Ka'anashim Harbei Bilvavot Rabot
At Matan Torah, we were united. We all came together to receive the Torah at Har Sinai as one people and one nation. What a great time it truly was.
However, things have changed drastically in the past 3323 years. We have unfortunately turned into a divided people. This group doesn't like that group, the feeling is mutual, and both groups don't like a third group. What have we become?
The two things that should unite us all are the Torah and Eretz Yisrael. But unfortunately, there are those who disrespect both. Because it's Parshat Yitro, and because it's Inyana DeYoma, I'm just going to focus on the degredation of Torah.
Issue #1: We have a Mahloket LeSheim Shamayim on whether brain-stem death is considered death or not. Some Gedolim have ruled that it is considered death while some have ruled that it is not. Both sides have given Torah reasons for their opinions.
However, students of those who are lenient have called the position of those who are stringent "morally untenable." In my opinion, and the opinion of others, this position is morally untenable.
Issue #2: We have a Mahloket LeSheim Shamayim on whether conversions done by the IDF Rabbinate are valid or not. Some Gedolim have ruled that they are valid while some have ruled that they are not. Both sides have given Torah reasons for their opinions.
This is not an example of division. This is an example of Eilu Ve'Eilu Divrei Elokim Hayim. We know that the students of Hillel and those of Shamai did not refrain from marrying each other, despite their Halachic disagreements. That is an example of unity.
What breaks the unity is the way the students of the Gedolim who are stringent are treating the rabbi who is lenient.
Take this terrible piece by the Israeli Yated Ne'eman and copied on Matzav.com. They call a valid Halachic decision made by a respected Gadol BeYisrael "a Hillul Hashem". What is truly a Hillul Hashem is their terrible reaction to the lenient Pesak. The calling of the ruling "untenable" smacks of hypocrisy. Whatever happened to Beit Hillel and Beit Shamai?
Rav Amar recently said the following:
"אין לו לדיין אלא מה שעיניו רואות. הדיין התרשם וראה שהבא להתגייר יודע טוב את ההלכות, והעניין כנה, והאדם באמת רוצה לקיים תורה ומצוות את הדברים העיקריים. כך זה נקבע בסופו של דבר.
"חשוב לזכור שאת הבאים להתגייר במסגרת צה"ל, מקשרים עם משפחות של אנשים יראי שמים ומאותן משפחות מקבלים המלצות.
"גם במסגרת הצבאית, בין שיעורים לשיעורים, החיילים נמצאים בקשר עם הרבנים הצבאים של היחידות ואלה מחזקים אותם בתורה ותפילה, והדרכה ביראת שמים.
"ליבי שקט ומצפוני שקט, כל מי שיבדוק את העניין - יגלה שעשינו בדיקה טובה ומעמיקה. כל מי שיבדוק את העניין הזה יראה את אמיתות העניין הזה".
הרב עמאר התייחס לביקורת העזה שנמתחה לאחר שהוכשרו הגיורים. "אין לי שום שאלה אחרי שמרן הגדול הדור הכשיר אותם", אמר הרב עמאר. "הוא ישב ודן עשרות שנים ויודע איך לחקור ולברר הלכה. הוא לקח על עצמו את ההוראה הזאת להורות אותה - ולכן אין בה שום פקפוק.
"אלה שממהרים לדבר נגדו, צריכים לדעת שזה דבר שיש בו סכנה. אני עוקב עשרות שנים, ולא היה אחד שדיבר סרה נגד הרב ויצא נקי.
"הקב"ה מקפיד על כבוד עבדיו יותר מאשר על הכבוד עצמו. אני מאחל רק טובות, אבל שכל אחד ישמור נפשו.
"זה לא פסק של ילדים. זה לא פסק של דיין פשוט. זה פסק של עמוד ההוראה. הכל הוא ידע, הכל הוא שקל, הכל הוא ראה. כמעט חצי שעה ישב עד שכתב את השורות האלה".
"A dayan only has what he sees. The dayan was impressed and saw that the ones coming to convert knew the halachot well, and the matter was true, and the man really wanted to fulfil Torah and Mitzvot - the essential ones. This is how it was determined in the end.
It's important to remember that those who come to convert in the IDF framework connect with G-d-fearing families and they receive recommendations from those families.
Also in the IDF framework, between classes, the soldiers are in contact with the rabbis of the IDF units, who encourage them in Torah, Tefilla, and a path to fearing Heaven.
My heart is quiet and my conscience is quiet, all who will investigate the matter will uncover that we did a good and deep investigation. Whoever will look into this matter will see the truth to the matter."
Rav Amar related to the strong criticism that continued after the converts were accepted. "I have no question after Maran, the Gadol Hador, accepted them," said Rav Amar. "He has sat and judged for dozens of years and knows how to investigate and clarify Halacha. He took this Halachic decision upon himself to decide it - and therefore, there is no reason to doubt it.
Those who are quick to speak against him need to know that this is something fraught with danger. I have followed [Maran - Rav Ovadia] for dozens of years, and there was no one who spoke negatively against the Rav and came out clean.
HKB"H is insistant on the honor of His servants more than His own honor. I wish only good things, but everyone should watch his soul.
This is not a Pesak of children. This is not a Pesak of a simple judge. This is a Pesak of a pillar of Halachic decisions. He knows everything, he has weighed everything, and he sees everything. He sat there for almost a half-hour until he wrote these lines [in the Pesak letter]."
How some who claim to be those who tremble before Hashem can disparage a Gadol BeYisrael is beyond me. As Rav Amar said, they better watch out. Gone are the days of Beit Hillel and Beit Shamai. Gone are the days of כאיש אחד בלב אחד (like one man with one heart).
Instead, we have become like the Mahloket of Korah and his congregation - not LeSheim Shamayim. Even if the Mahloket among the Gedolim themselves is Lesheim Shamayim, the students who called the ruling of the other side "untenable" turned it into one that is not Lesheim Shamayim. We have become like many men with many hearts.
May Hashem remove our hearts of stone and may we unify in a way only once seen before - not via tragedy like we've done in the past, but via pure love for one another - so we can all greet Mashiah like one man with one heart - Bimheira Veyameinu, Amen.