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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

YoU Are Sub-Par II...

...that's right kids, it's on like Donkey Kong.
Two Bais Yaakov girls go round the outside; round the outside, round the outside
Two Bais Yaakov girls go round the outside; round the outside, round the outside

Guess who's back
Back again
Rav B's back
Tell a friend
Guess who's back, guess who's back, guess who's back, guess who's back
guess who's back, guess who's back, guess who's back...

Almost exactly a year ago, an e-mail exchange went around certain parts of the horror and danger to judaism and all that works for the power of good in this world known as the blogosphere, between a young man and a certain Rav B in Eretz Yisroel. The Rabbi has since been identified as none other than Rav Asher Balanson of OJ (Ohr Yerushalayim) and Mikdash fame.

Unfortunately (who am I kidding, this stuff is awesome) Fortunately, it seems these sort of e-mail exchanges are going to become an annual event, as this recent give and take between a young lady and Rav Balanson clearly indicates.

A personal note: I only take issue with the first part of the dialogue; anything after "I once went out with a boy..." is not too much of a problem for me. After all, she kind of does have it coming. The truth is I am not sure what worries me more from this little electronic question and answer... the questioner’s superiority, arrogance, and self-righteousness, or the answerer’s superiority, arrogance and self-righteousness.

The funny (or sad, depending on your brand of vodka) part is that the worldview of Miss Q'er is a direct result of this type of "advice". The "answers" provided are the cause of some of the very issues they point out! ...and the beat goes on Da da dum Da dum Da da.

Keep in mind that these exchanges (and others like them) are included as part of a weekly public e-mail that is read far and wide.

(Just a word before your descent...What in the name of Daas Torah was Question #1!!!)

Question #2:
>Im sorry to trouble the Rav with a lengthy email, but I was wondering if the Rav could give me eitza...
A: I will try.

>Ive been dating for less than a year. Although Ive gone out with several boys, I havnt once yet been impressed or felt that any of the boys were at all shiach for me.
A: All that means is that they weren't your bashert.

>Ive been told by close friends and Rebbetzins that Im "too picky" and that I just keep finding faults in the boys Im dating and write them off too quickly. I personally dont think Im being picky. On one hand, I understand that its not healthy to have a detailed image in your head of exactly the boy you want to marry, but there are certain things I feel like I need in a boy that Im not yet ready to be mivater on those certain nekudos.
>I want a boy who is going to learn in kollel, who is extremely intense about his learning and yiddishkeit, but who is also a ben aliya -- who is constantly working on his middos and looking for ways to refine himself.
A: That's very nice. However, there aren't very many boys of that sort, and most, if not all, want a girl who comes from a pure Torah house: a house where the father is either a Rosh Yeshiva or who is still in Kollel.

>Ive found that with the majority of boys that Ive dated, they often focus just on learning and not on middos.
>For example, several boys Ive dated have spoken pure lashon harah on the date about different sects of klal yisrael. Often, boys bash YU. Im not AT ALL the YU hashkafah, but even if I dont agree with the hashkafa I would never speak lashon hara, and bash a sect of klal yisrael.

A: Who paskined for you that it is lashon harah to speak against YU? YU goes against the accepted Daas Torah of Gedolei Yisroel and there is no issur at all to speak against them! You simply aren't adequately familiar with the halachos of lashon harah!!

>To me its pure sinas chinam and bashing yiddin, no matter what their hashkafa, drives the shchina away.
A: TOTALLY AND COMPLETELY WRONG!! Rabbeinu Yona writes very clearly that anyone who isn't willing to HATE those who go against HaShem, is a bad person!! YOUR hashkafa here is way way off.

>I spoke to a Rav about this, and he told me that boys will be kanaish about their hashkafos, and will verbalize their disagreement with another hashkafa- but it can be worked on. He told me that when he was dating he did it too in order for the girl to know where he was holding, but then when he got married his wife made him realize that its lashon harah. But its so hard for me, while Im dating to just say "Oh, he's speaking lashon hara now, but together we can work on it" --
>I dont understand why a boy wouldnt have worked on not speaking lashon harah before he gets married!?
A: I don't understand why a girl wouldn't have worked on her hashkafa before she gets married!

>Additionally, many people have told me that Im not going to marry a Rav, that Im marrying potential, and that Im Yirtza Hashem he will gradually grow into his potential. Everyone tells me this, but what can I acutally do lmaaseh? How when Im on a date should I look over things that, to me, seem to be indicative of a lack of yiras shamayim, lack of working on their middos ....etc ?? How, when Im supposed to be looking for the person Im going to spend the rest of my life with, should I overlook things?
A: I don't think that the problem is overlooking things, but rather that you yourself don't have clear Torah hashkafa and therefore don't recognize it when you see it in a boy.

>I once went out with a boy who said something completely insensitive about my past. Even my best friends would never even think to make a comment like that to me, and this boy made a comment on the third date! I said no to going on another date, because I was not only offended but also really hurt. I spoke to a Rav some time later and he told me that I deffinately should not have said no, that boys will sometimes say silly things, and that I should go out with him again. A Rebbetzin that Im close with told me the same - but I dont understand why - I dont think I was being too "picky" or finding faults. He made a totally inappropriate comment, that embarrassed me, and I dont see why I should go out with him again?
A: Because EVERYONE makes mistakes from time to time. If you aren't willing to overlook mistakes, then your married life will be pure Gehenom! If you are so critical now, how will you be after marriage? Don't you think that working on midos includes forgiving mistakes?

