The National Religious Pashkevil

A pashkevil is a flyer or poster which is distributed or pasted up in Chareidi communities, making announcements to the public. They are often used as a means of putting pressure on individuals or institutions regarding policy or behaviour.

They are sometimes signed by the author, but are usually anonymous, or are signed by a fictitious committee, which usually consists of solely the author. Some claim to be written in the name of famous rabbis, but the authenticity of those rabbis support for the message of the pashkeville is dubious, at best.

For example, I have seen two pashkevilim recently in Ramat Bet Shemesh.

One was poster sized, glued onto almost every non-moving object in the neighborhood, denouncing in the strongest terms, a new yeshiva high school (accused of teaching some secular studies, rather than 100% torah studies); this pashkevil was apparently signed by a dozen or so leading Ashkenazi chareidi rabbis, who decreed eternal hell-fire (or local equivalent) for any father who sends his children to such a den of iniquity.

Another pashkevil, which I saw scattered on the streets this morning, was a half-A4 sized flyer, inviting the public to participate in the upcoming demonstrations at 11.00 am today, against the supermarket “Yesh”. A sister corporation to “Yesh” is allegedly open on Shabbos/Sabbath. These flyers were scattered just across the street from a new Chareidi-style supermarket, Barkol, a competitor to “Yesh”. It is signed by "Shomrei Shabbat" The Guardians of the Sabbath, Bet Shemesh - not any kind of official group I have heard of.

You probably get the idea. No-one takes these seriously, of course; on the other hand no-body wants to wake up one morning to find their name on such a Pashkevil.

Introducing… the National Religious Pashkevil!

A few dozen pashkevilim were apparently scattered outside the doors of two local chareidi rabbonim, the night before an important decision in the Municipality about the future of the Makvaot in Ramat Beit Shemesh.

The wording, my sources inform me, said:

הרב קופשיץ
והרב דוידוביץ
הסירו ידיכם רגלכם ועיניכם
מרמב"ש א'
 ומהמקוואות של הנשים

אם לא תעזבו אותנו בשקט
אנו נחקור ונפרסם בריש גלי את
הגילוי עריות
והמשכב זכור
אצלכם בקהילה

ראו הוזהרתם!

Which, I translate for your convenience, to the best of my ability:

Rabbi Kopschitz
And Rabbi Davidovitch
Remove your hands, your feet and your eyes from Ramat Bet Shemesh Aleph and from the Mikvaot of the women.

If you do not leave us in quiet, we will investigate and publicise loudly the improper [sexual] relations and homosexuality which is within your community.

Take notice and be warned!

The decision in the municipality, the day after the Pashkevilim were distributed, went in favour of the National Religious position, and against that of Rabbi Davidovitch and Rabbi Kopschitz (who reputedly has great influence over his neighbor, the mayor Moshe Abutbol).

I do not know who published these audacious pashkevilim; they do seem to have created a rumpus.

Rafi Goldmeier’s Life In Israel blog, initially strongly condemned this "disgusting" behaviour by National Religious elements – as Rafi had been wrongly informed, by three different people, that the pashkevillim accused these rabbis of having themselves been guilty of sexual perversions, and that the pashkevilim had threatened to chase these two rabbis out of town. 

Rafi quickly posted an amendment to his posting, stating he had been misled, and that the pashkevilim were not nearly so bad as he’d been led to understand. Rafi concluded: "It is still very inappropriate, but not what I originally thought."

So, what do you think of the (presumably) National Religious pashkevil??

Do you think that the leaders of the National Religious camp should join together to condemn the pashkevil?



  1. Yes, as probably everybody already knows about my opinion, I DO believe that the National Religious leaders should join together PUBLICLY to condemn the "Pashkevil"!

