web analytics
September 22, 2014 / 27 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
Blogs
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



Whose Judaism is it Anyway?

The tragedy that we face today is that everyone thinks they are the sole possessors of the answer.
Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik

Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik

Today, we face a worldwide Jewish community that is arguably more fractured than it has ever been in the history of Judaism. Reconstructionist, Reform, and Conservative Jews are completely ignored by the frum community. In turn, the more liberal forms of Judaism often push back against Orthodox control of the rabbinate, and halacha. Modern Orthodox Jews are considered kofrim by a great many Chassidim. Anyone who goes to YU is demonized by the right-wing yeshivish community.

Neturei Karta is hated by everyone. Satmar is also disliked by many Modern and Centrist Orthodox Jews because of their views regarding Israel. In Israel, most secular Jews find the idea that Chareidim can get out of army service anathema to their sense of civic duty and pride. Some Chareidim in Israel consider the Israeli government to be comparable to the Nazis rule!

Because of Satmar’s power and influence, they get accomodated by Agudah, which is supposed to represent everyone! In certain extreme frum communities, women cannot wear red, own a cellphone, go to college, learn gemara, wear pants, walk around with normal hair, or talk to men. In others, all these behaviors are tolerated, and encouraged.

All this fighting, and I haven’t even mentioned Chabad… So the big question is, what will it take for the Jewish people to become united? Halacha leaves much room for creativity and flexibility. In Jewish theology as well, no one has a monopoly on truth. The Rambam can argue with the Raavad and the Ramban. Centuries later, the Rav, Emmanuel Levinas, Rabbi David Hartman, and the Satmar Rebbe can all have divergent theological positions while still remaining Orthodox Jews.

This is, in my view, one of the most beautiful aspects of Judaism. However, in recent times, people that don’t dress, speak, or look a certain way are thrown out of certain communities. It is a fact that if you are in Lakewood and don’t wear a white shirt or a black hat, you will not get good shidduchim. The fact that the girls you get to date rest on your clothing attire choices is ludicrous. And it’s just as ludicrous when the Satmar Rebbe wrote that the Holocaust occurred in retribution for Zionism and the Haskalah. And it’s just as ludicrous when modern orthodox Jews make blanket generalizations about ultra-Orthodox Jews.

Tolerance is a Jewish value. The Gemara (Eiruvin 13) brings down the dictum of Eilu V’Eilu, which practically means that in terms of halachic practice, both can be right. With that said, I turn the question to you. What is the single most important thing we can do right now to increase unity within Klal Yisrael? If you have a good answer, share it with everyone in the comments below.

Visit Emes Ve-Emunah.

About the Author: Michael Weiner is a high school student at Kohelet Yeshiva High School.


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.

6 Responses to “Whose Judaism is it Anyway?”

  1. Jay Kitainik says:

    1.The young man should be more careful with his grammar and spelling.
    2. It is the height of arrogance of a 15-year old boy to call an opinion of the Satmar rebbe ludicrous.
    3. Where does the Agudah accommodate Satmar?
    4. I would not refer to David Hartman as Orthodox anymore. (See the latest issue of Jewish Action).

  2. Jay Kitainik says:

    1.The young man should be more careful with his grammar and spelling.
    2. It is the height of arrogance of a 15-year old boy to call an opinion of the Satmar rebbe ludicrous.
    3. Where does the Agudah accommodate Satmar?
    4. I would not refer to David Hartman as Orthodox anymore. (See the latest issue of Jewish Action).

  3. Michael Weiner says:

    Dear Mr. Kitainik,

    Thank you for your thoughtful comment. Here are my responses to each of your points.

    1. My apologies. Grammar was never my forte. As for spelling, perhaps you are right. However, I did win my school's spelling bee in 6th grade, and that should account for something! All joking aside, as I'm in 9th grade, I don't have an editor, so please allow for some mistakes.

    2. The Satmar Rebbe zt"l was famous throughout the world for his Torah learning and strict adherence to halacha. In these aspects, I greatly admire and respect him. However, regarding his Holocaust theology and opinion regarding Israel today, I disagree. The overwhelming majority of Orthodox Rabbis and gedolim today would disagree with his stance on Israel.

    3. The Agudah accomodated Satmar most recently by canceling their internet filter expo that was supposed to happen at the asifa last spring. Because of Satmar's total opposition to the internet even with filters, it was canceled.

