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Letter: Stop With The Agendas

There is a well-known saying “never let a crisis go to waste.”

As frum growing yidden this has a very different meaning thanwhat is interpreted by the secular world. We know every crisis in the world is a direct message from הקב”ה including when it is not directed at us, all the more so when the crisis is something, we all face. We can never allow a crisis to pass without learning and growing from it. However, to use a crisis to promote a specific agenda is a travesty on many levels.

Not only does it cause the promoting of the wrong ideas, it distracts from the correct message and essentially causes the “crisis to go to waste”.

There is a well-known vort that R Gifter ztzl used to say over. The last pasuk of the torah discusses the greatness of Moshe Rabbeinu, the last words of the pasuk/torah are לעיני כל ישראל,,Rashi explains that it is referring to  the breaking of the luchos at the time of the egel. By ending off the torah with this It would seem that this is considered to be the greatest act Moshe Rabbeinu did.

The obvious question is why is that the greatest accomplishment of Moshe Rabbeinu? There were so many outright miracles he performed, the makos, krias yam suf, he went up to shomayimand stayed there learning from hkbh for 40 days and nightswithout food or drink, story of Korach, the be’er, etc that are so many more seemingly significant situations, why is the torah highlighting breaking the luchos as his greatest accomplishment?

R Gifter answered with brilliant perspective, Moshe Rabbeinu coming down from shomayim with the luchos to give to klal yisrael after 40 days in shomayim was the culmination and apex of all he was working toward. From the early days in mitzrayim throughout the makos, yetzias mitzrayim, Kris yam suf, kabalas hatorah, everything he did lead up to the this moment of making klal yisrael the betrothed to hashem as the chosen nation being signified by receiving the luchos that were written be’etzbah elokim. This event of delivering the luchos was the culmination of his life’s work thus far, a life of literally giving up his own family, devoting his whole essence for this, yet when he saw that klal yisrael wasn’t deserving of the luchos he promptly broke them without a moments hesitation. Everything he worked for was shattered in an instant.

We all know how anyone that works on a project investing hiswhole life in it will do anything to ensure it is successful. Tremendous negius will ensure that nothing gets in the way of its success all kinds of moreh heter will come in to play justifying all kinds of questionable tactics – that is human nature.When we are passionately swept up in a project or agenda there is no way to see the big picture clearly without negius with the proper ביקורת.

However, Moshe Rabbeinu wasn’t moreh heter for klal yisrael, although there was much to be moreh heter about- it was the erev rav, Ahron Hacohen was involved etc..

His judgment did not take any of his own feelings or disappointment into account.

This was a revealing moment to klal yisrael for generations, demonstrating with utmost clarity that all what Moshe Rabbeinudid throughout his life was purely ratzon hashem without a shred of his own independent agenda. The agenda was the ratzon of הקב”ה’s and there was no room for any negius at all- the hallmark of a true manhig.

How fitting and appropriate of a way to end the Torah with the greatness of Moshe Rabbeinu which reflected on the essence of his leadership.

Coronavirus has had such a devastating effect on us in so many aspects. So many people suffered terribly by either being critically ill, losing family members, their business or livelihood.Shuls were closed, yeshivas were closed, the amount of tefillosthat were missed with a minyan, shiurim from rabbonim that didn’t take place, yeshiva bachurim that wasted hundreds of hours of bitul torah, kollelim that were closed, children and teenagers that weren’t in school causing them to regress scholastically, academically and personally.

The list goes on and on.

It has been devastating physically and spiritually. We must and we will, get the correct message from הקב”ה.

It is a time when we need an intellectually mature discussionwith direction from rabbonim and gedolim that are true manhigim, who don’t have a ratzon other than the ratzon hashem, with who negius doesn’t play any role.

