Have the courage of your convictions

People do not agree. This is a fact of life. There are, and always will be, emotive issues which evoke strong disagreement. Sometimes the disagreement can result in feelings of aggression even hate between antagonists. Jews are no different. If anything, because there are many issues of substance lingering around our Daled Amos, there is perhaps more opportunity, perhaps even propensity, to viscerally agree to disagree.

Rav Dov Lior, Chief Rabbi of Kiryat Arba and Hevron

Two recent examples of differing approaches to courage and expressing the truth of one’s convictions confronted me this week. The first involved Rav Dov Lior, Chief Rabbi of Kiryat Arba and Hevron, and Rosh Yeshiva and head of the Rabbinic Council for Judea and Samaria. Rav Lior is considered to be a star pupil of Rav Tzvi Yehuda HaCohen Kook, z”l, and one of the  brightest among Gush Emunim style adherents of the concept of a greater Israel. Born into a Belzer family and subsequently orphaned, Rav Lior was touted as an Illuy even amongst the Charedi population of the State of Israel. Rav Lior and others gave their Haskama to a book which was considered to be “inciting” by the police and other authorities. Refusing to back down, Rav Lior is now likely to be arrested. Rav Lior claims that the arrest warrant interferes with his right to offer religious approbation to a book related to Torah thoughts and principles.

You can agree or disagree with Rav Lior, but you will never die wondering what his views are on a particular topic. He says it like it is, and his views are like he says. There is no diplomatic licence employed to bury his thoughts or camouflage his principles for fear of a physical or financial backlash. Rav Lior, his supporters and students, do not cower underneath rocks like proverbial green moss, afraid of the consequential glare of sunlight. Rav Lior subscribes to a philosophy that sees the hand of God in the creation of the State of Israel.

Diametrically opposed to his views are those who endorse the position of the late Rebbe of Satmer, Rav Yoel Teitelbaum z”l. Rav Teitelbaum held that the primary (perhaps only) reason for the Holocaust was God’s “retribution” against the actions of zionists who dared transgress the 3 oaths. These views, largely held by the Hungarian charedi population, are considered utterly abhorrent by many. It is simply beyond comprehension to fathom the concept of 6 million Jews murdered, gassed and burned and amongst them תנוקות של בית רבן who were hurled against walls to have their skulls fractured, all because God was angry that they dared defy British anti-semites and seek to re-inhabit ארץ אבותינו. Whatever the case may be, we know where the Satmer Rebbe stood on this issue in the same way that we know the views of people like the Neturei Karta’s  R’ Moshe Beck.

In summary, one will not die wondering what Rav Dov Lior or להבדיל R’ Moshe Beck’s views on issues are. They have the courage of their convictions to openly state their opinions. Fast forward now to the following video of a local identity, the brother of R’ Moshe Beck, Rav A. Z. Beck, the Hungarian Rabbinic leader of a separatist Haredi group in Melbourne.

STOP PRESS:

It seems the video above was removed from youtube. In some sense that says plenty. Those of you who wish to see the video, may download it

What are their views? Do they think Hitler and the SS were sent by Hashem because of the Zionists and their rebellion against the Shalosh Shavuos? Is this the view of that community as a whole? To be sure, there are exceptions, but is this the mainstream view? Do they contend that since most Jews in Melbourne consider themselves Zionist or pro State of Israel that these Jews are all Kofrim (apostates)? Is it permitted to engage in business with regular Jews in Melbourne, or is there some blanket overarching permission when it comes to making money? It is alleged that the Melbourne Rav Beck distanced himself from his brother. To what extent? Is it only the fact that the brother openly states his opinions and demonstrates the courage of his convictions? Is it only because the Monsey brother kissed Ahmadinajad ימח שמו? Is what is said in private also said in public?

Author: pitputim

I'm a computer science professor in Melbourne, Australia although my views have naught​ to do with my employer. I skylark as the band leader/singer for the Schnapps Band. My high schooling was in Chabad and I continued at Yeshivat Kerem B'Yavneh in Israel.

6 thoughts on “Have the courage of your convictions”

  1. I hope you dont mind me posting here. I find it distateful for you to equate beck with the Satmar rebbe. It is well known that he forbade having joint demonstrations. Why you cannot understand that innocent people were killed is beyond me. The rambam says innocent women and children are killed in a wayward city. And many anti zionists were also killed. We dont know how hashem works the gemoro in shabbos gives the reason because they did not do their best to stop the ‘r’shaim’. All this doesnt prove him wrong. And as you agree you still dont have a better explanation. Of course that doesnt make it right.
    This beck is not a rabbi and has no real following among Jewish people. The Satmar rebbe never envisaged ‘killing’ zionists although he held that the 3 shevous were ‘yehoraig val yaavor’. I suppose you never met him personally, but if you did, you would realise that among todays men he was the nearest to an angel on earth.

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    1. Hi afff. Welcome. I didn’t mean to “equate”
      My main point was, and is, that those who have opinions should have the courage to explicitly state those opinions.
      The Monsey Beck is only mentioned in this regard. Yes, I don’t find myself understanding the Satmer Rebbe. I know he was a tzadik and that was his informed and published view.

      Do you think the bushfires in Israel were because of chillul shabos? I don’t have a clue nor do I think it’s wise for anyone other than a real Navi to address cause and affect. The best we can do is constantly introspect and improve. We can also improve our bushfires prevention and response strategies!

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  2. You are correct and more to the point this footage shows the double standards of the Adass community and many of its congregants. Starting from Rav Beck and all the way down.

    I wonder what the likes of Michael Danby and others would say. As someone who invests a lot of his time on behalf of the Adass alongside all other Jewish institutions. What would he think if he understood that this is the ‘unofficial’ philosophy in Adass. Would he still be willing to support them if he understood what they really think of him

    I had previously heard of this recording and I’m shocked that it ended up seeing the light of day. There are many in Adass who spend a large part of their time creating and upholding the ‘image’ of Melbournes only Torah true community and this footage exposes a lot.

    Obviously the ‘old’ families of the Adass are losing their power. In the good old days this type of negative publicity would never have been released.

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    1. The main purpose of the article was to suggest that people be transparent and honest about their views. If any community and/or its Rabbi has a particular view, even a controversial one, that’s entirely their prerogative. Each community has its hidden skeletons, as we all do. It’s for each of us to determine how we respond to another’s views; hopefully, with dignity and respect, even if we disagree vociferously. That being said, on this particular issue, especially in Melbourne, I can see that many will be most upset.

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  3. Thanks about the chofets chaim
    I have read that the chofets chaim in all his seforim never brings any of the gedolim of his day even R Chaim Brisker with whom he travelled often and must have discussed Torah with him he never brings him. The only one he brings in mishne berura (I forget now where) is the ohr someach once, the reason being to appease him.

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