Why were Rabbi Slifkin and his books banned by a large number of Haredi rabbinic leaders?
Rabbi Slifkin's 'crime' seems to be that he takes science seriously. The 'Gedolim' (great rabbinic leaders) involved in the ban do not and find it an affront to the "Honor of the Torah" that any Orthodox Jew would and would publish a work stating so – hence the ban.
Two main questions swirl around this tragic case:
- Did the 'Gedolim' agree to hear R. Slifkin or did they refuse?
- Did a Beit Din (religious court) hear the case?
We may never know the truth about the first question, but the answer to the second is resoundingly clear – no Beit Din heard the case.
When you see the statements that got R. Slifkin banned, and you see those very same statements were made by Gedolim of previous generations – from R. Hirsch to R. Yitzhak mi Akko, from the Tiferet Yisrael to the RAMBAN and RAMBAM – it is very difficult to argue that the benefit of the doubt in this case should go solely (or even partially) to the 'Gedolim' who issued the ban.
The facts seem to be uniformly on R. Slifkin's side.
Unfortunately, in today's version of Orthodox Judaism, the facts do not matter.