Thursday, September 04, 2014

Its Elull! And Pinny Lipschutz Hates Everyone!

See Pinny Lipshutz rant and rage about evil bloggers and people who are mean to Rabbis - without providing any examples - after the jump

Bonus Joy: After raging about people who mock Rabbis, Pinny tells a long story about a Cossak and uses it to insult a Rabbi. Not kidding!

HT: Chaim Shapiro

Choose Life
Wednesday, September 03, 2014
By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz

If you would have to sum up all that the Torah encompasses in one commandment, what would you choose? Would it be kashrus?

Inauspicious start. Who among the sentient would suggest the whole Torah is encompassed in the Kashruth laws?

Would it be limud haTorah? Maybe you would pick the obligation to remember that Hashem redeemed us from Mitzrayim. Some would say the mitzvah of Krias Shema or the 39 melachos of Shabbos. Others would point to the three cardinal sins of avodah zorah, shefichas domim and giluy arayos. Many years ago, this question was answered for us by Hillel Hazokein, who said that the entire Torah is based upon the mitzvah of “Ve’ohavta lereiacha kamocha,” loving other people like you love yourself. All the rest is commentary.

Ha! That's not what Hilel said! He said 'That which is hateful unto you do not do to your neighbor" And its fitting that you didn't know this Pinny, because you're about to violate it. You're about to embark on a terribly long screed, in which you tell us how much you hate Internet character assassination while simultaneously using the Internet to assassinate characters! #Can'tMakeItUp

In this week’s parsha of Ki Seitzei... [SNIP] ...A person who slanders a talmid chochom, is not only inviting personal disaster on himself, but on the entire nation. We must protest those who engage in missions to vilify holy and good people, lest we be complicit in their crimes.

And we must protest when long-winded editorial writers confuse legitimate, honest disagreement with "missions to vilify holy and good people."

The chachomim in Maseches Avos, which is designed to guide, advise and empower Jews to live wise, healthy and productive lives, warn that one who treats gedolei Torah in a cavalier or irreverent manner is literally playing with fire. The Mishnah in Avos (2, 10) admonishes such people to tread cautiously: “Vehevei zohir begachalton shelo sikoveh - Be wary of their coals lest you get burnt.”

Has Pinny read the rest of the mishna? It concludes by telling us exactly what the coals are. "And all their words are like fiery coals." The Mishna is not telling us that some magical malady will befall us if we insult the sages. It is reminding us that the sages can take care of themselves, and that they are able to defend their own ideas. The author of this Mishna - Rabbi Eliezer - surely knew this as he was on the losing side of perhaps the most famous Rabininc argument in history and was deeply hurt and insulted by the words that were used against him. The aphorism Pinny misuses probably comes from the period of Rabbi Eliezer's retirement after the "coals of the Sages" had left him isolated and marginalized.

The rabbis, doctors, professors and general do-gooders who eagerly warn our community of the dangers inherent in metzizah b’peh in a bid to save us from our own primitive selves, and readily mock and disparage rabbonim and gedolim to score their points, would do well to study Avos.

I have honestly never heard a rabbi, doctor, professor or general do-gooder refer to Pinny's community as "primitive" nor have I heard them "mock or disparage" rabonim or gedolim. I have heard them appeal to science and tradition to argue against a potentially dangerous practice, but Pinny knows no science and as we have seen he's not especially adroit with the tradition. So of course he has no choice but to go after motives and invented episodes of "mockery and disparagement" instead.

 Its chochmah is the source of the knowledge that has sustained our people throughout the millennia.

Avos is the source of the knowledge that sustained us? For real?

They would do themselves well to be selective in their choice of words and methods. At minimum, they should be at least as concerned about the kavod ofrabbonim and other Jews as they profess to be about infectious diseases and illness.

This is at least the third time in this article Pinny has accused his opponent of insulting the Sages. Can he provide even one example?

They should also study the topic they claim to be so concerned about to ensure that they are not engaging in pseudo-science and faux medicine.

