WorldPride Gay Parade Cancelled

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Thanks to Ori for the tip from Maariv in Hebrew — it’s now confirmed from multiple sources in English as well. On Friday, Jerusalem Police denied the parade a permit, telling organizers of the “WorldPride” Gay Parade that due to the current hostilities they were unable to provide “a safe environment.” The organizers have therefore cancelled the event.

Baruch HaTov VeHaMeitiv. May the end of this spiritual threat bring with it the end to the physical threat to the Holy Land.

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49 Responses

  1. hp says:

    Thank you. I am still not sure why the concept of hester panim precludes attempting to understand why tragic events occured.Even if the concept of “seemingly ignoring…” is true, it doesn’t answer the reason why H-Shm made it happen in the first place. In regards to a layman such as myself, who does not have da’as Torah, I was told by a respected Talmid Chacham that when I encounter difficulties, it is proper to try to ascertain what I may have done wrong to bring on punishment. He qualified that by saying that my reasoning may be far from accurate, but it still is proper to attempt to search my deeds, and that this response is the Torah response to hardship. All the more so for Da’as Torah, who truly do have insight and answers that are beyond the scope and knowledge of laymen. Their Torah is not mere intellectual aquisition and academia; they become living Torah, guides for the nation. So I don’t know that hester panim would obsolve us from trying to determine causes, or preclude the average person from hearkening to the words of our Gedolim.

  2. Steve Brizel says:

    HP-Hester Panim means that HaShem seemingly ignores tragedy for reasons best and only known to Him. That is the response that Moshe Rabbeinu recieved to his his inquiry re Tzadik vra lo-that there is no answer to the issue of theodicy ( Brachos 7a) and that there are historical and religious epocs when it appears as if our prayers, etc are being ignored and rejected Chas Ve Shalom. Tisha Bav, as the one day in which we are commanded to recall the tragedies symbolizes that in so many ways-including what we call “Seder HaYom.” That is precisely why anything that smacks of selicha, etc is omitted from our Tefilos on Tisha B Av-no Tachanun, Vidui, Thirteen Midos, no Kadish Tiskabel.

  3. Baruch Horowitz says:

    All commentators appear to be merely expressing different sides of a multi-dimensional coin, rather than significantly disagreeing. Most importantly, everyone on this thread considers the Rambam in Hilchos Taanis to be a fundamental Torah source on how to respond to public misfortune, r\’l. That Rambam makes it clear that Teshuva is obligatory, and that Hashem\’s hashgacha is responsive to, and is affected by Klal Yisrael\’s behavior; see also Ramban, end of Parshas Bo.

    Exactly how a massive teshuva campaign in 1939 amongst religious Jews(but not amongst assimilated Jews) would have affected the Holocaust, for example, is not for me to answer. However, great people indeed took hisorerus from events and yet, avoided simplistic answers.

    The following issues are involved in explanations given for catastrophic events:

    A) Certainty of Explanation: Two sources given for Daas Torah in this instance are \”Chacham adif m\’navi\”(Bava Basra 12a) and \”Sh\’al avicha v\’yagecha\”. Does this mean that in every aspect, a Gadol\’s wisdom is equal to and surpasses prophecy in clarity? Certainly, the Rambam\’s laws of prophecy in Yesodei Hatorah don\’t apply to Gedolim! Is a margin of error allowed in a present day Gadol\’s interpretation of events, or does such speculation take away from Emunas Chachamim(see Gittin 56b and Michtav Meliyahu I pp. 75-77 regarding this issue).

    Are explanations of events given intended only as suggestions for Teshuva and introspection, or as definitive historical causation? Is there a distinction between general causes such as assimilation and the Holocaust, or specific ones, such as a the parade in Yerushalayim? What about assigning causation based on timing and proximity of events ? Would all anti-Maimondeans agree to the supposition connecting the burning of the Talmud to that of the Rambam\’s seforim?

    B) Complexity of Hashgacha: Hashem\’s judgments are unfathomable–\”Mishpatecha tehom rabba\”. The Ramchal in Daas Tevunos clearly assigns a complex view to hashgacha as far as causation, particularly theodicy. In cases of enormous and incomprehensible human tragedy like the Holocaust(see quote from Chazon Ish in link # 2), or on another level, the Lebanese war, is it appropriate to speak of complexity, and of many dimensions of causation? Or does the very fact that we speak of complexity and not in terms of mono-causality, take away from \”seeing Hashem in history\” and being inspired to do Teshuva? Does it depend on the time and place of such discussion?

    C) Effective Tochaca: We do not want to turn Jews away from Torah. From experience, we know that the media takes explanations the wrong way–it doesn\’t subscribe to the gemara in Bava Basra :). The media and internet situation today is different than that of times of Yirmeyahu or the Chassid Yaavetz. Should \”hasbara\” be done contemporaneously , or after the fact? Could the fact that the Orthodox world is fractionalized, be a contributing factor to the lack of contemporaneous Hasbara? How can we prevent misunderstanding–which has happened often in the past– when transmitting the message to the media?

    See also the Jewish Action link(in \”Features\” section) below regarding the Tsunami , which is a different issue in hashgacha questions. While everyone here is certainly not required to accept Rabbi Berel Berkovitz Ztl view on the Tsunami, note that he was a Talmid Chachom Shi\’gia L\’horah, and he is entitled to discuss the issue(see obituary). Also, the actual response of Torah Jewry to the Tsunami, is completely unrelated to his analysis of the Rambam in Hilchos T\’aanis.

    The truth is that there is a normal human bias against seeing Tochacha in history and current events, which we all are aware of. Neviim, Magiidim, and Mashgichim do not have it easy. When things get scary, that is indeed a time to increase Teshuva and Maasim Tovim in specific areas referred to by Gedolim to the best of our ability, as Bob states. However, I think that different approaches work for different people. For some people, it is helpful to imagine that each act or \”unit\” of immodesty is like a physical missile rachmana litzlan; others do not gain by this approach. Asei lecha Rav.

