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December 20, 2014 / 28 Kislev, 5775
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The ‘Talmudic’ Objectivity of the Millennial Generation


In order to change the world we first need to be receptive to the genuine messages being conveyed. While secular society doesn’t yet speak about the Torah and Talmud – terms which many of us are more familiar with – this does not mean that they are not speaking out a similar topic using the terminology familiar to them.

About six weeks ago I read an insightful article about how millennials view the world. This is the generation that followed in the footsteps of Generation X (millennials are also known as Generation Y) with birth years ranging from the 1980s to early 2000s.

In this article entitled “How Millennials Really Feel About Technology” the 22-year old author paints the picture of a generation “caught in the middle.” While I encourage you to read the article (it’s not long), these are a few lines that capture her sentiments pretty well:

“Unlike our parents, we are less likely to marvel at technology — we are able to multitask, don’t tune out others when we get a text message, and are less likely to post unfortunate intricacies of our lives on social media. And unlike our younger siblings, cousins and perhaps even children, we were not raised with these technologies being an integral part of our day-to-day routines.”

Choosing Camps

Usually the first question that arises when speaking of objectivity is that someone has got to be right?! Isn’t politics (and yes lots of journalism) polarized for a reason? But the author of this article has provided a correct example of what we mean.

Speaking in shorthand (you can read about the spiritual origin of conservatism and liberalism), conservatives are those who hold on to the values of the past, whereas liberals are focused on the future. Instead of facing backwards, liberals face forward in the hopes of creating a future better than the past.

Once we begin to associate conservatives with religion and liberalism with anti-religion it becomes a conflict. But as explained in this class, there were very many great souls and tzadikim (righteous persons) whose souls derived from the left.

In Talmudic Journalism, we discussed these two camps relative to the mindsets of the “depth of the beginning” or the “depth of the end.” Who is considered greater, the first sages or the last sages? Rabbi Yochanan says that the earlier the sages (i.e., the depth is at the beginning) whereas his brother-in-law Reish Lakish holds the opposite, that the later the sage, the greater he is. What we didn’t discuss there is that there is another way to state the difference in their two approaches. Whereas Rabbi Yochanan’s approach favors what’s called in Kabbalah “an awakening from above,” Reish Lakish favors “an awakening from below.”

At first the topic seems closed. Halachically, we rule according to Rabbi Yochanan. Beit Hillel, Rabbi Yehoshua and Rabbi Yochanan are considered one halachic tradition, while Beit Shamai, Rabbi Eliezer ben Horkanos and Reish Lakish are considered the opposite halachic tradition. But the Lubavitcher Rebbe ruled that Mashiach has to come from below, heralding the change from ruling like Beit Hillel to Beit Shamai and Reish Lakish.

Politically we sense this divide very clearly. Whereas governments seek to establish hierarchies founded on some pre-established system, revolutions and uprisings happen from people who aren’t as concerned about what exists presently. Thus this shift from above to below also indicates that Mashiach will come more in the form of a public uprising – hopefully as Rebbe Nachman of Breslov taught, without a single bullet being shot – than as a decree from the Torah leaders and tzadikim of the generation.

About the Author: Yonatan Gordon is a student of Harav Yitzchak Ginsburgh, and writes on his personal blog at CommunityofReaders.org.

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7 Responses to “The ‘Talmudic’ Objectivity of the Millennial Generation”

  1. Hector Ramos says:

    Lori Lowenthal Marcus, writing has a goal; it is to inform the reader, and perhaps, also to convince them into believing in the topic being presented. It is quite something to think about when you use the words “Divine Providence.” The words are used as an absolute: They were given by divine providence, by God; so the words seem, to represent. If this is the case, why do you use “The Talmudic,” as in the teachings of the Septuagint? Why do you incorporate what is given by God, and what was given by men – making man equal to God in teaching and power? Did God tell any individual rabbi or any particular person that the Talmud should be taught to Israel?
    Rabbi Shneur Zalman, when you say “there will not be a second giving of the Torah,” are these words yours, and if they are under whose authority are you speaking about the Torah. If by God, do you not think that God would also reveal you the meaning of all of his prophecies? Why is this not the case, and you must teach the Talmud as if you were representing God, and as though you had his authority to teach the meaning of the Torah.
    For over 2150 years, you have been teaching Israel the Talmud.
    During the time when Jesus taught his salvation to Israel, all of the rabbis at the time, together with the high priests crucified Jesus because you did not want to hear God speaking. Jesus is the Son of God, yet you considered him worthy of death and you crucified him with all the hate your heart can hold bitter.
    There is not one Jew that believes in the Talmud that does not blasphemy against Jesus. His name is hated as Palestinians hate you. Palestinians want to devour you and take your land, and they will not rest until they do so. They kill you with hate, and the world kills Jews with the same hate you have for Jesus.
    You claim to believe in God and to follow the Torah, yet at the same time you claim not to understand it. Therefore, you want the Talmud, in order to explain the Torah.
    Tell me, now, if you have read Genesis to the last prophet, why do you ignore the sin of Israel? Ezra, Jeremiah, Isaiah, and Ezequiel speak of the sin of Israel; yet, you claim not to understand your own history, a history full of paganism, full of worshipping strange gods. A history full of disobedience to God, and a history where you killed all of the prophets so that you would not have to listen to what Jehovah had to say to Israel.
    I am under the impression that you do understand the Torah well, but do not want to talk about it. Why, may I ask are you not speaking in a loud voice the sin of Israel?
    The Talmud or Judaism allows any human being to convert, and by so doing, you are clearly disobeying God. God does not want strangers mixing with Hebrews, yet, now you have people from all over the world mixed with the blood of Abraham; Clearly, and abomination to God.
    Is the Talmud more powerful than the word of Jehovah? Is the Talmud, the only source where you get the inspiration to worship God? This seems to be the religious Judaism sect. Yours is the Pharisees that are willing to kill anyone who does not believe in your way of thinking, otherwise you would not have killed a prophet inside the HOLY TEMPLE of Jehovah.
    Israel needs to listen to God himself. He does not need anyone interpreting his word, and if you do need interpretation, you need to ask God to give you the Holy Spirit to reveal what he wants from Israel. Israel is the chosen people of God because it is only Hebrews who have the privilege to know and understand God.
    If you live by the law, what did you do to God’s covenant to sacrifice animals for the sins of Israel perpetually and forever?
    I think that Israel must be told the truth. And, if any Jew needs to hear God’s voice, why don’t you talk to him? God will talk to you, and if he does not, then, you and your religion will come into question whether the God you claim to believe in is true, or not… Reason enough for people to hate you even more.
    I wonder if God sent a prophet to speak to Israel right now, would you kill him also?

  2. Judaism is not only for Hebrews. Read genesis 17:12 For the generations to come every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised, including those born in your household or bought with money from a foreigner—those who are not your offspring.

  3. And the mixing of blood is also wrong on your behalf. Rehab and Ruth were not Hebrews yet they are king David’s grandmother

  4. Lori Lowenthal Marcus says:

    Hector Ramos: this is an op-ed which was written by Yonatan Gordon, not by me. Your questions should be addressed to him, but since you asked me, I’ll just say that you really have a twisted, hate-filled view of history as well as Judaism and I’m not sure it is worth anyone’s time to set you straight.

  5. Judith Dowla says:

    One time in my life I asked a rabbi as to what the Magen David stood for in particular its geometric design. He said the upper triangle stood for above and the lower triangle for below. In other words, 'as above is below.' Your article mentioned that the Moshiach would come from below. Makes sense, does it not? Thank you for sharing.

  6. Judith Dowla says:

    Yonatan, I came to understand that within the rainbow are the colors for healing and nutrition of the body and soul. Each color sounds a note which plays a unique vibration touching each one of us in a variety of ways. ADONAI is full of surprises in our academy of learning. Absolutely! The rainbow and Noach and Shem, Ham and Yefed. We all need to tune into the Word and learn as much as we can. Agree.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Hi Judy,

    Thank you for your comments again.

    In short, you presented two wonderful concepts. The first is that there is some cosmic rhythm or harmony playing throughout all of creation. This is what a string theorist may call string vibrations. In any event, the idea is to connect to the super-conscious realm of the soul where these inspired songs originate. The simple song is at the highest level of the sefirah of keter, crown, which relates to the expression of simple faith. Then directly below it are the 2, 3, and 4 part songs within correspond to the composite level of pleasure. For more please read our book Anatomy of the Soul: http://www.amazon.com/Anatomy-Soul-Rabbi-Yitzchak-Ginsburgh/dp/9657146208

    The other concept you mentioned pertaining to the sons of Noah, relates to either the archetypal categories of race or country, whereas the 7 colors of the rainbow extend to represent the 70 non-Jewish nations of the world. For more please read All Races Serving God: http://www.inner.org/nonjews/family.htm

    It should be noted that there are both Jewish and non-Jewish individuals with the four skin colors mentioned there.


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