The following is a letter written by Rav Aharon Feldman shlita, Rosh Yeshivah of Ner Israel in Baltimore, to a disciple of his:

Dear ***,

My short visit to Israel last week was, among other reasons, to ascertain Rav Elyashiv's reason for the issur on Nosson Slifkin's books. Contrary to rumors, I did not travel on anyone's behalf.

Rav Eliashiv felt that the hashkofos of the books regarding Chazal and the age of the universe are forbidden to be taught, and this despite the fact that others, even great people (such as R.Avraham ben HaRambam, Pachad Yitzchok and, in our times, Rav Dessler and R.Shimon Schwab) may have said similar things. "They were permitted to say these things, but we may not," he said. In other words, the halacha is not like them.

Most important, Rav Eliashiv said that by his signature on the public announcement regarding the books he did not mean to rule that the author is a min or kofer. As far as he is concerned, Rav Eliashiv said, "the author could be one of the lamed vov tzadikim"; the books nevertheless are forbidden to read. He was surprised when he was shown that the announcement described the books as kefira and minus. He then dictated a statement to me,in the presence of his secretary, Rav Yosef Efrati, and one of his grandsons, which read as follows:

כוונתי כשהצטרפתי לקול קורא  היתה רק בנוגע שהספרים אסורים לבא בקהל

or, "My intention when I added my name to the public announcement [regarding the issur] was only regarding that the books should not enter the Jewish community." The word "only" was meant to specifically exclude the implication that the author is a heretic.

With best wishes,

Aharon Feldman

NOTE from Natan Slifkin:
While I was initially unclear as to Rav Elyashiv's position, and have received conflicting reports, my understanding is now as follows: Rav Elyashiv does not feel that this approach is literally heresy (hence his surprise at seeing the wording of the ban), but rather that this approach is wrong for the charedi community (a view with which I would largely agree). It is also his belief that it is acceptable to colloquially term this "heresy" (as is clear from his letter to Rav Wachtfogel that he stands by the wording of the ban). Rav Elyashiv stated that he accepts that these views are found in the Rishonim and Acharonim, and I am sure that he is aware that Rav Yitzchak Herzog, whose shiurim he used to attend, held similar views regarding Torah and science.

Shortly after Rav Feldman's meeting with Rav Elyashiv, I was forwarded the following e-mail from a senior member of the Ner Israel faculty: "If I understood the Rosh Yeshivah correctly, he asked Rav Eliyashiv after the Nusach had been written, what the staus would be in Kiruv, and that the answer was that it was OK. I do not know why Rav Feldman did not include this in his letter. It could be that I misunderstood him but I do not think so. You could ask Rabbi Weisbord who was there at the time."
I was also told be someone that he asked Rav Feldman for permission to read the books, and Rav Feldman told him that they were fine for him.

However, recently I received a letter from Rav Feldman claiming that all the above is mistaken:

"I mailed a letter two weeks ago addressed to your Beit Shemesh address in which I asked you to remove a posting on your website in which literally every sentence has factual errors. Your posting states that I visited Rav Eliashiv together with Rav Berel Weisbord who asked him whether your books could be used for kiruv purposes and that Rav Eliashiv agreed that they could be used for such purposes. Rav Weisbord has, to the best of my knowledge, never in his lifetime visited Rav Eliashiv, certainly not with me, nor was this question posed by anyone at any meeting I had with Rav Eliashiv. On the contrary, Rabbi Moshe Frances of the Chicago Kollel told me that he posed this question to Rav Eliashiv and was told that it was forbidden. Finally, the statement that Rav Eliashiv forbade the books only for his community is totally false."

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