Monday, December 13, 2010

"Where is their wisdom?" Harav Lichtenstein responds to the "No-Lease" Rabbanim letter

Haaretz is quoting a letter that Rav Lichtenstein published yesterday, in response to the now infamous "No-Lease" Rabbanim Letter. I have yet been able to find the original copy of the letter, which I understand deals mostly with the Halachic side of the argument. 

In an article published in his yeshiva's internal newsletter, Lichtenstein tries to undermine the halakhic argument of the original letter, and wonders why the authors could not anticipate the outrage it provoked. He notes the criticism of the ultra-Orthodox rabbis in the wake of the letter and "attacks from left and right on the religious-nationalist rabbis."

In the Hebrew version of this article in Ha'aretz this paragraph reads slightly differntly:

על רקע הסערה שחולל המכתב בעולם הפוליטי והרבני, הוא מוסיף תהייה ביחס לעשרות הרבנים החותמים: "לאן נעלמה חכמת האמורים להיות בין הרואים את הנולד?". 

"כמעט כל שלשלת המאורעות שהתרחשו בעקבות הפצת גילוי הדעת היתה צפויה ופחות או יותר נגלית לעין", 
Meaning that the outrage this letter would invoke was clear before it was published, and hence Rav Lichtenstein wonders "Where is their wisdom?

"Particular grief was caused to the community of those loyal to the Torah and fearful about the stature and character of the state, and to the peacefulness of the spiritual leaders laboring to make the Torah loved, to stay loyal to the halakha, and aspiring to build the state on the foundation of tradition," he says.
"There is no doubt the arguments in the letter are based on sources from the sages of blessed memory, and generations of halakhic tradition, but the document in general leaves one with the impression that it builds its conclusions on assumptions that reflect a particular, but not the only possible, halakhic approach."

I will upload the original letter, as soon as I can get a full copy of it.

Update: Thank you to Dave who has provided me with a link to the full text of the original.
Update 2: A translation is now available.

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