>So, on one hand I dont think Im picky, but then on the other hand - is it weird that I've never been impressed with a boy, or that I never thought any of the boys Ive been set up with were at all shiach?
A: Weird? That I don't know. However, you are certainly highly critical and very judgemental, both of which are not good midos at all. Don't you realize that your critical approach to life is a VERY GOOD REASON for a boy to say no to YOU?

>Maybe Hashem gave me a lot of clarity, or maybe everyone's right, and Im just being too picky? I clearly need to work on not being judgmental and critical of the boys I date, but at the same time, I want to make sure I pick the right one!
A: Certainly. However, just like you admit that your midos here are not at all good, why can't you accept that in a boy as well?

>And, if I hope to iyH be moser nefesh to support my husband in kollel, then I want to make sure he's an emesdik eved Hashem!
A: Are you sure that you are one?

>I would really appreciate the Rav's eitza in this matter, and Im sorry that the letter is so long. Thank you very much.
A: I wish you hatzlacha.
Nooooooow this looks like a job for B
So everybody, just follow he
Cause we need a little, controversy
Cause it feels so empty, without Rav B
I said this looks like a job for B
So everybody, just follow he
Cause we need a little, controversy
Cause it feels so empty, without Rav B


And remember...YOU ARE SUB-PAR!

69 comments:

  1. This "rav" is sick?

    Why is it okay to bash YU? Especially when these pishers shes dating probably dont know the first thing about YU and are just parroting what their rebbeim told them.

    And this girl doesnt seem like the sharpest tool in the shed.

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  2. Oh, that was really funny. Please tell me that it's fake.

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  3. Not fake. Sadly.

    The funny (or sad, depending on your brand of vodka) part is that the worldview of Miss Q'er is a direct result of this type of "advice". The "answers" provided are the cause of some of the very issues they point out!

    Yup. It boggles the mind...

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  4. Mordechai LuchinsApril 15, 2008 at 3:12 PM

    With all due respect, Ezzie, I do not see how posting this does anything but continue the very Sinat Chinam this "Rav" is endorsing.

    It's horrifying, I agree. However, this is the Rav this girl has chosen. If she now choses someone else or stays with him, all her choice. His views of others are not stellar - I feel sorry for him and hope he realizes that he is fragmenting klal Yisroel... but what does our knowing do?

    This isn't like a case of abuse, where whistle-blowing is the right thing to do. Someone asked a shaylah and got, in our opinion, a very wrong answer. Passing it around the internet seems to be the epitome of Loshon Harah.

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  5. It's a public e-mail list that a large number of people read, not a private correspondence. The contents are not intended solely for the use of the questioner.

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  6. Mordechai LuchinsApril 15, 2008 at 3:32 PM

    Be that as it may Ezzie, by bringing it to a wider audience who did not opt-in, without any suggested solutions, all you're doing is stirring the pot.

    You're offended? You should be. It was offensive. Showing it to everyone and saying "Look at this offensive thing!"? Not helpful.

    Especially when you're e-mailing it to people to come look at it. That really smacks of gossip to me.

    You're my cousin-in-law and I love you, but I think presenting this the way you have, commenting on how "awesome" it is, is hurtful to Klal Yisroel and promotes Sinat Chinam.

    You're offended? Write a letter to OJ. Start a petition. Show it to other Rabomin and get a response.

    Don't just post it and say "look at the zealot". That's no better than saying "look at the bum".

    Heading home now, so if I don't respond right away that's why.

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  7. With all due respect, Ezzie, I do not see how posting this does anything but continue the very Sinat Chinam this "Rav" is endorsing.

    You say that like it's a bad thing.

    This isn't like a case of abuse, where whistle-blowing is the right thing to do.

    I'm not sure I agree 100% with that assesment.

    As you said, this is her chosen advice giver...good for her. I do not begrudge her that choice. Nor do I denounce the advice given. As stated my issue, for the most part, is the degrees of arrogance on both sides.

    More importantly...you are completely ignoring the entertainment value in this.
    That it is all kinds of funny in an over-the-top kinda way.

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  8. As stated my issue, for the most part, is the degrees of arrogance on both sides.

    ...while mine is that, topped by the following:

    However, there aren't very many boys of that sort, and most, if not all, want a girl who comes from a pure Torah house: a house where the father is either a Rosh Yeshiva or who is still in Kollel.

    This one I am not annoyed with the answer, as I think he's being truthful; I'm far more annoyed with the fact that this is the case.

    Who paskined for you that it is lashon harah to speak against YU? YU goes against the accepted Daas Torah of Gedolei Yisroel and there is no issur at all to speak against them!

    I think that this one speaks for itself.

    TOTALLY AND COMPLETELY WRONG!! Rabbeinu Yona writes very clearly that anyone who isn't willing to HATE those who go against HaShem, is a bad person!!

    ?! YU is going "against Hashem"? We should HATE them? This is how we make the world better? This is how we serve Hashem? Sorry, no thanks.

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  9. ..all you're doing is stirring the pot.

    again with the negative connotations

    Showing it to everyone and saying "Look at this offensive thing!"? Not helpful.

    "helpful"...probably not. moving on...

    You're my cousin-in-law and I love you,

    really?

    but I think presenting this the way you have, commenting on how "awesome" it is, is hurtful to Klal Yisroel and promotes Sinat Chinam.

    A.Ezzward did not post this, I did. So if anybody here is guilty of hurting Klal Yisroel and promoting sinat Chinam it's me...a little credit where credit is due, thank you very much.
    B.You really think I've accomplished all that! Wow, and the week isn;t even half over! Think of what kind of damage I could do between now and the holiday!