    May Hashem answer our tefillos in the merit of Teshuva, so these discussions become only academic!

    http://www.mechon-mamre.org/i/3901.htm
    http://www.ou.org/publications/ja/5765/5765summer/
    http://chareidi.shemayisrael.com/archives5765/ACH65arbrkwtz.htm
    http://torahweb.org/torah/2006/moadim/rwil_3weeks.html
    http://eineihaedah.blogspot.com/2006/07/response-to-hezbollah-war-part-2.html
    http://caykgh.blogspot.com/2004_12_01_caykgh_archive.html
    http://www.aish.com/torahportion/mayanot/The_Tragedy_of_Tragedy.asp
    http://www.aish.com/torahportion/mayanot/Assigning_Blame.asp

  4. hp says:

    I’m confused. I always understood hester panim to mean that H-Shem is “hiding”, preventing US from seeing His direct intervention and direction of everything in our world. H-Shm directs the world in any case with a Divine cheshbon, whether we see it or not.

    I have a feeling I am misunderstanding your post- I am reading it that during hester panim, we don’t need to think of possible causes to tragic events, because it is a result of ‘hester panim” rather than specific sins, or other Divine reasons. What does it mean that H-Shm ignores tragic events? It cannot be that “ignoring” means no direct manipulation of world events, no direct intervention in our individual lives, no Master Plan that precipitates, guides, and directly causes events in our lives.

    If I have misread the post, can you fill me in?

  5. Bob Miller says:

    Bottom line—When our Gedolim stress the need for teshuva in particular areas of concern, that is reason enough for us to snap to attention and do teshuva promptly and diligently in those areas.

  6. Steve Brizel says:

    Hillel-you posted that the Satmar Rav ZTL was entitled to his “understanding” of the “cause” of the Holocaust based upon his reading of numerous Drashos Chazal and other statements. Yet, that is hardly the end of the argument. Moshe Rabbeinu told Klal Yisrael in the Tochacha in Ki Savo that there will be episodes of hester panim-when HaShem ignores tragic events to Klal Yisrael . One can argue that the Siluk HaShechinah surrounding the Churban resurfaced during many different episodes in history-the Crusades, Spain, the Chelminitzy massacres and the Holocaust.

    No less than the Ramban understood that the situation of Klal Yisrael in Mitzrayim before they cried out from their oppression was one of complete hester panim.The Ritva states in his teshuvos that we do not say Kaddish Tiskabel on Tisha Bav because the whole motif of Tisha Bav is one where our tefilos, bakoshos, selichos,etc will not be answered( from Maariv thru Shacharis)We have a right as we do in Aicha and Kinos to cry over the events but to accept the Divine Judgement and then in the afternoon realize that teshuvah is always possible, even from the midst of such a catastrophic tragedy. RYBS, in a recently published work on Kinos, understood that the Holocaust was a similar episode of hester panim on a huge scale.

  7. Akiva says:

    Please note that the email address at the end of the letter on same-sex attractions (comment 36) should be:
    akivaSA at g mail dot com

    Apologies to anyone who tried to email me on the incorrect address.

  8. HILLEL says:

    Note:

    We’re talking abstract Torah theory, but there are potentially very grave implications to mistakes in Hashkafa. Klal Yisroel has to get its act together–fast:

    DEBKAfile Exclusive: Israeli intelligence ups estimate of Hizballah stock of Zelzal-2 missiles whose 250km range covers Tel Aviv and Jerusalem

    July 28, 2006, 1:56 PM (GMT+02:00)

    Israeli army chiefs fear that Hassan Nasrallah, having received the nod from Tehran Wednesday, will start firing them at central Israel over the weekend.

    Although the Israeli air force has destroyed some of these missiles which carry a 600 kilo payload, several dozen still remain. Thursday night and Friday morning, July 28, Israeli bombers struck Hizballah locations in the northern Beqaa Valley where the Zelzal-2 missiles are stored.

    DEBKAfile’s military sources add: The Israeli army discovered the 3.5-on, 8.46 meters long missiles were stored in buildings with strengthened floors and walls to carry their weight, their roofs removed and replaced with makeshift coverings such as branches and twigs. These coverings are dense enough to block the missiles from the view of Israeli aircraft but are easily removable to enable the rapid launch of the Zelzal from inside the building where it is stored. The warning by Israel’s generals about the Zelzal’s deployment also applies to the Mohajer-4, a pilotless aircraft packed with explosives. In November 2004 and April 2005, this Iranian drone penetrated Israeli airspace undetected.

  9. HILLEL says:

    Boruch and Steve:

    Perhaps, we could agree that different Torah leaders can attribute different causes to a given outcome.

    However, the fact that one Torah leader singles out one cause, while another singles out a different one should not be regarded as a contradiction–“Elu, Ve-Elu Divrei E’ Chaim.”–Both causes are probably involved, and none should be disregarded as irrelevant.

    In the present context, ALL the Torah leaders–Rav Eliashiv, Rav Steinman, Rav Sternbuch, Gerer Rebbe, to name just a few–have pointed a finger at sexual license as a major cause of our troubles.

    Rav Sternbuch has specifically singled-out the “WorldPride” festival as the most egregious contemporary example of this sexual anarchy, and the one that evokes heavenly wrath more than the others, because of its very public–in your face–rebellion against G-D in his Holy Land.

    We are recklessly irresponsible when we ignore the warnings of recognized Torah sages, or when we attempt to re-interpret or allegorize their words to the point where they are rendered meaningless and devoid of practical implications for our future behavior.

