Reb Moshe Feinstein Looks at a Chicken

Reb_Moshe_Feinstein-Wikimedia commons edited no captionRabbi Moshe Feinstein was recognized as the major posek (Jewish law authority) for orthodox Jews, especially ultra-orthodox Jews.

Dr. William Helmreich conducted an interview with Rabbi Yaakov Weinberg in 1978 as part of his research for his book, The World of the Yeshiva. Rabbi Weinberg was the son-in-law of Rabbi Yaakov Yitzchok Ruderman who was head of Ner Israel Rabbinical College in Baltimore and succeeded him in that role in 1987. According to Rabbi Weinberg (p24):

I lived as a boy in the Bronx, the Lower East Side, Brooklyn. I knew intimately what was going on. I can tell you something  very meaningful. I took the chickens to the rabbi when there was a shailah  (question) about them. I could go an extra 15 minutes to ask Rav Moshe the shailah. The reason I went to him was not that I knew he  was a bigger gadol (great rabbi). They were all competent rabbis. But when I would ask a rabbi the shailah  he would ask for the quarter. Until I gave him the quarter he wouldn’t look at the shailah. Rav Moshe never asked for the money. He answered the shailah. When I left, I left the same quarter.


8 thoughts on “Reb Moshe Feinstein Looks at a Chicken

  1. “Ultra”-orthodox? Why use the same terms the Israeli secular media uses to sideline traditional beliefs and people. Have you never seen a chassid in a Young Israel, or vice versa? Why the term “ultra” – as in “fanatical”. Because that’s just what haters of tradition want to you to think, and to divide. Ever visit a restaurant in Williamsburg? They have a separation in their seating arrangements, for people to choose to separate men from women if appropriate. Just because you do not find that in other Jewish restaurants, does that qualify those that provide the potential of separation – a fanatical, “ultra” view?

    Stop the name-calling. Orthodox is orthodox. You can have a guy with a beard be a no-goodnick, and one without a kippah a great guy. Labels such as “ultra” paint an ugly picture, like it or not, and that, I’m sure, is not your intent.

    • I am sorry to be so dense, , if you will……. I get a relatively clear picture regarding what you find objectionable. However, given that we cease using terminology that you find objectionable. what is your suggestion going forward, for the Jewish world, Kulo, or just, for the “orthodox” world. I perhaps should know who you are, but don’t, but please, give a sense of what you aspire to see transition towards a positive Jewish world view.. Thank you.

  2. For English speakers, Haredi is meaningless. Nevertheless, Haredim value the distinction between themselves and the merely modern orthodox. They chose to use the term ultra-orthodox in the 50s, 60s and 70s and do separate themselves. Many schools do not accept the merely orthodox kids nor are they accorded much respect unless they are donors of cash, in-kind goods, or PR. It is all good and well to preach achdus, but that is not the social reality of the community at this point.

    If you have a better English term than Haredi or Torah-true, share it with me and I will consider using it. But I am looking for words that accurately describe social reality. The fact is that the Modern Orthodox world turned to the Rav and other YU oriented poskim in preference to Reb Moshe more often than Haredim, which was the point of my sentence.

    • As an adjective, the most accurate translation for “charaidim” seems to be “quakers”.

      Although I doubt if the groups that identify themselves by the titles
      Charaidim and/or Quakers would care to be mistaken for each other.

      • Rational Faith,

        Yes, I think Haredim would favor the terms “Gd Fearers” where the idea of calling themselves quakers or tremblers is that they are deeply conscious and rigorous about their fear of Gd and the importance of always behaving in accordance with Gd’s Torah.

  3. And the differentiation does mean something, to them, but to the rest of the world, probably not. A patient said to me yesterday, “Well, you’re orthodox, so you wouldn’t let your kid play (some violent video game).” My response: It isn’t helpful to generalize too much.

  4. The term “ultra” is often used in a disparaging way against the orthodox sector, especially by the secular Israeli media. Using that term gives their made-up word/characterization additional support – that’s all I meant to say. To give an analogy, it’s like using the word “gay”, when the right word is “homosexual”, for it adds support to the euphemism when the intention is simply to describe, and not to push the hidden agenda. Tha-tha-that’s all folks!

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