I often say that Rabbi David Orlofsky and those like him are no different from bloggers. He stands in front of a crowd, or a classroom, and says what he thinks about Torah, hashkofa, or the news of the day, while we do the same at our keyboards. He sometimes gets angry, says what he shouldn't, and experiences a public backlash -- and so do we.
Last week, I was part of the chorus of bloggers and blog-readers who publicly requested an apology from Rabbi David Orlofsky for the intemperate things he said about the blogging community, and about Rabbi Hersh Weinreb, the former head of the OU. I didn't post about it 5 years ago, but I was also among those who privately thought RDO owed Natan Slifkin an apology for the contents of the now-famous, but disavowed, "Bullet for the Gedolim" letter.
This morning, I realized I was guilty of perpetrating a double standard. I realized that if I sincerely believe that that RDO is categorically the same as a blogger, I can't demand apologies from him when he acts like a blogger, unless I am prepared to deliver them myself.
When I posted about RDO's original remarks about RWH and his subsequent apology, my intent was to provide fair commentary about the news of the day using information that had already appeared on other web sites*. There's no question in my mind that when RDO wrote his first Slifkin letter, and when he addressed his classroom about RHW he was trying to do the same thing. As we know, RDO went too far, and said things he shouldn't have said. I confess that in my discussion of his remarks, I did the exact same thing. I left the arena of fair commentary, and made rude personal remarks. If I'm going to insist that RDO apologize, I have to apologize myself. I have to follow the same rules I expect him to follow.
So... Rabbi David Orlofsky, if you're reading this, please accept my sincere apology. I don't retract all of what I said as I think some of it was legitimate, but the two posts did contain remarks that were undoubtedly nasty, and absolutely gratuitous. I am deeply sorry for those remarks, specifically for what you or one of your defenders quite correctly called "pot shots". I ask that you find it in your heart to forgive me.
Please write to me at yourfavoriteblogger at gmail dot com should you require additional information.
*I make it a rule never to be the first one to publish on these types of matters, following the opinion that discussing something that is already public knowledge isn't necessarily loshon hara. I don't claim that I always follow this rule, but those of you have emailed me scoops know that I often turn them down if there's no newspaper or blog story to back them up.
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