  10. Steve Brizel says:

    Theodicy,or why catastrophic events happen on a communal or individual level, is an issue that Moshe Rabbeinu sought the answer to and did not receive an answer from HaShem. The notion that Gdolim or lesser mortals can say “why” an event happened or “predict’ that an event will happen presupposes a level of Nevuah or Ruach HaKodesh that is above the level of our understanding or capacity to forecast. Many Gdolim also find logic that attributes any historical calamnity to any particular transgression, particularly after the cessation of nevuah, to be a rather severe form of intellectual imperialism-regardless of the source and orientation. The fact that some Gdolim “predicted” the Holocuast or view any other transgression as causative of a national or personal calamnity al derech hadrush cannot be viewed IMO as contributing to our understanding of history. Reductionist logic and drush is IMO no substitute for the study of all of the factors that led up to the Holocaust or any other tragedy.

  11. Baruch Horowitz says:

    Hillel,

    I also wish to add an addendum to my previous comments. I hope to submit it by tonight, or by Sunday, the latest. I also look forward to having further discussion, if you are interested, on my post(s) on a new group blog which will hopefully begin in mid-August, iy’h. E-mail me after Tisha Ba’av at borhowitz AT Yahoo dot Com if you, or anyone else would like more information.

    In the meantime you might want to modify the following……

    “In connection with Rav Moshe Sternbuch’s written (yes, written)statement that the Lebanon war is the result of homosexuals publicly defiling Jerusalem with their abominations, you wrote: “No one knows the ways of G-D.”

    “This is an agnostic statement. If all of us would react similarly to the words of our Torah leaders, we would all be cast adrift in our Golus.”

    In light of……

    “we do not claim to know the reason why troubles have befallen us, but certainly any areas we improve can be effective in removing HaKodosh Boruch Hu’s wrath”

    and

    “There is no way to know the ways of Heaven, but certainly every individual can examine his own conduct.”

    There can be more than one way of understanding these issues.

  12. Bob Miller says:

    Above (#9), I said, “We can’t know everything about the ways of HaShem, but we can at least know some things.” This is not calling “Torah Hashkofo murky and unknowable” (Hillel’s words above, #35).

    I did attempt to motivate Hillel to more carefully analyze Baruch’s position, which is not the same as mine.

  13. HILLEL says:

    Bob and Boruch:

    Addendum to my previous comment:

    Rav ELiashiv and Rav Steinman have not chosen to specifically point to the promotion of Homosexuality in Israeli society as the cause of our current tragedies, although they have allude to a lack of “tzenius.”

    The reason, I believe, is that they take the position that speaking about this perversion in public will give publicity to it and, c’v, possibly lead to curiousity among young impressionable bochurim who might becoming ensnared in this perverted Taava. The Gerer Rebbe has also taken this position, although he has workd actively behind the scenes.

    In fact, the Gedolim forbad their house organs–the Hamodia and the yated–from publishing stories about the battle against the GayPride festival, for fear of the negative consequences.

    Rav Sternbuch understood their position, but his ShiKul HaDaas came-down on the other side–silence could bring-down death and destruction on Am Yisroel, so it was imperative to speak out loudly and publicly. Joining Rav Sternbuch in this approach was Rav Michel Yehuda Lefkowitz, Rav Ovadia Yosef, Rav Mordechai Eliyohu, and Rav Amnon Yitzchok, who has organized a massive public rally in Teddy Kollek Stadium in Jerusalem next month–the them of this rally is “Jerusalem is not Sodom.”

    So, you see, the Torah Hashkofo is not as murky and unknowable as you think.

  14. HILLEL says:

    Bob:

    The passage I quoted from Rav Miller, ZT”L,–LaShov HiKeisi Es BeNeiChem, Mussar Lo LokoChu”–clearly implies that, despite the need for a nuanced approach, HaShem gives us clear and unambiuous messages, which can be discerned by Torah leaders whose minds have not been confused by reading too many newspapers that preach the randomness of current events.

    To accuse HaShem of killing countless innocent people for no reason at all, is Loshon Horah in the extreme. It is a true Chilul HaShem.

    We are obligated to search for the reasons for our tragedies, in order to understand where we need to mend our ways, in order to avoid further tragedies.

    When we throw-up our hands and say “who can really know why these tragic events happened to us,” we are frustrating G-D’s desire to lead us to a proper Teshuva.

    It is the role of the Torah leaders of each generation to observe the events around us and guide us in responding appropriately. Our role, as laymen, is to accept their leadership and respond, each of us on his own level.

    When we undermine the plain and straightforward statements of our Gedolim, because it makes us feel uncomfortable, we undermine our ability to do a proper Teshuva.

  15. Shlomo Zalman Jessel says:

    Here’s a recent letter written by one of the guys in my Jerusalem SSA group (the group for men struggling with same-sex attractions). I received permission to post it here, and to email it to a few individuals.

    One struggler’s thoughts on the Gay Pride March

    The planned Gay Pride march in Jerusalem – whether it takes place or not – is, no doubt, triggering a number of reactions in the Jewish world. But while most discussions revolve around national and religious issues, some of us are affected on a far more personal level. For those of us who are dealing with homosexual desires, this march represents a major crossroad in our lives.

    On one hand, we can continue with unanswered questions, double lives, and feelings of emptiness as we get left behind while everyone else seems to be finding their life-partners and settling down. Or, we can ‘come out’ and join the parade. We can embrace – and hopefully be embraced by – the Gay Community. The choice seems obvious.

    The march seems to offer so much: Glitz, glamour, freedom, liberalism, an accepting community, etc. But, remember all that glitters is not gold. I am not certain that it can fulfill all its promises.

    So, don’t run into any hasty decisions – just because the ‘circus has come to town’. Do not get caught up in the event and make bold ‘coming out’ announcements. Waving rainbow flags on national TV with thousands of others will definitely give you a sense of camaraderie, but what happens when they all go home? We owe it to ourselves to investigate all options before making decisions that could affect our entire lives.

    Rather use this time to investigate other options, and, yes, contrary to what the Gay Movement would have us believe, there are other options. Unfortunately, many of these have been stigmatized. The Gay Movement is very quick to cite the ineffective treatments of the past: exposing homosexual men to gay pornography and then giving them electrical shocks, or advising them to snap themselves with an elastic band every time they had a homosexual thought. Even if these were once was considered a cure for homosexuality, they are no longer.

