Monday, November 19, 2012

This is a Rabbi? UPDATED

I left this comment here

Yisrael Medad  
i guess part of that time was spent on useless "seichel"-less knock-down blogging of Israel and the logic displayed maybe was not only time-consuming but not helpful for law studies? but like you wrote in your apology, in another couple of months, maybe things will aright.

The background to this to a person who just failed the bar exams?

He's a Rabbi. Eli, eee-lie not eh-lee.  From Ner Israel!! and this Rabbi published a post in which he was

...dealing with my emotions regarding war. The reason these latent emotions surfaced is because of the very real war that is happening right now in Israel.  I explained my emotions in a post that challenged the utility of Israeli readers were mostly incensed. I was attacked in private messages in ways that made the public comments look like glowing praise. The public comments questioned my sanity, dedication to my brothers and sisters in Israel, among several other harsh judgments. To the Israeli readers, the post was seen as insensitive at best, idiotic at worst.
I could try to rebut or explain what I meant to those who left comments. Shtika is not always hoda’ah. But I feel that it is not useful to carry on the debate at this point. I accept your criticisms and hope you can accept this:
I apologize.

...I absolutely do not equate the actions of the two sides in this current conflict. I continue to support my brothers and sisters in Israel. The pain and suffering of our brethren in Israel keeps me up at night and I am extremely concerned for their wellbeing. I admire the strength and courage of the soldiers and their families. Let us pray for a quick resolution to this war.
Please accept my apology and forgive me for being an unwelcome distraction in this time of need.
Maybe in a few months we can talk about what I meant in my post. But for now, I am sorry.

Let's quote him exactly:-

... The entire idea that since I am born in Place A and you are born in Place B means that I am right and you are wrong is something that does not fit in with modern thinking. If I was born in Gaza, I am sure I would sympathize more with Gaza. If a member of Hamas was born in Tel Aviv he would feel differently too. In other words, these convictions and affiliations that create friction are a fiction of our own creation. Why should it matter where on is born? That’s no fault of our own. We can’t control these affiliations for the most part, and so it seems borderline insane to place so much stock in these affiliations.

...the overall point here is that when analyzed, war is pretty senseless. I understand that sometimes events that are out of our control force our hand and we find ourselves in open conflict. I just feel that if humanity could understand this, we would be a lot better off and we could focus on the progress of humanity as a whole.

I cry for the victims of terror. I cry for innocent civilians in Gaza who are caught in the crossfire. I cry for the families that are under constant threat of violence. I cry for people born into the worst of situations, as they are in Gaza. I cry for children who are taught that the only way out of their struggle is violence. I cry for people who feel oppressed and see no way out of their predicament. I cry for people who inherited an almost impossible to resolve problem. I cry for all of them. But most of all, I cry that we cannot resolve our differences without death and violence.

His basic discombobulated pacifism:

 Israel is at war with Hamas. I find myself in a familiar position. That is, unable to comprehend the entire concept of war.

This is a Rabbi?


Since this post has merited hundreds of hits, let me add what I left at the Rabbi's Facebook page:

thanks for the "lovely".  as for your opening statement which started all this - that you are "unable to comprehend the entire concept of war", well, the Torah (which has no relation to ancient or modern) explicitly informs us - "כי תצא למלחמה על אויבך" - that it will happen, and the Rambam devotes a whole section - הלכות מלכים ומלחמות - to an Halachic treatment of the subject and so, while I can comprehend someone, even a Rabbi, expressing non-comprehension about a subject that the prophet Yoel 4 makes clear: קִרְאוּ-זֹאת, בַּגּוֹיִם, קַדְּשׁוּ, מִלְחָמָה; הָעִירוּ, הַגִּבּוֹרִים--יִגְּשׁוּ יַעֲלוּ, כֹּל אַנְשֵׁי הַמִּלְחָמָה.
כֹּתּוּ אִתֵּיכֶם לַחֲרָבוֹת, וּמַזְמְרֹתֵיכֶם לִרְמָחִים; הַחַלָּשׁ, יֹאמַר גִּבּוֹר אָנִי. - and wishing for a no-war reality, I cannot quite understand his impulse to make that non-comprehension so public, excuse me, bafflement.  If you cannot understand from where Hamas is coming, its Islamic fanaticism and its blatant anti-Semitism (you have read its Charter?) then how are your congregants to understand?  We all have doubts but leaders who display such naivety or wishful thinking, especially as Israel faces such an onslaught solely directed at civilian targets, is irresponsible.



azigra said...

Why not write where you wrote this? A link isnt enough. It was on a completely unrelated post.

Well this was my comment in response to your rudeness and indecency:

the fair rabbi and scholar did go offline for a long while, to the chagrin of his friends and online admirers. It is rather derisive to use an honest, open, and unhappy post like this to attack REF with your likely usual criticisms,

If you somehow had any empathy this would have been the time to use it. Too bad you don't.

tikun olam said...


This is not a time to displace your rage. The enemy is Hamas. R' Eli's wish for a world without war is older that all of us. If he is naive so be it. If he is wrong, so be it. Perhaps his opinions will evolve over time and perhaps they won't. It doesn't make him your enemy or a reason for such a nasty blog post.

