Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Chareidi Redux

A Guest Post by Rabbi Zundel Heimish

I wonder if the creator of Rationalist Judaism ever imagined that it would be such a vital forum for addressing the critical issues facing the Orthodox world. The present dialogue on the form and trajectory of Charedi Judaism – and the broad range of comments that have been put forward – are a testament to the success of this venue. Perhaps most impressive of all is the tenor of the discussion. Rabbi Slifkin has shown us all how to have discourse without disrespect, leaving polemics and acrimony by the wayside. There are some thoughts and ideas of my own that I would offer for consideration.

R. Ploni has identified the core dispute to be the question of whether the “Far Right” (FR) is or is not “seeking to leave the halachic community”. He states they are not and avers “the crux of the issue [is] they steadfastly insist on deferring to the judgments of the askanim who dominate the community and deny the need for sanction from Rishonim to make the changes they recommend”. I would suggest R. Ploni understates the issues. Let me refer to the controversy initiated by Rabbi Schmeltzerfogel over the view of Chazal, Geonim, Rishonim and Acharonim that Chazal could err in scientific matters.

In his article R. Schmeltzerfogel writes:

“I know of course that plenty of Rishonim and Acharonim, and indeed Chazal themselves, stated that Chazal could err in science. But by its plain meaning, and by the simple smell test, this view has the effect today of undermining rabbinic authority, and of affirming for us that Rabbis do not always possess the knowledge that scientists do. In our specific time, given our specific challenges, this view hurts us. We thus find ourselves today in a halachic “sha’as hadchak”, an “urgent circumstance”, the sort of circumstance that justifies utilizing a dishonest stratagem to effectively drop this view from our mesorah.”

Clearly, R. Schmeltzerfogel’s goal from the start is to remove this view as it offends modern Charedi sensibilities. His suggested hashkafic maneuvering is simply a clever means to a pre-determined end. Moreover other pashkevillim coming from charedi gedolim directly affirm the premise that they seek to employ the Daas Torah process to attain congruity with contemporary Charedi mores, no matter how forced or convoluted the “stratagem” might be. Such candor in identifying how they use rabbinic authority is refreshing – but it ought not be mistaken to be an honest search for truth in Torah scholarship.

Perhaps more than the actual opinion by R. Schmeltzerfogel to delete a major view from the Geonim, Rishonim and Acharonim for the sake of Charedi sensitivities is the attitude that permeates his writing. Simply put, he is embarrassed by the Rishonim. Their views smell bad and offend today’s charedi who has limited scientific understanding and little knowledge of intellectual history. But might it not be more worthwhile to encourage study of the Rishonim for charedim so that the complexity of the mesorah could be appreciated and accepted rather than altering centuries of tradition?

Additional statements by R. Schmeltzerfogel vis-à-vis the Rishonim’s views on working for a living and other comments where he challenges the authenticity of their writings and practices in view of charedi sensibilities seem to be at odds with R. Ploni’s own formulation of the criteria for Agudah membership: “The Orthodox community, and the Charedim specifically, ought to welcome into its tent anyone who professes loyalty to the theology of Jewish belief endorsed by Rishonim and Achronim as historically and halachically understood, and whose conduct is governed by classical Jewish law”.

Is condemning – and even deleting – the view of the Rishonim for not conforming their theology to the contemporary zeitgeist consistent with classical Jewish law?

At the risk of over-reaching I will take this critique one step further. Conservative Judaism in this country took root as an attempt to keep Jews Jewish, believing as the movement did, that Orthodoxy was too rigid and rejecting of New World realities. A number of Conservative clergy had Orthodox smicha and some were recognized scholars. The “tshuva” written to permit driving to shul on Shabbos and similar policies were efforts to redefine halachic principles to fit the perceived needs of the people (“sha’as hadchak”?) and give sanction to extrahalachic behaviors so as to maintain a façade of religious adherence. Today it is evident to all how poorly that strategy has played out.

I don’t question the sincerity of Rabbis Wachtfogel, Shapiro, et. al. and their conviction that they are serving Hashem and Klal Yisroel. I believe R. Ploni when he says they are all well-meaning ma’aminim. However, that isn’t the dispute and focusing on personalities obfuscates the real problem.

