Monday, October 21, 2013

Rav Shach: The Emissary of Peace

Guest post by: Y. Cohn
Those who were close to Rav Shach know to what extent he desired peace and only peace. Rav Lorencz testified personally that there was no lover of shalom and pursuer of peace like Rav Shach. But when certain actions were taken that were contrary to halacha and to the Torah way, he was forced to react.
However, whenever he spoke out against a negative phenomenon, he was forthright and showed no distinction between one community or following and another, one circle or another, between those who were distant from him and those close to him.
Rav Shach did not bear rancor against any person, and would forgive all those who insulted him. However, he often clarified his stand, both in speech and in writing, that the slander spread against him about his persecution of chassidim was something he could never forgive, for it had transformed him into a baal machlokes at a time when he loved peace and pursued it to the nth degree.
Rav Shach said during one of the toughest times that whoever was in the position of decision-making must have no fears or reservations regarding being branded a ‘quarrel monger.’
At the founding meeting of Degel Hatorah in 5749, Rav Shach stated: “They say that we are quarrel seekers… I heard in the name of Rav Yehoshua Leib Diskin an explanation of Chazal on the verse, ‘And Bnei Yisroel mourned Moshe.’ Rashi quotes that this refers to the men. When Aharon Hakohen, who was a pursuer and lover of truth, passed away, it says that all of Klal Yisroel wept over him since he would make peace between man and wife, friend and enemy.
“Rav Yehoshua was puzzled by this. The Torah seeks to tell of Moshe’s praises. Why, then, mention here that only the men mourned him?
“The truth is that there is a great element of praise here. Aharon Hakohen loved peace and pursued it, so it is no wonder that everyone loved him. But Moshe Rabbeinu’s task was to judge and pass sentence in matters of argument and disagreement, in dinei Torah between two factions. He had to rule in favor of one side and against the other, so that it was inevitable that people would be hurt or might accuse him of favoritism, prejudice and fomenting dissension. It is impossible to justify everyone. The fact that not all of Klal Yisroel mourned his passing shows that he was truly impartial and ruled according to the dictates of pure justice.”
Rav Lorencz once wrote that “Applicable and fitting are these words to the very one who uttered them. By innate nature, Rav Shach was basically a peace lover, yet he was not deterred from overriding this trait if he felt it necessary as a leader to denounce one public or another when they conducted themselves contrary to the way of the Torah.”
Rav Shach was the biggest oheiv Yisroel of the last generation. And his battle was one that was fought lesheim Shomayim.Unfortunately, we have some in our community - our own Torah kehillos - who, overtly or not, in print or via some other medium, have shown by their actions that they’d prefer to make believe like Rav Shach’s stances were meaningless. They’d prefer to do what is comfortable to them, rewriting history and ignoring what Rav Shach said and what Rav Shach taught. Their actions and their complete dismissal of Rav Shach’s hashkafah are an insult to the manhig hador of the last generation and to all bnei Torah who followed his direction and still do to this day.
We in the Torah community cannot allow this revisionist history to be perpetuated under our noses time and again.
And never, ever, should we allow those in the supposed “peace camp” to accuse the protectors of Torah and mesorah of being baalei machlokes. That’s an old trick that Rav Shach, himself,..  identified and refuted.
Those who fight for the authenticity of Torah are not baalei machlokes, but pursuers of truth.
Those who refuse to bend to false calls for peace and the rewriting of history are not baalei machlokes, but pursuers of emes.

2 comments:

Barzilai/Eliezer Eisenberg said...

Everyone is trying to do what they think is ultimately for the best, even if there are casualties along the way. How is it relevant whether a person is essentially peaceful or not? Not too many among the Gedolim is essentially quarrelsome. And why does disagreeing with Rav Shach equal a total rejection of who he was? The way I understand the post, what's meant is that Rav Steinman, in not agreeing with Rav Shach, is by definition a baal machlokes and mored bemalchus, while Rav Auerbach, who was backed by Rav Shach, is a man of peace, crowned by Ruach Hakodesh. These definitions are conclusory, of course, and must be more meaningful to Israelis than guys like me in Chicago. But I have seen plenty of machlokes l'sheim shamayim, and it brings out the worse ugliness in ostensibly decent people. I remember the anonymous bomb threats some Satmerers called in to Reb Moshe's apartment, all l'maan hashalom, because they were supporters of the Satmerer Rov. Here's a thought: the halacha, and the hashkafa, and whether some bochurim do some kind of military service, all of that is less of a problem than this despicable self immolation.

Reb Chaim HaQoton said...

I actuallt suspect that the author of this article was thinking the opposite: Rav Shteinmen is the man of peace and Rav Auerbach is the one rebelling against him. I will send an email to the author asking him to clarify in the comments.

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