are prohibited and his words are suspect of containing heresy, who would want to lose his world and destroy his portion and abandon the source of pure spring water [a euphemism for the Torah], at a time when the torch that was given to Moshe and passed through the generations via our sages, etc. therefore I say faithfully, to hear lectures only from those who are confirmed in their Torah and fear of God and the words of chaza"l are embedded in their hearts like nails. , etc.


I have been told by a reliable source that someone contacted the publisher of the rag and asked how he could print such a letter (I am not sure what the basis of the question was, considering the magazine is published by people with similar styles and concerns as the author of the letter) and asked if they endorsed the etter or was it a paid advertisement.

The response of the publisher was that he could not refuse to publish it. Rav Perlstein (or maybe it was one of his goons) called and told him to put it in. He could not refuse considering who Rav Perlstein is. It was not paid for but is also not endorsed (i.e. is not an article printed by) by the editor.

Rav Malinowitz, the Rav of the shul I, and Rav Natan Slifkin, daven in, issued a response to the above letter.

Rav Malinowitz has been a supporter of Slifkins and has been with him through the whole fight. He has not wavered in his support of Slifkin and is aware of every detail of the issue.

I am posting his letter here (converted to jpg, so it loses some quality) and will translate it below:


{It starts with some abbreviations...}
About the question regarding the letter publisheda few days ago in a local RBS publication, as if it had been written by a local Rav ABD (av beis din) against R' Natan Slifkin. It is obvious and clear that the letter is a forgery, as I will show. And it is a shame for the honor of said Rav ABD that has been desecrated by this forgery, as if it emanated from him, that contains within it things that never happened.





  • The letter is forged by its content, as is clear from the wording of the letter that the forger never actually checked the facts of the situation (as will be explained). Even in regards to HKB"H it says in Breishis 11:5 and in Rashi in brieshis 18:21, etc, "And Hashem went down to see... this teaches us that a judge cannot convict until he goes down to see and understand." See Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat 10:1 and 17:5-8


  • The facts are that the Rabbonim Gedolei hador have paskened for those who follow their words that they shall not read the science books of R' Natan Slifkin because those books deal with questions as if there is a contradictions between science and Torah, and R' Slifkin attempts to resolve the questions. Our Rabbis have taught that these books should not be read except by those disturbed by such questions (and some have said nobody should read these books); They have clearly stated (to all those who have asked) that they are not dsqualifying (passuling) chas v'shalom the person [R' Slifkin] himself and not his other books on subjects other than science, only those science books do they instruct not to read. The forger has contradicted the words of our Rabbis that "things that will be revealed to all, a person will not lie about". All this can be clarified to anybody who checks, and it is clear this is a forgery.


  • As well, R' Natan gives lectures (on the topic of the wonders of creation) in the English language, and those who attend the lectures are those who speak and understand English. The letter had been written in Hebrew and was placed in a magazine whose readership is the Hebrew speaking public. Had it been a serious psak, it should have been wirtten in English and publicized in a publication dediated to the English speaking public. This is another proof that the letter was forged and simply for the purpose of causing argument.


  • As well, the letter was written as if R' Slifkin is giving lectures on science topics, and just the opposite, because the Rabbonim have decreed that his words on science should not be read or listened to, R' Slifkin is careful in his lectures (which are for the Haredi public in RBS as well) to only lecture on topics of wonders of creation and thereby increase the glory of Hashem and love and fear of Hashem. The forger of the letter claims otherwise, and that is further proof to the forgery.



There is no need to lengthen the topic, and I write and sign in protest against the great desecration of the honor of the Rav AB"D whose name was forged in the letter.




[signed by] (HaRav) Chaim Zev HaLevi Malinowitz, RBS A







30 comments:

  1. I've emailed you a scan of the original letter.

    It's also available at http://mikeage.net/content/perlstein.pdf

    ReplyDelete
  2. Why is the letter a forgery? Did the supposed author disclaim it? OTOH, if the supposed author is the same "guy" who jumped up on the stage in the video made famous by this blog, why is it too hard to believe that he wrote those terrible and inaccurate things about R. Slifkin? Why not take *him* to Bet Det (a real one) for motzei shem ra.

