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Thursday, March 22, 2007

Less than golden apology

In this week's Jewish news of Phoenix, Rabbi Darren Kleinberg apologizes for something he wrote in an op-ed titled "To not know":
In my most recent Torah Study article ("To not know," Jewish News, March 9), I chose unfortunate wording. The sentence including the words "that rabbi has become the golden calf" may have given the impression that I was suggesting that the revered Rabbi Israel Meir Kagan (the "Chafetz Chaim") was synonymous with the golden calf.

I should have written "the rabbi has become the golden calf." My intention was that viewing rabbis as authorities in all areas of a person's life (commonly understood as the sociological phenomenon know as "da'as Torah") is an error of judgment.

I ask forgiveness from those who may have taken offense at my unintended slight of one of the great rabbis, teachers and role models in Jewish life.

Darren Kleinberg
Rabbi, KiDMa - The Southwest Community
To be clear, my and other people's issues with the "Golden Calf" dvar Torah was not with the replacement of the definite article "the" (referring to any rabbi), with the pronoun "that" (implying the Chofetz Chaim specifically). see My rebbe is not the "Golden Calf"!

I was offended that Rabbi Kleinberg disrespected the Chofetz Chaim and every great rabbi that ever represented daas Torah, as was done in "To not know". I forgive him because he requests it, but that is really unnecessary because I nor the general public are the ones he owes an apology to. Although the great Chofetz Chaim is no longer with us, Kleinberg should have fallen down on his hands and knees and cried in front of the Aron Kodesh begging for posthumous mechila from the Chofetz Chaim and every great rabbi past who can no longer receive corporeal forgiveness. That is what he should have written about, and maybe every reader would have cried with him. Or, maybe a simple apology directed towards the Chofetz Chaim would have sufficed.

A rabbi friend told me that if he had disrespected (I assume even in negligent error) someone as great as the Chofetz Chaim, he would fear divine retribution from Hakadosh Baruch Hu. He was dead serious, no joke.