    Today therapists have a far deeper insight into the root causes of homosexuality, and it is at this deeper level that they focus. A good place to start is finding out more about their theories and insights – you may be surprised at how closely their ideas resonate with you and your experiences. You can check out http://www.peoplecanchange.com, http://www.narth.com and http://www.jonahweb.org. In particular, look for articles by Joseph Nicolosi, Richard Cohen and Alan Medinger.

    But before you do, here are a few things that I wish I had been told when I first started:

    Firstly, you will often see the term “Reparative Therapy”. This is quite an unfortunate term, as it seems to imply that we are broken and need to be fixed. Don’t be put off by this. Once I understood the reasoning behind the term, a light went on. The term refers to therapy that is based on the “Reparative Drive Theory of Homosexuality”: Part of developing our masculinity is building healthy bonds with other men – particularly our fathers – but for whatever reason this did not happen early on in childhood. So in an attempt to repair these unmet needs for attention, affection and approval from other men, we develop same-sex attractions. Reparative Therapy focuses on pinpointing the initial factors that prevented these bonds from developing naturally, dealing with these factors, and then helping us develop these bonds, and to bring out other important qualities that have gone underdeveloped.

    This brings me to the next point. From my experience, very little of the therapy is actually focused on the same-sex attractions. Rather it focuses on a number of aspects that would benefit other aspects of our lives as well: Building better bonds with men. Developing healthier relationships with our parents. Feeling better about ourselves, our bodies, our insecurities. Building confidence and assertiveness. Taking healthy risks. Sports and exercise. Learning how to deal with stress, anger and rejection. Identifying triggers. Dealing with our unhealthy pornography and sex addictions. Aren’t these things that anyone would benefit from, whether they have same-sex attractions or not? And, even if they did not solve all our same-sex attraction issues, wouldn’t the overall growth be worthwhile anyway?

    You’ll notice that I used the words “same-sex attraction”. You’ll see it used pretty often in the literature. Initially, I was quite cynical of this terminology when I first saw it and its acronym “SSA”. Why not just say “gay”? That’s what it means, right? Well if that were the case – that SSA equaled GAY – then why not talk about the “Same-Sex Movement” organizing the “Same-Sex Attraction March”, celebrating “Same-Sex Attraction Pride”? While the term SSA refers to one particular aspect about us, “gay” implies that this aspect is us, and that we are defined by it. As freeing as it may be to come out as gay, it felt even more freeing when I realized that I did not have to base my entire life’s journey on these attractions.

    The final thing I think you should know before investigating these options is that there are no clear, definitive answers. One study says one thing, another says the opposite, and there’s considerable mud-slinging between the proponents of the two. One day you’ll hear about someone who got rid of his or her SSA, and is now part of a fulfilling heterosexual relationship, and the next day you’ll hear that sometimes the best one can hope for is leading a fulfilling celibate life. And even if there are people out there with definite answers, it takes considerable time and effort. It’s a process with ups and downs, and often with an end point that isn’t clear and that’s different for each person. Some will be able to reduce these same same-sex attractions and develop opposite-sex ones, while for others this won’t be possible. Just don’t expect to find someone who can sprinkle a little ‘anti-faerie dust’ on you, and make all your problems go away.

    Once you’ve done some research, you’ll know what’s possible and what’s involved, and you will be able to make a far more informed decision.

    You can then decide how you would like to deal with this, and whether this is something that you want to deal with now. Although it doesn’t have to, once we set out on this process, it tends to occupy much of our thoughts and energy. If you’re working on growth in other areas and you’re seeing progress, then that may be enough for now. If, on the other hand, things are getting to you and you’re about to take up that rainbow flag, then it may be time.

    Also, if you’re in Israel – even if you originally came to support the march – then you should really take advantage of the resources that are available here. Israel is geared towards people who are busy soul searching and are on their own personal growth paths. There are rabbis and therapists who specialize in this area. There are support groups for people who are struggling with the same issues. Contact the people who run the JONAH website and they can put you in touch with local therapists who specialize in this area.

    There is certainly a huge difference between coming out to the world as being gay, and sharing one’s struggle with a few trusted people who may be able to listen, advise and guide us; and with whom we can build deep long lasting healthy relationships. Sharing this struggle with others is scary and risky, but the rewards will be ten-fold.

    At the end of the day, the decision is yours. Everyone you speak to will have their own opinions, issues, prejudices, and motives. You need to make sure that the choices you make are right for you. And not only for right now, but for tomorrow as well. Don’t make them out of frustration or impulsiveness, but rather rationally and knowledgeably.

    I wish you much luck and success on your journey.

    You can contact me at akiva at g mail dot com.

  16. Bob Miller says:

    Hillel, for your benefit, here is another nuance:

    I personally agree with HaRav Shternbuch on this 100%, but feel you didn\’t do justice to Baruch\’s argument.

  17. HILLEL says:

    Bob:

    I’m surprised at your comment. You’re normally a straight shooter.

    Macro-micro-mini-maxi–why are you dancing around the issue?

    Rav Sternbuch said it very plainly: The Lebanon attack is a direct punishment for the sin of sexual anarchy and our lack of adequate protest, as it is stated plainly in the Torah: “VeShov MeAchareCha.”

    The Israeli Government is openly challenging G-D by encouraging GayPride parades (and the courts have imposed huge fines on Mayor Lupolianski for trying to stop the Parades).

    The Israeli Tourism Ministry is openly inviting the international Homosexual travel associations to make Israel the world’s Gay capital
    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3274483,00.html

    So, why is it so hard for a Torah-thinking Jew who learned about Sodom and Gomorrah to understand that we’re suffering retribution for “ervas dovor,” just as Sodom did.

    As for those who are not directly involved, we have two rules that apply:

    1. There is liability and punishment, if you had the power to protest, and you didn’t (Rav Sternbuch’s argument)

    2. You will suffer if you are in the vicinity, when retribution occurs (like Lot’s wife in Sodom)–“Oy LaRosho, Oy LishChaino.”

    As I wrote earlier, we are unaccustomed to thinking this way, because we are used to reading the “explanations” of current events in the newspapers, which teach us that everything is “Mikro.”

    To those who argued that we cannot know the true cause of anything, because we are not prophets, Rav Avigdor Miller, ZT”L, used to quote the posuk “LaShov HiKeisi Es BeNeichem, Mussar Lo LoKoChu.”–In vain did I punish your children, they refused to learn the lesson that I was trying to teach them (they claimed that they were not capable of understanding the reason for G-D’s punishments).

  18. Bob Miller says:

    Hillel seems to be blasting away at some straw man and not at Baruch Horowitz’s actual argument. As I understand the latter, it accepts the concept of cause and effect in connection with Divine retribution, but denies that we can fully understand all the fine details connecting the cause and the effect. Thus, in this view, the Gedolim would be talking mainly about the macro-reality and not so much about the micro-reality. If I missed your point, Baruch, please enlighten me.

  19. Baruch Horowitz says:

    \”an agnostic approach that is an insult to these Talmidei Chachomim.\”

    Hillel,

    That is quite an accusation, which I think that I should take seriously. This is the first time, in my blogging history (I have been commenting for a few months, now) that I have been thus accused. I will therefore give things more thought until the end of the day or possibly longer, before responding.

    Binyamin,

    Were you referring to me, when you wrote \”trying to attack …and shows a complete misunderstanding…\”? If you were, please be more specific like Hillel, so I can review what I had written and respond. I do agree with much of what you wrote.

    The same goes for anyone else who will weigh in, and disagrees with what I wrote–please be specific. Of course, if you agree, feel free to express that as well!

  20. HILLEL says:

    Baruch:

    Here is a quote from your commentery on the Sarmar Rov and his analysis of the reasons for the holocaust: “I doubt anyone—Satmar or non-Satmar—gives a simplistic explanation for why Hashem let the particular Kedoshim be murdered during the Holocaust.”

    I’m quite familiar with the Satmar Rebbe’s approach. He meant it literally, not figuratively or allegorically. See his famous sefer “VaYoel Moshe” for his detailed analysis of the holocaust and its origins.

    To call the Satmar Rebbe or his Hasidim “simplistic” simply because they refuse to parse the words of the applicable Midrashim or reinterpret them allegorically is an agnostic approach that is an insult to these Talmidei Chachomim.

    You may legitimately cite any Rebbes of yours who disagree with the Satmar Rebbe’s analysis, but do not parse the Satmar Rebbe’s words to the point, where the become so ambiguous that they are rendered meaningless.

    Similarly, Rav Sternbuch meant his words literally–When we drive HaShem out of our midst by tolerating sexual anarchy, we are punished by death and destruction, viz, the attacks by Hamas and Hezbollah.

    We–and I include myself–have become so insensitive to the Torah and Emunah method of viewing the vissicitudes of life (Ma Zos Asah E’ LaNu) that we are made uncomfortable by a “simplistic” Torah analysis of current events that does not take into account the latest military analysis of the situation that we read in the New York Times.

  21. Binyamin says:

    I do not think that it is possible to ever give a full explanation for events. There is no theological reason, and definately no logical reason, to defend such a claim. We should only be suggesting a basic explanation, and only in the realization that our knowledge is limited. Also, there are many levels involved in historic events, and the base explnantion may not explain every aspect.

    In the topic under discussion, for example, a few off-the-cuff reasons for the current war could be to distract the government from some other innapropiate decision that we are unaware of (for those who like to blame the government), as a punishment for an decrease in level of tznius (for those who prefer this angle) or to prevent a larger war in the future (for the optimists). While we cannot say that these reasons are impossible, they are unreasonable. (If we want to blame the government then the worldpride is enough of a reason without conspiracy theories, there was no noticable change in tznius levels in our community, or any particular innappropiate events, at this moment in time, and it is odd to suggest that a war as a good thing rather than a warning or punishment, [especially during the three weeks]).

    Regardless of the chosen explanation it is only meant to explain the primary event – i.e. the outbreak of the war. It would not explain why the war is in the north and not a different part of the country. In the same way, saying that Zionism caused the holocaust only explains the overall event, but is not meant to address why a particular child was killed.

    Our explanations then are meant to be the most reasonable explanation we can give for based on what we know. This is something we do not have to be scared of doing, and which we should try to do in accordance with our belief that Hashem controls history. Trying to give a definate or thorough explanation is wrong. Likewise, trying to attack an explanation because it is not definate and thorough shows a complete misunderstanding of what such explanations are meant to be.

  22. Baruch Horowitz says:

    Hillel,

    Can you be clearer as to what you find objectionable about what I wrote(specific sentences, phrases and ideas)?

  23. HILLEL says:

    Baruch:

    If you insist on parsing every word that you read from our sages, you will end up reinterpreting their words to mean whatever you want them to mean.

    To quote the infamous words of our former President Clinton; “It depends on what the meaning of “IS” is!

  24. Baruch Horowitz says:

    How about another statement of causality:

    Like many of those who learned in Litvshe Yeshivos, I was taught to revere the Satmar Rebbe Z’TL, who displayed much love for members of Klal Yisroel. Yet the Rebbe “claimed that the Zionist movement had brought the Holocaust upon the Jewish People by violating the oaths incumbent upon them.”(see link below)

    Does this mean that innocent children were tortured by Dr. Joseph Mengele, yimach shemo, solely as a direct result of the 3 oaths? Even adding the gemara in Bava Kama that innocent people may be caught up in punishment,the concept of korbanos,assimilation, or the concept of gilgulie neshamos, I doubt anyone–Satmar or non-Satmar– gives a simplistic explanation for why Hashem let the particular Kedoshim be murdered during the Holocaust.

    It must be, m’kaan raiyah, that “explanations” for events need to be understood in some way along the lines which I have indicated previously.

    http://www.ou.org/about/judaism/rabbis/teitelbaum.htm

  25. Baruch Horowitz says:

    Benyamin,

    I think that rather than disagreeing that much, we are simply stressing two different sides of the same coin, which Bob above, referred to as a “paradox”.

    How about this as a mashol for “Divine Calculus”:

    A particular aveirah can be compared to one of many cogs in a machine with a complex system of gears, wheels and cogs. You may identify or isolate a pattern of ten cogs in an historical event like the Holocaust or Hurricane Katrina, and therefore be inspired to do teshuva. However, even a Navi does not see the complete machine.

    As important as Daas Torah is, I don’t think that it is exactly equivalent to prophecy; I don’t think that statements in the Gemara about Nevuah today, are intended to mean that statements of today’s Chachmei Hatorah are on the same level as Nevuah during the Beis Hamikdash. A Navi sees more “cogs” than even Chachmei Hatorah. However, even Neveim at times, were not able to see the whole picture until generations later(eg., Midrash regarding Moshe– greatest Navi– about babies found in bricks in Mitzrayim).

    This is a balanced approach which allows for teshuva and for seeing a pattern in events, but does not assign simplistic and definitive direct causality, simply because we can’t see the many other “cogs in the machine”.

    I also stand by my statement, that any statements such as the one contained in the JP article Hillel linked, can not be understood simplistically, and also need to be explained clearly to the media. I leave the media explaining of the statement, made by one of our generation’s foremost Gedolei Torah, in the capable hands of those whom are much more qualified at hasbara, than any of us here.

  26. Hirsch says:

    Yaakov Menken wrote,
    “The question answered by the paper was “what are chareidim doing to contribute to the war effort,” not “why are chareidim better than some other, unnamed group.””….”The goal of the headline, imho, was not divisiveness or exclusion, but rather “how are we helping.””

    1)Who is “We”? Perhaps you can offer me the name of any gadol that has ever directed his public guidance or advice to “the chareidim.” As far as I know our gedolim have always made it clear that the “we” is Klal Yisroel-not one certain segment of it. The fact that a Yid could use the word “we” in terms of what klal yisroel is doing-but in truth be only talking about his own segment of klal yisroel, is wrong. KLAL Yisorel is being attacked now-that includes everyone-so the “we” SHOULD mean everyone-which in this case it clearly does not.

    2)Are you also saying that the newspaper’s intent was to show that Chareidim are not inferior to the rest of Klal Yisroel? That the publisher just wanted to tell his Chareidi readership, that they are not inferior to those that are both mispallel and are fighting at the same time? That “we” the chareidim, are doing our part also?

    Still seems like improper labels and silly misguided outlooks–that always leads to more division/sinas chinum in Klal Yisroel.

  27. HILLEL says:

    Rav Sternbuch personally handed his statement to Rabbi Yehuda Levin, who is coordinating much of the opposition to \”WorldPride\” in Israel.

    Rav Sternbuch stated that he wanted his letter to have the widest possible publicity.

    The jerusalem Post quoted from Rav sternbuch\’s handwritten letter here:
    http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1153291951736&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

  28. Yaakov Menken says:

    I’m still wondering how anyone knows that Rav Shternbuch pointed a finger at the WorldPride parade. The letter to which Baruch Horowitz directs us refers to Torah, Chessed (Acts of Kindness) and Shabbos as areas for improvement. Where did he say “that the Lebanon war is the result of homosexuals publicly defiling Jerusalem?” I’m not saying he did or did not say it, but lets not spread a rumor.

    Regarding the headlines, I agree with Tzvi. The question answered by the paper was “what are chareidim doing to contribute to the war effort,” not “why are chareidim better than some other, unnamed group.” The fact that HaShomer HaTzair is not fighting back with Tefilloh is not the point, nor that the Mizrachi world is both praying and has a disproportionally high number of soldiers in combat. The goal of the headline, imho, was not divisiveness or exclusion, but rather “how are we helping.”

  29. tzvi says:

    Well said Hirsch. In defense of the editors, I would say that they are showing the charedi communities contribution to the war effort in light of the fact that the majority of them do not support the draft.

  30. Hirsch says:

    It is my hope that by writing the following, it will some how bring about constructive and positive change regarding the topic.

    I just read the letter from Rav Elyahsiv and Rav Shteinman, by clicking on the link posted by Baruch Horowitz. I then proceded to click on the main link on the website, to see what other articles it listed. I was disturbed and stunned to find that the letter (mentioned above), and other articles related to the current situation in eretz yisroel were written under the title: “Chareidim Fight Back with Chessed and Tefilloh.” My only question is why? Why in a shas sakanah when klal yisroel is faced with enemies who are trying to kill us on a daily basis– Why must we foster more division as opposed to achdus!? CHAREIDIM fight back with chesed?! No! It’s about KLAL YISOREL- regardless if you’re Chareidi, Mizrachi, Chiloni, or anything in between. I personally associate myself with the Chareidi derech. However, these exclusionary labels are simply unacceptable anytime- forget about these days, when we need more than ever to strive for more achdus with our brothers and sisters.

    If it’s not for the sake of Klal Yisroel, let it be for our own sake–the division/labels must cease. The gedolim who wrote the letter to give hadracha and chizuk in these difficult days, would be shocked to discover that it was published under the banner of division–and yes–sinas chinum.

    Our only hope in stopping this silly use of labels is for the editors and publishers of these Jewish media outlets- to stop it now, once and for all. Anyone that has the power to stop this terrible verbal trend but doesn’t, will surely have their own din v’ cheshbon. How can anyone answer after 120 years, why they contributed to the inflaming of sinas chinum in klal yisroel?!

    It is my hope that something can be done to quickly rectify this problem that has lasted too long, and is shockingly relevant even during these days of pain in klal yisroel.