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  3. thanks Mike.

    anon - I am reading cynicism in the letter.

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  4. Does R' Malinowitz consider R' Perlstein to be, in fact, the mora d'asra and av beis din here in RBS?

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  5. I have spoken with him on the subject and have an answer for you. However, without getting his express permission to publicize it, I do not feel right doing so. R' Malinowitz is someone who is very careful and precise with his words and I would not want what I say to be misunderstood or to get him in trouble in any way shape or form.
    Therefore, i will not directly answer the question.
    But you should be able to figure out from my evasiveness enough to satisfy you...

    ReplyDelete
  6. Persltein is a dog, and Slifkin is the zoo rabbi.. It kinds goes well together. Id like to see Slifkin put Perlstein in a cage and tame him.

    I hope Malinowitz does not endorse Perlstein as the Mora Datra!

    Thankfully, RBS doesnt have a Mora Datra, but I'd vote Goldmeier if he runs...

    ReplyDelete
  7. Please, you do not have to like him, but some basic respect is in order.
    And no, I am not running for mora d'asra.

    And on that note, that reminds me, I know someone who calls the position "Sitra D'Asra".. - (is that you anonymous?

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  8. No, Rafi. I'm a different anonymous.
    I didn't call him a "dog", but I won't call him a "Rabbi" either. Maybe it was a mutual friend. ;-)

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  9. There is no need to call an arrogant bastard like Persltein 'rabbi'.

    I guess Raffi didnt learn today's daf yet...

    -The REAL Anonymous

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  10. R. Malinowitz believes that letter from R. Perlstein was a forgery by his own analysis of the contents. Wouldn't it have been easier to simply contact R. Perlstein and ask him directly? There has to be some ulterior motive why he didn't do so. If it turns out that the letter is proved NOT to be a forgery, what would R. Malinowitz then say about R. Perlstein?

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  11. Duh! Rav Malinowitz knows full well that Rav Perlstein wrote it. He is making his point in an ingenious way.

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  12. I am not Rav Malinowitz's spokesperson, nor Rav Perlsteins. Any questions as to the true intent behind the actions of either of them should really be directed to them. You can look up their phone numbers in the phone bok, call them and ask them what they really meant and why they wrote their respective letters the way they did.

    I can only suppose and assume, based on what I do know.

    I figure Rav M knew, just as does everybody else, that Rav P wrote the letter. However, there are a lot of ramifications to coming out and directly criticizing Rav P. aybe he is not ina position to do that. I do not know why he did not, but he clearly chose not to Rav P is fairly powerful with much influence and it could adversly affect Rav M's interests. Perhaps. Ormaybe not.

    But reading the letter, it implies that if it not a forgery, and it probably is not, than Rav P is really a fool and unworthy of the title of Dayan and/or Av Beis Din for all the reasons laid out in the letter.

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  13. Rafi,Important question Here. Are we going to see you on first base this Spring ?

    ReplyDelete
  14. The form of the reply, which treats the original letter as a forgery, gives the writer of the original letter some room to back out gracefully, should he choose to do so.

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  15. hey catcher - I have spent a lot of time running on the treadmill and I am good to go. I plan to be out there...

    anon is reading it righ..

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  16. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  17. sounds plausible chaim yankel, but you are as guilty as Rav M.. did you call him to clarify whether he wrote the letter or not?

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  18. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  19. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  20. but you are anonymous, so what is the big deal?

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  21. I don't want to have a hand in disparaging Rabbi Malinowitz. Hashem knows who I am. Thank you.

    Chaim Yankel

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  22. Rabbi Malinowitz claims that the gedolim qualified that their psak only applies to those who don't have questions (and, parenthetically, of course, "some" assured those books pertaining to mada completely).

