web analytics
October 22, 2014 / 28 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
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.



Letters To The Editor

Letters-logo

(Halevi, Rabbi Kellner notes, was so extreme that “[f]lying in the face of received halacha, he maintains that converts to Judaism remain inferior to born Jews.”)

In fact, one can look far and wide in the huge corpus of rabbinic literature and not find more than a handful of statements, none of which carries the imprimatur of halacha, concerning any supposed difference between Jewish and non-Jewish souls. In sharp contrast, we find a tremendous number of statements and observations concerning the righteousness of individual non-Jews and the reward that awaits them in the World to Come, as well as how both Jews and non-Jews will one day worship the one true God.

“The doctrine concerning the special innate ontologically superior nature of the Jews,” writes Rabbi Kellner, “is so obviously insane, so observably false in the real world (as Judah Halevi himself had to admit), and so totally unsupported by the overwhelming majority of biblical and rabbinic texts…that one is driven to wonder how anyone could take it seriously…” (From the book Radical Responsibility: Celebrating the Thought of Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, Maggid Publishers, 2012.)

Michoel Shriver
(Via E-Mail)

Doctrine Versus Attitude

Over the Sukkos holiday, secular newspapers carried a report on comments Pope Francis made in a lengthy interview. According to The New York Times, the pope, in office for six months, said “the church had grown ‘obsessed’ with abortion, gay marriage, and contraception…” Pope Francis “criticized the church for putting dogma before love, and for prioritizing moral doctrines over serving the poor and marginalized.”

The pope is quoted as saying, “I see the church as a field hospital after battle. It is useless to ask a severely injured person if he has high cholesterol and about the level of his blood sugars. You have to heal his wounds. Then we can talk about everything else.”

It would appear to me that this is a message that many Orthodox rabbis need to consider. It is clearly a foundation of the Jewish religion, but perhaps it’s a message that has been getting swallowed by all the “do nots” being preached, especially over the high holidays.

The pope did not change his church’s position on abortion or any other issue. He is just trying to change the focus. What happened in various shuls over the high holidays? How many times did rabbis in those shuls get up and say something along the lines of how happy we are that you are here, and how can we help encourage you to come every holiday, every Shabbos, every day, 365 days a year?

On the other hand, how many times did the rabbi (or someone else) get up and lecture about it being too noisy in the shul? Are people greeted to shul with a warm welcome – or a complaint that they’re late?

That’s not to say it’s OK to talk during davening or to come late to shul. It is not. But is that supposed to be the main message conveyed in shul? Is that supposed to be the message conveyed in advertisements in Jewish newspapers?

There is positive talk in the community of ba’ali teshuvah, Jews who have returned or who are at least trying to return to Orthodoxy. But in terms of numbers there are, unfortunately, at least as many Jews who are leaving Orthodoxy, youth at risk, and people who are shomer Shabbos except for texting.

I am not suggesting changing halacha any more than, lehavdil, the pope was changing church doctrine. What I am proposing is a change in emphasis of the message. A man who comes to shul every Shabbos, I would venture, is more likely to stay connected to the observant community than one who doesn’t. To say that you are better off not coming to shul than coming and occasionally talking during davening might be halachically correct, but it is not necessarily the message we should be conveying to people.

In the pope’s words, there are “seriously injured people” in our Jewish community – religiously at risk, as well as physically ill and financially desperate. We can never ignore halacha, but we do need to help heal people’s wounds, to be encouraging to people, to help move people to the next step in their lives and in their observance. I think, tragically, too many of us forget that.

About the Author:


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 “Letters To The Editor”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
IDF soldiers are evacuated to a hospital after a terror attack.
Photo credit: Smiley Hafuch / Rotter.net
IDF Soldiers Injured in Terror Attack From Sinai
Latest Indepth Stories
Noah and his Family; mixed media collage by Nathan Hilu. Courtesy Hebrew Union College Museum

Myth #1: It is easy to be a B’nai Noach. It is extraordinarily hard to be a B’nai Noach.

Sweden prefers to ignore its own problems and make trouble elsewhere.

The question of anti-Semitism in Europe today is truly tied to the issue of immigration.

256px-Israel-Palestine_flags.svg

Polls indicate that the Palestinians are much more against a two state solution than the Israelis.

Map of Syria-Turkish border area, pinpointing Kurdish border town of Kobani, just taken by ISIS terror forces Oct 7, 2014.

Turkey and Iran the 2 regional powers surrounding the ISIS conflict gain from a partial ISIS victory

Emigration from Israel is at an all-time low, far lower than immigration to Israel from Europe.

Leon Klinghoffer’s daughters: “‘Klinghoffer’ is justified as ‘a work of art’…This is an outrage.”

Do you seriously think that as you kidnap our children we should medically treat and help yours?

Sometimes collective action against the heinous acts of the majority is not enough. The world should not only support the blockade of Gaza; it must enforce the dismantling of Hamas.

The Arab Spring has challenged Jordan with the task of gradual reform with regard to its monarchy.

Israel offered Syria the entire Golan Heights, only to find that the Syrians were demanding MORE!

Israeli hasbara too can be described at best as pathetic, at worst non existent.

A ‘good news’ story from the Nepal avalanche disaster to warm your heart. Take out your Kleenex.

Journalists see the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as morality play: Israel=evil; Palestine=innocent

Warsaw Ghetto: At its height, the Nazis walled in some 500,000 Jews within the1.3 square mile area.

While police officers face dangers every day on the job, Jews also face danger in their daily lives.

Carter developed a fondness for Arafat believing “they were both ordained to be peacemakers by God”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/letters-to-the-editor/letters-to-the-editor-270/2013/09/24/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: