Rabbi Avi Weiss' recent essay distorts the Rav's position on centralized rabbinic authority.
Rabbi Menachem Penner
In his essay opposing central religious authority (“In the Legacy of the Rav,” Opinion, March 14), Rabbi Avi Weiss misuses the fact that the revered Rosh Yeshiva of Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS), Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik would occasionally ask young rabbis who came to him, “What do you think?”
One year ago, Libyan dictator Muammar Kaddafy’s troops were marching toward Benghazi, the unofficial capital of the Libyan rebels. Kaddafy was calling the rebels “rats,” and a 10,000-person massacre seemed inevitable. But on Purim itself, in Libya (historically part of the Persian Empire), NATO made the decision to intervene, saving the pro-democracy rebels. “Nahafoch hu”—the opposite of the tyrant’s plan occurred. Fortunately, Purim has been a bad time for tyrants in modern as well as ancient times.
There is a narrative that Yeshiva University has shifted to the right, religiously-speaking. I attended the recent leadership retreat sponsored by YU’s Center for the Jewish Future (CJF), an annual get-together in Orlando, FL at the ChampionsGate resort, where I encountered a whole other face of the Yeshiva and University that demonstrates how that perception is incorrect.
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