Baltimore, MD – R’ Aharon Feldman, Rosh Yeshiva of Ner Israel, issued an apology of sorts to Knesset member Rabbi Dov Lipman, after condemning Lipman for his remarks on revamping the Israeli chinuch system by adding English and math classes.
As previously reported on VIN News, R’ Feldman had been incorrectly told that Lipman had suggested closing any yeshiva that did not offer a basic secular education and responded by calling Lipman a “rasha” and a “shana u’pirush”. Lipman later clarified that he had been misquoted and had suggested that the government withhold funds from yeshivos that do not teach English and math and had never said that any yeshiva should be closed.
Audio obtained from BaltimoreJewishLife.com of a Yom Kippur Katan shmooze given today by R’ Feldman in Ner Israel has the Rosh Yeshiva retracting his earlier words and publicly acknowledging that while Lipman should not be categorized as a “rasha” he was “definitely wrong and misguided.”
“The other day I called Dov Lipman…a rasha for supporting this movement,” said R’ Feldman speaking about some of the conflict in Israel. “Since then he wrote me a letter, explaining himself that he means l’shem shomayim, that he is trying to strengthen Torah in his view and therefore, since he is a shogeg, his sincerity came across in the letter, I cannot call him a rasha and I retract my statement and I apologize to him for calling him a rasha and I am happy that Baruch Hashem we have a talmid in our yeshiva who is not a rasha. But, however, he is extremely misguided.”
R’ Feldman voiced his unequivocal opposition to Lipman’s plan to teach secular courses in Israeli yeshivos, saying that even though the practice may be done in America, it is has no place in Israel.
“Yeshiva ketanas, the high schools in Eretz Yisroel are institutions where teenagers are imbued yomam v’layla, learning Torah, that is the cradle of the gedolei Torah of the future….this is the system, this is the way. By introducing limudei chol you are destroying the atmosphere of kedusha in these yeshiva ketanas, the total atmosphere of kedusha, even though we do it in America, it is at a cost in America also and it is a different society in America, different reasons and you can’t compare the two societies…introducing limudei chol two hours, or an hour even…will tear down the structure of the yeshiva ketana…when I said that Dov Lipman is trying to tear down the yeshiva ketana because that is what he is advocating.”
R’ Feldman went on to explain that he was misquoted and never compared Lipman to Haman and Amalek.
“Chas v’shalom. I said that just like all the attackers of the Torah in the past have gone under, so this party will go under also like Haman and Amalek. They are attacking Torah, they’ll go under, there will be no zecher of them. Just wait around a little bit and you will see there is nothing left of them…any antagonist of Torah does not have a kiyum.”
R’ Feldman made it clear that despite his apology, he was in no way backing down from his opposition to Lipman’s plan.
“I want to set the record straight on that , but in no way do I with less vigor oppose what he is saying, I just see now that he is mistaken..simple he doesn’t know the facts, he hasn’t thought it through well.”
R’ Feldman criticized Lipman for not seeking rabbinical guidance before making his statement.
” We should discuss these things with gedolei Torah… He is definitely wrong, misguided and very sorrowful that he is engaged in this. I suggest highly to him that he consult other people, that he resign from the party… He does mean l’shem shomayim, I saw from his letter. The best course for him is to consult gedolei Torah, resign from the party and make a big kiddush Hashem.”
The full audio below.