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Jan 27, 2009

A new reason why Rachel Imeinu could not have come

If you have not yet had enough of the Rachel Imeinu story, this post is for you. If you have had enough of it, this post is still for you. I really was not going to write about it anymore, after my last post on the subject. I just could not help it when I saw this.

Rav Elya Weintraub, a baal mussar and mekubal in Yerushalayim, gave a sicha on how the yeshiva bachurim should be looking at the recent events.

He spoke about a number of things, but concentrated mostly on two aspects - The "Adopt a Soldier" program, in which people in the haredi community would get the name of a soldier and daven and do mitzvos specifically for his merit, and the Rachel Imeinu story.

(obviously I am only going to be quoting the parts that I found exceptional and/or upsetting - the whole sicha is 8 pages long)

I am going to begin with the Adopt a Soldier issue.

Rav Weintraub said "we have never seen anything like this before, in any of the previous wars, by our rabbonim. This is treif! .... Somebody who is tamim (simple? naive? innocent?) will respond saying what is wrong with it? They are giving up their lives for us, so why not? what is wrong with this?... The fact that every Monday and Thursday people can sell things to the public, things that our anscestors never did, and it can become so easily accepted so quickly indicates a lack of stability and a damaged haskafa. only somebody who is not settled in his hashkafa will can you put into his head whatever you want.
But what is wrong with it? .... Davening for a salvation is what we need to do... The problem is with the approach - that the yeshiva bochurim say "they are moser nefesh for us, so this is what we do for them" To make a partnership? To act as if there is a connection between our camp and the hiloni camp? That is treif! This type of a partnership means the haredi looks as if what he is doing is worth less than what the hiloni soldier is doing. And this denegrates the Torah.
You can daven for their salvation - they are tinok she'nishba and not evil, but to make a partnership? This is what is treif about Adopt a Soldier.

Another problem with Adopt a Soldier is that they say "they are being moser nefesh for us." That is not true! If you would go to the soldiers, not during war, and ask for 20 shekels for the yeshiva and for those learning torah in poverty, would they run to give it to you like they are running to fight in Gaza? For sure not! So 20 shekels they won't give you, but their lives they will!!?? Of course they are giving themselves up and being moser nefesh, but it is not for us! ....

And now for the part on Rachel Imeinu....

"There are rumors spreading about a story in which the soldiers were going into a house... If we have gotten to the point that we believe these types of stories, where is our stability in hashkafa? ... If they would tell us that Rachel Imeinu appeared to the Rambam or the Ramban, we could definitely accept that. Their whole lives were for increasing the glory of Hashem, and nothing else. They were worthy for such divine inspiration and could have seen Rachel imeinu appear before them. But that she never appeared to them (as we don't have any such stories recounted) , but to the officer with all his sins and his secular life, to him she does appear??!! Whoever believes this, is either an idiot or completely messed up!

But they were saved, so why not believe there was a hashgacha pratis to save them? The answer is that is there no other way for Hashem to save them other than to send Rachel Imeinu? ... It could be there was a salvation, but it was definitely not Rachel Imeinu appearing to a secular officer with all his sins. At best it would have been a demon (a shaid in disguise). We are not saying it happened or did not happened. We are coming to say that Rachel Imeinu would never appear like that to a sinning secular officer...."

There is more, a lot more, but these excerpts are the most exciting parts of it...


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

  2. not surprising and philosophically consistent - there could be other reasons for the partnership drive but I am not the one to analyze (only hkb"h knows our motives- even for our own actions)
    Joel Rich

  3. His assertion regarding the "adopt a soldier" program that "they are not fighting for us" and therefore we will not daven for them is beyond words. If it were not for the shaygetz soldiers in Tzahal, all his yeshiva learning Torah in poverty would be slaughtered by Arab mujahadin.

  4. Rafi - it is upsetting, but I feel like I have to correct you. He differentiates between davening for them and making a partnership like Adopt a Soldier. Davening for them is fine. The partnership type program is the problem.

  5. How disgusting!

    Although, I agree about the point about instable hashkafa.

    Regarding, the idiotic point about them not being moser nefesh for charedim, I have no doubt that they would be moser nefesh to save their lives (life being a value they appreciate), but to give them 20 shekels for full time learning when they themselves may not hold it as a value they would not do. So they would be moser nefesh for the person just not for an ideal they don't agree with.
    Let's illustrate this, by looking at the opposite. A charedi ambulance driver would be moser nefesh to save the life of a chiloni, but wouldn't give him 20 shekels to put him through university.

