Rav Mizrachi and His Ideas Should Continue to Grow
Rav Yosef Mizrachi Shlit"a has been at the forefront of Israeli Kiruv in America and Israel.
Recently, a small group of rabbis, at least 3 of whom I respect greatly, issued a letter condemning Rabbi Mizrachi. While some people were "happy" to present a letter that besmirches one of the greatest Kiruv professionals in America today, I will not be counted among them. I, for one, stand with Rav Mizrachi.
As with many of these Kol Koreis, what the letter does NOT say is who did NOT sign the letter when presented with the opportunity to do so. The fact that only a few big-time names signed onto it shows that the silent majority of great rabbis does not agree.
The fact is that Rabbi Mizrachi's approach to Kiruv is one great Kiddush Hashem - not ח"ו the opposite. If it were that opposite, how is it possible that thousands have been turned on to Orthodox Judaism through such an approach? Just because an approach is not your cup of tea doesn't make it "objectionable" or "even dangerous" as per the letter's wording.
The Hasidic movement had its objectors in years past, and yet nowadays, nary a word of objection can be found nowadays to call for banning a Hasidic Rebbe from speaking at nationwide synagogues. Rationalists objected to Kabbalistic approaches to Judaism in years past, but nowadays, rare is the synagogue that would object to a well-respected real Kabbalist coming to give out blessings in its synagogue. Objections come and go, but the truth of Torah stands forever.
The letter claims that his approach "does no justice to the Jewish mesorah". Yet, the letter-writer willfully totally ignores half the Orthodox Jewish population. As we are a splintered and scattered people, we find ourselves having different approaches to different topics. And different people respond better to different approaches. If your cup of tea is a Darchei No'am approach, gezunterheit. If you respond better to fire and brimstone, Rabbi Mizrachi is for you. No one approach is perfect for everybody, but no approach - and definitely no deliverer of that approach - should be besmirched in the process. Doing so is the epitome of Motzi Shem Ra.
Rabbi Mizrachi responded to the letter, as can be read here. In addition, he elsewhere paraphrased the verse: "But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and the more they spread abroad."
May Rav Mizrachi continue to spread his message of Torah and Judaism throughout the US, Israel, and the world.