Friday, July 09, 2004

I'm dreidling around the Goldene Medina dealing with professional commitments. My talk on Ben Ish Chai at the machine learning conference was immensely popular. Unfortunately, the one thing my colleagues now know about Ben Ish Chai is that -- as one of them undiplomatically put it -- he is "a liar". Oh well.

Last Shabbos I was at a bar mitzvah in a growing Amerikanish yeshivish community. The simcha was wonderful. An opportunity to spend time with my wife's family who are all fun to be with. The community, though, consists of lots of intellectually downwardly mobiles -- people who went to law school, medical school etc. and then decided to dumb down in the name of frumkeit. To each his own.

The most frightening thing was the yeshiva, which apparently now has a name as a hot place for yeshivishers. I went to the RY's shiur shabbos afternoon. He sits there not looking up from his sefer, not taking questions or comments from the fifty or so bochurim who sit in rapt attention. He speaks in Yiddish in which he apparently has a vocabulary of less than 100 words, breaking into English when he runs out of Yiddish. The point of the shiur was a chakira between two positions on why we listen to the chachamim even when there is objective evidence that they're wrong: is it simply to preserve the system even when it fails or because we ought to presume that the system hasn't actually failed. A standard issue in jurisprudence. He brought a few mekoiros but missed the main ones (the Ritva in Eruvin and the hakdamah to the Ktzois, for example). Unfortunately, he was unable to articulate the main idea due to lack of vocabulary and zero awareness of the basic jurisprudential concepts. But what worries me is that he masqueraded his well-earned insecurity as haughty authority. Not only did he entertain no questions and avoid all eye contact, he finished his final sentence, got up and left. My shver tells me that this is a Hutnerian shtick. It wasn't too attractive when Rav Hutner did it but somebody ought to tell this guy he ain't no Rav Hutner. Earned gaiva is bad enough; nokhgemakhte gaiva is just plain ugly.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sefatayim yishak meshiv devorim nechochim!!!

9:31 AM  
Anonymous a hutner chassid said...

rav hutner spoke a very rich yiddish and he answerded the toughest questions so again you prove your ignorance

9:19 PM  

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