New York – It is an event that unfortunately, has been in the blogosphere headlines, not for its potentially lofty message but rather for the sideshows and distractions surrounding it. The latest of these diversions we can call “The Third Wave.”
The idea for the Citi Field Kinnus was to present how best to deal with the challenges of the internet – a challenge that has caused enormous damage to the spiritual well-being of Klal Yisroel. The easy access to the pornographic content readily available on the internet, not to mention the lashon harah, rechilus, and motzi shem rah, have been a source of pain and challenge to thousands of Torah homes. This event was designed to show how to best confront those challenges.
Invariably, such an event fosters criticisms and questions. Why did we not give these strategies years ago? Why do we not have heart to heart talks with our children as to what to do when pornography and the like, pop up on our screens? Why did we not develop effective filtering techniques combining physical lock and key methods with filters on routers, browsers, and computers?
These criticisms and questions comprised the first wave of the sideshows. Some of these points may be, in fact, very valid. But the first wave on the blogosphere involved the predictions that no one would show up, unless they forced people to come, and the conjectures as to what would be said at the event.
The second wave of the sideshows involved the tumulting as to who exactly would partake in the event and who would not.
Then came the third wave of the sideshows and distractions. This one, unfortunately, involved character assassinations of leaders in Klal Yisroel.
A delegation of Rabbis involved in helping to build support for the Citi Field event approached Rav Aharon Ttielbaum, the Satmar Rebbe in an attempt to encourage him to join the event. Rav Matisyahu Solomon, the Skulener Rebbe, the Vinner Rav and Rav Malkiel Kotler Rosh HaYeshvia of Lakewood went to speak to him.
Reports were made of the exact conversation. Supposedly, Rav Malkiel explained that all of Klal Yisroel was participating and that Satmar Rebbe should too. Satmar Rebbe allegedly asked Rav Malkiel if Lubavitch was participating. The scurrious report has Rav Malkiel allegedly answering that they were not participating because “they were not a part of Klal Yisroel.”
Then, fingers were pointed that if it did not happen why didn’t Rav Malkiel deny it?
The fact is, however, that he did deny it and he did so several times. He denied it to others when he first heard of the reports, to other Hanhallah members of BMG, and to family members as well. Indeed, this author was told by BMG CEO R’ Aharon Kotler how distressed he Rav Malkiel was at the
mis-information that was reported and that, he must immediately issue the enclosed statement” to counter the mischaracterization.
The rule of thumb whenever you hear of a strange type of conversation is to ask oneself whether it makes sense. Does it make sense that Rav Malkiel would say such a thing, even in banter, in front of many dozens of other people? It especially does not make sense when we consider that there are numerous Lubavitch Talmidim in Beis Midrash Gavoha and supporters across the country.
This is not to say that Rav Malkiel does not consider the meshichist movement to be a grievous error in the direction of a substantial segment of Lubavitch. But the misinformation must certainly be corrected. Nor is it simply mis-information. The fact that in one of the news sites Rav Matisyahu Solomon, was both stripped of the title of Rabbi and further described as “hate-mongerer Matisyahu Solomon” is appalling and indicative of the unspeakable level of decency to which we have fallen.
It should be unnecessary to state that Rav Matisyahu Solomon is one of the Gedolei Hamussar of our times, who dedicates himself b’Laiv V’Nefesh to Klal Yisroel. His participation in this event is indicative of his sincere Ahavas Yisroel – especially when we realize the precarious state of his health and that of other family members.
So what really did transpire between Rav Malkiel and Rav Aharon?
Rav Malkiel did respond that Lubavitch was not participating and that normally they do not partake in these tyope of activities.
Denigrating our Torah leaders and scholars with misquotes and lashon Horah does not bring us to greater Dveikus Bashem. Indeed, the very Asifah under discussion was designed to deal with and prevent this very scenario. It was conceived to stop the type of lashon Harah and character assassination that these Torah leaders are now experiencing.
The author can be reached at [email protected]