Isaac Kaplan

"Is it any wonder I've got too much time on my hands?"

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


As promised, here's a follow-up post on the issue of deference. I don't know a whole lot about the halachic process (is there even such a thing anymore?), but I just wanted to express my thoughts on the matter.

To me, the issue of deference came up after the Slifkin ban. What I heard was that many gedolim saw that R' Elyashiv had signed, and once they saw that, it was enough for them. And like a bunch of dominos, they all placed their names on the ban.

Now, even assuming that R' Elyashiv is the #1 gadol hador and entitled to such deference, two things bother me:

a) Isn't it a bit disingenuous to sign something solely on the basis of someone else's opinion? When I see a Rav's signature, I'd like to assume that means he thoroughly analyzed the facts and relevant halachos of the issue, and came to x conclusion. But I don't think most people would assume that the signature was merely a reflexive move following someone else's opinion.

b) Who said R' Elyashiv was presented with the case correctly? This was true especially in the Slifkin case, where the kanoim put together a booklet of out-of-context statements from Slifkin's book. Would R' Elyashiv have said the same thing had he read the whole book? Or had he understood English? In other words, is Daas Torah still Daas Torah even when it's based on inaccurate facts and possibly incorrect presumptions?

The issue has also come up in the Flatbush eruv controversy. Many people out there have said that R' Moshe was not presented with accurate facts regarding the situation in Flatbush. It's one of those classics which bring out the chareidi/ MO divide.


Anonymous Chaim said...

Rav Elyashiv didn't even read the out-of-context statements. He signed solely on the basis of what people told him.

12:21 AM  

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