Letters & Responses
A Response to “Learning from the Murder of Rabin”
To the Editor:
I believe that – because of its serious omissions – this article is seriously flawed.
First of all, the author writes nothing less than a paean of praise to the memory of Yitzhak Rabin.
However, there exists serious evidence that he (Rabin) was an major figure in the sinking of the Altalena (which had been – apparently – ordered by Ben Gurion). If true, then Yitzhak Rabin was a far worse murderer than Yigal Amir.
I mention this because we actually see that the so-called left is far more guilty of the intolerance described in this article.
Further, there is no mention of the evidence that the Shin Bet was involved (as an “agent-provocateur”) in “assisting” Amir in reaching his “goal.” If true, this should cause all of us to reconsider exactly how we relate to a Jewish State that can engage in such tactics against fellow Jews.
What is worse is that the left has seized on this murder as the basis to repeatedly demonize the so-called right and, in particular, the religious community (despite the condemnations that Jewish Religious leaders issued in response to this murder). Without in any way minimizing the seriousness of this crime, to use it as an excuse to delegitimize their opponents shows that it is the left that continues to be far more intolerant than we are.
Finally, in his call for “tolerance” to what many consider “deviant” or “beyond the pale,” the author does not seem to ever consider the notion of da’as Torah [Torah-derived sociopolitical insight]. I do not mean slavish unthinking “acceptance” of whatever any posek [decisor] states. I refer, rather, to the fact that there are erudite, articulate, and knowledgeable Rabbis in RIETS who can provide a cogent and clear approach as to how to react to and “handle” such matters as a discussion of the struggles of homosexual Jews. I am sure that if any of these rabbis was consulted, the response would be one that was not only compatible with ruach ha-Torah [spirit of the Torah] but also appropriate for the hashkafa [philosophy] of Torah u-Maddah. Indeed, this absence seems truly inexplicable.
Perhaps the real lesson to be learned is that one cannot act without an appropriate foundation and appropriate guidance. Had such guidance been available (instead of the “guidance” provided by the Shin Bet), it is quite likely that this murder would never have happened.
YC ’71, RIETS ‘74
To the Editor:
Of course YU should try to limit abuse of its internet, but it boils down to a question of tactics: do you force a filter on the students, or do you implement a reward system which will give them incentive to make the right choice on their own? For example, they could hand out coupons to Golan for every month a student abstains from viewing obscene content. This would be way more effective—especially since it would give the students a way to satisfy themselves at 2:30 AM when their roommate is asleep. You can’t expect someone to quit cold turkey…but hot schawarma!
YC ’11, RIETS ‘13
To the Editor:
I am a bit confused by the two-page advertisement on pp. 18-19 of the Nov. 3 edition of The Commentator, featuring an open letter to Rabbi Ira/Yitzchak Adler along with a siruv [proclamation of rejection] against him signed by well-known rabbis.
I checked the www.emesvshalom.com link which the advertisement features, in which I read about this disturbing case. However, equally disturbing and ironic is how some of the people of the Lakewood Orthodox community, which prides itself on being so “Torahdik,” seem to have allowed this travesty to go on unchecked.
While I don’t think that the Lakewood community embraces the YU hashkafah [philosophy] (and that students of the Lakewood yeshiva would not even be comfortable in the new YU beit midrash, due to its connection to the library and lounge and the presence of women all over the facility – like no other beit midrash in the world, I am sure), I don’t think that the Lakewood community can claim that its members are all as “Torahdik” as it would like to believe.
New York City
“To anyone who knows R. Ira (Yitzchok) Adler” on page 18 of the recent Commentator was very interesting. It’s sad that dirty laundry of a different Orthodox neighborhood has to be hung out to dry in the Yeshiva College newspaper because the apparent victim of this incident can’t get his case fairly resolved in his hometown.
Battery Park City
New York, NY
Dear Students of Yeshiva University,
A piece of friendly advice: if you are confident enough in your opinion, sign your name to it. Please stop writing anonymous “news” articles. Granted, it can be effective in the oh-my-gosh-that-could-be-anyone kind of way, but when misused (e.g. for shameless mudslinging), it only comes off as intellectually weak and cowardly. And besides, there is already a forum for such petty forms of expression. It is called the internet.
Be’er Sheva, Israel
PS. Imagine if all the articles were actually written by the same person... that would be hilarious. Kudos to that person!
In response to: “The Idiot’s Guide to Pre-Med” by Anonymous.
Anonymous’ article contains no revelations for any novice about to begin the pre-med track. It is no secret that grades, MCATs, letters of recommendation, and extracurricular activities are the primary criteria for medical school admissions. The article prompts only the question of why the author chose to remain anonymous.
But the author did ultimately pique my interest; his signature referred to the pre-med program at YU as “cutthroat.” Having completed the pre-med requirements at Yeshiva College, I can testify to a unique, exceptional, and incomparable sense of camaraderie among Yeshiva College pre-meds that cannot be found elsewhere. YC pre-meds are consistently willing to help each other understand complicated material, prepare for a lab, or complete an assignment. And with a smile. Last year, while taking the notorious Organic Chemistry, I found myself part of a community of classmates in the Heights Lounge constantly working together and helping each other. This wasn’t the only such community; there was one on the fourth floor, one on the fifth, and all “chemical brothers” were welcome to roam freely among them. At some point, every YC pre-med finds himself both the receiver and giver of peer assistance, contributing to a solidarity among us which makes you want to return the favor to a friend, or pay it forward if not back. It is among the greatest and most underrated advantages of attending Yeshiva College. Referring to the program as “cutthroat” both undermines this unique pre-med culture at YC, and demonstrates serious ingratitude to the friends who have, and will, come to your aid when you need them. The pre-med process is overwhelming for many, stressful for most, and difficult for all, but nowhere will you find a community as cooperative as at YC.
Jonah (Yonah) Rubin
I would like to express my gratitude to Zvi Weiss for so perfectly missing the point of my article and for articulating precisely the attitude which my article was intended to help combat. Rather than heeding a call for tolerance and discussion, Weiss prefers to hold onto grudges, point fingers, and cling to conspiracy theories that alleviate himself and the community with which he associates from any sense of guilt or wrongdoing. Sixteen years after the assassination of Rabin, Weiss thinks a lesson to be drawn from the tragedy is that “it is the left that continues to be far more intolerant than we are.”
Weiss tellingly prefers to generalize groups with which he disagrees in condescending terms (i.e. the “so-called left”), presumably so that they and their viewpoints are more easily dismissed. While Weiss references a “we” in his letter to contrast himself with leftists, I am not sure who exactly privileges to be included in Weiss’s “we.” Maybe Weiss is unfamiliar with the phenomenon, but I am pretty sure that left-wing Jews do exist (and even in Israel!), including many whom —I would dare say—have contributed a great deal more to the Jewish people than Weiss can claim for himself..
Weiss’s brief letter manages to criticize everyone from Yitzhak Rabin to the Shin Bet, even calling into question whether or not support of the government of Israel should be maintained. Needles to say, his speculation is disgraceful, particularly coming from the mouth of a YC and RIETS alumnus.
In reference to my “inexplicable” lack of Da’as Torah, allow me to state my opinion here if it wasn’t implicit in my article. Rabbis, irrespective of how much Torah knowledge they may have, do not get a free pass on what they preach. If anything, Rabbis who are in a position of leadership need to be even more sensitive over the opinions that they vocalize, and they should be careful to only publicly express their positions on issues on which they are authorities. Clearly this was not the case in the reaction to the gay panel, being that the Rosh Yeshiva who was most vocally opposed to the event admitted that he had never approached by a homosexual student in his decades of teaching. That such an individual with absolutely no background in the issue felt comfortable preaching his position in public forums—and with such harsh rhetoric—is nothing but shocking.
In a nutshell, Da’as Torah is a poor excuse for ignorance.