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Rav Elyashiv gets "slammed"


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#1 Torn

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Posted 10 August 2004 - 04:59 PM

http://www.jpost.com...p=1078027574097

Rabbi slammed for saying cancer is punishment


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Judy Siegel-Itzkovich, THE JERUSALEM POST Aug. 5, 2004

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The Israel Cancer Association (ICA) reacted in shock and displeasure on Thursday to statements by the aged supreme rabbinical arbiter of the Lithuanian haredi world, Rabbi Shalom Yosef Elyashiv, that cancer comes as a "punishment" to people who "distance themselves from religion" and that there is "no cure" for the disease.

The quotations, revealed by the Ma'ariv daily on Thursday, appeared in the latest edition of "A Collection of Responsa from the Great Sage Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv," which was published earlier this week.

The private publisher of the volume confirmed that the quotations were correct, and would only say: "The quote is a small part of a lengthy responsa in a book meant only for specialized Torah scholars and not for the media."

ICA director-general Miri Ziv said, "Cancer is not a punishment, and there is no reason to throw blame on and make it difficult for cancer patients. Struggling with cancer is difficult enough for them and their families. It would be preferable for someone who has been fortunate [not to contract cancer] to hold out a hand and held and encourage patients, or at least not to cause distress to those who need help and prayers for recovery."

Ziv added that cancer "does not skip over" the religious and haredi populations who strictly observe Halacha. Among the 120,000 Israeli cancer patients who are in treatment or recovered "are observant and secular Jews, Arabs, Christians, women, men and children. We all need to join together and lend a hand and not to stigmatize them."

Prof. Eliezer Robinson, an Orthodox oncologist of Haifa's Rambam Medical Center and ICA chairman, commented, "It's hard for me to believe that such things were said by Rabbi Elyashiv. Every year, there are 23,000 additional cancer patients, but thanks to advances in research and early diagnosis and treatment, many are cured of the disease and their quality of life is greatly improved."

Some years ago, fewer than 20 percent of cancer patients were cured, but today the recovery rate is more than 50% and among children it is nearly 80%, Robinson asserted.

Chaim Ehrenthal, who 14 years ago founded the Zichron Menachem organization with his wife Miri after their son Menachem died of leukemia he had contracted as a baby, was distressed by Elyashiv's statement – especially as he is a Lithuanian haredi and adherent of Elyashiv. Their organization takes care of thousands of Jerusalemite children with cancer, with its volunteers running summer camps, Saturday night melaveh malka parties in hospitals, and day care centers for young patients undergoing therapy.

"I am most upset by the statement that there is no cure for cancer. We have taken care of many children who have been cured of cancer and have married and had their own families," he told The Jerusalem Post.

"These statements have caused harm. Someone should talk to him. I am surprised, because I was a witness to cases in which Rabbi Elyashiv was consulted about cancer patients, and he was very interested in them."



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Ilunia Felczer: I don t know who this Rabbi is and I really don t care. If I ever heard a callous or stupid remark this one takes the prize, unfortunately stupid remarks can hurt a lot of people, and especially the one s who have children with cancer. My question to this man is what did these poor children do to deserve cancer? Does he even realize what children and adults have to endure to fight cancer?

We as families have enough to deal with, I only have to say this Rabbi missed something and unless he does not know what meaning of suffering is, I suggest he should keep his mouth shut. Putting G-D in this kind of light is so irresponsible especially when you deal with children.

My husband has cancer and his mother died of cancer. I see all kinds of people in oncology who are being treated for cancer, and these people come from all kinds of backgrounds secular and religious.

And one more thing G-D is not cruel but this Rabbi has committed a cruel act and he should correct it. If he would only know what experience we have with G-D and what kind of strength he is giving us to endure the stress to help our loved one, he would of never made this type of statement.

Well as we know there are Rabbis and then there are Rabbis.

Albert G. Silverton, Upland, CA: I am totally convinced that Judaism is G__D given, here to offer the world a better way of life even though we mortals unfortunately constantly stray. But, Torah scholars I mostly take with a grain of salt. I have been as immersed as an average Jew who has attended orthodox synagogues on many occasions. I believe many of the current sages as well as those of the past are hot air artists. Unfortunately some of the wind has taken on a life of its own and has become established dictum. Once in a while the likes of a Rav Elyashiv appears and makes my point.