Helping someone, especially a young man like Eli who has always been more than open to listening to another point of view, understand what you have learned from your life experience is much more effectively communicated from a place of warmth and patience. And while you may have a thing or two that I would agree Eli needs to learn you can also learn a lot from him. He is an Orthodox rabbi who has talent for compassion, inclusion and relating to Jews of all strains. These are talents that are pretty rare in a rabbi.

People are not all good or all bad. Disagree with his politics, believe him to be naive but there is no need to be nasty for the sake of nastiness. What does it accomplish?

YMedad said...

Sorry, ,disagree. Maybe out west is just too laid back for some Rabbis. His thinking is irrational even if he's moved into the liberal camp.

tikun olam said...

I am sorry, did you disagree with me? I was not defending his opinions. I even noted that you may have what to teach him. I take issue with the nastiness of your post, and I wondered what it accomplished. Conservative or Liberal, we are all human and well intentioned at that. At least R'Eli is. I don't know you and from this post I can't imagine that there was a positive intention here.
I may even agree with much of your politics but not on your treatment of a fellow human being in this case. You owe R' Fink an apology. There is no goodness, only Sinat chinam that comes from this post.

Noah D. Roth said...

From the pronunciation of his name to the content of his statement (much of which I disagree with), you have ranged from blatant misinformation to taking comments out of context to Ad Hominem attacks.

This post is worthy of the Hamas PR machine. Same tactics.

A Different Eli (eh-lee) said...

Please. If you're going to attack someone, at least present some kind of argument, rather than taking some quotes and then scattering them in a blog post.

Rav Fink (and yes, this is absolutely a rabbi!) is presenting his dislike for the idea of two peoples hating each other. There's nothing wrong with that, even for a zionist, even for a Jew, and even for someone on the right! He hasn't stated that Israel shouldn't be defending itself by means of war -- in fact, he stated exactly the opposite, using bold text.

What problem do you actually have with what he said?

Dave Arch said...

This fellow is an über-left-wing liberal in both religious issues and political issues.

No one serious takes him seriously.

YMedad said...

NDR: thanks for proving my thesis. anyway consider this from the Rabbi: "If a member of Hamas was born in Tel Aviv he would feel differently".

No, he wouldn't. He would think like a Hamasnik in Gaza. You know that and the Rabbi knows that but some people want to be nice. Doesn't work, at least not with Hamas. Even Abbas can't get along with Hamas. And you compare my writing to Hamas? Same tactics? You're a blithering idiot. That's how you argue? I'm Hamas? My lord (small L).

OTD said...

What's wrong with you? Going after a rabbi who just suffered a serious letdown. You should be ashamed of yourself. Just because you're incapable of seeing any humanity in non-Jews does not mean his thesis that perhaps war is not always the best approach is a faulty one. And just because he's far more successful than you does not mean you should hit him when he's down. You're a disgrace to Jews everywhere.

Nephtuli said...

"No, he wouldn't. He would think like a Hamasnik in Gaza. You know that and the Rabbi knows that but some people want to be nice. Doesn't work, at least not with Hamas."

You think if Ahmed Yassin had been born Jewish, he would have founded Hamas? That is silly.

Dgrat said...

You sir are no better than a school yard bully.

You mock the pronunciation of the R' Eli's name, you question his credentials, and then to top it off you call one of your commentators a "blithering idiot."

If this is the level of Ahavas Yisroel displayed by Rabbis who live in Judea and Samaria then we really have fallen as a people.

YMedad said...

Woe is a Rabbi whose 'defenders' are such as these.

I did not make fun of his name. That's how he explained the pronunciation of it at his profile. I just copied it. I do not question his credentials but expressed surprise that such an outstanding American Yeshiva produced someone who thinks as he does.

I am not a Rabbi. I went to Chofetz Chaim and Yeshiva University and learned in other Yeshivot.

Nephtuli - if he would have been born Jewish, he wouldn't be a Hamasnik. A Hamasnik is someone who rejects, and in an anti-Semitic fashion, any Jewish link to Eretz-Yisrael and with someone like that you cannot make peace because he only sees war.

OTD - he suffered a letdown? We're getting bombed, shelled, rocketed, killed, wounded, property destroyed, children traumatized and he suggest we are wrong in engaging in war. He let us down big.

As for my problem - I feel uncomfortable with persons who prefer to philosophize while ignoring reality and to ignore basic Jewish principles. For sure there is Yeshayahu (lo yisa goy el goy cherev) and there is Yoel just the opposite. And there is Rambam with a whole book on war. We may hate it and desire peace in a very fundamental way but to suggest that war is not an option?

deborah said...

This man who calls himself a rabbi is a bleeding heart liberal using the moral equivalency argument. He should be shamed of himself. He who has not a drop of faith in the Jewish people, or our right to protect our children from our bitter enemies lacks emunah. He is a disgrace to the name Rabbi.

Mighty Garnel Ironheart said...

Remember that Americans, especially leftist ones, are hopelessly naive about how the world outside the US borders really works. They really do believe that sitting down and having a discussion with the opposite side over a latte from Starbucks is always possible and should be tried. The idea that someone out there hates their guts and would rather live in misery and/or die rather than prosper side by side in peace simply does not occur to them. It's madness to them.