Passover: A Message of Personal Responsibility

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11 Responses

  1. dr.bill says:

    (part of) our mesorah as well as the biblical text tells a more realistic story.  according to our mesoreh it took ~1000 years for the jews to willingly accept the torah, a period often dominated by widespread idolatry and mayhem.  in the text, acceptance was quickly followed up by as bad an example of back-sliding, as one can imagine.

    transformations take time; the consequences of trying to shorten the process can be unfortunate to the extreme.

  2. Steve Brizel says:

    The goal of the Exodus remains paramount that is the acceptance of personal responsibility for ones actions and errors and the rejection of rationalizations for the same. Your question is a fair statement of the fact that a willing acceptance of TSBP took much longer is correct if one realizes and understands that such was necessitated by the building of the Golden Calf and the numerous events and episodes of spiritual decline described in Tanach.

  3. joel rich says:

    the issue is the expansion of the category of anuus(compelled?) activities. of course a pure physicalist would say all activities are predetermined by our biology and thus “compelled”

    • Steve Brizel says:

      Pure devotees of Darwin would say so.I think that if you have spent any time riding inner city mass transit you will see the failure of the approach to solving poverty by declaring war and spending millions of dollars on education and entitlements. If you ride thru the Bronx you will see the failure of that ideology writ large

      • Bob Miller says:

        By their own logic, the “pure devotees of Darwin” are compelled to say the things they say.   So I guess that leaves them unrepentant when their social theories are found to be out of synch with reality as often happens.

  4. SB says:

    Rav Gordimer

    Taking out your points on personal responsibility, I disagree on the other aspect. Why do we need to send people to jail for using drugs?

    IMO jail is a horrible place that dehumanizes the individual. Imagine what it is like trying to be a frum yid in prison.

    In addition, does the Torah condone this type of dehumanization especially for non violent crimes? According to the Torah would Rubashkin be sitting in jail for 28 years  or would he be given the opportunity to repay any money that he caused in damages?

    Why do you accept American judicial sentencing as being humane?

    • Reb Yid says:

      The American system is an embarrassment.  We send a higher proportion of individuals to prison than almost any other country on earth.  It is a very expensive proposition and, as mentioned above, dooms many for life.

      Not to mention the fact that going to prison is not a random matter–our criminal justice system is systematically biased against certain subgroups.  40% of our prison population is African-American–outrageous, and often for possessing small amounts of drugs such as marijuana.  Meanwhile, virtually no white collar criminals spend any jail time at all, if they are even convicted.  To say nothing of cops….


      • Steve Brizel says:

        If you think that so called victimless crimes have no affect on how and where we live ask anyone who remembers the bad old Times Square or visit any rehabilitation center where the price of addiction to our society is all too obvious. Uni iduaks who commit either violent or white collar crime deserve to be tried convicted and to serve tome in correctional facilities geared to the nature of their crimes. That is why white collar criminals go to Otisville and murderers go to maximum security facilities. The failure to have a strong family structure that values education in inner city communities cannot be divorced from any discussion on inner city crime.

  5. Allan katz says:

    The Jewish view of accountability and taking personal responsibility is doing teshuvah , engaging in the moral act of restitution in an autonomous way . This means going through a Rosh  Hashanah and creating a new vision of one self and then with this vision dealing with the past . Prison or other punishments like fines mean that taking responsibility is something external to the person, you pay a price , but you don’t change from the inside and instead of feeling sorry for what you did , you feel sorry for yourself . In Israel for many in prison – doing teshuvah and becoming frum creates a new vsion for the person and then a real commitment to make amends . With Recidivism rates so high , it no wonder that people are looking for different approaches like restorative justice. A focus on prison punishment and retribution actually encourages the abdication of self-responsibility and the understanding that criminals need help and not punishment is not excusing criminals but the only way to help them create a new vision and then engae in an autonmous way in tha act of restitution and make amends.

    • dr.bill says:

      when torah values are applied to a new circumstance, some will see it as modernity overtaking tradition.  whether it is an issue like prison or a woman acting in  some rabbinic role, some see torah while others see modernity.  from my perspective, daat torah – no, daatei torah – perhaps, but more likely just plain daat atzmi.

  6. Steve Brizel says:

    It all depends in who and how Torah is applied in connection with modernity. Merely changing halachic hashkafic and communal norms to suit the Zeitgeist of the Times is far different and should never be confused with applying halachic norms with technological social and scientific developments

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