Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A Sub-Par Spin III...

...I'm reading your new words
Got me ten different kinds of sad
And I'm hearing what you say
But I just can't believe you now
You tell me that you need me
Then you go and cut me down
But wait...
You tell me that you're sorry
Didn't think I'd turn around and say..

That it's too late to apologize, it's too late
I said it's too late to apologize, it's too late
See yesterday's post. (previously:Sub-Par, Sub-Par II, Why Post)

I am posting the below e-mail as a way of responding to Rav Balanson's "apology" for his remarks. Each person can judge for themselves if they feel that he honestly thinks his original comments were truly "insensitive, untrue and unfounded" and "far harsher than in the context in which they were stated".

In an odd sort of way I am very disappointed in Rav Balanson. I may not have agreed with his worldview and am glad that the result is what it turned out to be. However, despite it all there was at least a sense of respect for someone who held what he held and was willing to say it straight regardless of how it sounded to others, who did and said what he thought was right and was his idea of the true ratzon Hashem and damn those who just don't or won't get it.

Oh well...I guess it's easier when the person on the other side is a kid who doesn't know what he knows yet. So much for doing what God wants and following/listening to Da'as Torah no matter what.

--this e-mail was never part of the publicly sent chain, it was sent in response to personal e-mail about the original remarks concerning YU made by Rav Balanson... I received it via e-mail--
Rabbi, I love and respect you deeply, but this recent set of Q and A's really let me down. How can you bash a respected yeshiva like YU so openly? It's really insulting to the hundreds of sincere bochrim learning there now and to the thousands of graduates such as myself. I really hope that you apologize for these comments soon, before these comments spread even further than it has. For OJ's sake, please apologize.

A: Two points. First of all, I will copy for you a letter that I sent out to one of my talmidim, which explains the situation - a bit of dan l'kaf z'chus would be nice. Second of all, the OJ newsletter will include a letter that I sent to Dr. Davis at YU, clarifying my stand.

Thank you and have a Chag Kasher V'Sameach.

Asher Balanson

The letter that I wrote to one of the talmidim:

I hope Rebbe is doing well. I recently read this passage in one of rebbe's emails and just wanted to ask a few questions.

A: Certainly.

1) Does Rebbe feel that is a mitzvah to hate the entity of YU?

A: YU is certainly against the accepted Daas Torah, both here in Eretz Yisroel and in America. The people who run it are going against Daas Torah and therefore are going against Ratzon HaShem.

Or is it a mitzvah to hate the boys who learn in YU?

A: Chas V'Shalom!! Most of them either aren't aware that Daas Torah is otherwise or else are forced into going there by parents. And, some of them rely on Rabbanim who hold otherwise than the accepted Daas Torah. There would not be a heter to hate the boys who learn there.

The rebbes whoteach in YU?

A: Also, Chas V'Shalom. I don't know all of them personally, but I assume that they are teaching there because they want to do their best to influence the talmidim as best as they can. That is a very noble intention.

What about MTA, which is an affiliate of YU?

A: MTA is like any other Modern Orthodox Yeshiva High School. They all aren't interested in Daas Torah, but that is because that is the way they were raised. We ought not to hate them, chas v'Shalom.

Are they all considered to HATE Hashem?

A: Of course not. They simply either don't understand what HaShem wants or don't care enough about what he wants to make changes in their lives.

2) If someone is shomer torah u'mitzvos but he learns in YU, is he b'chlal
amisecha? Are the rebbeim b'chlal amisecha?

A: I don't know what you mean by "amisecha". If you mean "amcha", then of course the shomer mitzovs people are amcha as are the Rebbeim. It is the institution - and some of the people who make the decisions there (the Rebbeim themselves often are not happy with the decisions made there and there is nothing that they can do about that).

3) Is it permitted/encouraged to make fun of specific YU Rebbeim, for
example, R' Hershel Schachter is a fool.

A: You shouldn't have written that even as a question. Of course you aren't allowed to make fun of Talmidei Chachamim!! I think that Rav Schachter himself is critical of many things that take place at YU, but there is little, if anything, that he can do about it.

Or R' Mordechai Willig is a big am haaretz.

A: Again, you shouldn't have even written this as a question. How could anyone be able to say such a crazy thing? Rav Willig also is critical about what happens in YU.

R' Yitchok Cohen is a shaygetz.

A: This is totally absurd. Rav Cohen is a big Tzaddik as everyone knows. And everyone also knows how much he has suffered at the hands of the people who make the decisions in MTA and in YU!! I assume that he remains there because of the very important influence he has on the bachurim there. However, he most certainly doesn't agree to all that goes on there, as I am sure that you know. Rav Parnes, after having taught in the Yeshiva for fifty years, left the Yeshiva because of the way the people who run the place were acting and the decisons that they were making.

4) Is it preferable to refer to the rebbeim there in a derogatory manner,
such as JB soloveitchik?

A: Again, we don't speak that way about Talmidei Chachamim!! Doing so is playing with fire.

I have been a long time reader and talmid of rebbe. I am sorry if this letter appears to be chutzpadik, but I would REALLY appreciate if rebbe could answer my questions, because right now I am severely confused.

A: I hope that I have explained myself. My intent was to speak against the institution, not about the Talmidei Chachmim who teach there or about the boys who are shomer mitzvohs and learn Torah there.

Chag Kasher V'Sameach

A: And the same to you .


It's too late to apologize, it's too late
I said it's too late to apologize, it's too late
I said it's too late to apologize, yeah yeah
I said it's too late to apologize, a yeah

I'm reading your new spin
Got me ten different kinds of sad...