Book Review – One Above and Seven Below: A Consumer's Guide to Orthodox Judaism

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    Does the coffee room have a book review section? This book deserves a gold star. A highly recommended read for everyone.

    One Above and Seven Below: A Consumer’s Guide to Orthodox Judaism from the Perspective of the Chareidim

    by Yechezkel Hirshman


    Well, (assuming it is available through nook or ebooks, etc..) you got them at least one customer. It will probably be a month or so before I bump the thread and provide my own review, but I eventually will. I am sure you cannot wait. 🙂


    It’s available as a Kindle edition, in addition to print. Not sure about Nook. (For some reason when searching for the Kindle edition you need to leave off the subtitle.)


    I think that’s a recommendation rather than a review, Joseph.


    miamilawyer –

    Did you get hold yet of a copy of the book?


    Joseph – We would like to see your review of the material discussed. Does it talk about Avodas Yom HaKippurim (hence the title)?

    Edit: Read the first Amazon review. If he defines “Charaidi” as someone who “upholds Torah study and Mitzvot observance as the most important thing in his life”, then it includes diverse people such as Rabbis Avi Weiss, Aharon Teitelbaum, Herschel Shachter and Leib Tropper. That alone makes me think the book is a bit off.


    Furthermore, the author supports (on his blog) Malka Leifer not being extradited to Australia (or alternatively, being locked up in Israel). That most certainly poisons that well for me.

    Don’t bother with a review on my account, I’m not interested in what he has to say.

    🍫Syag Lchochma

    gaw – thanks for saving me the money!


    gaw – all his positions are given with a very detailed halachic analysis, including sources. Feel free to dispute them one by one rather than your making a generalized comment. Secondly, regarding the issue you raised, even the Israeli courts took that position. Thirdly, he in fact did not say she should not be locked up in Israel. Indeed he wrote that would be much preferable than extradition. Fourthly, the book covers an entirely different topic than any of this. None of your comments approach the subject of the title.


    Joe – don’t really care. Sorry.

    Pasul is Pasul, and this guy is Pasul in my book.


    Nu, as a member in good standing of the religious left, you’ve noted many times on this forum that you find members of the religious right to be pasul in your book. 🙂


    Joe – Guess so. If claiming Mishkav Nikeiva with underage children is only a “misdemeanor” and not a big deal is part of being in the religious “right”, I’ll be a happy member of the religious “left”.


    Except that he said no such thing.

    🍫Syag Lchochma

    This post was a direct response to comment from Joseph that seems to have been edited out

    hate to burst your bubble joseph but i do believe that your observance of “bishvili nivra haolam” desecrates everything our musser seforim teach us.

    I was not aware that you recommended the book. It came up in a discussion as a potential guide for someone who wants to understand religion. The author’s style was recommended. Don’t even remember the context it came up in.

    gaw – if only i could bottle that response….I may not be religious left, but such behavior from the right makes me ashamed.


    Syag, I’ll continue following the mussar seforim as taught to me by the gedolei rabbonim that are my rebbeim rather than your remote internet evaluations thereof.

    🍫Syag Lchochma

    sorry you feel insulted joseph but anyone following the mussar seforim as the gedolei robbonim teach it wouldn’t be able to conceal their anavah even on the internet, and, conversely, wouldn’t be able to conjure gaava in any dimension.

    Not that that applies to you, of course, just answering the concept of any random learned Jew being an anav who can somehow display themselves as prideful on the internet.


    i love reading:)


    Yeah, reading his blog- his stuff on sexual abuse of minors is horrifying.


    That is assuming you are allergic to halacha, writersoul. If you have any halachic arguments with his presentations feel free to make them, because he backs up everything he says with specific halachic maare mekomos. But since you have no arguments against the halacha he presents you’ve made him your strawman instead of being honest and admitting it is the halacha that you disagree with.

    Syag: No edits were made to my earlier posts.

    Even the format of the post indicates otherwise


    Since Comlink complained that this is more of a recommendation for the book than a review, as thread title claims, I figured I’d pass on the following Dvar Torah someone wrote based on the writings of Rav Yechezkel Hirshman’s Sefer this thread is discussing (1A7B – Achas L’Maala V’Sheva L’Matta):

    Rashi continues further down describing what happens when a person does not toil in Torah:

    Rabbi Hirshman explains that there are two types of people: consumers and providers. He writes:

    Of course, on some level, we are all consumers. When we buy food, we are relying on the kashrus organization to be doing proper checks on the product. We are the consumers, and they, who are knowledgeable of this particular product, are the providers. But, in many matters of halachah and Jewish thought, it is imperative that one strives to be a provider.

    He writes that there are six hazards to being a consumer:

    2. A lack of intellectual capacity to discern between an authentic religious phenomenon and a semblance of one. People who read blogs written by so-called Orthodox writers tend to fall for their arguments due to their lack of knowledge in certain areas.

    5. A lack of knowledgeable conviction to inspire subsequent generations to remain within the fold.

    6. A consumerist Jew is in danger of regarding himself to exist on a plane that is separate from other observant Jews whereas, and in many cases because, he does not comprehend their ideology. This is where Isaiah comes in:

    He continues on with different examples of each of these hazards, but if a person is honest with himself, he can find several of these in his own life, either currently or (hopefully, just) in his past.

    This, I believe, is the fundamental difference between a Ben Torah, and religious Jew who is not. One does NOT need to sit in kollel all day and learn. However, he needs to recognize the fact that toiling in Torah is one of the most fundamental aspects of Judaism and one of the most important things he can do for himself and for his future generations. The more one is educated about the product that he is trying to use, the better he is able to use such a product and pass it on to others.


    I don’t think so, Joseph.

    Look, he could have been completely correct about the minutiae of the halacha. To be honest, as you may have guessed (and are probably relying on), I am not well versed enough in the inyan to disprove his halachic statements. But it doesn’t matter- it’s one thing to know halachic facts and principles and another to apply them. There is an inyan for rabbanim to be rachmanim even in halacha- such as the rabbis who do everything they can to try to find a heter for a questionable chicken for a poor family, or after the Holocaust to find a heter for an agunah to remarry. Rabbanim can know the halacha backward and forward and be able to make a statement within the first ten seconds but still immerse themselves in research in order to potentially find a way to be merciful and apply the halacha mercifully. This is undoubted.

    The thing is, the blogger is being very emphatic about being dan lekaf zechus when it comes to Malka Leifer and is showing no such inclination toward her accusers. He explicitly accuses them of being money-grubbing, casts aspersions on their desire to achieve justice (stating that they have no interest in her defending herself), and engages in victim shaming, casting blame on long-time victims by saying that after a certain amount of time it should be considered consensual if the victim hasn’t outwardly protested. He completely disregards and misreads current psychological wisdom about predators targeting abused and suffering children who are less likely therefore to see a way out- in fact, reading it the exact opposite way, as is the exact way which many proven molesters intend as they seek out victims. In all of this, there is NO HALACHIC ELEMENT which he is invoking to make these statements- besides being dan lekaf zechus, which he is IGNORING.

    The fact is,

    1) There are predators who are not pedophiles (though there is an equivalent for teenagers, if you must know), but gravitate towards teens because they may be in a position of power over them. It’s a similar concept to when we see a rabbi or therapist having an illicit relationship with a client or community member- there is an imbalance and misuse of power which is wrong in and of itself.

    2) Israel is not, for better or for worse, a purely halachic state. According to its laws, it CANNOT judge her in front of a beis din and it CANNOT even judge her in a regular court. The only way for her to be tried is to be sent back to Australia. By being against this, no matter his protestations, he is in fact tacitly agreeing that she should not be forced to face up to the accusations made against her. I know that there are different interpretations of the extent of the requirement for dina d’malchusa dina, but he does have to understand that he is taking a position which has no basis in the legal realities in Israel and Australia.

    3) Halacha is halacha. But middos are middos, and this man is displaying none. Rationalizing potential abuse (both physical and of power) and blaming the victims is just terrible middos. Halacha does not demand that- all it demands is an open mind. This man, I’d almost say, is being a naval birshus haTorah- using halacha as an excuse to make repugnant statements.

    4) In that vein, let’s say theoretically that halachically, what happened was not a sin or a crime or anything actionable or punishable. But it was proved that it happened. Would that make the perpetrator blameless? There are plenty of places in halacha where we know that an injustice did occur but due to the rules of the legal system, it is not actionable (such as if there are not enough witnesses). Does that mean that no injustice was done? No, it just means that there is no way to punish the perpetrator. What this man is doing is not only removing the punishment but removing the blame from the (theoretical) perpetrator and the pain from the victim. He has no right to do that, and you cannot quote me any halacha which says that just because it was mishkav nekeivah with a woman above age 12 (daasan kalos, of course), the victim had no suffering or trauma. This man eliminated that from the picture by focusing purely on didactical matters, showing a clear agenda. Like I said, naval birshus haTorah- showing complete gasus in matters of ve’ahavta le’reiacha kamocha by ignoring real people’s potential suffering in exchange for milking halachic minutiae.

    By the way, I’m also disturbed by his nonchalance about living two doors down from child molesters. I hope his kids are alright.


    Having 3 names!

    People writing to promote themselves is not new but still rather false.

    Yechezkel Hirshman (name used by Tzvi Stark) here calls himself Joseph and refers to his other name as Rabbi Hirshman.


    He’s disgusting. He sees nothing wrong with assault, going as far as to blame victims, he has some very strange ideas about autism, his formatting skills are subpar, he deliberately misspells inappropriate words as if that fixes them, and the way he goes out of his way to defend assault is just repulsive.


    (I don’t know why you put through the misguided post accusing Joseph of being the author, mods.)


    This happened to have caught my eye. I stopped posting but feel compelled to add my two cents. I read a large portion of the book, and feel the base message is misleading and silly. He basically argues that the label we use as chareidi is a misnomer (could be), and that we’re all chareidi (could be). Who cares? What the larger frum world means when they say chareidi is religious zealots from MS who throw things at cops and yell nazis. The literal translation of the word is irrelevant. Call them what you like, it doesn’t change the greater public’s distaste for those people.

    Avi K

    Joseph, see מגמת האדם on the website of the Betel yeshiva regarding
    בשבילי נברק אדם.

    Regarding extradition, if we want other countries to extradite criminals to Israel we will have to extradite them to other countries. It should be noted that every extradition treaty provides:
    1. There must be a solid prima facie case that the accused committed an act which is a crime in Israel.
    2. He may not be subject to the death penalty.
    3. If he was a legal resident of Israel at the time he committed the crime he has the right to serve his sentence in Israel.


    Toi, agreed. And thanks for stopping in.


    I am not Joseph but I greatly appreciate his support.

    To follow are the two most recent posts on the Malka Leifer controversy. The second one has some very important information:

    links removed -79

    As for the June 25, 2017 post by Toi, I dealt with his issue directly in Chapter 9 of the book. Looks like he didn’t get there yet.

    If anybody has any serious questions, I can always be reached at: email address removed -79

    Kol Tuv,



    Please read the rules prior to posting. -79


    By the way, if we cannot post links, why do you display the HTML tags for hyperlinks?


    we allow links to other threads on this site -79


    A good read, though [more than] a bit simplistic


    Consumer’s Guides simplify the complex by design.


    There’s simplification, and there’s lack of nuance; I think IiTfT meant the latter.

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