    4. Rabbi David Hartman is a musmach of YU and is highly regarded in academia in the fields of philosophy and theology. Whether his personal viewpoints can be defined as 'Orthodox' (which is, after all, a pretty large label) is up for debate, but he is at least a lot more right wing than most Conservative or Reform Jews.

  4. As a lifelong Mormon I found this post fascinating. Thank you for the insights into the Jewish people. Our faith teaches that God has been revealing Himself and choosing prophets as far back as Adam, and that the Abrahamic Covenant, renewed through Israel, is continually renewed through every "dispensation" to His People, every time He calls another Prophet. From Abraham to Israel to Moses, Isaiah, David, Solomon, and so on. Each new prophet is a new "dispensation," a new calling out for His People, and a new opportunity for the gathering of Israel, which has, through the promises of Abraham, been spread through all the world.

    Again, thank you, and I look forward to reading more.

  5. As a lifelong Mormon I found this post fascinating. Thank you for the insights into the Jewish people. Our faith teaches that God has been revealing Himself and choosing prophets as far back as Adam, and that the Abrahamic Covenant, renewed through Israel, is continually renewed through every "dispensation" to His People, every time He calls another Prophet. From Abraham to Israel to Moses, Isaiah, David, Solomon, and so on. Each new prophet is a new "dispensation," a new calling out for His People, and a new opportunity for the gathering of Israel, which has, through the promises of Abraham, been spread through all the world.

    Again, thank you, and I look forward to reading more.

  6. If you read Joseph Campbell's Occidental Mythology you learn that:

    There is a great tension between the historical sacred consensus of the Middle East and the individualism of the West.

    The sacred consensus model predates Judaism by thousands of years. In Assyria and Babylon the Great King could do no wrong and the sacred law of the King had to be followed to the letter.

    In time these two opposing trends influenced the culture of the other side.

    Rabbinic Judaism tells a story of why the Temple Mount was chosen by G-d. It tells about how two brothers cared more about the other one than themselves.

    Wearing white shirts and black hats is the sacred consensus at Lakewood.

    There is also a sacred consensus at Y.U. You will not see a lot of streimels or capotes there.

    I wish you well, you are the future generation of Jews may you always learn and have an open mind and an open heart.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Binyamin and Chaya Maryles, uncle and aunt of Emes Ve-Emunah author Harry Maryles.
Current Top Story
ISIS Released Map
The Ally No One Wants In War Against ISIS: The Jews
Latest Blogs Stories
Doug Goldstein

Grandmaster Michael Adams talks about life as a professional chess player.

Finance Minister Yair Lapid

The Jewish Press stressed the possible ramifications of such a breach of Israeli political protocol

Doug Goldstein

Why some countries are more economically successful than others? Tune in for the answer…

ethics

If not scared by God be scared by man; Hopefully ethics will integrate into lives for proper reasons

Smear campaigns by people with agendas other than justice do not faze him; He does what is right.

Countries like Turkey, Europe and even the US have proven fertile ground for recruiting terrorists

How many times have you heard anti-semites spew words like Israel are Nazis, or what you are doing to the Arabs is worse that what the Nazis did to the Jews?!…

My blog, Israpundit, was hacked, and I had to move to a new domain…

There’s much confusion about the definition of Daas Torah; simply put it means the wisdom of Torah.

We’ll never be able to negotiate a true, lasting peace with the Arabs.Their aim is our destruction.

Now I live in a country where every shop in the food court is kosher! I can have anything I want!

Pashkevil: “Come out today and battle the Zionist Amalek and all the traitors in Nahal Haredi…”

Jordan: Only M.E. country with no historical basis and ruled by occupiers placed by European powers.

Why is an IRA a worthwhile account for retirement? And how can you use it to the best advantage?

Like the fighter pilot’s letter, I wonder if certain units are simply too sensitive to allow certain leftwingers to serve in, and to entrust in their hands the security of our country and our lives.

There is only one thing more tragic than experiencing a terror attack, and that is allowing those who attacked you to do it again!

More Articles from Michael Weiner
orthodox boy

Pirkei Avot teaches: ‘who is wise? One who learns from all people.’

Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik

The tragedy that we face today is that everyone thinks they are the sole possessors of the answer.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/haemtza/whose-judaism-is-it-anyway/2012/12/27/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: