The Process: FAQ and Rumor Control
Question: Did the rabbis who banned the books read them in their entirety?
Answer: Many of the rabbis did not read them at all and were not at all familiar with their contents.
Some read extracts that were pre-selected by zealous provocateurs, sometimes in translation.
Not more than one or two read any significant amount from the books.
Rumor - "One who was involved in the negotiations that preceded the current publication of this letter..." (Yated Ne'eman, European English edition and Hebrew edition)
The Real Story: What negotiations? See next rumors.
Rumor - "Rabbi Slifkin was offered a chance to meet with the gedolei harabbonim who signed the letter to discuss his views, but he declined." (Yated Ne'eman, European English edition and Hebrew edition)
The Real Story - On September 21st I received a phone call from Bnei Brak in which I was given the ultimatum that I had until the end of the day to withdraw my books and publicly recant my views or face public humiliation.
I immediately tried to contact the four Rabbonim who were about to condemn the books in order to find out their precise objections (obviously I would be willing to retract anything in the books that was mistaken or, chas ve'shalom, heretical) and to discuss the matter.
Two of them responded that they refused to meet or speak with me.
One of them initially agreed to meet with me, and we set a time to meet.
I was not able to reach the fourth, despite extensive efforts, but I left a message that I was trying to reach him. His wife refused to take my number.
The person who gave me the ultimatum then contacted me and said that he had heard that I was trying to arrange meetings,
and he said that I would not be permitted to meet with any of the Rabbonim.
I told him that I had already arranged one such meeting; he wanted to find out who with, but I refused to tell him.
About half an hour later, the Rav with whom I had arranged a meeting called me back and said that he had changed his mind and refused to meet with me.
He said "I am not one of the gedolim in this," and "you will only try to argue and defend yourself." The posters went up a few days later.
Over a month later, someone who was not at all involved said that he would be able to arrange for this Rav to meet with me,
even though this Rav did not want to do so, and this person would accompany me.
I said that I would think about it, and I ultimately decided against it, for several reasons.
One is that this Rav's letter of condemnation had already been posted on walls everywhere.
Another reason was that this Rav had made it clear to me over the phone that he was adamantly opposed to hearing anything I had to say to defend myself.
I also had other reasons, but I will not make them public at this time. A wise person may be able to guess them.
None of the other twenty-two Rabbonim that signed the second poster contacted me at any time, and I was not offered any chance to meet with them.
In most cases, I was not even told that they were going to sign, and in some cases, I was specifically informed that they were not going to sign).
Rumor: The Rabbonim that condemned the books refused to meet with Rabbi Slifkin because the letter that he faxed to them was impudent.
The Real Story: Rabbi Michael Lyons, the delegate of the rabbonim, told me before I sent the letter that I would not be permitted to meet with the rabbonim.
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