Bnei Levi is exclusively reporting that the Slifkin Ban has been lifted.
Rabbi Ahron Feldman of Baltimore went to Jerusalem on behalf of the Moetzet Kenesset HaGedolah and confronted Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, who backed down. Rabbi Elyashiv claimed the ban was supposed to be applicable only to haredi (ultra-Orthodox) households but not to non-haredim, outreach activities, or haredim with serious questions on the relationship of Torah and science.
The normative haredi view therefore remains the complete denial of science and of all evidence no matter how compelling for a world and a universe billions of years old.
The books cannot be deemed heresy, R. Elyashiv is reported to have said, because they represent the views of legitimate Rishonim (rabbis from the Middle Ages), even if those views are not normative.
If Bnei Levi's report is accurate, this clearly represents a turning point in the American haredi relationship with Israel's haredi leadership. It also should weaken the position of American rabbis – like Dovid Feinstein, Malkiel Kotler and Mattisyahu Solomon – who rushed to support the ban even though it clearly was not justified.
How, if at all, the lifting of the ban will effect book publishers – Targum, Feldheim and ArtScroll – who went along with the ban without protest remains to be seen.
For Rabbi Elyashiv, this ban was just one in a series of missteps – including supporting a candidate for Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi who is neither morally or academically qualified to hold the position – that may lead to a decrease in status for the venerated sage.
How – or if – the ban will publicly be retracted is not yet known.
Read Bnei Levi's exclusive report here.