Thursday, July 12, 2007

new lows in jewish hagiography

Other blogs have circulated the story of R’ Chaim Kanievsky shli”ta knowing how many times the name Moshe appears in the Torah while a computer database miscounted. But, protested many, R’ Chaim’s gabai said no such story every happened! The publisher of the story I think in answering this question establishes a a new low in Jewish hagiography.
“Now, while it may very well be true that the story never happened, it certainly could have.”
Lots of things could happen, but reporting these possible happenings as fact usually crosses some line of journalistic ethics. Baruch recently wrote regarding gedolim biographies, “I therefore think that we should simply accept the genre for what it is: a slice of reality which is meant to inspire.” If delivering a well trimmed slice instead of a broader picture that more accurately captures a person's life is acceptable in the name providing inspiration, why not go to the next nevel and dispense with "reality" altogether - if the possible (i.e. fiction) serves to inspire better than the actual (i.e. fact), who are we to quibble over such minor distinctions? But the writer is not done, and this week reports a new story in the same of R' Chaim's son:
But then, with a twinkle in his eye, he said, “You probably want to hear a peledikeh story. I’ll tell you one that happens daily. Every day, when he finishes eating his meal, my father [R’ Chaim Kanievsky] asks my mother which brocha acharona to make, because he doesn’t know what he ate!”
V’kan ha'tam shoel: if R’ Chaim does not know what he is eating, why does he ask about the bracha achrona and NOT THE BRACHA RISHONA?

I guess I will have to wait for next week’s article to find out.

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