VIDEO: YWN Interviews Rabbi Yehuda Levin


levin1.jpgYWN had the opportunity to interview Rabbi Yehuda Levin this past Motzei Shabbos, which turned out to be quite interesting. In this fascinating video interview, Rabbi Levin was asked tough questions – many of them taken from the comment sections on YWN – regarding the hot topics of today.

Topics include:

1-Who made you an Askan? Who are your “Rabbeyim”?

2-David Lichtenstein & the Clinton’s [can be found at 11:00].

3-Lipa Schmeltzer & the Big Event concert [can be found at 18:10].

4-Rabbi Levin’s involvement in fighting the “Shame Parade” in Yerushalayim [can be found at 36:50].

Although the interview is 55 minutes, it is extremely well worth the time.

Click HERE to view.


  1. Great answers and explanations to the point not ignoring the real issues especialy with the so called ‘Jewish music’ problem.Just one point needs a better explanation Why do you join forces with the goyim in your battle ?It may be harder without them but is that a Heter?Pleses explain better.Hatzlacha!


  3. Can he show a current letter condoning his current activities and shittos? Just because R miller approved of him many yrs ago does not mean that there is a cuurent approval…
    Also, at the end of the day he is a shitta yochid…no other rabbonim are with him..doing what he is doing…that begs the question why?

  4. Excellent interview with Rabbi Levin
    A few points;
    1. With regard to Hillary and Lakewood. Rabbi Levin understands that “shtikah k’hoda” silence is an admission. Why does he not call those in the Lakewood community who can and does control the actions of the Klall to task? Why pick on one individual who was not told by any Rabbonim that what he was doing was assur. “ain onshim aleah him kein mazherin” you can not punish without a warning.

    2. As someone who lamentably grew up with goyisha music I can say that after the first few pirchei albums I stopped listening to Jewish Music altogether. The music was so reminiscent of a past I would love to forget that I shut it off altogether. As my children grew and brought various music into the house snippets of song would often escaper their headphones and low and behold many of the tunes and notes were taken directly from these same goyisha songs I had heard in my youth. Rabbi Levin is 100% correct when he says that music has a negative influence, I am such a person and can attest to the struggle it takes to remove or even subdue the addiction ( yes addiction) it causes

    3. Now back to the real world. If Rabbi Levin thinks that the world will turn on itself and change the way Jewish Music is played or even perceived he is sadly mistaken. One has only to look at the state of Kashrus after the big Monsey chicken scandal. One would have thought that the industry would be drastically changed bust this was short lived.
    We are a generation that is so short sighted and focuses only on the present that I am afraid that all this will be soon forgotten.

    I would venture that if you walk into any Catskill camp ( except for the 3 weeks) this summer and you will hear this same music being blasted from loudspeakers and pounded into the pure neshomas attending these camps, This is just mere months away and the lessons will have been forgotten.

    I laud Rabbi Levin and YWN for their work and I wish them much success.

  5. I didn’t know much about Rabbi Levin before watching this, but I remember a feeling of embarressment when I’ve seen him in the national media. This video reinforces that feeling tenfold. He talks down to those who may dare to disagree with him “the bubble-gum crowd”. I mean, really, who does he think he is? A few letters from gedolim who are no longer with us, who wrote letters backing him for specific events and are unable to clarify that, does not give him carte blanche to act on behalf of Orthodox Jewry. I am an Orthodox Jew and Rabbi Levin (he may be a nice guy!) does not represent me.

  6. Thank you for this fascinating and enlightening video.

    My question in regards to Jewish music is what is considered Goyish? There is a famous story of a Rebbe that found a Hungarian peasant singing a beautiful song and the Rebbe made the peasant forget the song and he adapted it to be a Chassidishe niggun.

    I have heard that the Baal Hatanya said that music is not mekabel tumah.

    Lipa’s song “abi milebt” is taken from the Lion Sleeps Tonight which is quite tame.

