Thursday, January 25, 2007

Uncensored Books (Dr. Marc B. Shapiro)

Uncensored Books
Marc B. Shapiro

Dan Rabinowitz has provided many examples of censorship in seforim (examples which I look forward to using – with acknowledgment of course – in my own forthcoming book on the subject). What I would like to call attention to are two examples where the publishers would have certainly censored these texts had they known whom was being discussed. Presumably, what I mention now has already been pointed out to them and will be excised if the books are reprinted.

1. In the recently published volume of R. Eliyahu Dessler’s letters (Bnei Brak, 2004), p. 166, there is a 1942 letter to Dr. Dov Hyman discussing the Gateshead Kollel. After mentioning how the kollel includes the best young bochurim in England, those who studied in the great yeshivot in Eastern Europe, he writes:
יש שמה צעיר א' יליד מנשסתר (הוא היחיד מילידי המדינה) ולא אגזם אף מה שהוא אם אומר שמעודי לא ראיתי עלוי בעמקות יחד עם שאר הכשרונות כמוהו זולתי אחד, הוא גדול גדול ממש וכמעט א"א לרדת לסוף עומק דעתו
This passage is referring to none other than the late Rabbi Louis Jacobs -- then referred to as Leibl -- who was born in Manchester in 1920. In Jacob’s autobiography, Helping with Inquiries (London, 1989), pp. 42, 54, 59 he writes:
When I joined the Kolel, soon after its inception, the other members had all studied at one or other of the famous Lithuanian Yeshivot – Telz, Mir, Slabodka, Kamenitz, Baranowitz, Grodno, and Radin – before coming to England, with the exception of a fiery young Hungarian, Zusya Waltner. . . . As the “babe” of the Kolel (I was only twenty years of age, while some of my colleagues were several years older) and as one who had only studied in a Lithuanian Yeshivah in spirit (I was, so to speak, an honorary Telzer) I was welcomed very good-heartedly by the other members, but with an amused tolerance. . . . Before leaving my account of the Gatesehad Kolel, I feel it would be incomplete unless I said something more about Rabbi Dessler, one of the most remarkable men I have ever met. . . . .I cannot and do not want to forget what I owe to Rabbi Dessler. Although I was never officially his pupil, he was, in many respects, my teacher par excellence. He taught me and so many others to see Judaism in sophisticated terms. He was a great man whose place among the Gedoley Yisrael of the twentieth century remains uncontested.

2. Recently many books by the Gaon R. Eliyahu Rabinowitz-Teomim (the Aderet) have appeared, by publishers with very different hashkafot. The volume of teshuvot, Ma’aneh Eliyahu, was published by Yeshivat Or Etzion in Israel, whose Rosh Yeshivah is R. Hayyim Druckman. It is obvious that the editors have no knowledge of American Jewish history, otherwise, the words I quote (from p. 352) would never have been allowed to appear. The editors no doubt assumed that the Aderet was attacking some phony. The name Jacob Joseph means nothing to them.

וידענו היטב היטב את האיש ואת שיחו תהלוכותיו ותחבולותיו מתחילה ועד סוף . . . ואותו הרב ר' יעקב, שלא שמש תלמידי חכמים ומלך מעצמו, ע"פ תבונתו, כי פקח גדול הוא, אינו מגיע לקרסולי תלמידי תלמידיו של הגאון חתם סופר ז"ל, לא בתורה ולא במעשים טובים, והרי לפנינו שעזב עיר ווילנא תפארת ליטא, והלך לנוע אל ארצות אמעריקא להיות שם רב ראשון בנויארק כחלומו אשר חלם. והרואה דברי הר"מ פ"ו ה"א מדיעות, יעוי' שם היטב בלשונו, יראה עד כמה מלאה לבו יראת שמים לעשות כן
He goes on demeaning the Chief Rabbi of New York, but you get the picture.

As long as I am talking about the very interesting sefer Ma’aneh Eliyahu, let me also call attention to something in it that is relevant to what is in the news today. I refer to the problem of rabbis covering up cases of sexual abuse. In no. 32 the Aderet deals with a case where a girl was raped by two young Jewish men. Her family wanted to report this to the police, so that the rapists would receive a fitting punishment. The Aderet writes:
ודברתי אל לבם להשקיט הדבר, לבל יתחלל שם ישראל בעמים מהפקרות ופריצות צעירי הנערים, לאנוס ולנאוף ולחלל שבת ולרצוח, וגם יש סכנה בדבר לריב עם עזי פנים כמותם, ושמעו אלי
We see from this that the practice of covering up these sorts of things is hardly a recent phenomenon.

1 comment:

Nikki Rodriguez said...

If you believe your most important issue is not whatever you eat but exactly how much of it you consume, then unique hoodia is the supplement suitable for you. Your message your name your email enter the sum of 6 + 6 below. What sets it apart from other weight loss options is that it is not a metabolism booster that increases heart rate to make you even more active and burn even more calories

Print post

You might also like

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...