    I also don't see why you can't pray for someone's life to be saved or for him to succeed in something positive just because you disagree with other things he does. If he doesn't agree with the war, so let them pray only that their lives be saved.

    Let the stupid rabbis destroy better achdus than we've had in years, because of some idiotic idea.

  6. Unfortunate that people/rabbis say this type of thing.
    Despite his (great?) Torah knowledge don't see how one could rely on him for any type of advice.
    Might need to go back into the cave.
    In short, rubbish.

  7. actually, i hear what he is saying. He doesnt like the idea of creating a partnership with people who could care less.
    Everyday Kollel people wake up and go to learn, and often they realize (usually when they get a letter from lishkat hagiyus) that they are learning so they don't have to go fight. That's where the adopt a soldier program comes in. Nice idea right? Maybe, except for the fact that im sure many of the soldiers could care less. I hear what he is saying. And the ridiculous analogy made by anonymous about university is ridiculous. I work with many chilonim, and (unlike secular Americans) they see a value to learning Torah and doing mitzvot. They understand there is a distinct difference between yeshiva and university. They just don't think it should absolve them from army duty.

    I hear what he is saying.

  8. whats - I hear, but the Adopt a Soldier program was only for those who signed up for it. Anybody who did, obviously is someone who cares and wanted those merits. I am sure there are plenty of soldiers who did not sign up. Maybe they did not care, maybe they just did not know about it.
    But saying those who did sign up for it are people who "could care less" seems incorrect.

  9. He already is in a partnership with them whether he likes it or not - kol yisrael areivim zeh lazeh.

    Rather than thanking the hiloni soldiers for protecting him and allowing and financing his lifestyle, he chooses to attack them. Doesn't he understand that he and the bochurim he is worrying about owe a personal debt to each and every soldier for their mesirut nefesh on his behalf, despite them rejecting his way of life?

    By not passing this message on to his bochurim, he is causing an amazing kefiut todah on the part of the haredi population, and deepening the rift in the Jewish nation.

  10. whats- you missed the point of hte university analogy.
    The Rabbi made a point about chilonim who wouldn't give 20 shekels for learning (and perhaps don't even care about it), so I made an analogy to Kollel students who don't care about university studies.
    I never meant to imply that there are no chilonim who care about tora and mitzvos. However, just because someone doesn't want to give 20 nis for someone who learns full time, doesn't mean that they don't care. They could say that there are already enough people learning full time and some of them should get a job instead of relying on charity. That doesn't translate into not caring about torah and mitzvos. It isn't all or nothing. There are plenty of people in between. The fact that a person is chiloni however does indicate that he doesn't care enough about it, to carefully follow all of the mitzvot. Otherwise, he wouldn't be classified as hiloni.

  11. As for the Rahel Imeinu stuff, this has already been said by myself and other commenters. It is possible that the mysterious lady in black was one of the (good or self-interested) palestinians who helped our troops to discover booby traps. This, either to save the lives of our soldiers or their own and their homes from being blown to smithereens.

    As said in my comment in your last post we should be publicly thanking these good people and exploiting the political capital in this, rather than spinning supernatural explanations.

    What is worse is when these supernatural explanations are then turned around as weapons against our own people.

  12. this is why moshiach is not here

    it really hurts because we send our sons out there in the battlefield/yeshiva.

    and this is what is said about us....

  13. It should also be noted that not all the soldiers by a long shot are hiloni. An enormous number of the soldiers and particularly those who are kravi are shomer Torah uMitzvot, and an equally large number are masorati. It is a manipulation to say that all soldiers are hilonim full of aveirot. I can imagine why the Rav in question would want to make it out so.

  14. this is beyond words. I am in total shock. And we wonder why the 'normal' world at large looks at us the way they do.

    Is he publicly critizing Rabbi Simcha Hacohen Kook, Chief Rabbi of Rechovot and the Bostoner Rebbe of Har Nof, Jerusalem over this issue?

  15. There is an old saying (source anyone?)
    "vi iz toira iz chochma"
    "Where there is Torah there is wisdom"

    In this case there is lack of wisdom, which is a pretty good indication that there also isn't much Torah (proper understanding of it, that is). If this is how this Rabbi utilizes logic, imagine how he could twist a sugya in shas!

