As you imply in your Oct. 4 editorial “Obama, Iran and Netanyahu,” it would be the height of naiveté and unrealistic expectations for anyone to suppose Iran will disavow its winning strategy of using unending negotiations on its nuclear objectives while centrifuges continue to spin in heavily-armored underground bunkers.
During the farce of meaningless meetings to test Iran’s seriousness about its “peaceful” nuclear aims, Netanyahu’s hands will be tied because of the undisputed divergence of American and Israeli interests in the Middle East.
I take issue with reader Isaac Melnick’s defense of “loud and spirited” haredi demonstrations against what he calls the anti-religious police and army, as well as his notion that the demonstrators “obviously burn with the love of Torah” (Letters, Oct. 4).
The Torah does not condone shaming haredi IDF soldiers in public, spitting on them, cursing at them, or using violence against them.
These soldiers, who put their life on the line to help protect their fellow Jews, also burn with love of Torah and Eretz Yisrael.
There would be less of an anti-religious atmosphere if some haredi activists would treat others with the respect and dignity they deserve, remembering that everybody has a tzelem Elokim.
In his fine Oct. 4 letter to the editor, reader Reuven Steinberg raises the critical issue of Orthodox Jews who perpetrate Chillulei Hashem. I think it behooves us to try to explain this disturbing phenomenon.
It might seem incongruous that some who are meticulous with regard to mitzvos bein adam l’Makom could so flagrantly flout mitzvos bein adam l’chaveiro, but sadly this is not the case.
I once knew a frum fellow who had become quite prosperous through a series of financial shenanigans. I used to think to myself, “Does he really believe Hashem is impressed with someone who steals and then uses part of that money ostensibly to perform mitzvos?”
The answer was a resounding yes, because those who defy these basic laws rarely give a thought to the Creator, and never see themselves as anything less than perfect tzaddikim.
Who’s at fault? Truth be told, the entire Orthodox community must shoulder much of the blame for its tacit acceptance of this outrageous behavior. When was the last time anyone heard a shul rabbi use the pulpit to rail at these sinners? Quite the contrary; all too often the offenders are highly esteemed because they throw a small percentage of their tainted money to their silent accomplices who then feign shock and amazement when the thieves are carted off to the hoosegow.
I don’t imagine this letter will have an immediate effect on that segment of the population that condones these improprieties, but perhaps if people like Mr. Steinberg continue speaking out, the ripples will ultimately cause a sea change and all Jews will learn to practice full, not half, Judaism.
Dr. Yaakov Stern
Best Of Times, Worst Of Times (I)
I agree with most of Marvin Schick’s front-page essay (“Best of Times, Worst of Times,” Sept. 27.) But I can’t even begin to understand his take on the metzizah b’peh controversy. He seems to be saying that because the city is lax about other health issues, it shouldn’t do anything about the risks accompanying metzizah b’peh.
I don’t doubt that Mayor Bloomberg’s motivation is at least partly due to a disdain for religion. But that does not mean infants are not at risk and in need of protection.
Best Of Times, Worst Of Times (II)
Marvin Schick is correct that more than ever before, rank and file Orthodox Jews are able to learn Torah and live completely Torah-true lives. But it is important to appreciate that the ability to make these choices is dependant to a significant degree on economics.
The financial costs of living a frum lifestyle, both in big cities and the expensive suburbs to which Orthodox Jews have been migrating in such high numbers, can be quite prohibitive.
We still haven’t figured out as a society how to create opportunities for all who wish to live this way but simply do not have the financial resources.
Time And Creation
In Elliot Resnick’s Sept. 20 interview with Rabbi Yosef Bitton (“Modern Science Is Discovering What the Torah Said Thousands of Years Ago”), Rabbi Bitton suggested, as many do, that God created the light of distant stars already reaching earth, therefore not requiring billions of years.
There’s actually a scientific explanation for how this could have happened quite naturally while giving the impression that it happened instantly.
Time is not absolute; it flows at different rates depending on the speed you’re traveling or the gravitational field you’re in. This time dilation is programmed into
GPS satellites to give accurate readings.
On the other hand, time is nothing more than the speed at which subatomic particles resonate. This is why atomic clocks are so accurate – they measure this resonation. If this resonation were to vary, for whatever reason, time would flow at a different rate.
If in the early stages of Creation matter was far more energetic than it is today, time would have flowed at a far greater rate than it does today. This would have allowed light rays to travel billions of light years across space in (what we measure as) seconds, yet not violate the laws of nature.
An Article Worth Saving
Just before I left for our summer trip to Israel, the front page essay in the July 5 issue caught my attention. I starred it and placed it safely away, but only after all the chagim were over did I have a chance to retrieve the article and read it.
So many of the articles in The Jewish Press are worthy of praise, but I rarely have the time to respond to them or commend the authors. However, the article that had been awaiting my attention, “Bigdei Kodesh: Reflections on the IDF Uniform” by Rabbi Eliyahu Safran, really spoke to me and deserves serious applause and appreciation.
While I’m certain the article confirms the pride and respect for our chayalei Yisrael shared by most Jewish Press readers, I was largely unaware of the outlook of some highly revered Torah scholars regarding this matter.
I commend Rabbi Safran for his beautifully written and informative piece. Kol Hakavod.