Feldman’s Folly (Part One)

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96 Responses

  1. Calev says:

    Thank you for writing this! Perhaps you’d like to discuss this with the people at the BBC who allowed some dubious (and obviously antisemitic) ‘Talmudic’ references to be left on the comment board of their website despite protests. Eventually they took the posting off when the protests became too loud. However, given their own guidelines on racism it’s sad and shockinng that there needed to be such protests at all.

  2. Nachum Lamm says:

    Of course, the article isn’t being read only by “vast swaths” of America. Knowing the Times readership, in fact, it’s not being read by them at all. Rather, it’s being read by academic leftists who’ll seize on the article, and probably being gleefully forwarded to anti-Semites, domestic and, much worse, foreign.

    Feldman is a breathing example of how IQ doesn’t equal smart.

  3. Garnel Ironheart says:

    On one hand, I found this article excellent. I think it should be required reading for people who are asked to justify odd Jewish behaviours and stances to the non-Jewish world.

    On the other hand, having read Feldman’s article, I’m not sure it’s the same one referenced above. I didn’t get much of a sense of animus from Feldman. If anything, I noted a certain frustration. Most people who marry out that I’ve met have a certain defensiveness about their situation. An editor of one of the newspapers in Toronto who’s married out wrote a whole column in which he screamed about how terrible he felt when other Jews looked down on him for intermarrying, and how this makes him no less a Jew, etc. I got the feeling that Feldman is wants to be defensive but is having problems finding things to be defensive about.
    Are the Orthodox medieval and backwards? No, not according to the high school education he got. Do they live in primitive ghettos? Nope, his classmates are doing fine. Do they treat intermarriers with disdain and disgust? Sorry, can’t nail that one either because they treated him just fine and even seemed embarassed by the school policy to exclude him from the picture, although they did hold to the school policy.
    And therein is the problem for Feldman. His main arguments annuled before he’s even started to debate, he has to go after the little things and even there, hsi frustration shows through. We wear silly little undershirts and leather straps, we pray and restrict our activities and diet, but despite that we live fulfilling happy lives. We are every bit as successful as him without needing to justify lapses in belief.
    In the end, that’s one impression I got from the article: Feldman wants to condemn and have others join him but all he can do is backhandedly praise us.

  4. Henry Frisch says:

    America is founded (now, if not in the seventeenth century) on the concept of pluralism. Our highly developed civic culture allows for my neighbor and me to disagree on issues such as religion without creating problems between us because we share the fabric of American civilization and laws. We do not settle differences outside the law, certainly not with violence. This is all quite fundamental. As an Orthodox Jew I am friendly with Christians and Muslims in Teaneck.

  5. Bob Miller says:

    When something our sacred literature says about renegade Jews or about non-Jews has caused enough anger within these groups to create a threat to us, the considerations voiced above by Rabbi Adlerstein come into play. This is part of the downside of our remaining in exile.

    However, we at our level are not at liberty to improvise a response to the threat. We risk putting out something that is false or ineffective or both. This is where our Gedolim need to join together, deliberate and respond, and we need to follow their lead.

    Lacking that lead, I am not at all prepared to reject statements in our sacred literature as now-obsolete products of their times, or even to say that such rejection is an option.

  6. JewishAtheist says:

    In making us face up to them, in the context of the changed times we live in, Noah Feldman did us a favor. We have dealt with “problematic” texts for roughly the same way for the better part of a millennium. The old way will not work any longer, and the sooner we realize and accommodate, the better.

    There is no longer any option than to own up to difficult sources, and to deal openly with them. If we don’t, others will do the talking for us, which we can ill afford. We must learn where these passages are, acknowledge them, and learn to deal with them without hesitation.

    Well said.

  7. S. says:

    >The priest, however, was completely unfazed by the question, and calmly related that in the fourth century the Church was fighing for survival, and felt very pressured by Judaism, and therefore used language and methods that contemporary Christians completely reject. Essentially, he said, “that’s the way we once behaved, regrettably. We’ve moved on since then.” What’s good for the goose is good for the gandz. Mutatis mutandis, the disparaging remarks – if in fact directed against Yeshu – must be understood in the context of struggle between mainstream Judaism and early Jewish-Christians.

    You realize that you are explicitly telling Orthodox Jews to say and think “That’s the Talmud’s opinion, but it’s not our opinion.”

    What I’m saying is, it’s a tough sell.

  8. S. says:

    >Many of them, in fact, were aimed not at all non-Jews but at the idolatrous near-savages known to Chazal.

    Isn’t this a prime example of apologetics? Besides, I don’t think “savages” and “near-savages” are part of the lexicon anymore.

    And anyway, should non-Jews accept our description of non-Jews in Chazal’s time are “near-savages,” idolatrous or not? What of Christians in the time of Chazal? Can we seriously suggest that they didn’t mean them too, despite that the uncensored editions show that davka they were often meant. I think they’d rightfully accept this explanation roughly the way we Jews are prepared to accept Christian assertions that Pharisees takka were hypocrites, but they don’t mean you and me, only the Jewish leaders of the 1st century. Would you accept the priest you referenced saying that the Jews in Chazal’s time were “near-savages?”

    Recall also that the Jews of the Pale only 100 years ago were regarded as near-savages, and not only by East European gentiles. I think such a way of thinking about humans needs to be rejected.

  9. Ori Pomerantz says:

    Well said.

  10. michael says:

    Rabbi Aldersteins comments are appreciated, and his use of historical contexualizing is helpful. However he fails to respond to the issue of the reactions Noah experienced to the question of saving a non Jewish life on Shabbat. As well, for many in the Orthodox community, many troubling texts are seen as normative and not troubling! While Rabbi Alderstein may see this as only a segment of the community, the fact that such opinion continues to exists and be normative for some is actually part of the problem. A little too much “orthodoxy” can be dangerous.

  11. Yitzchok says:

    With the sheitel controversy based on a ruling that Indians practice avodah zara, would Rabbi Adlerstien pasken that the Indians should be included as part of civilized goyim or as part of idolatrous non civilized nations, and all the halachos that apply to how we treat idolatrous non civilized nations?

  12. Steve Brizel says:

    This is a great column-based in reality and devoid of apologetics.

  13. One Christian's perspective says:

    Noah Feldman makes the mistake of so many others, who believe that it is dangerous and unacceptable for Jews act or believe differently than their fellow citizens. He is part of that large group of Jews who have felicitously been described as “proud to be ashamed Jews.” It is a malady common to people who have little confidence in their own belief system. It has little to do with vast swaths of America, inhabited by people who are proud of their own beliefs, and sympathetic to the strongly-held beliefs of others. If we remember that, we needn’t be silenced or embarrassed by the charges of the Noah Feldmans.
    R. Alderstein

    Thank you for sharing !

    Please know I ( and a very many of my friends) am thankful for G-d’s faithfulness and love in providing us with His very own Words, written through His Power and by the hand of Jewish men and preserved by the same. This handbook of love for life and living takes precedence over all other writings.

    Enemies will be found if you seek them out ………..but, friends are found when you see in each ‘an image of G-d’.

  14. Barzilai says:

    Nachum Lamm stated that the article is not being read by vast swaths of anything. This may be true, but Jews in America really don’t have to worry too much- yet- about the world-view of cowboys, clam diggers, and beachcombers. We do have to think about our interactions with the urban education/intellectual/business community. In that population, unfortunately, it is very well read. And, unfortunately, despite the numerous errors and misrepresentations of law and fact in the essay, no correction of equal weight will appear, and if it does, it would be viewed as self-serving. The man has a great deal to answer for.

  15. Yirmeyahu says:

    “However he fails to respond to the issue of the reactions Noah experienced to the question of saving a non Jewish life on Shabbat.”

    Judaism believes G-d has the decision on who lives and who does not…and only at times (albeit ususually) to we get to override the natural course of events.

    Shabbos cannot be over riden to save a JEW from a paralyzing injury if there is no threat to life.

    There are “loopholes” which permit a Jew to save a non-Jews life on Shabbos. You don’t like the fact that they are loopholes…well a Jew’s life can only be saved because of such technicalities.

  16. Harry Maryles says:

    Like many others have already said, this is an excellent post.

    The most damning of Dr. Feldman’s statements was the alleged differences between Jews and Gentiles in life threatening situations. I was thoroughly embarrassed by it. I dealt with this issue in my first post on the subject. I think I said pretty much the same thing you did, although I think your presentation was much better than mine.

    The context of the dichotomy between Jew and gentile back then cannot be ignored. Idolatry was practiced by the vast majority of gentiles of that era… an idolatry that sometimes included human sacrifice. When they saw a gentile, they saw an idol worshipper. In fact the sages always referred to a non Jew as an Akum, which is a Hebrew acronym for idol worshipper. Today the vast majority of non Jews are not idol worshippers but believers in God.

    But more importantly in actual fact there is absolutely no difference between Jew and Gentile today when it comes to medical practice. Halacha, Jewish law, requires that both Jew and gentile are treated as equals. And this has been the case for thousands of years.

    And it should be no surprise to any non Jew that Judaism considers someone who believes in its tenants and abides by its rules to be on a higher spiritual level than someone who doesn’t. Every religion believes that about itself. What is unique about Judaism is its belief that a gentile can, through acts of righteousness, rise to very great spiritual heights while still remaining a gentile.

  17. Baruch Horowitz says:

    “We have dealt with “problematic” texts for roughly the same way for the better part of a millennium. The old way will not work any longer, and the sooner we realize and accommodate, the better…. This approach will no longer work, because the nature of communications today insures that there are no longer any secrets, period. Almost anything you have ever said or written to anyone can come back to haunt you… There is no longer any option than to own up to difficult sources, and to deal openly with them. If we don’t, others will do the talking for us, which we can ill afford”

    One could divide this topic into responding to the secular and non-Jewish worlds, which was done through the ages in various ways, versus dealing with the intellectual issues to satisfy ourselves. In addition, there is a practical issue of how to balance universalism versus partuclarism in education, especially in communities which emphasize insularity. Others have already “done the talking for us” in the press coverage of related issues in recent years, hamevein yavin.

