"The opinion of the [upstart] weekly Mishpacha Magazine has given legitimacy to change, to going out into the workplace and earning a living for example, without embarrassment. Now, [this upstart] is challenging the holiest of the holies, [by making it seem as if] the word of the gadol is not final and unquestionable…"
Secular Media Interviews Confidant Of Maran Rav Elyashiv Regarding Ban On Mishpacha Magazine In Israel
As the dispute between Yated Ne’eman (Israel) and Mishpacha Magazine (Israel) in Eretz Yisrael continues, the pashkavilim and chareidi media have attracted the interest of the secular press as well. The daily Yediot Achronot reported on Tuesday, January 10, 2011, that two letters with the signature of Maran Posek HaDor HaGaon HaRav Yosef Sholom Elyashiv Shlita were sent to a graphologist to authenticate the rav’s signature. Journalist Akiva Novak reported the two signatures were identical, too identical to be real.
Galei Tzahal’s (Army Radio) Yael Dan spoke with Avishai Ben-Chaim, Channel 10 News chareidi affairs correspondent as well as with one of the Gadol HaDor’s confidants, Rabbi Chaim Cohen.
During the past two weeks there has been a storm in the chareidi community over letters of the rav. What is this about? What is going on?
There is the classic chareidi and this stream is at war with the newcomers, those with an independent weekly publication, those who have successfully influenced readers in ways that is not favorable to the classic stream. This is what is taking place. This is what has led to the letters against the weekly publication, which influences a change, an unwanted change in the eyes of the old stream.
The opinion of the weekly has given legitimacy to change, to going out into the workplace and earning a living for example, without embarrassment. Now, the weekly is challenging the holiest of the holies, that the word of the gadol is not final and unquestionable, and this is what is going on today.
Towards achieving this goal they sent letters from the rav for graphology analysis to place a doubt in the minds of supporters, to permit questioning the validity of the letters against the weekly publication. The exam confirmed the signatures are identical, but this is how it works in the chareidi camp, using a rubber stamp or another type of device and signing when approved. The rav himself does not sign, and that is why they are identical.
This is the same with Rav Chaim Amsellem and his actions vis-à-vis Maran HaGaon HaRav Ovadia Yosef Shlita, trying to slowly move the tzibur away from accepting his word without any question. He is placing doubt in the minds of his tzibur.
Something has happened in the chareidi camp regarding the word of the leader. In the time of Rav Shach, his word was final – no discussion.
Let’s hear from Rabbi Chaim Cohen, who is close to the rav. I understand the rav is still in the hospital.
Good morning. No he is not. The rav has been released from hospital. Baruch Hashem he has already visited the Kosel.
He is totally alert?
Yes indeed, without question. He is quite aware of what is going on.
Is he aware of efforts to undermine his authority?
Permit me to address this specific matter. Would you agree that Ben-Chaim is a respectable fellow, one with good judgment? Well then ask him for he had the story too and yet he did not publicize it. Apparently he knows something.
Look, we see the advert and I did not go ahead with it, even though we see the signatures are identical since I know how things work in the chareidi world. In my mind this is not the story however. The real story is that there are chareidi elements that decided to bring this to the secular media. That is the real story in my mind, leaking it to the press. The fact that chareidim are working to persuade the public to stop believing in daas Torah – that is the story here.
He is basically saying he did not want to play this game.
It is simple. In the past, a journalist would check and verify sources and information prior to publishing. In this case, it is evident that this journalist did not do his homework for if he did, he would have come to the same conclusion as Ben-Chaim.
I do not believe the public understands.
Permit me to explain. The rav signed the letter. As a result, the letter was published, appearing in Yated Ne’eman. At the same time the rav signed, an order was given to the newspaper to use the rav’s signature. We don’t send the actual letter that he signed but we authorize Yated to move with the story and use the electronic signature.
You must understand this story is small, and it was reported in the correct proportion in Yediot. The big story is what I said, that the rav’s word may be questioned and this is what the report should be about. How can it be that a Gadol HaDor rules on many heavy things and in this case, we can doubt his word. This is the story.
[Hat Tip: Burich.