Quite Unconventional

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11 Responses

  1. Yeshivishe Liberal says:

    Chabad had this idea 50 years ago. The rest of the frum world is finally waking up to the urgency and pretending like it’s something new. I can’t wait for the Litivishe mitzvah tanks.

  2. Eytan Kobre says:

    Dear Mr. Liberal,

    Must you be so negative and cynical about something you seem to agree is positive and encouraging?

  3. Bob Miller says:

    The self-described Yeshivishe Liberal alleged “kiruv patent infringement” as if that
    (1) happened in fact
    (2) makes non-Chabad achievements meaningless

    This foolishness looks like a way to stir up machlokes where there is unity of purpose.

  4. Shoshana says:

    I have to agree with Mr. Kobre. I wasn’t there and I am Lubavitch and although the Lubavitcher Rebbe disagreed with the terminology (He didn’t like the term “kiruv rechokim” at all) I’m also extremely INSPIRED by this write up and wonder if I’m doing everything I could be doing in my comfortable little neighborhood of Crown Heights. Also, I was impressed with the diversity of the people who were there. In Lubavitch we say that everyone is “on shluchus.” Whether we run a chabad house or not, we’re all able to do our part, but am I doing my part? Thanks for the food for thought.

  5. Eytan Kobre says:

    Dear Mr./Ms. Me (I’d address the commenter with “Dear Me,” but I’m afraid that’d be misunderstood),

    Your first question is precisely the one Rabbi Orlofsky addressed
    so well.

    As to your second point, could you provide an example of “flimsy, unsophisticated ‘proofs’ and ideas” in material produced by Project Inspire?

  6. Baruch Pelta says:

    FYI, as of this write-up, the comment of “Me” has not been posted, but Mr. Kobre’s 2:33 response has. I find it interesting that (IIUC) all the rabbanim whose names were mentioned in this piece are Litvish haredi.

    In any event, I went to Kiruv.com — “A Project Inspire Initiative” — and found a whole section of “proofs.” For example, they discuss the Kuzari Principle (“Did God Speak at Sinai”), which has been rather convincingly debunked in several places (I only don’t make the exact references because I’ve seen in the past Cross-Currents censors such references, as is their prerogative). I do think those of our rabbis, our websites, and our books who preach our worldview should be preaching things which are fundamentally true.

    That being said, I do think we need more of a “honest-to-goodness unity, the natural, organic, kind, among a most diverse spectrum of frum Jews” and I find it a good — nay, great — sign that haredim were clinging onto the words of a physician in a colored shirt with a leather kippah and that he showed up to participate in an event run by (IIUC) Aish Hatorah. That is Aish at its best.

  7. Eytan Kobre says:

    Dear Mr. Pelta*,

    Why do you find it interesting that “all the rabbanim whose names were mentioned in this piece are Litvish haredi”?

    As to your point about the Kuzari principle having been “convincingly debunked,” do you therefore believe it constitutes a “flimsy, unsophisticated proof” in the words of “Mr. Me,” or merely one to which others having responded in ways that you find compelling? You use of the term “debunk” would seem to indicate the former, but why?

    In any event, I believe the Kuzari principle, at least when correctly explicated, is alive and well and quite as strong as ever as evidence (I abjure proofs, as you apparently do) of the Torah’s origins. Please do contact me off-line; I can’t wait to see how its been “convincingly debunked.”

    * Thanks for using your own name; how refreshing!

  8. Shades of Gray says:


    First, thanks for the illuminating description, which I enjoyed, of the rather unconventional Convention !

    Perhaps when discussing the Kuzari Principle you should start by defining whether the Kuzari is “emunah peshutah” or “chakirah”; even more fudamentally, to define what “emunah peshutah” is. If the Kuzari is “emunah peshutah”, and not the same type of thinking as “chakirah” of Rishonim, how exactly does one present it in kiruv as “evidence” ?
    (incidentally, the term “chakirah” originated , I believe, with issues such as unity of God, a different ikkar than the 8th).

    Put differently, the issue might be how the Kuzari Principle interacts with any challenges to traditional Jewish history through the time period of the entire chain of mesorah. The Kuzari can be presented as a super-logical idea, but some of the challengers, I think, are not looking to debate logic, but are looking from outside sources(eg, issue of Bayis Sheni years, or any other issue). The issue for them would be to deal with the outside sources directly; on the other hand, that might enter a negative aspect of “chakirah”, ie, dealing in depth with challenges that have the potential to create doubt in the mind of those unaware of them. Certainly the outside challenges aren’t presented publicly to frum audiences in, say, Project Chazon or Project Inspire.

    Another point is that some/many frum person or potential BT’s might lack backround in outside sources, or(l’havdil) a solid grounding in Nach and other relevant sources(many people, myself included, never learned Doros HaRishonim, which interestingly, some gedolim learned cover to cover and valued), so that is why the seminars might go with the Kuzari which is basic.

    You can contact me offline if you prefer, post this, or subsume this in a response, but I think the above might be behind some of those questioning the Kuzari, or at least the way it’s sometimes presented. It is always useful to clarify what is behind a question, and this might shed some light on it.

  9. Bob Miller says:

    We ought to distinguish between proofs and very plausible arguments or demonstrations. Our life on earth is designed such that we need to be able to exercise free will, so an absolutely conclusive proof that no one whatsoever could question should be hard to find. We go on with faith based on our best information and judgment, sometimes risking or losing our lives defending Torah principles. I wonder if Baruch Pelta really leads his life in “show me 100% provable certainty or else go away” mode.

  10. Baruch Pelta says:

    I have emailed Mr. Kobre my response.

    I wonder if Baruch Pelta really leads his life in “show me 100% provable certainty or else go away” mode.
    Well, that’s an easy one: I don’t. Good thing I never said that. I live my life in, “What do I believe is the most plausible” mode?

  11. Jewish Observer says:

    “We ought to distinguish between proofs and very plausible arguments or demonstrations”

    – building on this, it is common practice in Talmud for Rishonim or Acharonim to bring “proofs” to their positions that can obviously be refuted by their thought-opponents. Every kushya that Tosafos asks on Rashoi can be answered by Rashi, and TOssafis KNOWS the answer (if I do he / they surely do!). So are the Tosafos biewng disingenuous by cuuting these as proofs?? No!!! Calling them proofs is a shorthand for saying that these “proofs” suggest to Tosafos to lean his way versus Rashi’s. As has been suggested here, it comes down judgment of what is most reasonable, after weighing the pile of “proofs” on either (or all) side(s) of an issue. Do we have “proof” that bank into which we deposited our money will give it back to us?? YES, if you are willing to use the word colloquially as reasonable people do.

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