Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Manipulating Rav Elyashiv?

Good old Rafi has pointed me to the video of someone I don't recognize interrogating Rav Elyashiv. You can see it here.

Though I confess to much uncertainty about what -if anything- the video tells us about either Rav Elyashiv or about how halachic decisions are made, the sky-scraping arrogance of the interrogator is obvious. Sometimes the man appears to grin with self-satisfaction. At other times, he pounds the table impatiently, or shoots the camera an "I told you so" look. Often he appears more interested in getting Rav Elyashiv on the record, and less interested in listening to what the Sage actually has to say. His manner is brusque and condescending, and his questions suggest, and sometimes contain, the answers he purports to seek. For instance, instead of asking:

Why might a student behave rudely to his teachers? He asks:
Can we tell his mother, that the true explanation for her child's bad behavior is that it is her fault [for not dressing modestly?]

He also, at times, seems unwilling to accept an unexpected reply. For instance, he asks:

Should a female principle dress modestly in the manner of any righteous woman, or does she need to be more stringent because she is setting an example? After Rav Elyashuv replies that it is more than sufficient if she merely follows the law, the man rephrases the questions in such a way that the Rav has no alternative but to answer "of course."

I'm an uninitiated observer, but to me it seems as if the man came in with an agenda, and attempted to use the leader of Torah Jewry as a rubber stamp. No doubt, the man will now go off into the world reporting that Rav Elyashiv said this or that, with the utterances stripped of all context.

[As Harry Meryles reports, this sort of thing has happened before].

[If you've already discussed this video on your own blog, let me know, and I'll link you]
[The comment that explains all: The guy is a total nut (and probably crazy extremist). His agenda is getting a psak that would allow wholesale firing of any female teachers who he deems as dressing inappropriately, any male teachers whose wife dresses inappropriately, and throwing out any yeshiva students whose parents dress inappropriately. He is obsessed with tznius, to the point where it's obvious he needs psychiatric intervention. In other cultures, he would be taken for an evaluation and prescribed effective drugs.]

Want to learn more about Rav Elyashiv? Search here.

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