Darin Lazarus, Los Angeles, CA:I am shocked to see this article. And it is not R' Elyashiv's comment that shocks me. In fact, I have no idea what he said. He was not speaking to
the media, or even to a general audience of his followers. Shame on anyone who takes the words of one of the most saintly men on this earth, takes his quote out of context, and assume they know what he meant, without asking for further clarification. We ar taught in Judaism to give every Jew the benefit of the doubt and judge him favorably. Anyone who jumps to the conclusion on the Rabbi's comment, and feels hurt or disappointed should really look again. Again, I don't know what he said, but I do know he loves every Jew, religious or not, on an extremely deep level, and wishes only the speediest recovery for anyone stricken with cancer, or any ailment. Give the man some credit, and never jump to such harsh
conclusions!

William Scholefield, Marlborough, New Zealand:To understand the possible context from which Rabbi Elyashiv made this statement , we should read the following Word of G-d Sh'mot(Exodus) 15:25-26 D'varim(Deuteronomy) 7:9-15, 28:58-68. The Word of G-d is truth and lives forever , we despise it or disobey it to our peril.

Gabriel Sassoon, Sydney, Australia:It's quite sad to read responses from drones who can't or won't think for themselves. The very idea that an elderly rabbi might be an extremist is so anathema to them that they have to rationalize his stupid
comments. Someone even claimed that if you criticize the rabbi, God may punish you.

I am here to tell you that God won't punish you for analyzing this particular rabbi's fanatical comments and subjecting them to the harshest criticism if they are found to be totally ridiculous. Saying that his words were "taken out of context" and "meant for
specialized Torah scholars" is meant to shut off intellectual debate - a decidedly un Talmudic thing to do.

There's no secret context or subtext here - the rabbi said that cancer is a punishment, there is no cure for it, and the rabbi's staff have confirmed that's what he meant. Rabbis are not higher beings; many "rabbis" are religious extremists. Plenty of observant people are well aware of this.

It's really quite embarrassing to hear supposedly respected Jewish spiritual leaders spouting Dark Age nonsense in the 21st century. If your rabbi is saying stupid things like this, no matter how many sheep follow him, perhaps you should consider finding another rabbi. Rather than act like members of some leader-worshipping cult, use the brain God gave you and reject fanaticisms.

Rabbi N. Eisemann: As others have stated, it is clear to people familiar with Torah ideology that Rav Elyashiv meant that troubles befall human beings in general, because of our failings. If we would all reach perfection, the world would also reach perfection, and there would not be any suffering. Everyone knows that many righteous people have died of cancer.

It is also known by everyone that many people have been cured of cancer. Rav Elyashiv probably meant that there is no simple and reliable cure, as there is for illnesses such as strep-throat.

As a number of people have mentioned, taking statements of Torah scholars are broadcasting them to the world at large, without the context and background information necessary to understand the statement causes all Jews to look bad.

The Nazis stereotyped all Jews together, and the anti-Semites of our days also apply the hurtful statements various groups of Jews make against one another to all Jews. It would do us much good to remember that to an anti-Semite there is no difference between a Haredi and the members of the Shinui party.

Albert Reingewirtz, Carlsbad, CA:The surprise is that some are surprised by statements of any fanatical religious authority. Rabbi Elyashiv if he ever contracted cancer and
was cured by the art of medicine and science would no doubt thank God for his salvation; ignoring the doctors and his usual proclaimed aim to go to paradise while happily living another day thanks to doctors. Would a cure from cancer make him change his mind? It would be interesting to read what such a Possek is capable in brain gymnastic.

Yechezkel Rapoport, Johannesburg, South Africa: I would just like to tell Albert Reingewirtz, Carlsbad, CA that he should be very careful concerning what he says about the greatest Rabbi in our time because G-d would surely punish a thing like that. I would like to add that Rabbi Elyashiv has had illness not cancer and was saved by medical help.

Erik Miller, Philadelphia, PA:And Yechezkel Rapoport should be even more careful before judging his fellow Jews and posing as the mouthpiece of GOD. The problem with Judaism, represented by Rabbi Elyashiv's recent comments is that the rabbinical leadership is plagued with arrogance and a misunderstanding of the ETERNAL as a Being who needs blood sacrifice and punishment to appease its wrath. GOD is not a killer! This perverse and out-dated attitude has hurt Judaism for centuries and it continues to hurt the State of Israel because it teaches our children to hate each other. Follow GOD in your heart, not any rabbi with a title to his name.

Meir Deutsch, Jerusalem:Once again, we have a statement made by a distinguished Torah leader taken completely out of context. Doesn't anyone remember the same situation with Rav Ovadia Yosef a few years back? Of the undoubtedly dozens of media outlets who will jump on this story, I doubt more than one or two will actually read the particular responsa, and none will read the entire work. Why would they? The publisher himself claims the book is "meant only for specialized Torah scholars," and I'm sure he's not joking. Judaic responsa is commonly written in terse, loaded sentences, one- or two-word comments referencing many pages of thought, often truly understandable only to (surprise)specialized Torah scholars. Yet all will surely pass judgment on Rav Elyashiv, and (if history is any indication) many will use this one paraphrase to "prove" how Orthodox Jewry is out of touch with reality. I may not be able to understand the 'tshuva' that Rav Elyashiv wrote, as I am not a specialist like he is. But I am an orthodox Jew, and as such, I think I qualify as an adult to the media's childishness. Rav Elyashiv's is the mind which is consulted when the lesser greats don't know the answer. He is the foremost halachik arbiter to many thousands of Orthodox Jews. Halacha is translated as "Jewish law", but the literal meaning is "path," as in the path of conduct which governs every aspect of a Jew's life. This is Rav Elyashiv's position, an esteemed middleman between practicing Jew and Biblical and Talmudic understanding. Rov Elyashiv does not think doctors are idiots, especially the many who have attended to his frequently ill 90+ year old body. And anyone who will dismiss him as foolish for a quotation which simply screams to be placed in context is both completely out of their league and in need of a serious dose of humility.

Eli Meisels, Jerusalem: Not having the original, but based on the Post's quotation of Rav Elyashiv's statement, it is clear that they once again are making an issue of a non-issue. He writes that it's a punishment for the "distancing from religion". This does not refer to non-religious people, it refers to religious people who move away to whatever degree from what they know to be correct. Those who have no knowledge of what God requires of them are not responsible for their lack of religiosity. Nor can they distance themselves from religion, if they never had any knowledge of religion to begin with. This is a common theme in all the ethical and mussar books of the Rabbis. It is the Jews who know better that are responsible for whatever punishments or warnings or reminders that God sends to the world, not those who don't know better. Rav Elyashiv is clearly addressing his words to those Jews who will read his books in the first place, and is reminding them of their responsibility for the scourges that afflct the world. The audience is only Jews with a strong religious connection and a strong belief that all illnesses are God-sent to bring us to repentance. They certainly understand that illness, in a general and specific sense are a message from God.

I am sure the Israeli Cancer Assoc. is concerned for the feelings and suffering of the patients, but believe me, nobody in the general populace would ever have heard of the words of Rav Elyashiv if not for the ICA trumpeting this in the media. I'll bet that neither Miri Ziv nor Chaim Ehrenthal can quote one other statement from any of Rav Elyashiv's writings other than this one, and neither one makes a habit of reading his books. But they feel that it's important to bring up this issue in the media so that everyone can see how insensitive the Rabbis are. If they were so concerned with the feelings of the cancer patients they would keep their mouths shut, instead of misinterpreting Rav Elyashiv's words in public.

