Last week, klal Yisrael was thrust into mourning after the p’tirah of the Sar HaTorah, HaGaon HaRav Chaim Kanievsky zt”l. He was the undisputed Gadol HaDor, whose word was final on any sh’eilos in halachah or hashkafah. It is impossible to even come close to understanding the breadth and depth of his vast Torah knowledge.
In the days following the p’tirah, all anyone talked or thought about was klal Yisrael’s unfathomable loss. All other petty news stories faded into the background. How could anyone waste his time focusing on such narishkeit when the Jewish nation just lost its leader? The Gemara in Rosh HaShanah (18b) states, “Sh’kulah misasan shel tzadikim kisreifas beis Elokeinu – The death of tzadikim is equivalent to the burning of the Beis HaMikdash.” The destruction of the Beis HaMikdash was a tragedy of unimaginable proportions, and here we have Chazal telling us that the death of a tzadik is just as tragic. How much more so does this apply when the tzadik is the manhig ha’dor, the Sar HaTorah, and the Rabban shel kol Yisrael.
I read several different Jewish publications last week and was very impressed by the work they put in to teach us about who the Sar HaTorah zt”l was and the magnitude of our loss. Many newspapers even had a separate magazine supplement just on Rav Chaim. The ones that didn’t at least printed a picture of him on their cover with some words about him. Yet, when I picked up a copy of your paper, I was shocked. Apparently, your staff felt that Volodymyr Zelensky’s comments and Congress’ bipartisan cooperation was of greater importance than the p’tirah of the Gadol HaDor. You only mentioned him on the cover in two small boxes toward the bottom of the page. Furthermore, you barely wrote anything about Rav Chaim inside the paper itself. There were only two small articles written, one which was mostly about the logistics and security of the l’vayah.
This was a big mistake on your part. A tragedy akin to the destruction of the Beis HaMikdash took place in klal Yisrael, and you didn’t care enough to discuss it! As an Orthodox Jewish newspaper, it is your achrayus to print the real issues facing our people, and in this instance, you failed to do so. I hope you apologize for this gross oversight and that it never happens again.
Yaakov Yosef Weiss
Bernie Sanders, AOC, and the other Marxists hiding out in the Democratic Party have been waging war on our energy sector since they were elected to Congress. These Marxists have permeated throughout the Washington bureaucracy and the Executive branch of the government. On Day One of his presidency, Joe Biden shut down the Keystone Pipeline. His administration put suffocating regulations on the oil and gas company, making it almost impossible to drill for oil. The President and his spokesperson keep regurgitating that there are over 9,000 leases on Federal land for the companies to use. If the regulations are stifling, why would a company invest in new exploration?
I don’t know if Mr. Hecht took economics. If you increase supply of something, then the price goes down. If this administration stopped their war on fossil fuels and removed the regulations, as President Trump did, then the price goes down and this country enjoys energy independence. If you cut off the supply and demand is high, as over 90% of vehicles in this country run on gasoline, then the price goes up and you have shortages. If we continue on this path, we will have gas lines like we had after Hurricane Sandy.
We don’t just get gasoline from the oil exploration. We get plastics and textiles, which are found in hundreds of everyday items, from the buttons on our shirts to the shoes on our feet. Those pill bottles from the pharmacy are also made from petroleum.
Mr. Hecht thinks we should all ride the subway. Well, thanks to the Democrats, no public transportation in any major city is safe. Either you’re going to get pushed onto the subway tracks or get mugged or assaulted. Why would I do that when I can drive my own car?
How do the Democrats expect us to heat our homes in the winter or cool them down in the summer? You also need electricity to charge an electric vehicle, which I am sure Mr. Hecht drives. Where, if not from fossil fuels, is that energy coming from? Fossil fuel energy is efficient and low cost. This climate change movement is an anti-capitalist, degrowth movement. Just look at Venezuela – a poor country despite is massive oil reserves. Do you want our great country to turn into Venezuela? I don’t.
I am terribly perturbed and disappointed over the pure zilzul kevod HaTorah in last week’s paper.
The Gadol HaDor, Maran Sar HaTorah HaRav HaGaon Rav Chaim Kanievsky zeicher tzadik v’kadosh livrachah, was niftar, and it goes by barely mentioned! The front page sported the three main headlines of the week:
- Purim Around Town: Do you really think that people’s Purim costumes, however creative and wonderful they may be, should have preference to the Gadol HaDor’s p’tirah?!
- What to Make of Zelensky’s Use of Shoah Terms: Zelensky is a Yid, but nebach he is not frum. Coverage about a non-frum person beats out the coverage of the Gadol HaDor, the man who literally held up the entire Torah world?!
- How Bipartisan Cooperation in Congress Paved the Way for Record Support For Israel: This was the middle headline, which is looked at as the main feature article of that week’s paper. Politics?! Goyishe and non-frum Congress members?! Are these petty matters more important than the p’tirah of the Manhig HaDor, the Shar HaTorah?! The article discusses support for the Israeli government, which, by the way, is now led by mostly non-frum and anti-frum people. Doesn’t the paper realize that the entire Eretz Yisrael was dealt a blow that can repel any amount of funding ever? It would be better that there be no Jewish state than have the loss of Rav Chaim!
And in the newspaper itself: Rabbi Schonfeld, a talmid chacham, wrote a beautiful article, as did Suzie Sternberg. A few ads were put in the paper. Is that all we can do?! The paper should have had at least five pages dedicated purely to Rav Chaim, and they should have included a picture of his holy face, too! The only picture of Rav Chaim in the entire paper is from an ad from a tz’dakah organization. Is that not a real bizayon haTorah?!
The New York Times dedicated two pages to Rav Chaim (one in the Saturday Obituaries section and one in the Monday International section). The Times is not famous for its love of Jews (I learned that from this newspaper, actually). But one can read a really respectful and honorable “hespeid of sorts,” from The Times. If a goyish – and not that warm to Yidden – newspaper can give so much honor to Rav Chaim, I would definitely expect a frum newspaper to at least have a number of pages on Rav Chaim!!
It’s a real zilzul kevod HaTorah. Is this newspaper even frum anymore?! Why is this newspaper still considered Orthodox, when they barely touch on the p’tirah of the undebatable Gadol HaDor? If no apology is offered from the paper, I do not think I will allow myself to continue reading such a newspaper. It’s not just me who thinks this way. I personally know many people who, I am pretty sure, will stop reading this paper. Don’t worry: We Yidden believe in t’shuvah. It isn’t that hard to print an apology in next week’s paper. It’s the least the paper can do to make up for its epic zilzul kevod haTorah.
MTA Chairman Janno Lieber’s appointment of former Massachusetts Secretary of Transportation Richard Davey to serve as the next NYC Transit President is disappointing.
The job requires a detailed knowledge of the agency and navigating the difficult political landscape of City Hall and Albany. The portfolio also includes $40 billion worth of NYC Transit bus, subway, and Staten Island Railway capital projects within the MTA $54 billion 2020-2024 Five-Year Capital Plan. There is little time for on-the-job training to run the nation’s largest subway and bus system.
Any good organization develops in-house talent by promoting from within. It will take an outsider such as Davey many months to come up to speed in understanding such a complex system and operations.
Just like many of his predecessors brought in from the outside, watch how he will depart within a few years for the greener pastures of a higher salary at another transit agency or consulting firm, or falls out of favor with the current Governor and is asked to leave.
Why didn’t Lieber have confidence in the ability of someone from within NYC Transit to fill this position? It is an insult to the hard-working current NYC Transit management team, 55,000 employees, and over five million pre-COVID-19 riders not to have appointed someone from within NYC Transit.
We are being lied to. It should be apparent to any unbiased observer that the Biden administration has declared war on US fossil fuel production. Biden and the Dems continue to deny that they are against domestic oil production. Instead, the Dems blame high oil prices on Putin and oil companies. Warren Hecht agrees with the Dems.
Here are the facts: 1) Biden canceled the Keystone XL Pipeline on his first day in office. 2) Biden paused new oil and gas leases on federal land. 3) Biden used executive orders to pass new environmental rules on emissions. 4) Biden rejoined the Paris Climate agreement, which cut energy production in the US and allowed Russia, China, and India to increase their production. 5) Biden ended ANWAR drilling. 6) Biden directed Yellen to deny funding for oil companies investing in domestic oil production. This has resulted in the US going from a net exporter of oil to an importer. This has weakened the US and strengthened our enemies such as Russia, China, and Iran.
Now Biden wants to beg Iran to sell us oil. Iran will use the proceeds of these oil sales to finance their nuclear arms programs and terrorist activities. He is using Russia and China to help negotiate this disaster. I am embarrassed to say that there are some frum Jews who are impressed with Biden and support his pro-Iranian policies. I cannot understand their thinking. Manny Behar in his article was touting the Dems cooperation on a bill that would help Israel. He ignores the danger to Israel from this Iran deal. No Dems are voicing opposition to the new Iran deal, which is even worse than the Obama plan.
I would also like to respond to Warren Hecht’s article, “Sticking Together.” He falsely states that Trump was originally supporting Russia. Trump stated that Biden’s actions resulted in the Russian invasion of Ukraine. He stated that Biden showed weakness and incompetence in his withdrawal from Afghanistan. Biden also cut our oil production and canceled the Keystone Pipeline in order to hurt the United States. At the same time, Biden approved the Nord Stream pipeline, which would help Russia. Trump said that Putin took advantage of a weak president and attacked Ukraine. Trump further stated that Putin never moved against Ukraine during his administration. Trump is right and Warren is wrong.
The only solution to this problem is to vote the Dems out. The 2022 midterm elections cannot come soon enough. Please call Chuck Schumer and ask that he oppose the Iran deal. He has the power to do something.