If one expresses doubt as to the veracity of even a single letter of the Written Torah, it is deemed heretical, so why should that attitude not apply equally to the Oral Torah, which was also given at Sinai?
What motivates these detractors? I believe that many Jews, fully observant to be sure, would like to have their cake and eat it too. They want to practice the religion to the fullest but have their hashkafa reflect the “wisdom” of the times. This is folly because Judaism is timeless.
I’m certain that the overwhelming majority of those in the opposing camp have the noblest intentions. They believe that one searching for truth must question everything. But we are Bnei Yisrael and have already been given the truth, entrusted by Hashem to our sages.
Dr. Yaakov Stern
That Black Man Might Be Your Brother
The purpose of this letter is to make the olam aware of an issue that comes up for many of us on Shabbos. I am not writing this to discuss when it is permitted to approach a non-Jew to help you out on Shabbos. Rather, I wish to focus on whom you might be inadvertently choosing to assist you.
The reality is that we have many converts in our midst. They come in many nationalities and colors. I am a dentist in Boro Park and have a black Jewish dental assistant whose parents converted.
To be brief, her father was a soldier in World War II. He was so moved by his exposure to survivors in the concentration camps that he decided to undergo an Orthodox conversion and moved his fledgling family to Jerusalem. Unfortunately he died at a young age and the children grew up experiencing much difficulty. One daughter went off the derech and moved back to the U.S., where she adopted a totally secular lifestyle. She had a few children who knew they were Jewish but knew little about Judaism.
One of those children was recently in New York to visit his aunt. Walking in Flatbush on Shabbos, he was approached by two frum women who asked him to help them by turning on a light. How should they have known that the black man with braids was a Jew? After they hinting to him several times what it was they wanted him to do, he understood and flipped on the light. A child witnessing the event sheepishly told the women, “I think he is Jewish.” The young man promptly responded, “Yes I am, and Shabbat Shalom.”
Let this story teach us not to make any assumptions. The first question to ask when approaching someone you need help from in such a situation is, “Are you Jewish?”
Dr. Joshua Canter