    Bezras Hashem when this problem is fixed, we will be able to stand once more K’Ish Echad B’Lev Echad, and be zoche to the coming of Mashiach Tzedkeinu Bmheira Beyamenu. Amen.

  31. tzvi says:

    yitz, it seems like you are just looking for some action. Why did it never occur to you that tznuis refers to the Rabbi’s own community? Televisions, CD’s, DVD’s, hanging around in the street and in pizza parlors, going out with a girl more that 4-6 times etc? Do you not realize how high that community sets their standards, so that many things that you and I take for granted they feel is a major area of chizuk? If he was advocating for death threats against participants in the parade he would have known how to send that message. Clearly, that is not what he is asking for. He is asking for every yid, on his own personal level, to step it up a notch in the tznuis department be’frat and in general ruchnuyis be’chlall.

  32. yitz says:

    Thank you, R. Baruch, for posting the link to the statement of Rav Elyashiv and Rav Steinman, both Shlita. I am excerpting from there:

    “As is written, every effort must be made to ensure that we do not stumble in the opposite direction of doing acts of chessed, i.e. causing distress to others or the public.”

    “The matter of modesty also needs to be remedied. It is written in the absence of tznius, “Veshov mei’acharecho” (Devorim 23:15). This requires great chizuk.”

    I am not a Talmid Chacham, but I seem to recall that our Sages say that a person can be held liable if he has it within his power to protest a transgression of Torah, and does not do so. In light of this and the above, isn’t it incumbent upon us to try to fight against the “impurade” and its other “events” that “worldpride” is trying to hold in Yerushalayim Ir HaKodesh, with all our might???

  33. Binyamin says:

    Suggesting that we can never know the ways of G-d makes the whole idea of G-d controlling history meaningless. How can we claim to see the Hand of G-d in world events, if we at the same to refuse to ascribe any relation between events?

    The fact that we cannot know anything for certain does not mean that we cannot loook for the most reasonable explanation based on what we know. If we do this we can see some pattern in events. But if we refuse to try to find a pattern then we cannot continue to claim that it is obvious that Hashem controls history. This concept is relegated to blind belief in esoteric ideas. G-d controlling history becomes about as relevant as His true Nature. A nice theological idea, but with no practical import.

    Simplistic explanations, and more importantly, explanations that are clearly just an attempt to support an agenda (i.e. Its because of mixed seating on the buses!) can assumed to be wrong, and would be better left unsaid. But often there is a clear relation, in time or in concept, that allows us to make a legitimate claim. Here, for example, the war started the day before the police were expected to approve of the parade. This connectin in time definately supports the claim that there is a connection between the two.

    (For those who reject the possibility of ascribing a connection between Karina and Disengagement, look at his list: http://www.bibletopics.com/biblestudy/119.htm [Yes, I realize it is an evangelical site.] There seems to be a pattern.)

  34. Baruch Horowitz says:

    I thought I would link the statement of Rav Elyashiv and Rav Shteinman. I quoted previously the last paragraph, but note the first one as well:

    “There is no way to know the ways of Heaven, but certainly every individual can examine his own conduct.”

    http://chareidi.shemayisrael.com/aeistz1mts66.htm

  35. Baruch Horowitz says:

    It is instructive that the recent statement from Rav Elyashiv and Rav Shteinman which mentioned specific areas to focus on, also stated that “we do not claim to know the reason why troubles have befallen us, but certainly any areas we improve can be effective in removing HaKodosh Boruch Hu’s wrath.” I would say as well that Rav Shternbuch’s statement–which I would like to see for myself– was meant for his community, and furthemore, is not to be understood simplistically.

    The fact is that the Rambam states that a calamity should cause introspection, and that not doing so and dismissing it as random, is cruel because this would cause more suffering to come c’v. The point I think is, to identify a specific or general area, and then consider the possibility that improvement or lack of improvement in this area could possibly be a factor in the Divine calculus of reward and punishment, as opposed to definitively identifying a direct cause and effect relationship.

    We know that Hashem’s ways are inscrutable. It is too glib and simplistic to state simply that as a result of XYZ, we precisely understand Hashem’s ways why r’l either babies were murdered in the Holocaust, a particular young person died of cancer, or a catastrophic natural disaster happened to thousands of other people. I would say as well that the statement of Tosophos Yom Tov regarding talking in Shul, or the Meshech Chochma’s statement regarding Berlin, should also not be understood simplistically. I also know from a personal occurrence that even when a local community undertakes reflection after a tragedy hits a family cv’s, certain statements can cause hurt feelings to avelim, if the communal reaction is not phrased in a sensitive way.

    There is also a Chillul Hashem aspect involved as well. With today’s electronic media, public statements become a subject of articles in Haaretz and the Forward. This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t do teshuva, only that if we know in advance that there exists the possibility that statements will reach the media, then the statements need to be publicized in a clear manner in the beginning, instead of explaining them ex post facto.

    See also the following links:
    http://www.jewishmediaresources.org/article/67/
    http://www.jewishworldreview.com/avi/shafran_katrina.php3
    http://www.jewishmediaresources.com/article/747/.
    http://www.jewishmediaresources.org/article/396/

  36. Jewish Observer says:

    “the exhilarating aspect of an internet blog is the wonderful anonymity it affords us”

    I agree with hp

    – JO

  37. Yaakov Menken says:

    Yitz and Hillel, does either of you have a copy of the purported statement of Rav Shternbuch? Is it available online — or can it be scanned?

  38. hp says:

    mycroft, the exhilarating aspect of an internet blog is the wonderful anonymity it affords us. I know you feel “safe” stating shocking ideas on the net- it’s a freedom many enjoy. However, I wonder that you don’t feel any problem at all in comparing yourself to Rav Sternbuch and the Melitzer Rebbe- they say it’s because of one thing, and of course, you are perfectly qualified to say they are unequivocally wrong. A pretty large burden you are taking on your shoulders.

  39. Bob Miller says:

    Evidently, the other events surrounding the postponed (not cancelled) march are still set to go. These should be as serious a concern as the march itself.

