web analytics
July 29, 2014 / 2 Av, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
Blogs
Sponsored Post
IDC Advocacy Room IDC Fights War on Another Front

Student Union opens ‘hasbara’ room in effort to fill public diplomacy vacuum.



Torah and the Secular Jew

As a youth, MK Dr. Ruth Calderon was not satisfied with the secular treatment of Judaism she got in Israeli schools. So eventually she founded a secular yeshiva.
MK Dr. Ruth Calderon (Yesh Atid) speaking to the Knesset, February 12, 2013.

MK Dr. Ruth Calderon (Yesh Atid) speaking to the Knesset, February 12, 2013.
Photo Credit: Screenshot/Knesset Channel

The question of the study of Torah by women was resolved long ago in stages. First by the Gerrer Rebbe and the Chafetz Chaim in the 1930s. They were convinced by women’s education pioneer, Sarah Schenirer to open up the first Beis Ya’akov – allowing for mass Jewish education for women outside the home. And later expanded by Rav Soloveitchik who gave the first Gemarah Shiur in YU’s Stern College for Women.

There are those who have a religious issue listening to women speak in public – basing it on modesty concerns. That is their right. But there is no Halacha that I am aware of that forbids it. Nor is there any Halacha that precludes a woman from saying divrei Torah to men. The current over-emphasis by the right is based on a misunderstanding of what tznius really is. And it has resulted in actions that in my view are anything but Jewish and have nothing to do with tznius. Like photo-shopping women’s shoes out of a photograph published by a Charedi newspaper.

For me Dr. Calderon’s speech was a most inspiring one. There are more than a few men in Yeshivos that are not even capable of doing that – who are nevertheless exempt from military service. Because they are in Yeshivos.

Another problem some might have is that a woman who is unabashedly secular (with no intention of becoming observant ) should not be promoting Talmud study. The argument might be that the purposeful secular lifestyle she leads is a contradiction to the Torah she is learning. That by studying the oral law and rejecting it in practice – she is making a mockery of it. And treating the Talmud no differently than the secular founders of Zionism treat Tanach.

For the same reasons they may also object to her founding of a secular Yeshiva. That too makes a mockery of observance by focusing only on the culture and ethics. Much like the Reform Movement did when it was founded. They rejected ritual observance replacing it with the ethics they thought the Mitzvos in the Torah and Talmud stood for.

I understand their point of view. But I am in profound disagreement with them.

To me this is the classic Mitoch SheLo Lishmah, Bah Lishmah. Once one begins to study Torah (or do Mitzvos) for ulterior motives one will eventually come to study it for the right reasons. Those reasons being to do God’s will. So let secular Israelis study Talmud. There is nothing wrong with a Jew learning Torah. Even if it is only at first to study it for cultural or ethical reasons. As long as it is treated with the respect and reverence it deserves and the knowledge not misused in some way – it can only improve one’s understanding of his heritage and perhaps even lead to observance of Mitzvos.

As things stand now, there is quite a bit of ignorance among secular Israelis about the truth and beauty of the Torah – even as they study Tanach in their schools. At the same time there is also the fact that many Israelis are traditional in many ways – if not fully observant. Furthermore there seems to be a new respect for the Kipah wearing Jew – as was evidenced by the record number of such Jews just elected to the Knesset. There is no better time than now for a person like Ruth Calderon to be in the in the public eye. She may not be aware of it (although I’m sure she would not object) but her attitude may prove to be the best Kiruv tool yet for the secular Israeli Jew.

Here’s is Dr. Calderon’s Knesset speech (in Hebrew) in its entirety:

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.

No Responses to “Torah and the Secular Jew”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Binyamin and Chaya Maryles, uncle and aunt of Emes Ve-Emunah author Harry Maryles.
Current Top Story
Some of the missile fire comes from launchers planted in cemeteries, mosques, schools and hospitals. This is an aerial photo of one such launch in Beit Lahiya earlier this week.
Sleepless in Rishon Lezion, IDF Attacks 150 Targets in Gaza
Latest Blogs Stories
Ceasefire

So-called US military aid props up US military industries while disposing of surplus supplies.

soldiers praying

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

Doug Goldstein, CFP

Doug’s interview with engineer and personal finance blogger Len Penzo.

In Islam, there is no such thing as peace with accursed dhimmis as the Muslims refer to us infidels.

A reader claimed the Disengagement from Gaza was good, because it reduced the number of murdered Israelis. Examining the numbers tells a different story…

JoeSettler points out that most Gazans want to leave, and most Jews want to go back home to Gush Katif. How about a solution that actually resolves the conflict?

These are the photos of our soldiers (and a citizen) killed in action during the current IDF ground operation in Gaza.

Jameel went on a pizza run down south, and translated a letter from a soldier on the border, along with some of his own personal observations…

Rabbi Kahane spoke of transfer, because it was what the Torah spoke of.

Her message to her soldier son on the battlefield: “Complete the Mission! Sayyem et HaMissimah!”

JoeSettler contemplated some new El Al slogans like: “El Al – Our pilots are trained in evasive maneuvers”…. Let’s hear your new El Al Slogans…

IDF volunteers come to Israel just to serve are the true idealists; Sean Carmeli was one of them.

And he whispers one last time, I love you mother.

It’s absurd, in this war places like Ariel and Shiloh are among the safest in the State of Israel.

Why aren’t American Jews coming s to Israel for the summer; Are they scared because of the war?

More Articles from Harry Maryles
soldiers praying

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

Iris Yifrach, mother of Eyal Yifrach HY"D, speaking at a massive rally in Tel Aviv on Sunday, June 29, 2014.

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.

It seems like now more than ever Frumkeit has replaced sincerity as the primary focus of the right.

One measure for living a “normal” life is Halacha, and the other is societal standards.

    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/torah-and-the-secular-jew/2013/02/18/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: