Sunday, May 12, 2013

Dear Matzav, Please Remove my Father's Divrei Torah from your Piece of Filth Website!

Update: Sorry that this letter is a little vague as to what exactly I'm referring to. It isn't one thing per say and it would be counter-productive to link to any of it.

To the Editor:

I tried to contact you via email but you seem not to care to even respond, so instead I post this publicly hoping it might help with my cause.

I don't know who the administrators of your site are or who is responsible for what gets posted, but I do have a major issue with your behavior and I request you hear me out.

I recently came across some of the most disgusting literature I've yet to read. I clinked on a link to your site, thinking it kept some form of halachik guideline,  as you call yourself  "A site for Torah Jewry", but it quickly became clear to me that I found myself in a cesspool of defamation and in the midst of another online hangout for letzonas. I'm not a reader of your blog, or any of the so-called “Yeshiva” news sites, for that matter, so I am indifferent as to what does or does not constitute news, but since you have posted articles from my father, Rabbi Eli Teitelbaum Z"L, I feel I need to do my part here and speak out. (I should add; material that was taken from my father’s camp website without prior permission, but it being Divrei Torah and all I saw no reason to make an issue of it)

There is nothing we can do about blogs that spew forth loshon hara and attack anyone that they feel in the mood, whether it be a Torah giant or a sincere Jew. Even if we close one site down, 10 will open in it's place. But to act this way -- in the name of Daas Torah or Rabanim and Roshei Yeshiva -- is a class of it's own. A low that the Jewish world throughout the generations has not reached. Kol Hakovod on that!

It doesn't matter that your site is the antithesis of everything Torah Leaders stand for or that your posts are written by anonymous cowards that don't have the courage to give their real names. It's obvious to anyone with a proper Jewish education that you don't speak for Rabonim or for any respectable segment of Orthodox Jews. You represent Torah Jewry in the same way the Neturai Karta represent chasidim. You claim to speak for Daas Torah yet you show a complete lack of any sort of Daas whatsoever.

I'm all for dialog and debate, if its done with reason and intellect but not when its plain old sinas chinam. Many of my father’s articles took the form of debating back and forth but never was there any personal animosity toward another frum Jew. Standing up for what one feels is right, is not about throwing personal insults or repeating unverified lies about other Jews. If you can't understand the difference between respectable disagreements and outright hatred, then you need a basic refresher course in Yihadus.

As a young child, I once asked my father how it was possible that there was so much infighting between the Chabad chasidim (as my father often brought me to see the rebba) and those at Punivitch, (as we always visited the place with camp during the summer and often went to get a bracha from Rav Shach Z"L). He explained to me, how those at the lead have very strong differences of opinion as to the future of the direction that Klal Yisroel should take and they disagree very strongly,  but than there are those at the bottom that use it as an excuse to fight. He told me you can tell by how they disagree. When its a philosophical argument and based on ideas from the Torah than you know its lesheim shomayim but when its just personal attacks than it's pure sinas chinom.

Any post that's purpose is to demean Talmidei Chachomim or Rabonim, or for that matter any person, does not belong on a site that claims to speak for Daas Torah or Torah values. I'm going to be dan lakaf zchus and assume your intention is not to promote more hatred; it’s just the money from advertisements that is blinding your outlook, so you are just a shogeig here and not a meizid.

You are also just as much responsible for the comments. As someone that has a blog, I understand that the comments can get out of hand sometimes. However, I believe it is the responsibility of the site owner to moderate their comments. There is nothing positive that can come from such nonsensical trash talk.

Between you and me lets stop the charade, pretending to represent any form of "Daas Torah" or that you speak for any Gedolim at all. Because the same Gedolim you claim to speak for, absolutely forbid anyone to be on blogs or news sites. This was repeated over and over by the Gedolim in Eretz Yisroel. Its for business only, or nothing at all! How you can use a platform that is assured by Gedolai Yisroel and at the same time accuse another Jew of not adhering to Gedolai Yisroel is absurd. How you can live your life this way is beyond me.

I hope that you do the right thing and remove all the garbage your site contains. Posts that just cause more hate in Klal Yisroel. If you are unwilling to do that, then at least make sure the divrei torah my father authored, that you stole off his website is removed from your blog. I will take every possible step, including legal action, to ensure this happens. My fathers sincerity and dedication to Klal Yisroel is antithesis to everything your blog stands for. My father spent the last years of his life campaigning against a newspaper rag similar to yours, and I owe it to him to make sure his name is not associated with your piece of filth!

Dovid Teitelbaum
Camp Sdei Chemed International

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  1. My compliments to you on the step you took.

    I should tell you I met your father twice when I was a teenager and he was a young single man. Once moitzoi shabbos when I was visiting in Kew Gardens and once when a group of junior counselors in camp rode around the mountains on our day off. Even before that I knew he was considered very cool. Both times I remember the photography gear and the glorious beat up used Cadillac. I honestly cannot remember much of what we did or where we went. But we had fun and he was why.

    From that alone I can sense why he was a successful teacher. Seeing some of his talks confirms that even more.

    I think you are exactly correct in saying that Matzav's whole style is the antithesis of who he was, and who he remains in the memory of those who knew him and those who read his materials.

    Kol hakavod to you for insisting that they respect his deserved legacy if they want to use his material.

    PS I am amazed that that they had the chutzpah to not reply to your emails. Hopefully, another benefit of this exchange will be teaching them not to ignore emails that deserve a reply.

  2. The matzav response

  3. Saw it. They took it from my site also.
    How convenient that they left out the one line from the original where my father writes about not speaking loshon hora or rechilus. Really Sad.

  4. It really is quite ironic, actually the height of cynicism, the way the yeshivah establishment self-righteously rails against blogs being loshon hora while at the same time that their media (be it Yated, be it Matzav) is more vile than anything I know of on the Jewsih web scene, including Failed Messiah -- which at least does not pass itself off as Torah.

  5. I understand that Pinny Lipshitz owns and runs Matzav.

  6. a shorter version should be sent to all "our" frum papers
    bra kara davuha. keep it up.
    p.s your father z"tl used to write in country yossie, so should you.

  7. That's what everyone seems to be saying but I would like some proof before I go with it.

  8. "He explained to me, how those at the lead have very strong differences of opinion as to the future of the direction that Klal Yisroel should take and they disagree very strongly, but than there are those at the bottom that use it as an excuse to fight. He told me you can tell by how they disagree. When its a philosophical argument and based on ideas from the Torah than you know its lesheim shomayim but when its just personal attacks than it's pure sinas chinom."

    With all due respect, R' Teitelbaum, this is hopelessly naive. As a kid, I also wondered about this because I grew up in a yeshiva neighborhood and everyone including children was constantly badmouthing people whom I had gedolim cards of. My father gave me a similar explanation to yours, but as I grew up I came to realize that the "gedolim" are as guilty as anyone. Looking at the "gedolim" today (I could give a comprehensive list, but I don't want to make you uncomfortable with the comment); not only do they take an active role in shenanigans that every baalhabos with a brain cell realizes are wrong, they base it on their wisdom as the receivers of mesorah. I guess our argument would be that they are not doing what R' Moshe and R' Yaakov would have done - but it's obviously true that the current roshei yeshiva were far more connected to their rebbeim than those of us who did our time in yeshiva and moved on to other things. The logical conclusion is that it's always been this way - gedolim have always been wrong with regularity, have always engaged in petty fighting that was NOT l'sheim shamayim, and have always claimed the moral high ground while setting a terrible example for the rest of us. The only thing that's changed is that now the internet makes it possible for us to connect the dots.

  9. Your making a very good argument. Not naming names is a good idea but it does need to be addressed. I would say that the words of the "gedolim" are so misrepresented by the kanaim that its really hard to know what they said. This is based on personal discussions with "gedolim". I'm hoping a lot of this will be brought forth the at least give people back some respect for our Rabanim. I hope to expand on this in the future.


When posting please be careful about Loshon Hara