Monday, July 23, 2012

even if we disagree

Must we first define (or re-define) a gadol as being as part of "our" camp (whichever camp that may be) before we can acknowledge and appreciate his greatness?  Last week I saw articles portraying R' Elyashiv as close to Rav Kook (and hence, by association, Mizrachi), as not being critical of Lubavitch (in our current climate of anti-chabad sentiment that itself is a mouthful), and as a leader of all of world Jewry, including modern orthodoxy.  
Without question, if you admire Rav Kook or Lubavitch or identify as modern orthodox, it's nice to know that one of the gedolei hador was sympathetic to (or tolerant of) your ideology.  However, even were that not the case, why should a difference of opinion in halacha or hashkafa preclude acknowledging the gadlus of someone like Rav Elyashiv?  Even if he were not one of "us," can we not show admiration?  


  1. I think that the answer to your (non-rhetorical?) question would be, that if an individual who is recognized as a gadol - or as someone who embodies gadlus - was not tolerant, was opposed to, or was critical of my particular ideology then, almost by definition, that gadol cannot be a "true" gadol in my camp's eyes, or is certainly greatly lacking in a fundemental way. Especially if that gadol does not acknowledge, finds fault or denigrates the gadol, or gedolim, in my camp. While I wholeheartedly agree, without any question, that gadlus - and, indeed any outstanding mida or accomplishment, even in a "hedyot" - should be automatically and non-judgmentally mutually admired and respected (achdus?). I suppose, though, it is hard to recognize those qualities objectively while feeling or perceiving that you and your ideology - which you may feel is your very essence - are being "dissed".

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  3. chaim b.6:43 PM

    I'm not looking for an answer -- my question was rhetorical. Just because other people are stupid and denegrate people who I respect doesn't mean I should stoop to their level and respond tit-for-tat.

  4. Bob Miller11:16 AM

    Chaim, what is your definition of a Gadol? (what he is, not what he's not)