Yated Ne’eman Gives a ‘Hechsher’
to Yeshiva University and its ‘Torah Sage’
By Chaim Rapoport
I was shocked to read your article on the so-called 'Open Orthodox YCT' located in Manhattan, founded by Rabbi Avi Weiss. The article implies throughout that YCT’s counterpart, namely the organization known as 'Yeshiva University' - albeit 'modern' or 'centrist' - is actually deserving of the title 'orthodox' rachmana litzlan
. Oy le-Ozneinu she-kach shomos!
This implied hechsher for the Yeshiva University and its 'Torah Sage' that the Yated article gives is in direct defiance of the rulings of the gedolim. Moreover the Yated's founder, the late Rav Eliezer Shach, stated repeatedly that 'Yeshiva University' is absolutely treif
& that no recognition may be given to [what the YN describes as] its 'Torah Sage' rachmana litzlan
Although both YU and YCT have departed from the derech ha-Torah
as taught by our gedolim,
it is clear le-chol mi she-yesh lo moach be-kodkodo
[=to anyone who has a modicum of common-sense] that YU presents a much greater threat to Torah-true Yiddishkeit than does the YCT. For the non-traditional leanings of the YCT are mefursam
[=well-known] and there is therefore less of a chashash
[=concern] that people will be drawn after its heresy. Whereas YU, since it is perceived as being to the right of YCT and also projects, to a degree, a pseudo-charedi image, (‘a kosher chazir fissel
’), is far more dangerous. Naive bachurim
] are far more likely to be fooled by the charedi
veneer of YU and thus become ensnared by its mesisim u-madichim
than by the representatives of the recently established YCT.
There have even been known cases (kevod Elokim haster davar
) of boys from heimishe
, even Torah’diker
homes in NY and Monsey who have actually moved away from the Olam HaTorah
and entered the academies of the YU. In contrast however, there is not even one alleged case of an ehrlicher Yeshivah bochur
signing up for YCT.
Moreover, YCT does not even try to seduce our children to attend their rabbinical college. Yet YU and its agents clearly target even heimishe
boys and girls and have succeeded in causing them to be poresh
from the yeshivos ha-kedoshos
and the charedi
seminaries le-tarbus ra'ah - Hashem yerachem!
The fact that the Yated invites the leaders of YU to join them in the milchomoh
against YCT and is mefalpel
in the shitos
of YU’s ‘Torah Sage’ [ke-ilu mi-piv anu chayim
] suggests that YU is part of yahadus ha-Torah
[=traditional Judaism]. The suggestion implicit in the Yated that YCT is beyond the pale whereas YU is still be-toch ha-machaneh
can only add to the confusion that already exists (amongst those who are on the margins of the Olam HaYeshivos
) about the true identity of Yeshiva University. My heart shudders at the thought of the many young and gullible yeshivish’e
people who will become even more vulnerable to the severe sakanah
of YU and Stern College as a result of the Yated’s ‘propaganda’ in favor of Yeshiva University.
Parenthetically, the fact that several gedolei yisroel
allowed their talmidim
to teach at YU can not be used as a proof that they held that it is essentially orthodox. Firstly, some gedolim
such as Rabbi Yaakov Kaminetzky (and to a lesser degree Reb Moshe Feinstein) have written that it may be permissible for Benei Torah
to teach even in reform or conservative schools – provided that they can teach their own syllabus. Secondly, since the time of the gedolim
that may have given a heter
to teach in YU, the circumstances have changed. Whereas in yester-year at least the ramim
in YU did not teach kefirah mamash
[=unequivocal heresy], nowadays some of the teachers of kodesh
in YU unabashedly preach divrei minus u-kefirah be-farhesya
[=heretical & blasphemous ideas in public] rachamana litzlan
In Rav Shach's Michtavim UMa'amarim
he says that even high school - needless to say university - education or for that matter any interest in secular literature or occupation with the arts or the sciences is forbidden by the Torah.
He says that there is no need – and no heter
- to learn a trade before it becomes an immediate concern & that every single Yeshivah student has the potential and talent to become a Rosh Kollel, Rosh Yeshiva
or Maggid Shiur
at least in a Yeshivah Ketanah
. Only if and when all else fails may one pursue a ‘mundane’ source of livelihood.
Moreover, Rav Shach states that secular studies come under the category of Seforim Chitzonim
that the Talmud and the Poskim
ban. He writes that History and Psychology are particularly heretical disciplines (vol. 3, page 39). High schools that expose their students to the Darwinian theory of evolution “transform their charges into heretics” at least for the duration of these studies. Human Biology lessons that include details of the function of the pro-creative organs are proscribed for high school boys. Such subjects come under the category of zenus
and its attendant severity.
Surely these considerations alone suffice to define YU as an institution of Minus
. How much more so when we know that real minus
of other toeivois
] is a regular feature of YU. [One of the so-called 'ramim
' at YU recently suggested - in a shiur
which was broadcast bechol kitzvei tevel
[=via the internet r”l
] - that if a person feels compelled to say that all the events related in the Torah ha-kedoshah
to Mattan Torah
[including the very existence of the Avos
and the Imahos
] lo hayu ve-lo nivreu
[=never existed or transpired] he may do so and he is not guilty of heresy!!! - afra lepumeih!
In addition, Rav Shach held that YU type institutions are an entirely negative phenomenon posing a threat to the very endurance of authentic Judaism. These modern conceptions, he said, were an absolute disaster “causing the destruction of our Holy Torah” (vol. 4 no. 319 pg. 35). Even the so-called ‘Touro College’ in the USA is a terrible disaster, a churban ha-das
Rav Shach writes that the success of those people who were able to achieve greatness in Torah despite their involvement in secular studies is ma'aseh satan
[=the doings of the satanic forces] for the existence of such role models will entice others to follow suit, only to be doomed (vols. 1-2, page 109, no. 53. See also ibid., page 128, no. 76).
[Rav Shach wrote that even the establishment of a Kollel designed to train potential community Rabbis and equip them with the skills necessary for their vocation is absolutely forbidden. No one dare support such an initiative (vol. 3, page 31). Such institutions are an unwelcome intrusion, threatening the viability of the Jewish People. Rav Shach opposes the establishment of any Rabbinical seminaries designed to prepare students for positions of leadership in Jewish communities. Nothing other than the traditional Kollel maybe supported (vol. 3, page 31)].
As for the YU’s ‘Torah Sage’ Rav Shach writes - in a lengthy & blistering attack on Rabbi Joseph Ber Soloveitchik, the mentor of centrist orthodoxy & YU - that Rabbi Soloveitchik was guilty of endangering the survival of Torah true Judaism r"l by indoctrinating the masses with minus ve-apikursus
]! Rav Shach wrote that Rabbi Soloveitchik's views were so outrageous that those Rabbis who contributed to an anniversary volume dedicated to his honor were guilty by association. He said that by paying homage to a man who disseminated such anti-Jewish views, these Rabbis were also contributing to the tremendous harm caused on vulnerable Jewish students by works such as Soloveitchik’s 'Chamesh Derashot
' (see at length Michtavim U-Maamarim
4:320. See also 4:370, page 107].
In light of all the above it is clear that the misleading nuances of the Yated’s recent anti-YCT article constitute a terrible ziyuf haTorah
and an unprecedented Chillul Hashem
that could easily mislead thousands of innocent yidden
to embrace false hashkofos
and even kefirah mamash rachmana litzlan!
Mr Editor! I believe that you have a chov gomur
to do whatever is within your power to at least minimize the damage that has already been done. I urge you to publish a robust condemnation of the false hashkofos
that have been conveyed between the lines of the anti-YCT article.
I plead with you: Please have rachmonus
on the innocent neshomos
of your young readers & declare: Tous hayesah be-yadeinu.
Make it abundantly clear that YCT & YU and all similar institutions are all equally beyond the pale of True Yiddishkeit
& that they are all responsible for the tremendous churban ha-das
and denigration of kevod HaTorah
that we are (ba-avonoseinu ha-rabim
) witnesses to in our generation - Hashem yerachem
There is only one consolation: The proliferation of colleges in the mould of YU & YCT which constitute an incredible & an intolerable manifestation of the prediction of Chazal
that be-ikvesa di-meshicha
and smacks of ha-malchus nehepeches le-minus
is clearly a sign that we are only a stone's throw away from the geulah sheleimah!
May the Ribbono shel Olam
help you be mesaken
what is essentially a me'uvas lo yuchal liskon
and may we be zocheh
to see the eradication of all minus ve-apikorsus, be-vias goel tzedek, amen!
Rabbi Chaim Rapoport