Rav Avigdor Miller on The Satmerer Rebbe and Da’as Torah

print
Q:
Would you say that the Satmerer Rebbe is a gadol batorah?

A:
Certainly he’s a gadol batorah, absolutely.

Q:
Then why did he write such a book, על הגאולה ועל התמורה which is against the fighting of the 1967 War and other things that the State of Israel is doing?

A:
What’s wrong with the book, let’s hear?

Q:
He shouldn’t print such a thing. I tried to read it. I couldn’t even read it for five minutes. I threw it from my hands after five minutes.

A:
So you’re bringing a proof from yourself? Who cares what you think? Are you a gadol batorah? You’re merely saying your opinion, that’s all. The question is, are we going to ask you, you over there, an unknown man; are we going to ask you for your opinion for the Jewish Nation?! Or shall we ask the great men who have Torah minds, the ones who lead our nation? Who should we ask, you or the great men?

Q:
The great men we should ask. 

A:
So keep quiet. Keep quiet! Keep quiet, then. Your da’as is not da’as Torah, so we don’t care about your opinion. Da’as Torah means that you go to the gedolei Yisroel and ask their opinion. If you get gedolim to tell you that you’re right about it, then you’re right. But you can’t say something yourself! To throw the book?! Why shouldn’t he write such a book. Maybe the gedolim agreed that he should write such a book. Did you ask them?! No, you asked your little head, and you don’t like the book. You don’t like the book?! That’s exactly why you should be reading it.

Q:
So why doesn’t he have haskamos? You can’t just trust the gedolim.

A:
The Satmerer Rebbe is a great man. He doesn’t need haskamos. He gives haskamos.

Q:
But politics and other things, we can’t go to the gedolim. We don’t just listen to anything they say. 

A:
Yes, we do. Absolutely we do. If we are Jews,  then that’s what we do. That statement of yours is something that cannot pass by unchallenged. It’s the difference between being a Jew and a non-Jew. A Jew listens to gedolim, that’s it. And if you don’t listen, then you’re not a Jew. There are no two ways about it; no questions on it. You can’t point out instances to prove that you shouldn’t listen to gedolim. It won’t help because that’s a principle of the Torah, that you must listen to the gedolim. And if you don’t, then you don’t belong here. You belong in Beis Hakisei Rodef Shalom.

I’m sorry that I have to answer you back like this. Ordinarily, I could let it go by, but this can’t be helped. When you veer away from da’as Torah, that’s it! We have to listen to the gedolim and that’s all. I would never yield to you on that. Sometimes you can argue with me, but when it comes to whom do we turn to for leadership, we ask only our great men and there’s no two ways about it. Anybody who doesn’t want to ask the great men doesn’t belong here, that’s all. When it comes to a question of policy for the Jewish people, we don’t ask this yingeleh, or this man, or this organization. We ask only our great men. It’s not just a question of policy; it’s a question of being a Jew. A Jew knows where to look for leadership. And if you look elsewhere you’re not part of the Jewish people.

TAPE # R-22 (1972)