Thursday, March 10, 2011

From Tomer Devorah's own hand...

For illustrative purposes only.
This isn't really Tomer
Devorah's hand. Just so
people don't think I am lying.
The latest in the saga of delusional tractor driver Nir ben Artzi...

The other day, I wrote a post explaining why it is important to make clear that Nir ben Artzi is not a rabbi or mekubal, but rather a psychic, and that calling him rabbi or haRav, shlita, is unhelpful. It misleads the public into thinking that the basis for his dire, apocalyptic predictions is his scholarly interpretation of Jewish tradition as applied to current events, or based on secret kabbalistic knowledge. Given that he is telling people to sell their homes, quit their jobs, and come to Eretz Yisrael because the sky is falling, it is important to make clear just what he is and what he isn't. And so I call him a delusional tractor driver, which makes clear that he is an am ha'aretz, not someone with mastery of nigleh and nistar.

This was in response to people, such as Tomer Devorah, considering it rude or irrelevant to harp on his lack of semicha. Also as a response to the idea that because people commonly call their (Torah) teachers by the title 'Rabbi' whether or not they have semicha. I am not going to rehash that entire post. Why not go and read it?

Tomer Devorah's response was to call me a liar who is doing this for unknown reasons for my own personal gain. Tomer Devorah does not link to this blog, or allow any comments which disagree with her, so my own comments in my own defense did not pass moderation. Let us see what Tomer Devorah wrote:
Now. It has come to my attention that once again, my position on a particular topic has been misrepresented and I have been falsely accused by someone who must surely know better, but no doubt stands to gain something by the repetition of these lies. Again, it is an accusation brought because of my association with the messages of Rabbi Nir Ben Artzi.

From the time that I first learned of his alleged lack of smicha, (because to date, I do not know if he has or he hasn't!), I have referred to him only as "Rabbi," not Rav and not HaRavThis was due to the respect I have for Rav Shmuel Eliyahu, whose smicha and stature in the Torahworld is unquestioned, and who has publicly given his haskamah to Rabbi Ben Artzi's messages.

Someone posted the following, and I quote:

"MESSAGE TO THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL IN THE LAND AND ACROSS THE WORLD, from the mouth of HaRav Nir Ben Artzi, shlita on Parshat Pekudei - Sheqalim 5771
This is from Tomer Devorah's own hand."

The accusation is that I personally refer to Rabbi Ben Artzias "HaRav...shlita." In truth and in fact, this is part of the translation of his parsha sheet message which should be self-evident and in any case is available by direct link to the original which is in Hebrew and which anyone knowledgeable in Hebrew, like the blogger, could easily confirm.
She makes the assumption that I did not know that this is part of the translation. I knew it. And I thought that that was apparent to anyone who read my words as well. What happened here is that she misinterpreted what I was saying, so that it could be something she could criticize and call a lie. Then, she falsely accused me of being a liar, will not let my clarifying comment appear on her blog, and has not retracted this false accusation against me. I don't think this is out of malice, but out of foolishness. I think she really believes that I am a member of the erev rav, since I disagree with her.

So, I suppose I will have to clarify here, on my own blog. Tomer Devorah had asked for permission to translate and disseminate Nir ben Artzi's messages in English:
Yesterday, I received permission from HaRav Nir Ben Artzi to translate and post his messages in English. When I started it, I didn't expect it to go beyond Shemot andVa'era, the two that the rabbi of this blog requested me to put on it. Given that it has expanded far beyond that, I thought I'd better make sure it was ok with him.
To that end, she created a new blog called Geulah Messages. My assumption was indeed that everything there was part of the translation. Yet, it still is from Tomer Devorah's own hand! After all, she is the one doing the translating and typing at the keyboard. (1) If she types it, she presumably knows about it, and (2) if she types it and disseminates it, then she is certainly in part responsible for it.

These are two separate but important points. Point (1) is important because I was speaking about confusion over whether he has semicha, is a great talmid chacham / kabbalist, etc., and Tomer Devorah's defense was that the title "Rabbi" can in some contexts be acceptable. My response to that is that people are not just calling him "Rabbi", but that he himself, or his organization, is calling him HaRav Nir ben Artzi shlita. He is being put forth as a great and holy mystical rabbi. There is this confusion. And Tomer Devorah should know that it is not just a matter of whether he some people call him Rabbi, because in her own hand, she translated and published missives which called him Harav ... shlita. People are being confused. And even calling him Rabbi, when people are being confused by his own parsha sheets, is extremely inappropriate.

Point (2) is important because if she is publishing his missives which include HaRav shlita, she is aiding and abetting this misleading of the public. How she "personally" refers to him is irrelevant. Do you really think your average person recognizes such a nuanced position, when  your blog refers to him sometimes as HaRav ... shlita and sometimes as Rabbi? They don't. Rather, they will likely simply take this "Rabbi" as a further endorsement, and assume he has semicha, etc.

Tomer Devorah also writes:
Two bloggers have now been demonstrated to have publicly and baselessly lied. I would like to remind them that they are already sitting in a very precarious position in chu"l and I call upon them to publicly correct the lies that they have printed and to cease and desist from lying via their blogs from this moment on.
Now that I have clarified, I call upon her to publicly correct the lies she has printed, and to cease and desist from lying via her blog from this moment on. My hopes, though are not high.

I could respond to many other point / accusations there, but this is enough for one blog post.

Update: In the comment section of this post, she does not acknowledge my correction to her LIES. She places a bunch of links, but not to this post. Instead, she writes:
For whomever is interested, I stopped accepting Josh Waxman's comments after this post, when I felt the remarks to have crossed a line. He is not the only one that I have banned from commenting. Anyone who peruses the comments section of this blog already knows that I will post opinions that differ from my own, but I draw the line at lashon hara.
So, on that post, she decided to filter out my comments regarding the Rema's position about Christians, since it contradicted her own halachic conclusion about Christians and shituf. If I recall correctly, she filtered out earlier comments than that, regarding autistics. She allowed through positive messages agreeing with her, but did not posts my comments -- where she called those who challenge the autistics LIARS -- sound familiar? -- instead choosing selected comments or parts of comments which she felt she could respond to.

But falsely accusing me of lying, and then not allowing me to challenge this motzi shem ra, while accusing me of lashon hara.


Devorah said...

Who is the other blogger who lied? I guess she is referring to me, and if so, would she like to point out where exactly I lied?

I'm actually trying to ignore all this now, I made up my mind about it, and that's the end of it for me.

But I don't think it's appropriate for her to be calling other bloggers liars just because we have an opinion.

Tomer Devorah, if you are reading this, you may like to leave a comment on my blog (which I will publish) and let us all know where I lied, and in which post.

Anonymous said...

She says you misrepresented what Rabbi Matmon said in his shiur and that you falsely claimed that ben Artzi said "the world is about to end and everyone outside of the Land will die." You can read it here

Devorah said...

Quoting from the latest ben Artzi message:

"The world arrived to the peak of evil a few months ago. HKB"H decided to dismantle the evil before there would be WORLD DESTRUCTION by an atomic weapon. A little mistake by some idiot could bring about the DESTRUCTION OF THE WORLD. HKB"H sparks disputes and continues to arouse arguments between country and country and land and land and will not pass over any place in the world, except for the Holy Land of Israel that will be protected and guarded.

All the Jews and all the communities in the world, collect the Sifrei HaTorah and bring them to Eretz Yisrael urgently, urgently! They will strike the synagogues of the Jews all over the world. Don't play games with the hints of HKB"H. His hints become stronger from week to week and from day to day and from month to month. HKB"H says to everyone: "Jews, my children, don't hesitate! Leave the property and the assets, leave the material things, come to dwell and to live in the Holy Land of Israel."

There is no defense for Jews in the world. The defense is finished."

That is some of the ben Artzi advice which I was referring to when I wrote "the world is about to end and everyone outside of the Land will die".

joshwaxman said...

this was directed for Devorah. bli neder, though, i have *plans* to address the issue of Nir ben Artzi and navi sheker.

but interpretation of Nir ben Artzi's words, or of a shiur, even INCORRECT interpretation, is not a LIE. For example, when he said "For all Jews in the Diaspora: Never again will the miracle of Megilat Esther repeat itself! It is imperative for all Jews to make aliya, to gather in the Land of Israel."
how would you interpret it? the Purim nes was that we were threatened with destruction and were saved! That another statement or two, talk only of humiliation and troubles is beside the point. Even if this is a misinterpretation, it is a misinterpretation rather than a lie.

Besides, she is seizing on the slightest inaccuracies in order to label her opponents liars.


Devorah said...

I am listening to Rabbi Matmon's shiur as I type this:

Now here is the relevant part, where is speaking about the criteria for a Navi (about one-third into the shiur):

"Now the prophet has to be accurate. Very much so. 12:05 on this and this day, this and this is going to happen. He's got to be very accurate. He has to be eight out of eight. Not 60 - 40. He has to be 100% accurate when it comes to everything he says. One thing he does wrong: "Oh I miscalculated!" - that's not a Navi. And I'll explain why...."

If you want to hear the explanation from Rabbi Matmon, you'll have to listen to the shiur, I don't have time to type it all up.

And now I suggest a public apology is in order TO ME, for being publicly called a liar, when in fact I was writing the truth.

Devorah said...

She herself wrote: "they are already sitting in a precarious position in chutz l'aretz..." and in the same breath denies outright that her blog is predicting death and destruction to anyone outside of Israel. Tomer Devorah should check her own "truth" before accusing others.

Anonymous said...


joshwaxman said...

the one committing Motzi shem ra in this instance is Tomer Devorah, as I explained above.

kol tuv,

Anonymous said...

Read these useful blogs here which are sympathetic to your situations:

Anonymous said...

I've heard about Ben Artzi for many years, and the guy is simply delusional.

Through my work (lawyer) I've come across him in a case where he personally told a man to divorce his wife - not based on anything other then seeing the woman. Worse he also the children that their mother was evil.

It is a disgrace that anyone at all listens to this madman.

I had to post this anonymously for obvious reasons.

joshwaxman said...


Anonymous said...


You are wrong as usual. Its not your conclusions necessarily, its your delivery.

joshwaxman said...

Anonymous commenters have much less of an impact on me. Why should I respect you? Why should I listen to you?

Am I truly wrong in this post to defend myself against false accusations of lying, and to make clear that these accusations are false? Is this somehow Lashon Hara? Please elaborate.

E-Man said...

I agree with you. However, I see no point in arguing with a follower of a delusional person. Good Luck!

moshe said...

See here for a breakdown of the false-messiah's lies:

joshwaxman said...

thanks; i'll check it out.

shabbat shalom,

MiG said...

I would like to second E-Man. There are no rational people who are followers of ben Artzi. Attempting to have rational arguments with his followers is an exercise in futility.


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