Today is the 31st yartzeit (anniversary of the murder) of John Lennon, the former Beatle who, with songwriting partner Paul McCartney, changed the face of rock and pop music. Lennon was murdered in NYC 31 years ago today, and a haredi rabbi held up as a gadol had something to say about it…
Thirty-one years ago John Lennon was murdered outside the Dakota in New York City by a deranged fan.
Rabbi Avigdor Miller, a Brooklyn-based haredi "gadol" who was the rabbi of, among others, haredi homophobe Rabbi Yehuda Levin, used to give a regular weekly lecture and Q & A session that was open to the public and which was attended by a large number of ba'alei teshuva, newly ultra-Orthodox Jewish adults.
At the first such Q & A session held after Lennon's murder, Rabbi Avigdor Miller was asked to comment on John Lennon.
Rabbi Avigdor Miller replied, "The bullet came too late," meaning Lennon was a corrosive influence on society and should have been murdered sooner.
Rabbi Miller's lectures and Q & A sessions were taped and the tapes were sold. Those tapes were widely circulated throughout the haredi community in North America – especially in communities with large numbers of ba'alei teshuva.
Rabbi Miller died in 2001. I suppose it could be argued that his death came too late.
But I don't think that type of talk or that type of thought is correct or productive.
What I will say is that in many ways, Avigdor Miller demonstrated what is wrong with haredi Judaism, and that he was a very sick man.