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
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
The Chasam Sofer, Rabbi Moses Schreiber, was the 19th-century
founder of the movement that is now known as ultra-Orthodoxy.
Lipman said, the “precise quote” is not “remotely close to what they say I
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.”
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
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