Litvishe/Misnagdishe poor taste

I chanced upon Matzav.com yesterday. As always, they had a piece on the Yohr Tzeit of R’ Schneur Kotler ז’ל, complete with pictures of him beardless. I looked further down the page, and found it was also the Yohr Tzeit of

Rav Yaakov Sapir, author of Even Sapir (A Journey to Yemen), a collection of stories of his travels through India, Australia, and Yemen”

I was flabbergasted that they seemingly couldn’t bring themselves to note that it was also the Yohr Tzeit of the last Lubavitcher Rebbe זי’’ע

I commented on the blog and asked why they didn’t report it. My comment was not published: silly censorship.

I made a further comment about kosher bourbon production in another article, and that got through Matzav’s censors.

Now, to be fair, I don’t think Chabad would ever mention R’ Kotler’s Yohr Tzeit either, but what about the Emes and Kavod HaTorah. Can’t people be civil?

The Lubavitcher Rebbe was an exalted Gaon, a Manhig, and a source of inspiration for many. How can one simply “forget” he existed on his Yohr Tzeit?

Is this what the Torah wants and advocates? Matzav call themselves the voice of “World Jewry”. Hardly. Och und Vey.

Even Yeshivah World News, which is usually more right wing than Matzav, had a feature.

Both also reported the sad Petira of R’ Neuwirth, the author of Shmiras Shabbos K’Hilchoso, which revolutionised the presentation and psak of Hilchos Shabbos in an unparalleled manner.

Politics=Sinah

So as not to end on a negative. One of the Mispallelim in Elwood Shule, has his birthday today on Daled Tamuz. He is one of two emigres from Russia who devote themselves to the Shule 24/7 and are regular daily attendees. His name is Alex (aka Chanan aka Sasha) Livshiz. There was a Kibbud on the table after  davening, and I asked  aloud “who has yohrtzeit today”. Alex was in the middle of davening (I assume Krias Shma) and put his hand up. It transpired that it was his birthday and he had decided to wear Rabbeinu Tam’s T’fillin for the first time. I pointed out that Daled Teves is also the Yohr Tzeit of Rabbeinu Tam himself! Hashgocho Protis?

Of course, in Melbourne, it is also known widely as the Yohr Tzeit of R’ Yitzchok Dovid Groner ז’ל who devoted his entire life to building up the community and was held in the highest esteem by most, including me.

Matzav.com: they must live on another planet

From the sometimes sycophantic website matzav.com

There’s “help wanted” and then there’s “help wanted.” In a demonstration of the ahavas haTorah and bikkush ha’emes that reflects the atmosphere found amongst the talmidim of America’s largest yeshiva, a sign found hanging on a wall at Beth Medrash Govoha in Lakewood, NJ, shows the desire of its talmidim to uncover the truth behind often-overlooked or taken-for-granted portions of Torah, mesorah, or, in this case, tefillah.

The sign, which can be seen at the link below, has a simple heading: “Help Wanted!” But it is not just a “Help Wanted” sign seeking assistance or a job. It’s a “Help Wanted” sign seeking the emes – literally. The emes behind Emes Vetaziv, the tefillah we say each day in tefillas Shacharis.

The sign-hanger, assumed to be a yungerman at Beth Medrash Govoha, asks whether the phrase “Ein Elokim zulasecha,” is kodesh, meaning holy and referring to the Ribono Shel Olam, or chol, mundane, meaning referring to other gods. To further elaborate on the writer’s analysis and question regarding this phraseology in tefillah is beyond the purview of this post, and readers are welcome to read it in its entirety below in Lashon Kodesh. Perhaps printing it out will aid the reader.

Nevertheless, it is inspiring to witness the pure, unpretentious desire for truth of bnei Torah. We often look past these things, not giving it a second glance. It’s a sign on the wall; who cares? We should care. Let us appreciate and pay homage to those whose bikkush ha’emes and love of Torah usually fly under the radar – unless, that is, someone decides to make a Matzav out of it….

May we merit the day when those words, “Ein Elokim zulasecha,” are recognized by all of humanity. May that day arrive speedily.

Okay, what’s wrong with this? There is nothing wrong with the question and issue. It’s עמלה של תורה and who can be critical of that? What irritates me is that this online, web-based news source gets so excited about this as if it’s some new phenomenon. Well, hello there Mr Matzav. Did you ever go online? Have you seen the myriad of people who raise issues like this on blogs, and lomdishe forums, let alone audio shiurim and the like? Surely you have. Are these people who do so somehow lesser than the Lakewood yungerman? I’m just surprised they didn’t use the customary appelation of “Moiredik”.

Sheesh. Get with it. The internet is gushing with Torah and you get excited only because someone asks on a piece of paper and hangs in at the back of the Beis Medrash? Perhaps what you could have done Mr Matzav, was to start encouraging Lakewood to start recording their shiurim and putting them online; heaven forbid.

But wait, there is more. The readers of Matzav (yes, the internet folk who shouldn’t be reading it) answer online.

Perhaps I’m beyond cynical.

שבת שלום from Singapore