Jews and Civilization

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20 Responses

  1. Samuel Trepper says:

    Germany, which as you say was the most “highly civilized” and educated country in the world is what gave us the holocaust. That highly civilized people.

  2. Samuel Trepper says:

    The frum community in Brooklyn does not (by and large) vote for the Democrats. Look at the voting records on the precinct level, particularly Boro Park, Williamsburg, Flatbush, etc. and you will find unusually strong Republican support.

  3. Yossel says:

    You don’t seem to realize that the only reason this bill passed into law was because of the Republican state senators who voted for it. Additionally there were a number of Democrats who opposed it for years , right to the end. Get your facts straight please, before you make sweeping statements.

  4. Nachum says:

    She acknowledges that right off the top.

  5. Michael Makovi says:

    Let me first say that I adore everything said about TIDE and loving gentiles, etc. Thank you, Rn’ Toby. You know how much I love Rav Hirsch.

    That said, I must object to the statement that “we—moral Jews and members of other traditional faiths—have lost this battle.”

    No, religious Jews and Christians won the battle, only we were fighting the wrong battle. We should have been fighting for marriage as a holy institution of God subject only to the jurisdiction of a man, a woman, and God, together, as an independent, sovereign triumvirate. Instead, we fought for marriage as a secular institution founded on the will and desire and prerogative of the State. So the religious won the battle. It’s just that we were like the football player who gets spun around, and confused, runs the wrong way into the opposing side’s goal.

    It may be that various nations were destroyed for writing homosexual marriage contracts. So be it. Let God destroy whomsoever He may. But we can still abolish civil marriage and return marriage to God’s jurisdiction. Let everyone write his own marriage contract, as a private matter, free of the State’s jurisdiction. Rav Hirsch himself says, in “Religion Allied to Progress”, that both the Reform and Orthodox authorities erred in appealing to the German civil authorities for any religious legislation or protection. No religious person should ever seek for the civil government to intervene in religion. I think Roger Williams was correct when he said the garden of the church had to be protected by an absolute wall of separation from the pernicious and corroding influence of the desert of the state. Religion is too sacred to let it be politicized. Let us abolish civil marriage, let everyone marry on his own (as the halakhah states: a man, a woman, two witnesses, and God – no government, no state, no authorities), and if any individuals sin by committing homosexuality in private, without two witnesses (as the halakhah requires), then let God deal with them.

    For us to endorse civil marriage, is to commit bal tosif. Nowhere does the Torah grant the civil government authority over marriage.

  6. Michael Makovi says:

    I think the principle of Austritt as well would dictate that we should not be partners with the State in the matter of religion. If we should not join with Reform Jews for organization or institutional matters (as opposed to personal relationships, which Rav Hirsch had no problem with), then all the more so with the State! If we cannot belong to a Reform synagogue, why should we submit marriage to the secular, gentile government? At least the Reform Jews were Jews!

  7. Bob Miller says:

    Clearly, some people have only a veneer of high civilization and others really are highly civilized. I wonder which, if any, non-Jews Samuel Trepper would put into the latter category. Perhaps, he can also name any frum Jewish officials in Greater NYC who do not identify as Democrats.

  8. Charlie Hall says:

    The most outspoken opponent of the same sex marriage bill in Albany was Sen. Ruben Diaz of the Bronx. On economic issues he may be the most left wing member of the Senate. He is a Democrat; his district, like most of the rest of the Bronx, is basically a Republican-free zone. (Obama defeated McCain in the Bronx by 89%-11%.) Sen. Diaz is a tremendous supporter of Israel and of Jewish causes.

    Republicans in New York have NEVER been fiscal conservatives. We are still paying for the public works projects of Robert Moses and Nelson Rockefeller — both Republicans.

    And Republicans in New York aren’t necessarily interested in the right wing social agenda, either. Rockefeller was the first governor in America to sign a bill that legalized abortion on demand for any reason — passed by a legislature with Republican majorities in both chambers. Another Republican governor signed the state’s Gay Right’s law — passed by a Republican Senate. And of course as pointed out, the Republicans could have killed the same sex marriage bill, but did not.

    We are very lucky that here in New York both Democrats and Republicans are very generous in their support of Jewish social service agencies, many of which are mostly government funded. People outside of New York can’t imagine that there could be so many Jews in need of such support.

  9. Charlie Hall says:

    “Perhaps, he can also name any frum Jewish officials in Greater NYC who do not identify as Democrats.”

    There must be some, but I can’t name any. The Republican Party in most of NYC exists on paper, not in reality. (Republicans might want to ask themselves how is it that in a city that hasn’t elected a Democratic mayor in 22 years, it can’t create any kind of a party organization and its candidates for state and national office consistently lose by landslide margins.)

  10. Cohen y says:

    R’ Elchonon Wasserman was asked who will eventually win the second world war, responded England will, as they still keep those three (the lowest level) while Germany no longer has respect for the Bible.

  11. Melanie says:

    Secular society no longer calls those relationships illicit, and the previous lack of availability of marriage contracts did nothing to influence any gays or lesbians to rethink their choices.

    I’m not so sure fighting about legislation regarding secular marriage (and thereby financial benefits of being one household) is where we want to be.

    Unfortunately, the medina shel chessed (country of kindness = USA) is on a steep decline. And talk about disregarding Torah: it has been documented that much of the financial backing for the anti-milah legislation is coming as retaliation from the gay community for the efforts that were made against gay marriage.

    Was it worth it? Is it always better to, um, die trying?

  12. L. Oberstein says:

    I first heard of Rabbi Nachman Bulman from a girl Pam Forman at an NCSY Convention many years ago. Then I heard him speak about Polish Jewry betweeen the wars at Yu. Years later, I attended an all day semimnar of 17 Tamuz at Ohr Samayach where he spoke and our final encounter was at his granddaughter’s wedding in Toronto. Overall, he impacted on many people I know and left behind a great legacy. may his memory be for a blessing.

  13. cohen y says:

    This same attitude is even more widespread, and is given a patina of intellectual respectability, by the liberal Modern Orthodox Jews of Teaneck and Manhattan and many other communities. “It’s none of our business what other people do, we can’t impose our will, yada yada.” Or even worse, “Why should homosexuals be denied their chance of happiness, why should the Torah have anything to say about it?”

    This is an understatement,many were an outright fifth column.After hearing the press releases from the MO,they have no need to bother filing an intellectual and spiritual Chapter 11.

    “Was it worth it? Is it always better to, um, die trying?”
    On an issue like this, yes.

    “never surrender ,never give in”,and eventually we wil reach “the broad,sunlit uplands”
    (Churchill)

  14. c says:

    Michael Makovi 11:22

    R’s Hirsch and Breuer implied otherwise.

  15. Samuel Trepper says:

    “Perhaps, he can also name any frum Jewish officials in Greater NYC who do not identify as Democrats.”

    There are only approximately two truly Orthodox elected officials altogether in NYC. So this is hardly demonstrative of anything.

  16. Raymond says:

    Once again, I feel like maybe I am missing some vital piece of information that keeps me from quite understanding what is going on here. To my mind, right is right, wrong is wrong, and that settles the matter. Virtually all abortions are an extreme act of evil, and the idea of gay marriage is so outrageous to me that I still have a hard time believing that anybody can take it seriously. My views here are in line with Torah values, so I do not understand how any traditional Jew can vote against such moral principles. We are supposed to do the right thing as much as we can, regardless of how much contempt or lack of contempt we may have for the gentile world.

  17. Bob Miller says:

    Samuel Trepper July 31, 2011 at 3:27 pm:

    “There are only approximately two truly Orthodox elected officials altogether in NYC. So this is hardly demonstrative of anything.”

    Without getting into what “truly” is, I point out that I did not limit the scope to elected officials. The point is that the frum world is not so separate from the world of socially liberal and libertine Democrats, as we might like to believe.

  18. dovid2 says:

    Toby, it’s nice to hear from you again.

  19. Eli says:

    I find it intriguing that when judging a political party’s standard of morality, the two item the inevitably dominate the conversation are always homosexuality and abortion. Are these two topics really the the entirety of our moral obligation in this world? As far as i know, they relate two a sum total of two mitzvos, that’s all. Our social responsibilities to our fellow man on the other hand, extending a helping hand to those who are failing financially, mentally physically etc. does truely make up the bulk of torah mitzvos. So if the choise is to vote Republican for the sake of two mitzvos, or to try to promote anagenda of social justice, representing a much broader gamut of the torah, is the choise so obvious? I don’t think so.

    Also I’ve never understood why it’s acceptable to refer to Rav Hirsch by his last name. Would we ever find that acceptable regarding one of the great rabbis today?

  20. Bob Miller says:

    The phrase Social Justice is not the same as the reality. Anyone with eyes open has seen movements ostensibly dedicated to social justice that instead foster lifelong, multi-generational subservience to and dependence on government. True social justice includes empowerment of the individual, the family, and the community, not the state.

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