    What is wrong is wrong, and even though this was not nearly as bad as it was first reported, it is a desecration of the public domain. Even if someone has a legitimate complaint that relates to all of these matters (Mikveh, incest and homosexuality) it should not be dealt with in street posters and the like. This has been my complaint about the Chareidi "Pashkevilim", even if they do not contain sexual innuendos, and I am consistent in complaining about in "Pashkevilim" by non-Chareidim.

    As I wrote in a long composition which I hope will be posted on this blog too:
    "Pashkevilim" of all types should be written without the poisonous language that has infested most "Pashkevilim" for decades. Even though I never saw the "Pashkevilim" which were publicized against some Chareidim, I was told by a Dati-Leumi Rav that the language quoted in the name of those "Pashkevilim" was disgraceful; so I certainly condemn the use of "Pashkevilim" in this manner, even though they seem clearly to have been used for the benefit of "my side".

    While these "Pashkevilim" were not as disgraceful as they were originally thought to be, we should have public condemnation of all of this type of thing to truly make our camp (and ALL of our camps, not just the Dati-Leumi camp) holy, as the Torah says.

    I repeat my call to ALL leaders, especially in our neighborhood, to condemn these, and all other acts of Chillul Hashem which disguise themselves as "righteous deeds"!

    Catriel Lev
    Mobile Phone: 050-205-7867
    Home Phone: 02-991-4332

  2. I'll take the opposite position: GO FOR IT!

    I'd rather be a dirty winner than a good loser and it's going to take dirt to win this conflict.

  3. HaRav Chayim, HaRav Chayim Solo, HaRav Chayim Soloveichik.

    Always Takes The High Road.

  4. I think this is a similar dilemma to fighting the hitnatkut (evacuation of Gush Katif under Sharon) - the "mamlachtim" said we should be honorably defeated. The "fanatim" said we should fight rough, and maybe we can win.

  5. See also the new post on this subject, Rav Hayim Soloveichik Speaks Out Agsinst the Pashkevil:

  6. Its interesting that the author of blog writes very neutral like, What do you think of the ....
    If this was a charedi pashkevil about the DL rabbis, I guarantee the author of the blog would have condemned it.

  7. Hello Anonymous,

    You have written a few times in the comments section on Tzedek-Tzedek, and I welcome you back.

    You consistently seem to divide the world into two neat parts.

    Chareidim: who are are lothe to criticise their own community, due to feelings of loyalty, and fear of personal consequences. If a Chareidi does nevethless criticise, you zilzul them, and call them liars (and worse).

    Non-Chareidim: who are more free to bring criticisms of aspects of chareidi society (because they don't have the split loyalties issue, and are less likely to suffer personal consequences). If they do criticise, you call these people "Chareidi-bashers".

    As I am not Chareidi, this automatically makes me a Chareidi basher, in your simplistic world-view.

    And what would be better proof than my covering-up faults in the DL camp, right?

    I think most other readers of Tzedek-Tzedek, or who know of my record for helping hundreds of (mainly Chareidi) families in RBS, are not so easily bought by your trivialisation of the issues which are reported and discussed here.

    At the initial report about the Pashkevil, on Rafi's blog, I was the first to jump in (in the comments section to that article), to publicly condemn it, if the initially released content was true.

    In this article, I published the actual text of the pashkevil to the public - even tho this might be viewed as a betrayal by some in the DL camp.

    And the actual text is far less damaging than had been initially reported (due to people lying to Rafi Goldmeier).

    The question as to whether the actual, less damaging text of the pashkevil still requires denouncing by me (for whoever cares!) and more importantly, by the DL leadership, is a reasonable question.

    I now respectfully suggest you scroll up, Anonymous, on Tzedek-Tzedek, and you will see that, since this article was published, my Rav, Rabbi Hayim Soloveichik, answered that question in a clear and forthright manner this past shabbat.

    There is no white-wash, denial, or sweeping-under-the-carpet from the DL camp.

  8. What creative thinking! Thank you to writer of the Pashkevili for thinking outside the box, and putting some fear of G-d and shame in the Haredi Rabbis.


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