As I mentioned below, the Slifkin controversy has generated a lot of debate on Hirhurim. In fact, there are so many people writing on it that the commenting system keeps breaking down! In the comment section of Gil's latest post, we are introduced to a new figure in the discussions: Shimon.
Shimon seems to be a really sincere and earnest fellow who is truly bothered by the scandalous things that are being said on these forums. He shares with us some of his strongly held views. Below is a sampling of Shimon's feelings about...
"As far as I know, all of the gedolim alive today, without exception, believe that it is kefirah to say that the world is more than 5765 years old."
"It doesn't matter what the scientists tell us about the age of the earth. We have to view science through the prism of Torah. The scientists always change their minds, and Torah is eternal."
"Our gedolim understand the real inner workings of the universe better than any scientist."
"The gedolim in eretz yisroel are not polluted by science and the kiruv movement which has diluted pure Torah haskafot."
"I am aware that certain gedolim have said that chazal took their information from goyish sources. But they were wrong. And look who said this: men who also studied philosophy. Those who had a pure Toraha hashkafah, like the gedolim in France and Germany didn't say this."
"I know that some rabbis in the U.S. are similarly involved in the kefirah...since at least one of their dayanim has stated that the world is older than 5765 years. This means that his gittin are pasul."
"If your rebbe teaches something you should only follow it when he is alive, but if after he dies all the gedolim feel differently, you should now adopt the view of the gedolim and assume that your rebbe would have done otherwise."
"I am sorry the OU is not following the gedolim. If their mashgichim feel similarly, then it is no longer a reliable hashgachah..."
On Jews and Judaism:
"We have a terrible situation where according to the gedolim virtually all Modern Orthodox Jews and even some haredim are kofrim...This means that are all pasul edim and can't be given aliyos."
"Just because Artscroll looks frum doesn't make is so...frumkeit and observance has to be joined with adherence to daas Torah... Plenty of observant Jews are misguided because they don't listen to the gedolim."
"...All this is the fault of so called kiruv organizations and supposedly Orthodox scientists."
"...I know that many gedolim are less than happy about the kiruv movement for this reason, and that it has enabled non-Torah views to gain a foothold in yiddishkeit."
"...it's possible that these gedolim said this only to bring people back to yiddishkeit but they didn't really believe it."
"...the kiruv movement which has diluted pure Torah haskafot."
And my favorite line, about yours truly:
"Hedyot -- you are an apikores so why don't you go back to where you came from."
He has many more such gems throughout the entire comment section. I heartily recommend that you go through it all to appreciate the depth of this guy's beliefs.
Many, if not most, of the posters seem to think that Shimon isn't a real person, just someone spouting mindless drivel to get everyone riled up. But his enthusiasm is very convincing. At first I was sure it was a joke, but now I'm not so sure.
He has gotten the crowd pretty worked up. On the one hand, he has the MO crowd trying to disprove all his radical positions. And from the other side, he has his chareidi buddies pleading with him to shut up before he embarrasses them even more. Poor Shimon. He just can't seem to win. What's a God-fearing, da'as torah-believing, gadol-following, yeshiva guy to do?
Whether or not Shimon is real, I think it's worth taking a closer look at him, because to me he seems to be a fairly accurate representation of the typical chareidi yeshiva guy. The only major thing that is different about Shimon is that he is speaking up. Most people who hold such views have way more tact and discretion then he seems to posses. But if you spend time in any black-hat yeshiva in America, Europe, or Israel, I guarantee that you will hear similar ideas being expressed constantly. It's definitely true that not all people who identify themselves as chareidi would agree with these positions. But the fact is that in many, many mainstream chareidi yeshivas, these views are persistently presented, they are promoted, and they are encouraged.
So why don't we hear from people like Shimon more often? Partly, because for some people, the fire eventually wears off and they adopt a more moderate stance on many issues. But for many others, it's simply because they know that people don't like hearing what they have to say, and speaking up will only antagonize their associates. Yet they continue to believe them, and quite fiercely too, convinced that they are the true keepers of the faith.
I therefore would like to thank Shimon. As I said in the comments at Hihurim, without individuals like Shimon telling us their views, frum people would be able to naively believe that the only threat a zealous yeshiva guy like Shimon poses is an extra long chazaras hashatz. If only it were so. The truth is much more grim. People like Shimon are taking over Judaism and gradually destroying it, one kol koreh at a time.