Thanks to links and cross postings provided by Mega-J-Bloggers R' Harry Maryles, Hirschel Tzig and Rafi of "Life in Israel" my last post actually garnered quite a number of intelligent comments. I'd like to respond to many of the criticisms raised in a general way.
1. What is a Chumra? Quite a few commenters were irked by my characterization of Cholov Yisroel and Glatt Flaish as Khumros. I was not trying to opine as a big maven in Halakha nor trying to be a קל fobbing off baseline Halakha as some wild-eyed-fanatical-stringency. I was merely relating my sociological observations. IMO most Jews currently refraining from Cholov Stam do not do so because RMF z"l wrote that לבעל נפש ראוי להחמיר but because of the Chasidisha emphasis on it treating cholov stam as absolute cholov chazir.
2. Whence Anti-Zionism? Many a commenter said that this prevailing attitude was sourced in the Hashqofos of the Brisker Rov rather than in those of Satmar-Munkatch. I am incredulous of this interpretation for a number of reasons:
A. The Hashqofos of the Brisker Rov are תורה שבעל פה while those of Satmar Ruv are printed for everyone to see in manifestos such as ויואל משה וקונטרס על הגאולה ועל התמורה as well as suffusing many of his other prolific writings.
B. In Brisk anti-Zionism is a plank in a larger platform, in Satmar it IS the platform
C. Up until the early 70s only a minority of US Litvisha Yeshiva-leit ever went to learn in Israeli Yeshivos yet the American Yeshiva velt was thoroughly Anti-Zionist by then. I find it much more plausible that the major cultural influence for this was the US based Satmar Ruv and the already colossal and agressive following that he had forged rather than the influence of the Brisker Rov
D. from the mid 60s to the mid 70s there were still a large number of US Litvisha Yeshiva-leit heading for Rav Chaim Shmuelevitz, Rav Nochum Pertzovitz, Rav Shmuel Rozovksky, Rav Michel Feinstein, Rav Abba Berman, Khevron, Rav Moshe Shapira and Rav Moshe Shmuel Shapira rather than Rav Berel and Rav Dovid Soloveichik. The current zeitgeist of "Brisk or bust" certainly did not exist yet. I realize that many of the Geonim mentioned were Brisker talmidim and/or influenced but... many were not. Some were positively moderate and "soft" on Zionism.
E. Brisk at that time, and to a certain extent even today, was an elitist movement targeting(relatively) small numbers of true Metzuyonim. I am incredulous of the pan-frum anti-Zionist sentiment spreading so far and wide would emanate from an elitist movement targeting a tiny slice of the population. There are thousands of Jews today who use eruvin (which Briskers don't) and are strict about all fast days (which Briskers are not) who are virulently Anti-Zionist.
3. Is Tekheles about Archeology or Eschatology? I will accept the critique of those more familiar with the ways and mores of Modern Orthodoxy than me who claim that the popularity of tekheles is due to a fascination with Archeology and Chemistry validating Halakha. But I'd like to ask them to think about this: Absent Rav Gershon Henokh (The Radzyner Rebbes)'s life work would anyone even be bothering to look and care about fossilized Tekheles? Furthermore beneath the Radzyners many dry halakhic/ scientific appeals for the restoration of Tekheles there was always a strong undercurrent of anticipating the Messianic era and the restoration of ALL lost Mitzvos. Without him do you really think that there would be people reproducing כלי המקדש and בגדי כהונה ? People trying to raise a kohen in a bubble to process a Parah Adumah? People trying to reinstate the Sanhedrin? Or, most recently, Rav Chaim Kanievsky ZGZ signing up to be one of the M'nuyim on a Qorbon Pesakh? I'm still convinced that it was he who got the ball rolling on these and other similar projects and that as both a Gaon and a Rebbe, his imagination was fired by the Messianic Raison d'etre of the entire Beshtian Khasidic enterprise אימתי קאתי מר? לכשיפוצו מעינתיך חוצה
4. Poor writng: "Dovy" over on R' Harrys blog commented: interesting post with much truth I'm afraid.. Just wish it was written a little better. All I can say is that Dovy is obviously not a maven on fine writing. ;-)
5. Cheek -by-Jowl Cultural Osmosis: "Chareidi" says that I falsified history. I challenge him to provide us with some examples of the kind of geographical proximity in interbellum Eastern Europe that is the norm in large Frum communities today. I'm not unconscious of such facts as e.g. many Novardhoker Yeshivas in the Polish Chasidic heartland, Slonim, Lubavitch and Karlin, to name a few, existing in the Litvisha-Misnagdisha heartland or the Agudas Yisroel movement introducing many rank and file Jews to gedolim from lands unlike their own. But the kind of forced modus vivendi that existed in the immediate post-war era has no parallel in pre-war Europe. You didn't have Yekisha, Litvisha and Gerrer girls all attending the same Bais Yaakovs as they did in New York, Bnei Braq and Yerushalayim as they did from the early 50s through the mid 70s.
6. Magyarization or Chasidification? Look... I was all over the field. The Chasidic world is no monolith (although the march towards tyrannical conformity gallops apace in both Chasidisha and Yeshivisha Kreizen) and I cited influences from Radzyn, Chabad, Satmar, Ger, Breslov as well as generic, pan-Chasidisha ideas and attitudes. So IMO this critique is a nitpick.
"Kovner"... click here. You were being gently ribbed
בא המבדיל והעמידן על אחת
"Those who cannot tolerate Havdala cannot appreciate Qedusha"