    Rav Yechiel Yaakov Weinberg zt’l dealt with these texts in question, and Rabbi Dr. JJ Shacter notes that his sensitivity to these issues is evident from even his writings which were made public in his lifetime. Whether or not one accepts the Meiri as normative, I find it helpful to know that a talmid chacham of R. Weinberg’s caliber went through the same issues that Noah Feldman did.

    There is a similar example with the Netziv’s wife and her confrontation with certain women’s issues, as R. Baruch Epstein records(as a comparison, imagine it to be Rav Elyashiv’s or a different Gadol’s rebbetzin). The Artscroll approach of limiting such knowledge might benefit the multitudes, but individuals should be made aware of information that could help them, at least in the case of publicly published works.

    The general point of “there is no longer any option than to own up to difficult sources, and to deal openly with them”, therefore has applications beyond this issue. I would guess that the charedi world will develop a two-pronged approach. On the public level such as the internal media, I think issues such as this one will be avoided, or dealt with obliquely, so as not to expose innocent people to challenges. But in other venues, there will be an inevitable need to face head-on intellectual and social issues that general society and Modern Orthodoxy faces–ve es kristal zich azoy yidelt zich.

  18. Sultan Knish says:

    note Fr. Pranitis was actually thoroughly ignorant and his “scholarship” laughable culminating in the infamous “who is baba batra and where did she live” moment

  19. Yitzchok Adlerstein says:

    Lacking that lead, I am not at all prepared to reject statements in our sacred literature as now-obsolete products of their times, or even to say that such rejection is an option.

    Neither am I. I will not sacrifice one letter of Chazal. But who’s talking about “rejecting,” chas v’shalom. I’m talking about not rejecting, but implementing. Implementing the understanding of various sugyos of Chachmei HaTorah, rather than take them at face value. The simple pshat is not always the correct pshat.

    You realize that you are explicitly telling Orthodox Jews to say and think “That’s the Talmud’s opinion, but it’s not our opinion.”

    Not at all. We are not in the business of disagreeing with Tanaim and Amoraim. What we say is that the harsh edge to the way our rejection of Yeshu was phrased had much to do with the battles of the day. We are no less rejectionist today, but would find different ways to convey the same inner content that Chazal conveyed to us.

    Can we seriously suggest that they didn’t mean them [Christians] too, despite that the uncensored editions show that davka they were often meant?

    Sure we can. The Meiri did. The Ritva did (to a lesser extent perhaps). It depends which maamar Chazal you are talking about.

    I think they’d rightfully accept this explanation roughly the way we Jews are prepared to accept Christian assertions that Pharisees takka were hypocrites, but they don’t mean you and me, only the Jewish leaders of the 1st century.

    I certainly do accept it. I don’t have to agree with their take on the Pharisees. What is important to me is that when they teach the Gospels, they do not extrapolate every negative reference to the Jews or the Pharisees to all Jews at all times. How they abstract those texts from us is not important to me, so long as they preach (as has been officially required for decades) that whatever is written there has no bearing on Jews of today, hatred of whom is a sin.

    With the sheitel controversy based on a ruling that Indians practice avodah zara, would Rabbi Adlerstien pasken that the Indians should be included as part of civilized goyim or as part of idolatrous non civilized nations, and all the halachos that apply to how we treat idolatrous non civilized nations?

    There are two adjectival phrases there: idolatrous, and non-civilized. The Meiri certainly wrote as if the second were the most important in a number of applications, in which case many Indians would seem closer to what we are looking for than some of my neighbors at a chasuna when they roll out the Viennese table….

    That said, we are not talking about psak halacha here. That takes much more than a Meiri to accomplish, and has to be done looking at each separate application. We are talking about a general orientation towards our neighbors.

  20. Yirmeyahu says:

    I would like to add that I do not believe that there is any inherent difference between the leniencies which Poskim offer for Shabbos desecration and purely utilitarian ethical approaches. A “do unto others” does not present an absolute recognition that saving another (regardless of religion/day) but is a useful guide to preserve a pleasant cultural atmosphere (i.e derech eretz)and even then it only is persuasive to those (albiet most people) who like law and order.

    I do not believe that one can present a rationally based, secular obligation to save someones life without Appeal to emotion, Appeal to force, Ad hominem attacks, or Appeal to the gallery.

    And religious folk who recognize a higher authority can relate even if they think we are mistaken or misguided, much as I feel about (l’havdil) the Watchtower Society’s blanket rejection of blood transfusions. And those who can’t relate probably can’t because they already hate us.

  21. Adoremus says:

    Very good points about “problem” texts. Often, one overreaction leads to another. For example, the Pharisee/Hypocrite meme. Remember when these things took place and also when they were redacted in final written form. It wasn’t exactly the “finest hour” in Jewish history (leading up to the final frenzy of emnity prior to the destruction of the Temple). For example, one of the reactions against the crude reading of Pharisee=Hypocrite is the opposite – that no Pharisee could ever be a hypocrite. I only have to look around my own Roman Catholic Church (and at myself) to see a few contemporary analogies that tell me: I’m sure there were a few. I believe that Jewish tradition notes a deterioration in the discourse between the later students of Hillel and Shammai. A nuanced discussion of the whole issue in the Gospels is beyond the scope of a post and not appropriate here. So I’ll end by saying it doesn’t bother me if certain Jewish texts imply Jews are on a higher spiritual plane – as far as I know that may very well be true.

    Blessings,

  22. Shlomo says:

    I have never understood why people get upset about the Mormon baptism thing. True, they think they are converting Jews to Mormonism. But we think their religion is nonsense – so by implication their conversions are meaningless. If they want to waste time on a ritual which we believe doesn’t actually affect any Jew in any way, why on earth should we be offended?

  23. Anon from Boston says:

    One item that I have yet to see commented on in all of the articles and blogs I’ve read on the Noah Feldman article is where Noah grew up. Noah didn’t grow up in Brookline davening at the Maimonides School shul or at a Young Israel. He grew up in Cambridge, MA and his family davened at the Harvard Hillel Orthodox Minyan. While being orthodox in practice, this minyan was, and still is, very liberal in its thinking. Its a community where people who were inter-married or living with non-jewish partners are welcomed in the community and not shunned in any way whatsoever. While I can’t say that he would have turned out any different had Noah grown up in a different shul community, he grew up where he did and was probably influenced by it.

  24. anonymous says:

    Regarding Feldman’s discussion about saving non-Jewish lives on Shabbos —

    Saving a life on Shabbos is derived from the pasuk “v’chai bahem” (Vayikra 18,5). See Yoma 85b. That pasuk (“Asher yaaseh haadam . . .” ) also refers to non-Jews who *observe/apply* Torah (i.e., for non-Jews who observe shiva mitzvos b’nei Noach). See BK 38a. See Rabbi Avrohom Gurewitz’ commentary on the Chumash “Or Avrahom”, D’varim parshas V’zos Habracha on the verse “Torah ztivah lanu”. Today, most non-Jews are considered to be in the catgory of those who observe shiva mitzvos bnei Noach. See, e.g., Pekudat Elazar cited by Dr. Fred Rosner in “Payment for Healing on the Shabbath” RJJ Journal XL at 64. [This, of course, is the basis on which Meiri holds that Christianity is not avodah zarah.] Ergo – the Torah itself (i.e., *m’deorysa*) allows for the saving of not only Jewish but also *non-Jewish* lives on Shabbos, i.e., the life of a non-Jew who is not an idolator is equated with the life of a Jew. Thus, there is no “racism” involved. Rather, the basis for the application of “v’chai bahem” is shared belief in G-d and observance of His laws (i.e., for Jews, the Torah; for non-Jews, the shiva mitzvos bnei Noach). And, even as to those non-Jews who either do not believe in G-d and/or do not observe shiva mitzvos bnei Noach, the practical Halacha applies (Igros Moshe O’C IV, No. 79, pages 157-58) in any case to compel a Jewish doctor to be michallel Shabbos and save them as well.

    Finally, see also Rabbi Immanuel Jakobovits’ “A Modern Blood Libel – L’Affaire Shaak” from Trdaition Summer 1996 found at —
    http://www.edah.org/backend/document/jakobovits1.html — which debunks the racism argument as well.

  25. Nachum Lamm says:

    Plus, in answer to the question about sheitels, that’s a matter of the halacha of avoda zara. It has a bearing on how you treat the wig, not how you treat a Hindu. (Of course, sometimes there may be some overlap.)

  26. ben-aharon says:

    It may very well be time to respond in detail and with clear scholarship to the accusations made against statements from Chazal, owing to the easy dissemination of information brought on by the Internet and instant communication. However, Noah Feldman’s article ought not be the impetus for this endeavor.
    With elegance and elan, Feldman attempts to engage in the most fundamental behavior of the egotist: self-justification. Here is an articulate, well-studied, thoughtful and introspective scholar expressing the most naive confusion as to why his decision to take THE step that would place him apart from his own past has been met with a lack of institutional acceptance. (His closest friends have not rejected him, only his alma mater.) His supposed-hurt leads him now to analyze the contradictions and parochialism of his religious education and the incompatibility of Orthodoxy and Modernity. Really? It defies logic to believe that at no time when he began to consider interreligious dating he never imagined he was moving away from his roots. Someone so smart is NOT so dumb. More likely, a conscious decision was made to try and “have it all”. In that regard Feldman is completely correct: one cannot have it all. One must choose between one set of values over another and accept the consequences of one’s choice. Feldman appears put out by having the rules be applied to him like anyone else. That is simply narcissistic and hardly worthy of our angst and introspection.
    The problem of Ortodoxy and Modernity is not new. The Maimonides School may seek to offer one answer but there are many others. If Feldman had a genuine desire to find another answer because the one he was taught has proved to be unsatisfying, there are many great scholars with whom he could learn. Unfortunately, no one will defend the indefensible. His decision to intermarry reflects a life choice, not an intellectual one. Do you reall believe that if all his points were answered he would acknowledge error? I wish it were so. Ezra was able to convince the Jews of Babylon to return to Judaism and give up their non-Jewish wives and children. Perhaps another Ezra is needed today.