    You're offended? Write a letter to OJ. Start a petition.

    how is that so much different than doing this?

    Show it to other Rabomin and get a response.

    toward what end?

    Don't just post it and say "look at the zealot". That's no better than saying "look at the bum".

    nobody said zealot. superior, arrogant and self-righteous, yes...but not zealot

    ReplyDelete
  10. Comment from a friend via e-mail:

    what makes the yu bashing worse is that it happens so frequently when the girl went to stern and a yeshiva guy goes out with her he bashes yu- its like hello idiot- why are you going out with a stern girl and bashing yu. there is something that compells them to do it. i think the best phenomena is when they like the girl but they are too stupid to hold themselves back from bashing yu/stern

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  11. Especially when you're e-mailing it to people to come look at it. That really smacks of gossip to me.

    I e-mailed it to a very small group of people whom I thought are fair-minded and would find it important.

    Be that as it may Ezzie, by bringing it to a wider audience who did not opt-in, without any suggested solutions, all you're doing is stirring the pot.

    Part of what was noted in the publishing of the post was to leave the comments open for people to comment, rather than just having everyone go "mhm".

    Be that as it may Ezzie, by bringing it to a wider audience who did not opt-in, without any suggested solutions, all you're doing is stirring the pot.

    Disagree.

    You're my cousin-in-law and I love you, but I think presenting this the way you have, commenting on how "awesome" it is, is hurtful to Klal Yisroel and promotes Sinat Chinam.

    Agree on the first part, disagree on the latter. That line was clearly meant in a humorous fashion.

    You're offended? Write a letter to OJ. Start a petition. Show it to other Rabomin and get a response.

    I think this is far more effective.

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  12. Don't just post it and say "look at the zealot". That's no better than saying "look at the bum".

    Whoa. Marked difference. (Firstly, nobody said zealot as G noted.)

    I presume you're saying the latter case of the bum as it is typically used: When it doesn't make any sense. That often happens when someone is used as an example, simply for not being a certain way, even if they are doing nothing wrong. That's why we view such a criticism as unfounded. Should the "bum" have done things that are actually worthy of criticism, such criticism would not be unfounded.

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  13. Everyone should have his/her own Rav. IMO, Rav B is giving many people advice that may not be good for them, but each of us has to find a Rav we identify with and who understands where we are coming from. I don't think Rav B does. I get the e mails every week and I am usually appalled, but bottom line, these kids shouldn't really be asking him these kinds of questions, because he basically bashes them all.

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  14. Um... I actually assumed the responses were intended to be sarcastic. Nobody could really say that stuff and mean it, right?

    I've discussed YU on a date (all of once, and he didn't bash, he just argued against them - I was suggesting there can be more than one "right" derech, and he said that wasn't true. My answer was that YU has some issues with its hashkafa, but so does yeshivishness, and let's just say there was no second date. Why am I still in parentheses?)

    Considering that YU guys aren't any friendlier toward yeshivish guys, I think kettles should beware of calling pots black.

    But also - having dated guys from both worlds, I can say there *is* a difference. The yeshivish guys tend to be slightly more "straight and narrow" while the non often figure that if it's not assur, it's ok. Of course - that's just on average. There are bums and scholars in both camps. (And *sigh* I've dated them both.)

    I have a question, though: This Rabbi B - what did *his* father do for a living?

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  15. SaraK - Agreed all the way. The problem is this: these kids shouldn't really be asking him these kinds of questions

    Often, they don't know any better, and when they hear all this, they think the problem must be with them. They don't know well enough of other viewpoints, or are convinced that those viewpoints are 'wrong' from the get go.

    Bad4 - Arguing the points is fine. Everyone can disagree. Some people think one derech is truly better - that's their right (so long as they don't force it on others). That works both ways.

    Considering that YU guys aren't any friendlier toward yeshivish guys, I think kettles should beware of calling pots black.

    While that is sometimes the case, I find that to be rare. But granted, there's guilt all around on this in general.

    The yeshivish guys tend to be slightly more "straight and narrow" while the non often figure that if it's not assur, it's ok.

    In terms of what?

    There are bums and scholars in both camps.

    Very true.

    I have a question, though: This Rabbi B - what did *his* father do for a living?

    I love that Q in general. :)

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  16. However, you are certainly highly critical and very judgemental, both of which are not good midos at all.

    Um...pot - kettle - black?

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  17. I'm just surprised at RAB's comments considering who his employer's father in law and son in law and many of the other employees there...

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  18. Besides the horror of the sinas chinam exhibited in the email, tow points: How can he write this stuff knowing that it could be read by thousands? Secondly, as another commenter pointed out, a lot of OJ rebbeim went to YU and the yeshiva maintains close ties with the university. I can't imagine it sits well with YU that the rosh kollel of a yeshiva they're affiliated with is saying this kind of stuff.

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  19. Oh and did anyone else notice another question at the bottom of the email (not on the post here) where a yeshiva guy says something to the effect of, "I come from a Modern Orthodox background but I went to Israel and was zoche to flip out." Priceless.

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  20. How can he write this stuff knowing that it could be read by thousands?

    Alludes to, what I think is, an important point.

    The correspondence included in the public e-mails are hand picked by the respondent. This is in no way a case where the information was not meant for public consumption/benefit/instruction.

    Also kind of gives a good peek at what is considered "good for the Olam to hear".

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  21. "Entertainment"???? "Entertainment"??!!!?!?!!!
    "ENTERTAINMENT"?

    This is exactly the kind of entertainment that caused the destruction of our Bet HaMikdash!

