Kavod For The Rov


hatsBy S. Friedman, Matzav.com

Making a macha’ah is something that I am not accustomed to. Be that as it may, I am not including a specific “who” in regards to my condemnation. Rather, I will make my macha’ah in a general sense, and hopefully the matter will be raised in the eyes of the public, and proper cautions (and in some circumstances, consequences) will be taken.

Many people by nature do not tolerate authority well. They do not like to be told what to do, how to do it, and when it is to be done. Some of these people are just independent by nature. Others do not want to be held accountable, or have to answer for their actions. In general, I believe, the latter attitude is an unhealthy one. As a people who are always looking to improve ourselves and abide by high standards, we should always be willing to subject ourselves to scrutiny, and hopefully be proud of the way we act.

One such example of an authority figure that some people feel is “imposed” on them is their rov. A rov, in general, is someone who may be voted in by the community. A particular mispalel may or may not have voted for the rov, but as is the case with democratic processes, he becomes everyone’s rov nonetheless. To not acknowledge the rov‘s authority is to isolate oneself from the kehilah. Worse, it is intimating that one does not need hadracha at all. If someone does not possess the self respect to submit themselves to the same leader their peers chose, they themselves are not deserving of respect.

Regardless of the above reasoning, my macha’ah goes beyond one’s merely regretting that they are subject to a rov‘s authority. I am referring to some people who have the chutzpah to openly challenge the rov. Aside from being the kehilah’s de facto representative on all matters of ruchnius, the rov is a talmid chochom, and in the specific case that I am referencing, the rov is also more than twice the age of anyone in the shul.

That anyone so unlearned in Torah could disregard a rov‘s wishes, and blatantly challenge those wishes in a public manner, is beyond the pale. Baruch Hashem, there were those in the shul that stood up for the rov‘s kovod, but it was not nearly enough. Additionally, as long as their reprimands fall on deaf ears, the chutzpah will not wane.

The best scenario is for those mechutzafim to step down from their high pedestals and to engage in some self retrospection. Barring that from happening, I call upon the readers of Matzav.com to collectively pull their heads out of the sand when travesties of kavod haTorah like this occurs.

Chuptzah yasgeh” is unfortunately part and parcel to the coming of Moshiach, but that doesn’t mean we should stand idly by and endure an affront to our choshuve leaders.    

{S. Friedman-Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. good point in general – but what are you talking about? You sound like you have a specific agenda so share that with us please.

    Are you talking about people who talk in Shul when the Rov tells them not to? People who come late when the Rov says to come on time? People who don’t support an organization that the Rov says to? People who don’t follow their Rov’s Psak Halacha? Advice? Ideas?

    WHAT are you referring to?

  2. Many people by nature do not tolerate authority well. They do not like to be told what to do, how to do it, and when it is to be done.

    This unfortunate truth is one of the greatest nisyonos of Golus America.

  3. People have been burnt to often by trying to get invovlved hence the passive approach when issues that should be tackled get ignored.

  4. I, for one, have absolutely no idea what you are referring to. You ask that “I call upon the readers of Matzav.com to collectively pull their heads out of the sand when travesties of kavod haTorah like this occurs,” but how are we to “pull our heads out of sand” if we don’t have the faintest clue as to what you are referring to?

    The Wolf

  5. No clue what situation you are talking about, but how about some kavod for R’ Avi Weiss. He was THE ROV in Riverdale for decades before other folks “moved in”. Or how about Rav Solovetchik. Or does kavod HaRov only apply to rabbis with whom you agree and who have Matzav’s stamp of approval?

  6. The problem is that talmidim of yeshivos feel a kesher with their rosh yeshiva. They usually do not ask she’eilas to the shul rov where they daven, as such a model is generally more Modern, and instead usdually consult their rosh yeshiva in such matters. Shul rabbonim are not held in high esteem, nor does authority rest with them in such communities. Authority instead rests with the individual’s rosh yeshiva, despite the shul rov being someone who learned, obtained semicha, and continues to learn and teach, the latter of which is an integral component of the mitzvha of talmud torah.

  7. You are mixing 2 issues up. Firstly; the concept that if elected I have to accept a Rov is ridiculous. We do not live in times of malchut, period. If I see problems with a Rov, that others don’t pay attention to, or don’t care to pay attention to for one reason or another, I have every right to not accept him as my Rov. In fact, if I see deficiencies in his character that are important I would be a coward for not leaving that shul and not finding another Rov. If the case is that he is the only Rov in town, either move, or strengthen a kesher with a Rov in another community. The other issue that you bring up and mistakenly mix into the story is that of blatant disrespect. That should clearly always be avoided.

  8. I don’t know why any tri state NYC person would have this problem.
    Just pick yourself up and go to one of the many lovely shuls or shteblach that dot your neighborhood.
    As an out of towner who grew up in NY, this particular nisayon is real. Not alot of rabbonim and usually a “town” rav that often people don’t like or disagree with. That leaves them without many options and they become angry bitter or tune out and burnt out.
    The saddest part is that the rav knows this and sometimes instead of being proactive in bringing them close and working together it becomes a power struggle.

  9. No excuses can be made for a lack of kovod for a rov who g-d forbid asks that people should be quiet during davening.but these people are the same who would challenge the chafetz chaim who said “gadol avono minesoi”

  10. Obviously the writer had a specific occurence that he’s not comfortable reffering to.
    The point is to apply his message regarding ALL matters concerning a rov’s hadracha. Not so complicated- try not to get hung up with details and accept a good message.
    Yaasher koach, Mr. Friedman

  11. #2 This is not a problem of golus America, this same issue was paramount during Dor HaMidbar, who were tzaddik gemurim.
    Remember chet of the meraglim,,, all because they did not want to succumb to Moshe Rabbanu’s words.
    THIS AINT A NEW PHENOMENON its been here since creation.

  12. Story #1:
    One Shabbos, after shul was over, I went to the Rav & as per halacha explained very diplomatically to him that what he announced during his sermon was not according to halacha, & would cost many people hard earned bucks. He would not back down – even after showing him it was a ‘mefereshe mishna’.
    Ego? Stubborn? Embarassed? Don’t know.
    I explained the situation with my Rosh Yeshiva, Harav Yisroel Gusstman zta”l, who said that I was 100% correct in my lumdus. Then he told me to publicly go & do what the Rav had said to. “HE IS THE RAV”!

  13. Story #2
    After hearing a pre Ne’ila impassioned plea from the Rav to search our hearts, I suddenly remembered an old act of omission. I approached the Rav & told him the following: I was once was in a shul when the Rav quoted a gemara and skewered the pshat for his own purpose. But a very wrong one at that. I was silent. Was I mechuyav to do tshuva for that. His very wise answer: Had I opened up my mouth, I would definitly needed to do ALOT of tshuva!

  14. As a BT, my overall experience has been that some people prefer to exert and control people to conform to their ideology, rather than accurately applying principles to individual situations.

  15. Sounds deep and brilliant – because you sound so elusive. Either clarify what you are referring to, or please keep it to yourself.

    Additionally, it sounds like you need to learn Perek Bnei ha’eir with Rishonim and Poskim.

  16. many years ago, rav yisroel belsky asked his shiur what the biggest qualification one needs to be a gadol. after many guesses, rav belsky told us that we were all very close but missing the main one. he told us one has to be dead. do you ever hear someone say “him? he’s a nobody, but his father! that was a gadol. as soon as someone dies and can no longer tell you what to do, he becomes a gadol. still true all these years later.

  17. The early Achronim held that a Rav has to be elected by an 85% majority in the community. If 49% do not approve of a particular Rav the Shul will run into a lot of problems.

  18. See comment #12. Furthermore, by stating the actual issue (for example, whether or not to have weekly kiddush), the writer just opens the door for the cynics and nitpickers to anylize the specific case the merits of the arguements, rather getting the point- that kovod must always be accorded to a rabbi.

  19. Where do we get this idea that we must blindly follow a Rov’s words without questioning, argument and challenge?

  20. When a rov makes no obvious effort to create a shaychus with the unyeshivish guys, and only talks to them when critisizing them, and is not fulfiling his position as rov to be close to them on their level, he is bound to run into serious problems. Yes a rov must e respected, and those who don’t are 100% wrong, but from a outsiders view, both sides need to reconsider, and btw, I’m intimatly aware of the comunity the writer is discussing.

  21. to #29
    That’s untrue. Korach had valid reasons to oppose Moshe Rabbeinu and yet he was punished. In history we see it quite a number of times where those who challenged the great leaders of their times were punished.
    It is very important to find a Rov you admire and listen to his advice. Nobody, even a Rov is perfect, but if you lose respect of him because of a valid reason then go find yourself another Rov.
    An ish emes is not necassarily one with a lot of followers. So go ahead and find someone you can look up to.

  22. There’s no tikkun in the kavod of the Rov if you don’t specify who you’re talking about. I don’t mean the mezalzelim, I mean the Rov.

  23. I find most of the responses very puzzling.

    I was taught that JUST by virtue of the fact that someone has “earned” the title of Rov, he is entitled to our respect. Kavod Ha’Rav is supposed to be automatic. You can disagree (in your mind, not verbally), not like him very much as a person (again privately), but your actions and words must ALWAYS be in a respectful and kovodic manner.

    I have my own “personal” Rav who is not the Rav of my shul. I would never openly disagree with the Rav of my shul, I simply, quietly, keep my shailos for my Rov. Why must there be conflict? There is only conflict when people openly and verbally disagree with a Psak and YOU have no right !! Only another Rav has the right to disagree out loud. (and that is a very rare occurrance)


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