Brooklyn, NY – Imagine a street corner filled with a dozen vile and depraved individuals. Not one. Not two. But twelve. And we are not just discussing wrong or misguided people, but people who are as repulsive and disgusting as a Levi Aron or as a Menashe the son of Chizkiyahu.
Chazal tell us that Menashe was one of the most evil and vile people that ever existed in Klal Yisroel. The Midrash (Parshas Nasoh) tells us that no one ever sinned like Menashe Ben Chizkiyah sinned.
The Gemorah in Sanhedrin (99B) expresses it very clearly. Someone who is mevazeh a Talmid Chochom, someone who denigrates a Torah scholar is equivalent to Menashe Ben Yechezkel.
But let’s start at the beginning.
Rav Aharon Leib Shteinman Shlita is a Rosh Yeshiva in Ponevech. He is a true sage in Israel, a senior Gadol BaTorah who has almost reached the age of 100 years old Bli Ayin HaRah. He is a leader in Klal Yisroel and is respected by all Bnei Torah, by all our venerable Roshei yeshiva, indeed, by all of Klal Yisroel. Rav Shteinman Shlita is also the author of the well regarded Ayeles HaShachar, a sefer that earned the respect of Klal Yisroel even while its authorship was entirely anonymous. Anyone who comes in contact with Rav Shteinman is immediately struck by his tzidkus, his Ahavas Yisroel, and the depth of his wisdom.
The group of twelve. On the other hand, is comprised of young shnooks, whose goals and aspirations in life are not to learn Torah, but to appear on Youtube videos and to denigrate senior Gedolim. Another goal of these people is to block traffic on Wallabout Avenue in Williamsburg – so that Chas veShalom, their holy work in producing their “Heiligah” Youtube Video would come to people’s attention.
But it is not just the lack of Torah study and their love affair with Youtube videos that earns their comparison to Menashe Ben Chizkiyah or Levi Aron.
No, it is the fact that they call for the death of a great Torah sage.
It is the fact that they called one of our illustrious leaders “Amalek.” That they used the words “Rasha meRusha.” And that they appended the expression, “Yimach Shmo” – may his name be blotted out, chalila – Heaven forbid.
Let us all recall that this is a mere few days after Tisha B’av. Remember Tisha B’Av, our lovely dozen? Do you remember that the cause of the destruction of the Bais HaMikdash was sinas Chinam?
How dare you?? How do you have the temerity, the unmitigated impudence to think that you are so holy and dare denigrate a sage in Israel? You, my dirty dozen, are the cause of why the Churban Bais HaMikdash is still a reality.
Woe to the mothers that bore such children! Woe to the fathers who raised such sinas chinam and lack of kavod HaTorah in their homes! Woe to the Rebbeim who ever taught such students!
There is a fascinating Rashi in Bereishis that quotes a pasuk in BaMidbar. The Pasuk traces the lineage of Korach all the way back to Levi. But it stops there. There is no mention of Yaakov Avinu. Rashi tells us why that is. Because Yaakov Avinu was so repulsed by the future actions of Korach that he prayed, begged and pleaded, that his name not be mentioned with Korach’s.
And according to our Midrash in Parshas Nasoh, Menashe Ben Chizkiya was significantly worse than Korach.
So, once again, you vile and despicable Levi Arons who dare hide behind the cloak of Torah as you denigrate one of our Gedolei haDor, listen and listen clearly.
You are the reason why the Bais HaMikdash is not being rebuilt. We do not look at you as representatives of Torah, or as representatives as anything remotely representative of a true Torah view. The heiliga Gedolim of yesterday, especially those who rejected Zionism, reject you. The Holy Satmar Rebbe zatzal looks at you as he would look at Levi Aron and Menashe Ben Chizkiya.
Because you are violating an explicit Gemorah. No one would doubt that Rav Shteinman Shlita is an extraordinary Talmid Chochom. No one. One may disagree with him regarding whether Chareidim should join the IDF, but no one would ever disagree that he is a Talmid Chochom. The Gemorah in Sanhedrin says clearly that someone who is mevazeh a Talmid Chochom has no share in the world to come. It also says that he is equated to Menashe Ben Chizkiya.
So get this straight. We look at you no differently than we view Levi Aron. Perhaps worse. If you want to get your point across, disagree, by all means.
But do not call one of our leading Gedolim a Rasha Merusha.
Do not append the term “Yimach Shmo.”
And do not call him, or anyone else for that matter, “Amalek.”
So, you, our lovely dozen attention seekers, Elul is coming. What is interesting about Menashe ben Chizkiya is that notwithstanding his evil and vile acts, Hashem still accepted his Teshuvah. If you act now, Hashem might accept yours too, if it is sincere enough.
Shlomo HaMelech tells us that “Maves veChaim beyad Lashon – life and death are in the hands of the tongue.” Words do matter. Words make an impact. When you call someone Amalaik, someone may take these words and act upon them. We just witnessed the unprecedented murder of a Rav, a leader in Klal Yisroel.
If we have learned anything in these past few weeks, we should learn that we should not just sit by and allow people to get away with murder – either in action or in speech.
If we see someone burning a Sefer Torah chalilah, should we not stop him? The Gemorah (Makos 22b) tells us that Talmidei Chachomim are equated to Sifrei Torah themselves! Should we also not stop this? How can we let such travesty continue?
It is time to stand up for Kavod HaTorah. If not now, when? If not for Rav Shteinman then for whom? These people should be denounced in every shul, Yeshiva, summer camp and bungalow colony. No one with even a rayach of Torah should have anything to do with them until they realize the extent of the avlah they have perpetrated.
If ever there was a time for a Kol Koreh by Rabbonim – it is now.
Our reaction should not, of course, lead to violence, but when we come in contact with them we should express our view that anyone who denigrates a Talmid Chochom steps on the Torah itself, as the Maharsha there explains.
If they continue to be mevazeh Torah sages in this manner, we should encourage and pressure the mosdos from which they benefit to stop benefitting them until they apologize and take it upon themselves not to burn our living Sifrei Torah.
They must be told what apparently their mothers and Rabbeim have not. How to be civil, how to be appropriate and how to follow the dictates of Torah.
The author can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
The video posted where they are Mevazah Rav Steiman.
Please be civil in commenting