    People,choose your leaders carefully!

  16. also, to add on to my previous post.

    Last shabbos, my friend was visiting in the hospital, right near a soldier who was critically injured. He will probably never wake up as he was injured in the brain stem.

    Anyhow, he is completey chiloni and so are all his friends who were surrounding him and crying their hearts out.

    Here is what my friend overheard the totally chiloni chayalim saying to each other:

    "you know today is shabbat. The Rabbis told us that today Shaarei Shamayim are more open to our tefilot than during the week"

  17. Bimhila to R' Weintraub, but I think it not only doesn't denigrate the Torah - it shows the Hilonim that Torah learning has practical implications - which I believe is Mechabeid the Torah.

    Re: Rahel Imeinu, I guess I'm either an idiot or completely messed up!

  18. Yet another "gadol" throws himself on the trash heap of history. I now have nothing but disdain for this man. He is now no better than the Kanoyim who beat up girls in Beit Shemesh.

    How sad for Torah, for Jews, for the world.

  19. "We are coming to say that Rachel Imeinu would never appear like that to a sinning secular officer"

    Consider the pasuk "Rachel mevakah al baneha".

    (Let's put aside the issue that a great number of soldiers were in fact religious.)

    Firstly, we must remember that besides being a tzadeiket, Rachel Imenu is "Imenu", our mother. She is just as much the mother of a hareidi as of a hiloni. What mother wouldn't help her sons?

    Secondly, the above pasuk is usually understood as Rachel beseeching Hashem over disasters associated with the churban. The churban would not have happened if the people were not involved with "the big three" aveirot, which pretty much puts them, at best, in today's hiloni camp. Why it's acceptable that she would intercede on their behalf but not on behalf of today's hilonim is beyond me.

  20. Can you give us more of a bio on R. Weintraub or a link?
    I couldn't find out very much about him, other than that he is a member of kollel chazon ish, that he was involved in the Slifkin ban, and according to a Hebrew ynet article he is considered to be a kabbalist.

  21. This is incredibly unimpressive - the religious/secular divide seems to have been minimized greatly over the last few weeks. The stories that have come out about soldiers asking for brachos, tzistzis etc are very inspiring and the chareidi camp really seems to have been behind the IDF on this occasion. My daughter's high school, which is moderate chareidi in the UK, but probably not considered chareidi at all in Israel, wrote letters to the soldiers to encourage them and my daughter was very pleased when the officer wrote back. unfortunately there are always people like this rabbi who say stupid things and even more unfortunately there will always be secular newspapers that will publicise them. Re Rachel Imeinu - exactly as Yoni R said "imeinu" not em shel hachareidim. even if it was a "real" person and not R I, she was still a shaliach of HKBH if she saved the lives of the soldiers

  22. I found some biographical information on R. Weintraub.


  23. I have a better reason why she could not have been there: She was with me at the time (helping me choose new curtains).

    Yossi Ginzberg

  24. Talk about damaged hashkafot...

  25. Where do you find these guys.

    I have never heard of Rav Elya Weintraub before, and if the quotes that you posted are reflective of his attitude, I'm very glad that I haven't heard of him and I hope that he crawls back under whatever rock he's been living under.

    I hope and pray that people in the mainstream Charedi world (like those who signed up for the "Adopt a Soldier program) reject this guy and don't let his Sina effect their love for Klal Yisrael.

    Anyone want to lend their Hat to Moshiach?

  26. Whenever we get close, the Yetzer Hara has to bring out a bigger attack to push it away.

    The Yetzer does not come to the talmid chacham and say eat treif. Ah, protect the kavod of the Torah (or hashkafa, or yeshiva students, or whatever he's trying to protect here), a wily fox is the yetzer hara.

  27. "Re Rachel Imeinu - exactly as Yoni R said "imeinu" not em shel hachareidim. even if it was a "real" person and not R I, she was still a shaliach of HKBH if she saved the lives of the soldiers"

    And the murderous terrorists? Are they also not doing the will of HKBH?

  28. Could you tell us the general ideas of the Sicha? Are you just pulling these 2 paragraphs out of context?

  29. Can you PLEASE post the sicha or provide a link.YOu are teasing us!!

  30. Painful to read.

    Derech agav, how can a Jew be referred to as "chiloni"? Every Jew possesses a soul which is a literal piece of G-d; thus, he cannot be termed secular and unholy.