    Where does he get this from. I don't see that from the kol korehs. Given the tongue in cheek nature of his letter, it seems really dinsingenuous. Also, I don't think it appropriate to disparage every Rav you do not agree with. The other Rav wrote what he wrote about the condemnation on Slifkin's works, that is true, but how does that render him a "dog?" Some of the coments here are just not rational. Slifkin put himself into this mess by fighting back and holding on to relative lightweights (I am sorry, but seriously, how does Rav Chaim Malinowitz measure up to Rav Elyashuv in anyone's objective mind) for support. I definitely understand where he is coming from, and I agree with him, but he did not handle this with any political finesse.

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  23. yonah -

    about the guy who called him a dog - I told him it was uncalled for. I will not defend the guy as I do think it was uncalled for (especially because he did it anonymously). However you should realize the guy is not calling him a dog because of this letter. There is a whole history woth that Rav in this neighborhood. He has done a lot of things to upset a lot of people and has been very divisive. The current episode is only the latest. There is a lot of history behind that statement.

    about what the "ban was about, you can get information by reading the variou sletters on the zootorah website, http://www.zootorah.com .

    I just read Rav Sternbuchs letter in English, and after a lengthy discussion arguing how old the world is, he says, Furthermore having scientific writings in your house, that are incompatible with the
    Torah, violates the prohibition (Deuteronomy 4:26): “Do not bring disgusting things in
    your house.” Simple calculations from the Bible concerning the generations from Adam
    lead to the clear conclusion that the world is less than 6,000 years old. Having such
    heretical scientific books in the home causes much troubles to those who possess them
    and it is obligated to get rid of them.
    He then goes on to say the author should retract his views. He never puts the author in cherem.

    the letter from Ravs Kaminetsky and Schechter is very vague and talks mostly about cleaving to the words of the Torah, while saying the books about science and Torah are in opposition to the torah and a seeker of truth should distance himself from them.
    The letter from Rav Ovadiah osef says that he was told what was in the books and they contain heresy, etc. and one should not keep those books in his house.

    the letter from RAv Moshe Shapiro talks about the books being full of heresy and it is assur to hold them in your house, etc and even are muktze on shabbos, etc.. - again, nothing about the author himself being in cherem.

    the original kol korehs signed by Rav Veintraub, Rav Michel Lefkowitz and Rav Sheiner all condemn the book, not the author.

    the second kol koreh which is signed by Rav Elyashiv also says nothing about banning the author, just getting rid of the books..

    this was just a random sampling of letters I clicked on, and they say exactly what Rav Malinowitz stated. I suggest you read the various leters posted on that site that are scans of the originals, and not just read the signs that go up on the walls by Rabbonim who were not involved.

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  24. steg - what part of the whole discourse are you referring to when commenting on the rhetoric?

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  25. The talking past each other can be understood by looking at the communication patterns in the frum world. I attempt to provide an analysis on avakesh.com

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  26. "Slifkin put himself into this mess by fighting back and holding on to relative lightweights (I am sorry, but seriously, how does Rav Chaim Malinowitz measure up to Rav Elyashuv in anyone's objective mind) for support."
    Here are the lightweights Rabbi Slifkin holds on to: Rabbi Samson Rafael Hirsch; Rabbi Dovid Tzvi Hoffman; Rambam; Rabbi Abraham, son of the Rambam; Rabbi Aryeh Carmel; Rabbi Shmuel Kaminetzky; Rabbi Yisroel Belsky; Rabbi Gedalyah Nadel, etc, etc, etc. As far as I'm concerned, all you need are the Rambam and Rabbi Hirsch, who both say Chazal are mistaken at times on scientific matters. But in today's crazy charedi society, where they're in "circle the wagons" mode and who consider science anathema --- though they're the very first to insist on its many benefits, in medicine, dentistry, and other disciplines---don't expect intellectual honesty. When the banning rabbis state that they actually read the whole book, cover to cover, in the original language ---something they didn't do, since it's heresy---then maybe I'll care what they have to say. "Till then, Slifkin is the only one addressing and offering answers to very difficult issues between "real" science and "rabbinic" science.

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