Jerusalem – The Israeli Controversial ‘Gaon’ That Is Raising Eyebrows In The Torah World, Exclusive 2 Hour Interview With VIN News


     Rabbi David Bar ChaimJerusalem – The Machon Shilo Beit Din, one of the most controversial new organizations to hit the Torah scene, was in the news this past Pesach. Readers will recall this Beit Din having issued a ruling that all Ashkenazic Jews living in Israel may consume Kitniyos products. Some jumped for joy. “Finally – culinary freedom for Pesach!” Others were more circumspect, wondering who exactly was this Beit Din, and who died and made them our Poskim?

    Vos Iz Neias News decided to find out. and sent a well versed Torah Scholar from New York Rabbi Yair Hoffman who spend couple of weeks in Israel to meet with the man behind this Org.. Rabbi Hoffman is a Mechanech in a Bais Yaakov and the former Morah D’Asrah of the Young Israel of Patchogue. He has written Seforim on Hilchos Mezuzah, Lifnei Iver, Chanukah, Purim, Niddah, and authors a regular Halacha column in the Five Towns Jewish Times, which is posted on VIN News. His seforim have Haskamos from Rav Yisroel Belsky, Rav Malkiel Kotler, Rav Dovid Kviat, Rav Shmuel Kaminetsky, Rav Chaim Scheinberg, and Dayan Roth’s Beis Din. He is also the author of the forthcoming Sefer entitled, “Not Your Usual Halacha.”

    The negotiations between VIN News and the Beit Din resulted in the first full-blown media interview ever granted by this controversial Beit Din. The terms of the interview were that Vos Iz Neias News can ask any question, but that it cannot turn into a brawl.

    As far as the filming goes, VIN News may show the interview in its entirety or if VIN News wishes to edit it down then Machon Shilo gets approval rights. The terms were accepted and the interview was arranged.

    For those who have a vast interest in philosophical Torah research will find the interview fascinating. its a total of 2 hours and can be viewed on YouTube here, its a total of 12 clips. We are aware that views By Rabbi David Bar-Hayim is very controversial. Rabbi Hoffman, and VIN News do not endorse any of his believes, we are just reporting.

    The driving force behind Machon Shilo is a fascinating individual named, Rabbi David Bar Chaim. Rabbi Bar Chaim seems to be a sincere individual, bent on discovering truth in his learning. He wearsTefillin the entire day and is willing to hear dissenting opinions. The Rabbi Has 100’s of followers.

    The Beit Midrash is located in the Givat Shaul section of Yerushalayim, near Angel’s Bakery. Rabbi David Bar Chaim agreed to an an exclusive interview. The terms were interesting – I, the VIN News reporter could ask any question I want.

    Anyone familiar with Rabbi Bar Chaim, whether a fan or a critic, will agree with two things: 1] He is quite brilliant and 2] He is quite controversial.

    Rabbi Bar Chaim is a talmid of Rav Yoseph Kapach zatzal, the Yemenite Maimonidean scholar. Although Australian by birth, Rabbi Bar Chaim has adopted the full gamut of Yemenite pronounciations – th for saf Jimel for Gimel and the full guttural Ayin or Gayin. He also studied in Yeshiva Merkaz HaRav, although he is not too fond of the manner in which Yeshivos teach Torah. Even Merkaz HaRav did not escape his criticism.

    As a preface, Rabbi Bar Chaim is of the opinion that Eretz Yisroel has a unique Torah heritage called Torath Eretz Yisroel. He distinguishes between this Torah and what he terms “Torat HaGaluth.” How far he takes this notion is where the controversy lies.

    He has issued rulings and opinions that are quite startling. He ruled that the Birchas HaChama should not be recited on Erev Pesach this past cycle. He advises people to recite a blessing when they take off their Tefillin. He disagrees with the identification of oats and rye as two of the five grains of the Mishna, and the list goes on and on.

    The questioning began. How do you openly disregard the positions and decisions of the Talmud Bavli? He calmly responded that even the Rambam writes that Torah thought is not monolithic and comprises a multiplicity of voices that include the Sifra, Sifri, Mechilta, Yerushalmi and Bavli. He noted that many times the Rambam himself rules like the Yerushalmi instead of the Bavli.

    When it was pointed out that the Meforshim will constantly cite other passages in the Bavli as supporting the Yerushalmi position Rabbi Bar Chaim dismissed these views as apologetics.

    Another question. How do you openly disregard the views and conclusions of the Shulchan Aruch? He responded that numerous meforshim will disagree with the Shulchan Aruch and Ramah, and it is a misnomer to state that Klal Yisroel took it upon themselves to follow the Shulchan Aruch completely. He claims it never happened and that the often dissenting views of the Shach demonstrate this point.

    Regarding the blessing on Tefillin (a custom in Maarava according to the Bavli), he quoted Rav Hai Gaon and the Ramban who ruled that it is permissible to follow this view.

    When asked about the oats and rye he cited a Yerushalmi describing it. “Shiboles Shual” is supposed to grow upward and straight – oats are very spread out. He cited other indications too including the archaeological record. When it was pointed out to him that the Egyptians did in fact cultivate and sell oats according to Colombia University professors and that Rav Moshe and the Chazon Ish had previously dismissed this assertion, he was unfazed.

    What about that HaMavdil Bain Kodesh Lechol sentence on Motzei Shabbos? From his writings it is clear that he does not hold of it. Only a Havdallah in Shmoneh Esreh or on a Kos is valid in his eyes. Even though the Talmud Bavli (Shabbos 150a) states it explicitly, it does not seem to matter to the Rabbi. Clearly, the Rabbi is not afraid of extremely controversial views.

    Another aspect of Rav Bar Chaim is his vision of developing and spreading a renaissance of religious nationalism in Eretz Yisroel. Although this message would appeal to certain masses of the religiously observant, there is one aspect of his views that will most decidedly not appeal to them. As interesting a person as Rav Bar Chaim is, he does characterize the Talmud Bavli itself as Torath HaGaluth. In the country of Israel this is like attacking motherhood and apple pie.

    Does he have Rabbinic backing? Aside from a Rabbi Bock who has joined him in Machon Shilo the Rabbinic establishment has not seemed to have made any comments one way or the other. In the interview he did quote a well known Mashgiach of a Yeshiva who consulted with him on Birchas HaChama. He seemed to indicate that this Mashgiach did trust his Psak.

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    1. as the chasam sofer said, “chodosh osur min hatora bchol mokom”, he is not cleverer than the all the gedoily hatorah that have lived since the talmud. one of main reasons the talmud bavli was accepted over the talmud yerushalmi because it is basro’oh (later). the rambam says that to even one who disregards a minhag is oiver on lo sosur. we will follow our mesora of over 2000 years which will live on eternally, while he and his views will eventually be forgotten like all the mischadshim lemineihem.

    2. He Is A Total Full Blown apikores He Does Not Belive In masores hatora from moshe rabainu Down Thru The Generations Until This Very Day . IGNOR HIM!

      • “ He Is A Total Full Blown apikores He Does Not Belive In masores hatora from moshe rabainu Down Thru The Generations Until This Very Day . IGNOR HIM!”

        This is one of the most stupid comments posted recently on VIN…Rav Bar Chaim’s shows a level of intellectual depth that surpasses most of the so called “gadolim” and poskim who we rely upon for navigating the complexity of halacha in a rapidly changing world. For those of you with your head stuck in the sand who wish to blindly follow some notion of masora without exercising the ability to analyze and think createively that hashem provided to all of us, than do so. Rav Bar Chaim’s apporachto interpreting and living da’as torah will be the wave of the future.

        • With you all the way. Bar Chaim is an independent thinker who is not scared off by biases and faux-mesoratic notions. He follows an original version of Torah shba’al peh.

          • API
            It seems that you do not even respect Rabbi Bar Chaim.
            You plainly seem to be excited with someone who defies mesorah, and is a “follower on original Torah shba’al peh”, so that both of you are not limited to previously acknowledged traditions.
            Do you realize that Moses mendelsohn was exactly the same, and his followers said exactly what you are saying. Do you realize that Moses Mendelsohn was an extremely brilliant mind, an acknowledged torah scholar, who mastered Talmud Bavli and Yerushalmi etc, (see shu”t Sheilos Yaavetz) but we all know where his mind and teachings led him and his followers.

        • Calling someono STUPID dose not make you right!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and not smart ether!!!!!!!!!. and yes the The Reform movement also tried a knew interoperation (what you would call not being naive) in the Torah from the way we have been observing it for thousands of years, dor achar dor. RED NISHT AZOY GROIS!!!

          • But writing in CAPS and adding exclamation points makes you right? The reform movement does not quote piskei halacha nor is intended to follow a halachic paradigm in any way shape and form. When the Maharal (sixth chapter of Derech Chaim) cried about the learning of his times and how it flew in the face of Hazal, attempting to restore a normative methodological approach, he was vilified; I can only imagine there were those like yourself telling him that this was the way we learned for thousands of years and that he should mind his own business.

