Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Pressuring posekim

Gil from Hirhurim relays an e-mail from a friend containing the following exceprts:

The recent ban on Rabbi Slifkin's books has far-reaching repercussions that need to be expressed. When a matter of this nature is brought to the attention of a rosh yeshiva, the voices he hears most loudly and frequently are those of the people who have the time and desire (and sometimes chutzpah) to place themselves directly in his path. They call him at all hours and show up at his yeshiva and other functions he attends, all to press the issue and the viewpoint that they advocate.

The antagonists of Rabbi Slifkin have the time, ability and chutzpah to make their voices heard. All of the others who are affected by this ban must now make their voices heard.


It is likely that the roshei yeshiva have not yet heard from people who have been hurt by the ban. Shouldn't they hear from us how much pain and confusion people are suffering? If we want to balance out the personal influence that those with louder voices have on the roshei yeshiva, we need to voice our pain. Let the roshei yeshiva know that we have been hurt.

Is this really how haredi halachic authorities decide where they stand? By the frequency with which they are harassed by their followers?

I have no illusions that rabbinic leaders are utterly free of political influences, or that Torah exists in a social vacuum. But this is just sad. As Moses warned the judges of Israel:

Do not respect persons in judgment; hear the small and the great alike; do not be afraid of the face of any man; for judgment is God's (Devarim 1:17).

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