Weekly Digest – News and Essays In and Out of Orthodoxy – Week of Parshas Vayikra 5776

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9 Responses

  1. Y. Ben-David says:

    Regarding the so-called “egalitarian” tefillah site near the Kotel, it is clear that the Orthodox Establishment by making such a big deal out of this, they are doing more to strengthen the R and C presence in Israel than they themselves have done.  The fact is that the O Establishment manages to accept things far worse than this such as public Hillul Shabbat even in places like Jerusalem makes many of us wonder why they decided to make this such a “make-or-break” issue. I heard on Radio Kol Hai two of their presenter literally screaming that this  has to be fought all the way to the end. Why? The R’s wrote Eretz Israel out of their movement more than a century ago. While they have since modified this, neither they or the C’s who have always been nominally pro-Zionist have had had any success in motivating any numbers of their followers in the US to actually make aliyah and to build synagogues and other institutions in Israel. Add to that how many of the Israeli allies of the R’ and C’s are MERETZ people like Anat Hoffman who actually view the Kotel as being in “occupied territory” and even being nothing more than just another “illegal settlement” so the reality is that should the Robinson’s Arch platform get “recognition” few people would actually pray there other than R and C visitors from the US. However, the hysterical response by the O Establishment, including the use of insults that really should be beneath our dignity to use is merely inflaming the situation and mobilizing support FOR the R’s and C’s that wouldn’t be there otherwise. This leads me to think that the REAL motivation of those opposing it is NOT to prevent it from being implemented (which it will be in any case) but rather to “mobilize the troops” internally and to create the perception of some sort of religious war against outside groups that really doesn’t exist because, as I said, real modus-vivendis are accepted in other situations by the O Establishment.  Very sad.

  2. Bob Miller says:

    About martial arts training to live in De Blasio’s NYC:

    This shows again that voting has consequences.   Those Orthodox machers (and others) who fawned over the arch-leftist De Blasio for personal or supposedly communal gain need to reconsider.

    • sberman says:

      I was far more anxious to walk the streets of NY during the Dinkins era than I am now.

      I think we all need to resign ourselves to worsening conditions for Jews. The influx of Muslims with the anti-Semitic attitudes they harbor is inevitable. NY may not yet be as dangerous as Paris, but it will come. Recently my son was accosted by a group of Muslims who yelled “allahu Akbar ” and spat at him. This happened on a shabbos in the middle of Flatbush. We are deluding ourselves if we view anywhere in galus as being safe. And we are further deluding ourselves if we think the answer is learning karate.

  3. dr. bill says:

    I find the mikveh controversy telling.  The quote from Rabbi Kariv raised two important points, though perhaps the first is irrelevant to this issue.  First, are we committed to a Jewish AND democratic state? I think that attitudes of readers of this blog may vary.  Second, he raised the slippery slope argument.  Could you imagine not allowing a convert by Rabbis Rabinovitch or Stav use of a state-funded mikve?

    On a more related note, didn’t the Rav ztl and his brother RAS ztl, disagree on this issue?  I also remember a story (perhaps a tale) of RAL ztl, a reform convert and a mikve 50+ years ago.  Mycroft or others might remember more.

    • mycroft says:

      Don’t know the tale-I am aware that the Rav was in favor of letting non-Orthodox clergy using communal mikvaot for their “conversions.” I am aware that the Rav was choshed that a Reform conversion that had milah and tvilah could be a kosher gerus and thus a women “reform Convert”who was married even by Reform Rabbis required a get to get remarried.

      “Rav ztl and his brother RAS ztl, disagree on this issue”

      Not sure on the pronoun reference-but as a general statement the Rav and RAS were close but had  different opinions on many different issues. A mistake to believe that brothers have same opinions and a fortiori to assume that uncles/nephews, grandparents/grandchildren have the same opinons.

    • Steve Brizel says:

      Dr Bill wrote in part:

      “First, are we committed to a Jewish AND democratic state? I think that attitudes of readers of this blog may vary.”

      Some general observations:

      1) who determines when Jewish values ( i.e. Halacha and Jewish continuity as defined by adherence to Halacha) trumps and superceds democratic values? I am reminded of William Buckley’s observation that he would always prefer to have issues of policy decided by the first 50 names in a Boston phone book as opposed to the sensibilities of a majority of the  Harvard faculty

      2) who defines democratic values-the coalition politics in every coalition and the Knesset or the rabidly secular High Court, or those known in the media , academia and the left for their strong dislike of anything that remotely smacks of “religious coercion”?

      3) since when are such values identical either to the First Amendment establishment and free exercise clauses and should they be as interpreted in the US where establishment clause claims and the values supporting the same seem to take precedence over free exercise claims?

      • dr. bill says:

        I take your response as a no.   My question was not about the details, which are clearly complex, but about overall desirability.  I was curious about Jewish and democratic, not halakhic and democratic. I view halakhic and democratic as impossible, resolvable perhaps only in messianic times.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        “Jewish and democratic” are vague terms without such definitions as halacha, constitutional and/or parliamentary styles. I think that Orthodox Jews, regardless of their individual hashkafa always have to remind themselves that they are a minority whose rights to free exercise should not be governed by the majority will of the nanny state and what is the au courant definition of democracy , namely that religious values may be trampled so that we may validate lifestyles that are completely contradictory to Halachic values. I also think that a Halachic POV  that is rooted in my obligation and how I fullfil and/or transgress it cannot be rationalized together at times with a contemporary liberal POV that focuses on individual rights.

  4. Steve Brizel says:

    Great story about Amirah LAkum in practice. I know the subjects of the story who are great Ohavei Yisrael.

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