Let’s not get distracted by immature campaigns like signing one’s name on a shul bulletin board that he won’t speak during davening and checking off the “I shteiged from the crisis” box is so pitiful and immature. Yes, we need tremendous chizuk in tefilla and kedushas bais haknesses, however we need to grow in a global manner as mature people. We have to focus on living with הקב”ה and appreciate davening, learning the meaning of the words appreciating what tefilla is and by default we won’t talk during davening. Yes, shuls were closed, and we need to be machazek our chashivus for a beis haknesses, so were yeshivas and schools, so were businesses, has there been a project to enhance honesty in business? Has there been a project to increase limud hatorah and chashivus for talmeidei chachomim?Has there been a chizuk for baalebatim to increase their kvius itim?

Let’s not allow the message  revolve around schools accepting children, talking bein gavra legavra, smartphones, WhatsApp, pro/anti vaxxers and other specific agenda driven ideas.

That is for intellectually, spiritually lethargic, and naïve people, just checking off the boxes and moving on.

Yes, we have a lot to work on across the board as a klal, however leave things for the real gedolim.

People have  pushing agendas claiming leshaim shamayim all over the place, pushing to still not open shuls and yeshivas in the name of pikuach nefesh, people that pushed to open shuls when it was clearly sakanas nefashos in the name of mesirus nefesh for torah and Yiddishkeit. People promoting not talking in shul because that’s where they hung their Yiddishkeit hat for the past few years, licensing them to do whatever they want and still be a “sheina yid”.

The discussion of whether to allow learning by ZOOM programmed tablets was completely hijacked by school parents. Yes, there will be differing opinions on the matter, however, why is the attitude in our kehilla “we need to convince so and so rav or rosh yesheiva to not allow it”.

There has been widespread mesira in all frum communities all claiming they are doing a mitzva.

People have all of sudden become so passionate about doing the “right” thing making sure closing shuls, schools, etc.

Rabbonim were scared to say what they feel, letters going out from them were being retracted and changed because of pressure and fear of retribution from people in the establishment, (other rabbonim and lay leaders).

The pasuk says “eidus hashem ne’emana machkimas pessi”. The term for a fool used is “pessi”. There are many ways chazal refer to a fool, shoita, ksil, eiveles, etc why did it use the term pessi specifically in this passuk?

The answer is, the pasuk in mishlei says “Pessi yaamin lekol” – a fool believes everything the term pessi refers to naivety. Learning torah gives a person perspective, or what we know as ביקורת. The ability to see thru falsehoods and smokescreens.

Pessi yaamin lekol…let us not be not pessuim, we are intelligentand learned people let’s not let the agenda drivers hijack the crisis and use it as a platform to promote their agendas and what they believe is right, tainted by negius.

Among the terrible tragedies of coronavirus was the loss of many gedolim and talmidie chachamim. Let us put some thought into being mechazek the inyan of emunas chachamim.

There has been a terrible “zelisa debei dina” that has occurred by the losing of trust and faith by a large segment of klal yisrael due conflicted leadership and statements made by leaders who were under pressure by people of influence.

Intense lobbying by “askonim and rabbonim” causing chaos and rabbonim and poskim to retract opinions and letters in fear of retribution, with people in position of influence pushing theiragenda (both ways) over the last few weeks.

When there are agendas at play negius is what sets policy.

Yes, there will be passionate disagreements between rabbonim,that is a part of who we are and has been for hundreds if not thousands of years.

However Its time for agenda seekers to leave rabbonim alone, not stir the pot even more, allow the rabbonim some dass tzelula to make their own decisions without fearing retribution and for organizations to not speak in their names unless they truly agree with what is being said.

We need to follow the guidance of true manhigim who have proper ביקורת and allow them to lead the way. Not to get distracted with agenda driven ideas that are “lesheim shamayim”.

I will end with a short vort from the Kotzke rebbe ztzl. We say yehi ratzon sheyiheyu kol masseynu lesheim shamayim”

He asked why KOL maasaynu? Why not just maasaynu? W

He answered, that our “lesheim shamayim should be lesheim shamayim- that’s our bakasha!

May הקב”ה grant us siyata dishmaya that KOL masaynu yihu lesheim shamayim.

A concerned member of klal yisrael

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There are 18 Comments to "Letter: Stop With The Agendas"

  • Well read says:

    Wow. What an eloquent and poignant message. There’s absolutely nothing left to say. Great, great, letter(and great vort from Rav Gifter). I sincerely hope people take it to heart

    • Sammy says:

      Sorry dear concerned member. You are DEAD WRONG.
      Of Course people have agendas, in line with their techunas hanefesh.
      THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH PUSHING AN AGENDA IF THE AGENDA HAS VIRTUE!

      TO TRY TO DOWNPLAY ANY LESSON BY BRANDING IT AN “AGENDA” YOU ARE THAT “LETS ACHAS DOCHEH TOCHACHOS”.

      I have met the likes of you before, the ones who claim to be “mature” ant “intelligent” and therefore above the “gimmicks” of the “hamon”. Let people be people. Imperfect, yes, many a time immiture. But forever striving. It is the ones who say “only take the high road that are the real detractors.

  • let my nation go free says:

    open up the Jewish institutions they are not the governor’s children

  • Avi says:

    A letter written by an intelligent person koolai Emes

  • ANON21 says:

    I’m just wondering what your agenda is??

    • His Agenda Is Obvious says:

      That our “lesheim shamayim should be lesheim shamayim- that’s our bakasha! Give it a shot.

    • Moshe says:

      Agenda to don’t have Agenda !

    • Truth says:

      Look at it this way: The same agenda as Moshe Rabeinu’s when he broke the luchos. On the other hand, what’s YOUR agenda? 🙂

  • Lakewood Driver says:

    Wow I haven’t read such on the mark oped in a frum media outlet in a very long time. What a shame it’s anonymous I’d love to know who he is

  • Hello says:

    Wow such a great article, written so well. Thank you.

  • What? says:

    Why is signing up not to talk in shul pitiful and immature?

  • Ahavas Yisroel says:

    I have been saying this all along!!!

    Unfortunately for all the reasons of the above there was so much damage and hate created amongst us.

    I do not know how to fix it but we can maybe start by apologizing for calling people Rotzeach and all the Mesira that was done!!!

    I just want to say a story that I heard from R’ Meilich Biederman.

    I Don’t have the details so please forgive me but the jist of the story was that there was a plague and the malach hamaves had authorization to kill 100 ppl and killed much more and when asked why he said that once the panic and all kinds of other stuff started he was able to kill more (story is not accurate).

    at the beginning people where calling people who davened with a minyan rotzeach.

    maybe the malach hamaves found an opening to kill more R”L!!!!

    May hashem watch over all of us and give us the siyata dishmaya and saichel to do the right thing and bring us all closer together and respect each other!!!!

  • moshe says:

    Wowo how true we feel leaderless as there is no hadracha from the roshei haklal for whatever reason I feel Its time for whoever feels like a Rosh Haklal during normal time must stand up and accept responsibility for there rulings across the board.

  • Rebetzin says:

    Immature, bored people will poke fun about agendas. Mature people will realize that you’ve expressed very eloquently what they’ve been thinking all along. Thank you for being a voice of shalom and reason

  • No Agenda guy says:

    A long sermon WITHOUT Aa Agenda.
    Moirohdig.
    Really.
    No. Really.

  • Rivky says:

    Is R’ Kanievsky not enough of a ‘real gadol’ for you? He decried use of cell phones in the shuls. Or is his agenda ‘naive’?

  • Lakewood lamdan says:

    The Baal Shem Tov had an agenda about Chassidus
    The Vilna Gon had an agenda agianst Chasidus
    The Chofetz Chaim had an agenda about shmiras halsohoen.
    Reb Aron Kotler had an agenda against learning in college
    Satmar rov had an agenda against Zionism
    Reb Yisroel Salanter had an agenda about mussar.
    Rav Shacha had a number of agendas, among them Lubavitch, learning more bletter gemara, etc.