    I used to learn by R’ Yaakov Kaminetzky in Monsey. There were some participants in the shiur that always tried to forward a chumradig approach to many things. He used to reject their stance in a very pleasant and honorable fashion. I wondered at the time what would happen after R’ Moshe z”l and R’ Yaakov would no longer be here, who would be able to stand up against all the machmirim and kanoim to say that they were wrong.

    I am not saying, chas v’shalom, that the chosuve rabbonim that signed on the kol koreh were machmirim but there are many misguided people who push their agenda of chumras and pressure the gedolim to implement them.

    In short, I would like to know what are the guidelines for what kind of music is wrong and what is ok.

    One can’t go by Israeli standards because in many circles there, just playing ball for exercise is considered treif. This standard is not applicable to the US.

    I think that Rabbi Levin is doing great work and wish him hatzlacha in his efforts.

  7. I’ve listened to Mr. Levin’s (I decline to use the title Rabbi)radio show, and I’m embarresed that this hate mongerer dares to claim to represent any orthodox viewpoint. I urge all of frumkeit to out Mr. Levin for what he is. If you ever listen to his radio show you’ll know what I mean.


  9. # 12 How dare you say ” A few letters from gedolim who are no longer with us, who wrote letters backing him for specific events” . What relevance does the gedolim not being with us have to your point. Each of these people were greater than you will probably ever be. Shame on you. Great interview Rabbi Levin.

  10. #17, Yochy:

    Reading comprehension is helpful.
    I said the gedolim wrote letters for specific events, and unfortunately, are not here with us today to clarify that. Yes, they are much greater than I am, but that is completely beside the point. It’s this type of knee-jerk hot-headed reactions that helped us get to where we are today. Not in a good way. Settle down and actually read what I wrote before you react.

  11. #16,

    One shouldn’t need to consult with a Godol on every tune. There should be some clear guidelines so that people would know what can be used and what not.

  12. 16, which contemporary gedolim are composing now? Maybe there need to be more tapes and CDs such as R’ Michel Twerski’s shlita (the acoustic one has some folk/country influence. Not a criticism, just a statement).


    No doubt Mr. Levin, while trying to punctuate a remark, is quoting some sefer and not a movie…

  14. I know Levin.

    He is an opportunist looking for measn of publicity for himself and his warped causes. As most, if not, all of the readership audience knows, this guy has gone so far as to hook up with a national politician who considers Hitler a hero and Jewish blood cheap and the Holocaust nothing but a hoax. Levine is on record as a supporter of Buchanan.

    Edited by Site Moderation Panel.

  15. What standards did the YWN use in determining what a “hot” topic is?

    Why was Levine not asked to explain (although no explanation could suffice)why he supported Pat Buchanan, an avowed hater of Jews and denier of the Holocaust?

    Incidentally, are Levine’s parents Holocaust survivors.

    Editors Response: I’m sure every single reader will agree that the topics picked were “hot topics”. Time did not permit us to ask additional questions – INCLUDING the Buchanan question which we had prepared. This interview was an hour long, and only discussed five questions.

  16. Although he may be right on these subjects, Mr. Levin speaks with a disgustingly derisive and conceited attitude. No godol sent him to build up his damaged ego on the radio or YW, while transgressing many issurim of Lashon Hara, Malbim Pnei Chaveiro and sickening Gaava…! Yeshiva World would do good to remove this and save him some Gehinom.

  17. with a lot of respect to rabbi levine i see that his only thing in life is his hashkafa and rabbaim however looking at the video all i saw was that he loves himself more than he loves brenner or other blogs, hes perfect in knocking anyone including bubble gums which listen to his words on yw blog
    in the name of hashkafa and rabbaim
    my advise to you is be polite and maybe well listen to your message dont knock all sites but the one that gives you time to speak and show off your choshiva letters

  18. Note to the Site Moderation Panel and Editor,

    I respect your right and authority to edit and screen comments posted on YWN.

    However, there is halachically no prohbition with calling Mr. Levine DELETED………DELETED…….DELETED………….

    If you can justify allowing comments to be posted that are critical of Neturei Karta, you can allow the same for Mr. Levine.

