Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Rav Schachter Is A True Gadol

One of the many reasons I'm proud to have gone to Yeshiva University is the caliber of the rabbeim in the Yeshiva. Although I remained in the same shiur with the same rebbi for the entire duration of my academic career there, I was fortunate to be exposed to and learned from a great number of the 0ther Roshei Yeshiva in MYP and rabbeim in the other morning programs - including BMP, IBC and Mechina, believe it or not.

Unlike a number of students I knew, I really liked staying in YU for Shabbos often. Aside from fact that as an out of towner who hated schlepping around the tri-state area I was more likely to stay on-campus, I enjoyed the meals in the caf, the lively davening at the Carlebach Minyan, Shenk Shul's communal feel along with Rabbi Orlian's inspiring drashos, and the general camaraderie among my friends that I didn't get a chance to participate in during the week as much as I would have liked.

Shabbos on campus also provided me with the opportunity to hear divrei Torah from rabbeim that I would not normally have learned directly from during my morning shiur. Rav Schachter is one of the best examples of this. I LOVED his post-kiddush parsha shiurim, along with his Pirkei Avos shiurim, pre-Yom Tov halacha shiurim, and his oneg musings. Aside from his absolute gadlus in Torah knowledge, he is very down-to-earth and realistic in how he approaches the modern world we live in - case in point, the very sharp comment he made about who needs to be machmir nowadays.

While I don't have much to comment directly with regard to the apparent corruption of the beis din system as it exists now, Rav Schachter's interview in Ami Magazine - republished here on Vosizneis - I will say this interview is refreshing and eye opening. Refreshing that Ami, a rather chareidi publication would A) Interview Rav Schachter and B) Print exactly what he had to say without censoring/distorting it and eye-opening as Rav Schachter always is whenever he opens his mouth to share his vast wisdom with us.

The article and it's reposting are kind of old, but I don't think it has gotten enough exposure, which is why I am talking about it here. With so many "gedolim" from the more right wing elements of our society spouting things vitriolic and divisive, or clearly negatively agenda-driven, brain-washed/hoodwinked by devious and malevolent askanim, or oblivious to the reality of the society around us - it is wonderful to see a gadol, a TRUE American gadol, demonstrating what it means to earn such a title for being recognized as the Torah authority he truly is.

I am encouraged by some of the positive yeshivish/chareidi responses on the article (ignoring the few typical anti Modern Orthodox hateful remarks). Perhaps if we, the Modern Orthodox world can rid ourselves of the influence of the vitriolic left and demonstrate our realistic, true belief in rabbinical figures such as Rav Schachter, we can create a unifying force for all of Torah Observant Judaism.


  1. "With so many "gedolim" from the more right wing elements of our society spouting things vitriolic and divisive, or clearly negatively agenda-driven, brain-washed/hoodwinked by devious and malevolent askanim, or oblivious to the reality of the society around us" - examples?

  2. girl123 - I refer to the cases of concert banning, the Slifkin banning saga - both of which were instigated by askanim who hoodwinked Gedolim who later partially or failed to apologize for the harm done, vitriolic comments made within the last year or two by certain Lakewood rabbonim against the YU/modern world at a banquet dinner, negative comments about Rabbi Lander following his petira, the vilification of Rabbi Blau for his mediation role in the YU gay panel, snide comments made by famous chareidi mechanchim against the YU world and Rabbi Tzvi-Hersch Weinreb, the name-calling attacks by a prominent Canadian gadol against Rabbi Michael Broyde for an article on hair covering that was utterly misinterpreted - which was also attacked in a magazine that encourages "dialogue," the mishugas tactics of some rabbis in Israel to ban and distort modern Jewish music, as well as the plethora of stuff out there from a variety of sources which defines chareidism as the one true approach to Torah observance, lumping Modern Orthodoxy/YU with truly harmful philosophies such as Reform and Conservative.

    It's all out there in the blogosphere and easily found.

    When Gedolim don't act with true ahavas Yisrael, or fail to live up to their roles of leading by example and correcting corruption, I am disheartened that we continue to blindly give credence to every little thing that is said. I want gedolim, like Rav Schachter, who make statements that truly make sense, that are grounded, and speak to the masses in a proper fashion, without resorting to misdirected zealotry, fanaticism, and unwarranted fault-finding and name-calling.


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