An Apology to Rabbi Mordechai Kuber From Rabbi Chaim Scher

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Approximately two weeks ago, YWN exclusively published an article from Rabbi Scher refuting the previous article written by rabbi Kuber regarding the worms in fish.

Rabbi Kuber is to be commended for his decision to continue this Halachic debate privately [as Rabbi Kuber wrote publicly in his second, and final public letter to YWN]. I fully agree that this continuing dialogue belongs in the Bais Hamedrash. The purpose of Torah arguments are to uncover the truth and should not be turned into spectator sport.

True to his word, Rabbi Kuber has sent a comprehensive response in private. I intend to respond to his arguments privately as well.

Rabbi Kuber is a respected and upstanding Talmid Chacham. As such, I regret the strong tone of the response. It has never been my intention to malign Rabbi Kuber personally. It is my sincere hope that we will conclude this argument the way all Torah arguments should; לבסוף נעשים אוהבים זה לזה.

Rabbi Chaim Scher


5 COMMENTS

  1. The problem with the article was not its “strong tone.” Strongly written arguments can be a delight to read and are common in review essays and rejoinders throughout the journalistic and academic world.

    Rather the problem was with the sarcasm, ridicule, and personal attacks. I was wondering why Rabbi Scher’s apology does not acknowledge or address this.

    Here are some examples:
    “Rabbi Kuber, in his embrace of spontaneous generation, offers a long-winded apology.”

    “he chooses to explain the evidence away with wordy apologetics.”

    “Rabbi Kuber brazenly exclaims:”

    “In truth, Rabbi Kuber has missed the entire point . . ”

    “we trust that the intelligent kosher consumer will find in this response the tools to remove the sand Rabbi Kuber has thrown in their eyes.”

  2. Te tone in many a correspondence between talmidei chachomim throughout the generations has been strong, to the point of seeming personal. Rabbi Scher’s error was in not realizing that many would not understand this.

    As an aside, I think a strong tone was warranted, as R’ Kuber insinuates that the gedolim were misled. I quote, “There seems to be a peripheral issue, unrelated to the above discussion, of whether Gedolei Hador could be misled by misinformation, and whether a non-Gadol is entitled to challenge their halachic arguments. A discussion of that issue is beyond the scope of this article. For ease of presentation, (Ease? to assume otherwise would proscribe a presentation!) this article presumes that Gedolei Hador would recant their position if they discovered that they had been misled, and that even non-Gedolim may debate an issue about which Gedolim have already issued their ruling. Obviously, in the final analysis, we follow the rulings of our Poskim and Gedolim.” He proceeds to write a lenghthly article , as an acknowledged non-godol (maybe out of modesty, I don’t know him), challenging their knowlege of the metzius concludes with the following:
    “From all the above, we conclude that according to Halachah, fish-flesh worms develop within the flesh, as they always did, and are permitted, as they always were. We look forward to further consideration of these issues by the Poskim and the Gedolim.”
    I’m sorry, but unless a godol himself acknowledges such an error, it is condescending to assume that he was naive enough to be misled (and foolish as well).
    Additionally, Rabbi Kuber’s butchering of the Shevet Halevi, which would mislead one to believe that he assered the worms in contradiction to the S.A., would warrant a personal attack. I assume Rabbi Scher apologizes, having retracted his assumption that it was intentional.