        • Lets see would you say Rav Chiam Kanievsky has his head in the sand??!! Would you suggest that Rav Ovadia Yoseph with the memory that he has doesn’t know what the Rambam says?? (the list goes on and on) I would love to see much more torah backing for someone like this before people flock to this Rabbi. ( we don’t follow people for the intellegence we follow daas torah only)

        • An ignoramus can’t be an apikores. An ignorant person who disbelieves is stam ah sheigetz. A true apikores is a person who is well versed in Torah and yiddishkeit and decides to chnage or corrupt the accepted mesora. Somehow if you ask me to choose between Shulchan Orech, the Ramoh and Mishne Brura, I’ll choose the poiskim accepted by klal yisroel, not some guy with a huge ego who thinks he can change mesora.

        • I always wonder of those people – who are afraid to use the brain, why did g-d gave us so much ability to think if not to use it? The biggest power of the brain is to create and discover. How can you say for a person “don’t think for your self I will tell everything” it’s the biggest embarrassment to the people of our religion!!

            • But the opinion of the Rambam and others was that we do have to think for our self. Even in sifer h’yaad he started with evidence of our religion. And why did he explain the evidence of our father Avruhom how he discovered g-d with scientific evidence, the only reason is: because we have to do it as well! (Rambam the first chapter of hilches avoide zorah)

        • Intellectual depth is not all that’s needed to be considered Daas Torah. Many times this intellectual depth, a gift from Hashem, causes a person to become arrogant and disregard true Daas Torah. I have personally seen it happen to many bright minds.
          What a pity to waste such brilliance on shoring up one’s own ego.

      • Since I have studied with Rav Bar Hayim for many years, I can tell you first hand that the majority of the claims being made here against him are patently false. Having spoken to him at great length on many of these subjects, I can not stress to you how absurd some of the comments here appear, and ultimately reflect the limits and unwillingness to debate any of these subjects in a respectful and intellectually honest manner.

    3. I’m not sure one may even listen to him, it might be bordering with appikorsis!!!And chas v’shalom put in one dayis kosvis. I really hope VIN consulted a ruv before posting this.

      • As prefaced by VIN News – they are just reporting this, not giving any enforcements. The Ruv they consulted for this piece was Rabbi David Bar Chaim!
        I haven’t listened to the interview yet but it seems to me that he is a Godol B’Torah and is extreemly intelligent. The only problem may be whether he has a mesorah to pasken and/or change previous psak.

      • Not only can this not be backed up, Rav Bar Hayim explicitly states that he is of the belief that the “Torah is min hashomayim as we are directed in the mishna in Sanhedrin.” Apparently #5 is so disturbed that he or she could not listen to the entire interview. The accusations that border on motsei shem ra (if not outright) are a glaring example of the distortion taking place within the halachic system and are a great boon to the arguments that they wish to prevent others from even hearing for themselves.

      • A’zoy…you are looking into a mirror…to see and understand Rav Bar Chaim, you must look through a clear window to understand the real brilliance of this scholar

    4. You should all look up the definition of an apikores. He’s not one.

      Halacha is full of dissenting opinions. The fact that there are poskim that disagree with each other doesn’t mean the meikil one is wrong or the machmir one is right. And why can’t one go with a more lenient opinion?

      As far as the kitniot ruling, he happens to be right. Kitniot is not chametz, and everyone knows it. Sepharadim have been eating kitniot for centuries. Does kitniot somehow incur a greater risk of magically becoming chametz in an Ashkenazi’s mouth more than in a sepharadi’s? Please. In this day and age, with all we know about agriculture, and knowing that kitniot is in no way, shape or form chametz, there is no reason not to be able to eat it. Bar-Chaim is one of the few rabbis who have the guts to actually come out and proclaim it. Most other rabbis don’t think people are too dumb to understand halacha, and probably think that people who start eating kitniot will also eventually eat chametz. But people aren’t that stupid.

      • I will repeat what I said in my 1st comment – the rambam writes to be oiver on a minhag is a deoiraysa of lo sosur, the ashkenazim have the minhag the sefardim do not.

        • tell us, moish, rambam was following all the minhagim and halachos that came to existance before his time? were all the minhagim of chasam sofer those of his father or kehilla? were those of reb mosher or reb shlomo zalman?

          • they absolutely were, that isto say they didn’t change any minhag of their father at least not lekula, if there was any new minhag it was a chumra or something that didn’t apply before.

      • Re Kitnios, R’ Bar-Chaim has some pretty heavy weight Ashkenazi support. R’ Yaakov Emden comes to mind. Also, he’s right about Birchas HaChamah. It should have been recited on the tekufas Nisan, I.E. the vernal equinox, which occured on 25 Adar corresponding to March 21 in the Gregorian calendar

        • your right it should be then.
          the only problem is is was not on wednesday, In the Northern Hemisphere spring officially begins at 7:44 a.m. ET on Friday, March 20, 2009—the vernal equinox, or spring equinox

          so we must do it on the day of tekufas shmuel

    5. It seems that he is “Oongeshtekt” with the Shitah’s of the Dardeiyim (a group of Yemenite scholars deemed Apikorsim). His Rebbe Hara Kapach distanced himself from them, although his father was one of the leaders of the Dardeiyim. I’ve heard that Harav Kapach gave a Shvuah that he is not a Dardeiya, before being accepted as an official Rov by the Rabbenut.

    6. Dawidh Bar Hayyim is more a student of R Kook than of Qafih. As anyone who knows anything about Qafih in particular and Yemenite Jews in general is aware of, Yemenites are the most strident about Talmud Bavli, albeit through the lens of the Rambam. The people who sometimes used Yerushalmi traditions were not Yemenites but Ashkenazim, for instance the traditions of Piyyut which are more rooted in Palestinian than Babylonian Jewish culture. That having been said, even Ashkenazim accepted (with caveats) the Babylonian overall Halacha and later the Shulchan Arukh. The basis for thinking that we need a new Torah, or a renewed Torah of Eretz Yisrael and not Galut Torah is from R Kook.

      Just because someone is a little weird does not mean they are Qafih.

      • I am not an expert about R Kapach-although I did meet him a couple of times in his home. Although it was clear that he was proud of Yemenite customs-he dated books by minyan hashtarot etc-it is also very clear that he believed that people should keep their own minhaggim. At a Yom Tov meal once he was clear to his family that I couldn’t do x-because Ashkenazic custom was different.

    7. There should not be a machlokes about kitnios for European Yidden. This was clearly explained in a story by the Yated. In Europe the sacks that held ground wheat, beans, oats etc. were the same and could be easily confused and even often intermixed by mills. That is a mesorah that is logical and is longstanding.

      As for the other piskai dinim we have a mesorah and if one Rav decides to make changes for his mishpucha IT IS ON HIS HEAD.

    8. dass torah is not just to be brilliant and know shas, shulchen urech .has to do how you conduct yourself bekdushe vtahareh, yirei shomaim mirabin, which sources you learned from,who was your rebbe, your haskafos…not reffering to him just to those who think torah is like any chomche, you learn a lot and bingo, no, gemmorah says ‘ avol lasika shemateh alibe dehilchse tzerichun siate desmayeh’ and for that we need ‘v’hureicho beyiras hashem’ i’m just pointing this out to those who autaomatically think just because someone know so much he is autaomatically a bar samcha. i am not reffering to this rov. i dont know him. a

    9. for the sake of argument lets assume that he is a legitimate bes din there is a halucha ein bes dim yachol lebetel bes din chaverio kee im gadol memeni bchuchme ibminyan so who is he to dispute the shulchan aruch? conclusion apikorses

    10. It seems to me the people who are so against him are those who don’t really know or understand much. Most people feel more comfortable with what they’re used to, and feel better being machmir in general. I’m not saying he’s right in everything, but he does have some very valid points.

      He’s not alone on the oats either. Rabbi Abadi shlita holds that oats are NOT one of the 5 grains either. He’s also controversial and brilliant, and the former posek of Lakewood. He’s not on the same controversial caliber as Rabbi Bar Chaim, but he’s also misunderstood by people, who by and larger don’t understand.

      • Rambam holds that shiboles shu’al is not oats. It’s not difficult to find the source of the opinion.

        The problem is all the Ashkenazi rishonim (including Rashi) who held that oats are definitely (potential) chometz, and assumed that it must be somewhere on the list.

        If we are not bound to the p’sak of Shulchan Aruch, or the minhagim of Rishonim, and we prefer the Torah of Eretz Yisra’el, then I have a brilliant solution.

        We can just Pasken like Rebbi Yochanan ben Nuri (a Tanna from Eretz Yisra’el) who holds that rice is regular chometz (Mi’D’Oraita). That will take care of oats, and most Sefardi cooking as well!

      • Rambam holds that shiboles shu’al is not oats. It’s not difficult to find the source of the opinion.

        The problem is all the Ashkenazi rishonim (including Rashi) who held that oats are definitely (potential) chometz, and assumed that it must be somewhere on the list.

        If we are not bound to the p’sak of Shulchan Aruch, or the minhagim of Rishonim, and we prefer the Torah of Eretz Yisra’el, then I have a brilliant solution.

        We can just Pasken like Rebbi Yochanan ben Nuri (a Tanna from Eretz Yisra’el) who holds that rice is regular chometz (Mi’D’Oraita). That will take care of oats, and most Sefardi cooking as well!

    11. Rabbi Akiva is also quoted as saying the he could pronounce a sheretz – tahor for 150 reasons. I smell someone looking for a following and media attention,not someone who cares even a bit for Toras Emes.

      • He is one the great “baalei Kabalah” and this knowledge and insight is certainly a key element of his approach to halaachic analysis and interpretation

    12. Sadly This Is A Common Problem With Many Many baley teshva Today , They Want To Do Good So They Walk The Walk But They Never Really Understood And Or Were Willing To Accept The Thirteen ane maamins And To Forget All The treifa hashkafa That They Had B4 , So They Act Like Frum Jews But Deep Down They Are Still Fry They Are Unwilling To Admit That They Were Always Wrong , Its Sad But We Have To Realize That Its Not So Easy To Make B.T. . .

      • What a horrible thing to say. I know penty of “BT” yidden who “get it” just fine. More importantly, their children and grandchildren go even farther.

        “…To Forget All The treifa hashkafa That They Had B4 , So They Act Like Frum Jews But Deep Down They Are Still Fry They Are Unwilling To Admit That They Were Always Wrong…”

        Is that not what it means to be a B”T? To admit that the goyishe life they had was wrong and to accept a life built on Torah?

        There is one thing that the B”T has that most of us don’t… a perspective on what it is like to be immersed in a goyishe world. THEY understand what it is that is lacking in the lives of “lost” yidden better than any of us ever could. THEY work harder than most of us do at kiruv because they can actually understand and relate to yidden who walked in the opposite direction from Torah. This allows them to show an empathy and an understanding that you and I cannot.

        To diminish the B”Ts in our community that way is insulting. Your words are untrue and I would question whether it is YOUR hashkafa that is treifeh… poisoning our community from the inside out!

      • Baal teshuva or ger tzedek were never really trusted by the community and were thought of being tzoraa. They are isolated and thrown out of the camp. It is a deep blemish and shame on the Jewish people to act this way – they are over on a lav de’ oraisa. Ve’ ahavta lereaaycha kamocha. They must accept the Ger Tzedek with full rights and treat them as they would any other Jew – but in practice this doesn’t happen. All these yeshivish with their black hats think they are soooo holy…they will have another thing coming when they are judged by the bais din shel maalah.

    13. He can’t be a to of a gadol I never saw yet a picture of this person not in hamodia,yated or kol haolam kilao so he does not qualify to change our torah not lchomrah nor lekula

    14. i watched the entire two hours and it is definitely worth watching. he doesn’t flinch once about any of his answers even for a second, and he never tried to change the topic at all.
      he has thoroughly reviewed everything that he takes an opinion on. if you do not want to follow his findings then you are free to do that, but to argue for a second that he is not a talmud chacham who is searching for amitas hatorah and retzon shomayim is just stupid.
      if you desired to understand d’var Hashem like he does, Moshiach would’ve been here long long ago.

      “kol ha”maalig al divrei chachamim, nidoin b’tzoia rosachas”
      if you want to argue his findings then do so, but don’t get caught making a letzonos of the words of a chacham as that can be very pricey.

      • He is a chochom just as Korach was (and indeed he was); he twists the Torah to get attention and to claim that he is more knowledgeable and reliable than those who are for us the closest to divrei ben Amram.

        It is he who will get the tzoiah rotachas, sent down to gehennom from the toilets of those who eat lots of beans on Pesach.

        • i respectfully disagree. if you’ve watched the full interview, he doesn’t make letzonus of anything that any gadol has said. in fact he actually maintains their minhagim out of respect for them and the mesorah.

          i only wonder if im oiver “lifnei iver” by posting as i know your responses will only get you deeper into the ……

          • It just goes to show you those people with patience, understanding and INTELLIGENCE can actually see he’s not totally off. It’s those who are lazy, uneducated, and plain stupid who “mach avek” anyone who isn’t as “machmir” as they are…

    15. When the Lubavitcher Rebee was alive, many Litvishe Roshei Yeshivot spoke out against him and his positions in certain halachot. There was never any threat that their Talmidim would have become Chabad-nickers. In the meantime, some of these same Roshei Yeshivot ignored life destroying issues like drug abuse and homosexuality among their talmidim. This man is certainly brilliant, appears to be sincere, and may well be a talmid chacham. He is no threat to anyone else. Even if some of his positions are wrong, considering the number of kids that we are losing to simple basic lack of Torah dedication caused by poor parenting and unskilled Rebbes, to be afraid of this man, and certainly to attack him, is insanity. If you don’t like him, don’t learn his seforim. Simple. If your child is happy in his Torah environment, he will not be drawn away to him. If your child is unhappy in his Torah environment, you have much bigger troubles down the road than Machon Shiloh.

      • I don’t consider him yet to be at the level of scholarship and lamdus as the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Z’tl but he clearly is moving in that direction…

    16. So he is supposedly brilliant. And, so what? So was Shabtai Tzvi, so was Moses Mendelsohn, so was Spinoza. And the point of his brilliance? To try to make a cult following for himself. One way to do this is to try to make himself as different from mainstream as he can, so that his followers only have him — a tactic that any brainwashing cult will use — to distance any existing support network. Hence, by going against all accepted Gedolim, he is leaving himself as the one and only person to dictate Toras Eretz Yisroel, making himself king of the masses. Clearly, a new Meshumad in the making, knowing that there will be idiots who fall for brilliance.

    17. One has to be very very careful not to be “nispuel” from some1 that has a good tong and has the power to{so called} convince that he is right. I WOULD RATHER BE WRONG AND LISTEN TO THE “SHULCHON ORACH” AND ALL OUR PREVIOUS GDOLEM, THEN TO BE RIGHT, AND LISTEN TO THIS FREAK.

      • following shulchan “orach” is the same as following all previous “gdolem”? How exactly are you following ALL previous gedolim and their contradictory shitos? And you would be rather wrong in matters of torah? great hashkafa! (i know what you are trying to say but the words you chose are outranging).

    18. Im kol ha-kavod, I think the author of this article is mistaken about Rav Bar Hayim pronouncing a gimmel as a jimmel. This is, in fact, one letter that the Yemenites are wrong about according to Rav Saadia Gaon, whose view Rav Bar Hayim follows.

      Thank you for running this article.

    19. Kol HaKavod to this news website for this fascinating interview. I would just like to point out two corrections. HaRav Bar-Hayim says that under ordinary circumstances one should not just merely say ” Baruch Hamavdil Bein Kodesh Lehol”-but b’dieved one may do so. Further, while Rav Bar-Hayim advocates pronunciation which is very similar to that of the Yemenites, he does not advocate pronouncing the gimmel as “j”. HaRav Bar-Hayim has cited HaRav Saadiah Gaon as having said that such a sound is only made in Arabic, but not Hebrew.

    20. Its a real shame that a brain like his is wasted, I watched the 12 video clips and must say that mostly they are uninteresting, the 2 interesting ones are part 4 and part 10, (note: Part 8 is mistakenly called part4)

      the reason i say its a shame a brain like that is wasted, is due to many points this “rabbi” makes, mostly his mocking of the talmud bavli as something that we should not follow since it is based on “natiyot”. What truely shocked me the most was him claiming that the only the ri”f is noted as saying we should follow the bavli as it is “basraa” and he claims that the reason given by the ri”f is an “excuse”, he seems to forget to mention that as for the bavli the rambam writes the every person in klal yisroel must follow its halachos.takonos, gezeiros, etc. this rambam is in the hakdama to sefer mishna torah yad hacazakah. while he continuosly quotes the same text a few lines earlier as saying we should follow the shita that is most understandable to us “bain rishon oh achron” he forgets to mention that the rambam says this in regard to everthing after the “bavli”.

    21. Actually, to correct your article, the Rav does not pronounce the gimmel as a “jimmel.” In fact, he has pointed out to us that this is a corrupted pronunciation, as the Saadiah Gaon writes that there is no Hebrew letter that corresponds to the Arabic letter “jin” – which would be a “jimmel” if there was such a thing. It is pronounced gimmel.