There is no scientific and medical connection between any of the children who took ill and metzizah, but that doesn’t stop them from seeking to “protect” us from our customs.

Well that settles it. Dr. Piunny has spoken. He's provided no studies, no research and no evidence, but gosh darn it he's sure he's right, and what a bunch of rude people you are for refusing to respect Pinny's gut feelings.

Professor Marci A. Hamilton, of Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University, wrote on, “This is all a distraction from what truly matters: the protection of children… A line must be drawn to prevent adults, even religious believers, from causing a child’s death and/or permanent disability. This practice easily crosses that line. There does not even need to be a regulation specific to the practice. The neglect laws are neutral, generally applicable laws that apply to all parents who medically neglect their children.”

Let's pause to note that the professor neither insulted nor disparaged any Rabbis.

What she is saying is that our community is unconcerned about our children’s health and safety. We care more about engaging in some ridiculous, dangerous practice than we do about protecting the lives of our children.

Really now, professor? The people who practice this custom are the very same ones who spawned and created many advanced and efficient medical referral organizations, screening programs, and health networks. They have given the world Hatzolah, RCCS, Bikur Cholim groups of all types, Ezer Mizion, Echo, Dor Yeshorim and so many other life-saving organizations. Professor, do you really think that we need to be lectured about protecting our children? Do you think that the community whose prime motivation is caring for the next generation and assisting the elderly engages in suicidal conduct to satisfy some old rabbinic requirement?

This is a surpassingly bad argument. Its true that the members of Pinny's community have established many different support organizations. But it does not follow from this fact that the members of his community have properly researched the dangers of metziz b'peh.

Rabbi Mark Dratch, executive vice president of the RCA, told the Jewish Link of Bergen County (JLBC) that most of the members of the RCA insist on using a pipette when performing bris milah and not having direct oral contact with the wound. “This is something that has been practiced for generations and supported by Halachic authorities. Where we’re concerned about the tradition, we’re concerned about the health and welfare of our children.”

Let's pause to note that the Rabbi has neither insulted nor disparaged any Rabbis. We also note that he has made an appeal to halacha - the pipette is allowed - that Pinny does not see fit to answer.

The blood libel against Orthodox Jews is repeated as JLBC reports that Rabbi Dratch said there have been more efforts at fighting the New York City Health Department than fighting the potential threat to children.

In other worlds, we don’t care about children and threats to their lives. What we want to do is fight City Hall.

I hate to say it, but it seems pretty clear to me that you don't care about children. The evidence is in. Metziz b'peh, under certain circumstances, can kill a child. But instead of recognizing this fact, and taking appropriate action, you prefer to make a lot of noise in your little newspaper.

JLBC says that they asked the good rabbi whether, in the interests of “pikuach nefesh,” efforts should be led “to get legislation passed preventing this practice, as it can endanger the life of the child.”

Rabbi Dratch said, “I think if there’s even a small chance of this happening, then it’s not necessary, because there are other ways to satisfy the ritual requirements. We continue to urge them that if they don’t want government regulation on this, then they have to find ways to ensure that the children are safe.”

He cares about children safety. We don’t. That’s the message.

Yup. That's what's he's saying. Care to offer a counterargument? Here I'll help:

Possible counterargument #1: Here's some research the proves MbP is harmless

Possible counterargument #2: We don't have any research that supports our POV, but here's some halachic reasoning that explains why we're required to take the risk all the same.

The fact that Pinny doesn't offer either of these responses says it all.

Rabbi Asher Lopatin of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah also weighed in on the matter. He, too, is very upset with our community, the defenders of metzitzah b’peh. He, too, understands what’s really at play here: disregard for halacha. According to JLBC, he said that “in America, where there is empowerment, ‘we get away with all this stuff, not following the proper halacha wherever there is a risk of life, that takes priority. It’s American that we ignore halacha and just flex our political muscles and our political muscles are we want to do it our way.”

Let's pause to note that the Rabbi has neither insulted nor disparaged any Rabbis

Poor Rabbi Lopatin. The zealous, loyal defender ofhalacha looks on in anguish as a community tramples on the sacred poskim of the Shulchan Aruch. It must hurt. All the nasty Chareidim care about is flexing political power. They ignore halacha and the needs of their children in order to feel empowered.

That’s how Rabbi Lopatin views us.

Okay hold on to your hats True Believers. This is about to get AWESOME

There is an expression in Hebrew, “hakozak hanigzal,” used to evoke sarcastic pity for a Cossack who complains that he was robbed. The imagery is ironic. Cossacks were brutal ruffians who plundered and rampaged through Europe

Quibble: Through one tiny corner of Europe.

taking whatever they wished from whomever they wanted. A simple villager swiped the scarf of one of these hooligans and the poor Cossack went around whining about the injustice done to him.

Rabbi Lopatin crying that we ignore halacha is as funny as the original tale.

Boom!! Get it? Without offering a single example, Pinny is here accusing a fellow Rabbi of violating halacha as frequently as a Cossak steals! Remember how mad Pinny was earlier about how people disparage Rabbis? Well, we wanted him to provide an example of it. I guess his own insult of Rabbi Loptain is the closest he'll get to obliging us.

But it’s worse than that. In our day, bizayon talmidei chachomim is easier to commit than ever before.

I am begging you. ONE EXAMPLE PLEASE!

Whereas in the past it required some element of courage to publicly take issue with rabbinic leadership, now that is no longer necessary. These days, if you have a beef with the establishment, there is an army of bloggers ready to do your dirty work.

To go after rabbonim, or anyone else for that matter, all you have to do is tip off a lonely blogger, share a story, allegation, rumor or innuendo, and your bitterness goes viral.

This complaint is so 2005. And as we pointed out in 2005 the people who accuse bloggers of irresponsible behavior are frequently guilty of it themselves

Referring to such activity, the posuk says,“Lo seileich rochil be’amecha. Do not behave as a mean-spirited peddler circulating from town to town and spreading hateful tales.”

Accusing all of your opponents of disparaging and mocking Rabbis when they have done nothing of the sort,  might qualify

Today, to condemn, disparage and demean, you no longer have to leave the comforts of your home. The internet does it all for you. A person’s reputation can be destroyed instantaneously by a noxious peddler.

Like a long-winded editorial writer?

There are disenchanted people everywhere eagerly waiting to scoop up the latest gossip and treat it as absolute truth. Those who dignify blogs by taking them seriously and paying attention to their half-stories and lies are as guilty as the purveyors.

Yes! And as someone who makes his living selling newspapers, I have absolutely no ulterior motive in demanding that you stop reading blogs!!

At a recent gathering, Rav Aharon Leib Shteinman discussed the threat of technology. He quoted Rabbeinu Yonah, who wondered why one who embarrasses another person loses his portion in Olam Haba. Even actual murder does not have such a frightening consequence.

I don't mean to bring this up again, but does everyone remember what Pinny said about Rabbi Lopatin? Now the fact that Pinny is a circus clown, with no real credibility, might mean that the Rabbi wasn't embarrassed by Pinny's insulting words, but still when your Olam Haba is on the line, why risk it?

Rabbeinu Yonah explains that one who actually sheds blood is well aware of the harshness of his crime and might eventually repent. He who shames someone is not aware of the seriousness of what he has done. He will rationalize his behavior and reason that he didn’t really do anything wrong. He says, “What did I do already? It’s just words. Words don’t kill.” Therefore, he will neglect to repent for his actions. As such, he remains with his aveirah and the heinous deed never receives the tikkun of teshuvah.

 Here Pinny is pre-explaining his refusal to apologize to Rabbi Loptain.

Rav Shteinman compared this to the nisayon of the internet. He said that well-meaning, sincere individuals waste hours online, but they may never do teshuvah because they don’t realize that they erred.

So too, we may say that people who utilize the internet to slam others may not fully comprehend the severity of their actions and will fail to seek to repent for their cheit.

Is this one of those cases, where the speaker is going to end his diatribe by confessing that he is really talking about himself? Not going to hold my breath.

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