web analytics
August 22, 2014 / 26 Av, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat (L) visits the JewishPress.com booth at The Event. And the Winners of the JewishPress.com Raffle Are…

Congratulations to all the winners of the JewishPress.com raffle at The Event



Home » Judaism » Parsha »

Achrei Mos-Kedoshim: Why the Reform Movement Did Not Begin in Northern Africa


Leff-041913

It is much more possible to talk in a fire and brimstone way to Sefardim and be effective than it is to talk in such a manner to Ashkenazim. In fact, Rav Shlomo Wolbe said that beginning already in the mid 1800’s, most Torah educators in the Ashkenazi world had decided that our generation needs more of a loving and positive approach, rather than a strong and critical one. This was not the case for the Sefardim.

Interestingly, many Sefardim who are not Torah observant will still belong to Orthodox synagogues. It is not so common for Reform and Conservative synagogues to have Sefardi members. In fact, if you look back at history, the Reform and Conservative movements originated and were maintained by Ashkenazim only. Even if many Sefardim, for whatever reasons, stopped being Torah observant in action, they never completely abandoned the proper Torah beliefs. Their heart and emotion always kept them connected to the truth even if their actions were not consistent with their affiliation.

Ashkenazim, on the other hand, are defined more with intellect and find it difficult to affiliate one way but have contradictory actions and practices. Therefore, they came up with philosophies, beliefs, and movements, such as Reform and Conservative, allowing them to rationalize their practices which deviated from Torah and tradition. Sefardim can take hardcore mussar much more easily than Ashkenazim.

Could all this be part of the reason why the divergent customs for the Haftorah for Achrei Mos/Kedoshim evolved? Even if not the conscious rationale mentioned by poskim, is there any truth to what we discussed vis-à-vis the differences in the Sefardi and Ashkenazi personalities? I’ll let you decide.

But, at least it made for an interesting discussion regarding some of the happenings of this week’s Haftorah.

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.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

6 Responses to “Achrei Mos-Kedoshim: Why the Reform Movement Did Not Begin in Northern Africa”

  1. Rabbi Leff:

    The reason why there never was a need for non-halakhic movements among the Sepharadim is quite simple: our societies developed a horizontal approach to religious life, as opposed to a vertical one. Sephardic Judaism is Judaism of the sacred book; learning for us entails a straight reading of the entire Torah (including the Tanakh, which has fallen out of favor in the yeshivot of Ashkenaz), with an emphasis on beqiut. While our hakhamim are respected and revered, the doctrine of "daas toyreh" was never part of our experience. Tosafot, in Berakhot 31b, DH Moreh Halacha Bifenei Rabach At, give us one of the early references to a doctrine of "gadol hador," and Jacob Katz tells us that the doctrine of daas toyreh later became cemented in the 1870s, when the Church developed a doctrine of papal infallibility. In addition, an authoritarian asceticism developed among the Hasidei Ashkenaz, who were notorious for extreme forms of mortification of the flesh (not unlike German Martin Luther), such as "makkos" (self-flagellation), rolling in the snow, and other extreme physical, masochistic measures for "kapparah." This proclivity towards stringency also manifests itself in halakhic rulings, lending the Ashkenazic approach closer to that of Shammai.

    In Andalus and other Sephardic environs, there was always an openness and a realization that there is a religious imperative to know about God's world, and the riches of the arts, literature, science, and all areas of human knowledge. Sepharad created a society that was religious and humanistic, led by the teachings of Hazal, the Rambam, and others. As Rabbi Marc Angel writes on p. 175 of "Foundations of Sephardic Spirituality": "Sephardic tradition eschewed extreme positions, trying to keep as many Jews within the fold as possible. It is no accident that Sephardim never broke into various religious movements, as did the Ashkenazim."