  27. mycroft says:

    And it should be no surprise to any non Jew that Judaism considers someone who believes in its tenants and abides by its rules to be on a higher spiritual level than someone who doesn’t. Every religion believes that about itself. What is unique about Judaism is its belief that a gentile can, through acts of righteousness, rise to very great spiritual heights while still remaining a gentile.

    Comment by Harry Maryles

    Is that really true today–beyond the scope of this blog but my impression is that many non Jewish spiritual leaders treat Jews as an alternative way to God see eg some of the recent Popes past few statements.

    Noah didn’t grow up in Brookline davening at the Maimonides School shul or at a Young Israel. He grew up in Cambridge, MA and his family davened at the Harvard Hillel Orthodox Minyan. While being orthodox in practice, this minyan was, and still is, very liberal in its thinking. Its a community where people who were inter-married or living with non-jewish partners

    Noah’s father was active in the establishment of the local eruv.

    Rabbi Aldersteins comments are appreciated, and his use of historical contexualizing is helpful. However he fails to respond to the issue of the reactions Noah experienced to the question of saving a non Jewish life on Shabbat. As well, for many in the Orthodox community, many troubling texts are seen as normative and not troubling!

    Dr. Abrahams of Jerusalem certainly treats those texts as normative. He claims RSZA — his Rebbe — does not even accept the possibility of other viewpoints. I had this discussion with him which made me upset a few years ago. I note that others and certainly the vast majority of MO sources in US disagree with Dr. Abrahams and Noah Feldman.

  28. Steve Brizel says:

    IMO, this article should and must serve as a wake up call for MO rabbis, educators and parents. Like it or not, one can be a class valectorian in an eminent MO yeshiva, runner up in the Chidon HaTanach, attend Harvard, Yale and Oxford and lose one’s faith committment rather easily if one does not have ample and thorough preparation in one’s home, community and school as to Torah, Mesorah, Halacha and Hashkafa. Not at all of us are Yechidei Sgulah who can emerge from such a milieu unscathed.

    We have to realize that just as one is forbidden to walk into or inhabit a structure that is dangerous or on the verge of caving in on us. I think that this article indicated what happened to one of the most brilliant young men and women in his generation. One can only shudder and realize that many other young men and women are tested in this environment because it is a huge culture shock, regardless of whether they have attended a yeshiva or seminary in EY. One can only hope that this article leads to more discussions about the cultural, social and intellectual dangers to one’s faith on the average college campus, as opposed to assuming blindly that 12 years of yeshiva education are a sufficient preparation for the same.

  29. Bob Miller says:

    Regarding Comment by Steve Brizel — July 29, 2007 @ 12:26 pm:

    Parents have to understand that campus life and curricula have not remained the same since they went to college (although, in truth, these aspects of college have not been all that kosher ’til now either). They owe it to their kids and themselves to understand what goes on at the colleges under consideration and also what Orthodox Jewish resources are available to students there.

  30. janey, uk says:

    I read Noah Feldman’s article with increasingly mixed reactions. On the one hand I can sympathise with the bitterness he must feel at being airbrushed out of the reunion photo and not having the birth of his children recorded in the alumni magazine. On the other hand …. come on, you’re a big boy now … stop bleating about what you know was the inevitable reaction by your Orthodox alma mater. Doesn’t it say in Pirkei Avot that the wise man foresees the consequences of his actions? And by all accounts Feldman is a bright guy. Maybe he’s got political ambitions and he’s pinning his colours to the mast?

    By the way, can anyone imagine a Jew walking by a dying person on Shabbat on the grounds that they are a non-Jew? I can’t. Contrast with the 2 doctors who have been charged in the UK with attempted terrorist offences on Glasgow airport. Ok ok I know they haven’t been convicted.

  31. mycroft says:

    IMO, this article should and must serve as a wake up call for MO rabbis, educators and parents. Like it or not, one can be a class valectorian in an eminent MO yeshiva, runner up in the Chidon HaTanach, attend Harvard, Yale and Oxford and lose one’s faith committment rather easily if one does not have ample and thorough preparation in one’s home, community and school as to Torah, Mesorah, Halacha and Hashkafa. Not at all of us are Yechidei Sgulah who can emerge from such a milieu unscathed

    IMHO there is a more basic question-relevant at least to dorm schools. The gezerah of stam yenam is for a purpose-doesn’t living together in late adolescent, early wo’s in a dorm-especially a mixed dorm immediately lead to the problems that the gezerah of stam yenam was supposed to avoid leading to.

  32. Garnel Ironheart says:

    RE: Steve Brizel’s comments.

    In his biography of the Seridei Eich, Marc Shapiro notes the essential difference between the Chareidi and the Modern Orthodox – An MO upbringing, more often that not, creates an individual who is pious and observant but not necessarilly the most learned. However, because they have learned about the outside world, they are less likely to be seduced by it. The Chareidim can create gedolim through their intense approach to Torah but because they don’t teach their children how to interact with and resist the temptations of the outside world, they lose many children to secular culture.
    Hence the difference between how Orthodoxy in Germany resisted the advances of Reform in the 19th century while at the same time the Haskalah was devastating the Eastern European yeshivah community.
    I might ask a different question: what percentage of Noah Feldman’s high school class is still frum, MO or otherwise, today? And if I took a comparable graduating class from a chareid yeshivah and sent them through univerity and the working world, what percentage would still be frum in 10 years?

  33. Steve Brizel says:

    Mycroft and Garnel Ironheart-Your excellent points are just two of the many issues that IMO need to be discussed, as opposed to being swept under the carpet.

  34. Baruch Horowitz says:

    “And if I took a comparable graduating class from a chareid yeshivah and sent them through univerity and the working world, what percentage would still be frum in 10 years?”

    From a different angle, that’s essentially an age-old question between the Spanish and French approaches regarding emunah peshutah vs.chakirah, and insularity vs. integration(to limited extent, TIDE vs. Torah Only). Who is better? The one who faces an intellectual challenge for the purpose of overcoming it and is successful to an imperfect extent, or someone who is unaware of intellectual challenges in the first place(or minimizes them), and thus has stronger emunah, because of lack of exposure to a challenge.

    The Mesorah in the charedi world is basically to eschew emunah al pi chakirah and minimize intellectual encounters with secular thought, certainly for the multitudes. As far as challenges regarding an action(maaseh vs. machashavah), I think all agree that it’s better, in theory at least, to avoid a nisayon or to minimize it. Of course, all of the above is a over-generalization between the two groups(eg, even in the YU world, a rosh yeshivah recommended to the college certain changes in the curriculum from a halachic perspective), and practically, one should seek spiritual advice as far as which college to attend, if at all.

    To tie the above comments regarding college with the previous “Yeshivish” thread, there was a article in the May 24, 1998 Sunday Times by Samuel G. Freedman(again the Sunday Times!), titled “Yeshivish at Yale”(on a lighter note, apparently, even a cheilek fuhn unzer oilam can attend a makom like Yale, and still be machshiv themselves as “Yeshivish”, as one of the Yale Five plaintiffs was quoted in the article). I quote the following(many would disagree with the last paragraph):

    “In choosing her classes, [Plaintiff A] sought the advice of a rabbi. The required composition course included a reading on abortion. When discussion turned to such a topic, [Plaintiff A] says, she sought refuge in silence. ”I figured,” she explains, ”that I can always talk next week.”

    The other plaintiffs tell similar stories. [Plaintiff A] took a course in Roman history that included lessons in early Christian doctrine. [Plaintiff C], a 20-year-old biology major from Cedarhurst, N.Y., regularly encountered evolutionary theory and acknowledges that he tries ”not to think” about whether it squares with the Torah’s account of creation. Yet each of the Yale Five insists on a fundamental distinction between the intellectual challenges of course work and the moral challenges of living arrangements.

    ”When something is said in a classroom, you can listen and write notes and it doesn’t make an impression on you,” [Plaintiff A] says. ”But when you’re in an immoral environment, it has a detrimental effect. Actions are just more detrimental than words. They aren’t good for one’s soul.”

  35. Robert Lebovits says:

    Re Garnel Ironheart:
    I can’t speak to the question of how many MO high school grads are still frum 10 years after, but I am a grad of a Chareidi HS & more than half of my class of 125 went on to university. More still went on the working world. I don’t think 10% are outside the frum world today. Then again, that was then and this is now. Few yeshivos today are accepting of the idea that their grads may go on to university. Mine was a generation were it seemed to work. Interestingly, our sons have chosen a different path, prefering to limit their secular lives and advancing their Torah studies as their life’s work.
    It would be inaccurate to say that 19th century Germany successfully resisted Reform incursions. Remember that when Rav S.R. Hirsch arrived in Frankfurt the entire established Kehilla had become Reform. He built an Orthodox Community out of a core of 10 families. Similar events were occuring in other major German Jewish communities. In Eastern Europe the Haskalah was certainly drawing yeshiva students to its agenda. Nevertheless, the Chareidi world managed to hold onto the bulk of its young people and sustain great Torah centers.
    America is neither Germany nor Eastern Europe. Perhaps no model precisely fits our challenges and opportunities. What is clear is that if Torah does not come first in one’s world view – irrespective of the degree of secular exposure – assimilation is inevitable. Noah Feldman is a perfect example of that.

  36. Mark says:

    Garnel writes:
    “However, because they have learned about the outside world, they are less likely to be seduced by it. The Chareidim can create gedolim through their intense approach to Torah but because they don’t teach their children how to interact with and resist the temptations of the outside world, they lose many children to secular culture.”

    I’m sorry Garnel, but this is a myth. Do you really believe that MO kids are not seduced by secular culture? You must not get out much if that’s the case. The number of MO kids in college dating non-religious and sometimes non-jewish girls, ignoring the rules of kashrus etc… is far higher than the number of ex-yeshivah bochurim doing the same. [In fairness – many kids who identify MO are not really religious to begin with but that’s another story].

    “And if I took a comparable graduating class from a chareid yeshivah and sent them through univerity and the working world, what percentage would still be frum in 10 years?”

    I can’t speak for all Yeshivos but in my eight grade graduating class of 36 boys from a well-known Brooklyn Yeshivah, all 36 are frum and app. 30 spent a number of years in Kollel. Out of the entire grade which comprised over 100 kids, all are frum with one exception [a boy who landed up in jail due to criminal behavior stemming from mental problems.] Not too bad at all.

  37. Yitzchok Adlerstein says:

    Dr. Abrahams of Jerusalem certainly treats those texts as normative. He claims RSZA —his Rebbe—does not even accept the possibility of other viewpoints

    This is very perplexing. I myself heard – at great length and in umistakeable and clear fashion – a long talk about this directly from Dr Abraham. He related in no uncertain terms that RSZA held that a Jewish physician ALWAYS treats a non-Jew on Shabbos; that no distinctions whatsoever should be made as to cirumstances; that the psak of gedolei olam that a Jewish physician should violate not only d’oraysos and not only derabbanans included the absolute judgment not to make distinctions. The thinking behind it may be utilitarian, but the bottom line was unequivocal.

  38. David says:

    I also spoke with Dr. Abraham about this issue. But this is rather silly – he has written on this subject and is accessible to all. See Nishmat Avraham 1:225; 2:42-45, 188; 5:174, 178. The entire set is available in Hebrew at http://www.medethics.org.il.

  39. dr. william gewirtz says:

    Please read among marc shapiro’s letters in the R. YY Weinberg ztl to Prof. Atlas AH collection (among the last few before he died) one on this topic and the footnotes including the one about the Rav ztl. It is among the most disturbing/controversial letters in the collection and rather germane. I do not know if the depiction of the Rav’s position is accurate as portrayed; I will ask some who would know. But, I do rememeber vividly R. Aaron Soloveitchik ztl last mussar shmuss at YU before leaving for chicago (1967)(parshat acharei mot/kedoshim) that talked about savings gentiles on shabbat and three or four other subjects. Because other parts of the shiur so overwhelmed (for me) the discussion of this topic, I do not trust myself to repeat it (in any detail.) But, I believe he gave strong arguments that saving a gentile is not just utilitarian, and i believe he said something to the effect a Gadol (NOT RSZA ZTL) who had just said otherwise must had been “misunderstood.” Though he was very serious about his opinion, i think “misunderstood” may have been respectful on his part. I think i remember the name of the Gadol, but am not absolutely certain. There were at least a dozen tape recorders in the room; anyone with better details?

    Beyond what i remember of R. Aaron Soloveitchik, I do not know how many gedolim (even among the CO world) would either say that saving a gentile is mandatory not just for utilitarian/mipnei darchei shalom reasons, or at least say it is ethically challenging to say just utilitarian. Prof. Feldman would consider absolutley saving a gentile but only for utilitarian purposes as scoring points and perhaps a knockout.

  40. mycroft says:

    I might ask a different question: what percentage of Noah Feldman’s high school class is still frum, MO or otherwise, today? And if I took a comparable graduating class from a chareid yeshivah and sent them through univerity and the working world, what percentage would still be frum in 10 years?

    Comment by Garnel Ironheart

    Unfaair question-oine must factor in the different family backgrounds of the students who go to chareidi vs MO schools.

    Dr. Abrahams of Jerusalem certainly treats those texts as normative. He claims RSZA —his Rebbe—does not even accept the possibility of other viewpoints

    This is very perplexing. I myself heard – at great length and in umistakeable and clear fashion – a long talk about this directly from Dr Abraham.

    I had a discussion wioth him-and he was NOT willing to even accept the possible legitimacy of other viewpoints-which there clearly are.

    The thinking behind it may be utilitarian, but the bottom line was unequivocal.
    How you think of people is crucial To this day I have often discussed with people my upset with his approach-which he claims is RSZA’s approach-primarily with fellow schul goers-who heard him a few years ago-as a guest speaker in my schul.

  41. Bob Miller says:

    Commenters here often say that this or that MO upbringing or course of study will inoculate young Jews against “culturally transmitted diseases” from later close contacts with the outside world.

    If it has been tried for years, should’t we have some compelling evidence of its effectiveness? Then, why try to dazzle us with reasoning? Show us the data.

  42. Steve Brizel says:

    WADR, I don’t think that comments re the supposedly superior nature of Charedi chinuch are helpful to the discussion. The key remains that while there is much within MO as a hashkafa to commend it as a serious hashkafic choice for a committed Jew, one must live in this world with his or her eyes open to the fact that 12 years in a MO environment for the average student are not necessarily ample protection for jumping head first into today’s college atmosphere. IMO, that is wnat is called recognizing that adjustments should be made accordingly, as opposed to jetiisoning the proverbial baby with the bathwater.

  43. a kronenberg says:

    re: Comment by anonymous — July 28, 2007 @ 11:59 pm

    I would like to respectfully request that if you have something important to say, that seems to be novel, that you respect the readership (and yourself)and sign your name.

    To me, at least, your signing ‘anonymous’, is in effect telling me not to take your opinion very seriously.

  44. Robby Berman says:

    Concerning Rabbi Adlerstein assertion that Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach and Rabbi Dr. Abraham Abraham make no distinction between Jew and non-Jew concerning life saving measures, I think he might be mistaken concerning organ donation.

    As to the values that are being transmitted from one generation to the next, as to what is normative, as to how far can we generalize that this is a prevalant Jewish attitude…

    As the founder and director of the Halachic Organ Donor Society (www.hods.org) I have lectured to more then ten thousands (mainly Modern) Orthodox Jews over the past 6 years concerning halacha and organ donation. I am always confronted, in every lecture, with an objection (or in the form of a question) made that we Jews are not allowed to donate organs to non-Jews.

    Certainly this objection put forth by high school students that I encounter is not made based on a halachic understanding of the limits on the parameters of Pikuach Nefesh vis a vis issur nivul hamet.

    I always ask the person inquiring on what basis are they even asking the question. Their response usually is that it is just a feeling they have that Jews don’t save the lives of non-Jews if they don’t have to.

    This is what the “Modern” Orthodox (and I would imagine those to the right) are imparting to their students.

    What shall we do about it?

    Robby Berman

  45. Garnel Ironheart says:

    Listen, I’m sure the posters who noted that most of their class stayed frum are 100% accurate about their observations. It also sounds like these yeshivah high schools were rather progressive for the “black-hat” world in that the students planned on having careers and didn’t live such insulated lives.

    As I myself have said before, one cannot generalize about at group.

    However, I would still posit that putting a class from Maimonides up against a class from a chasidic yeshivah where the kids have had minimal to no interaction with the outside world would be an interesting experiment. I agree that many Maimonidies kids would be lost but I’m not so sure theirs would be the higher tally.

  46. Mark says:

    Garnel,

    “In his biography of the Seridei Eich, Marc Shapiro notes the essential difference between the Chareidi and the Modern Orthodox…”

    I think this statement is very reflective of where you go wrong – you’re getting your facts from books, not personal experience. No matter how many places you read about the “ever-growing numbers of Chareidi youth leaving the fold” the facts on the ground make it clear that their numbers are nowhere close to approaching those of the MO community. This is an undeniable fact and one that gives me no pleasure at all. It is a tragedy of the highest proportions and the MO community is engaging in suicidal behavior by pretending that the problem is “equally great among the Chareidim” and therefore unworthy of further attention. I suspect that there are many reasons for their deep slumber on this issue, but in the meantime they’re losing some of their best and brightest and it’s well within their ability to stem the tide IMHO.

  47. Noam says:

    Dr. Avraham has a lengthy discussion of the topic in Nishmat Avraham, I will b’n. have a cite by tomorrow.

  48. Nachum Lamm says:

    “When something is said in a classroom, you can listen and write notes and it doesn’t make an impression on you,” [Plaintiff A] says. “But when you’re in an immoral environment, it has a detrimental effect. Actions are just more detrimental than words. They aren’t good for one’s soul.”

    I hope Hashem helped Plaintiff A, because s/he’s sadly deluded.

    That whole case always seemed a disgrace in my eyes, and the quotes you’ve given drive the point home.

  49. MaimoParent says:

    As a current Maimonides parent, I think that a more valid question would be, what percentage of CURRENT Maimonides students even keep the basics. Judgeing by the kids my kids bring home for shabbat (& I hope (& believe) that this is not skewed by the type of kids my kids are friendly with), the percentage of High School kids in Maimo that are Shomer Shabbat & Kashrut is about 80%, and the percentage of boys who bring tefillin when they know they will be away from home on Sunday Morning is much lower than that.

    As a counterpoint, as a class project, one of the seniors did a survey of his classmates regarding intent to be shomer negia, & came up with surprisingly high percentages.

  50. Mark says:

    Garnel,

    “It also sounds like these yeshivah high schools were rather progressive for the “black-hat” world in that the students planned on having careers and didn’t live such insulated lives.”

    I’m sorry to disagree with you on this but that’s not the case. The yeshivah I went to is rather mainstream black-hat and very few of my peers attended university to earn a degree. Almost everyone of them spent at least a few years in Kollel and many of them went on to work in Chinuch etc.

    “However, I would still posit that putting a class from Maimonides up against a class from a chasidic yeshivah…”

    You can’t change the rules in middle of the game. Now you’re talking about Chasidic schools, which are vastly different than the standard Chareidi yeshivah [think Torah VoDaas, Torah Temimah, YOB, etc.] where secular studies are studied three hours daily, the students play sports etc.

  51. Baruch Horowitz says:

    “I hope Hashem helped Plaintiff A…”

    So do I(I have no idea how the story ended).

    As I implied, I think Plaintiff A was inarticulate by saying that “you can listen and write notes and it doesn’t make an impression on you”, but is nevertheless overall correct that a distinction should be made between the added, and possible greater risk inherent in staying in a co-ed dorm, versus the mere risk of being exposed to secular material(while the latter risk may be minimized in a college under Orthodox auspices, there are elements of such risks in certain courses at YU/Touro as well).

    You can take the position that the Yale 5 were mistaken in their attempt to force their right’s to obtain an Ivy League education ,davka, at Yale with the dorm requirement(there were conflicting views within the OU organization), but the mere fact that a person exposes him or herself to secular material, shouldn’t mean that they lose the right to avoid the possible greater risk to Yiddishkeit inherent in living a co-ed dorm.

  52. Steve Brizel says:

    Mark-Please don’t argue that since less Charedim leave observance than MO Jews, that MO is a failure. Like it or not,the “off the derech” phenomenon knows no hashkafic boundaries. If anything is true, family, community and schools are the critical factors in an analysis of that issue-not the type of school, hashkafa or community.

  53. Bob Miller says:

    “However, I would still posit that putting a class from Maimonides up against a class from a chasidic yeshivah where the kids have had minimal to no interaction with the outside world would be an interesting experiment…
    Comment by Garnel Ironheart — July 30, 2007 @ 12:20 pm

    Let’s stop positing here and offer some demonstrated facts.

  54. Yitzchok Adlerstein says:

    Robby Berman –
    Concerning Rabbi Adlerstein assertion that Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach and Rabbi Dr. Abraham Abraham make no distinction between Jew and non-Jew concerning life saving measures, I think he might be mistaken concerning organ donation.

    I can’t be mistaken about something I didn’t say. My words clearly refer to medical treatment on Shabbos, not organ donation. The differences between them are numerous. This is clearly evidenced by the Roshei Yeshiva in the top tier of halacha resources at YU who will tell their talmidim to save the life of a non-Jew on Shabbos without hesitation, but do not subscribe to your organ donation program.

  55. Baruch Horowitz says:

    “Like it or not,the “off the derech” phenomenon knows no hashkafic boundaries”.

    Dr. Aharon Hersh Fried in the recent Hakirah Journal(“Are Our Children Too Worldly?”) in fact writes that “off the derech” exists equally everywhere, but in different degrees:

    “To different degrees the problem of “children at risk” or “children alienated from, or just cold and indifferent to, Yiddishkeit” exists about equally in every segment of the frum community, from the very chassidic, through the yeshivish, to the Modern Orthodox. I don’t really see any fundamental differences between the fences built by Torah Vodaath, Chaim Berlin, and the Mir and the fences built by Satmar, Skver, Bobov, and Gur, certainly not in the past 10-15 years. My experience is that even the more “Modern Orthodox” have similar, though lower, fences, accompanied by similar problems and conflicts. Thus each group at its level ought to look at what it is doing”

    Also, while I agree that one needs to demonstrate the point(just as one needs to show statistics that MO has a higher drop-out rate), it is not only the “Modern Orthodox” who have argued that TIDE, when exercised correctly, has the ability to blunt the force of the Haskalah, but Hirschians as well. See this Avodah post:

    http://www.aishdas.org/avodah/vol16/v16n027.shtml#08

  56. Mark says:

    Steve,

    “Mark-Please don’t argue that since less Charedim leave observance than MO Jews, that MO is a failure.”

    I’ve never said any such thing. I’ve taken issue with Garnel who insists that Chareidim are ill-prepared to face the world and therefore suffer more casualties. They don’t, and it’s not even close.
    As far as my opinion on the MO situation – I have no problem whatsoever with someone saying that we cannot produce a generation of Kollel-niks and we need to educate our youth to enter the professional world etc. That’s all fine and good. What’s inexcusable IMHO is when that becomes the whole story and not enough thought is put into ensuring that the medium used to educate the youth is conducive to Torah values. Unfortunately far too many MO parents send their kids to universities that pose Hashkafic problems and serious temptations to kids who are very ill-prepared to deal with them [frankly – I don’t believe there’s a method available to inoculate ones child from the many irresistible temptations of CERTAIN colleges]. The parents and the MO leadership must take a much greater interest in promoting attendance at universities that don’t pose the same problems [YU etc…] It is in this area that they have failed their youth so far and IMHO this is the single greatest danger facing the MO community today. They owe it to their kids to create venues where their children can get a kosher secular education. To preen about how MO education better prepares the kids to enter the world, is to dance on the deck of the Titanic.

  57. Tal Benschar says:

    R. Adlerstein: your rejoinder to Robby Berman misses the point somewhat. The Roshei Yeshiva who would not encourage organ donation (or maybe discourage it) has to do with the definition of death, not with any difference between Jews and non-Jews. Those (like R. Aharon Soloveichik z”l) who hold that the current definition of “brain death” does not fit the halakhic definition of death would hold that organ donation is impermissible to help anyone, either Jew or Gentile, because the donor is halakhically still alive. (And by the time he or she is halakhically dead, the organs are no longer viable, except perhaps for the cornea.)

    Robby Berman — the halakhic justification for what these teenagers were asking you is right here on this blog. Organ donation clearly involves nivul ha met, a Torah prohibition. Assuming you can get around the objection based on definition of death, then you need a hetter for that issur.

    Pikuach nefesh is the most obvious hetter. However, as should be clear by now, that is a hetter only for Jews, not non-Jews. AFAIK, every halakhic authority agrees with this point — the hetter of pikuach nefesh applies only to save the life of a Jew.

    The hetter discussed here is mishum eiva — that the gentile world should not hate us for failing to save their life on Shabbos, for example. That is a solid hetter in halakha, and far be it from me to question someone like RSZA as to its applicability. (I heard the same thing in the name of R. Moshe Feinstein from a reliable source.)

    However, and this applies to many of the apologists here, it is still a different hetter with different parameters.

    I very much doubt that there is any real risk of eivah in the context of organ donation, since the vast majority of people in our countries do not donate organs, and there are also other religious objections (see the discussion of brain death above) which have nothing to do with differences between Jew and Gentile.

    This highlights the limits of apologetics, however. The mere fact that the practical halakha of saving the life of a Jew and of a Gentile on Shabbos is the same does not mean that there is no difference between them. How you get to the practical halakhic conclusion has both theoretical and practical ramifications.

    Whether or not it makes some here uncomfortable, the bottom line is that the Torah does treat the life of a Jew and of a non-Jew differently. Any discussion which does not recognize this is either apologetics or wishful thinking.

    (BTW, the difference is not always to the non-Jews’ detriment. As the gemara in Sanhedrin holds, while a Jew is obligated to sacrifice his life instead of worshipping idols, this does not apply to non-Jews. Presumably, a non-Jew could also benefit from items devoted to idolatry, whereas a Jew is forbidden to be healed from the “trees of the Asheira,” many holding that is yehareg v’al yaavor for a Jew.)

  58. Menachem Daum says:

    The Chafetz Chaim, who was undoubtedly familiar with the Meiri, nonetheless castigates Jewish doctors who violate Biblical prohibitions in saving the lives of gentiles on Shabbos: “Know that the doctors in our time, even the most observant, are not careful about this at all, for every Sabbath they travel beyond the borders of the Sabbath domain to heal those who worship the stars, and they write [prescriptions], and grind substances [to prepare medicines] — and they violate the Sabbath willfully and completely, G-d save us.” (Mishnah Berurah, 330, subsection 8.) Being that this was written only a century ago it is clear that the reference to “those who worship the stars” is not referring to ancient pagans. It clearly refers to contemporary Christians in Poland. Are Modern Orthodox Jews prepared to dismiss the Mishna Berurah as outside current normative Orthodox Judaism?

    Rabbi Y.Y. Weinberg (1885-1966), who wrote the Seridei Eish, was a scion and gadol of Modern Orthodoxy. He studied in Mir and Slabodka before WWI, became the Rosh Yeshiva of the Orthodox rabbinical seminary in Germany set up by Rabbi S.R. Hirsch, survived the concentration camps and spent the remainder of his very unhappy life in Switzerland from where he wrote his highly regarded responsa to questions from all over the world. He was very unhappy and was afraid to be honest about his innermost feelings with most of his Orthodox colleagues and correspondents except for his good friend, Professor Samuel Atlas, a Reform Rabbi. An article containing this correspondence was published a few years in a YU journal and caused a considerable ruckus. You can see the article here: http://www.yutorah.org/_shiurim/TU7_Shapiro.pdf. See especially the 8th page (pg 112) and the 14th page (pg 118). He painfully concludes that that our halachos and attitudes toward gentiles have contributed to the anti-Semitism we have suffered from throughout the ages. He painfully says, “God knows I have written this with the blood of my heart, the blood of my soul”. Rabbi Weinberg agonizes over the issue but seems unable to resolve it.

  59. Robby Berman says:

    Comment by Yitzchok Adlerstein: “I can’t be mistaken about something I didn’t say. My words clearly refer to medical treatment on Shabbos, not organ donation. The differences between them are numerous.”

    Rabbi Adlerstein, the point you were making both in your original article and in your reference to Orthodox Jewish doctors who violate the Shabbat to save non-Jewish lives, was that in practice Orthodox Jews are directed not to make a distinction between the life of Jew and non-Jew and you brought Rabbi Dr. Avraham Avraham and Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach as supporters of this position.

    My response to you was you might be mistaken on the issue of organ donation (typically a life saving procedure – thus the comparison) where those Rabbis mentioned feel a brain dead donor might actually be halachicly alive and thus they feel that it is better to leave Israel and go abroad to receive a critical organ transplant because then the brain dead donor that is being “murdered” will most likely be non-Jewish thus demonstrating on a practical level that they view the life of a non-Jew to be worth less than a Jew.

    As far as your comment about YU Rabbis not registering for the HOD Society organ donor card; while many have done so publicly appearing in our advertisements and on our website (such as Rabbi Dr. Norman Lamm, Rabbi Moshe Tendler, etc) others have registered for our card asking us not publicize their names. These you are not privy to.

    Of the remaining who don’t register for an organ donor card it is because they reject brain death, as Tal Benschar pointed out, and, even though they could register for the HOD Society organ donor card and choose the option to express their desire to donate organs at cessation of heart beat, they feel uncomfortable associating with an organization that recognizes brain death as a valid halachic option which in their mind would be tantamount to murder.

    Comment by Tal Benschar — July 30, 2007 @ 9:05 pm
    I very much doubt that there is any real risk of eivah in the context of organ donation, since the vast majority of people in our countries do not donate organs, and there are also other religious objections (see the discussion of brain death above) which have nothing to do with differences between Jew and Gentile.

    I respectfully disagree with Tal Benschar in that the combination of Jews not donating organs combined with that of Jews taking organs causes a great amount of animosity in the medical establishment by healthcare workers who are treating Jewish patients. I have heard these feelings expressed by physicians in Belgium, New York and Pittsburg.

    One US transplant physician told me, and I remember his comment word for word because I will never forget them, “I hate treating Jews and Israelis because on the issue of organ donation you are a people of takers and not givers.” I imagine that any Jew or Israeli, including Tal Benschar, would not want to be treated by this physician for fear of eivah.

  60. Moshe says:

    The real key quote from the NYT article was where Feldman said that he hoped that his O friends would place personal friendships ahead of the need to define boundaries (or something to that effect). That is precisely the message of LWMO when it comes to Yiddishkeit (the personal incilnation to go to Ivy Leagues, wear shorts to shul, etc. trumps religious standards.)

    Generally, on this issue of whether feelings trump standards (which is the crux of virtually every debate over the past decade, [due to the constant infiltration of Western liberal values which surely hold that feelings win] (gays defining marriage, gals defining gender roles, laymen defining who gets to have an opinion re Torah guidance, et al, ), the answer is:

    Charedi: of course standards trump personal feelings.
    LWMO: au contraire.
    RWMO: confused. Primarily, because Rabbis Hershel Schachter, Jeremy Wieder, and Norman Lamm speak in very different voices, and the gap is very wide if not impossible to bridge.

  61. Yitzchok Adlerstein says:

    Tal is right, Robby is right. Even I am right – albeit about a different issue.

    Tal and Robby are correct about the reasons for the hesitation about organ donation. I simply didn’t want to get into the reasons for the difference between saving a life on Shabbos and donating organs, and just wanted to make the point that they are different. The chief hesitation of opponents to donation applies to donating to Jews as well, that the harvesting of organs is an act of murder in many cases if one does not subscribe to so-called brain death as a valid criterion. (There may be other hesitations as well, owing to issues of whether a meis has a proprietary interest in his own body, and also issues of whether the criterion of meis lifenecha applies in all cases that organs are routinely harvested.) For that matter, chilul Shabbos is also not a Jewish v. Non-Jewish issue, since midinah deGemara, one cannot violate Shabbos for a Jew who flagrantly violates Shabbos.

    I was right, I believe, in my insistence about what R’ Shlomo Zalman ruled regarding the bottom line – that we treat non-Jews on Shabbos without making any disinctions, or any determination of whethr aivah is a factor in the individual case. See Nishmas Avraham vol. 4 pg 49

    Menachem – You too are right about the Chofetz Chaim. But he can be read both ways. Clearly, he disagreed with the practice. And he does not cite the part of the Chasam Sofer that has become SOP today. But it is also clear that all Jewish doctors he knew were routinely treating non-Jews! For the purpose of fending off the damaging and antisemitic fallout from the Feldman piece, widespread practice of Jewish doctors is going to be more important than the theoretical objections of the Mishnah Berurah.

  62. joel rich says:

    I think this statement is very reflective of where you go wrong – you’re getting your facts from books, not personal experience. No matter how many places you read about the “ever-growing numbers of Chareidi youth leaving the fold” the facts on the ground make it clear that their numbers are nowhere close to approaching those of the MO community. This is an undeniable fact and one that gives me no pleasure at all. It is a tragedy of the highest proportions and the MO community is engaging in suicidal behavior by pretending that the problem is “equally great among the Chareidim” and therefore unworthy of further attention.

    WADR a generalized “undeniable fact” based on personal experience is a non-sequitur. We all have a problem to work on.

    Generally, on this issue of whether feelings trump standards (which is the crux of virtually every debate over the past decade, [due to the constant infiltration of Western liberal values which surely hold that feelings win] (gays defining marriage, gals defining gender roles, laymen defining who gets to have an opinion re Torah guidance, et al, ), the answer is:

    Charedi: of course standards trump personal feelings.
    LWMO: au contraire.
    RWMO: confused. Primarily, because Rabbis Hershel Schachter, Jeremy Wieder, and Norman Lamm speak in very different voices, and the gap is very wide if not impossible to bridge.

    WADR I think you are way off-base. I have attended shiurim by R’ Schachter for years and R’ Weider gave a weekly gemara shiur that I attended. While their approaches are different, imho neither in their wildest dreams would say personal feelings trump standards. Do personal feelings have a role in halacha – of course (are all are women chashuvot?) – do we still have to sit and cry (but offer no solution)with a giyoret who brings an off-the -derech Jew back to yiddishkeit only for both of them to find out right before their marriage that he’s a kohen? Of course.

    KT

  63. Steve Brizel says:

    Mark & Moshe-I think that the key should be “due diligence.” The key is which college provides suits a student’s religious and educational needs BUT only after thorough research of the issue. I would agree that proactive discussion, research and on campus visists are necessary for due diligence on this issue and that one should remember that some students may find their religious niche on an Ivy campus as opposed to YU or vice versa. However, if we learn anything from this article, we need more frank discussion and due diligence than assuming blindly that one type of environment is inherently better. I would also hesitate to using stereotypes about MO in addressing this issue. Comments about attire certain perceived religious standards within MO are IMO extraordinarily counterproductive and not the way that one can begin or advocate for a discussion about due diligence.

  64. Steve Brizel says:

    Menachem Daum-welcome aboard! I enjoyed both of your documentaries immensely.

    [Co-Editor’s Note: Me too!
    Yitzchok Adlerstein]

  65. Mark says:

    Steve,

    “Comments about attire certain perceived religious standards within MO are IMO extraordinarily counterproductive and not the way that one can begin or advocate for a discussion about due diligence.”

    I’m not sure if you’re addressing me here or not. I don’t believe I’ve mentioned anything about attire in this discussion.

    My point was that if MO feels that a college degree is a necessity, they must prepare the students adequately for that and emphasize to parents constantly that not all universities are equal. In fact, the dangers are immense and it’s risky and every precaution must be taken to ensure the success. The OU should speak about this often, the rabbanim should not let up on the issue, the YI should pay strong attention to it.

    To my dismay, the greater MO world does not do this and not only do their children suffer as a result, but they also lose alot of credibility because it’s hard to see how dedication to Halachah is placed on an eqaul footing with secular education, when oftentimes, more emphasis is placed on the quality of the education than on ensuring the spiritual well-being of the student.

  66. Charles B. Hall says:

    “The Chafetz Chaim, who was undoubtedly familiar with the Meiri, nonetheless castigates Jewish doctors who violate Biblical prohibitions in saving the lives of gentiles on Shabbos….Are Modern Orthodox Jews prepared to dismiss the Mishna Berurah as outside current normative Orthodox Judaism?”

    The answer to your question is yes. Charedi Jews, too. I am unaware of any rabbi would paskens according the the Chafetz Chaim today regarding this issue. My wife is a physician and from time to time must treat seriously ill patients on Shabat; she treats non Jews the same as Jews. All this is with the approval of her posek, a well-regarded talmid chacham. Furthermore, in the United States, any physician who treated non-Jews differently from Jews for any reason would lose his or her medical license.

    Dr. Feldman knows all this. His presentation reminds me of the parts of the New Testament where Jesus gets into trouble for healing Jews on Shabat. Dr. Feldman knew exactly what he was doing and I can not escape the conclusion that it was a deliberate attempt to make Judaism look bad to the general public.

    “the personal incilnation to go to Ivy Leagues”

    While I am on the faculty of Yeshiva University and of course would like to promote it (!) it is only fair to point out that many secular colleges, including some members of the Ivy League athletic conference, have very strong and vibrant Orthodox communities today. Ironically, much of this is due to the efforts of YU President Richard Joel, whose efforts of Hillel before he came to YU have ironically have his biggest competition.

    Regarding the Yale 5, I always thought that Yale was unreasonable but totally within their rights. There is no constitutional right to force a private organization to change its ways. A victory by the Yale 5 might well have triggered similar efforts to force YU to change ITS policies!

  67. mycroft says:

    who wrote the Seridei Eish, was a scion and gadol of Modern Orthodoxy. He studied in Mir and Slabodka before WWI, became the Rosh Yeshiva of the Orthodox rabbinical seminary in Germany set up by Rabbi S.R. Hirsch,

    I may be wrong but I believe the Berlin Yeshiva/Seminary was HIldesheimer’s not Hirsch.-Big difference

  68. Baruch Horowitz says:

    “He was very unhappy and was afraid to be honest about his innermost feelings with most of his Orthodox colleagues and correspondents except for his good friend, Professor Samuel Atlas, a Reform Rabbi”

    The Sredie Aish’s keen sensitivity in these matters was also evident, to a lesser extent, in his public writings, as R. D. JJ Shachter wrote in a subsequent Torah Umaddah article.

    To comment on a topic which I know Menachem Daum shares an interest in, there was a discussion on the Zev Brenner Radio Show(NYC, around 2004), in response to publicity caused by two separate factors, about the relative success that insular segments of the Orthodox community have in balancing particularism versus universalism in education. The question then came up whether the radio forum, itself, was the proper venue for discussion(I would add, that when talking of a communal issue or concern, there is always a concern of not sufficiently emphasizing the degree that is indeed proper and correct).

    As I recall, the Right-wing panelist felt that a open radio forum was the wrong forum for an issue that should rightfully be dealt with internally, while the Centrist representative was not sure if sufficient internal dialogue had taken place as of that time(while I am unfamiliar with the private educational sphere, I did notice that the March, 2004 Jewish Observer, has since published “With Kindness and Respect”, apparently to address this issue). Although the occasion of the radio forum was indeed born out of necessity, I would add parenthetically that, halevai, there should be additional opportunities for amicable discussion in the higher levels of the Centrist-Charedi divide!

    Returning to the topic, I feet that both panelists were correct. There is a concept of “internal dialogue”, which every society needs to have, and both Modern Orthodoxy and Right-Wing Orthodoxy are no exceptions. On the other hand, the Centrist representative also had a point, in that there needs to be more internal dialogue on this particular issue, and what’s more, communication to the public regarding ongoing efforts(it’s obviously not a one-time issue), so that wrong impressions are not formed (for example, Rabbi Adlerstein touched on this positive aspects that may be found in insular communities, such as the 9/11 hospitality). I think re-addressing the topic, would cushion any fall-out from the Feldman article, both the concept that thoughtful people will have of Jews and Torah Judaism, and perhaps as well concerns of anti-Semitism, to the extent that the latter was affected.

    Beyond this specific issue, there is the larger point which was elsewhere raised in 2004 in this connection, “if there were a forum for the open discussion of ideas in the haredi world, that’s the right place for [discussing] this idea. But there’s no place for it”. That was three years ago, and indeed, the lack of a medium for an open, safe, exchange of ideas has clearly been shown to be an unhealthy situation. On the other hand, a forum such as this one, could serve as one way towards ameliorating this latter, more general aspect that is part of the problem.

  69. Baruch Horowitz says:

    As far as online resources on the subject of Orthodox Jewish students attending secular college campuses, I remember listening to a radio interview on OU Radio titled “The Power of One”(# 29, about a year ago in the archives), regarding OU’s JLIC program on the University of Maryland, and campus life in an Indianapolis college; there was a good discussion there on the pros and(I imagine, mostly) cons of attending a university not under Orthodox auspices. See also this link:

    http://www.ou.org/publications/ja/5763/5763summer/KEEPINGT.PDF

  70. dr. william gewirtz says:

    Menachem Daum asks: “Are Modern Orthodox Jews prepared to dismiss the Mishna Berurah as outside current normative Orthodox Judaism?”

    Categorically, in a word: YES; because you add the term normative but pls read on.

    Us MO’s (see the Rav ZTL – shnei minai Mesoret) as far as I can tell, do not normally dismiss any Posek as being outside of the realm of Torah relative to the question: is what they wrote a part of our scope for Limmud Torah – i.e. do we fulfill the mitzvah of talmud Torah for studying it. But in terms of Psak, in this case where the psak is overwhelmingly in the minority and, parenthetically, others where the Mishnah Brurah gave insufficient weight to Minhag Yisroel Saba, or suggests a chumrah to be Yotzai Lechol Hadeyot, the Mishnah Brurah is not dismissed but also not always followed.

    I will however add this to my list of examples where Chachmei HaMesorah had an uncanny ability to get it right, even when they were not. Perhaps if we saved fewer Poles, a few more Jews would have survived the Shoah. Or perhaps the Mishnah Brurah had better insight into his Polish neighbors.

  71. Steve Brizel says:

    Mark-IMO, the Feldman article, the well known leaflet about religious observance and college campuses and “Off The Derech” have all helped launch this very important issue. However, as in all issues, the key is how the message is presented to a potential audience. I am not arguing with your point, but in terms of how to present the issue in a cogent, non-judgmental and intelligent manner. Simply stated, a mussar shmuess that the Ivy League is filled with dangers is IMO both ineffective and an approach that will alienate the individuals who would benefit from or considering attending lectures, etc on what I call exercising “due diligence.”

  72. mycroft says:

    Furthermore, in the United States, any physician who treated non-Jews differently from Jews for any reason would lose his or her medical license.

    Should be irrelevant to an Orthodox Jew-IF we were following the Chafetz Chaim. Too often, one hears explanations from certain professionals-otherwise I couldn’t make a living. The Torah answer of course-is do something else-even if not earning what Brahmins earn. Torah should take precedence. I am not saying that we are following the Mishna Brurah-but the reason cited by Charlie Hall is not a legitimate reason. I suspect a lot of paskening for professionals may be simply that they go to who paskens the right way for them.

    including some members of the Ivy League athletic conference, have very strong and vibrant Orthodox communities today. Ironically, much of this is due to the efforts of YU President Richard Joel, whose efforts of Hillel before he came to YU have ironically have his biggest competition

    Hillels serve all Jews-a Hillel Director ike a chaplain can’t let his personal beliefs influencd how he serves his clienteld. Of course, Hillels were big decades before Joel at Hillel. I used the services of some of them during my post YU time decades ago.

  73. Menachem Daum says:

    Perhaps if we saved fewer Poles, a few more Jews would have survived the Shoah. Dr. William Gewirtz

    Or perhaps if we had saved a few more Poles, or at least if our chayders in Poland taught that Polish people are fellow human beings created in G-d’s image who are worthy of being saved, then more Poles would have been inclined to reciprocate and save Jews during the Nazi occupation.

  74. Ori Pomerantz says:

    Charles B. Hall: Furthermore, in the United States, any physician who treated non-Jews differently from Jews for any reason would lose his or her medical license.

    mycroft: Should be irrelevant to an Orthodox Jew-IF we were following the Chafetz Chaim. Too often, one hears explanations from certain professionals-otherwise I couldn’t make a living. The Torah answer of course-is do something else-even if not earning what Brahmins earn. Torah should take precedence.

    Ori: Wouldn’t doctors be a special case? A medical license isn’t just a way to make more money. It’s a tool that lets you practice medicine, saving lives as part of your daily job. Preserving the ability to perform this Mitzva is not the same as having a higher standard of living.

  75. Menachem Daum says:

    Menachem Daum-welcome aboard! I enjoyed both of your documentaries immensely.

    [Co-Editor’s Note: Me too!
    Yitzchok Adlerstein]

    Comment by Steve Brizel — July 31, 2007 @ 4:56 pm

    Thank you for your kind words.

  76. Yitzchok Adlerstein says:

    It might be appropriate to mention that more Righteous Gentiles – non-Jew who saved Jews during the Shoah – came from Poland than any other country. To be sure, there was no shortage of vicious antisemites in Poland, but that should not negate our recognition of the opposite as well.

    Life is complex. People are complex.

    Furthermore, in the United States, any physician who treated non-Jews differently from Jews for any reason would lose his or her medical license. mycroft: Should be irrelevant to an Orthodox Jew
    Perhaps not. Acting to evade severe consequences MAY turn the action into a derabbanan. Some have compared the situation (I don’t recall who, and whether they are people who really figure in the overall halachic conversation) to that of the Maharik #137

  77. mycroft says:

    Furthermore, in the United States, any physician who treated non-Jews differently from Jews for any reason would lose his or her medical license. mycroft: Should be irrelevant to an Orthodox Jew
    Perhaps not. Acting to evade severe consequences MAY turn the action into a derabbanan

    One can’t put oneself into a position where one would be required to violate halacha.

    Ori: Wouldn’t doctors be a special case? A medical license isn’t just a way to make more money. It’s a tool that lets you practice medicine, saving lives as part of your daily job. Preserving the ability to perform this Mitzva is not the same as having a higher standard of living.

    Lets assume air traffic controllers work on Shabbos, utility workers also work on Shabbosthey clearly save lives-Ori would you say a Jew can become an air traffic controller, utility worker-or other positions.

  78. dr. william gewirtz says:

    “Or perhaps if we had saved a few more Poles, or at least if our chayders in Poland taught that Polish people are fellow human beings created in G-d’s image who are worthy of being saved, then more Poles would have been inclined to reciprocate and save Jews during the Nazi occupation.”

    Comment by Menachem Daum — August 1, 2007 @ 1:57 am

    I do not know if there is any evidence that Jewish doctors in Poland ever did anything other than save gentiles on the Sabbath.

    I also assume they taught Pikei Avot in cheydar and they learned “Chaviv Adom … ” that includes Gentiles. How they explained the differences with “Chavivin Yisroel …” and what they taught about the reasons for saving gentiles on the sabbath was and is the real issue. However, what we taught/teach pales in significance, given the centuries of persecution and hatred. Think twice about blaming the victim, to any degree, regardless of what we ought be teaching.

    Before I read “the” article that shabbos, a young man, who had also not read the article, but was teaching the perek that afternoon, asked for pshat in the mishnah above (which is why I remember it in this context). I told him, i am not sure, but I think that the singular versus plural should give him enough to darshan.

    Despite what I would like the accepted MO position to be, given that anti-semitism is hardly a solved problem, coupled with the nature of the halachic process, it would be difficult to expect much beyond utilitarian heterim from the majority.

  79. Anon says:

    Rabbi Adlerstein, I agree with you that Noah Feldman may have done us a favor in forcing us to deal with some of our texts in an honest way and to remember to teach our children that not every Talmudic statement regarding gentiles is meant to be taken literally or is meant to apply to contemporary gentiles. The problem that I am struggling with is how we should deal with Rabbis who go the opposite extreme. Specifically, I am familiar with a very prominent charedi Rabbi who tells people that tax evasion and outright gezel akum are both permissible as long as there is no realistic possibility that you will get caught and cause a chillul hashem. This Rabbi has told people that the fact that the Shulchan Aruch (as well as all of the other major sifrei halacha) paskens that gezel akum and tax evasion are forbidden should not be taken seriously as they had to worry about anti-semitism so they sometimes said things were forbidden in respect of gentiles that are truly permitted. In other words, he goes to the other extreme — he says that we have to reinterpret sources in our tradition that say that it is forbidden to steal from gentiles. How should I deal with such a Rabbi? I (as well as others) have heard him say this on a number of occassions. He is obviously a lone opnion in this regard but some people have told me that “elu velu” should apply to him as he is a big talmid chochom so he has a right to his opinion. Others have told me that he is no different than a Reform rabbi (and perhaps worse because he presents himself as an Orthodox Rabbi) because he is willing to simply disregard the accepted halachik mesorah on this matter by simply saying that the rishonim and acaharonim did not mean what they said. I would be grateful to hear from others as to what our attitude towards this Rabbi should be and how we should respond to his statements.

  80. Steve Brizel says:

    For those interested, R D N Lamm has a wonderful column in this week’s Forward. As many know or should know by now, Professor Feldman admitted that there is no evidence whatsoever supporting his claim that he was photocropped out of the picture at issue. Once again, the credibility of an author in the NY Times and the lack of fact checking by the NY Times rears its head. Paging Jason Blair anyone?

  81. Robert Lebovits says:

    Re: Charedi Insularity vs. MO Interactivity

    Does anyone recognize how different the Jewish experience is for those of us living “out of town” as opposed to the NYC/NJ area? Regardless of level of observance and presentation, engagement with non-Orthodox and with the Gentile community is a way of life. The concept of Kiruv is not reserved for professionals but is the province of every observant family. In the work place there is a keen awarenes that one’s actions are representative of what Torah is about.
    So be careful when making generalizations about who does and who does not “mix”. Out here we ALL do.

  82. rak says:

    regarding anon’s comments it was difficult for me to believe the stories regarding this rabbi, as he would be paskening against the gemara. In fact, on mail-jewish, the attribution of this position to the rabbi in question was challenged, and he denies that this is his position and is reported to be upset that this is being repeated in his name.

  83. Steve Brizel says:

    Menachem Daum-We all know that Chasidei Umos HaOlam Yesh Lahem Chelek BaOlam Habaah. However, one can argue from an objective reading of history, as opposed to even relyong in a secondary nature on drush, etc. , that Chazal emphasized “Chasidei Umos HaOlam” as opposed to stating that “Kol Umos HaOlam” because the Chasidei Umos HaOlam represented exceptional individuals of high moral character and courage who went against the tide to help Jews in times of persecution or who served as political allies of the Jewish people. Given the rather unrelenting presence of anti Semitism in pre WW2 Poland and all of Europe, IMO, the claim that if we had revised our opinions about non-Jews in chederim strikes me as both unrealistic and not borne out by the historical evidence and facts available to any student of history of that period.

  84. Steve Brizel says:

    For those following the aftermath of Feldman’s admission that he was not photocropped, the OU has just sent a statement to the Times requesting and demanding that the NY Times terminate the services of Feldman as a contributing editor to the NY Times Magazine.

  85. Shawn Landres says:

    I’ve been thinking about where to post this – here seems as good as any. With respect to Jewish attitudes toward non-Jews, far more powerful than anything Professor Feldman has written in the NYT is a documentary by Menachem Daum (himself Orthodox) called “Hiding and Seeking: Faith and Tolerance After the Holocaust” (2004). Essentially the film tells the story of Daum’s realization that his sons and grandchildren (also Orthodox) were beginning to have and express uncomfortable opinions about the essential human worth of non-Jews. In response, Daum took his sons to Poland to introduce them to the Catholic family which had saved the Daum family’s life during the Shoah. It’s a powerful film which does not shy away from revealing multiple perspectives on the issue.

  86. Steve Brizel says:

    Having read and reread the article and the responses, including the letters in today’s NY Times Magazine as well as the absence of any corrective or Public Editor’s notes therein, IMO, I think that a stronger response is necessary. I think that a mitzvah by miztvah, halacha by halacha response , without any apologetics on any of the mitzvos and halachos, is important and can be written by any committed MO person who is a Yodea Sefer-regardless of whether he or she attended YU or an Ivy League school.

  87. Anon says:

    Rak, the rabbi in question absolutely said what was attributed to him and there is more than one source that can confirm it. I am sure that the rabbi in question is upset that his statements are known as he knows that people will not react kindly to his views. In fact at a public lecture he said that he will lie about his views in respect of these issues if he is asked about it.

  88. Upset says:

    I am quite disturbed by RAK’s post regarding the denial of a certain so called Rabbi regarding the statements that were attrubuted to him. Although I never heard him directly speak about any of these issues, I heard from at least ten different people that he said the comments that were attributed to him regarding tax evasion and I know of at least one person of impeccable integrity that this rabbi made the statement that was attruibuted to him regarding gezel akum. A number of people (including myself) have urged this person to go public to prevent this rabbi from continuing to espouse his heretical and very dangerous views but he has resisted this because of a concern of further spreading the exisitng chillul hashem that this rabbi has created. Someone should tell this rabbi that his words of sheker in denying what he said (some of it publicly) might lead some of us to be forced to go public to expose his lies.

  89. Steve Brizel says:

    Now that the dust has settled after the intellectual tornado caused by this article, IMO, we should think about some long term means of addressing the issues raised by the article. While I certainly advocate a halacha by halacha and mitzvah by mitzvah response, the same belongs in MO schools, shuls and camps begining with the article, the responses and then proceeding to each of the mitzvos and halachos raised in the article. The same does not belong in the secular media.

  90. Shawn Landres says:

    I apologize for reading too quickly and missing the fact that Menachem Daum was taking part in the conversation! My fault for starting to skim after the 50th or so comment. But my point, and my respect for the film, of course remains the same.

  91. Steve Brizel says:

    If you have read the exchange of letters between the OU and the N Y Times, the Times is playing editorial and literary hardball with respect to the utter lack of evidence of photocropping. I would not lose sleep waiting for a Public Editor’s note on this article.

  92. Bob Miller says:

    How many such embarrassments will the NY Times, The New Republic and other such publications have to create for themselves before they try doing responsible journalism?

    The Times’ declining circulation has already led its brain trust to shrink the paper, but that’s not quite all they need to do.

    I have little expectation that they will ever catch on.

  93. Yehoshua Friedman says:

    As for the literary hardball of the NYT, it is part and parcel of the nature of the power elite which latches on to every Henry Kissinger or Noah Feldman that they can get their hands on. Prof. Feldman is not only a professor at Harvard, he is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), which generates US bipartisan foreign policy. Every US Sec. of State since 1919 has been a member. The renegade Jew is approached with favors and playing up to his ego. He knows where his bread is being buttered. The Ford, Carnegie and Rockefeller Foundations place their money where it will be detrimental to Israel and the Jewish people. But we have Hashem on our side. Our job is first to recognize the enemy.

  94. Y.E. Skaist says:

    Menachem Daum,
    Isn’t it clear from the Mishna Berurah that you quoted-
    “The Chafetz Chaim, who was undoubtedly familiar with the Meiri, nonetheless castigates Jewish doctors who violate Biblical prohibitions in saving the lives of gentiles on Shabbos: “Know that the doctors in our time, even the most observant, are not careful about this at all, for every Sabbath they travel beyond the borders of the Sabbath domain to heal those who worship the stars, and they write [prescriptions], and grind substances [to prepare medicines]”
    — that it was the widespread practice of Jewish doctors in Poland to transgress Shabbos for gentiles?

  95. michoel halberstam says:

    Regarding the question of healing non jews on Shabbos. It is well known among Poskim in our generation that both The Chasam Sofer and the Divrei Chaim were Matir this. In fact many poskim are amazed at how little credence these psakim received from the Mishna Berura. The Divrei Hayim says that this practice derives from the Heter of the Vaad Arba Hoarotzos. I have hear it repeated by a prominent rav in Eretz Yisroel that R. Shlomo Zalman Auerbcah stated that given the nature of communication in our world, it borders on pikuach nefeh were a Jewish doctor to refuse to treat a non-Jew. The list of Gedolai Yisraoel who are matir this practice is very long. Unfortunately the halacha does not proceed uniformly in its development. Nevertheless one does not address an issue like this by simply citing the Mishna Berura

  96. Yehoshua Friedman says:

    Was the CC really familiar with the Meiri? It was only published from MS in the 20th century, probably after the CC was no longer around. Check out the dates. The Chazon Ish opposed figuring the Meiri into psak for the very reason that there was no masoret limud over the generations. If the CC had had it to take into account, it might have made a difference.

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