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A New Denial Of Traditional Judaism


This movement gained momentum. In the end, traditional observance by European Jewry gave way to assimilation, intermarriage, and conversion to Christianity. By the advent of World War II, over 40 percent of German Jews had intermarried and many Christianized. Even in Poland, that bastion of traditional Jewish observance, two-thirds had ceased to keep the Shabbos.

What went wrong? Modernity is by its very definition relative – subject to the capriciousness of men and society. Any notion defined by modernity is fluid and can be changed according to time, place, and situation. Modernity itself is therefore useless in defining a standard of right conduct.

Judaism, a divine institution, operates in the sphere of eternity, which is, by definition, absolute. Absolutism transcends the vicissitudes of mortal whims, as it is forever valid.

This brings us to the timely issue of women rabbis. Jewish tradition, cognizant of the physiological, psychological, and spiritual makeup of human beings, distinguishes between men and women. It actually gives deferential status to women. According to many meforshim, women are exempt from certain mitzvos due to their exalted status. As John Gray famously wrote, “Men are from Mars and women are from Venus.”

While we may be two sides of the same coin, we are different. That’s how God designed things. As sefer Bereishis carefully explicates, a woman’s role is reflective of the fact that she is often the silent hero, working behind the scenes as the nurturer, sustainer, and catalyst.

A difference in roles is by no means a diminution in value. Whether it was in Egypt, Israel, Persia, or Syrian-Greek occupied Israel, throughout Jewish history women have heroically redeemed the Jewish people, albeit in a uniquely feminine manner. A recent Time magazine article suggested that feminism may have contributed to more sadness in women than happiness. When modernity supplants eternity – when innate, ontological strengths are skewed and distorted – it’s time for pregnant pause and introspection.

Judaism teaches that in every male-female encounter there is a unique dynamic at play, with potential for exploitation. This is precisely why safeguards apply, in order to maximize necessary propriety between genders. Studies suggest that irrespective of environment (even in academic and corporate milieus) men have a tendency of viewing women colleagues, superficially, as women.

Judaism’s tradition of modesty is meant to preempt potential disregard for a woman’s intelligence and spirituality. The shofetes Devorah was not your typical public functionary. Though she was ordained by God to judge her people, it was a pro tempore role and special guidelines were prescribed to safeguard her intrinsic femininity.

The prognosis for Reform and Conservative Jewry is bleak. A break with tradition is a failed experiment. Only Traditional Judaism – a.k.a. Orthodoxy – once deemed a relic of the past, is in upward swing. The secret to its success? Not capitulating or kowtowing to transitory ideas or ideals but rather harnessing modern knowledge and invention to complement religious experience.

Obscuring the divinely endowed roles of man and woman is tantamount to denying God’s Omniscience. As we stand at the precipice of a new threat to tradition, it is incumbent on us to reaffirm our fealty to the Omniscient Knowledge of our Creator.

About the Author: Rabbi Yitzchok Fingerer is a popular lecturer and educator and the author of "Search Judaism: Judaism's Answers to a Changing World" (Targum, 2009), available at SearchJudaism.com. He is also director of the Think and Care Tank (thinkandcare.org), an organization dedicated to spreading Jewish values and innovative Jewish programming.


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8 Responses to “A New Denial Of Traditional Judaism”

  1. Dick Farrel says:

    here’s a fact.. Yeshua Ha Maschiah IS JEWISH….He is described to a T ( or a cross, lol) in Isaiah 53.. Lubuvitcher rabbis tell me…I am not supposed to read Isaiah 53…too bad I did…maybe all traditional Judiasm is based on a false premise. Political correctness of the Day forced the “Sandy Heads” ( heads full of Sand) AKA the San Hedrin to deny Jesus to placate the Roman Ponty Pilot…maybe if we had taken Him as our own….things would have turned out different…God makes those rules..we don’t..the way it is is the way it is supposed to be…His way. It’s time to stop hiding from the fact Jesus Is King. We knew this Before His arrival…so it says in Isaiah 53.

  2. Dick Farrel says:

    here’s a fact.. Yeshua Ha Maschiah IS JEWISH….He is described to a T ( or a cross, lol) in Isaiah 53.. Lubuvitcher rabbis tell me…I am not supposed to read Isaiah 53…too bad I did…maybe all traditional Judiasm is based on a false premise. Political correctness of the Day forced the “Sandy Heads” ( heads full of Sand) AKA the San Hedrin to deny Jesus to placate the Roman Ponty Pilot…maybe if we had taken Him as our own….things would have turned out different…God makes those rules..we don’t..the way it is is the way it is supposed to be…His way. It’s time to stop hiding from the fact Jesus Is King. We knew this Before His arrival…so it says in Isaiah 53.

  3. Dick Farrel says:

    You Don’t have to be any less Jewish to Love Jesus…remember He is also Jewish.. ask Sid Roth..he writes the books

  4. Dick Farrel says:

    You Don’t have to be any less Jewish to Love Jesus…remember He is also Jewish.. ask Sid Roth..he writes the books

  5. Dick Farrel says:

    You Don’t have to be any less Jewish to Love Jesus…remember He is also Jewish.. ask Sid Roth..he writes the books

  6. Benjamin Rau says:

    Maybe the world should break from the Roman Tradition and and do some investigation into the Mountains in Saudi Arabia for the Real Mount Sinai

  7. Benjamin Rau says:

    Maybe the world should break from the Roman Tradition and and do some investigation into the Mountains in Saudi Arabia for the Real Mount Sinai

  8. Benjamin Rau says:

    Maybe the world should break from the Roman Tradition and and do some investigation into the Mountains in Saudi Arabia for the Real Mount Sinai

Comments are closed.

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