    The religiously analphabetic world of Ashkenaz, as seen today in Lakewood, Bnei Brak, and Meah Shearim is one type of extremism which led to the extremism of the haskalah, whereas in the Sephardic world, the ideals of torah, maddah, Jewish unity, intellectual openness, peaceful, positive relations with all people, and a pleasant, lenient, halakhic approach led to a religious life that was open, tolerant, humane, intellectually vigorous, and much-beloved. Scholars like Hakham Uziel, Hakham Yosef Faur, Rabbi Angel, Yisrael Moshe Hazan, Eliyahu Benamozegh, Hakham Haim David HaLevy, and others best represent this worldview. Instead of minimializing and rejecting, we seek to accommodate and make sense of the world, and how modernity can magnify our lives while staying planted in our principles. This is the key to our religious vigor. Loving truth, taking a Hillel approach, and being receptive to all is the key to Sephardic life.

  2. Rabbi Leff:

    The reason why there never was a need for non-halakhic movements among the Sepharadim is quite simple: our societies developed a horizontal approach to religious life, as opposed to a vertical one. Sephardic Judaism is Judaism of the sacred book; learning for us entails a straight reading of the entire Torah (including the Tanakh, which has fallen out of favor in the yeshivot of Ashkenaz), with an emphasis on beqiut. While our hakhamim are respected and revered, the doctrine of "daas toyreh" was never part of our experience. Tosafot, in Berakhot 31b, DH Moreh Halacha Bifenei Rabach At, give us one of the early references to a doctrine of "gadol hador," and Jacob Katz tells us that the doctrine of daas toyreh later became cemented in the 1870s, when the Church developed a doctrine of papal infallibility. In addition, an authoritarian asceticism developed among the Hasidei Ashkenaz, who were notorious for extreme forms of mortification of the flesh (not unlike German Martin Luther), such as "makkos" (self-flagellation), rolling in the snow, and other extreme physical, masochistic measures for "kapparah." This proclivity towards stringency also manifests itself in halakhic rulings, lending the Ashkenazic approach closer to that of Shammai.

    In Andalus and other Sephardic environs, there was always an openness and a realization that there is a religious imperative to know about God's world, and the riches of the arts, literature, science, and all areas of human knowledge. Sepharad created a society that was religious and humanistic, led by the teachings of Hazal, the Rambam, and others. As Rabbi Marc Angel writes on p. 175 of "Foundations of Sephardic Spirituality": "Sephardic tradition eschewed extreme positions, trying to keep as many Jews within the fold as possible. It is no accident that Sephardim never broke into various religious movements, as did the Ashkenazim."

    The religiously analphabetic world of Ashkenaz, as seen today in Lakewood, Bnei Brak, and Meah Shearim is one type of extremism which led to the extremism of the haskalah, whereas in the Sephardic world, the ideals of torah, maddah, Jewish unity, intellectual openness, peaceful, positive relations with all people, and a pleasant, lenient, halakhic approach led to a religious life that was open, tolerant, humane, intellectually vigorous, and much-beloved. Scholars like Hakham Uziel, Hakham Yosef Faur, Rabbi Angel, Yisrael Moshe Hazan, Eliyahu Benamozegh, Hakham Haim David HaLevy, and others best represent this worldview. Instead of minimializing and rejecting, we seek to accommodate and make sense of the world, and how modernity can magnify our lives while staying planted in our principles. This is the key to our religious vigor. Loving truth, taking a Hillel approach, and being receptive to all is the key to Sephardic life.

  3. Asher Meza says:

    According to Rabbi Rakefet of YU (Israel Division) das torah actually began in the Agudah Convention of 1917 as a ploy by the Rabbis to cement their authority on the Jewish people. Before then the term was never used, with the Exemption of the 1 time it appears in shas, in Chullin when referring to a tradition of removing the sciatic nerve.

  4. Asher Meza says:

    I agree with your statement regarding most Sephardim prior to the 13th Century but today the opposite is actually true. Remember it was Sephardim who gave the Zohar to the world and even till today (among Hareidi circles) it is Sephardim who are the most mystically (kabalistically) inclined. This is clearly the case with the Sephardim who live in Israel which make up the bulk of religious Sephardim. Granted their american counterparts seem to take a more rational approach mainly due to their high levels of assimilation among most of their brothers in the diaspora but since the 14 century this hasn't been the case.

