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September 21, 2014 / 26 Elul, 5774
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Letters To The Editor

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Argument Against Zealotry (I)

It is ironic that Rabbi Eliyahu Safran (“The Argument Against Zealotry,” front page essay, July 11) goes to such extreme lengths to make his argument against zealotry.

How is it that he can disparage Pinchas’s summary killing of Zimri and his paramour by citing the reaction of “the people” while also quoting Hashem Himself as approving?

And how many people do you know who burn Israeli flags or throw rocks at cars on Shabbat? As for hechsherim and separation of the sexes, for many of us these are issues not of zealotrybut of halacha.

Moshe Gilder
(Via E-Mail)

 

Argument Against Zealotry (II)

Rabbi Safran has touched on an unfortunate trend in modern Jewish life. There are growing numbers of religious Jews who think their traditions are the only true ones and insist that everyone else must conform to them.

Why can we not have confidence in the lifestyle choices of our fellow Jews when they are consistent with those of large numbers of our people and reflect classical halachic interpretation? Why all the anger?

Chaim Pearlman
Jerusalem

  The State Of European Politics

The recent elections to the European parliament saw far right parties throughout Europe make major gains. There are many reasons for this as Europe reaps the consequences of foolish policies, incompetent governance, and the drive by politicians to create a federal Europe devoid of independent countries. The United Kingdom Independence Party – UKIP – also did very well, coming first in Britain, ahead of the Labour and Conservative parties.

UKIP is not a far right party. In American terms it has much in common with libertarian Republicans. Being a British party, some of what it stands for and the policies it favors would be far too liberal for Republicans and even many Democrats. Its supporters are largely, in British terms, politically and socially conservative, though UKIP also drew a lot of support in the election from traditional Labour voters.

UKIP has become a mainstream, if minor, party. However, it remains a party of protest rather then a party of government. It did well because it opposes mass immigration, a position with which the overwhelming majority of British people – including many immigrants – agree. It also favors British withdrawal from the European Union, which a substantial part of the British electorate, perhaps a majority, support. UKIP is a party with considerable support among Orthodox Jews.

The European Union is not only undemocratic, it is anti-democratic. It is an oligarchy of politicians and bureaucrats who run things according to and for their own interests. In this they are very much the successors of the aristocrats of yesteryear. The structure of the European Union is a reversion to the aristocratic structure of the European past. National governments have become little more then e-mail addresses for receipt of instructions from the bureaucratic masters in Brussels. Undemocratic European courts override national governments and law.

An interesting corollary to this is that Europe is also reverting to its traditional anti-Semitism and scapegoating of Jews whenever there are difficulties, especially economic. This can easily be seen in the media – especially the broadcast media – in Britain and Europe, where one is inundated with mostly pro-Palestinian propaganda and incitement against Israel and Jews.

Levi Sokolic
London, England

  Shabbos In Midwood

A few years ago we were blessed to spend Shabbos at the home of June and Avy Bomzer in Midwood, Brooklyn. We were blessed to be there again for Shabbos earlier this month and left with the same elevated spiritual feeling we did the last time.

June and Avy and their son Eli are true practitioners of the mitzvah of hachnassas orchim. Eli will make someone an extraordinary husband.

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