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I’d be wary though, [Kehos has] been accused of tampering with the text of when it doesn’t fit with their narrative, for example when the צמח צדק spoke with “too much” respect about the גר”א.
Yada yada yada

It’s pretty clear that my op was unnecessarily incendiary and provocative, it also did not account for who was קהת in that timeframe (which I had been unaware).
Because I brought it up I should say this: It’s clear that the allegations about the כתבי יד are unsubstantiated, and are thus conspiratorial.

« Last edited by Dan on January 13, 2023, 10:09:03 AM »

Author Topic: (False) Accusations Of Kehot Forgery  (Read 45487 times)

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Re: (False) Accusations Of Kehot Forgery
« Reply #1060 on: February 10, 2024, 10:19:02 PM »
In a way

That he only tried to abolish botei din and create civil divorce doesn't sound like a great defense.
Feelings don't care about your facts

Offline EliJelly

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Re: (False) Accusations Of Kehot Forgery
« Reply #1061 on: February 10, 2024, 10:21:18 PM »
In a way

Good thing the site is blocked

Offline imayid2

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Re: (False) Accusations Of Kehot Forgery
« Reply #1062 on: February 10, 2024, 10:22:16 PM »
That he only tried to abolish botei din and create civil divorce doesn't sound like a great defense.
He was anti religious coercion, he would of been thrilled with the American model. No idea where you got the civil divorce thing

Offline imayid2

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Re: (False) Accusations Of Kehot Forgery
« Reply #1063 on: February 10, 2024, 10:23:22 PM »
Good thing the site is blocked
In 1986, Rabbi Avi Shafran published an article in Agudath Israel’s monthly magazine, The Jewish Observer, entitled, “The Enigma of Moses Mendelssohn.” Rabbi Shafran begins by anonymously citing the words of Moses Mendelssohn, where Mendelssohn laments the poor Hebrew education of contemporary Jews. How are Jews, Mendelssohn asked, supposed to build a relationship with Torah if it is always studied in a foreign language? Where are these words from, Rabbi Shafran asks his readers. An Artscroll preface? A transcript of a Torah Umesorah convention? Until Rabbi Shafran reveals the true author, none other than Moses Mendelssohn. Gasp!

Why then, the article explores, is he so controversial?

He was not, as many mistakenly think, the founder of Reform Judaism. Yes, many of his children apostatized—but so had many other Jewish leaders. His Biur, a translation of the Torah using Hebrew letters for the German, was not so transgressive, especially given the proliferation of translations we have seen today as some might think. The Chasam Sofer didn’t like the Biur—but not as much as people think. And Rav Akiva Eiger gave an approbation to a new edition published 50 years after Mendelssohn’s passing! He was not a bad Jew, as Rabbi Shafran concedes, so what accounts for his contentious legacy within the Orthodox community?

Ultimately, Rabbi Shafran suggests that Mendelssohn was deemed controversial because “He was just so convinced that he knew better than those who were the unchallenged Torah giants of his time.” The suggestion is a bit unsatisfying. He was a prominent defender of the Jewish community. The most famous Halachic controversy of his time that he waded into—whether or not the Jewish community should follow the government regulations to wait 3 days before burying a body—was not all that unfounded, even if he was at odds with the guidance of Rav Yaakov Emden. Was this controversy just about a lack of sufficient deference to Jewish leaders?

As my friends Menachem Butler and Zev Eleff detail in their fascinating article, “Moses Mendelssohn and the Orthodox Mind,” the backlash to Rabbi Shafran’s article “came fast and furious.”


The subsequent issue of the Jewish Observer featured a rare statement from the editorial board admitting that publishing the article was “indeed in error.” Comments from Rabbi Yaakov Perlow, the Noviminsker Rebbe, further explaining the danger of Mendelssohn were included below the editorial statement.

Mendelssohn was left with no one to continue his legacy—too liberal for the Orthodox community and too stringent for the non-Orthodox community. As Butler and Eleff conclude their article, “Owing to all this, though, the Jews who occupied this precarious space sought out more pristine heroes, ones with far less historical baggage than the load weighing painfully upon Mendelssohn’s shoulders.”

So what was the central controversy that gave Mendelssohn so much baggage? Or, as my friend Shimon asked on his incredible Jewish history blog, why was Mendelssohn so bad again?

In the actual lifetime of Moses Mendelssohn, he was a world-renowned philosopher. He developed a close friendship with Ephraim Lessing, a prominent German writer and philosopher (he wasn’t Jewish despite what his name may suggest) who later based his book Nathan the Wise on Mendelssohn. In 1763, newly married, he won Berlin Academy’s top prize for his essay on metaphysics—Immanuel Kant came in second place. His renown as a philosopher made him an important address for many Jewish communities who turned to him to intercede on their behalf—for Jewish rights, tax law, and even blood libels.

He was less accomplished as a Jewish scholar but was certainly comfortable with traditional Jewish texts. In 1761, Mendelssohn actually traveled to Rav Yonason Eibeschutz in the hopes of receiving his rabbinic ordination but for reasons not entirely known, left with just his warm blessings. This was almost a decade after the battle between Rav Yaakov Emden and Rav Yonason Eibeschutz had begun—I sometimes wonder if this contributed to Rav Yaakov Emden's stern rebuke to Mendelssohn in 1772 for weighing in on the question of waiting for burial to ensure the person was actually deceased (Mendelssohn advocated for a waiting period).

But the position that caused Mendelssohn the most grief and controversy was his stance on the authority of the kehilla and his related position on religious coercion.

The controversy began in 1782 in an essay that Mendelssohn wrote as an introduction to his republication of Menashe ben Israel’s Vindicae Judaeorum, where Mendelssohn made the case for Jewish civil rights. Within this essay, Mendelssohn wrote that Jews should have full rights as citizens within their respective countries. That part is not controversial. The part that led to intense rabbinic objection was his advocacy for the diminishment of independent Jewish communal authority—no separate court system, no excommunications, no religious coercion. This would be a remarkable departure from the historical precedent where Jewish communal authorities retained incredible powers for self-governance. Mendelssohn, however, felt that to integrate into society, such powers would have to be significantly curtailed or forfeited altogether.

Mendelssohn writes:

I have confidence in the more enlightened among the rabbis and elders that they will be glad to relinquish so pernicious a prerogative, that they will cheerfully do away with all church and synagogue discipline, and let their flock enjoy at their hands that kindness and forbearance which they themselves have been so long panting for.

Essentially, he was advocating for the separation of Church and State. A year later, Mendelssohn elaborated on his position to abolish religious coercion in his book Jerusalem:

The reasons which lead men to rational actions and convictions rest partly on the relations of men to each other, partly on the relations of men to their Creator and Keeper.  The former are the province of the state, the latter that of religion.  Insofar as men’s actions and convictions can be made to serve the commonwealth through reasons arising from their relations to each other, they are a matter for the civil constitution; but insofar as the relations between man and God can be seen as their source, they belong to the church, the synagogue, or the mosque.

—Jerusalem, or On Religious Power and Judaism, Moses Mendelssohn trans. Allan Arkush (Hanover, 1983) p. 41.

Now, to many American Jews—even pious Jews—this has been the reality for the American Jewish community since nearly its inception. But for 18th Century European Jews this was a position that would drastically transform how the Jewish community had always operated.

The leading rabbi at the time, Rabbi Yechezkel Landau, author of the Nodeh B’Yehudah, was particularly outraged by this suggestion. As Rabbi Dr. Dovid Katz writes in his dissertation, A Case Study in the Formation of a Super-Rabbi: The Early Years of Rabbi Ezekiel Landau, 1713-1754:

To an Ezekiel Landau, no suggestion could have been more outrageous and indeed evil than Mendelssohn's. The latter was calling for the destruction of Judaism, or at least of its most important institutions. The fact that it was published in German in an appeal to a gentile public must have made it seem disgustingly treasonable as well as dangerous; Mendelssohn seemed to be appealing to the German states to deprive the Jewish communities of their privileges and to eliminate all vestiges of rabbinical leadership, which was based on power as well as respect. Landau had to have taken Mendelssohn's proposals as a personal attack; after all, he was clearly the most prominent contemporary representative of the Central European communal rabbinate. If anyone was to deprived of his powers and his jurisdiction, it would be Chief Rabbi Landau of Prague.

Rav Landau felt Mendelssohn’s position would destroy traditional Judaism and marshaled all his forces to squelch Mendelssohn’s proposal. Eventually, Rav Landau restored some Jewish autonomy, appealing directly to Emperor Joseph II, ensuring Jewish marital law would remain under Jewish control. However, the winds of change to traditional Jewish communal autonomy and power were quickly deteriorating.

It is this controversial chapter, at least in my opinion, that haunted Mendelssohn’s legacy. Even though it may not seem as offensive to modern ears, his proposal essentially was a harbinger of the collapse of Jewish communal autonomy ushering in the tides of modernity and assimilation.

As much as Mendelssohn tried to couch his approach to religious coercion in traditional texts and ideas, it seems clear he was anchored more in reason than tradition. It is hard to deny that Judaism provides rabbinic authority to coercion—likely even after the Jewish community lost State power. A glance through Jewish tradition is full of examples of religious coercive powers.

As Allan Arkush writes:

A moment’s consideration of these matters should make it obvious that Mendelssohn’s noncoercive ideal derives not from the Bible but from reason.  He does not even attempt to read it into the Bible but only contends (falsely) that the destruction of the Temple, an event that traditional Jews have always regarded as a catastrophe, provided the welcome occasion for Judaism to fall completely into line with his liberal principles ... What mattered most to Mendelssohn was not the vindication of Judaism as it used to be but its contemporary transformation into a civil religion entirely consonant with the liberal regime he wished to see come into being.

As much as Mendelssohn may have tried to separate religion's influence from the state's power, it is a hard position to accept. And for those who still lament the nullification of the rabbinic power of yesteryears, Mendelssohn will always be associated with the demise of the traditional Jewish communal structure as was once known.

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Re: (False) Accusations Of Kehot Forgery
« Reply #1064 on: February 10, 2024, 10:32:32 PM »
He was anti religious coercion, he would of been thrilled with the American model. No idea where you got the civil divorce thing

The way he writes it was much further than the US model. He writes how the Noda Biyehuda fought to keep Jewish marriage under Botei Din.
Feelings don't care about your facts

Offline imayid2

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Re: (False) Accusations Of Kehot Forgery
« Reply #1065 on: February 10, 2024, 10:35:37 PM »
The way he writes it was much further than the US model.
Explain?
He writes how the Noda Biyehuda fought to keep Jewish marriage under Botei Din.
Lol That doesn’t mean he wanted people to get divorced without a get.

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Re: (False) Accusations Of Kehot Forgery
« Reply #1066 on: February 10, 2024, 11:26:36 PM »
Explain?Lol That doesn’t mean he wanted people to get divorced without a get.

As long as that was the will of the courts of the Holy Roman Empire. If the entire divorce is a function of the Christian/Secular courts and a get becomes a ritual for the Synagogue only, where does that leave things? I have not read up or done research on MM at all and I am only commenting on this article alone. I felt the way he presents MM's goals to be pretty damning.
Feelings don't care about your facts

Offline imayid2

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Re: (False) Accusations Of Kehot Forgery
« Reply #1067 on: February 10, 2024, 11:36:18 PM »
As long as that was the will of the courts of the Holy Roman Empire. If the entire divorce is a function of the Christian/Secular courts and a get becomes a ritual for the Synagogue only, where does that leave things?
Same as today. People get civilly divorced and still need a get.

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Re: (False) Accusations Of Kehot Forgery
« Reply #1068 on: February 10, 2024, 11:38:09 PM »
Same as today. People get civilly divorced and still need a get.

This is not an accurate description of the process today.
Feelings don't care about your facts

Offline imayid2

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Re: (False) Accusations Of Kehot Forgery
« Reply #1069 on: February 10, 2024, 11:39:18 PM »
This is not an accurate description of the process today.
It is accurate for many people