Jerusalem – A Hebrew-language weekly halted distribution after mistakenly printing a front-page lead saying HaRav Eliyashiv shlita had permitted heads of Vaad HaRabbonim LeInyonei Tzedokoh to print stories that have little truth to them in order to persuade the public to donate generously for the sake of poor families supported by the fund.
HaRav Eliyashiv based the psak on the concept of “kofin al hatzedokoh,” said the article printed in Bakehila, a weekly based in Jerusalem.
Early in the morning the editors’ cell-phones were flooded with calls from irate askonim and rabbonim associated with Vaad HaRabbonim, claiming the article was unfounded. Some figures went to verify the report at HaRav Eliyashiv’s home, where it was denied outright.
With phones continuing to ring off the hook the editors decided to take a measure unprecedented in the paper’s 12 years of publication: the entire paper was reprinted, the original version was whisked off news racks and the corrected edition was distributed instead.
“Due to a mistake and misunderstanding by the reporter,” Bakehila Board Chairman Shmuel Meir Hirshman told Chadrei Chadarim, “it appears as if Maran HaRav Eliyashiv permitted tzedokoh committees to print inaccuracies. The paper’s oversight staff took note of the remarks, because any thinking person realizes that HaRav Eliyashiv could not have uttered such things. As a result the remarks were deleted from the body of the article and corrected. This can be seen in the body of the article, which appears on page 12 of the paper.
“Unfortunately, when the lead was printed on the front page, the original, erroneous version was pasted in,” Hirshman explained.
“As soon as we noticed what had happened we ordered the distributors to stop delivering the newspaper to stores. At the same time we printed a new edition, without the error.”
for some reason I believe the first version this vadd haraboinim and kupat hair are really fishy
Actually, the psak they first printed was probably true but Elyyahis’v gabboim tried to cover their collective ‘ta’chasim’ when they realized how offensive this practice would appear when communicated publicly. There are literally hundreds of episodes each year where so called ‘shalichim’ who are sent to schneur money on behalf of various orphanages, batai medrashim, hospitals etc. tell stories designed to elicit sympathy (and big contributions from guilty yidden) but when you check the facts, they are either outright fabrications or significantly exaggerated. Unfortunately, the rabbonim who lend their names to even the most legitimate charities, don’t do enough to monitor the printed solicitations and ads they use or the stories conveyed in person by their paid shalichim (many of whom are paid a commission based on much money they schneur).
Why was “einom medeyukim” (not exact) translated to “little truth to them”?
The real shanda is that Rabbanim in the US do not protest the Kupat Hair ads that we see here. I thought that we Jews do not have a Pope and do not need an emissary to pray for us. Every Jew has a direct pipeline to Hashem and we do not need Rabbanim to be our intermediaries. Kupat Hair may be a worthy charity but the salesmen are using fear and strong arm tactics to get people to contibute.
“Due to a mistake and misunderstanding by the reporter….”
“… because any thinking person realizes that HaRav Eliyashiv could not have uttered such things.”
The only misunderstanding here is to believe any thinking person would think any of those stories are true.
When these charedi paper print something about their HaRavs they make sure everything is 100% correct. It is one thing to misquote several words, but another to misquote an entire message. This is more like a case of where the Eliashiv posse threatened the paper to stop the print.
This is the problem with all the hearsay versions of psak halacha. The reason that R” Moshe was so authoritative, is that he published his teshuvas formally.
A classic example of these deceptive practices are some of the stories being circulated about the 3 boys imprisoned in Japan. I was at an Asifa where the speaker said that the boys have not eaten anything in 15 months besides for fruit and water. I don’t understand why he had to resort to such hyperbole when simply stating the facts are enough.
Another point on the retraction, the editors say that “…any thinking person realizes that HaRav Eliyashiv could not have uttered such things…”. Does that mean that they publish items putting any thought into it? Or is it that they are so indoctrinated with the concept of “Daas Torah” that they will publish any ridiculous item which they think came from a Gadol?
I always knew they made up stories at least now I know that it was al pi halacha.
great. now we have another mitzvah to be cynical about. In a few hours we will proclaim that Teshuva, Tefilla, and Tzedaka have the power to eradicate evil decrees. Can all of you reading this article and comments claim to not become a little more cynical, and perhaps thought that maybe you would hold off a little on the tzedaka you give in light of this? I know I felt that way. The only “thinking person” around here is the Soton, who I’m sure is just relishing killing off another one of our pathetically few zechusim, as we enter the Day of Judgement.
This sordid episode only reinforces the need for these gadolim to get out and communicate directly with the tzibur and not issue cryptic psaks, takanahs, etc. through a bunch of intermediaries who manage to distort the actual words or real intent. Its like they float a trial balloon and if the feedback is negative, they can claim they never said it or were misquoted. Why not hold a news conference or have an open blog where they communicate directly with an opportunity for follow up questions and clarifications. I might put a few “gabboim” out of work but such transparency would infinitely improve communications.
i totally agree with #12 . Its time to stop the cynicism. If you don’t want to give, don’t give. But chalilah to become a cynic.
Does anyone have a copy of the original version. It would be interesting to see.
Just wondering, if the “psak” came from someone other than than Maran SHlit”a would the paper pull the print. Also, was the questioned actually asked to him? Did someone actually ask Reb Eliyashiv, “Can I make up a story, so that people will feel bad about me and give me money, all because of “kofin al hatzedokoh”? How can someone even ask such a question? Can I lie about my income so that the school will give me a reduction in fees and I’ll be able to have a real simchas yom tov in Miami?
The Torah tells us “midvar sheker tirchak”. Not “Don’t lie!”, but rather stay far far far far away from anything close to the untruth.
If the questioned was asked, regardless of the answer, something is not glatt with this wonderful mosad.
I think we should close down RCCS, Chai Lifeline, Boni Olem and just have everyone donate $18 to Vaad HaRabbonim
So that means Kupat lies without permission to do so?
The options are:
A. The stories are true.
B. The stories are false, but are justified by the ends.
C. The stories are false and NOT justified by the ends.
In this whole episode there is no question that they assume B. The argument is only whether we shoud:
A. Allow the public to know the truth about baseless propaganda tactics.
B. Hide the tactics from the public for fear that these tactics might stop working.
This just goes to show how warped the brain gets from sitting in Kollel in E. Yisrael for so many years.
Anyone who has spent even a brief time in the presence of Rav Elyashiv, shlita, knows that he epitomizes emes. How people can post negative remarks about the posek ha’dor, on erev Rosh HaShanah, and with the knowledge that such loshon hora cannot never be undone (as the internet allows vile innuendo etc to spread ‘forever’), is frankly beyond me.
L’maaseh what is the halacha? Has anyone asked their rav?
Aside from what the actual halacha is concerning creating stories that are false, but are justified by the ends.
Does anyone consider whether there actually is a benefit dollar-wise to creating false stories? Does it actually get them more money. I know for me when i see these stories I lower my donation, not raise it. Every organization is important, I choose to give to the most mentchlech fundraiser, not on his story of why his organization is better than others.
If you look in Rav Elyashiv’s book of teshuvos, I believe it is volume three, he is asked if one can tell stories about gedoliim.
He replied that one can tell stories about gedolim even if not true as long as one believes that they would have acted in a certain manner. This teshuvo may have been the source for the behaviour of the various zedakos fund raising efforts.
midvor sheker sirchuk I guess has been eliminated.