Tuesday, February 12, 2008

On Rabbinic Leadership

Via Gil, two very intriguing posts by R' Reuven Spolter of Detroit after a symposium that took place there.

Rabbinic Authority excerpt:
To my mind, we have entirely lost any notion of mara d'atra. With international communication, telephones, emails, fax machines and the like, nowadays, the community members themselves turn not to their own rabbi, but immediately to the gedolim. Every important question must be posed to a rabbi in New York -- or if it's really important, in Israel. But even more troubling, every local decision is questioned, analyzed and challenged by community members who take their local issues and pose them to rabbis uninvolved in the local community and often unaware of the delicate balance that exists in that community. It's quite easy to criticize events that seem untoward - either halachically or otherwise -- when you don't have all the facts or don't have to personally juggle the issues, which the local rabbi often must do.
Gedolim, Privacy, and the Truth of History excerpt:
Which to me -- only seems to prove my point. Even Shapiro agrees that historical figures deserve some level of privacy. He himelf would not reveal private, defamatory information that he felt had no "larger" relevance. If so, then we both agree that rabbis -- even great ones -- deserve privacy. The difference between our opinions, it would seem, is that I feel that halachah guarantees an individual -- even a dead figure -- the inherent right to privacy, whereas Dr. Shapiro feels that he has the right to make a subjective decision about what rights each figure deserves and receives.
Take out a few minutes and read both. They're quite interesting.