Sunday, January 17, 2010

Getting It From Both Sides

It's slightly funny. There were endless attacks against me from one side for my adopting Rambam's approach in various areas; my critics claimed that Rambam does not represent the Torah-true mesorah. And now, in the comments on the previous post, there are attacks against me for my claiming that in some areas, Rambam himself was presenting Greco-Muslim philosophical perspectives rather than the traditional Jewish perspective - someone is insisting that Rambam always does represent the Torah-true mesorah.

What is not funny at all is how others are getting it from both sides. ZAKA, the charedi emergency response group, sent a team to Haiti to help rescue victims of the earthquake. It is incredible work, but physically, mentally and emotionally demanding. For previous such efforts, forensic teams have dubbed the group "the team that sleeps with the dead" because they toil nearly 24 hours a day to identify those who died. And what is the response? Some people are condemning them for being mechalel Shabbos to save goyim, whereas others are condemning them for taking a break in order to davven.

Yasher koach to Zaka for their efforts! And let us remember how much more value there is in actually doing something rather than in sitting back and finding fault in how others are doing things.


  1. Good point re. the Rambam. Brilliant irony.

  2. Wonderful post. I always find that many cynical critics have never actually tried to deal with the issues they criticise others for. Its like the Europeans who live in peaceful democracies who criticise the Israelis for responding too harshly to terror, or the people who have never had to confront real science and Torah issues, and just pass off the attempted solutions as apikorsus. Yishar Kochacha, Rabbi Slifkin, for actually taking a stand.

  3. Is there a way to designate funds specifically to Haiti relief? I couldn't find anything on their website.

  4. Some people just have their own agendas and mindset and so their opinions come first and the reasoins for their opinions come later.
    The bogs concerning ZAKA are an excellent example.

  5. There are two ways to approach a person who is performing incredible deeds that you yourself are not capable of.
    The first is to admire the person and appreciate his amazing abilities and accomplishments. This requires you to accept that he is inferior in a particular way to this person.
    The second is to refuse to admit any inferiority, therefore this person needs to be criticized in any way possible so that his amazing achievements aren't recognized.
    Yesher koach on being the first type.

  6. "Haiti Relief Workers Risk Their Minds, Experts Say"

  7. R' Slifkin, since your post made sort of a comparison between you and relief workers, is this last comment of yours supposed to do the same? (smirk)

  8. Why the stirah? Isn’t it possible for one person to maintain all three opinions? I for one am supremely proud. Wish I had it in me to have joined myself.
    I’m not familiar with the circumstances, but I do think there is a gap between breaking for Shabbos, or for a minyan. I could understand someone believing they should help out, but not on Shabbos, while thinking that stopping for tefilah wasn’t crucial. I could also understand being mechalel Shabbos to save lives, while taking short breaks for davening.
    In any case…Mi ke’amenu Yisrael. There to care and share even, at times, with those who begrudge taking it from us. And ken ken to the concluding sentence.

  9. I commend ZAKA for their work. It is sad that there are those that don't realize what a good thing they are doing. Human life is more important than shabbos!

    I think Garnel brings up a good point, too. We see it in politics all the time.


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