    Editors Response: Get us a P’sak Halacha in writing (which we have regarding Neturei Karta – who by the way have a din a of RODFIM), and we will consider approving your comments.

  19. Who is this self declared spokesman for the Torah? I would assume he is from Brooklyn as I have never heard of him. I must say that I am not al all impressed. Anyone can skew any psak any way that they wish. I can assure you that the Rabbanim never heard Lipa Schmeltzer and at best are going on information they are being fed by people like Levin… What a chilul HaShem!

  20. Dear NonKollelman,

    I have realized that it is not worth commenting on this forum.

    The site moderators do not allow comments that are critical to their point of view.

    This is definetely NOT a free speech arena.

    I would be surprised if this comment even gets posted.

    I had thought this was a blog that enables hearty debates on various subjects.

    Sadly..I was wrong.

    Hatzlacha to all.

    Editors Response: Comments which are critical of YWN are ALWAYS approved. What is not approved is Lashon Hara. And to answer you more bluntly, this is NOT a free speech arena. The Chofetz Chaim does not describe how that can be allowed. If you can find the Heter, please let us know at once.

    Strange to note that you write “it is not worth commenting on this forum”……yet you have been doing so since JULY………………….

  21. It’s interesting that most of the objections to Rabbi Levine are based on a perception of gaava but except for the Buchanan issue, there is no other substantive complaint.

    I remember that when I was younger some people didn’t like Rabbi Miller z”l’s book Rejoice o Youth because they perceived a fictional element of gaava.

  22. tzoorba, the comparison of R’ Miller ZT”L and this fellow is way out of bounds. will you next elevate this self-promoter to equal footing with R’ Moshe, R’ Akiva Eiger, etc? his approach is instinctively reprehensible to any normal Yid, and is filled with loathing and disdain for those who disagree with his extreme approach. and the knowledge of pop culture he displays in his comments (e.g. The Empire Strikes Back) concerns me. when was the last time someone checked his bill with the cable company or riffled through his stack of CDs/DVDs? as the saying goes…”methinks he protests too much”

  23. There is a difference between Rabbi Levin’s type of askonus and real shtadlonus which is actually working within the halls of government to improve the lives of frumme yidden whether it is for help to yeshivas, affordable housing etc. etc. The gaon of shtadlonus in our time was the late president of Agudath Yisroel Rav Moshe Sherer zt”l and the current leaders of Agudath Yisroel are his talmidim.

    Rabbi Sherer dealt with politicians of all stripes, not because he agreed with them on every issue but because we are forced to when dealing with bread and butter issues facing Klal Yisroel. The gemora and midrashim are full of maasos of tanaaim and amoraim doing shtadlonus in Rome. Did they agree with the Romans? Absolutely not! Rome was the center of tumah and toeavh. Nevertheless if shtadlonus is done leshem shomayim, and according to the halachos of shtadlonus, it will have hatzlocha.

    According to Rabbi Levin, we can not vote for any politician who is pro abortion or gay rights. If that is the case we might as well sit out all elections in New York state as every major candidate Democrat and Republican do not share our views on moral issues including Rudy Guiliani and George Pataki our former mayor and governor.

    Rabbi Levin’s letter from Rav Moshe Feinstein zt”l is also irrelevant to this discussion. Rav Moshe was talking about a particular bill befoe the City Council granting gay rights. Of course we all opposed that bill vociferously.In fact the Agudah took the lead in opposing it and if my memory serves me correct, it strained relations with then Mayor Koch. But Rav Moshe was never talking about not voting for a particular candidate. In fact I was told a story that one year at an Agudah dinner Rabbi Sherer introduced Rav Moshe to then Governor Carey. Rav Moshe stood up with all his kochos saying “kovod malchus.”

    I was at an Agudah Convention a few years ago at a Leil Shabbos session (hence with no tape)where Rav Avrohom Chaim Levin Shlita, the Rosh Yeshiva of Telshe Chicago was asked if one is allowed to support a candidate with moral views against Torah values. His reply was that only if that candidate is strongly identified with that issue. If they just vote for it, but it is not their signature issue, then there is no problem voting for them.At the same forum the Rosh Yeshiva was also asked if there is a choice between two candidates, one who is conservative on moral issues, but not good on bread and butter issues facing our community like help to yeshivas, housing etc. and the second candidate is not so good on moral issues, yet strong on the bread and butter issues, which one do we need to vote for. The Rosh Yeshiva answered that we need to vote for the candidate that will best help our community.

    There is certainly a place for Rabbi Levin’s type of askonus to bring the moral issues to the forefront. But it cannot preclude real shtadlonus on behalf of the klal which includes sometimes supporting candidates we may not agree with on everything.

  24. The issue of abortion is not a simple one. There are poskim who hold under certain circumstances that it could be mutar. That being said, Dont believe everything this chasid of the buffet spews.
    If he doesn’t like Lipa dont buy his cd’s and dont go to his concerts, but dont ruin Lipa for everyone else. Rav Shmuel Kamenetzky said kids need an outlet. I’ll listen to a gadol like Rav Shmuel before I listen to some egotistical fishmonger. People like Yudi Levin are ruining the parnassah of many people in the JM industry who are just trying to make a living.

  25. His way or the Highway! I am appalled at his self
    promotion & utter lack of respect towards others
    & cannot believe “Daas Torah” are actually
    backing this individual. The way he was patting
    himself on the back throughout the interview was
    absolutely repugnant!

  26. Until today I’ve never heard a yid look forward to being mekatreig other yidden in Shomayim after 120. Sickening.

    And he thinks that will get someone OUT of gehinom?????

  27. Thank You YWN for exposing Yehuda Levin for what he is. I have been watching this dangerous man for a while. I am a person with full Emunas Chachomim and proud of it. Yehuda Levin has no credentials however. He is completely guided by his own philosphies and does not discuss his actions with ANY godol at all. He is very self promoting and denigrates everyone else – even well meaning askonim that work selflessly on behalf of the community. He is doubly dangerous when people associate his philosophies with daas torah. He agrees with daas torah sometimes but usually for different reasons and he usually goes far beyond what is called for. It is time to shut him down.

  28. Rabbi Levin is neither an ‘askan’ nor a representative of the Monsey community. After I listened to his Lipa interview, and to the way he embarrassed Lipa and boldly disregarded his feelings, I felt horrible for Lipa, to say the least. I live in Monsey and he does NOT represent anything I believe in. I will never listen to his show again after this, bli neder.

  29. Just chill a bit. No need to take Levin seriously. He’s a very nice guy personally. He just should be making an honest living doing something else, like selling shoes.

  30. I only listened to what he said about the Hillary visit to Lakewood and the general issue of supporting politicians who are in favor of To’aiva. I found him refreshingly candid on that point. Don’t know too much else about him except that he is willing to speak out on controversial topics, which is badly needed.

  31. השיבה שופטינו כבראשונה ויועצינו כבתחילה.
    לשנה הבאה בירושלים
    בביאת גואל צדק בב”א

  32. The problem is that he makes a living by publicly embarrasing people. Worse yet he gives the impression that being a leader requires gaiva when we see the opposite that Moshe was Anav Mecal Adom.
    More people go off the derech r’l from having rabbaim like him than anything else. Its one thing to be a bal gaiva. Its another thing to make it public.
    He really thinks his rants like last week ” david david … ” Was a mitzah.
    Its sick out there and getting sicker

  33. Thank you “Yeshiva World” for posting this interview.
    Baruch Hashem there still is someone like Rabbi Levin who actually stands for his Torahdike principles, even when they may not be popular.
    Rabbi Levin – Chazak V’Ematz!!
    True Torah values will eventually triumph, even though so many people, including many on this site, have been influenced by the goyishe culture.

  34. I find it pretty amazing that all you bloggers can just keep on posting disgusting comments when you obviously have no clue about R’ Levin or his credentials. If you would bother to check them out you may find that he actually is one of the few people who can stand up and do what he is doing. Of course the truth hurts and thats what infuriates all of you anit-R’ Leviners so much. but if you take a good look at yourself you will see that you dont like what he is saying because YOU dont want to change i.e. goyish music…
    as far as him being geivadik, well you asked for his credentials and hes showing it to you! what else do you want him to do for you to respect him for his credentials?
    Shame on you all for putting him down like that!

    Good work R’ Levin!

  35. Does any body remember when Levin tried to run for public office (I think councilman) in NYC? Imagine where we would all be today, had he won!

  36. Rabbi Levin has no right to mock and embaress people. Like #45 said imagine if he would be our councilman. We would be in big trouble.He has no regard for anyone’s feelings, including other Rabbis.

  37. With all the criticizm, which may be warrented, let’s not turn a blind eye to the true points he’s raising.


  38. To me, the scariest thing about this interview is that you can see from the comments that there are actually a few people who think that Reb Yehuda’s approach is correct!

    Imagine what the 98% of yidden who are not connected to Torah would think if they saw this!? And I’m NOT saying that we have to worry about remaining firm in our beliefs because of what they would say – I’m just referring to the attitude. What they will see is someone with a disgusting “holier than thou” attitude that completely undermines any shred of authenticity in his beliefs that may exist.

    If you, my dear brother or sister, are reading this please know: This man does NOT represent me or our people or our holy Torah! Like any other large group of people we have our misfits… Please ignore him and do not let him get in the way of your interest in your tradition!

    I condemn YWN for hosting ands posting this interview – unless your intention was to expose this man for who he really is – in which case you should have made that clear!

  39. To the Editor:

    Thank you for showing the video. This video very much confirms my belief that the Askanim of today are not the Askanim of yesteryear.

    In the video Rabbi Levin does not mention even one incident in which a Gadol approach him to be their shliach. Yes, he did say that he had haskomos from Gedolim, but there is a very big difference between deciding what to do and finding haskomos for it and being approached to represent the Gedolim.

    Now, let’s look at the Askamin of yesteryear. Let’s take for instance Elimelech Tress for example. He did not decide to become an Askan. Rather, the Gedolim turned to him and asked him to become an Askan representing them. I’m not sure who had more admoration for whom, he towards the Gedolim or the Gedolim towards him. Even the Satmar Rebbe had tremendous admiration for him.

    Furthermore, I believe that he consulted the Rabbis and asked them what to do, not TOLD them what he feels should be done.

    If a Gadol tells you, “who am I to sign a haskoma?” he is trying to hint to you that he doesn’t agree with you. If you have to convince Gedolim to give haskamos that in itself shows that there is a problem.

    There have been several notices up in the last couple of years which I’ve questioned the logic and have seen haskomos from reputable rabbis I know. I’ve at times either approached them or spoke to people that already have and I consistantly received a reply that they were pushed into signing.

    Unfortunately, I feel that a lot of people (the quite majority) have similar feelings to mine that haskomos are being cheapened by Askonim with agendas. This is truly hurting Klal Yisroel in my opinion.

    I hope Rabbi Levin will consider my words: “There are causes that are truly correct, but they are hampered by incorrect approaches. Divrei Chachomim B’Nachas Nishma.”

    May we all be zocha to uplift each other B’Ruchniyus with the proper love and affection! we say, “Kol Yisroel Chaverim..”.

  40. WHy did YWN feel compelled to give this opportunist a forum. Nobody wants to hear from a irrelevant source who considers himself important within the community.

    Why don’t you interview me instead. I would come across a lot more interesting and meaningful than that bag of hot air.

    Editors Response: We will be happy to interview you. Kindly contact us via email, and we will set it up.

  41. All you out there by listening to his Radio program you are giving him credence & that is what he wants.

    I dont listen to him at all & dont care what he has to say & by no means is he a Rabbi at any level & this is the first that i heard of a Rabbi running a Radio program.

    he is no different than any of us & his opinion is meaningless as he is not a Rav or a Posek, he is just like any TOM, Dick or Harry walking down the street, but he has a radio program & nobody knows who he represents & he does not carry any authority at all & that Lipa decided to get onto his program in order to bolster his case & Lipa only made a fool out of himself, sorry i am no fan of Lipa but for goodness sake dont bow down to everybody & beg, as you will make a living with or without Levine as he is not mainstream.

    Lets not forget when he went down to Atlanta in middle of the street with a TALIS to pray for Rain can anybody explain that to me please

  42. MDshweks- thank you for always getting right to the bottom of the issue!!!! someone with a head!!

    pooshetah yid- the video was posted on yeshiva world were the primary viewers are frum! this video was not meant for the non religious, it was meant for people like you!! too bad you wont realize that!!

    softwords- he did not run after gadolim getting haskomos, he actually made it quite clear that gedolim were signing their support without him even knowing about it!!!

  43. To the Editor: I’m suprised that you did not edit #52 personal attack on Rabbi Levin. If he has smicha he has what to base being called Rabbi regardless to anyone’s personal opinion of him.

    #53 – Can you quote me where in the video he stated that “gedolim were signing their support without him even knowing about it!!!” I don’t recall him saying that. If you can point it out to me then I stand corrected. If not, then you stand corrected.

  44. Frankly, I am shocked at many of the comments here.

    Let’s get our facts straight. Many, many Rabbonim signed the ban on the concert. Chassidish, Yeshivish, etc.

    Obviously, they felt there is a very, very serious problem with our “Jewish” music.

    R’ Levin is only repeating the obvious.

    All the comments above belittling R’ Levin on a personal level, are missing the larger point.

    He is merely stating the opinion of R’ Kamentzky, R’ Belsky, Skvere Rebbe, and many more.

    I am saddened and embarrassed that Jews who consider themselves Frum could use R’ Levin as a punching bag for simply telling us the position of our Gedolim.

    May Hashem help us all be chozer B’teshuvah.


    A yid who cares and truly believes.

  45. frumyid1 – I think your missing the point, so I will quote you an earlier statement of mine.

    “There are causes that are truly correct, but they are hampered by incorrect approaches.”

    Also, unfortunately we are living in a time period where if you really want to know what a Gadol holds on any given topic you need to speak to him directly (and even then he may not give you his honest answer unless he knows you).

    I personally heard out of the mouth of one of our biggest Gedolim today not to repeat his opinion about a certain Halacha outside the Yeshiva because he was worried about a certain organizational causing him trouble over it (he named the organization, but I’m not going to mention it here).

    If you read my first comment I basically state that the Askanim are bossing the Gedolim around, not following them. You may want to feel different about this, but I’ve seen this with my own eyes.

    I once was in a room with a very big Gadol when “Askanim” came in and tried to influence him to sign on something. B”H he politely smiled at them and refused to sign. They were there for at least another 5 – 10 minutes after his refusal trying to pressure him into signing. He just continued to smile and refused to say another word. They finally left.

    There are Askanim and there are Askanim. Unfortunately there are too many that are like wolves in sheep’s clothing. The way to know who’s who is to examine their aidelkite. Those that are not adel are not the Gedolim’s askanim.

  46. After watching the complete video, I must say there is a Chiluk between being and Askan and representing Gedolim. This guy showed he has letters, (basically from the time he was a bochur in the Mir in Brooklyn) that approve of him as an “Askan” in political manners, shtadlunus, etc., thats all acceptable. However what is not acceptable is once he has to start convincing the Gedolim of his agenda, this is not called “representing Gedolim”.

    Also, you have to understand, not everyone has to agree with Levin regarding Jewish music, we are not talking about singing his songs in a Yeshiva dining room.

  47. “If you can pause a minute with the bubble gum”

    That’s as far as I got before I realized there was a very fundamental difference between the religion I practice and the one Rabbi Levin does.

    What a hack.

  48. Anyone here see the show he put on in Georgia with a tallis; shofar; and lulav?

    Where was the source for that? Are we not still in galus? I cannot imagine a single chashuve talmid chochom, let alone a gadol, being impressed with such a way of performing shtadlonus. This is reminiscent of the hocker in the dorms in yeshiva – only a good deal older.