web analytics
May 24, 2015 / 6 Sivan, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Letters To The Editor

Letters-logo

Marvin Sommers

(Via E-Mail)

The PA And International Law

I always enjoy reading Professor Louis Rene Beres’s articles in The Jewish Press. They are invariably literate and informative. “Why Oslo Failed” (front-page essay, Oct. 25) did not disappoint. However, while it is true that the Palestinian Authority violates international criminal law in failing to rein in and prosecute terrorists, that is a symptom of the problem rather than the cause.

The problem is that the Palestinian leadership has not yet decided to make peace with Israel, and the failure to deal with the anti-Israel terrorists as criminals is a consequence of that.

Edward Plummer

(Via E-Mail)

Being Different

I found Rabbi Moshe Meir Weiss’s Nov. 1 column quite surprising. Quoting from the Chazon Ish, he says the first commandment is not to be different. Rabbi Weiss then brings other quotes from distinguished sources to make his point.

The problem is obvious: Different from what? To say Jews shouldn’t be different is to say they should be like the overwhelming majority of people in this country and the Western world. It is the argument of every assimilationist. To say they should not be different from other Jews would unfortunately mean telling Orthodox Jews to become Reform. After all, the overwhelming majority of affiliated American Jews are, tragically, Reform.

By leaving Charan, by seeking converts, by digging wells, by fighting powerful kings, even by sending a large dowry with his servant, much of what Avraham Avinu did involved being different.

A story is told about Rav Pam walking down the street with one of his students. From across the street, some non-Jewish teenagers started to taunt them. The student got upset, but Rav Pam smiled. When questioned, Rav Pam’s response was very direct: “People are supposed to know Jews are different.”

Rabbi Weiss writes that “The Rambam paskens emphatically, ‘Al tifrash min ha’tzibur.’ ” I would respectfully suggest that in Brooklyn (and maybe even in Staten Island) there is no tzibur – or there are a hundred of them, which is the same thing. I would also point out that the Rambam was very controversial in his time – he clearly stood out.

I sometimes daven in a Modern Orthodox shul. But on occasion – typically a Friday night – one or two lost souls show up in shul wearing chassidic garb. Is Rabbi Weiss telling them to change into a suit and tie before coming to that shul? On Shabbos morning, a distinct minority, including the rabbi, put their talleisim on their heads for much of davening. Again, is Rabbi Weiss suggesting they not do so? After all, they shouldn’t be different.

Even Rabbi Weiss’s story about the girl in the drugstore with a tongue ring is not so obvious. In some neighborhoods of New York she would no longer stand out. Is Rabbi Weiss suggesting that if enough girls wear tongue rings he will direct his daughters to also start wearing them?

His comment about the man who stands for davening is particularly troubling. I’m reminded of the story of the Yom Kippur afternoon when suddenly, in a frenzy, the rabbi starts beating on his chest and moaning aloud, “God, I am nothing.” And next to him the cantor starts beating on his chest and saying, “God, I am nothing.” After a minute or two an old, not terribly observant Jew in the back can be heard yelling “God, I am nothing.” And the rabbi turns to the cantor and says “Look who thinks he’s nothing.”

If the man standing throughout davening were the rabbi or a local rosh yeshiva, would Rabbi Weiss still say he should sit down? I doubt it.

Rabbi Weiss points out that “the boy who has purple hair…[is] begging to be noticed.” Yes, he is – and in a way that is not acceptable in the Orthodox community. But so is most everyone else in the world begging to be noticed, including the student who raises his hand in class, the man who gets up to lead the davening, the rabbi who stands up to speak, the person who writes a newspaper column, and even the guy who writes a letter to the editor of The Jewish Press. Certainly the girl looking for a shidduch and the person looking for a raise or promotion at work are looking to be noticed. That is human nature.

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.

Current Top Story
Tzipi Hotovely, new Deputy Foreign Minister.
Foreign Minister Hotovely: Tell the World ‘God Gave Israel to the Jews’
Latest Indepth Stories
Harris-052215

We take a whole person approach, giving our people assistance with whatever they need.

Shalev and Rabbi Levinger

During my spiritual journey I discovered G-d spoke to man only once, to the Jewish people at Sinai

MK Moshe-Feiglin

20 years after the great Ethiopian aliyah, we must treat them like everyone else; no better or worse

Sprecher-052215

Connecting Bamidbar&Shavuot is simple-A world without Torah is midbar; with Torah a blessed paradise

Many Black protesters compared Baltimore’s unrest to the Palestinian penchant of terrorism & rioting

She credited success to “mini” decisions-Small choices building on each other leading to big changes

Shavuot 1915, 200000 Jews were expelled; amongst the largest single expulsions since Roman times

Realizing there was no US military threat, Iran resumed, expanded & accelerated its nuclear program

“Enlightened Jews” who refuse to show chareidim the tolerance they insist we give to Arabs sicken me

Somewhat surprisingly, the Vatican’s unwelcome gesture was diametrically at odds with what President Obama signaled in an interview with the news outlet Al Arabiya.

The recent solid victory of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party produced something very different.

The reaction is so strong that nine times out of ten, parents engage in some form of coping mechanism before arriving at a level of acceptance of a special-needs diagnosis.

“…his neshamah reached out to us to have the zechus of Torah learning to take with him on his final journey.”

The gap isn’t between Israeli and American Jews-it’s between American Jews and the rest of the world

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/letters-to-the-editor/letters-to-the-editor-276/2013/11/06/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: