Some topics are just too controversial for the coffee room moderators.

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    Case in point: I asked the following question a day ago:
    it took the moderator several hours to decide if it would be posted, then before long, the discussion was closed.
    this is a subject on the minds of many Lakewooders, yet it’s too controversial to be commented on over here.
    Why the need for so much censure?


    – It didn’t take several hours to decide, sometimes a topic takes longer to approve depending on when it is posted.
    – how do you determine that it is controversy that closed/closes a thread without knowing what has been posted and deleted?
    – censure was your word so I can’t really speak to it


    You have to know how to fine tune the verbiage to pass muster.

    Doing my best

    Now we can answer his topic.

    I don’t think there is a lack of competition, but the va’ad deciding for many people who they should vote for simply knocks out all competitors. (i saw an ad for some other candidate, forgot his name.)


    Dear moderator:
    Can you explain why the thread was closed several hours after it opened? Should the members of YWN have the choice to voice their opinions regarding the political leadership of their town? Was YWN contacted by an influential individual to close down the thread before people realize how unhappy people are with the current political establishment?
    Competition brings out the best ideas & talent, I believe the rubberstamping of local politicians does not allow them to be the best they can be.


    Oh wow! I can’t believe you figured us out!! The cat is out of the bag! You nailed it! A big scary influential individual named the chofetz chaim came and closed down your beloved thread before people could give too many details about how unhappy you believe they are. Sorry to deprive you.

    Don’t be so confident in your assumptions and conspiracy theories. Sometimes the answer is just about doing what’s right.


    Haime, censure means something else.
    You meant censorship.

    Moderator, you know he meant censorship. Of course it is his word; he is asking the question.

    Rav Tuv

    How much advanced education would I need to be a YWN moderator?


    Without speaking directly to the Lakewood situation but in general, wherever yidden as a block mindlessly vote for a candidate for public office simply because some rabbonim or askanim said to do so, there will be no political competition. Sure, take what “the Rav” may say into consideration as one factor among many but do your OWN analysis of the candidates and their positions and make your own decision whom to vote for.

    As has been pointed out to you before, doing things because your rabbeim said to do so is not mindless, it is called following Daas Torah.ย  Your habit of selecting when and where your rabbonim should to be heeded is inappropriate


    musser zoger — For you, $20 and a cracker jacks prize and I’ll waive the PhD requirement.


    In reference to your censure (not censorship) of GadolHadorah’s last post, i ask the moderator:

    Are modern orthodox concepts not permitted on this site? Daas Torah is a chareidi concept and 100 years old. Modern orthodoxy has no concept of daas torah. In fact daas torah was invented as a guard against modern orthodoxy. See Prof Lawrence Kaplan, Modern orthodox, YU alum, biographer of Rav jB Soloveichik,

    I will discuss it with my Rov and let you know…


    The concept is actually much more than 100 years old. Try some 3300 years old.
    Source: Devarim 17:11
    ืœื ืชืกื•ืจ ืžืŸ ื”ื“ื‘ืจ ืืฉืจ ื™ื’ื™ื“ื• ืœืš ื™ืžื™ืŸ ื•ืฉืžืืœ
    ืจืฉืดื™ : ืืคื™ืœื• ืื•ืžืจ ืœืš ืขืœ ื™ืžื™ืŸ ืฉื”ื•ื ืฉืžืืœ ื•ืขืœ ืฉืžืืœ ืฉื”ื•ื ื™ืžื™ืŸ

    The fact that MO has no concept of Daas Torah, as you put it, says more about the limitations of MO than the limitations of Daas Torah.


    1. Basased on the time it takes them to approve something, I have concluded that the moderators are humans who regularly eat, sleep and daven (or they are robots programmed to slow down at such times as frum Jews are likely to be eating, sleeping or davening).