Hachachom einay berosho”. One who has eyes sees the chasm opening up between the FR path and that of mainstream Orthodoxy. Certainly, this critique may be wide of the mark and all that will evolve from the FR activity is some expansion of what becomes acceptable within the realm of Orthodoxy. Yet truth requires one to acknowledge that the fears R. Slifkin expresses have substance and are grounded in historical precedent. Can we agree that there are real dangers that ought to be faced as potential threats to the Klal and respected accordingly? In the opinion of many in mainstream Orthodoxy, some breaches have already come to pass: Piskei halachah on people and books have been issued without meeting the baalei din or reading the books; Tefillos such as Hanosein teshuah lemelachim have been exorcised from the siddur; The notion that working for a living is a bedi'eved; A demand that known manipulators and crooks be accepted in positions of authority by the frum world. I fear Jimmy Durante was correct when he said, “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet!”

After making the case for the “big tent” approach to Orthodoxy R. Ploni in fact turned his attention to the “Far Right” and movingly admonished the group for their intemperate excesses and apparent unwillingness to draw some boundaries of their own – a curious rebuke given his reluctance to concretely define where he would place his own borders. While his reproach is welcome, I wonder why it only came in response to R. Slifkin’s essay and not at the very start of “this current firestorm” – i.e., the campaign by R. Wachtfogel and R. Shapiro. Further, putting it at the very end of his response to R. Slifkin seems to suggest that in the spirit of even-handedness R. Ploni must address both sides of the debate, almost pro-forma not to be taken too seriously. The Rav was not timid or time-sensitive in criticizing Rabbi Rackman loudly and clearly. Is that not the model for this discussion?

In reviewing the comments to both articles and the clarifications offered by both R. Ploni and R. Slifkin, I believe it’s worth asking “How far has the Far Right taken us already?” It is not only the practices they advocate that are at issue. By setting the boundary of acceptability further and further to the conservative extreme we are all pulled away from the standards of the past, both in personal practices and in our worldview. How many in the Charedi community presume the Modern Orthodox to be beneath them for their lack of black hats? Did Chasam Sofer look down upon his Western European peers with disdain because they had no yeshivishe shprach supplementing their Torah greatness? R. Ploni is eloquent in his description of Charedi Orthodoxy as combining the best of the Rishonim with modern Charedi hashkofah. Yet where is the balance point between those two sources of knowledge and what influences where the set point is established? The Far Right always exerts pressure on our thinking and behavior. Some – the Far Left – pull fiercely in the opposite direction to countervail a rightward tilt, sometimes with undesirable consequences. Unfortunately, many in the Charedi world take no notice of this drift, subtly reframing their perceptions, allowing it to erode their commitment to Chazal and Rishonim and diminishing their regard for those who choose a more traditional Torah way. I don’t live like the yid in Teaneck, Engelwood, Riverdale, etc. but I recognize there are characteristics of such a lifestyle to admire and even elevate above my own - combining Torah with derech eretz, contributing to the national economy, being self-sufficient and teaching their children to likewise be self-sufficient, following dina d'malchusa, expressing hakaras hatov to their host nation, being honest about the theological views of the Rishonim. Can the Charedim do the same, respect someone whose adherence to many aspects of tradition surpasses one’s own without denigrating their actions or motives?

I would add one final observation. There are many who dismiss the debate over the acceptance or rejection of the Far Right as “same old, same old” and see it as simply a recapitulation of familiar Jewish infighting. Maybe so; maybe not. There is a psychological phenomenon known as the Normalcy Bias. It’s the cognitive process by which we seek to diminish the prospect of danger by identifying elements of an event or trend as something we’ve seen or been through before and survived without needing to take drastic action. It’s been used to explain for example why people stay in their homes even when confronted by imminent disaster like a flood or a hurricane – or a Holocaust. “I got through something just like this before and I can do it again”. There are some challenges to the future of our continuity that may call for extraordinary responses.

(Note: The purpose of this satire is not to challenge the campaign against the deviations of the Far Left, but rather to question why there is no similar campaign against the deviations of the Far Right.)

45 comments:

  1. My guess is that some of those on the 'yeshivish' right think the extremists serve a valuable purpose of keeping others in line even if they don't agree with them. Others are simply scared of taking the flack; the left is always an easier target as its deficiencies are associated with the secular culture that 'Torah True' orthodoxy sets itself against. The problems with the 'far right', however, are often examples of people going too far in the values that even mainstream orthodoxy considers virtuous, and thus critique is more problematic. The problem with the many among the RWMO is that since they think in halacha-centric terms, and there are 'big poskim' who are the halachic authorities of many of the 'far right' communities, the RWMO frequently lack the language with which to criticize them.

    A very good example of this is tax evasion. See the following article: http://hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=50521&st=&pgnum=128&hilite=

    Nobody can say that R. Moshe Shternbuch and others who do not strongly condemn this phenomenon in their teshuvos on the subject are not legitimate poskim. The question is, what does one do when a 'big posek' using what we would otherwise consider to be normative halachic methodology, reaches a conclusion that is unpalatable? For the most halacha-centric RWMO's, this can be a problem. On a more encouraging note, witness the strong pushback from YU circles against those who condemned blood-donations in halachic terms.

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  2. When someone of the caliber of Rav Hershel Schachter determines that rejecting Rabbi Slifkin's approach is literally Yehareg V'al Yaavor, we'll talk.

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  3. Every day without an explicit condemnation of the right, is another day of tacit condonement of the left.

    Which irks me greatly, because I think the left is very harmful. But I think the same way as you do, and see the same hypcorisy you see. And I suspect untold numbers of people see it also. And so I hope any Charedi with any influence who might see this, remembers this point: Criticizing the excesses of the right is not so important in and of itself; it is important because without it, your voice is utterly useless when it comes to criticizing the excesses of the left.

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  4. I think you meant R' Ploni not R' Broyde in the middle of the penultimate paragraph.
    KT
    Joel Rich

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  5. you should have focused more on the Chareidi "Kolel theology". More Halacha l'ma'aseh than the infallibilty of Chazal. Great post otherwise.

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  6. "(Note: The purpose of this satire is not to challenge the campaign against the deviations of the Far Left, but rather to question why there is no similar campaign against the deviances of the Far Right.)"

    3 Reasons.

    1. Anyone who is not the far right, does not care to control other people or define society. 'They are not us', we don't tell Christians how to live or behave, why should we tell Charedim?

    2. I think the contempt that is spoken openly about the Charedim suggests that you are wrong, and such a campaign has already been waged.

    3. I think the evils of Charedi society are not widely known or believed. (except by the group mentioned in point 2.) The worst that Chaim Potak had to say about them was that they were overly harsh on their Tzadikim, and 'it's not what I would want to do, but there is nothing wrong with it.'

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  7. Forget the satire if you were trying to be funny. You are fundamentally being serious so it's not funny. I would prefer you just make your critique. You just reproduced the opposition's work and put it in reverse and expect it to be fulfilling which definition below?

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/satire

    sat·ire
    noun \ˈsa-ˌtī(-ə)r\
    Definition of SATIRE
    1
    : a literary work holding up human vices and follies to ridicule or scorn
    2
    : trenchant wit, irony, or sarcasm used to expose and discredit vice or folly?

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  8. A psychologist infected with charediism? Is no one immune?

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  9. Bravo! Someone had to write this, and I think you did a great job of it.

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  10. I think it is sad for all Jews that these agruements come up at all.

    How in the world can anyone believe there are people that can not err in Torah or in science. That in itself is so foolish it [cannot] be taken seriously.

    Rabbis who hold such FR beliefs should not be followed and should not be called Rabbi, Rav, Godol, etc... It creates the idea that Rabbis are irrational Jewish leaders.


    Shalom,

    Rabbi Simon

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  11. You want to know why there is no similar campaign against the deviancy of the Right. Who is protesting in the article? Chareidim? No. The problem is this not a protest against the Left. This a protest against the Far Far Left. If your children are Chareidim they'll still be Frum and Jewish. If the far left has no standards it will be a threat to Frumkeit altogether. If we are cold but frum we can be warmed up again. If we are cold and Frie we will marry Goyim and it will be the end of us as a link in the future chain of Judaism. There will be nothing to criticize as there will be nothing for our descendents to revive.

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  12. That is not why they are protesting the Far Left.

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  13. I stand by what I said. I see what gets those who are more Centrist Orthodox apprehensive on their left. Tell me though what you feel is the reason they oppose the far left.

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  14. What is your town's present response to the queer charedi young men who were so intent on humiliating young Jewish girls?

