11/27/2006

Populist Gadlus

Gil reports the following from R' Ephraim Wachsman's speech at the Agudah Convention:
some Torah scholars become famous simply because the laypeople like what they have to say and aren't really Gedolim
R' Gil then speculates as to which populist pseudo-Gedolim R' Wachsman could possibly be referring to, discounting R' Y.D. Soloveitchik and R' Aharon Soloveichik as possibilities.


I think I've figured it
out, though. It must be the author of the following quote, which appeared in a New York Times interview in 1975 and was excerpted in an NYT obituary in 1986:
'You don't wake up in the morning and decide you're an expert on answers,'' he said. ''If people see that one answer is good and another answer is good, gradually you will be accepted.''
The author of this quote, of course, is R' Moshe Feinstein (I remember once hearing from R' Yosef Blau that many in the Yeshivish world were upset about this quote because it doesn't really express what gadlus is, much as REW contends. R' Blau felt that this quote hits the nail on the head regarding what gadlus is).
In fairness, REW might be saying that being p
opular isn't necessarily a rayusa, but it's not a ra'ayah to gadlus either. In any event, given Lakewood politics, by bet is that it was a veiled reference to the wildly popular Kashrut.org, run by the Rabbis Abadi, formerly of Lakewood. Not everything has to be directed against Modern Orthodoxy, y'know.
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