|Rabbi Hutner sitting - 2nd from right.|
... Further, Professor Kaplan described “the whole notion of Daat Torah [as] to close and suppress discussion [and thus enable] one person or group to impose, ex cathedra a personal, particular viewpoint on all persons or groups -- and no questions asked!” [All footnotes omitted.]4
In his longer 1992 essay, Professor Kaplan again cited Rabbi Weinberger's statement in The Jewish Observer about Daat Torah “bordering . . . on the periphery of prophecy,” describing Rabbi Weinberger's writing as “perhaps the clearest exposition of Daas Torah . . ..” 5 Developing the various fundamental flaws (in his mind) relating to “Daat Torah” that he first publicized in Tradition and attempting but (again from his perspective) failing to find traditional “sources” for the concept, Professor Kaplan concluded -- citing Professor Ephraim Urbach -- that “Daat Torah ideology has never been based upon authoritative halakhic sources . . ..”
"Let us ignore the Agudah's ritual invocations of Daat Torah. Let us be wary of separatist groups, which are led by their philosophy to engage, albeit unwittingly, in highly selective forms of Ahavat Yisroel. Instead, let us continue in our classic tradition of working from within for the advance of our old but ever new goal of Klal Yisroel, the land of Israel, for the people of Israel, in accordance with the Torah of Israel"
"But one thing is certain: the fact that the philosophy of Agudat Israel can, for whatever reason, result in such distortions should serve to prevent Orthodox Jews who are committed to the principles of religious Zionism from being seduced by the siren song of Agudah, to wit: that their viewpoint and only theirs represent the view of Daat Torah. And here we come to the final and perhaps most fundamental point. On its cover page The Jewish Observer described Rabbi Hutner's discourse as offering "a Daas Torah perspective" on the Holocaust. I believe that Orthodox Jews who are not adherents of Agudat Israel and its philosophy should be wary of the entire concept of Daat Torah and its all too casual use, both in the pages of The Jewish Observer and on the part of Agudah spokesmen in general...."
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