The Rabbi Slifkin Controversy Returns

Rabbi Gil Student has piece in this week’s Jewish Press summarizing the events of the Rabbi Slifkin Ban. Two points Student makes are especially important. Here’s one:

The ban, as it stands, raises many difficult questions for a large segment of the Orthodox community. Ironically, the ban – both in terms of procedures and content – has generated questions of faith that are perhaps greater than those it was supposed to prevent.

We can only hope that in the future the concerns of the greater community will be specifically addressed – along with an explanation of how such a devastating personal blow can be issued without the accused being allowed to defend himself. That’s certainly preferable to a proclamation issued from afar that leaves the public guessing about the rest of the story.

The other can be found throughout the piece in sentences like these:

“…a major rosh yeshiva in America phoned Rabbi Slifkin to offer him encouragement and tell him to keep a low profile and let the whole thing blow over.”

“Because of the controversy, we have had the book reviewed by a number of knowledgeable rabbis, including an expert on both Torah and science from whom my posek insisted we receive permission before commencing with publication.”

That’s right. Although Student mentions the rabbis who signed the ban by name, no supporter of Rabbi Slifkin is publicly named, except for the OU’s Rabbi Tzvi Hirsh Weinreb, who wrote the forward to the revised edition of The Science of Torah, now titled The Challenge of Creation.

Rabbi Slifkin’s rabbinic supporters are still cowering, still too afraid to stand up for truth. They are cowards, every last one of them.

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6 Comments

Filed under Haredim, Modern Orthodoxy, Religion, Torah and Science

6 responses to “The Rabbi Slifkin Controversy Returns

  1. Neo-Conservaguy

    Welcome to Modern Orthodoxy; most have doubts about fundamentalist hashgafa, none will admit it in public. That’s why we moved over toward the Conservative movement, which is of course full of equal dark comedy in other areas.

  2. I said the following to Rabbi Shmuel Irons, Rosh Kollel of the Detroit Kollel earlier this year.

    “I’ve heard, with my own ears, you cite the same sources as Rabbi Slifkin, saying virtually the same things as he does about the age of the universe, from the amud on Simchas Torah. Yet his book gets put in cherem.”

    His response, a hearty laugh and,

    “Some people have mazal.”

  3. Student does not publicly name the supporters because they asked him not to; he’s obligated to honor their wishes not to be outed.

    “I’ve heard, with my own ears, you cite the same sources as Rabbi Slifkin, saying virtually the same things as he does about the age of the universe, from the amud on Simchas Torah. Yet his book gets put in cherem.” Rabbi Milton Polin, formerly of Kingsway Jewish Center and past president of the Rabbinical Council of America, said the same thing from the pulpit on Shabbat Bereshit some time ago.
    It is indeed tragic that so few Modern Orthodox poskim have the courage of their convictions. I mentioned this in several postings, as well as in a letter to the Jewish Press with my name on it(http://www.jewishpress.com/page.do/18088/Letters_To_The_Editor.html). But then, courage is not our strong suit. Just take a walk in Brownsville, E. Flatbush, E. New York etc. and see all the shuls converted to churches with their Jewish markings still intact. Wouldn’t it be funny if I came to harm from some Jewish crazy when nobody touches a hair of my head (because I have so few left to touch?) in Brownsville and East New York? Mind and body feed off each other.

  4. Student does not publicly name the supporters because they asked him not to; he’s obligated to honor their wishes not to be outed.

    “I’ve heard, with my own ears, you cite the same sources as Rabbi Slifkin, saying virtually the same things as he does about the age of the universe, from the amud on Simchas Torah. Yet his book gets put in cherem.” Rabbi Milton Polin, formerly of Kingsway Jewish Center and past president of the Rabbinical Council of America, said the same thing from the pulpit on Shabbat Bereshit some time ago.
    It is indeed tragic that so few Modern Orthodox poskim have the courage of their convictions. I mentioned this in several postings, as well as in a letter to the Jewish Press with my name on it(http://www.jewishpress.com/page.do/18088/Letters_To_The_Editor.html). But then, courage is not our strong suit. Just take a walk in Brownsville, E. Flatbush, E. New York etc. and see all the shuls converted to churches with their Jewish markings still intact. Wouldn’t it be funny if I came to harm from some Jewish crazy when nobody touches a hair of my head (because I have so few left to touch?) in Brownsville and East New York? Mind and body feed off each other.

  5. Shmuel

    Absolutely sickening. No courage. No spine. Just a lot of shuckling and “being mivatel one’s daas” to our fearless leaders. I want out. Charedi-ville is a joke: intellectual dishonesty, agenda-driven, elitist, constantly looking for the newest chumra to outfrum the MO. I suggest all see Rabbi Alan Yuter’s article, “Positivist Rhetoric and its function in Haredi Orthodoxy” in Jewish Political Studies in 1996 for a full treatment of this scourge among us. Shame on us for allowing it to continue.

  6. Shmuel

    Absolutely sickening. No courage. No spine. Just a lot of shuckling and “being mivatel one’s daas” to our fearless leaders. I want out. Charedi-ville is a joke: intellectual dishonesty, agenda-driven, elitist, constantly looking for the newest chumra to outfrum the MO. I suggest all see Rabbi Alan Yuter’s article, “Positivist Rhetoric and its function in Haredi Orthodoxy” in Jewish Political Studies in 1996 for a full treatment of this scourge among us. Shame on us for allowing it to continue.

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