One Man’s Ceiling is Another Man’s Floor

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12 Responses

  1. Yehoshua Duker says:

    R’ Menken writes: “To be a mainstream Democrat today, one must support the public celebration of forbidden relationships and the redefinition of marriage.”

    There is no real difference between Republicans and Democrats today on the issue of single-sex marriage.

  2. Bob Miller says:

    If one were to list the hot political and cultural issues in America today, objective Torah Jews would be on the conservative side of most, even though American conservatism itself is often way too secular in outlook. If Jews have a phobia for American conservatism or the Republican Party based on our real or imagined history with these groups, a reassessment is long overdue. To be a responsible citizen in our exile calls for a close, objective look at politicians and policy options.

    Or we can haughtily float above it all and let mobs rule.

  3. DF says:

    Clearly no party will ever be entirely aligned with the Torah, in part because there will never be complete agreement as to what the Torah prescribes. But that the Republican party is far closer to that ideal than the other is today not even a point of debate, if it ever was. With exceptions and gadflies duly noted, one has to look very hard to find an orthodox Jew under the age of 65 who identifies with the democrats. As for those older than that age – nothing is likely to change. For such individuals, the belief in a fair and impartial media is too deeply embedded, such that shifting their paradigms at this point is a practical impossibility. Given that belief, they can only see a grotesquely distorted view of the right (while simultaneously seeing the left portrayed only in glowing tones.) It is not fair to expect such individuals to be able to fairly assess the true state of affairs. It is enough simply to (as the Judges say) give their opinions the weight it deserves.

  4. Mycroft says:

    Rav Soloveitchik had an interesting thought that using similar phraseology to Rabbi Menken’s title. Halacha is the floor of proper behavior, it is not the ceiling.

  5. Yehoshua Duker says:

    To DF: Blindly asserting your beliefs as facts, without supporting them at all, is not a very effective rhetorical device. I, for one, do not see why lowering taxes on corporations and the wealthy, strict immigration policy, lax gun-control laws, a limited social safety net, minimal public health care, mass incarceration, etc. etc., are what the Torah prescribes. True, on a few issues, the Republican position (or at least what had been the Republican position until this past election) is more aligned with what the Torah has to say, but I do not believe that to be so concerning the vast majority of the issues.
    And if you have a hard time finding Orthodox Democrats under the age of 65, you need to broaden your social circles.

    • DF says:

      We can debate it all day long, but we can’t debate this: Orthodox Jews today vote Republican. (You need look no further than RY Adlerstein’s article in the current Hakirah for corroboration.) You might think we’re all wrong, and some people (mostly older) would agree with you too, but its a position fewer and fewer people subscribe to.

      • Yehoshua Duker says:

        That was not the issue I was addressing. I was addressing your assertion that “the Republican party is far closer [to what the Torah prescribes] than the other is today not even a point of debate, if it ever was.”
        I am fully aware that most Orthodox Jews today vote Republican

  6. Shimshon says:

    “So we must question: from where did Rabbi Shafran receive his distorted picture of the reality in Charlottesville? This is not difficult to discern.”

    I agree with the need to question, but not with the conclusion.

    I think that Rabbi Shafran’s distorted picture of reality comes from being a lobbyist in DC. To say it has not affected his views is to deny what’s in front of you.

    I am a long-time reader of a blog that has a large alt-right readership and following, along with being a focal point of alt-right discussion and debate, and Rabbi Shafran’s characterizing of the alt-right is grossly unfair and misinformed, at best. He continues to do so, even when corrected by you or me. It was even in the news recently that the government declared Antifa a domestic terrorist organization back in APRIL. This is not just from imbibing too much CNN. He’s a lobbyist in DC. He inhabits the same world CNN does, and shares their world view.

    • Yaakov Menken says:

      Yes, but he’s not a lobbyist in DC. There are some people where you can say that they are college professors and thus tainted, but no, he is not among them. He is among the experts at pushing back against the lies told by the liberal movements. I don’t think it’s our place to speculate upon motivations or why he’s always had a soft spot for Obama, just address the reality. I agree with you about his mischaracterization of the right wing.

      • DF says:

        Agreed with your response to commenter Shimshon, but one must still reflect – all of halacha, and everything we have ever learned, recognizes the influence (“hashpah”) our surroundings have upon us. When one spends his life surrounded only by the same type of groupthink, where even the token house conservatives are not very different at all from the left, it cannot but have an effect on a man.

      • Shimshon says:

        I would NEVER use the word tainted. He is affected by the world around him, as DF described. Even if “lobbyist in DC” isn’t strictly true, rhetorically it describes well the problem.

        I don’t have a problem with his “soft spot for Obama.” I didn’t mention it. I even agree with him that Obama was not the unmitigated disaster for Israel that many conservatives wailed on about.

        Would that Rabbi Shafran apply the same degree of skepticism on ALL reporting, which is as manipulative and deceitful on the alt-right as that on Israel.

  7. David z says:

    Thank you so much for writing this. I have been so disappointed.

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