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  22. I don't see what I've gained from reading this, or what makes it "important."

    I'm sure we all know hard-core Yeshivish people who would disagree with this rabbi, and would consider it very assur to hate YU people or speak disparagingly of them.

    Why is it important to know that one (rather extreme-toned) rabbi disagrees?

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  23. This is exactly the kind of entertainment that caused the destruction of our Bet HaMikdash!

    How so?
    (not saying you're wrong or right, just asking for a little more reasoning)

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  24. I'm sure we all know hard-core Yeshivish people who would disagree with this rabbi, and would consider it very assur to hate YU people or speak disparagingly of them.

    Absolutely.

    I don't see what I've gained from reading this, or what makes it "important."

    Why is it important to know that one (rather extreme-toned) rabbi disagrees?


    Fair points/questions, which is exactly why we posted it. I think it is important for people to see the opinions that those who have an influence on their children have. I don't think most people are aware of the type of thinking that is given over in places in EY, and just how pressured it is. That a Rav with these views has such a large e-mail list is a testament to the weight he carries among his former students, and a lot of that is built during that year or two that very impressionable students spend in Israel.

    Think about it this way: Most kids - particularly those from MO backgrounds - tend to go into schools in Israel with a very weak background. When going up against a great mind and knowledge base, there's almost no way that - with no challenge from any other viewpoint - the student won't be convinced that the Rebbe's approach isn't absolutely correct.

    A few people have noted that it's one thing for anyone to choose on an individual level how they want to live, who they want to follow. But when it becomes a large group, it becomes a cause for serious concern.

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  25. 1. It took this girl 12 questions to ask what exactly?! You’re taking up a Posek’s time (and apologizing for it) to ask an hashkafic question about dating? Ok, that I can hear. And what exactly about dating? You want to know how to be impressed with a guy? You want to know why yeshivish guys bash YU? You want to know why you’re not impressed with a yeshivish guy that bashes YU? I don’t get it. What exactly does this girl want in the first place, and if it’s about how she views guys, why is she even asking a Rebbi? She can’t figure out what turns her on and what turns her off by herself?! And this isn’t even the first person she asked because she already discussed it with how many other Rabbeim and Rebbetzins? Sooooo, is Rav B actually her Rav or not? And if not, I reiterate my main point, WHY is she even asking him this in the first place, whatever it is exactly that she’s actually asking?
    2. The answers, however outrageous they might look on paper, I’ll bet might have proved a lot better of a point had they been said in person. Seeing the look on a Rav’s face when he answers a completely retarded question with this look of bewilderment, like, “ok, what’s wrong with you?! WAKE UP! Think my child, THINK FOR YOURSELF! Make a decision or two or three! Learn to live on your own. WHY ARE YOU WASTING MY TIME?!?!?!” Say whatever you want about a year or two in Israel, but if you don’t come back knowing how to live like a Jew and think and act like a Jew, and I mean really think for yourself, what exactly have you done there? You learned how to make a leining, or you said a lot of tehilim, or whatever, you had a ton of accomplishments. That’s all well and good, but if you don’t come back with enough confidence in yourself to go about your life as an observant Jew, regardless of whatever affiliation/hashkafa/sect you choose to belong to, then what exactly have you accomplished? It seems sometimes that the dumber you are the easier it is to flip out. The less you think for yourself, and the more you just hold your 8 different Rav’s and Rebbetzin’s hands, the easier it is to just avoid your real issues. It’s great, you don’t really have to make any tough decisions b/c it’s all cut and dry (everything’s ossur), and every time you run into a bump in the road, just call your local (or not so local cuz he’s in Israel Rabbi). I mean, I really don’t know if Rav B was trying to prove a point to this girl by writing the things he wrote right here or not, but if he was, she didn’t really get it anyway. I didn’t even know girls asked him questions, and I wouldn’t have thought it was a good idea specifically for the point that he might not be the most sensitive and well suited Rav to be answering Eidel Freidel’s fluff-fest “shailah”. When a guy asks his Rebbi a question and the Rebbi just looks at him like he’s a retard, the quicker the guy, the quicker he realizes, wow, that was a dumb question, maybe I should really give that issue some more thought. The dumber dude asks and nudges and nudges and kvetches until he gets so off point, gets such a watered down answer, and totally loses track of what he was originally talking about, that his whole question becomes a worthless waste of time because the guy is too stupid to internalize that whole episode anyway. And that pretty much looks like what happened here. Poor girl. If you really need a Rav or Rebbetzin that badly because you don’t know what you like in a guy, then find one that you know really well (and that knows you even better!!!!) and stick with it. Oh and also, try thinking for yourself for a change. You sound like a shtark enough girl, I’m sure your judgment is pretty pure.
    3. Whether or not this was a smart idea to put out there or not is irrelevant now, because it’s there. And now that it is out there, at least try to learn from it. And discuss it! Maybe someone will read this and realize, you know what, maybe I’m not a 100% sure whether I’m so secure with my hashkafa right now, maybe I need to thinks some things through a little more. Hey, maybe I bash other groups that I actually know nothing about, just cuz my Rebbi always makes fun of them. Hey, why don’t I try to form my own opinion about those guys? And so on…

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  26. mordys, have some rachmonis on the girl. These types of rabbanim can be good at making life seem black and white, so quite a few kids "flip out" and start looking for a rav every year.

    People like this girl can't find one and in desperation turn to well-known personalities like Rav B.

    And by the way, the rav's answers weren't yours. He wasn't saying, "Think for yourself." He was saying, "Let me think for you."

    To me, such a rav is only good for people who don't think.

    I predict that there will be more of these types of rabbonim in the future. And the scary thing is, in the next dor, they're gonna be Roshei Yeshiva..

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  27. By the by G, this is my favorite post this year! Shkoyach!

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  28. I have a hard time believing that this is legit--but assuming that it is, it pains me to no end.

    But however outrageous it is, I do not see the value in posting it--as previous commentors mentioned, I think that it is more likely to promote sinas chinam than to stimulate any meaningful debate or discussion. Addressing the issues raised by the existence of this correspondence is one thing, but posting it in its entirety simply to shock and horrify seems counterproductive, and is more likely to produce ad hominem attacks than productive action.

    And as regards entertainment value, I will risk incurring G's scorn and displeasure and aver that we should never reach a point where we can laugh off something like this (though laughing at it is, I suppose, a desperate alternative to tears).

    On a different note, does anyone else think that Eidel Freidel’s fluff-fest “shailah” sounds like the name of a children's book?

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  29. 1)If I'm not mistaken, Rav B went to YU himself.

    2) There have been emails written to Rav B. about why he said this in a public forum. He claimed that he thought 95% of his readership were Bais Yaakov girls and guys, especially YU guys, don't read his emails.

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  30. Whether or not this was a smart idea to put out there or not is irrelevant now, because it’s there. And now that it is out there, at least try to learn from it. And discuss it! Maybe someone will read this and realize, you know what, maybe I’m not a 100% sure whether I’m so secure with my hashkafa right now, maybe I need to thinks some things through a little more. Hey, maybe I bash other groups that I actually know nothing about, just cuz my Rebbi always makes fun of them. Hey, why don’t I try to form my own opinion about those guys? And so on…

    Yes.

    I see the point of view that this is all out there in the public view anyway over the internet, so posting it on Ezzie's blog is not violating anyone's privacy, but at the same time, the tone of the post seems to be advocating a sort of, "omg, look how RIDICULOUS this Rabbi is, lol!!!!!" which, while some of what the Rabbi says is odd and upsetting, is somewhat of a disrespectful approach.

    However, now that it's posted, I think it's definitely legit to discuss the issues involved, I just don't think it should be while pointing and laughing at the absurdity of the Rabbi while doing so. And while I love humor, at a certain point things are just not funny.

    On a different note, does anyone else think that Eidel Freidel’s fluff-fest “shailah” sounds like the name of a children's book?

    Totally!

    One day, Eidel Freidel had a shailah. She did not know what she was supposed to do with her shailah, so she asked her teacher in school. Her teacher said Eidel Freidel should ask a Rav. Eidel Freidel did not know any Ravs, so she went outside to look for one.

    She looked high and low, East and West, around every corner and behind every tree, but she did not see any Ravs. Suddenly, Eidel Freidel stumbled across a big, life-sized container of marshmallow fluff.

    "Mmm," she thought and decided she would make her shailah all sweet and sugary by dipping it into the fluff. Eidel Freidel climbed up, up, up onto the very tip of the container. Then she frowned. How was she to dip her shailah into the fluff if it was inside her head? Eidel Freidel decided she would have to dip herself in the fluff. She stuck out one foot, closed her eyes, pinched her nose, and jumped.

    SPLOOSH! SQUINCH! Eidel Freidel was completely immersed in the marshmallow fluff!

    "This must be what a mikva is like!" she thought as she splashed around and got fluff all over her hair.

    When Eidel Freidel (and her shaila) was sufficiently covered in fluff, she decided it was time to leave the fluff-fest. With much huffing and puffing and impossible feats of physics, Eidel Freidel climbed out of the life-sized container to commence her search for a Rav.

    There was one problem. Eidel Freidel was all dirty!

    Everyone she passed gave her what looked suspiciously like the Evil Eye and Eidel Freidel was afraid that her condition would make future shidduch opportunities very scarce indeed. She rushed home to take a bath.

    While Eidel Freidel was bathing, she not only washed away all the fluff, but she washed her shailah away with it!

    Eidel Meidel was clean and happy, for she no longer had a shailah and that meant she no longer had to search for a Rav. And the marshmallow fluff tasted good.

    The end.

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  31. MordyS - In your own (slightly convoluted :) ) way, I think that made sense. The point is that people should be going in looking to learn and and gain from the knowledge and wisdom of these Rabbeim, but at the same time, give a little more attention to just what the advice is that they're getting and does it really make sense.

    Baruch - People like this girl can't find one and in desperation turn to well-known personalities like Rav B.

    Interesting point.

    SJ - [note to others, most of this was discussed off blog]

    I think there are good and important reasons for posting this, and the style actually keeps away most ad hominem-type comments in the comments (as we're 30+ comments in so far and doing ok). Moreover, I do think it's important to be able to laugh things like this off.

    Anon - 1) I was trying to recall if that was the case, but I don't know that it makes a difference whatsoever.

    2) I find that odd, knowing a number of guys who get and read the emails; the number of people I saw forwarding this along were guys, and tracing back as originally from guys.

    Erachet - However, now that it's posted, I think it's definitely legit to discuss the issues involved, I just don't think it should be while pointing and laughing at the absurdity of the Rabbi while doing so.

    That's where we're going with this now - getting down to the issues.

    That story was AWESOME. :D

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  32. @ erachet and her Keeed's Boook-
    Wuat?!?!!!
    (Does not snort with laughter, because it's allergy season and SJ's computer.)

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  33. Jackie-

    I think you are mis-understanding the intention of the post. The goal was not neccessarily for there to be any "gain". I read it...I thought it was funny in an over-the-top sort of way...the Eminem song popped into my head...it went up the next day.

    That's the extent of my intention-as is normally the case-to have a little fun with things that usually get taken far too seriously.

    MordyS-

    I had heard they were working on something to stream one's thoughts directly to a computer...cool.
    (seriously, damn that's alot of typing)

    Baruch-

    Thank you, this is what i do.
    (It may not be everyone's cup of tea, but so be it)

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  34. SJ-

    I have a hard time believing that this is legit

    Its factualness has been confirmed by two separate people who receive the weekly e-mails.

    I do not see the value in posting it--as previous commentors mentioned,

    Asked and answered – true, perhaps not to your liking but nevertheless.

    I think that it is more likely to promote sinas chinam than to stimulate any meaningful debate or discussion.

    Maybe, maybe not. We’ll see. If you read the post again there is no mention anywhere of negativity toward any of the ideas expressed, only the manner in which they where put forth.

    Addressing the issues raised by the existence of this correspondence is one thing, but posting it in its entirety simply to shock and horrify seems counterproductive, and is more likely to produce ad hominem attacks than productive action.

    So let me understand…it would be okay to put this out there if attached to it was my own personal response to the issues raised and the approach taken. Why is my opinion worth any more than those of the e-mailers and how does its presence negate any possible wrong of putting up their exchange? It’s okay to do something wrong so long as you use it in an attempt to bring about a dialogue?
    “Shock and horrify”…really? Shock and horrify?

    And as regards entertainment value, I will risk incurring G's scorn and displeasure and aver that we should never reach a point where we can laugh off something like this

    A. You “aver”, do you? Well(!), I never…(seriously,Good word)
    B. I have rarely incurreded (what is the opposite motion of incurring anyway?) scorn. Maybe bestow it from time to time, but never incurreded.
    C. If you can’t laugh at this, then what is your alternative?

    (though laughing at it is, I suppose, a desperate alternative to tears).

    Why desperate? Tears!? This stuff isn’t worth the Kleenex required to wipe them away.

    One more time…stop thinking so much about the post and just read it. I promise, the funny measure will go up by a factor of x10.

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  35. Erachet-

    the tone of the post seems to be advocating a sort of, "omg, look how RIDICULOUS this Rabbi is, lol!!!!!"

    YES! EXACTLY!!! Finally...geez.

    which, while some of what the Rabbi says is odd and upsetting, is somewhat of a disrespectful approach

    Respect is earned, it's not a right.

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  36. For the record:

    I think it says alot that this post can get over 30 comments while the Caption Contest (which I think a far superior effort)struggles to break 20.

    People, try exercising the irreverent side of your brain a little more...you may enjoy the benefits.

    --not that being serious and thoughtful are not commendable attributes, just...learn to shut it off every once in a while and let the kid at the back of the classroom that is your mind have a chance to "present"--

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  37. Hi G -

    Thanks for posting this!

    I found it entertaining in a weirdish sort of way. It did not cause me to think badly of people in general, I do not harbor ill-will towards rabbanim who don't write this sort of stuff, I don't roll my eyes when I hear of shidduch questions (that aren't holier than thou), and overall, found this posting to be a fascinating exchange of the looniness that exists today.

    If you get banned from posting this on Ezzie's blog, you can post "sub-par III" on mine :-)

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  38. I agree with sarak--Even if he was their rav in Israel, once the girls come home they change and should find a local rav or mentor. In addition he teaches many girls and boys in Israel and can't possibly really know all them.

    Just to note--I had him as a teacher in Israel. He was a fantastic teacher and not at all brainwashing in the classroom.

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  39. --not that being serious and thoughtful are not commendable attributes, just...learn to shut it off every once in a while and let the kid at the back of the classroom that is your mind have a chance to "present"--

    All I could think of was this.

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  40. Respect is earned, it's not a right.

    Of course. But there is such a thing as respecting Rabbanim and teachers, even if you don't agree with them. The only time I would disrespect a teacher is if that teacher or Rav did something to me that deserved such a loss of respect.

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  41. Just to clarify my above comment, I mean that I honestly don't mind that this email exchange was posted or that people are poking fun at some of the ridiculous things that were said, but what I DO mind is all the stuff written around the email exchange that makes the RAV look like a joke rather than just his words.

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  42. I just got an email that rav balenson is temporarily suspending his emails for personal reasons

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  43. I just got an email that rav balenson is temporarily suspending his emails for personal reasons

    I saw this earlier. That could be for any number of reasons, and I wouldn't assume anything from it.

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  44. i didnt mean to imply that all. im sorry if it seemed that way.

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  45. But there is such a thing as respecting Rabbanim and teachers, even if you don't agree with them.

    What exactly would this respect be based on? If you mean an assumption that one in such a position normally is one deserving of repect than I agree. However, if such a person shows themselves to be underserving than to me the title alone does not do a whole lt for me.

    The only time I would disrespect a teacher is if that teacher or Rav did something to me that deserved such a loss of respect.

    Agreed; and based on this your problem in this case is...

    what I DO mind is all the stuff written around the email exchange that makes the RAV look like a joke rather than just his words.

    Do/Say something once and you're making a statement. Do/Say it twice and it's who you are.

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  46. What exactly would this respect be based on? If you mean an assumption that one in such a position normally is one deserving of repect than I agree. However, if such a person shows themselves to be underserving than to me the title alone does not do a whole lot for me.

    Agreed; and based on this your problem in this case is...


    The respect is based on the fact that such people have a higher rank in the world than I do and if I don't have a reason to start ridiculing them, why would I? In this case, I personally do not feel offended by anything this rav has to say. It is so over the top and ridiculous that I just can't take it seriously enough to be offended by it. However, I still recognize he is a rav and, since I am not and do not hold as esteemed a position in the world, I am not going to start ridiculing him and speaking about him as though he was a joke because I don't feel angry enough to. I just don't care enough about this particular rav's opinions. But I also don't feel comfortable making fun of him and laughing at him. I can laugh at his words, but I can't laugh at him. He is not a clown, he is a rav. It makes me cringe that we can speak about rebbeim as though they were just another of our peers, and, you know what? Even if this person was not a rav, I don't feel comfortable making fun of people like that. I can laugh at what they say, but I can't laugh at them.

    Saying radical things I don't agree with does not make someone lose my respect in such a way that I will ridicule them. I just won't give much thought to anything else they have to say.

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  47. Saying radical things I don't agree with does not make someone lose my respect in such a way that I will ridicule them. I just won't give much thought to anything else they have to say.

    Saying them, no.
    Teaching them...yes.

    --this is beside the point that i do not feel the post treads into the realm of "ridicule".
    I will take full responsibility for joking and dis-respect.

    I still recognize he is a rav and, since I am not and do not hold as esteemed a position in the world,
    I am not going to start ridiculing him and speaking about him as though he was a joke because I don't feel angry enough to.

    These are two VERY different points. While I wholeheartedly agree with the second, I cannot tell you how much the first makes me cringe.

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  48. "It makes me cringe that we can speak about rebbeim as though they were just another of our peers,"

    Newsflash--they are our peers. Unlike other religions, many of whom come close to "deifying" their clergy, Judaism does not. If a person is very learned we venerate that learning. If that same person does something foolish or acts out of the norm then he is fair game. If anything, there is something very off about a person who is very learned not being able to deal with the public: such a person belongs in the Bais Medrash but not in a position where he has to deal with the public constantly. If a Rav is a community leader then the talents, skills and requirements for that are not the identical ones necessary for being a great lamdan or an excellent teacher. It is rare that one person can be an inspiring teacher, learn on an exalted madrega and deal successfully with the public. Unfortunately, today we expect that of everyone with the title of Rav. And we tend to give out that title a bit too frequently as well.

    Posting this email exchange is helpful, rather than harmful, because it points out rather plainly that one needs to be careful of whom one asks a shailoh. Where is the young lady's personal rav in all of this? Why was this not a face to face discussion with someone who could ask the type of clarifying questions needed? We wouldn't accept the diagnosis of a doctor on a medical site for a condition that we may or may not have, because he hadn't seen us in person. Why would we accept a rav's "diagnosis" given in this way?

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  49. hahahahhha

    wtf


    thats all i have to say

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  50. Saying radical things I don't agree with does not make someone lose my respect in such a way that I will ridicule them. I just won't give much thought to anything else they have to say.

    Erachat I wouldn't even say that. I'm glad you're sticking up for respect of Rabbonim, but people are people- as ProfK said- and just like us, sometimes we do good things and sometimes we do bad things. And you try to learn from both. When a person says something you don't respect, that's a sign to be on the lookout, that's all. You need more than one thing to completely dismiss his words.

    If you don't like one thing he says you very well might like another.

    Ps- thanks for the post and discussion. Top much to get into, but I am grateful to have learntroyour varied opinions. 2 Jews= three opinions. :)

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  51. For all those who are simply bashing Rav Balanson because he is espousing a chareidi point of view, let's review the facts.

    A girl writes saying she wants to marry a yeshivish boy who appreciates YU. She states she knows everything and can decide what is good or bad middos.

    Rav Balanson writes back that she is an idiot because by definition a yeshivish boy will not appreciate YU. it's a stira. And she is an idiot bchlal.

    obviously, all of her mentors have not been able to tell this single women that she is ruining her life with her fantasy world views of men and marriage. A Rav tries to tell her powerfully and you are all offended. She shouldn't have asked and she shouldn't be so stupid.

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  52. Newsflash--they are our peers.

    I dunno. I never saw myself as a peer to a Rav.

    And we tend to give out that title a bit too frequently as well.

    This may be so, but I don't consider myself knowledgeable enough to determine who has been wrongly deemed "Rabbi." Just because I don't agree with someone doesn't mean other people won't. I don't find that I have to agree with a person in order to recognize that that person holds a certain standing in the Jewish community that is above my own. Perhaps we do not deify Rebbeim, but we certainly do place them on a level above the common layman. Of course they have faults - no one is saying they are perfect and I am certainly not trying to defend anything this Rav said because I find it all rather awful, but while you may feel comfortable speaking about a Rav like he's just another troublemaker kid in the back of the class, I do not.

    Posting this email exchange is helpful, rather than harmful

    I never argued that the email exchange should not have been posted. I was merely expressing my discomfort with the way it was posted.

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  53. Anonymous, I don't understand your last paragraph. Do you mind clarifying it?

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  54. The "email exchange" is funny, funny like a comedy sketch and the comments are even funnier. I don't know this rabbi and after reading this, I can say this is one rabbi I don't want to get know personally and would not consult him even if he was the last rabbi on this planet.

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  55. Sefer Chofetz Chaim, Klal Bet, Se'if Gimmel, "v'davka lesaper b'derech akrai, avul lo sheyitkaven l'ha'avir hakol u'l'galoto yotair". Free translation: "and (this where it is permitted to say over loshon hara because it was said in front of three people and therefore is considered to be "public knowledge" as it will anyway be passed on) is only if the subject matter comes up in passing but (it is not permitted to say it over) if one's intention is specifically to make it known even more than it is already. Your intentions in spreading this matter seem to be pretty clear from this past exchange " You're offended? Write a letter to OJ. Start a petition. Show it to other Rabomin and get a response.

