web analytics
August 20, 2014 / 24 Av, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance
Blogs
Sponsored Post
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat (L) visits the JewishPress.com booth at The Event. And the Winners of the JewishPress.com Raffle Are…

Congratulations to all the winners of the JewishPress.com raffle at The Event



David Brooks a Very Wise Jew

I don’t know how observant Mr. Brooks is, but I do know he understands what being Jewish means.
David Brooks with a friend.

David Brooks with a friend.

I must admit that I was surprised. Noted New York Times columnist, David Brooks gave what I consider to be the quintessential message of Centrist Orthodoxy at a Chanukah convocation ceremony where he received an honorary doctorate. The video which appears on Gil’s blog Torah Thoughts (available for viewing below) is the address he gave upon receiving this degree. And it truly hits the nail on the head of what Centrism is all about.

What surprised me is that Mr. Brooks actually read and understood the message of one of Rav Soloveitchik’s most important works, The Lonely Man of Faith. And in my view he expressed the Rav’s thoughts rather well… and is a believer in them.

David Brooks is not an Orthodox Jew. I don’t know how observant Mr. Brooks is. But I do know he understands what being Jewish means in terms of the proper approach to God.This he takes from the Rav’s philosophy he so elegantly cited.

Briefly stated the Rav talks about the two mentions in the Torah of the creation of man. He calls them Adam I and Adam II. Basing it on the context in which the Torah mentions them, The Rav expands on them in the following way.

Adam I is majestic man. He is the conqueror of the world. He goes out and ‘accomplishes’ for his material well being. Adam II is covenental man. He is concerned inwardly. He seeks the relationship with God. He is the man of faith – inward and therefore ultimately alone in that personal relationship with God . It is in the relationship with God that man develops his moral character. He is unconcerned with worldly pleasures and seeks only to do God’s will.

Adam I on the other hand wants to seek control of his environment which includes seeing to it that his own physical well being is taken care of to the limit of his physical and mental abilities. The 2 Adams there are therefore in constant struggle. And from that dialectic struggle, our person-hood develops. That struggle informs our values and actions.

Mr. Brooks compared what Yeshiva University does to the two Adams. Something that no other university does. Whereas the best universities do a good job educating man in his role of Adam I, they completely ignore educating man in his role of Adam II. Moral teachings are absent in the secular classroom. The result is a culture of a-morality. One which is difficult to navigate without the moral underpinnings of Adam II. Which is basically an unfettered love of God.

A-moral cultures have arisen in the past… when only Adam I is educated and Adam II is ignored. Taken to its natural extreme we can easily end up with the Germany of the 1930s and early 40s. Germany did a great job educating Adam I. And we know where that took them.

Western culture today is nowhere near that. But I think it is safe to say that we too live in an a-moral society. One need not look too far to see the wide acceptance of immoral images that surround us daily. They are all over, on billboards, magazines, TV, movies, and popular music. It has been that way for a long time. I recall the mantra of my generation during the late sixties, ‘If it feels good, do it!’ That is mostly all that mattered to many of my contemporaries back then. I don’t think that as a society, we have gotten any better today. If anything we have gotten worse.

YU is to its great credit counter-culture. It teaches man how to deal well with cultural surroundings and at the same time to revere God and his moral teachings.

My hat is off to David Brooks. He is a very wise man.



Visit Emes Ve-Emunah .

About the Author: Harry Maryles runs the blog "Emes Ve-Emunah" which focuses on current events and issues that effect the Jewish world in general and Orthodoxy in particular. It discuses Hashkafa and news events of the day - from a Centrist perspctive and a philosphy of Torah U'Mada. He can be reached at hmaryles@yahoo.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

4 Responses to “David Brooks a Very Wise Jew”

  1. Anonymous says:

    It does not take a genius to understand that today people have lost the art of knowing right from wrong. Common sense got lost somewhere along the way.

  2. Anonymous says:

    when moral relativism is applied to our conduct and justification for what we do, the lines of right and wrong are blurred, and hence we have social malaise.

  3. Cody Flecker says:

    Just another Obama-Democratic hack designed to eventually tear down Judaism in the USA.

  4. As a graduate of Yeshiva University with numerous degrees I appeal to its alumni to help raise funds for this great intuition. In the 80’s I raised over 1 and half million dollars. Yeshiva University is my second home and it is a place of great Torah learning. I for one have read too many articles from the forward trying to destroy this institution. What is the agenda? President Richard Joel is not superman and doing everything he can to save the University.

    Alumni Of yeshiva University "Speak out Now" RABBI DR. BERNHARD ROSENBERG

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=HE_yHk54L_A

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Binyamin and Chaya Maryles, uncle and aunt of Emes Ve-Emunah author Harry Maryles.
Current Top Story
The Gaza Region
Live Updates: Hamas Rockets Land Along Coast, In Border Towns (13:57pm)
Latest Blogs Stories
UNHRC war crimes panel head William Schabas - Not a good Schabas

But the real culprit is William Schabas, who by comparison makes Richard Goldstone look like a saint

South Africa of Flag

“The Jewish board of deputies, who are complicit, will feel the wrath of the People of SA with the age old biblical teaching of an eye for an eye.”

Doug Goldstein

Discussion on recent changes to Social Security benefits and how it will effect you.

bibi release

I do not understand why Bibi or anyone else (Obama) would ever contemplate accepting any terms by an organization that states loud and clear their goal of Israel’s destruction.

It’s the 4th time in 5 years Maccabi Haifa has traveled to America to play against NBA competition.

The media dumped on the “Lehava” people as extremist – racist and should mind their own business.

What is the point of having our own state when it cooperates with those who are against us?

It was the “first family event I missed due to aliyah.”

Antisemitism, stupidity, fear, or exaggeration?

During Operation Protective Edge, IDF soldiers were faced with deadly risks in the Gaza Strip. Sixty four soldiers were killed and many more were wounded in combat. This is the story of one IDF commander who put his life in danger to rescue a soldier kidnapped by Hamas. Lt. Eitan, 23, joined the elite unit […]

I am a right wing religious Jewish settler and I HATE seeing pictures of kids in Gaza who are dying or suffering because of this war.

Doug speaks with World Chess Cahmpion Magnus Carlsen.

If they weren’t true they would be funny!

Professor Aumann: Instead of hitting the opponent… step back and allow the opponent to hit himself

A letter from a survivor who recounts the horrors of the 1929 pogrom in Hebron.

Do Keynesian theories about government spending still apply today?

More Articles from Harry Maryles
UNHRC war crimes panel head William Schabas - Not a good Schabas

But the real culprit is William Schabas, who by comparison makes Richard Goldstone look like a saint

WW making licht

Israeli’s are a religious people; even secular Jews believe that God is active in this world.

If Hamas would simply stop firing rockets into Israel, all the carnage would stop instantly.

Inevitably when tragedies like this happen there is a sudden burst of Achdus. Tragedies unite.

Looking for a spiritual cause of a tragedy is a time honored tradition in Judaism.

It would be tragic beyond all proportion if Yeshiva University were to fold. I don’t think that is going to happen.

Radical Islam is an idea, not an organization. It is the enemy, not terrorism.

Unfortunately it really doesn’t matter what the common Muslim wants. Fanatic religious fervor trumps it all.

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/haemtza/david-brooks-a-very-wise-jew/2013/12/11/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: