Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Manipulating the Gedolim III - Rav Ovadia Yosef Unfortunately Does *Not* Ban A Concert

As I mentioned before, the information presented to a Gadol is critical to their being able to give accurate psak and direction.

It is for a very similar reason that I am reluctant to pronounce judgment upon the recent case of the banned wedding. How can I say anything about it, and its propriety, if I do not know the details. And critical details about shidduchim and their inner workings are often kept secret. So suggesting the X was wrong or X was right when I do not know the metzius would be the wrong path to take. In such circumstances criticism could be extremely hypocritical.

Together with this caveat, that everyone should know that I don't know what I am talking about and you don't know what you are talking about, I feel comfortable saying the following: If the gedolim involved authorized putting out kol korehs in their name, and protesting the wedding in their name, and especially if they did so without full knowledge or with inaccurate knowledge of the situation, then it was ill-advised.

But it is possible that there are hidden details that can change all that, about the people involved, in all sorts of ways. And every year at Purim, Professor Moshe Koppel prints up kol korehs which he puts up in Meah Shearim, and it is the same printer that everyone else uses. Anyone can print up a kol korei saying whatever. It is entirely plausible that the father of the kallah asked these gedolim to write a letter addressed personally to the father of the chassan, and then trying to do everything possible to break up what he (either correctly or incorrectly) saw as a terrible match, printed up the kol korei, and hired these protesters (which he did) to protest what he could now label as a violation of the gedolim's ruling. This would indeed be manipulation on his part, if so, and one which devalues any kol korei, but we know this about kol koreis in general anyway already. And we see, not many people actually showed up to protest. What was it? Six people who were being paid to show up?

But again, I am so far removed from the situation. One thing I do know is that I do not know, and this is important knowledge.

Another interested case is the MBD and Shwekey concert. They did the smart thing, and preemptively got an endorsement from haRav Ovadiah Yosef for their concert, knowing that others would try to ban it. And from his son's presence at the concert, and from his son's statement not to pay attention to the extremists, it seems that this was understood as a step against those who are trying to impose bans on concerts.

What concerns me is whether Rav Ovadiah Yosef also was shown the advertising for the concert. This is by no means the first time they have advertised this concert in this way. It is in honor of the birthday of the Rebbe King Mashiach. And they feature Yechi prominently.

While in his letter response, Rav Ovadiah Yosef said this was in honor of the Admor of Chabad, he did not mention any messianic connections. And there are indeed messianic and non-messianic Lubavitch, in which case it is quite possible that this was not information he was told. I wonder if they would have gotten his endorsement of the concert in such a case. Perhaps he would have given it anyway.

But if they held back this information, then this is once again manipulation of gedolim, feeding only that information necessary to get the response you want, so that you can tout it to the world.

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