Aron Pinker, Ph.D., Silver Spring, MD: I understand the Rabbi's words (as reported) to mean that the ills of humanity are intended by God to be educational. In case of a curable disease it could lead to introspection resulting in a change of a person's philosophical (theological) outlook on life. In case of an incurable disease, as cancer often is, the struggle of the sick person with this horrible disease, his stoicism, spirituality, belief, humanity, and many other personal qualities that emerge in such sharp relief, are a monumental lesson to all around. This kind of lesson was certainly taught to me by my mother z"l. Her purpose in life was apparently to live a righteous life and to end it with an ultimate lesson. I suggest, that we try to understand the meaning of the Rabbi's words, starting from the basic assumption that no Rabbi would be insensitive to the suffering of another human being.
Fear is Temporary, Regret is Forever

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#2 egomaniac

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Posted 10 August 2004 - 05:03 PM

do these people know what the word "context" means????
anyone remember the Chacham ovadia debacle :rolleyes: :angry:

#3 hafle

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Posted 10 August 2004 - 05:14 PM

do these people know what the word "context" means????
anyone remember the Chacham ovadia debacle :rolleyes:  :angry:

In the sefer Yaskil Abdi by Ovadia Habdaya. The last tshuvah written, is that the holocaust happened to the ashkenazim because there were many mamzerim and Hashem had to clean them out etc. :offtopic:

#4 egomaniac

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Posted 10 August 2004 - 05:15 PM

with the 6,000,000 where he was also taken out of context

#5 Mendel Moicher Sforim

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Posted 10 August 2004 - 05:17 PM

And this is a gadol....?????? Interesting picks in your world for gedolim; repeatedly your gedolim are sonei yisroel and just flat out dumb!

#6 mosheshmeal

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Posted 10 August 2004 - 05:18 PM

Someone please explain exactly in which context did Reb Eliashiv mean what he said.

mosheshmeal
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'I'm a woman, Mary. I can be as contrary as I choose.'

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#7 egomaniac

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Posted 10 August 2004 - 05:26 PM

hafle, theres this thoing between your ears called a mind, use it once in a while!!!!! it needs the exercise!!!
do you really think that if its in the paper its true??????? remember the "Palestinian youth gets beaten on temple mount"

#8 Mendel Moicher Sforim

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Posted 10 August 2004 - 05:28 PM

hafle, theres this thoing between your ears called a mind, use it once in a while!!!!! it needs the exercise!!!
do you really think that if its in the paper its true???????  remember the "Palestinian youth gets beaten on temple mount"

Doesnt it make sense? isnt it similar to statements made by oisoy haish and habdaya and the satmar rov and others?

#9 mosheshmeal

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Posted 10 August 2004 - 05:30 PM

hafle, theres this thoing between your ears called a mind, use it once in a while!!!!! it needs the exercise!!!
do you really think that if its in the paper its true???????  remember the "Palestinian youth gets beaten on temple mount"

Doesnt it make sense? isnt it similar to statements made by oisoy haish and habdaya and the satmar rov and others?

wouldn't u put a 'lehavdil' between jesus and the lube rebbe?

where and what did the satmar rebbe say? source?

msheshmeal
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'I'm a woman, Mary. I can be as contrary as I choose.'

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#10 Mendel Moicher Sforim

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Posted 10 August 2004 - 05:40 PM

hafle, theres this thoing between your ears called a mind, use it once in a while!!!!! it needs the exercise!!!
do you really think that if its in the paper its true???????  remember the "Palestinian youth gets beaten on temple mount"

Doesnt it make sense? isnt it similar to statements made by oisoy haish and habdaya and the satmar rov and others?

wouldn't u put a 'lehavdil' between jesus and the lube rebbe?

where and what did the satmar rebbe say? source?

msheshmeal
.

oisoy ha'ish isnt jesus...

#11 mosheshmeal

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Posted 10 August 2004 - 05:42 PM

couldn't u just say 'snag'?

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#12 Mendel Moicher Sforim

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Posted 10 August 2004 - 05:42 PM

The satmar Rebbe was a tzaddik, so i just dont understand why he'd say something so irresponsible. but with the others, it figures....

#13 hafle

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Posted 10 August 2004 - 05:43 PM

hafle, theres this thoing between your ears called a mind, use it once in a while!!!!! it needs the exercise!!!
do you really think that if its in the paper its true???????  remember the "Palestinian youth gets beaten on temple mount"

Doesnt it make sense? isnt it similar to statements made by oisoy haish and habdaya and the satmar rov and others?

wouldn't u put a 'lehavdil' between jesus and the lube rebbe?

where and what did the satmar rebbe say? source?

msheshmeal
.

the satmar rebbe said that the holocaust was caused by zionists.
He himself was saved by one of the worst zionists. Than he critsised the Rebbe, after the Rebbe called entebbe a miracle, saying that miracles can't hapen through reshoim, thus provoking a war on Lubavitch. Yet every year on chof kislev ( i think ) the satmar chasidim celebrate a "yoim hatzalah" , commemerating the day the satmar rebbe was saved through Kastner.

Maybe mosheshmeal can enlighten us on this.

#14 mosheshmeal

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Posted 10 August 2004 - 05:50 PM

I'm not the apitropos of the Satmar Rov zatza"l. he doesn't need one. he's a big boy. (gedolim tzadikim bemisosom yoiser mibechayeihem).

mosheshmeal
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'I'm a woman, Mary. I can be as contrary as I choose.'

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#15 hafle

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Posted 10 August 2004 - 07:03 PM

I'm not the apitropos of the Satmar Rov zatza"l. he doesn't need one. he's a big boy. (gedolim tzadikim bemisosom yoiser mibechayeihem).

mosheshmeal
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But from your signiture it immplies that you folllow his teachings in some way or another

#16 Mendel Moicher Sforim

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Posted 10 August 2004 - 07:10 PM

I'm not the apitropos of the Satmar Rov zatza"l. he doesn't need one. he's a big boy. (gedolim tzadikim bemisosom yoiser mibechayeihem).

mosheshmeal
.

But from your signiture it immplies that you folllow his teachings in some way or another

Which is why he has the sense not to question the actions of tzaddikim. Since when can you accuse people of having a rebbe???? don't you have one too?!

#17 Snag

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Posted 10 August 2004 - 08:46 PM

mendele, it seems that you consider yourself the final arbiter on who is a tzaddik and anyone who you dont like gets thrown into the category of a rosho and a soney yisroel. what did rav eliyashiv ever do to you? he isnt even vocal against the other mendele....
"Spiritual wants and instincts are as various in the human family as are physical appetites, complexions, and features, and a man is only at his best, morally, when he is equipped with the religious garment whose color and shape and size most nicely accommodate themselves to the spiritual complexion, angularities, and stature of the individual who wears it."

"The despotism of heaven is the one absolutely perfect government. An earthly despotism would be the absolutely perfect earthly government, if the conditions were the same; namely, the despot the perfectest individual of the human race, and his lease of life perpetual. But as a perishable perfect man must die, and leave his despotism in the hands of an imperfect successor, an earthly despotism is not merely a bad form of government, it is the worst form that is possible."

-Mark Twain

#18 politico

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Posted 10 August 2004 - 09:18 PM

I'm not the apitropos of the Satmar Rov zatza"l. he doesn't need one. he's a big boy. (gedolim tzadikim bemisosom yoiser mibechayeihem).

mosheshmeal
.

But from your signiture it immplies that you folllow his teachings in some way or another

if you'd seen some of the people he's posted his signature quotes from in the past you might not rush to that conclusion.
zinh.

#19 mosheshmeal

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Posted 10 August 2004 - 10:11 PM

I'm not the apitropos of the Satmar Rov zatza"l. he doesn't need one. he's a big boy. (gedolim tzadikim bemisosom yoiser mibechayeihem).

mosheshmeal
.

But from your signiture it immplies that you folllow his teachings in some way or another

if you'd seen some of the people he's posted his signature quotes from in the past you might not rush to that conclusion.

how dare you! B)

btw, the text in the link in my sig. is the title of the article, not my words.

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'I'm a woman, Mary. I can be as contrary as I choose.'

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#20 hafle

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Posted 10 August 2004 - 10:55 PM

hafle, theres this thoing between your ears called a mind, use it once in a while!!!!! it needs the exercise!!!
do you really think that if its in the paper its true???????  remember the "Palestinian youth gets beaten on temple mount"

Did I ever write it is true?
I just wanted to point out that there are other "prophets" besides Harav Elyashiv who say absurd things. There is no need to attack me. Not everything I post, I believe in 100% espessially when I quote something.




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