  31. Rafi,
    Do we really gain by your posting this kind of story? If you had not posted it then it would have just remained a krum schmooz that some mashgiach gave to his bochrim. Instead, it just drudges up alot of negativity.
    If his views were mainstream charedi (which I don't believe they are) then I could see posting it so people know what the deal is. But just because a rabbi says it does not mean it's important.
    Otherwise, keep on blogging.

  32. As a chiloni I believe that this rabbi does represent the mainstream ideology of the haredi.

  33. the truth is I posted it out of revulsion, but also because I know him a little. Not really, but sort of. When I was in yeshiva, many years ago, he was becoming a hot item. he was an ashkenazi, litvishge type mekubal, whatever that means. Guys used to run to his sichos. I went a couple of times and never knew what he was talking about, but I also had a rebbe at the time who was very close with him (probably still is) and used to quote him all the time.

    Since then I heard he has become a big "k'nocker" in that tight circle of a world, though his name does not get beyond it much. He is well known in the "ultra-greasy" litvishe yeshiva world.

  34. and I can post the 8 jpgs of the sicha tomorrow. I do not have access to them right now.

  35. shalom ,
    sorry, my english may be not very correct (i am from france)
    it is a real shame to read this.
    it is pure sinat h'inam, and this is because of this kind of rabbis, that the bet hamikdash is not yet rebuilt.
    i have not always been h'aredi: if I ever heard this rabbi speak before, i never would have made teshouva, and worse, i would have become anti-religious.
    what a stupid hashkafa, what a hate for his fellow jew, i am choked, i feel nausea.
    to demonstrate love for non religious people, and support them, encourage them, specially when they are in danger,is a great kidush Hashem. that's the purpose of our whole life.
    thi rabbi is himself a h'illoul Hashem.

  36. I'm sorry, but I find the excerpts simply reprehensible. I find it hard to imagine we're even learning the same Torah. I've never heard anything quite like this, and I fervently pray to the Ribono Shel Olam that I never do!

  37. Were it to somehow be established that Rachel Imeinu did come, would Rabbi Weintraub then ban her?

  38. "Were it to somehow be established that Rachel Imeinu did come, would Rabbi Weintraub then ban her?"

    You heard what the man said- anyone who does anything for chilonim is not protecting the Torah- Rachel Imenu included!

  39. To "The Way"-

    I'm sure that as a self-described chiloni, your posses a great deal ok knowledge concerning all things chareidi, and thus your assessment is unimpeachable.

    Maybe an English professor wants to chime in with his opinion on the latest advances in advanced physics.

  40. Yoni - isn't that what blogs are all about? us chiming in on things we have no expertise on? that's what makes this so great! It gives us a voice that we would not have anywhere else!

    The truth is The Way was religious and went to yeshiva and is now not. He also has plenty of relatives at all the various levels of religion, and lives in a dominantly semi-ultra-orthdox neighborhood... so he knows what he is talking about, at least as much as anybody else.

  41. I agree with anonymous of January 27, 2009 11:02 PM. This particular blog brings very little 'to'eles' to Klal Yisrael and just causes more sinas chinam of the chareidim. Especially in this forum the responses can be basically predicted in advance and doesn't increase ahavas Yisrael.

    Otherwise, Rafi keep up the blogging.

  42. "This particular blog brings very little 'to'eles' to Klal Yisrael and just causes more sinas chinam of the chareidim."

    I believe that there is a to'eles. Very often a Rav is revered because of his accomplishments in learning. The reverence then becomes close to worship and we might begin to listen to everything he says just because of who he is.

    Even the greatest Rebbe of Klal Yisroel, Moshe Rabbeinu, was a human and could make mistakes. This was the only navi to talk to HaShem "panim el panim".

    One reason that we are not told of Moshe's exact burial place was to keep it frombecoming a shrine. HKBH knows our disposition to idol worship and therefore the Torah makes many boundaries to keep us from slipping.

    We can respect a talmid chochum for his learning. We don't have to worship him and hang on his every word.

  43. anon 10 48 I don't understand. Isn't the label of 'talmid chacham' by definition - someone whose every word we hang on to? If someone steeped in torah comes up with this destructive nonsense, then what should the average joe take from this?

  44. Anon of 10:48 wrote:
    "I believe that there is a to'eles. Very often a Rav is revered because of his accomplishments in learning. The reverence then becomes close to worship and we might begin to listen to everything he says just because of who he is."

    The problem is that I would assume that the people who read this blog don't revere or worship this Rav at all (most of the people here probably never heard of him). Instead it just increased the sinas chinam that some of the readers of this blog have to chareidim.

  45. "Isn't the label of 'talmid chacham' by definition - someone whose every word we hang on to? "

    No. Rav Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld (who would be classified Charedi even today) spoke often and strongly of the 5th Shulchan Aruch
    called "Common Sense".

    A talmid chochum can have years of learning of shas and poskim but without the "5th shulchan aruch" he should not be relied upon for matters outside the daf gemara (and yes sometimes there are matters which require common sense).

  46. wow, I seriously did not know that. that puts things in a much better perspective for me.


  47. Rafi G,

    Fine, but he was touting his association with the chiloni world as qualifying him to render an informed decision on the chareidi world.

  48. Here's (one) reason why it's relevant. Rav Elya Weintraub happened to be one of the major forces behind the ban on Rabbi Slifkin's books. The main letter of the ban, which everyone signed, was written by Rav Michel Lefkowitz, who wrote that he was acting based on Weintraub's testimony. So Weintraub is someone that many other "Gedolim" rely on and respect. Finding out more about Rav Weintraub is therefore revealing about the entire body of Charedi Gedolim. Since there are many readers of this blog who are in the charedi world, but who don't know much about the gedolim they revere, this kind of post is important in making them realize what kind of society they are in.

  49. Yoni,

    I wasn't "touting" anything. I didn't know that you have to be charedi to understand how charedi people treat you. Do you need to be a physicist to understand that the sun makes you feel warm?

    Yoni, your dismissive attitude matches well with the posting on the blog. You dismiss my assessment because I am chiloni. I guess thats sort of like the charedi riots when the police arressted that charedi baby murderer. The charedi protested that the secular laws have no shaychas to them. So too, you dismiss me because I am chiloni never once responding to the issue.

    Or should only charedi people comment on the way charedi community treats the chiloni?

  50. Further more Yoni,

    By your logic you should not pay attention to what rabbis say about anything non-orthodox. After all, if they are orthodox what could they know or understand about the non-orthodox? And yet I am willing to bet that never once did you stand up in a shiur and blast a rabbi for not understanding the subject matter. Or do charedi rabbis not get pinched on the lip at birth? Do they keep all their knowledge?

  51. Rav Elya Weintraub is not from Yerushalayim. He lives in Bnei Brak.

  52. There is no doubt in my mind that the Brisker Rov zt"l would have had precisely the same approach as R' Elya Weintraub, and that had blogs been around then there would have been equal or more denigration of him, claims of the Brisker Rov tossing himself on the trashbin of history, and the like.

  53. binyomin,

    so let me see if I understand,

    the problem isn't with the ideology, the problem is publicizing the ideology?

    I guess its like they say, if everyone claims to be speaking the truth than most of them have to be lying.

    I think if an ideology is so wonderful and if the rewards are so great one would imagine that the people who believe that ideology could handle it being held up to the light of day. How true and wonderful could it be if it can only be kept in secret, hidden away from any outside influence.

    I believe that 1+1 = 2 no matter what someone else thinks or believes. Apparently religous jews don't even have the faith in their religion that they have for basic math.

  54. I don't understand why he thinks the soldiers folks are davening for are chiloni. The way it was described, soldiers had to offer their names so that others could partner with them. Are soldiers who want people to daven for them really hiloni? (If they are, surely one should daven for them because how can one turn down someone who considers himself hiloni and asks for prayers?)
    But I really don't get why the soldiers who ostensibly saw rachel imeinu are supposedly hiloni. Do hilonim typically think up meetings with rachel imeinu? I thought some of them have no jewish education etc etc etc (I wonder if someone can tell me how true that is?)

    He is right about adopting new things, and maybe even unstable hashkafas BUT. Surely this was not done by our ancestors, and possibly even in previous wars just by us and our parents, because it was not as easy to get the names out? That's how I understood it. I got my name thru email

    I'm perplexed by the soldier=hiloni equation.

  55. This rabbi died yesterday. It turns out that he was the "Mr. Hashkafah" of the charedi litvish world, quite a lofty status amongst them. Too bad that his hashkafah was as krum as they go. He was toxic to Judaism and I hope his hashkafah dies with him, but that is probably just wishful thinking.


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