Lipman: Haredi press misrepresenting my views

Yesh Atid MK fires back at haredi media after being termed a possible “apostate” in latest issue of ultra-orthodox magazine.

By
May 15, 2013 09:41
3 minute read.
YESH ATID MK Dov Lipman in his new office.

Yesh Atid MK Dov Lipman 370. (photo credit: Courtesy Dov Lipman)

After being called a possible “apostate” in the latest issue of ultra-Orthodox magazine Ami, Yesh Atid MK and haredi Rabbi Dov Lipman fired back, telling The Jerusalem Post that he believes that such publications are intentionally misrepresenting his views.

According to the magazine, “Lipman may indeed have once been chareidi. But the question that begs to be asked is whether, Lipman, who is one of the most virulent activists against Torah values held dear by the global Orthodox community, still is one, or whether he is actually an apostate.”

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Lipman said he supports substantive debate on the issues, but such attacks are out of place.

“It saddens me to see the complete breakdown in derech eretz [good manners] which has been resorted to in order to attack me and others, including colleagues in my party,” Lipman said, asking when it became “permissible according to Jewish law to fabricate quotes or imply quotes when they were never said?”

The freshman lawmaker was referring to a claim that the anonymous writer makes in the article, that “Lipman also implied during [an] interview that the Chasam Sofer’s teachings were responsible for the deaths of Jews during the Holocaust, and that he is trying to eradicate those teachings.”

The Chasam Sofer, Rabbi Moses Schreiber, was the 19th-century founder of the movement that is now known as ultra-Orthodoxy.

However, Lipman said, the “precise quote” is not “remotely close to what they say I implied.”

During a recent interview with The Times of Israel, Lipman was asked if many observant Jews did not leave Europe prior to WWII because their rabbis had instructed them to stay.

Lipman responded that among hassidic Jews this was more common.

“If you study history, a lot of this started happening during the Enlightenment, where the Hatam Sofer [coined the phrase] that chadah assur min-Hatorah [the Torah forbids novelties]. That’s where all this originates from, for sure. I just feel that the lack of willingness to study basic history and understand what our rabbis used to be like – the average kid in a haredi school doesn’t know who the Rambam was.”

Despite being called “wicked” and an apostate by the dean of his alma mater, the Ner Yisrael Rabbinical College in Baltimore, statements since retracted, Lipman said that he will “continue to quote the sources which support our stance such as: ‘All Torah without work leads to sin,’ [and] ‘A father is obligated to teach his son a trade,’ ...and welcome discussion and debate regarding them.

“I will also continue to work hard to help create an ultra- Orthodox world which sees education and work as a value and an ideal – knowing that this follows the footsteps of the great Torah leaders throughout our rich history,” Lipman said.

In response to Lipman’s comment, Ami publisher Rabbi Yitzchok Frankfurter emailed the Post, stating that “Lipman challenges our interpretation of his words about the Chasam Sofer. The readers are smart enough to read his answer and draw their own conclusions.”

He added that as most Israelis “are probably aware, Lipman is one of the most virulent activists against full-time Torah study in Israel. But what many may not know is that he is actually campaigning with great animus against the very idea of Torah study, specifically Torah study as it has been understood and practiced by Jews throughout the ages, a perspective that has given sustenance to the Jewish nation. This has not gone unnoticed. The Orthodox Jewish world is united in its defense of Torah and to ensure that Lapid and Lipman do not succeed in their attempts to undermine it.”

Haredi websites such as Matzav.com have posted articles libeling Lipman, the MK alleged.

One such article on the site stated that it is a religious obligation to speak against Lipman and that there was no “issur [prohibition] of lashon hara [derogatory speech] vis-a-vis Dov Lipman.”


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