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An Open Letter To Rabbi Nachum Eisenstein

June 27, 2017

Sir, recently you made the claim that because R’ Elyashiv was the greatest Torah authority of his time, all of K’lal Yisrael should follow his opinion regarding modern-day attempts to identify the biblical T’cheileth, namely that such an endeavor is impossible because we lack a positive Mesorah. Further, it is your own position that because R’ Elyashiv and other  unnamed gedolim were aware of all the attempted proofs as to the veracity of the newly discovered T’cheileth, and yet, they did not tie it into their own tzitzith or encourage others to do so, it would be an affront to the honor of the Torah and its transmitters to do so.

Although R’ Elyashiv’s own greatness can not be disputed, I would like to bring some historical facts to your consideration.

1. R’ Elyashiv was not as widely accepted as the greatest in his generation outside of your circles.

2. More importantly, we should have what to say concerning the most widely respected and universally acknowledged sage of his time, someone whom even R’ Elyashiv has acknowledged to be a master of all matters of Torah and natural wisdom, the first Chief Rabbi of Israel, our master, Rabbi Isaac Halevi Herzog. Moshe Rabbeinu and Yithro together taught us the test of a true Gadol: when a rav does not know what to answer, who does he ask? And when that rav does not know, who does he consult? And we continue up the pyramid. At the begining of 5701, the Mir Yeshiva found itself in Kobe, Japan, and sent a telegram back to the Gedolei Eretz Yisrael asking when they should observe Yom Kippur, which was in essence a greater question, “where is the halachic dateline?” a matter of halacha that would have consequences for world Jewry. Their telegram, of which I have a copy in my possession, was addressed to, among others, the Gerrer Rebbe, the Brisker Rav, and Rabbi Herzog. They did not even address it to the Chazon Ish! More so, the matter of finding a consensus was personally the responsibility of Rabbi Herzog, and it was ultimately the decision approved under his authority, against the opinion of the Chazon Ish, that carried the day. Here we have an incident that shows that THE Gedolim of 70 years ago acknowledged Rabbi Herzog’s authority to decide for K’lal Yisrael.

Further, it is none other than Rabbi Herzog’s view that in our day and age, we can strive to identify, manufacture, and use T’cheileth without a positive living tradition. He dedicated years of his life to do so.

Therefore, how is it that those who seek to continue following Rav Herzog’s teachings are not following the directives of the gedolim? Are you denying Rav Herzog’s gadlus, chas v’shalom?


Avi Grossman


From → halacha

  1. Anonymous permalink

    Some of this was also discussed here, including a recording of Rabbi Eisenstein:

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