Reply To: Secular Library – Frum Children

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Well now Ben Torah, ten whole names! The names of ten chareidi poskim living in Eretz Yisrael, many of whom cant read English! Yup, that definitely covers the full gamut of “gedolim” in my book; case closed.

They are certainly “gedolim” (I really despise that term, it says absolutely nothing about the people to which it refers and admits no objective definition that may be used to evaluate the appropriateness of its being used), but I am just not sure why, to be a Torah-observant Jew, they must be MY “gedolim” (again, does the term imply my posek; my advice-giving mashgiach; my business and financial advisor; a scholar; a tzaddik; a communal leader?).

Since when am I, living in the United States bound by halachah to follow the words of poskim living in another country? Did the Jews of Eastern Europe follow the rulings of the Chief Rabbi of England; did misnagdim no assur the shechita of chassidim in the 1700s, though the Rebbes obviously held it was desirable; did the chassidim follow the Vilna Gaon; did Spanish Jewry follow the Rosh? Did French Jewry follow the Rif?

Your claim to universal “gedolim” that can bind everyone is fallacious at best.

So I ask again, what makes your “gedolim” THE “gedolim” that everyone must follow for everything? Do you presume to pass judgement on the qualification of R’ Elyashiv as compared to R’ Belsky or R’ Shachter? Certainly you, who views us little laypeople as so small, insignificant and incapable of independent thought should not be making such determinations.

At least I have the sense to allow you to follow your poskim while I follow mine – I dont claim to determine who’s are correct. In fact, eilu v’eilu divrei elokim chaim, and each may follow his own approach so long as it does not violate a clear Torah proscription. (See Taz, Choshen Mishpat, siman 2). You on the other hand have the remarkable ability to determine that certain views are divrei elokim, while others are not. Bravo! I am certain God Himself will be much grateful to you for effectively determining which approach is really the one He wants us following. Well Done!