    2. What they ban is that which is prohibited by halacha or minhag, e.g. the frum minhag of not discussing “intimate” matters even that halachic books do discuss these matters. They also don’t seem to like kaballah meaning they assume that many users of YWN are other than Bnei Torah, or that the moderators have yeshivish rather than hasidic biases or at least don’t want to offend yeshivsh users,



    Winnie, you don’t know what Daas Torah is. Your posuk on devorim does not contain the words “daas torah”.

    The term Daas Torah was coined 100 years ago and has a special connotation, which is to rely on Rabbis to decide EVERYTHING for you, even when there is no question of halacha or even hashkofo. The concept came from the hasidic relationship with a Rebbe and was adopted in a decision by Agudas yisroel 100 years ago.

    Taken to the extreme, a Rabbi would be consulted along with a doctor for every medical decision. My father, with his chasidic upbringing, did this concerning a derious surgery for my then-young brother. BH he is fine.

    Some in the Yeshiva University world, such a Rav Aharon Lichtenstein A”H, do subscribe to Daas Torah.

    Of course MO listen to Rabbo im concerning Halacha and Hashkofo.

    I gave a reference but you didn’t bother to check it, and you were quick to censure modern orthodoxy.


    “which is to rely on Rabbis to decide EVERYTHING for you”
    You, as well, seem to be unclear on what daas torah really means. Outside of what you belive it means, or what you would like to think it means.


    Syag, you put me down, but don’t add anything other than the putdown.

    If you have nothing nice or productive to say, please don’t waste everyone’s time.

    Lo mat’im lecha.


    Every day I ask my Rov shlita what to eat for breakfast that morning.

    Neville ChaimBerlin

    He’s knee deep in MO indoctrination. But, we’ve had way too many threads to discuss these things already. It would probably be better to revive an oldy.

    I actually didn’t really understand why the Lakewood thread got closed either. Then I didn’t understand why they allowed it to reappear. Then I didn’t understand why it got closed. I’m not from Lakewood, so I have no knowledge of what that poster was talking about or why it’s controversial.

    Neville ChaimBerlin


    Stuart: “You guys have no idea was daas Torah means”
    Syag: “Actually, it is you who doesn’t understand daas Torah”
    Stuart: “How dare you say someone doesn’t understand that. You’re evil!”


    cute. it wasn’t meant as a put down. Just as you told WinnieThePooh that she didn’t know what Daas Torah meant (was that a put down?) even though she was referring to the concept regardless of the wording, I was pointing out that you may not either. And I quoted the words you used to indicate exactly what you said that proved the point. Perhaps you jumped too quickly?


    Neville thanks for the chuckle.

    I am not knee-deep in anything. I have spent 7 years in a litvish primary school, 5 years in a chassidish high school, and one year in a chardal yeshiva.

    Father from chassidish background, mother from background.

    On the ashkenazi front, nobody has had a more balanced “indoctrination” than I.



    I told her she was wrong. Then I followed with an explanation.

    You just said I am wrong.

    Anyhow, I have read up on the term. I know Prof Kaplan personally and he has written extensively on the topic.

    If you can show me any literature on the topic I would be happy to read it.

    I know the term daas torah seems to have an obvious literal meaning. But there is more to it. It was expressly invented to create a policy shift among the people in order to unify political entities, namely agudas yisroel and the chasidim.


    Stuart- correct, you are not knee deep in MO doctrine, it appears to be in self-assureness. Since most posts have been what you know and why we should accept that you know it (you can check it out yourself) without displays of openness to another opinion there wasn’t much more i could add.

    Avi K

    Dor, it s mindless if you did not ask him. It is certainly mindless regarding non-Torah matters. The Gemara mentions many instances in which people disagreed with their rabbanim (ื”ื ื“ืชื™ื” ื”ื ืจื‘ื™ื”). The Rema says (YD 242:3).
    ื”ื’ื”: ืื‘ืœ ืžื•ืชืจ ืœื—ืœื•ืง ืขืœื™ื• ื‘ืื™ื–ื” ืคืกืง ืื• ื”ื•ืจืื” ืื ื™ืฉ ืœื• ืจืื™ื•ืช ื•ื”ื•ื›ื—ื•ืช ืœื“ื‘ืจื™ื• ืฉื”ื“ื™ืŸ ืขืžื•. (ืคืกืงื™ ืžื”ืจื”ื™ ืกื™’ ืจืœ”ื—):
    Rav Soloveichik’s rav was his father. However, when his father opposed his choice of wife he wrote him a very respectful letter proving that he did not have to listen. Rav Moshe Soloveichik told his friends that his son was right.

    Stuart, on the contrary, Rav Lichtenstein wrote a whole article AGAINST the idea of daat Torah. You can google “If There Is No โ€œDaโ€™at, How Can We Have Leadership?” BTW, what did you mean by “Father from chassidish background, mother from background”? Does she have an anonymous background?

    Neville ChaimBerlin

    It doesn’t matter the diversity of schools you’ve attended, it just matters who’s story you believed. If you believe that MO is authentic Torah yiddishkeit and the frum world is a breakaway sect, then you drank the MO cool-aid because that is not the reality.

    You’re allowed to be MO on the CR, but if you’re easily offended when people put down the MO, you aren’t going to have a good time. There was once a time where every thread turned into a fight about religious Zionism even if it was about something like gefilte fish recipes. That trend is not as bad anymore. I’m not meaning this as a threat, really just a fair warning. Whether you like it or not, you will be pigeon-holed into a camp here, and almost every thread is argumentative in case you hadn’t noticed. You aren’t ever going to feel like the other side respects you views. That really just isn’t how the internet works.


    Litvish background.

    And thanks for the correction regarding rav Lichtenstein.

    Anyhow, i will be taking a break from the CR, because I am running low on Tylenol.


    Daas Torah is Emunas Chachomim.


    One final word before I go Neville.

    I don’t think anyone has the right to put anyone’s beliefs down.

    You compared MO to the frum world. I guess MO aren’t frum for you.

    I don’t believe MO is the real deal any more than hareidi. Everyone should choose what resonates with them.

    I find a lot of hostility in the CR. I don’t mean towards me. i have experienced very little.

    Take good care.


    Stuart, I know what Daas Torah is, thank you very much- practically, not just as an academic concept. I brought a quote to show that since the very beginning, we were instructed to listen to our Rabbanim. You clarified this with semantics and how and when this concept is applied, I assume based on the “source” that you mentioned, which was actually a name of a professor and author- did you really expect us to interview him as to his thesis on the matter?
    Dass Torah is applied as a gradient- ranging from the true chassid that consults Daas Torah, (i.e., a Talmid chochom/Rav whose knowledge of Torah gives him a greater clarity) on all matters, halacha, hashkafa and daily living, to those who never ask a Rav about any matter, even a halachic matter. Various groups/individuals lie at different places on this gradient.
    And by the way, I was not trying to censure the MO world, but to show that your phrasing- that the MO have no concept of Daas Torah (as opposed to stating that they do not consult it as frequently as others) was not very complimentary.

    Neville ChaimBerlin

    It’s pretty common even for proudly Modern Orthodox people to say stuff like “we aren’t ‘frum,’ we’re more modern,” or “we think that community is to frummy; we would like a more modern community.”

    I know from another thread you had some experience in a Chabad school; I only say this because it might be worth pointing out that Chabad’s yiddish colloquialisms differ a little from those of others. Eg. they use frum to mean any level of religiosity while most people use it as the yiddish word for chareidi, they use heimish in somewhat of a negative connotation while most people use it in a positive way, etc.

    As for the hostility, yeah, welcome to the internet. I started out here occasionally trying to get people to be more “civil,” but eventually I gave up and I’m kind of embarrassed that I ever did that. In retrospect, it comes across as preachy. It’s more fun to just be a jerk who hides behind internet anonymity.


    gosh Neville, that was the saddest post I’ve read in a long time. Not this last one, the one before that.

    regarding the last post, specifically:

    As for the hostility, yeah, welcome to the internet. I started out here occasionally trying to get people to be more โ€œcivil,โ€ but eventually I gave up

    Exactly what I did. I gave up but am not embarrassed about doing it(nor should you be, I respected you tremendously for it). As you can see I show up on rare occasion again when I see people having those parallel arguments but, like you said, I am rarely successful. Not because people are too hostile or hateful, more because people didn’t get what I was trying to do. When I point out to someone that they are so heated that they are not hearing the other side, or when I try to point out to someone that the posts they claim are attacks are not really angry, I get accused of taking sides. Even if I don’t have an opinion on the topic! How many times has Joseph accused me of random disgusting hashkofos because I disapproved of the tone of the attacks. As if nobody would think you could possibly support someone or defend someone you disagree with.

    So don’t give up! Even if only a handful of us hear you or join you, it’s not a lost cause. Just a lonely one.

    Stuart – I find a lot of hostility in the CR.
    I used to think so too, especially when the Zionist/anti Zionist threads were alive. I know realize that it’s not always so hateful when you try reading it again later without the “moment”. And I also realize there is more ignorance and anxiety than hate. Nobody wants you to be right because then they are wrong. And nobody wants to be wrong because then they may need to change. (my personal thoughts)


    Joseph doesn’t count.

    Neville ChaimBerlin

    Yeah, what Syag said about going back to threads after the fact is very true. I go back and look at old threads where I thought everyone was being hostile, and then realize that, if anything, I was the hostile one.

    It’s funny that the CR still appears hostile to people coming in after the old Zionist War threads. Those were hardcore. We had some posters back then who were very religious left (one even described himself as Open Orthodox) who were much more antagonistic towards Chareidim than today’s posters. We still have MO posters who have stuck around and I consider to be generally moderate and respectful, but none of us sounded moderate back then. This is probably exactly how I will reflect upon the Chabad Wars 3 years from now.

    Avi K

    Joseph, Rav Lichtenstein says it is different.


    topics too controversial for the coffee room:
    feuding chassidishe rebbes
    pedophile defenders
    why people complain about New York/Lakewood
    why New York Lakewood residents call everyone else out-of-towners
    Rabbi ***** saying that people should ******* the ******
    why certain posts get thru when they shouldn’t
    income tax forms
    bad things done by good jews


    woops, it says too controversial for the moderators.
    Ok, I take that back…

    The little I know

    One of the issues here is a dispute about just what Daas Torah is, and what it means to subscribe to it as a way of Torah life. Perhaps my opinion is unique, but here goes.

    What I believe was a source for Daas Torah was the vast knowledge that was possessed by Torah leaders. Without secular sources for knowledge (even though ื™ืฉ ื—ื›ืžื” ื‘ื’ื•ื™ื) they were skilled and expert in subjects besides a difficult Tosafos or Rambam. They possessed a “sixth” sense, what we might categorize in the realm of Ruach Hakodesh, that enabled them to render opinions about various subject matters. And even these giants had no problem responding top posed questions declining to resolve the presented problem. “I don’t know” or “I’m unable to help” were responses that were not foreign to them, despite their erudition in Torah and lives of kedusha.

    Today’s world is vastly different. We treat the possession of Torah knowledge as Ruach Hakodesh, and a position as a Rosh Yeshiva, Rebbe, elderly Talmid Chochom, or mekubal as the tell-all answer that is defined as Daas Torah. I intend no disrespect, but this assumption is not necessarily true. I personally turn to just these types of people to pose questions, so I do not minimize them or their ideas. But completing Shas does not qualify one to repair an automobile engine, nor does it give someone the knowledge to give medical advice. In fact, numerous cycles of Daf Yomi do not authorize one to pasken shailos on a great many areas in halacha, all of which require special study and internship (ืฉื™ืžื•ืฉ). So when young couples in crisis turn to a Rosh Yeshiva or Rosh Kollel for advice, or when parents with a struggling teen consult their Rav, are they able to be confident that they are being guided correctly? Do we assume that possession of Torah data equals Daas Torah, and that this is the best ultimate advice to follow? Should we also accept that when a young Rosh Yeshiva ascends to fill his father’s position and dons the corresponding levush that he has also been Divinely endowed with the ืฉื™ืžื•ืฉ to become expert in areas he has not studied or trained?

    While Daas Torah deserves immense respect, those who are approached as representing Daas Torah need to be keenly aware and brutally honest about the range and limitations of their knowledge and experience. Until these Chachomim are able to handle their tafkid with true awareness of their expertise, they should reject those problems and questions that are out of their domain, and refer to others when they can.

    Anytime the talk of Daas Torah gets raised here in the CR, there will be needless debate because of the confusion just described. It’s not about MO or other labels.


    LIttle- you raise a good point, which is how to recognize who is Daas Torah. The “system” was meant to be a hierarchy of Rabbanim defering to those greater than them when the issue was beyond their capabilities, since Yisro’s suggestion to Moshe regarding the shoftim was implemented.
    When either the Rabbanim themselves or the people with the shailos don’t recognize this, the system doesn’t work properly.
    Also, people need to accept the hierarchy and not jump to the top, bypassing the competent rabbanim who are more accessible. Even the greatest T”C will not be able to apply his Daas Torah to a complicated issue when he only has 1 minute to hear and decide the issue. People’s need for connection and spirituality is so great, that they want to connect to the Gadol Hador, but it is not for the Gadol Hador to hear everyone’s shailos, just as it was not Moshe’s job to hear every din.
    And keep in mind, Yiftach B’Doro K’Shmuel B’doro. We need to accept and respect the leaders that we have now, those are the ones that are meant for our generation.

    The little I know


    Many of us know rabbonim, dayanim, and poskim. We also know rebbes, roshei yeshivos, and others. It is not my place to assess them, nor to grade them in any ranking order. I oppose the use of age or the percentage of white in the beard as an indication of one’s knowledge. Even among this listing above, there are those with particular expertise in Hilchos Shabbos, others in Mikvaos, others in dealing with medical shailos, etc. You get my point. Your average rov of a shul might do quite well to deliver divrei Torah on the parsha, speak at simchos (or ch”v levayos), and give a great Daf Yomi. That is not a qualifier to guide problems in shalom bayis, pasken shailos in mikvaos, or pasken a shailoh about a possible safrus problem in a Sefer Torah. As in a medical career, where there is core knowledge, there is the specializing in many different areas, and a good doctor refers anything outside of his domain to experts.

    Again, I am pointing to the assumption that every “gadol” is a jack of all trades. We are privy to hundreds of anecdotes of some truly great leaders who refused to intervene in areas outside their expertise. Rav Avigdor Miller ZT”L was vocal about a great many areas. But he also deferred many questions to others. That’s only one example of many. We misuse our gedolim. And some rabbonim today assume they know much about certain specialties where they do not.

    Neville ChaimBerlin

    Little: You’re operating on the false assumption that poskim don’t consult with other experts when necessary.

    The little I know


    I am operating under the experience of watching rabbonim talking through their hats about many subjects they have never studied or experienced. I am not using a broad brush. There are many who do consult. But there are plenty who do not. I have been consulting with many over the years. It’s a mixed bag.


    Little I agree with what you are saying. But it’s not about ranking, It’s not hard to know who the big poskim are who know more than your LOR on a particular issue.
    Lucky are those who have a Rav who actually can wear multiple hats, and consults with someone bigger (in that area) with when they need to.


    Little: “It is not my place to assess them, nor to grade them in any ranking order.”

    There seems to be a common misconception that we are unable to comparatively assess the level of various Gedolim. We can compare โ€œlevelsโ€ โ€“ in fact, we need to in order to judge who is an authority in the first place! If you canโ€™t comapre levels then how are you to know that someoe is a godol? The fact that he is โ€œacceptedโ€ as a godol only means that many people have judged his โ€œlevelโ€ to be that of a godol. But if you cannot compare levels, then these people have no right to accept him as a godol in the first place.

    And the same common sense that tells you so-and-so stands out among his peers making him an authority, tells you that certain so-and-soโ€™s stand out even more. Or less.

    Part of knowing who to follow is to know who is greater. Godol mimenu bโ€™chochma ubaminyan is an assessment that it legitimately made. And as Rav Shach writes โ€“ if you dont know who to follow, follow whoever is greater โ€“ and, he adds, you can of course tell who is greater. If you yourself dont know, then thats fine โ€“ not everyone can know the answer to all questions they encounter โ€“ but why in the world would you say nobody else can know?

    And itโ€™s an error in logic, too, because they themselves compared โ€œlevelsโ€ of other people! i.e.: โ€œRav Ovadia Yosef is the leading Sefardi posek of our times.โ€ And how would they know this if you cannot compare him to other sefardi poskim? And how can one know whether โ€œany of us are on the madreiga of assessing the โ€˜levelsโ€™ of other peopleโ€ unless you assessed the levels of all those other people who said arent โ€œon the โ€œmadgreigahโ€ to do that?

    So clearly, we can compare โ€œlevelsโ€, its just that to some, certain comparisons are โ€œobviousโ€ and others are not. Well, to other people, perhaps who are more knowledgable and skilled in assessing these kinds of values, other comparisons are also obvious.


    Dear moderator: Daas Torah is your Rebbi or a gadol hador, neither has told me which political candidate to vote for.
    Most of Lakewood voted for Hugin so they seem to agree with me.
    I’m glad to see YWN getting serious about loshon horah but I do not consider havi g a conversation about a lack of lines sofrim in local politics loshon horah.
    It’s not about any particular person, it’s about whether the current political process is working.
    Some topics are too controversial even when they’re nor loshon horah it seems.
    Thank you for allowing this thread to continue.

    Neville ChaimBerlin

    The moderation habits are very hard to figure out. I think they might be more lenient on article comments than they are in the CR too.

    They let through a lot of stuff that I didn’t think they should have regarding HaRav Auerbach, yet they’re extremely cautious with the Lakewood Vaad; it seems inconsistent, but we also can’t see what people are trying to say that is getting blocked.

    Also, they’re weirdly protective of Kedem grape juice. I wouldn’t even be surprised if this post gets edited just for me evoking the name. I assume it must be a sponsor.

    a) separate set of mods for each

    b) more than one mod here

    c) ?


    Neville ChaimBerlin

    I’m actually really glad you guys responded to that. I always had wondered if it was a different set of mods.

    Point b I realize was really an extension of the first point. The bothersome comments about Rabbi Auerbach were all made on articles if I remember correctly. I always wondered why the vibe of the homepage felt like a totally different bias than that of the CR. Now I don’t have to ever again consider rage quitting the CR over stuff I disagree with on the home page! I’m in for the long haul!

    Glad to have you


    The main site always took a far more liberal POV in both the content of the articles as well as in the approved comments.


    YW Moderator-29,
    ’tis convenient Putting the onus on the
    chofetz chaim
    But the moderation is too erratic to be inclined to believe it

    well then feel free not to


    Neville ChaimBerlin

    “The main site always took a far more liberal POV in both the content of the articles as well as in the approved comments.”

    In the religious sense, definitely. I wonder if there’s a discrepancy between the readers of the home page and the users of the CR too. Maybe the silent majority of readers fall in line with the bias of the homepage more so than that of the CR, which is swayed by a relatively small number of overly-active posters such as myself and Joseph.

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