  40. HILLEL says:

    To Mycroft:

    In connection with Rav Moshe Sternbuch’s written (yes, written)statement that the Lebanon war is the result of homosexuals publicly defiling Jerusalem with their abominations, you wrote: “No one knows the ways of G-D.”

    This is an agnostic statement. If all of us would react similarly to the words of our Torah leaders, we would all be cast adrift in our Golus.

    The Talmud tells us that the Holy Temple in jerusalem was destroyed by baseless hatred among the Jewish People. An agnostic would have objected and stated “How do you know that?”

    G-D’s system dictates that we must follow the guidance of our genuine Torah sages in responding to current events. If we do that, we have fulfilled G-D’s wishes, and we shall be worthy of success in everything we do.

    Rav Moshe Sternbuch is an acknowledged Torah giant and leader of Klal Yisroel. He is definitely a reliable source of Daas Torah.

  41. Bob Miller says:

    Mycroft noted that “NO ONE knows the ways of God.” We hear this a lot, and not only from ordinary people.

    There is a paradox here, because we also believe that HaShem sends us messages to guide us as individuals and as a klal. Just as there is a downside to drawing wrong guidance from current events, there is also a downside to categorically rejecting guidance based on current events.

    Obviously, we’ve not yet reached the time for the restoration of classical prophecy, but there is Ruach Hakodesh and (yes!) Daas Torah. We can’t know everything about the ways of HaShem, but we can at least know some things.

    Just imagine our people saying before the first churban, “NO ONE knows the ways of God.” The result would have been just as tragic as what we know to have happened. The prophets would have been just as frustrated at being brushed off.

  42. yitz says:

    Mycroft, I am not interested in getting into a picayune debate. If Rav Sternbuch and the Melitzer Rebbe are people you wish to ignore because they are not \’BIG\’ enough for you, go ahead. If you wish to verify what they said, you can e-mail R. Lazer Brody at lazerb [at] bezeqint.net

  43. tzvi says:

    A rebbe of mine once publicly stated that he knew the reason a bomb went off in the city center of jerusalem was because the hadassah held their monthly meeting that day right near our yeshiva. I thought he was nuts. I also agree with mycroft that the war on the two borders has almost nothing to do with whether or not this parade is held. Get real. Every week there is chillul shabbos and every day these menuvalim do their thing. Over fifteen soldiers were recently caught doing a despicable act. There are also problems within our own communities both in israel and abroad. Let us engage in introspection and change from within rather than fingerpointing. And remember last year there was a parade and no war while this year there is no parade and a war. Maybe we are lacking sensitivity for others.

  44. Bob Miller says:

    If it’s only delayed because of the war, that, G-d forbid, could extend the war. We need to focus on outright cancellation.

  45. mycroft says:

    but our Gedolim
    our Gedolim-Gedolim are Gedolim they may ahve different hashkafot and we may follow different ones but essentially most agree on who they are

    have warned about what an abonimation such as the “impurade” would cause. This is from Lazer Beams, R. Brody’s blog:
    “Hashem is a loving Father, but even a loving father sometimes has to wield the rod in order to set his children on the straight path.
    Rav Moshe Shternbuch shlit’a, the Head of the Jerusalem Eida Chareidis rabbinical court, said today that the current war and the its accompanying tragedies are because we have not done enough to protest the sanctity of our country.

    Did Rav Shternbuch state that?

    One does not know reasons for individual tragedies and the ways of God.
    Rav Sternbuch is certainly a good guide for proper behavior but NO ONE knows the ways of God. We do believe that our chachamim tell us proper behavior that God wants.

  46. yitz says:

    Mycroft, No, neither R. Menken, R. Lazer Brody, nor myself are Nevi’im, but our Gedolim have warned about what an abonimation such as the “impurade” would cause. This is from Lazer Beams, R. Brody’s blog:
    “Hashem is a loving Father, but even a loving father sometimes has to wield the rod in order to set his children on the straight path.
    Rav Moshe Shternbuch shlit’a, the Head of the Jerusalem Eida Chareidis rabbinical court, said today that the current war and the its accompanying tragedies are because we have not done enough to protest the sanctity of our country. The Melitzer Rebbe warned about this before the war even started. Magpies from all over the world jumped on my cage when I printed the Melitzer’s message. The Government didn’t listen to the Melitzer’s demand to cancel the planned breach of Jerusalem’s sanctity, so the Kassams escalated into abductions and abductions into all-out war and the all out war into the evacuation of Tzfat, Nahariya, Kiryat Shmona and a large section of the Galilee.”
    And let us not forget the only thing that Bilaam could help Balak with, his advice that “Elokeichem shel eilu sonei zima hu – their G-d abhor sexual immorality.” [Sanhedrin 106a]. This is certainly not something to take lightly!

  47. Jewish Observer says:

    “May the end of this spiritual threat …”

    how can you call this an end to the spiritual threat. the yiden who wanted to do this parade are still there. they have no less desire to do it. they were just denied the right to march. what you may have meant is that the threat of them intrudng on our daled amos and annoying us has been thwarted.

    we should not be rejoicing, but thinking of ways to share with our fellows whatever ruchnius we have been fortunate enough to muster.

  48. mycroft says:

    We don’t have neviim-we have no idea wht certain threats come. Practice of homosexual behavior is forbidden-as is many other things that are practiced by many.

    ” May the end of this spiritual threat bring with it the end to the physical threat to the Holy Land.”

    Although I agree with Rabbi Menken’s statement-I don’t like the implication that the two are related. One could easily look at Haftarot for fast days and Yom Kippur and see related behaviour that unfortunately still exists. We aren’t neviim-we don’t know-I don’t nor do the learned writers of Cross-Currents.

  49. tzvi says:

    Its too early to announce a victory, the parade is merely postponed until security forces are freed up from the warfront (and we all hope the war ends soon and the security forces return).

    Victory can be declared when the movement gets the message to leave the ir hakodesh alone.