Who is to say who the chachmei Yisroel are?
Who is to say who are the great men of Torah? That’s your question, yes? And the answer is that the great men of Torah are the ones to say.
It means we don’t ask the ladies at a Mizrachi membership tea. And we don’t ask the Jewish war veterans either. We go into the yeshivos – those are the places where people know more about this subject – and we ask them. So you go into the yeshivos and the people there, they tell you, “Who are we to say? Go to our Roshei Yeshiva – they know more than we do.” So it means that the Roshei Yeshiva are acknowledged by the great body of Torah students as the ones who know. So we go to the Roshei Yeshiva and they’ll tell us who are the Torah leaders of the generation. So now we know where to find the leaders of the Torah generation.
Don’t go into the synagogues and ask the local rabbis. You know why not? Because it’s the same as asking the ladies membership tea. Because who elected the rabbi? The membership tea. It’s a fact. A rabbi applies for the job so the president says, “We have to choose somebody that the ladies will like so that they should be busy to help to raise money to pay his salary.” So when the rabbi comes, after the rabbi gives his maiden speech, so the president has a conference with the president of the sisterhood: “Jenny, what do you say about him?” So Jenny says he has a nice complexion.
I know one man who was blond so his mother said, “I dedicate my son to the rabbinate.” He’s blond – that means he looks most like a gentile. That’s the most successful rabbi. That’s a fact. The more he looks like a gentile, the more he’ll be a hit. Do you know why? Because who are the judges of who is to be a rabbi? It’s the ladies membership tea.
So if you ask the local rabbis, you’re really asking the ladies. So you have to go to experts. So you walk in Mirrer Yeshiva – walk into all the yeshivos – and ask them who are the Gedolei Yisroel, and they’ll tell you, “Our Roshei Yeshiva know.” So go to the Roshei Yeshiva – the Roshei Yeshiva will tell you.
If you have a better way, so I’m willing to hear.
TAPE # 16 (January 1974)