    I think this is far more effective."

    I would assume that you have someone with whom you are mekayem "aseh lecha rav". Would it not be appropriate to consult as to the propriety of posting this matter ?

    Hachotem b'tz'ar l'elbona shel Torah.

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  56. >>The yeshivish guys tend to be slightly more "straight and narrow" while the non often figure that if it's not assur, it's ok.

    In terms of what?<<

    In terms of everything. The forever learner tends to think, "Why should I [be allowed to] do something like that?" The worker tends to think, "Why shouldn't I?"


    It's a little like the shirt color - the yeshiva guy needs a reason to deviate from the white shirt 'norm', while the worker points out that there is nothing the faintest bit wrong with color. That's a small thing, but it diverges into matters like, oh, say, skydiving.
    "Skydiving? Why skydive? It's a crazy goyish entertainment form and you're probably over on vinishmartem."

    "Hey it's fun. It's mostly safe. Why not?"

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  57. PS: You keep saying this is publicly available. Where?

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  58. "Rav Balanson writes back that she is an idiot because by definition a yeshivish boy will not appreciate YU. it's a stira. And she is an idiot bchlal."

    1)No, he doesn't. He writes back that they're justified in bashing YU.

    2)In any case, that's not true. As previous comments have said, there are many relatively yeshivish people who do not bash YU.

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  59. Of course the irony in all of this is that Rabbi Balanson is a graduate of... none other than Yeshiva University!
    See http://www.yoy.org.il/template.php?section=SF

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  60. ROFL!

    Actually I have started to dislike YU recently, so I guess I'm doing a mitzvah. Cool.

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  61. Shlomo-
    Rav Balenson is not a graduate of YU. He went there for one semester and promptly left it. I'm surprised that OJ even mentions it in his bio.

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  62. Bad4 - I meant a more specific example that you've come across. I'm not sure that the "why not" approach is somehow worse; many people have said wisely that "anyone can be machmir; it takes someone who knows what they're talking about to be maikel". It's not quite the same point, but I don't know that assuming things are not okay is the proper approach. Obviously there is a balance to this on both sides.

    It was posted to a very large email listing (hundreds of people) that R' Balanson ran.

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  63. Because it pays to look like their faculty has secular educations. It's a phenomenon David Berger likes to point out.

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  64. you guys are all off your rocker. Rav Balanson didnt say to hate YU, he was responding to the specific lines above which he cut in and wrote his comment. This is how he responds to shailos. He was responding to this line solely
    " To me its pure sinas chinam and bashing yiddin, no matter what their hashkafa, drives the shchina away.
    Rabbi Balanson said "A: TOTALLY AND COMPLETELY WRONG!! Rabbeinu Yona writes very clearly that anyone who isn't willing to HATE those who go against HaShem, is a bad person!! YOUR hashkafa here is way way off."
    He clearly meant that the idea that her saying it is wrong to hate yidden 'no matter what their hashkafah is ' was COMPLETELY WRONG. He quoted Rabbeinu yona as saying that if a Jew hated Hashem then you must hate the yid who hates Hashem.
    The fools who think he was referring to people in YU are out of their minds-- kust email him for gosh sakes

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  65. R Balanson was responding to
    "To me its pure sinas chinam and bashing yiddin, no matter what their hashkafa, drives the shchina away."
    to which Rabbi Balanson responded "A: TOTALLY AND COMPLETELY WRONG!! Rabbeinu Yona writes very clearly that anyone who isn't willing to HATE those who go against HaShem, is a bad person!! YOUR hashkafa here is way way off."
    He clearly said that there are individuals in YU who do bad things and Rabbeinu yona says to hate them-- not to hate all the rabbis in YU.

    the people commenting in this blog are tipshim

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  66. YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF YOURSELVES - SPEAKING BADLY AND CAUSING DAMAGE TO A TALMID CHACHAM IS A HORRINLE SIN, AND WILL BACKFIRE BIG TIME! RAV BALANSON, SHLIT"A RESPONDED PERFECTLY, ACCORDINGLY TO THE TRUE DAAS TORAH OF G'DOLEI ISRAEL. AH, YOU ARE NOT FAMILIAR WITH THE TRUE DAAS TORAH? I CAN TELL. GO TO RAV ELYASHIV, TO RAV SHTEINMAN, TO RAV KANIEVSKY, EXPLAIN TO THEM WHAT IS YU AND FIND OUT WHAT THEY HAVE TO SAY ABOUT IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  67. Rav Balanson is one of the greatest Talmid Chachamim in Israel. He has the best middos of any person in Yeshiva or Secular world.

    I know this because I learned under him for a long time.

    All of you on this web site should be ashamed, and Hashem will take you to task for bad mouthing the Torah , which Rav Balanson lives and represents.

    This was a person email not meant for public display and the views and opinions meant for that person.

    As a proud graduate of YU ( i as there for 4 year which is more than most); I must agree with Rav Balason. There are great Gedolim at YU and the oposite is true. Just look at the student body.

    Who ever has anything bad to say about Rav Balanson you might as well say it about Rav Moshe Feinstein. Because Rav Balanson is a living Torah in every way.

    Just face it -- the truth hurts. Torah is Emes -- there is no political correctness.

    I hope the author of this blog and those disparaging Rav Balanson - who is also an expert Mekubal, have asked for mechila; otherwise i fear for you and your neshama.

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