Weekly Freebies: Iggeros Moshe

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R. Moshe Feinstein was a, if not the, leading halakhic authority in America in the mid- to late-twentieth century. His responsa, except for the recently published volume 9, are available online here: I, II & III, IV, V, VI(, VII & VIII)

I put volumes 7 & 8 in parentheses based on the following from R. J. David Bleich’s recent article in Tradition (p. 88 – link):

Given the overwhelming consensus among latter-day authorities affirming the prohibition against drinking wine touched by a Sabbath-violator, Iggerot Moshe‘s position is surprising, to say the least. Moreover, the thesis developed in that responsum stands in sharp contradiction to Iggerot Moshe‘s earlier-cited multiple statements affirming the prohibition. Perplexed by Rabbi Feinstein’s sup rising volte face, Rabbi Genut turned to a long-time, but unnamed, disciple of Rabbi Feinstein for clarification. Rabbi Genut quotes the disciple’s reply in which the latter writes that “it is known to me that many of the responsa [included in the posthumously-published eighth volume of Iggerot Moshe] were not before the eyes of my master and teacher… and there is also doubt with regard to many responsa in the seventh volume.”

See prior posts here: link

About Gil Student

Rabbi Gil Student is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of TorahMusings.com, a leading website on Orthodox Jewish scholarly subjects, and the Book Editor of the Orthodox Union’s Jewish Action magazine. He writes a popular column on issues of Jewish law and thought featured in newspapers and magazines, including The Jewish Link of New Jersey, The Jewish Echo and The Vues. In the past, he has served as the President of the small Jewish publisher Yashar Books and as the Managing Editor of OU Press. Rabbi Student serves on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America and as Director of the Halacha Commission of the Rabbinical Alliance of America. He also serves on the Editorial Board of Jewish Action magazine and the Board of OU Press. He has published five English books, the most recent titled Search Engine volume 2: Finding Meaning in Jewish Texts -- Jewish Leadership, and served as the American editor for Morasha Kehillat Yaakov: Essays in Honour of Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks.


  1. How can that be reconciled with what the family, including Rav Dovid and Rav Reuvain, wrote at the beginning of Volume IX?

  2. Who knows. It is quite bizarre. But in my experience plenty of people don’t trust the later volumes. (The ninth volume, by the way, is partially dedicated in memory of my wife’s grandfather.)

  3. Rabbi Genut accuses the family of lying. Why should we take what he says seriously? If R. Dovid, R. Reuven, and R. Tendler say that the teshuvot are from R. Moshe, isn’t it the height of chutzpah to say that they are lying?

  4. Hirhurim on December 17, 2011 at 10:45 pm wrote:
    Who knows. It is quite bizarre. But in my experience plenty of people don’t trust the later volumes.

    Ah, the old argument: If many people say – FILL IN BLANK – it must be true, or could be true. Very scholarly, indeed. Of course, RJDB didn’t exactly make himself look that great either by quoting Rav Anonymous who doesn’t personally feel that the Teshuvos are real…At the same time, it’s ironic that RJDB insinuates falsehood against IM 7 and 8 while he himself has incorrectly stated the view of Rav Moshe re: BSD.

    At the end of the day, if you want to use it, great. If not, that’s up to you (and the “plenty of other people” you know).

    The problem with your post (as well as RJDB quoting Rav ANONYMOUS) is that you insinuate some horrible things against those who have been involved with this for many years.

    Could be you are correct, although you yourself say you have no idea. Probably not the nicest (nor the scholarly) way to start a week. You could do better than this.

  5. clarification:
    RJDB did not quote Rav Anonymous directly, but by allowing him to be quoted by Rav Genut, RJDB gave the view direct (or indirect, if you prefer) stamp of legitimacy, especially since he used it as a basis for his conclusion re: authenticity of the later volumes.

  6. Ve-amekh kulam tzaddikim. I can explain R. Bleich’s words (or, more precisely, the words he cites from R. Genut), while vindicating the righteousness of R. Shabtai Rappaport, who published volumes 6, 7, 8 and 9 of the IM.

    RMF writes in the introduction to Vol. 7 (dated 15 Shevat, 5745) that he carefully reviews all the responsa before authorizing them for publication. Thus, by RMF’s own criteria, it is clear that volumes 8 and 9 (which were only posthumously published) do not enjoy the same canonical authority as the previous 7 volumes, because volumes 8 and 9 were never reviewed by RMF before publication. Indeed, the publishers of Vol. 8 openly admit in their introduction that they do not know if RMF would have approved of the publication of that volume. [I presume the same epistemologically applies to Vol. 9.] Thus, R. Bleich’s comments regarding Vol. 8 are consistent with R. Rappaport’s testimony.

    However, Vol. 7 itself was definitely approved responsum-for-responsum by RMF, as RMF himself writes in his (aforementioned) letter of introduction, and also as testified by R. Shabtai Rappaport in his interview on the HODS website. R. Rappaport enjoys a chezkat kashrut and we are obligated to accept his testimony as true; see Tosafot to Yevamot 77a. What then could R. Bleich possibly mean that there are any doubts in Vol. 7? R. Bleich’s casting of aspersion seems surprising, at first glance.

    I believe R. Bleich refers to the following six responsa from Vol. 7: Even ha-Ezer 4:99, 103, 107, 108 and Choshen Mishpat 2:33, 74. In these six responsa, there are two variant versions published. On the one hand, we find these six responsa written in standard-sized letters in the Yeshivat Ohel Yosef Printers edition (published in Israel) and in the Noble Book Press Corporation edition (published in the USA). On the other hand, we find small-font additions to these six responsa in the Moriah Offset Company edition published in Brooklyn, NY.

    Thus, it is evident that there is some question regarding how to read this six responsa, simply because RMF himself published them in two different forms. In at least one of these cases, it is literally a difference between life and death (CM 2:74), so the nafka minah is quite significant. But, in any event, the doubt in Vol. 7 is limited to these six and only these six responsa. All other responsa in Vol. 7 are clearly “Shekhinah medaberet mi-gerono shel Mosheh” (to borrow the expression how R. Joshua Shmidman characterized RMF).

    I believe R. Rappaport refers to this phenomena when he remarks in his HODS interview that Vol. 7 of IM was checked completely by RMF before it was published, but “not as thoroughly” as Vol. 6. The “not as thoroughly” means that RMF left some ambiguity in these six responsa in Vol. 7.

    Thus, in my opinion, both R. Bleich and R. Rappaport are speaking the truth, and are in agreement with one another.

  7. Even Haezer Volume 1 is not online. In other words, what you list as volumes 2&3 is really only volume 2. Please correct your post.

  8. To Rav Spira – RJDB did not explain it this way, instead he gave the impression that there were willful falsifications in the IM 7/8. The issue is raised precisely because a later Teshuva seemingly contradicts an earlier Teshuva – inference being that the later Teshuva was not written (and or dictated) by Rav Moshe. If you have contact with RJDB, can you ask if he indeed meant is as you state it?

  9. It looks like yutorah took it down but there was a 5 minute clip from Rav Melech Schachter about the use of a polygraph for freeing an agunah, which raises some serious issues about Rav Moshe’s involvement in some of the teshuvos.

  10. Ploney Almoney


    Let’s finally put a rest to the scurrilous and spurious accusations, aspersions, and innuendos. They have no place in scholarly discourse.

    Should anyone have any doubts as to the authenticity of the later teshuvot, I suggest you contact HaRav Rappoport for copy of the original manuscript, written in Rav Moshe’s own holy hand.

  11. let’s see a manuscript for the eruvin teshuva in cheilek ches. It doesn’t exist.

  12. Am I misreading, or did Volume 7 come out when R’ Moshe was still alive?

    (Then again, the farce with R’ Elyashiv’s handlers and segregated buses last week only shows that “still alive” isn’t a very good criterion.)

    R’ Spira, you do know that sometimes people are right and sometimes they are wrong?

  13. R’ anon and R’ Nachum,
    Thank you and ye’yasher kochakem for your valuable responses. Certainly, you are correct to request a more complete elucidation on my part. Here is the word-for-word transcript of R. Rappaport’s testimony at http://www.hods.org/English/h-issues/YouTube_video%20pages/RabbiRappaportFull01.asp , at 2:45-3:13 into the recording. N.B. R. Rappaport refers to Vol. 6 at “the first volume” (since it is the first volume of IM that R. Rappaport published) and Vol. 7 as the “the second volume” (since it is the second volume of IM that R. Rappaport published). R. Rappaport testifies about RMF as follows:

    “The first volume he reviewed very very carefully. I did not… Every editorial note that I had I showed it to Rav Moshe. And he approved of it or he did not approve of it. Completely reviewed – every sentence was reviewed by Rav Moshe. The second volume came out closer to his petirah. So it was also very carefully reviewed but not as thoroughly as the previous volume.”

  14. For purposes of historical clarity, it is also illuminating to cite R. Menasheh Klein’s approach to the authenticity of Vol. 6 of IM. Originally, R. Klein questioned (after RMF had already ascended to the Heavenly Academy) the authenticity of one of the responsa in IM Vol. 6 (-or, more accurately, a pair of two consecutive responsa). Namely, in Shu”t Mishneh Halakhot 12:214, R. Klein expresses his surprise that IM YD 3:114-115 should negate the Pentateuch commentary attributed to R. Yehudah ha-Chassid.
    Therefore, R. Klein suggests that perhaps R. Feinstein never wrote those responsa, and that perhaps a disciple mistakenly inserted those responsa into R. Feinstein’s writings after R. Feinstein ascended to the Heavenly academy. Subsequently, however, in Shu”t Mishneh Halakhot 16:102, R. Klein retracts his original claim, and concedes that R. Feinstein’s responsa are indeed authentic.
    Thus, it seems to me that the maskana de-milta (final conclusion) is that all talmidei chakhamim are in agreement with R. Rappaport’s truthful testimony.

    This Oral Torah discussion may be viewed analogous to the drama of Chad Gadya: first IM negates the commentary associated with R. Yehudah ha-Chassid, then Mishneh Halakhot negates IM, then Mishneh Halakhot negates his own negation. In the end, just like Chad Gadya, we find a redemptive conclusion, and all are at peace.

  15. anon @ 3:01 AM

    What Tshuva are you referring to? Siman please.

  16. anon @ 3:01 AM
    What Tshuva are you referring to? Siman please.

  17. There is a mistake and Vol 3 of iggros moshe is NOT on hebrewbooks. the link to vol 2&3 only contains vol 2

  18. To anon at 1:31 am

    In my opinion, one has to be very cautious on casting aspersions on the inauthenticity of something based on internal contradictions.
    One can find contradictions even amongst earlier volumes which Rav Moshe reviewed and for whatever reason left them or didn’t notice them. For one example, see o”c vol 2 siman 23 and 104 regarding saying psukei dezimra in a shul which davens in a different nusach then your own. So clearly, this is not a strong argument. [ incidentally. these two responsa were written within a year of each other.]

  19. R’ Spira, I was thinking of the irony of the Yehuda HaChassid story myself: “I disagree, and he was a gadol and had daas Torah, so it must be a forgery.”

  20. “one has to be very cautious on casting aspersions on the inauthenticity of something based on internal contradiction”

    Modern biblical criticism is not cautious on that.

    Oh, wait a minute….

  21. Superintendant Chalmers

    I think Zvi Ryzman may have the ksav yad for the tshuva about wine and mechalel shabbos.

  22. Rabbi Genut accuses the family of lying. Why should we take what he says seriously? If R. Dovid, R. Reuven, and R. Tendler say that the teshuvot are from R. Moshe, isn’t it the height of chutzpah to say that they are lying

    No.Ask R. Reuven privately.

  23. Gil,

    Please fix the post about the lack of volume 3. It’s frustrating that hebrewbooks lacks that volume, but perhaps by noting this, you can help to encourage them to fix it.

  24. These individuals are maligning and motzi shem ra, a major Talmid Chochom and honest Rav,Rav Shabsai Rapoport.Volume 9 has the approbation of Rav Moshe’s 2 SONS AND SON-IN-LAW.

  25. daat y on December 18, 2011 at 10:50 pm

    As an somewhat of an insider and related(through marriage),don’t need to.

  26. daat Y – people will believe what they want to believe, and, unfortunately, people often are hurt in the process. For all the back and forth, did RJDB actually contact anyone who has knowledge of the IM to question the authenticity of this? For all his erudition, he relies on the personal feeling of an anonymous Rav – hardly something to go to the bank with. If people truly have questions, why not read the introduction to IM 8 and 9, then contact those who have given it Haskomo? In all the years, after all the accusations, no Teshuva has ever been known to have been falsified (knowingly or otherwise). Truth is, the claim is usually directed against RMT and not RSR. Either way, it is ironic, for if they were trying to falsify Teshuvos, why publish it in Rav Moshe’s name? They could have easily published their own set of ShUT. And if you wish to say they did not willfully falsify Teshuvot – again, it is so easy to verify what was was done. There is no reason for these things to linger. It is troubling that RJDB saw fit to publish what he did without doing any more than relying on a personal opinion.

  27. anon on December 18, 2011 at 11:05 pm.

    again,ask R. Reuven privately(or anyone from the Feinstein side in an unguarded moment).

  28. To cy – ask them what? If you I understand what you are insinuating, why would they then choose to be involved with this? Also, you are saying that what they actually published in (in IM 8 and, now in 9) is Sheker?

  29. Ploney Almoney

    Again with the insinuations and vague accusations…


    Ad matai?

  30. Here’s an example of the shenanigans engaged in by the editors of cheilek ches:

  31. This teshuva was printed in Rav Moshe’s lifetime,in Am Hatorah mahadurah 2 vol 8 in 1984, it didn’t exactly appear after his death

  32. Ploney Almoney



    If you look at the comments to the link you provided from eruvonline, commenter acer613 makes a compelling case.

    It’s pretty clear that rather than trying reconcile discrepancies in Rav Moshe’s large corpus of work, you detractors have an agenda.

    Rather than address the issue with research and scholarship, you detractors hide behind ‘anonymous’ rabbis, rumors, and urge us to “speak to insiders” or “members of the family in private.”

    These are just misleading ‘red herrings,’ which obfuscate the issue.

    Attempts were made to deligitimize Rav Moshe zt”l’s teshuvot during his life, and now again after his petirah.

    Grow up already! Do diligent research before blogging!

  33. That’s mentioned in the post I linked to. The point is that when the teshuva was republished, some information that would undermine the agenda of certain people who were involved in the publication of cheilek ches was omitted.

  34. The fact that people who have issues with cheilek ches such as myself choose not to explicitly mention members of R. Moshe’s family who we believe engaged in distortions is not because we are incapable of doing so is not because we have not done sufficient research is not because we are unable to do so (although I can, of course, only speak for myself), but rather because this would inevitably turn into an angry mud-fight.

    Gil already deleted one comment about a particular member of the Feinstein family, who appears on the editorial board of cheilek ches and tes, despite the controversies surrounding him.

    This is especially pertinent in light of the fact that people involved in the eruv ‘parsha’ were known to have forged R. Moshe’s signature on other occassions, as R. Menashe Klein testifies, and as is clear from an analysis of the signatures on the kol korei and elsewhere:

    Thus, it is clear that a modicum of cautiousness is required.

  35. Ploney Almoney


    If indeed you have done “sufficient research” into distortions, misrepresentations, manipulations, forgeries, etc. I would suggest you publish your findings in a peer reviewed scholarly journal so that this whole issue be made clear once and for all.

    Suggesting that a “modicum of cautiousness is required” just perpetuates the confusion. Much like Gil placing the links to vol. 7 & 8 in parenthesis suggesting ‘reader beware.’

  36. blaming a talmid toeh for results you don’t believe is hardly a new phenomena

  37. Ploney Almoney


    You are correct it’s not a new phenomena.

    But you best be sure you have some real incontrovertible evidence before you make accusations and allegations.

    I think this topic would make for an important scholarly article in a peer reviewed journal. It would address the desideratum and bring clarity to this issue once and for all.

    Why has this not happened yet?

    Because it’s much easier to cast aspersions, insinuate, throw red herrings, obfuscate the issue, hide behind anonymous sources,and believe in rumors.

  38. I have to wonder if Gil would have published the anonymous insinuations (which I happen to agree with), if they hadn’t been (a) told over by R. Bleich and/or (b) conformed to his biases on brain death.

  39. GIL:

    your explanation for the brackets has serious implications and cast serious aspersions. perhaps you are justified. i have no idea. but i would expect such claims to be backed up with more than than second-hand testimony citing an anonymous person.

  40. R’ploney,
    Agreed, just pointing it out

  41. (a) was enough (b) is irrelevant, I heard people saying this long before I was aware of the brain death issues

  42. Ploney: Write a letter to the editor of Tradition

  43. I’d rather someone with the acumen, scholarship, reputation, and guts write the article.

  44. I’m not quite sure why anonymous insinuations heard by R. Genut receive a ‘mishneh tokef’ when said over by R. Bleich. It is of course the case that R. Bleich has a lot at stake here (as do others) – his positions re R. Moshe’s shitta on brain death require shenanigans having occurred in the editing of cheilek ches.

    What I find interesting is the fact that people are willing to doubt the parts that don’t conform to their views, but are often much more reticent in doing so when it comes to the parts that do (ahem, eruvin).

  45. J: I’m not so sure. Most people I know who doubt the later volumes don’t look at them at all.

  46. Ploney Almoney,

    What acer613’s comments are compelling? Did you read my response? Clearly they were invented on the spot. Furthermore, as I point out there his arguments are irrelevant.

  47. Superintendant Chalmers

    We may as well mention the purported “tshuva” supposedly written by Rav Moshe regarding a kallah covering her hair. (Linked to in this post.)


    I’m not doubting that Rav Moshe held this way, (numerous talmidim of his report his shita to be that she is not obligated until the next day) but anyone with a good grasp of Rabbinic Hebrew can tell that this “tshuva” was not written by Rav Moshe himself. And if this is being circulated as part of Igros Moshe, that is enough to cast aspersions in my mind.

  48. R’ Gil,
    Right, but when the issue is eruvin they are inconsistent. See

  49. I apologize for not wading through the comments. Last month I spoke with Rav Shabbetai about volume 9. He told me that he went over every teshuva in the collection (many of which were from many years before). R. Bleich is himself relying on a third party so there are no aspersions on him. And, since when is a Gadol not allowed to change his mind. For example, if you collate RMF’s ideas on Kbbolas ha-Mitzvos for a Ger, you see hestruggled with the question over decades and decided differently at different times. (As R. Dr. Haym Soloveitchik notes, Rashi changed his mind a number of times on the question of whether כוחו of a non-Jew prohibits wine בהנאה). At the end of the day, as RHS used to note, we don’t rely on precedent. So, each of R’ Moshe’s responsa will need to be evalated onits own according to the analysis of the Rav who’s paskening.

  50. Thank you, R’ J. for the fascinating reference (in you comment today at 3:07 a.m.) from Om Ani Chomah, where once again R. Klein suggests that the contents of IM Vol. 6 may require correction (as R. Klein previously indicated in Mishneh Halakhot 12:214). Still, because Mishneh Halakhot 16:102 (which was published after both 12:214 as well as after Om Ani Chomah) affirms the authenticity of IM Vol. 6, I believe that the ultimate conclusion of R. Klein is to accept the authenticity of IM Vol. 6. Moreover, and quite significantly, following the publication of all those volumes (i.e. even later than the publication of Mishneh Halakhot 16:102), the Halachic Organ Donor Society (to its eternal credit) publicized the interview with R. Rappaport (as I reference in my comment yesterday at 11:43 a.m.), in which R. Rappaport testifies that the contents of Vol. 6 are authentic. Essentially, we are obligated according to Halakhah to accept R. Rappaport’s testimony, because of the principle “soklin ve-sorfin al ha-chazakot” as per the gemara in Kiddushin 80a. To question the integrity of R. Rappaport is *assur* with a capital aleph, pursuant to the interdiction against choshed be-kesherim.

    R. Woolf’s conversation with R. Rappaport is illuminating and confirms once more the righteousness of R. Rappaport. I would only add that – the way I read R. Bleich – R. Bleich is not challenging R. Rappaport either, since R. Rappaport himself conceded that Vol. 7 of IM was not checked as thoroughly by RMF as Vol. 6, and we see the proof in the six ambiguous responsa I have highlighted. [By the way, I was privileged to be taught by R. Woolf at Azrieli during summer of 2004 and I want to thank him for that. It was one of my best courses.]

    In my opinion this calculation need not change the outcome of the brain death sugya (-though I appreciate there is a perception that the two topics are interlinked, thanks to the association R. Bleich created between them in Contemporary Halakhic Problems IV, p. 344). RSZA disagreed with RMF, and so because of “sfek nefashot le-hakel” (as per the gemara in Shabbat 129a as elucidated by Encyclopedia Talmudit IX, p. 267), I submit that we are obligated to desecrate the Sabbath to prolong the (highly doubtful) existence of the brain dead patient. RMF ruled that sometimes a Gadol’s pesak halakhah must be frozen in time (IM YD 3:88), and so it has come to pass thanks to RSZA. RMF was authorized to pasken that brain dead patients are dead; we, by contradistinction, can only say that brain dead patients are “most probably dead but we’re not sure on that point”, approximating RSZA’s expression of “safek ha-karov le-vadai”.

  51. anon on December 18, 2011 at 11:44 pm

    J. on December 19, 2011 at 8:57 am

    Ploney Almoney on December 19, 2011 at 2:48 am

    Here’s a challenge,if you dare.Go ask the Feinsteins’

  52. to CY – Just to clarify: You are saying that what the Feinstein’s wrote is FALSE, and they will tell me so privately? Does that make sense?

  53. Ploney Almoney


    Why would HaRav Dovid and Reuven put their name on ALL of the volumes in question? Where is their integrity?

  54. The parentheses that (Gil Student) put in are pure Hutzpah.

    I put Gil Student in parentheses because I was told by a third party that it can’t be that such an intelligent person would actually do such a foolish thing, and it must be someone else.

  55. In my opinion, another helpful historical clarification as to the authenticity of IM Vol. 6 (aside from R. Menasheh Klein’s concerns, which have now been successfully addressed), is the evolution of IM YD 3:132, which is RMF’s official definition of death responsum (-although one which is complicated by the past history of IM YD 2:146 and YD 2:174). This responsum was originally published as a freestanding communication on “Practical Medical Halachah” (2nd edition, Feldheim, 1980) by Dr. Fred Rosner and R. Moshe David Tendler, pp. 60-66. Some question as to the authenticity of this responsum may have arisen on account of a noteworthy revision to the responsum, as follows.

    In the English translation of this responsum, R. Tendler reports that RMF revised his responsum on May 16, 1976 by permitting deactivation of the respirator for purposes of suctioning, even before the patient is certified dead. This revision has elicited the surprise of both R. Bleich (Tradition 16:4, Summer 1977, p. 132) and R. Hershel Schachter (1988 lecture available at http://www.yutorah.org/lectures/lecture.cfm/711848/Rabbi_Moshe_D._Tendler/Definition_of_Death_II , at 39:48-41:50 into the recording). They both contend that if deactivation of the respirator constitutes an act of homicide according to RMF, then even if one deactivated the respirator for the legitimate purpose of suctioning, one should be obligated to immediately reactivate the respirator once the suctioning is complete, as per the gemara in Shabbat 4a (regarding hidbik pat be-tanur).

    In response to this objection of R. Bleich and R. Schachter, I would speculate that RMF’s reported revision could be elucidated in one of three possible ways: (a) RMF assumed that extubation imposes a physiological shock upon the patient, and therefore equals homicide, but only provided that the airways are clear. However, when the airways are already filled with mucus, RMF assumed that extubation will impose no physiological shock, since the tube will slide out smoothly thanks to the lubricant coating. Such a dichotomous assumption would be based on the gemara in Berakhot 8a (which compares various forms of death and offers an analogy between lubricant coating and minimization of physiological shock that is coterminous with death). Thus, when the patient requires suctioning (which by definition means that the airways are filled with mucus), RMF assumed there is no prohibition of extubation. (b) Alternatively, RMF assumed that extubation imposes a physiological shock upon the patient, and therefore equals homicide, but only in the same sense that closing the eyes of a gossess is equated with homicide by the mishnah in Shabbat 151b. The latter equation is regarded by RMF in IM YD 2:174:2 as representing a hyperbole. RMF permits closing the eyes of a patient who is presumed to have died, even before the patient is certified dead, if it serves an important purpose, since the movement involved is so minimal. RMF may have assumed that extubation is of the same genre, and since suctioning the mucus is surely an important purpose, he authorized the extubation. (c) Alternatively, RMF assumed that extubation imposes a physiological shock upon the patient, and therefore equals homicide, in the sense that it is a dangerous intervention that may possibly lead to the death of the patient. However, pursuant to the gemara in Avodah Zarah 27b which permits (though does not obligate) dangerous medical interventions in order to attempt (as a gamble) to extend a patient’s life (as discussed in RMF’s previously published IM YD 2:58), RMF felt that the danger of extubation could be authorized as a gamble to save the patient from imminently choking to death on his own mucus. Although, generally speaking, the patient himself must be the one to authorize the gamble, RMF rules in (his future responsum) IM CM 2:74:5 that the family members, or in their absence the municipal Beth Din, can authorize the gamble if the patient is mentally incompetent and the proxy anticipates that the patient would have selected this gamble. [N.B. Not all authorities necessarily agree with RMF that the gamble can be effectuated by proxy, but that is beyond the scope of the present comment. The point to appreciate here is that RMF himself did believe (correctly or incorrectly) in gamble by proxy, which may possibly explain his reported revision on extubation for purposes of suctioning.]

    In summation, therefore, even though at first glance it may seem astonishing that RMF told R. Tendler to orchestrate this revision to his responsum, I believe it it can be explained in one of three ways, and so R. Tendler’s testimony as to the truth of this revision should be accepted. Moreover, all of this is academic and presents no difference halakhah le-ma’aseh, since when the responsum was ultimately canonized in book form as IM YD 3:132, the “suctioning revision” was omitted altogether.

    Thus, I return to my original thesis. We can rest in good conscience that Vol. 6 of IM is authentic.

  56. Further clarification: the responsum of RMF on the definition of death (to which R. Tendler orchestrated a revision at RMF’s request on May 16, 1976) was originally published as the Spring 1976 bulletin of the Association of Orthodox Jewish Scientists, which is how R. Bleich was aware of it in Tradition of Summer 1977. [It was later republished in 1980, as mentioned, and ultimately canonized as IM YD 3:132, but without the revision, also as mentioned.]

  57. Fotheringay-Phipps

    R’ Ruvain Feinstein told me personally that the more recent t’shuvos (volumes) from his father are not reliable. This was about 20-25 years ago or so (I don’t recall if RMF was alive at the time or not).

    I was definitely told the same basic thing by other members of the Feinstein family in RMF’s lifetime.

    Basically the gist of it was that many of the later t’shuvos were ghost-written by the grandchildren based on what they thought RMF would hold. Ostensibly they later spoke it over with or showed it to RMF, but the family members I spoke to did not have a whole lot of confidence in that.

  58. Fotheringay-Phipps

    I don’t see why people make a big deal about the letter from RMF in the intro vouching for the sefer. This too was undoubtedly written by other people, and is no more reliable than anything else in that volume.

    One thing that is a bit weird is the changes made to to earlier t’shuvos in the later editions. Some of these were clearly inserts by the editors, but in some cases the later versions are the correct ones. This can sometimes be seen in comparing t’shuvos that were originally published elsewhere (e.g. in RS Eider’s seforim).

  59. Fotheringay-Phipps

    As for what the Feinsteins supposedly wrote in the intros, these are meaningless. Everyone knows that the Feinsteins are people who don’t believe in family feuds (or any other types of feuds).

  60. Fotheringay-Phipps: We now have multiple volumes (IM and DM) with letters of Haskomo from RDF, RRF and RMDT. Not only are there Haskomos, but specific thanks to the editors. Not only that, but in IM9 (perhaps in IM8 as well) there is reference in the introduction whereby certain Teshuvos were edited/arranged under the specific direction of RDF and RRF.

    Take it or leave it, but those are the facts.

  61. Fathering -Phipps you are remembering specific details about a discussion of 20- 25 years ago .At the same time you don’t remember some “minor” detail if Rav Moshe was alive then.
    How about going back now and asking those questions.
    You are stating lashon hara about a gadol and being motzi shem ra on the editors.

  62. Essentially, this issue can be compared to eating at a kosher restaurant. When I dine in the establishment (with a reputable hashgachah), how do I know the mashgi’ach is telling the truth that the meat he is serving me is not neveilah? I am relying on chazakah; the mashgi’ach has a chezkat kashrut, and the Torah authorizes me to believe what the mashgi’ach is saying. Mutatis mutandis, R. Rappaport’s testimony on the HODS website must be accepted as true. But, as before, what he testifies and what R. Bleich writes are actually congruent, per the explanation I have offered. I think what R’ Fotheringay-Phipps heard from R. Reuven Feinstein (-and ye’yasher kochaka for the insight) can also be explained in this light (though I admit having no inside information and having never had the privilege of meeting the Feinstein family). It could be what R. Reuven Feinstein meant to say to R’ Fotheringay-Phipps was that there are six responsa in IM Vol. 7 which are published in dual formats.

  63. R. Spira,

    Actually, this issue can be compared to eating at a kosher restaurant, under reputable hashgacha, where unfortunately a group or people, motivated by personal and political agendas, choose to cast aspersions on the kashrut of the establishment. They can’t actually prove that there is any treif being served but make everyone believe that is the case. They announce, ‘I don’t eat their and you should proceed with caution before doing so,’ as hey hide behind stories, rumors, allegations, etc.

    Inevitably, some of the population eats there while others, suspicious of the hashgacha, do not.

    It is the latter that group that is missing out. Trust me – I’ve had the corned beef…and it’s delicious!

  64. Fotheringay-Phipps

    “It could be what R. Reuven Feinstein meant to say to R’ Fotheringay-Phipps was that there are six responsa in IM Vol. 7 which are published in dual formats”

    He was making a general statement about t’shuvos in (what was then) the two most recent volumes. (FWIW, other people believe the issue extends back farther than that.) He specifically confirmed that the relevance is that these volumes are less reliable than the other volumes.

  65. R’ Ploney Almoney and R’ Fotheringay-Phipps,
    Thank you both for your kind words and responses, which are much appreciated, and which illustrate the richness of this topic. Allow me to add that an article will be appearing in the upcoming Jewish Law Annual (Vol. 20) which will address the life-and-death implications of the two divergent forms of IM CM 2:74 (sec. 1). From this article, it will become clear why there is so much excitement (legitimately so) over the precise way RMF formulated this responsum.

    On the topic of relying upon chezkat kashrut, R. Michael Broyde offers a masterful treatment in his recently delivered lecture at http://www.yutorah.org/lectures/lecture.cfm/767068/Rabbi_Michael_Broyde/Agunot_and_9-11 . Essentially, we are willing to say that a lady was pregnant for 11 months (strange as that seems) in order to affirm her chezkat kashrut. [R. Broyde then applies this principle to resolving agunot of 9/11.]

    [Parenthetically, during the lecture – at one point – R. Broyde indicates his disagreement with a statement of President Jimmy Carter. I think this comment should be understood in a minimalist manner, for surely R. Broyde (like every Torah scholar and every Jew) has gratitude for those who have served humanity with distinction, including those have served as President of the USA (like President Carter). What R. Broyde means is that he affirms that President Carter was correct to recite the “al chet” confession (as President Carter reportedly did: see his Wikipedia biography) for erring when he described the State of Israel as an Apartheid State. President Carter has repented for this, and now recognizes that the State of Israel is a wonderful light unto the nations which should be supported by the USA. R. Broyde is commending President Carter for his appropriate repentance.]

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