[Avodah] More on Nowadays, there is no 'pope' in Jewish life
Prof. L. Levine
llevine at stevens.edu
Mon Apr 26 07:25:29 PDT 2021
Yesterday I sent out an email in which I quoted Rav Shimon Schwab who wrote "Nowadays, there is no 'pope' in Jewish life." He pointed out that the Chofetz Chaim had written a pamphlet extolling the virtues and importance of growing a beard called, “Tiferes Adam”. (Rav Schwab did not name this pamphlet.
Rav Schwab would point out that "It was well known that the Chafetz Chaim
came out with a psak that all yeshivah bachurim should have beards.
He even wrote a sefer on this topic. He held that a yeshivah bachur
should identify himself as a ben Torah by growing a beard. The roshei
yeshivas at that time were opposed to this position. They felt that if it
were required, the yeshivas would lose bachurim. History shows that as
great as the Chafetz Chaim was, his opinion did not prevail, since it did
not have the support of other gedolei Torah at that time."
Here is another example where people did not follow the Chafetz Chaim.
From https://thehalacha.com/wp-content/uploads/Vol16Issue10.pdf Tzitzis In or Out?
Mishnah Berurah on This IssueThe Mishnah Berurah25 uses choice words on this topic, which we will paraphrase below : “It is bad enough that those who place their tzitzis in their pants close their eyes from the fact that one should see the tzitzis.26 They disgrace the mitzvah of Hashem and will give a judgment on this. The claim that this should be an exception because we live among the nations of the world is not valid. If a king of flesh and blood would give you a present, you would flaunt it wherever you go. How much more so with one’s tzitzis.” It is out of character for the Mishnah Berurah to use such words in relation to a mitzvah. Many maintain that when saying one will give a judgment, the Mishnah Berurah was referring to the fact that people put their tzitzis in their pants T:because they are embarrassed to keep them out. However, many Sefardim keep them in, as well as others, and the Mishnah Berurah was not talking about these people. One who wishes to put his tzitzis out is not considered to be showing off.
Did people in Lithuania follow the Chofetz Chaim's directive regarding tzitzis? The answer is a resounding "No".
Rabbi Menachem Mendel Poliakoff, a native of Baltimore, MD who studied in Lithuania’s Telshe yeshiva for eight years in the 1930s wrote in his book Minhagei Lita: Customs of Lithuanian Jewry that yeshivish batei midrash and communities constantly and consistently deviate from pre-war European tradition. For instance, on page 63 of Minhagei Lita, Rabbi Poliakoff writes, “No one in Lithuania wore his tzitzis hanging out as people do today – not even the Rabbonim, not even in Radin.”
IIRC someone once pointed out that not even the Chofetz Chaim wore his tzitzis out as people do today!
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