  5. Asher Meza says:

    Honestly if one had the choose between the Tosafot and the Zohar, its better to choose Tosafot. Which is the main difference between Sephardic and Ashkenazi synagogues today.

  6. I am not against the Zohar I am Sephardic by the way question what did Maimonides think of it?

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
A member of Students for Justice in Palestine punched a pro-Israel student in the face at Temple University, Aug. 20, 2014. SJP claims the pro-Israel student provoked the incident.
Pro-’Palestine’ Students at Temple U Blame Victim for Altercation
Latest Judaism Stories
Weiss-082214-Beloved

Hashem recalls everything – nothing is hidden from His eyes.

Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

According to Rabbi Yishmael one was not permitted to eat such an animal prior to entering Eretz Yisrael, while according to Rabbi Akiva one was permitted to eat animals if he would perform nechirah.

Lessons-Emunah-logo

An interview was overheard in which an Arab asked a Hamas commander: “What’s the problem? Why aren’t you hitting your targets? Don’t you know how to aim?” To which he was answered: “We know how to aim very well. We are experts. But their G-d moves the missiles.”

Daf-Yomi-logo

Discretion
‘Vendors Of Fruits And Clothing…May Sell In Private’
(Mo’ed Katan 13b)

Question: The Gemara in Berachot states that the sages authored our prayers. Does that mean we didn’t pray beforehand?

Menachem
Via Email

If a man sins and follows his inclinations, he will find comfort in this world – but when he dies, he will go to a place that is all thorns.

Nothing is more effective to diminish envy than gratitude.

The first prayer of Moshe was Vayechal, where Moshe’s petition was that no matter how bad bnei Yisrael were, the Egyptians were worse.

“We’re leining now, and shouldn’t be talking,” Mr. Silver gently quieted his son. “At the Shabbos table we can discuss it at length.”

If we regard pain and suffering as mere coincidence, we will feel no motivation to examine our lives

Culture is not nature. There are causes in nature, but only in culture are there meanings.

Rabbinic law is pivotal but it’s important to understand which laws are rabbinic and which biblical.

We give slave gifts? If he wants to stay, we pierce his ear?!

It is words that connect the individuals in a society and it is words that give that society its animating spirit. It is words that define its potential. People are a nation’s cells. Land is its body. But words give it life, animation and purpose. It is words that those who lay siege to Münster […]

“When a mother plays with her child there is an acute awareness of the child. But even when the mother works at a job or is distracted by some other activity, there is a natural, latent awareness of her child’s existence.

More Articles from Rabbi Boruch Leff
Leff-081514

“When a mother plays with her child there is an acute awareness of the child. But even when the mother works at a job or is distracted by some other activity, there is a natural, latent awareness of her child’s existence.

Kotel and Temple Mount

The Three Weeks determines the “who we are and how we live” as Jews.

Sometimes when Chazal say that two different people are really one, they do not mean it literally, but rather figuratively.

Yehoshua knew that the outcome of the battles would depend not on military might, but on the spiritual strength of Klal Yisrael.

The question begs: how in the world can we accept that Bnei Yisrael en masse did not ever keep the mitzvah of shemittah?

Someone who focuses only on the bones of the Torah makes his bones dry and passionless.

While our purpose in this world is to use our free will to choose good, to overcome our tests and challenges, part of that choosing should include a deep wish that we wouldn’t even have the ability to sin.

King Achav reports back to his wife, Queen Izevel, thoroughly dejected. It seems Eliyahu has defeated them and their idolatrous practices. The nation would no longer worship Baal and return once again to serving Hashem. This threatened Achav and Izevel’s entire hold on their kingdom.

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/achrei-mos-kedoshim-why-did-the-reform-movement-begin-in-europe-and-not-in-northern-africa/2013/04/18/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: