The Ugly Side of Idealism

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4 Responses

  1. Jacob Suslovich says:

    I have three comments. First:

    “Not idealism as we colloquially use the term to refer to the ability to place other values over one’s immediate self-interest, but rather “the concept that mankind and society could and should be perfected.”

    Does that mean that there is no point in trying to perfect mankind and society. Or only if the price of electricity won’t go up as a a result.


    “Rabbi Elazar Menachem Shach, the late leader of the yeshiva world, used to say that the elevation of one mitzvah or one Torah value above all others inevitably leads to an utter distortion of the Torah and a loss of all balance.”

    Does that apply to sitting in Kollel at all cost?

    Third, and this is the main reason for my commenting, who is O’rourke ?

  2. Baruch Gitlin says:

    I think this is an excellent post. I think Rav Shach was very right, both in general and specifically with respect to the emphasis on yishuv haaretz by many elements of the dati leumi world, particularly at that time. It’s only a shame there isn’t someone of Rav Shach’s stature to give this musar to the haredi world of today with respect to its unbalanced emphasis on tzinut and limud Torah. Derech agav, I used to think that an over-emphasis on limud Torah was impossible, since Torah study encompasses all of the mitzvot, but I believe that the scandals involving falsification of student records at yeshivas, and other such things, have proven me wrong.

  3. Mr. Cohen says:

    I could be wrong about this, but according to my very small understanding it appears that in our times, tznius has become a reason (and/or excuse) to hate Jews who are less tznius.

    When I see super-tznius ladies who would never dream of showing a knee or elbow or collar bone viciously slander their fellow Jews, even Jews who never harmed them, it makes me wonder:

    Might we be better off with less emphasis on the external aspects of tznius and more emphasis on: Ahavat Yisrael, patience and judging others favorably?

  4. DF says:

    You quote Rav Shach to the effect that elevating one mitzvah above all others eventually distorts distorts Torah and leads to a lack of balance. Yet today we hear the notion of “learning” taught and preached on literally a daily basis. So if the author is still reading this, I would like to know:: does Rav Shach’s rule apply to the mitzvah of learning Torah, too? Or is that for some reason an exception to the rule.

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