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February 26, 2015 / 7 Adar , 5775
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Stop Citing Halachah

Using the term "Halacha" for policies which are not in fact Halacha, delegitimizes those who differ and causes ill-will towards Jewish law.

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Photo Credit: Yori Yanover

But finally, if a legitimate point of view, amongst many, is branded as Halacha, we will, G-d forbid, see many Jews begin to despise Jewish law. Like the example quoted above, when a personal agenda of pre-Pesach cleanliness [not Chametz-free, per-se] is sounded as a dictate of Halacha, the enmity towards the beauty of Jewish law will grow in a disastrous way. In place of a Jew priding his or herself in being part of a religion “who’s ways are pleasant and all it’s paths are peaceful,” [Mishlei 3/17,] they will begin to see Jewish law as a bitter pill that they must swallow, and worse yet, one that they will not want to be part of!

Let’s try to promote a community where, many who keep the dictates of “Halacha,” have different, and sometimes opposing views, as to how to lead the community beyond its dictates. And when we argue as to which way is the correct one, let’s not use a non-Kosher tool of demagogy in the process.

About the Author: Rabbi Yehoshua Grunstein is Director of training and placement at The Straus-Amiel Institute at Ohr Torah Stone.


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4 Responses to “Stop Citing Halachah”

  1. Tim Upham says:

    We should cite the Halachah, because it says someone is Jewish, when their mother is. I have Jewish extremists tell me all of the time, that there is nothing Jewish about me. Because I do not support the killing of all Palestinians and Muslims. When I cite to them the Halachah, they have never even heard of it before.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Tim, if your mother is halachically Jewish, your are, too. Your opinions have nothing to do with your being Jewish or not.

    If you are halachically Jewish, you are also obligated halachically to observe the commandments. It's kind of funny to depend on halacha for your status, but not even try to live by it. It's either relevant or not relevant.

    I have never met or heard of a single Jew (and I lived in America for over 30 years, and now have now lived in the disputed 'West Bank', — Judea and Samaria — among other settlers for 15 years) who supports the killing of all 'Palestinians' and/or Muslims. Please don't bring your straw men to the discussion.

    I think that you've probably been arguing things like, Hey, I'm a Jew, and I support the Palestinians. So people get upset, and say you're not really a Jew, because your statement feels traitorous to them. Or they get really upset and exaggerate how they regard the Muslims in general — whose leaders actively preach murder of ALL Jews.

    Death to all Jews, that would include you, by the way, if your mother really is halachically Jewish. The Muslims preaching death to all Jews (and there are many of them, and very, very few Muslims speak out against this incitement to murder), don't care if your opinions are with them. If you were in their power nothing less than your conversion to Islam would prevent your death at their hands.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Tim, if your mother is halachically Jewish, your are, too. Your opinions have nothing to do with your being Jewish or not.

    If you are halachically Jewish, you are also obligated halachically to observe the commandments. It's kind of funny to depend on halacha for your status, but not even try to live by it. It's either relevant or not relevant.

    I have never met or heard of a single Jew (and I lived in America for over 30 years, and now have now lived in the disputed 'West Bank', — Judea and Samaria — among other settlers for 15 years) who supports the killing of all 'Palestinians' and/or Muslims. Please don't bring your straw men to the discussion.

    I think that you've probably been arguing things like, Hey, I'm a Jew, and I support the Palestinians. So people get upset, and say you're not really a Jew, because your statement feels traitorous to them. Or they get really upset and exaggerate how they regard the Muslims in general — whose leaders actively preach murder of ALL Jews.

    Death to all Jews, that would include you, by the way, if your mother really is halachically Jewish. The Muslims preaching death to all Jews (and there are many of them, and very, very few Muslims speak out against this incitement to murder), don't care if your opinions are with them. If you were in their power nothing less than your conversion to Islam would prevent your death at their hands.

  4. Tim Upham says:

    I have been with numerous Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, and they never wished for or advocated my death. I have been to joint Muslim-Jewish picnics, and had a wonderful time at them. I have been to 9 predominately Muslim nations, and lived in 2 of them. Nobody tried to kill me while I was there. In the Siddur, it says "You will love your fellow man, as though as will love yourself." I take that to heart, and I am glad I do. Because just filling myself with hate, is bad and extremely unnecessary.

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