web analytics
April 20, 2014 / 20 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.

Letters To The Editor

Share Button

Unite Behind The Winner

During a Thursday morning interview on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Boston Red Sox pitching star Curt Schilling looked into the camera and said, “Tell everybody to vote, and vote Bush next week.” Many were excited to hear this beloved pitcher endorse President Bush.

Well, the people have spoken. Our democratic electoral process is far from perfect, and improvements may well be needed. But as President Lincoln reminded us, government “of the people, by the people, and for the people” constitutes the best hope on earth. Once the people have spoken on Election Day, no matter how close the call, it behooves us to come together in unity behind the winner. Otherwise, the old saying “united we stand, divided we fall” just may prove to be literally true.

President Bush understands, like John Stuart Mill understood years ago, that war is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. President Bush understands that there can indeed be such things as a bad peace and a just war. We are fighting a just war today, the most important of wars – a war that will determine the existence or demise of the free world.

Brian J. Goldenfeld
Woodland Hills

The Sagacious Edgar

It’s fascinating how muddled one’s thinking can get when trying to justify aberrant behavior. Edgar Bronfman, head of The World Jewish Congress, proposes that Jews deem intermarriage permissible as long as “they … bring up their children as Jewish” (“Tevye the Milkman and the Clueless Mr. Bronfman”, editorial, Nov. 5).

If you’re going to permit intermarriage, which is against probably the most fundamental commandment responsible for our endurance as a nation for thousands of years, you’re not very likely to instill much respect for any other Torah commandment. So what exactly does Mr. Bronfman mean by bringing children up Jewish? That is, once you eliminate every
vestige of Judaism from your life, what have you got left to bring your kids up Jewish with?

During Chanukah, you’ll put latkas into your kid’s ham sandwich? At the Passover Seder, you’ll tell your kids stories about how we used to be a persecuted people – until G-d gave us the Borscht Belt?

Did G-d go through the trouble of gathering us at Mt. Sinai just to give us a Torah that’s optional? And what about the Ten Commandments? Are they multiple choice?

We have Jewish laws that are not applicable in the absence of the Temple and we have laws that do not apply to Jews outside the Land of Israel. If we had laws that ceased to have relevance in modern times, as Mr. Bronfman and other Reform Jews seem to believe, I’m quite confident the Torah itself would have informed us of this. It does not.

Furthermore, the notion that considering anyone a Jews as long as they marry a Jew would “double the amount of Jews” is not supported by any evidence that I’m aware of. If anything, statistics probably suggest the contrary; intermarriage in greater numbers would more than likely cause a reduction in identifiable Jews through assimilation.

Besides, if you’re going to include people as Jews in such an arbitrary, whimsical, non-Torah- compliant manner, why stop at marriage? Why not declare that all those living on the same block as a Jew are Jewish? We could go from a minority to a super race overnight. Eventually, we could upgrade our laws to include extraterrestrials. Imagine – we could have Jewish galaxies!

What a brilliant idea. Mr Bronfman, thank you for enlightening us.

Josh Greenberger
Brooklyn, NY

Rebbe’s Advice To Sharon

Thirty-five years ago, the Lubavitcher Rebbe advised Ariel Sharon to stay out of politics. The directive came at the beginning of a two-page letter dated 18 Menachem Av, 5730.

At this moment, when Sharon is wreaking havoc in Israel with his push to withdraw from Gush Katif, signaling weakness and defeat to our enemies and perpetrating pain and grief on our brothers and sisters, the time is right to publicize the Rebbe’s directive. Below is an excerpt. For a full copy of the letter, please call (718) 493-4848 to have it faxed.

Basha Oka Botnick
(Via E-Mail)

18 Menachem Av 5730

“As we discussed when you were here, it is my opinion that your proper place is in Tzahal, and it is there that with G-d’s assistance you are successful and will continue to be so. Of course, this is in addition to the benefit derived thereby by the general public – the Jewish Nation, the Holy Nation that dwells in the land of Israel, the Holy Land, which G-d has blessed you with the privilege of protecting by means of your exceptional abilities, effort and vigor.

… Based on the above-stated, one can readily appreciate my opinion, that it makes no sense at all for you to switch to a different occupation, and most certainly not in the political arena – even to become a government official – for that is not your mission, and you will not utilize your talents and experience thereby. Quite the contrary.”

In Defense Of Chumros

Dr. David Berger (“On the Prohibition of Water: An Appeal to Poskim,” op-ed, Oct. 22) implies that current religious leaders are adapting unwarranted stringencies and essentially playing “frummer than thou.” Did Dr. Berger speak to one of the poskim in order to get an answer to his question?

Dr. Berger tries to convince the unsuspecting masses that the p’sak is unfounded, but reader Michoel Strauss goes one step further in his Nov. 5 letter to the editor. He posits that this ruling is simply the latest manifestation of what he describes as a climate in the Orthodox community of “mindless ritualism and a ‘can you top this’ chumraism.” This is a particularly insidious approach, as Mr. Strauss derisively labels recent edicts chumros – which he clearly believes need not be followed.

For argument’s sake, let’s accept that the decision about New York City water is nothing more than a chumra. Mr. Strauss and those of his ilk should understand that chumros are an essential element of Judaism. Consider just a few examples – waiting six hours between meat and dairy meals, avoiding rice on Pesach, even the way we keep Shabbos. As my rosh yeshiva, Rabbi Zelig Friedman, shlita, has explained, the observance of Shabbos 2,500 years ago bore little resemblance to our present-day practices. Kiddush over wine had not yet been instituted, and people did not as a rule go to synagogue to daven with a minyan. The Gemara tells us that Avraham avinu kept the entire Torah including chumras which would later be instituted by our Sages.

Basically, chumros are legislated for one of two not necessarily exclusive reasons: either as a safeguard to mitzvot or to enhance our observance. The Gemara relates that the Beit Hamikdash was destroyed because the people “properly kept the Torah,” explaining that a Jew cannot be satisfied with simply keeping the Torah but must act “lifnim mishuras hadin” – beyond the letter of the Law.

Please consider that the rabbis being criticized are internationally and universally accepted poskim as well as men of impeccable character. That their opinions could be subjected to scrutiny boggles the mind. If this p’sak is rejected, just what role do Dr. Berger and Mr. Strauss expect gedolei Yisrael to play in the future of our nation? Would they like to set up a lay board which would approve all halachic decisions before they are promulgated?

Dr. Yaakov Stern
Brooklyn, NY

Share Button

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.

No Responses to “Letters To The Editor”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Ukraine Shul Firebombed
Ukrainian Synagogue Firebombed (Video)
Latest Indepth Stories
Imam Suhail Webb who boasted his Muslim community persuaded Brandeis President Fred Lawrence to withdraw an invitation to Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

At Brandeis, much of what counts as Western civilization got cold feet and won’t stand with Hirsi Ali.

Text of anti-Semitic flyer distributed to Jews in Donetsk, Ukraine on Passover 2014.

But the lesson from this meditation is that hidden behind the anti-semitic act is the greatest light.

Yossi Klein HaLevi

As support of their messianic dream, Halevi and Antepli approve dishonoring Hirsi Ali as a ‘renegade.’


If itis a mitzva to eat matza all Pesach, then why is there no berakha attached to it?

When we are united with unconditional love, no stone will be raised against us by our enemies.

The reporter simply reports the news, but it is greater to be inspired to better the situation.

The Big Bang theory marked the scientific community’s first sense of the universe having a beginning.

Freeing convicted murderers returns the status of Jewish existence to something less than sanctified.

“The bigger they are the harder they fall” describes what God had in mind for Olmert.

We, soldiers of the IDF, who stand guard over the people and the land, fulfill the hopes of the millions of Jewish people across the generations who sought freedom.

How much is the human mind able to grasp of the Divine?

Jews have brought the baggage of the galut (exile) mentality to the modern state of Israel.

The Haggadah is an instruction manual on how to survive as strangers in strange lands.

It’s finally happened. New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan reported on her blog that “many readers…wrote to object to an [April 2] article…on the breakdown in peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians,” claiming “[they] found the headline misleading and the article itself lacking in context.” Ms. Sullivan provided one such letter, quoted the […]

Nor did it seem relevant that according to widely circulated media reports, Rev. Sharpton was caught on an FBI surveillance video discussing possible drug sales with an FBI agent.

More Articles from Letters to the Editor

How can it be called a failed school when it has only been open a year?

I had the opportunity on a number of occasions in October of 1973 to be present at the international airport in Lod and to watch the military C-5 Galaxy planes landing, packed with goods. At the time, we were out of everything.

Don’t Touch Nixon, He Saved my Life My sentiments too on our late President Nixon. Although my last name does not meet the culture, I have suffered heavily acts of anti semitism over the years(in the work place) when it is learned, (ie), I’ve taken off for Yom Kippur, just as one example. I truly understand […]

Peace must start from the ground up, not with grand slogans coming from pontificating politicians.

Let’s think what OUR interest is, and act according to it.

This past Friday, I went shopping at a local supermarket and noticed a piece of paper on the floor with what looked like Hebrew lettering. On closer examination, I was shocked to see that this small pamphlet with some form off advertising contained the full text of “Krias Shma al Hamitta,” (the Shma Israel recited […]

Dear Editor, I read with interest Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu’s February 24, 2013 article entitled, Women of the Wall Rabbi Calls Knesset Achashverosh. In 2003, the Israeli Supreme Court issued a decision that allows Women of the Wall to pray at the Kotel once a month on Rosh Hodesh. That is why Women of the Wall only […]

Today is my brother’s second yartzheit and a Torah was dedicated in his memory.

I know that some people in heterosexual families see themselves as underdog victims harassed by threatening gays.

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?

    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/letters-to-the-editor/letters-to-the-editor-78/2004/11/10/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: