The Pashkevil To End All Pashkevilin

R’ Yaakov Haber put this up at his blog, and I think it SO warrants further distribution, I’m mentioning it here.

To quote:

… [E]veryday there were posters about how, in the opinion of the poster maker, various rabbis, organizations or publications, created existential threats to the Jewish community.

There are also pashkevil about the dangers of attending public concerts. (Jewish music performed by Orthodox men and children with separate seating); the dangers of cell phones that have Internet access; and the dangers of certain books that expose the community to foreign concepts. … [N]ew pashkevil were just plastered around the city regarding a new Yeshivah for boys, that in the opinion of the plasterer, does not conform to the ‘long standing’ traditions of Ramat Beit Shemesh. (Ramat Beit Shemesh was founded in 1998).

Pashkevil’s are anonymous. Although they carry the signatures of great Rabbis, these signatures are dubious at best and have seldom been proven to be authentic. To my observation, they seldom accomplish anything positive, while they serve the purpose of promoting division and hate amongst Jews.

This is what the Chofetz Chaim said about Pashkevil’s:

“I must speak out my heart about the manner of conflict taking place among the Jewish people. One camp publicizes its view with the signatures of all of its backers. The other side does the same. One of them wrote ‘the one with the most signatures wins’, and I say the one with the most signatures is creating unnecessary conflict in Israel. All of Israel is burning like a fire as each side places more and more ads condemning their opposition. Even the holy land of Israel is becoming a subject of controversy. I don’t know who permitted all of these terrible sins. Everyone is sure that he is saying the truth and it is the other opinion that is creating the argument. This is a grave error, because even if both are right, they have no right to violate the Torah. So many mitzvos are being violated. No good can possibly come out of this. Right or wrong, they are creating a chilul Hashem (desecration of G-d’s Name). Twenty-four thousand students of Rabbi Akiva died in one month, not because they argued, but because they argued improperly and caused a chilul Hashem. Certainly each one of these giants felt that he was right.”

So, with the help of my esteemed congregation, Kehilas Shivtei Yeshurun in Ramat Beit Shemesh, I designed a pashkevil of my own. The pashkevil is a verbatim letter of the Chofetz Chaim, signed by the Chofetz Chaim. We will cover every Pashkevil we can find with our pashkevil.

This is the pashkevil to end all pashkevil!

I prevailed upon Rabbi Haber to make PDFs available of the pashkevil, suitable for printing up and posting in your own shul.

Click here for the Hebrew version, and here for the English one.

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  1. Shmuel says:

    While I enjoyed the concept of this pashkevil, my wife raised good questions about the possibility that this will be seen not only in a negative light, but will also seem extremely hypocritical.
    While I answered that this can be considered along the lines of introducing a refuah through the same medium as the makkah, I do agree to an extent with her he’orah…
    This sign won’t really accomplish much, unfortunately; if anything, it will fan the flames. The people who print up these venomous signs will not be shamed into submission, and Rabbi Haber’s pashkevil will only raise their ire to the point that they’ll produce MORE signs.

  2. Only if they don’t realize that this “pashkevil” is just a page out of a seifer, and not a new pronouncement.

    In any case, I saw the point more as defusing their impact by enlightening the readership than in stopping anyone from posting anything.

    -micha

  3. Shmuel says:

    Even so, do you think the Chafetz Chaim would really approve the usage of his words in such a fashion?

    And I may sound naive, but I believe that most of the readership are not dummies, and they know good and well who is really behind the pashkevil epidemic. The problem is that it’s too prevalent, it is part of the culture now…

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