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



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
Holding a Rocket
Live Updates: Hamas Rockets Explode in Southern Israel (6:01pm)
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?

 “If I’m not back in 5 minutes, I’m dead” Lt. Eitan lead a group of soldiers into the tunnel, warning them that it could be booby trapped and that if danger arose, they needed to open fire immediately. “There, I saw Hadar’s blood and his equipment.” To his right, Eitan found bags blocking the passage […]

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

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: