Rabbi Dr. Asher Meir of the Business Ethics Center of Jerusalem wrote a column a few weeks ago endorsing public criticism of public figures. This week, Rabbi Meir has 'modified' his message – Rabbis are lagely exempt from such criticism. Why? follow Rabbi Meir's 'logic':
If we apply the exact same criteria to a politician, we find that reasonable criticism will generally meet them. Having a bad political leader can result in great damage to the community, and having timely knowledge of the abilities and character of candidates is of benefit because these people typically stand for election at fixed intervals and the information is of practical use to the community. No one has a right to a political office, so if someone gets voted out because of an item revealed in a blog, this is not "undeserved."…
But why not rabbis?
1. "[Rabbis have a] reputation for upstanding conduct, then giving [rabbis] the benefit of the doubt is not merely a good deed, it is simply good judgment."
2. "[A] person can't exactly phone up the governor and schmooze with him or her over the way to improve their failings. [I do not recall Rabbi Elyashiv taking any calls from the masses over the Rabbi Slifkin Book Ban. The same holds true for Dovid Feinstein and a number of other'gedolim.']"
3. "Compare this to the average spiritual leader. Even if we are convinced that they have made mistakes, revelation doesn't always make the most sense. Many of these people are surprisingly accessible [sic], and so often it is much more practical and ethical to merely confront them with any concerns. And it is worth asking if letting followers know about shortcomings will ultimately be of benefit.
"Due to their great moral authority of these leaders [sic], undermining their status can do immense damage to the community -- perhaps more than the damage resulting from having authority in the hands of an imperfect individual."
In other words, Rabbi Meir should believe that if the governor would take your phone call, publicly noting that he had failed as a leader would be wrong, especially if it would lead the masses to distrust other political leaders and our poitical system as a whole. But he does not believe this. Why?
Having a bad political leader can result in great damage to the community [and a bad rabbi cannot?], and having timely knowledge of the abilities and character of candidates is of benefit because these people typically stand for election at fixed intervals and the information is of practical use to the community. No one has a right to a political office, so if someone gets voted out because of an item revealed in a blog, this is not "undeserved."
Therefore, because rabbis are not democratically elected and are not responisble to their communities, and because they have a self-ordained "right" to retain their office (in perpetuity, no less) no matter how flawed their leadership is, rabbis are above criticism.
Rabbi Meir's point is clear: If Jews are going to leave Orthodoxy because they learn the truth about our 'gedolim,' or if they will shift Orthodoxy's worldview to the religious Orthodox left, then the truth must be hushed up.
If Haza"l had used Rabbi Meir's standards, much of Nakh would have been censored.
It is also important to note that 'gedolim' are political leaders, their followers often vote in blocks, and that 'gedolim' are regularly and actively involved in the political process. Yet Rabbi Meir ignores these facts in order to shield 'gedolim' from public scrutiny.
Let's face it, people. Orthodox Judaism is anti-democratic, anti-modernity, anti-science and anti-rationalist, and no amount of kiruv-based apologetics and sugar coating can hide that fact. We are Islam but without a theocracy. God forbid we should ever aquire one.