Monday, April 18, 2005
Letter to Haaretz
Regarding this article (here and in Hebrew here):
To the editor of Haaretz:
The quote attributed to me in your article about Rabbi Natan Slifkin ("The rabbi who wrestles with crocodiles," Haaretz 15/04/2005) is different from what I had said in subtle but significant ways. The article quoted me as saying that rabbis in Israel are "simply lacking in knowledge" and are being "self-defensive" in condemning Rabbi Slifkin’s books. This was certainly an unfortunate misunderstanding of my intention. I did not imply that the great rabbis involved, who are steeped in learning and wisdom, are lacking in knowledge or acting defensively. I have nothing but the profoundest respect for them, and I certainly did not speculate about their motivations in this matter. I sincerely regret that there was a misunderstanding between me and your reporter about this.
Additionally, a general theme in the article is that American Haredim, both the general community and its leading rabbis, support Rabbi Slifkin while Israeli Haredim do not. However, this is a mistaken impression because the issues are a matter of dispute within the entire Haredi community, both in Israel and America. Such diversity of opinion is a sign of openness, as I tried to stress, and not one of insularity. Rabbi Slifkin’s views are standard among Modern Orthodox Jews in the United States, and accepted among many but not all Haredim.
I appreciate your giving me the opportunity to clarify this matter.
Yashar Books Inc.