      I assume you may have made other errors in your article as well, so I ought to watch the video to get the real scoop about all this. But I applaud you for publishing this article/interview and for publicizing the very intriguing Torah coming from Rav Bar Hayim.

      In any event, Rav Bar Hayim is a rabbi who is not afraid, he is willing to examine all the sources and be open about them, and he is willing to assert Jewish pride and Jewish identity in the Land of Israel.

      For those who slander him c”v or question his beliefs, you are mistaken. This is a brilliant rabbi of sincere faith and conviction to uphold chazal and Judaism. My connection to Hashem has only grown from learning by Rav Bar Hayim, and my davening experience was especially rejuvenated thanks to Rav Bar Hayim’s ideas and chiddushim (from Rambam and other sources) on the tefilla and personalizing prayer to build a better connection with Hashem.

      This is a rabbi in Israel who is ready to face reality.

    22. Best interview on VIN ever! Rav Bar Haim is clearly a a great Talmud Chacham, intelligent and can think for himself. He also explains his views very clearly. People who have a problem with him or call him names are people who have been brainwashed into thinking a Jew can not think for himself they must listen to the Shulchan Aruch and can not question anything. The RAMBAM the Gra and others agree with Rav Bar Haims way of thinking. Watch the whole thing before commenting. Can’t wait to see another interview with him keep it up VIN

    23. BTW I was really impressed by the interviewer too, he was polite, learned and well prepared. I hope this is a new standard for the frum online news.

    24. His pronunciaiton is based on the sefer Sfas Emes – Sifsei Kohen by Rav Ben Zion Kohen zt”l (of Jerba and Yerushalaim). It is a bit different from the Yemenite pronunciaiton (i.e. no jimmal, segol is like the latin “e”, cholom is closer to “o” etc.)

    25. BE CAREFUL!! This “rabbi” needs to have serious endorsements before the ‘hamon am’ should change any ancient minhagim. I would venture to say that you should not even listen to him, this can do much damage to your neshama. Finally, brilliance, is NOT a reason to listen to a person! Korach, Mendelson, and Hitler were all brilliant!

    26. It is pure, pure, pure kfira to call the bavli – torath hagaluth. It goes against all, all of the past 1500 years of yiddishkeit. All the pro comments here, be careful – you’ve thrown your lot with those that dont hold from shas and shulchan aruch!!. There is nothing to talk about here. His own rebbeim at merkaz harav don’t hold from him. This article should be called the next Shabtai Tzvi..

      • The last 1500 years of yiddishkeit were spent in the Galuth. Or didn’t you know that.

        Why is it kfira to state the obvious?

        Is the truth kfira?

    27. “As interesting a person as Rav Bar Chaim is, he does characterize the Talmud Bavli itself as Torath HaGaluth.”

      This is where he falls off the wagon of masorah. The gemara states clearly that “Ravina and Rav Ashi sof horaah.” As the Rambam explained in his hakdamah to the Yad ha Chazakah, Ravina and Rav Ashi were the last beis din which was accepted by all of klal yisroel. Their decisions have the force of the psak of the Beis Din ha Gadol, and one simply cannot disagree with their psak. If the Talmud Bavli paskins a certain way, that is the halakha, period.

      Furthermore, in understanding both the Bavli and Yerushalmi, we cannot simply make up our own pshatim without consulting the Rishonim, who transmitted the tradition of learning to us. Try to learn a piece of Gemara you have never seen without Rashi — it is nearly impossible.

      The notion that everything after the Tannaim can be dismissed as “Toras ha Galus” is simply apikorsus.

      This is a lot more fundamental than kitniyos on Pesach.

      “Readers will recall this Beit Din having issued a ruling that all Ashkenazic Jews living in Israel may consume Kitniyos products. Some jumped for joy. “Finally – culinary freedom for Pesach!””

      My reaction to this was: How utterly prost! Yes, I know that the minhag of kitniyos has a long literature both for and against going back to the Rishonim. Yet that is the minhag of a large part of klal Yisroel. The idea that one cannot control oneself for a week — “culinary freedom” — illustrates that this is literally a “boich sevara.”

      • To the previous commenter who wrote:
        “This is where he falls off the wagon of masorah. The gemara states clearly that “Ravina and Rav Ashi sof horaah.” As the Rambam explained in his hakdamah to the Yad ha Chazakah, Ravina and Rav Ashi were the last beis din which was accepted by all of klal yisroel. Their decisions have the force of the psak of the Beis Din ha Gadol, and one simply cannot disagree with their psak. If the Talmud Bavli paskins a certain way, that is the halakha, period. “

        Really, then why in many places does the Rambam pasken like the Yerushalmi instead of the Bavli? As do the baalei Tosafot in many places. And others. You obviously don’t have an answer to this question because your statement assumes that these authorities never did so. The news for you is that they did indeed sometimes pasken by the Yerushalmi when it contradicted the Bavli’s conclusion. And as the Rav several times in the interview pointed out, one is according to Rambam to draw halachot from several sources including, the two Talmudim, the toseftot, the mechilta, sifre, sifra etc…

        I’m also not sure what makes you think that somehow the Talmud of Eretz Yisrael went against the centralized batei dinim! Or as if there is no amoraic commentary. There certainly is. Perhaps you have never seen a Yerushalmi!

        “The notion that everything after the Tannaim can be dismissed as “Toras ha Galus” is simply apikorsus.”

        Interesting, but what has this got to do with Rav Bar Hayim or anything he said? You obviously did not watch the interview or listen to his comments. He never suggested to ‘reject anything post-tannaic.’ He never once said to reject amoraim and rishonim. You have invented this premise as a straw-man argument with which to slander a talmid chacham. That or you are simply reading generalized/mistaken/ignorant comments against the Rav in this message thread (likely by others who also did not bother to watch the interview) and basing your conclusions on incorrect assumptions.

        Whatever the case may be, the things you have said here make you appear very ignorant.

        • The fact that the Rambam and other Rishonim occassionally rely on the Yerushalmi does not undermine the central point — which the Rambam himself states — that the Talmud Bavli and the psak of Ravina and Rav Ashi are authoritative. There is a whole literature discussing each of these cases, which R. Bar Chaim dismisses as “apologetics.” The simple answer is that in each case there may be a good reason why they relied on the Yerushalmi — for example there may be a machlokes ha sugyos in the Bavli, or the Bavli may not be as clear as you think it is. You will be very hard pressed to find a case where there is a clear dispute between the Bavli and Yerushalmi and the Rishonim pasken like the latter.

          I am also well aware that the Yerushalmi contains views of Amoraim — at least the early Amoraim. The Bavli was completed much later and is more authoritative. R. Bar Chaim seems to be rejecting the authority of the Talmid Bavli and all the Amoraim quoted there who post-date the Yerushalmi. (When I say “rejected’ I don’t mean he doesn’t read them — he just doesn’t consider them binding.) That is what is so troubling.

          Like it or not our Masorah, which started with Moshe at Har Sinai continued through Bavel with Ravina and Rav Ashi. That’s the Rambam, not me. The attempt to dismiss part of the masorah as “Torath Galuth” is a bad sign indeed.

    28. I’m not so sure this was a nice thing to do. To expose the interview to some of the less than respectful commentors. They lack basic derech erets. You have subjected a gaon to ridicule. Would you do that to the Ashkenazi Gedolim in Eretz Yisrael?

      • Um, what do you think he is? OK, he’s not exactly a gadol. But he’s as Ashkenazi as they come. If you’re trying to allege racism here, you’ve come to the wrong place.

    29. Whatever you think about this obviously rather learned man (and many here seem to have little regard for the halachos of slander, not to mention common decency and derech eretz), it should be noted that from a historical perspective, many of the greatest individuals in Jewish history were considered mavericks in their own time, and often for many years thereafter.

    30. If this “Rav” states that he does not respect Talmud Bavli he is breaking the mesorah of Toras Moshe M’Sinai. What is he saying: “Tiyuvta” to the Amoraim? What is he saying: “Tiyuvta” to Bes Hillel and Bes Shamai, Rava and Abaye? Think about this and you will see that we must rebuke this man. I stand with the Amoraim HaKadoshim and Moshe Rabbeinu !!! Moshe Emes v’Toraso Emes !!!

    31. Seems to me that majority of the pro comments are coming from his groupees.. No rightminded frum Jew would ever hold of a guy that ignores shas!!!

      • He ignores shas? Thats what you learned from that interview? And I’m almost sure that most people who defend him don’t “hold of him” and don’t follow his psakim. Try to see what are those “pro comments” saying.

    32. I dont know who this person is and i can see that he is extremly smart and a deep thinker
      however “hashem is not looking for smart people
      hashem gives smartness to smart people so how do you get smart
      ?the posuk says “raishes chochmah is yiras elokim” im afraid thats what this rabbi is lacking

      he is smart and full of passion but he has to remember that was pulss us through the long galus is our clinging to mesorah a mesorah that yes is followed sometimes blindly

    33. B”H
      1. I think Moish needs to go back and review what the Ramba”m’s definition of such a minhag is.

      2. One of RBH’s points is that minhaggei hamaqom are in force, thus he certainly is concerned about minhaggim.

      3. The last I spoke with RBH, he does not pronounce a Jimmel, nor do all Yemenites. There are many groups of yemenites (Bal’adi, Adani, Shami, Habani, etc.). As far as I understand, RBH uses the RaSaG as a primary source for pronunciation. The RaSa”G actually describes forming mouth and tongue to make the various sounds.

      Ya’aqov Ben-Yehudah
      (I do not speak for RBH, but I am a student of his

      • yes there is minhag hamokom and the halocho is quite clear about it, that one has to be noiheg chumros mokom sheyotzo meshom vechumrei moko sheholach leshom.

            • I know exactly what it means, but incase you don’t i’ll explain – with regards to minhag hamokom, one must keep the chumros of the place he left and the place he came to

            • I know exactly what it means, but incase you don’t i’ll explain – with regards to minhag hamokom, one must keep the chumros of the place he left and the place he came to [not the kulos of the place he came to]

            • ok, i’ll admit that this particular quote I stated offhand, without rechecking, after looking into it I see that if has no intention of returning to his original place he keeps the minhag of the new place even lekula. BUT I do not think this applies here as currently there is no minhag hamokom in e.y regarding kitniyos, because a minhag is defined what people actually practice in the present, and we see now that the minhag of not eating kitniyos is practiced in ey by the majority of ashkenazim, [and even if one were to argue whether this is called a minhag, the din of al yeshane mipney hamachlokes (which is said in regard to minhag hamokom) definitely would apply – we can just see what a machlokes this is causing].

            • moish, now you talk halacha. I also don’t agree with RDBH on many many issues, but it should be about arguments, not emotions or insults. And by discussing ANY position we always learn a lot.

    34. Thanks for a most facinating interview.
      I have known Harav Dawid BC for 15 years. This brilliant and dedicated servant of G, pursuer of truth and torah is one of the best examples out there of a true Torah man.
      I’m glad he got the bet din established.

    35. Most of the people who are against Rav Bar Haim and say Lashon Hara like he is not a Yoray Shamayim etc. would surly have been part of the same group that burned the Seforim of the RAMBAM and the RAMCHAL. If a Talmid Chacham comes along and challenges their understanding of Torah or Hashem instead of discussing the issues like intelligent people they just attack and try to smear. This is the behavior of Small minded people.

    36. Listen to what he is saying, and listen to his sources! You cannot impeach the Gra, Rambam, Saddia Gaon, etc. etc. He cites about 6 examples from these or other equally power full sources for each question. The trouble is the Ashkenazi Torah world decided to freeze it’s masorah on a branch of events that broke off from the mainstream beginning about 500 years ago and decided that the sources and minhag of the Bavlim of 200 years ago were holy and unchangeable.

      It has never been the tradition of the Jewish people to freeze their level of scholarship or minhag based on a galut experience. How can the ways of galut possible be more holy than the ways of Eretz Israel according to our own sources? How can the mispronunciations of Hebrew, and the dress of our goyish enemies be more holy than that of earlier generations who lived in Eretz Israel? Why should the Sephardi world be forced to convert to the dress and minhag of Bavel when it is clear that these ways are not the ways of our fathers who lived in the land? According to all traditional sources minhag has never been minhag HaAv rather it has been Minhag HaMachom, in my view it is a sin to import the minhag and dress of Bavel into Eretz Israel and declare that it more holy and proper. It is an even greater sin to assimilate all Sephardim by hook or crook into the galut way of life that is being imported into Eretz Israel. It greatly saddens me to see people such as the grandsons of the Baba Sali dressing like polish goyim of 200 years ago here in Eretz Israel.

      It also scares me that the Ashkenazi world has been constantly adding to our prayers, making new minhagim, and chumrot almost daily. This obsessive behavior is not more holy, in fact it is making living as a Jew constantly more complex and restrictive driving people away and involving the people in so much needless detail and activity that they are loosing their joy in living and being Jewish and serving Hashem. The people are becoming far too religious about their religion as a result and having less time for focusing on avodat Hashem. What we have these days as the result of modern Yeshiva and Kollel trainng are experts in narrow areas of the Talmud Bavli, expert in the minhagim and chumrot of the last 200 – 500 years developed in Europe not scholars of Torah who know how to poskin from the Torah and the Talmud. We now have Rabbis who only know how to look up answers from latter day cliff notes in the mishneh berurah and other such sources which are soley of late Ashkenazi invention.

      Wether or not some like it, the galut is ending, more Jews live in Eretz Israel than anywhere else on earth, with the assimilation rates and birth rates in the galut this will be radically different in a few years time. People have to give up their attachment to the galut and correct the sin of the spies. It’s time to claim back our land and our heritage.

    37. There seem to be a number of people here who are so afraid of what Rav Bar Chaim has to say that they suggest he is as dangerous as Shabtai Tzvi, Mendelson Hitler etc… First of all towards the end clip 11 the Rav spends 10 min discussing why you cannot compare Machon Shlio to the Reform and Conservative movements.

      That been said their is a movement in the world of Fear mongers trying to spread fear! That consists of people in Islam and the Arab world, many governments who want to control their populace and it is also in the Jewish world. People like the ones who make these comparisons are trying to scare others from using the G-d given brain. The ONLY thing to Fear is Fear itself! In torah one should Fear Heaven not the people who spread fear.

    38. I would like to add that even I he is right klapey shmaya and we are wrong, we are doing khalocho and he is not, bec torah lav bashomayim and however the beis din pasken [that being the final beis din of the bavli] that is the halocho, as it says even if they say right is left, as it is known the story of r’eliezer who was cholek on the chachomim and a bas kol announced the halocho is like r’eliezer and other signs, and still r’eliezer was put in cherem for holding out against the chachomim. another example is the Vilna Gaon when he wanted to introduce birkas cohanim in chu”l a fire broke out in the town the night before and he declined from introducing this change, was it because he was wrong? no, as we see the sefardim do duchen, rather it was to show that we cannot change the accepted minhag however great we may be [and noone came close to the greatness of the Gaon even in many generations prior to him as r c’ volozhin testified]

    39. R. Bar Haim is undoubtedly intelligent and has a broad knowledge in Talmudic teachings. Clearly, though, that is not the issue. Anyone well versed in the commentary and responsa of the Rishonim can and will come across exciting and new opinions on virtually every issue dealt with. That doesn’t mean that the implementation of dissenting and less conventional opinions is automatically more correct. The question is does he have “Shikul Ha-Daas” – the ability to properly and responsibly weigh the public outcomes of his rulings. It seems not. Undermining the absolute authority of the Bavli over all other Chazal sources is to undermine the very foundation of Halachic Judaism – regardless of one’s intent. Any change in the public Halachic balance should and must be left to the Torah giants who are not only scholarly but also truly G-d fearing and who take full responsibility over Klal Yisroel.

    40. I just hope that all the people criticising him have at least seen the videos and actually heard what he has to say. I started off thinking he was an apikorus and have concluded that he is not and that his psakim are justified for the people who follow him as their rav. Aseh lecha rav…

    41. When I first heard Rav Bar Chaim speak, I was also disgusted by the seemingly lack of consideration towards Mesorah. That being said, after discussing some difficulties I had with Rav Bar Chaim’s understanding of Shiurim (measures) with my Chavrusah, it became VERY clear that Rav bar Chaim is not an Apikores. I also took great umbrage to his psak on Kitnityos until I consulted with some other Rabbanim who said that really he’s not off, just that Ashkenazim have been doing things this way for so long that that is the minhag. To me it seems like Yiddishkeit has been layered in a ton of Shtus, and anyone who wants to dig down and reveal the truth underneath the Shtus is labeled an apikores.

      What bothers me and seems rotten to the core is the “modern” last several hundred years of Ashkenazi Judaism and the way its driven Torah, which is supposed to be lived, into something that is only accessible via rote commands from the Shulchan Aruch, Mishnah Berurah, and GrA. It’s true. RaMBaM and RaMCHaL were both berated for their viewpoints, yet today we consider them brilliant! RaMCHaL’s seforim were burned because he didn’t follow the mainstream viewpoint, but decided to become an independent thinker, and look at the wonders of his works!

      One thing for sure is correct: Am Yisroel needs ONE Torah. We need Moshiach! We need a real teacher who can unite all of Klal Yisroel again. I’m not saying that Rav Bar Chaim is the one. I still have issues with many of the things he says, but I find his viewpoint interesting and worth investigating. Unfortunately, Klal Yisroel doesn’t seem to be ready. The Sefardim will only follow Rav Ovadia, and the Ashkenazim will follow anyone BUT Rav Ovadia! There needs to be a bridge like Nusach Sefard that bridges between Ashkenaz and Eidos HaMizrach.

      As for the people who were talking about wearing the garb of the goyim, I think you’re 100% right! If our Avos ever saw us shvitzing our brains out on a hot summer day waiting for the bus in Yerushalayim, they’d say we were all CRAZY! And don’t get me started on the definition of “Jewish music”! Oy Vey!

    42. I just hope that all the people criticising him have at least seen the videos and actually heard what he has to say. I started off thinking he was an apikorus and have concluded that he is not and that his psakim are justified for the people who follow him as their rav. Aseh lecha rav…

    43. I just hope that all the people criticising him have at least seen the videos and actually heard what he has to say. I started off thinking he was an apikorus and have concluded that he is not and that his psakim are justified for the people who follow him as their rav. Aseh lecha rav…

    44. Thanks for the video for one. As a Torah Jew, we are taught to think. I believe these videos, if nothing else, will make one ponder the issues discussed. I happen to agree with the Rav on many of these issues. Still investigating about the rest. I’m not sure how the Rav can be considered an apikoris because his opinions, based on Torah, may differ from yours. I pray it is not out of ignorance or being brainwashed. I think the lesson learned, as long as we stay within the parameters of Torah, is to think thriough these issues with intellectual honesty and with study, not charges of apikorsim without reason. Nothing I heard on these videos would indicate to me as such. I saw an outstanding Rav, and the interviewer as well, as outstanding scholars who were thrashing out issues that were very interesting and timely. No amount of respectful discussion that took place here warrants these outlandish labels. Thank you and and may we merit through seeking the truth.of the Torah the arrival of the Messiach soon in our days.

    45. I just hope that all the people criticising him have at least seen the videos and actually heard what he has to say. I started off thinking he was an apikorus and have concluded that he is not and that his psakim are justified for the people who follow him as their rav. Aseh lecha rav…

    46. Its sad to see how many innocent readers and bloggers have been caught already in this new yetzer horah. See Brochos 47b [and Rashi] that one who doesn’t have a rabbi to teach him how to learn and understand and rule is considered an am ha’aretz even if he knows as much as all the computers do!

      • What are you talking about?!?!?!?!

        He has learned from some of the greatest Geonim, Harav Yosef Gafekh TZ”L, Harav Benzion Cohen TZ”L

        What a slanderous comment to make just because you are not learned enough to answer his contentions!!!!!!

        Rav Bar Hayim is the greatest Talmid Chacham I have ever seen. Not a single one of the slanderous posted has in any way proven his contentions wrong.

        All they can do is slander a Gaon BaTorah.

        • For the record I am not one that casts someone aside because he doesn’t follow the part line. I too, like Bar-Chaim am a follower of Rav Kafach and his grandfather Harav Yahya Kafack ZT”L. So that that is out of the way, I can tell everyone without a doubt that neither of the Rav Kafach’s would ever endorse the Kfirah views of Bar Chaim! Yes Kfirah! He may be able to point to isolated times that the Rambam or even Achronim will take a position of the Yerushalmi over the Bavli, but keep in mind who these people were that took those positions and in what frequency? Bar Chaim is quick to condemn the galuth mentality as to what has led to our mesorah but it is precisely his neo-nationalistic-Israeli mentality that leads him to find Yershalmi to be dominant over Baveli even though the Rif sealed our mesorah like the Bavli. So is Bar Chaim motivated by what Hakadosh Baruch Hu wants (as he suggests) or by his neo-nationalistic-Israeli pride? Besides all of this, anyone that can call David Halivni a true kofer Bikkar, Harav HaGaon or someone that reveres Saul Lieberman and bigger Kofer Bikkar, should cause any person to pause and question their Hashkafah…

          • Yes, for me that was one of the most disturbing parts of the interview. It might very well be that David Halivni was learning shas be’al pe in Auschwitz but today his views are kefirah and calling him HaRav HaGaon means you are ready to identify yourself with the camp of torah deniers. RDBH admits he didn’t read his books on Tanach but says he is familiar with his views. Thats a very thin ice.

            And yes, there is no doubt that Rav Kapach zal would never endorose his views and would hold that he is not yotze on many mitzvos and over on others.

          • Reply to “Torah Truth”

            You who say you are a talmid of the Kafeh family, and you so brazenly label Rav Bar Hayim’s approach to Torah as “Kefirah.” I was just curious. Don’t you ALSO consider ALL the Ashkenazi and Sephardi (read: Non-Rambamist) haredi approaches as kefira as well? If you answer yes, that says a lot and will clarify things for the readership.

            If you answer no, how do you distinguish between all those kabbalists, modern day chassidim and litvakim who don’t hold strictly by Rambam and many of whom hold by Shulchan Aruch…. How do you distinguish them from Rav Bar Hayim according to your worldview. Or are all of these people kofrim and rejecting the final beit din of ravina and rav ashi according to you? I am wondering because I do not know.

            Furthermore, you admitted yourself that Rambam himself paskens like the Yerushalmi on occasion, and this is clear. Do you think the Rambam was rejecting the authority of Torah Sh Baal Peh??! Of course not!

            It is not as if Rav Bar Hayim wants to just scrap the Bavli, chas veshalom. But when the Bavli and the Yerushalmi say different things on a given issue, he is just not ready to scrap (or ignore) the Yerushalmi like so many others are willing to do and just blanketly say “Bavli is supreme” and ignore what else there is to be said on the matter. And it is clear that many sugiyot in the Bavli are edited/constructed several hundred years after Ravina and Rav Ashi!! So even following the Bavli step for step, one is not necessarily following the final psak of Ravina and Rav Ashi.

            • Interesting questions… If one studies Sefer Milchemes HaShem from Rav Kafach he would see that while he considers certain views as K’firah, he did not consider the people who held those views as Kofrim. In other words it is quite possible that great people had ways of “rationalizing” concepts and ideas that they themselves didn’t believe. You see this also in the T’shuvah of the Rivash were he too takes those certain views as K’firah though he held in the highest esteem the great people that shared those views since they rationalized the ideas (ie: what it says in writing is not really what it means). Rav Kafach entire approach to his views was consistent with the Ikkrim that we laid down by the Geonim, and Kadmonim (early Geonim and Rishonim). His litmus test for Toras HaShem was conformity to what these early greats defined as our Mesorah, this includes the acceptance and supremacy of Ravina and Rav Ashi (Talmud Baveli) over Yerushalmi (see Rambam and Rif). That too is my litmus test… not if a view conforms to the party line or even to the Gedolim today. The only litmus test is dose it conform to the Kadmonim, the framers of our Mesorah. I ask you, does Bar Chaim pass that test?

        • I didn’t say that he doesn’t have great rabbis, but did THEY teach him this new way of thought, were THEY masmich him, do THEY endorse all this NEW halacha movement, did THEY hold him as a talmid or does he just hold them as his rebbes. It makes no difference if you learnt from a computer or a rabbi or the pope if you didn’t apply yourself to the way of learning of your rabbi. To learn from a great rabbi and then to know better then him …
          The Shas only twice mentions “achsir dora” both times as a question and not a statement. NO-ONE knows better than all the mesora of klal yisroel. It doesn’t make a difference how impressive his Torah depth and breadth is.
          let him post even just ONE haskoma from any ONE accepted godol, and that woould suffice to allow us to question his liability, but without any, he could be some freak making a stir, pulling with him all those unlearned bloggers above,

          • Well, if you want a haskamah on his yerushalmi approach, there is none. But there were many gedolim that hold the same way he does on the issue of living in E”Y, correct pronunciation of lashon hakodesh, some even on the issue of techeles, and many other of his non-mainstream view.

            • I actually share many of these non-mainstream views regarding pronunciation of LaShon HaQodesh (with minor exceptions) and the wearing of Tkheleth as well as others. However, it is a slippery slope when one takes positions (as I admit I do) that goes against the general Mesorah and positions held by our Gedolai Yisrael. One needs to keep this in check and stay within the bounds of Yahadus. I am afraid that Bar Chaim has slipped over the line. Our Haskafah must be based on the accepted positions of the Geonin and early Rishonim and even if one finds an exception from a great authority from time to time it does not make it into the rule. This is where I fear Ben Chaim has erred and is a Machteh es HaRabim.

    47. I personally as of yet have not had the time to watch the video and as such will refrain from commenting on anything it says
      I have however read every single comment to date and there are a few things I would like to say as a Jew that is struggling with todays version or religious Judaism
      1) I personally feel that the version of Judaism practiced today has a huge amount of stringency that may have been relevant when they were passed. However, with modern technology there is no reason we cannot go back and look at some of them and see that maybe they are no longer applicable
      2) Everywhere I turn someone is so concerned with a new fangled chumra that sometimes they forget the basics
      3) These chumras, while they may be good for some people, I dont know, maybe some people thoroughly enjoy restricting their lives, they for sure push many of us young people away because we are essentially told that if we dont follow the chumras we arent jewish enough
      But is it better to be lenient, and maybe retract some of the minhagim that came about from chumras, or is it better to simply insist on them and only them and no other way and push people further from Judaism to the point where Tfillin and Shabbat are no longer kept either?
      If any of you honestly feel that the answer to that question is yes then so be it

    48. we all know that the Chafetz Chaim wouldn’t read a book without a haskamah, well, nor do we follow new lines in psak etc without haskamah. Haskamah just means that in some way, the train of thought being used by any author or other, is linked somewhat to the mesorah which is all we have that links us back to ma’amad har sinai. A bigger brain can always influence a smaller one even that day is night, but only mesorah connects us to the chain going from matan torah and taking us to geulah. Any infringement or change is out. This is irrespective to what we think about what we have been given by our mesorah, if you change the mesorah you are out!
      This nonsense of differentiating between mechon shilo and conservative and reform is just “demogogya”, The common denominator is “change” and the torah doesn’t tolerate change. The Hashgocho elyonah decides which chumras and kulas come about when they do, and are decided upon via renowned gedoley and chachmey yisroel only.
      can someone please enlighten us where this fellow comes from, who gave his his position etc etc??

    49. To name two Chumros for Pesach, how about Kitniyos and Gebrokst? I know, you’ll say that they’re not Chumros, they’re “only” Minhagim. Or how about other Chumros of Shiurim for Matzah by the Sedarim, and Challah by Succos? If you stop and think about it with an open mind for two and a half seconds, the Shiurim themselves don’t make sense! The Mesorah we have today as Ashkenazim is in question because of the Crusades and the havoc that it caused to European Jewry. Rabbeinu Tam didn’t even know his own grandfather, Rashi! And so he tries to reconstruct what he thinks is correct based on his own reasoning and understanding of Torah and ChaZa”L (much like Rabbi Akiva did when Torah was nearly wiped out of Eretz Yisroel). Chas VeSholom, I’m not comparing us with Rabbeinu Tam, but he used his own reasoning and understanding to come to a conclusion. Every Dor did the same thing. That’s one of the reasons Torah SheBa’al Peh is not supposed to be written down: because if it’s written down, then LEARNING will be forgotten, and we’ll all become book smart, but not thinkers.

      And if you think that the leaders are infallible and don’t have their own Yetzer Harah’s, think again! If the veil was lifted from their eyes, do you think any Jew in his right mind would still be living in Schmutz LaAretz? If you’re REALLY interested in preserving a Mesorah, then you’re fooling yourself by living elsewhere!

    50. I haven’t read through all the comments, not have I seen the videos, but I have heard RDBH numerous times in person (an advantage of living in EY, I guess).

      I also have been following VIN for a few weeks, and am enlightened by the window to US charedi Jewish perspective (with a grain of salt:-) I am a Hesder yeshiva graduate myself.

      I don’t remember any topic here that got so many talkbacks, of which so many were pertinent (usually they are ROTFL), and there is such a seemingly close ratio of for/against.

      I think this is a tziyun lashevach of the USA Charedi community, especially of the readers of VIN.

    51. It’s incredible to see RDBH blow everyone out of the water with his Gadlus. By the way is rabbi pinchus scheinberg shlita any less of a gadol because he wears tons of tizits on him ? Some people make a humorous comment about it but they still hold of him as one of the gedolim. Did any other gadol in the past ever walk around with 100 pairs of tztit ??? Who did he ask about this ?? The answer is that he is still at litvak at heart. So, he’s accepted. Even if he does something that looks completly “weird”
      RDBH is much more solid in his learning then any other gedolim. .

      He just answers the questions without flinching. Pow! Pow! Pow !


      • What a ridicules comparison on so many levels. First as someone close to Rav Scheinberg I can tell you that Bar Chaim is no Rav Scheinberg and if you think he is then you don’t know Rav Scheinberg. But more to the point how do you compare someone who takes Chumros on himself to someone that disregards the supremacy of Talmud Baveli as we have from Ravina and Rav Ashi and as having been defined as authoritative by the Rif and EVERY Gaon, Rishon and Achron. It is very nice that Bar Chaim would like to deflect the criticism and say it all about “being stuck in Minsk, Dvinsk and Pinsk”, that is NOT the criticism, it it were I would be a supporter. It is however about someone who dismisses the very core of our approach to Torah Sh’bal Peh… how you can compare that to how many Tzitis someone wears is astounding to me.

    52. It’s “only” Halacha that he’s changing. Could you imagine if he spoke about changing all of the toxic “jewish” foods and retarded diet that we now have. So we could all be more healthy. Gevald !! .

    53. The litmus test of authenticity should be the degree one is loyal to Torah Shebeal Peh as a whole. Placing the Yerushalmi more in the center is definitely revolutionary, but so was the Hassidic movment, the Musar movement, the Brisk movement, the modewrn Orthodox movement, etc…If you pay close attention to what HaGaon HaRav Bar-Hayim is saying-he preaches loyalty to Torah Shebeal Peh, loyalty to halacha, loyalty to emeth. Revolutionary does not mean kefirah.

      • True, Yerushalmi is Torah Sh’Baal Peh but we don’t have the authority to bypas the framework presented by the Kadmonim, Rambam, Riff etc. and if someone does he takes himself outside of the Torah people. This is not a revelutionary approach to Yahadus (as the movements you mention with perhaps the exception of Chassidus) as a matter of fact it is as old as the Reform movement and the many other fringe groups therought our sad history. It matter not one bit how much he knows, how smart he is, or how Makpid on Yoshon he is. It violates the basic principle of the 13 Ikkarim as defined by the Rambam and that is unacceptable. That is too bad because I rather agree with the many other ideas he has. The last point I will make is the people who he admires… Saul Leiberman? David Halivni? If you have ever read any of their works (I have) you would see the absolute Minus.. and he calls him HaRav HaGaon?

    54. How was R’ leiberman an Apikoris ?? This is typical Black-Ha Neurosis !!

      Just because in jts doesn’t make him an apikoris. Also, JTS had an orthodox minyan in those days.His yiddishkeit was never comprimised.

      Born in Motol (now Motal’), near Pinsk, Belarus (then Russian empire), he studied at the Orthodox Yeshivot of Malch and Slobodka. While studying at the Slabodka Yeshiva, he befriended Rabbi Yitzchak Ruderman and Rabbi Yitzchak Hutner, both of whom would become leaders of great Rabbinical seminaries in America. In the 1920s he attended the University of Kiev, and, following a short stay in Palestine, continued his studies in France. In 1928 he settled in Jerusalem. He studied talmudic philology and Greek language and literature at the Hebrew University, where he was appointed lecturer in Talmud in 1931. He also taught at the Mizrachi Teachers Seminary and from 1935 was dean of the Harry Fischel Institute for Talmudic Research in Jerusalem.

      In 1940 he was invited both by Rabbi Yitzchak Hutner to teach in the Orthodox Yeshiva Chaim Berlin, and by the Jewish Theological Seminary of America to serve as professor of Palestinian literature and institutions. Lieberman chose the offer by the Jewish Theological Seminary. Lieberman’s decision was motivated by a desire to “train American Jews to make a commitment to study and observe the mitzvot.” {Saul Lieberman and the Orthodox} In Chaim Dalfin’s Conversations with the Rebbe (LA: JEC, 1996), pp. 54-63, Prof. Haim Dimitrovsky relates that when he was newly hired at JTS, he asked Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneersohn of Lubavitch whether he should remain in the Seminary, and the response was “as long as Lieberman is there.” In 1949 he was appointed dean, and in 1958 rector, of the Seminary’s rabbinical school.

      [edit] Work

      • If someone is failing to see why are the opinions of David Halivni not accepteble for torah world, there is little to explain here.

        As for Lieberman, he is a different category. But it seems that he considered many things we (and chazal) believe are our mesora mi-sinai as of hellenic (greek) origin. See particularly his “Greek in Jewish Palestine” and “Hellenism in Jewish Palestine.”

    55. Rav Bar Hayim has a lot of courage. Offcourse he will be criticized by many. When yo say things different than what is accepted you will get criticized. He is not afraid of being criticized. He is trying to bring the Torah world to what it is meant to be. The fact is that the long galut has really messed some things up. We do all kinds of crazy things today that do not make sense.
      This interview is too focused on his preference for the Yerushalmi. Rav Bar Hayim prefers it when it fits our situation better , but most of his teachings aren’t even about the Yerushalmi vs the Bavli. Generally he is actually just trying to get us back to even follow the Bavli as opposed to all kinds of things that came later.

      It makes no sense for one Jew to eat Rice on Pesach and for his neighboor Rice is assur.
      It makes no sense for a Jew in the USA or Eurupe to start saying the bracha for rain based on the conditions of Iraq as we do.
      Selling Chametz on Pesach by signing a piece of paper is mocking our believes and also happens to be against the major halachic opinions of earlier generations.

      The eruv we rely on today is based on assumptions that are NOT mentioned either in the Bavli or the Yerushalmi. It makes no sense. It is convinient so make 100 accuses on how it is kosher.

      Main stream Judaism even the Zionist have completely ignored the reality that we are back in Erets Israel and have conquered the Temple Mount. The Zionists are not following the teachings of Rav Kalisher (one of the fathers of religious zionism) calling for renewing Korban Pesach. No effort is made to rebuild Beith Hamikdash.

      How can anyone compare him to Reform or any other such group. Reform tried to get rid of most of the Torah wher as Rav Bar Hayim is trying to bring us back to true Torah.

    56. .How can anyone compare him to Reform or any other such group. Reform tried to get rid of most of the Torah wher as Rav Bar Hayim is trying to bring us back to true Torah.

      Excellent Point !!

    57. Rav Shaul Lieberman was a frum Jew despite his association with J.T.S. HaRav HaGaon Yosef Beer Soloveitchik maintained a good relationship with him and respected him. Why should HaRav Bar-Hayim not respect this gadol? This type of smearing is typical of those with a haredi-neurotic streak.

      • Did you really read my comment # 138? And I don’t remember Lieberman being mentioned in the interview. The main problem is with David Halivni.

        Repeating your mantra about “haredi-neurotic streak” doesn’t make a chazir kosher.

    58. Torah Truth-

      Who gave you the authority to decide that on the one hand we need not follow the Shulchan Aruch and can follow the Rambam-and that that IS legitimate, whereas a rabbi who wants to put the Talmud Yerushalmi more in the center , is somehow NOT legitimate. There are plenty of haredim who would cast you as a heretic for following the Rambam. I know that you are not a heretic but you maintain a haredi-neurotic approach regarding a Rav who says that we must follow the Torah Shebeal Peh in a way that doesn’t even contradict the Rambam’s own approach who often did pasken like the Yerushalmi. And as the Rav points out the Rambam himself also held that we should view the Torah Shebeal Peh as an aggregate of sources from which the truth must be derived.

      Further, your claim that HaGaon HaRav Bar-Hayim’s approach contradicts the 13 Ikkarei Emunnah is absurd. Placing the Yerushalmi more in the center does not in any way contradict the Yerushalmi and by the way if chas veshalom it did I guess that would put the Gra in violation since he also sometimes paskened in accordance with the Yerushalmi.

    59. There is nothing more natural than our reeturning to putting the Talmud Yerushalmi in the center now that the largest community in the world of Jews is in Israel.

    60. Part 1 – views = 1917
      part 2 – views = 462
      parts3-12 average ~270
      I thought Torah scholars were known for ability to concentrate and discuss from an informed point of view…

      Just wondering how many of the people here crying “eruv rav” have made one of the most basic commitments to Judaism and actually live in in Eress Yisrael. To claim to know what being a Jew means without doing so is talking the talk without walking the walk, no matter how much one “learns”. Knowledge without application is not real knowledge, and seeing as more than half of the 613 misswoth can ONLY be done IN Eress Yisrael, well…

      I am not a Ba’al Tschuva, I am chozer b’tschuva and an oleh, because it was obvious even to someone chiloni l’gamre that the da’ath of Chul is lacking from its foundations.

      I have had the great fortune to have met Rav Bar-Hayim a few years ago, and to know a man of such deep understanding whose everyday actions show such humbleness. He does not seek to aggrandize himself by gathering attention, and most assuredly does not seek to make himself out to be Moshiach, and has specifically made statements to the contrary, unlike certain rebbes of recent past.

      He is one who does, in fact, see the forest for the trees, and while others are arguing over the leaves, is trying to make them aware of the bulldozer that is bearing down on us all.

    61. “As interesting a person as Rav Bar Chaim is, he does characterize the Talmud Bavli itself as Torath HaGaluth. In the country of Israel this is like attacking motherhoodand apple pie.”

      Uh, hello? It’s called the Talmud B-A-V-L-I. “Bavli” like “Babylonian”. As in exile. Like the opposite of “Yerushalmi”. Do you actually believe that’s coincidental? How controversial is it to simply notice something’s name?

      • Rav Bar Hayim even quotes from the Bavli stating that it in some way it is more limited than the Yerushalmi. Apparently the authoritative authors of th Bavli were not afraid to include criticism of their own methodology. Rav Zeira openly stated that he fasted to forget his learning from Bavel. I guess he must have been swayed by ‘kefirah’.

        Also, I have learned halacha for years with R. Bar Hayim and the majority of our learning both halacha and talmud was based on the Bavli and Rishonim. Just listen to one of his shiurim and you will see what I am talking about. I don’t understand what all these nay-sayers are so worked up over.

    62. Ubfortunately great rabbis like HaRav Bar-Hayim are only recognized for their greatness after their time. Let’s pray that HaRav Bar-Hayim receives the recognition he deserves now.

    63. Is it just me, or dis anyone lese notice that his tefillin seem to be too small to probably be kosher. I also don’t like those Bin Laden lips! On the other hand, it’s about time we had some fresh thinking out there.

    64. I have not yet watched the video, but I find the discussion unenlightening. First, even if his analyses of halachic questions are correct, I think anyone who takes such radically different views has got to expect a great deal of resistance — given the long history of deferring to the opinions of prior generations. However, even if we reject his opinions as practical halacha, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t study them. After all, most of the Talmud Bavli consists of arguments and opinions that were ultimately rejected.

      On the other hand, if he follows the Dardeiyim and if the Dardeiyim are heretics, I wonder why I never heard of them before. The article makes me curious about them. (It is by contrasting our views with those of the various heretical sect that we can sometimes best understand who we are.)

      Nor do I think much of the people who comment on his brilliance. No, I don’t belittle brilliance, as do some of his critics. But to recognize true brilliance requires a mind that is almost as brilliant. (Likewise, it takes great musical talent to recognize and judge great musical talent, and it takes a very fine ear for literature to recognize great literature and distinguish it from the mediocre.) I, personally, would have no way of distinguishing between a Torah scholar who was brilliant, versus one who was merely articulate and impressive-sounding.

    65. can someone tell me how can i get information in hebrew abot ra david bar chaim and machon shilo? i want to ask the rav few quoesions and i have no idea how can i reach him…

    66. Rabbi Bar Chayim is very marginal. The author writes he has, “hundreds of followers.” He has maybe 5 or 6 weirdos coming to his classes.

    67. to #169 “Har Nof Academic” – How dare you insult me like that? I attend his classes and I am not a “weirdo.” I am genuinely interested in what the Rabbi has to say and enjoy learning Torah from many sources. Rabbi Bar Hayim has a depth and breadth of knowledge to be one of the few rabbis I enjoy learning Torah from the most. It’s very easy for you to say these disparaging comments hiding behind a keyboard and not to my face or to the face of those who attend the shiurim, but they are hurtful nonetheless. I question why you would desire to insult publicly people who are sincere students of Torah. Just because you don’t like their rabbi? The people I’ve met at the shiurim are very friendly and sincere in pursuit of the truth, and some happen to be very knowledgeable as well. I would not call any of them “weirdos.” Since you state openly that that only a handful of students are able to attend the shiurim in Givat Shaul, you are admitting that what you are doing here is intentionally insulting those few people who will surely know that you refer to them. However, you should know that many more than those people who show up to shiurim are emailing shailot to Rav Bar Hayim.

    68. Great Rav. I have been listening to him for some time and I must say he is brilliant and someone who clings to and spread the uncompromising truth. May we see many more follow in his footsteps.

    69. I know R’ Bar Haim personally. He would cringe to be called a gadol, and might smile embarrassedly at being referred to as a gaon. He is, however, a Talmud hokham with an uncanny talent for textual analysis and a broad background in the history of halakhic development many rabbonim ignore. Its true, he’s radical by modern heterodox standards, but he is deeply dedicated to the notion of torat Israel, and to digging down to what the torah and chazal required of us. He sides with many luminaries who took the position that minhag was fluid rather than static, and that it could be dispensed with when the need arises (rambam, Emden, others). He has a fiery yech spirit – he doesn’t back down when he believes truth is being compromised by dogmas – which really agitates status-quo-nicks and the powers that be to no end. His essential thesis boils down to: Torat Galut is static and rooted in preserving our identity no matter what; Torat Eretz Israel is about returning to the derekh of psak and building our nation anew – bringing dry bones back to life.


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