    It seems that if ever there were a situation where the far right would admit they needed to reform, that type of hateful activity would be the place to start.
    Wnat was the actual impact of all the criticism they received? What observable teshuvah did they engage? How did they make it up to the girls before Yom Kippur [for instance].

    I ask this because if there were no significant "mea culpa" and consequent meaningful acts of teshuvah, what would be the use of making a campaign to appeal to the deviants of the far right? On the other hand, if this group is making sincere apologies and working to correct the damage of their strange activities, one could make a case for reaching out with critiques.


    By the way....I LOVE the name "Schmeltzerfogel". You get an "A" for that alone.

    Gary Goldwater

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  15. YA ,

    I would Not make the claim at least these people (Orthodox/Charedi) will remain Jewish, some are already very far away.

    I think Tradition gets confused with Judaism in a sense. Meaning so much of what the right calls "Real or Authentic" are man made customs and laws and cannot be a true Litmus Test for Judaism. Black hats, beards, irrational thought, the practice of Rebbe Worship, superstitious belief, corruption, people who don't want to contribute to society, denial of knowledge, etc... is certainly NOT Real Judaism and in my book there descendants may not keep correct Torah values either.

    VS. a Reform couple who raise the Kids Jewish, teach them manors and good midos, mitzvos, become productive members of society, are exactly what the Avos were like as was and was the normal practice in Judaism for hundreds of years. Until the Haredi types like Ezra changed Torah law and comon practices, and it is not clear if that was for the better, oops that is another topic.

    Happy Thanks Giving

    Shalom,

    Rabbi Simon

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  16. As satire, I leave it to others to evaluate your efforts. As plagiarism, I am decidely not amused. At the very least ethics and menschlichkeit would require that you identify me as the original author of this piece as well as the website where it was published so as to give your readers an opportunity to compare my work with yours. Your choice to post this without proper attribution does nothing to elevate your reputation in my eyes.

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  17. Dr. Lebovits, I included a link to your piece at both the beginning and end of mine; I don't think that there was a single person who didn't, as a result, see yours. But if you like, I can make it more explicit.

    And, as I wrote, it was not intended to lampoon your piece or even to dispute it, but rather to ask why there aren't people similarly protesting the deviations on the right.

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  18. Robert

    Lighten up. Its satire. Satire doesn't require attribution of he original especially when it is so obvious. RNS did link to your article at the end of the piece.

    Your response encapsulates the problem with the position you aree defending. You are take yourself too seriously. step back and laugh a little. Things are complex and we are all struggling to figure things out.

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  19. Dr.Lebovits.

    I believe you have overreacted,and your accusation of plagiarism is completely unwarranted.

    Perhaps you were upset by R. Slifkin's unfotunate choice of the word "satire," as if he were satirizing and criticizing your article. I believe, however,that from the article itself his point was clear, namely, to show how the arguments in your article can be reversed to show how the chareidi world ought criticize its "far right."

    Lawrence Kaplan

















    Lawrece Kaplan

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  20. As you made no explicit reference to my essay I did not identify any link. I see I should have been more computer savvy to recognize that the words you highlighted would bring the reader to my piece, though not a single poster made mention of it. But I'm sure they are all more familiar than I am and took the time to read it before commenting on your blog.

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  21. Dr Lebovits,
    When R. Slifkin makes a link in his blog, it is like saying "required reading". If you want to understand the blog, you need to read the link. In other words, R. Slifkin just got hundreds of people to read your essay on the Cross Currents website.

    The link is a critically important part of a blog. Obviously, R. Slifkin did not spend the days writing this piece that you or R. Broyde, or Yitzchok Adlerstein [all read due to this link] did.

    Speaking of links, this http://www.rationalistjudaism.com/2011/09/bet-shemesh-update.html
    shows that the charedi community does respond to criticism and does make appropriate changes. So...in my opinion, it might be worth the time to write such a critique in a forum that would reach the far right communities. As such, this exercise with Dr. Lebovits' writing is a "proof of concept".

    Gary Goldwater

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  22. Anonymous said...

    YA ,

    I would Not make the claim at least these people (Orthodox/Charedi) will remain Jewish, some are already very far away.

    I think Tradition gets confused with Judaism in a sense. Meaning so much of what the right calls "Real or Authentic" are man made customs and laws and cannot be a true Litmus Test for Judaism. Black hats, beards, irrational thought, the practice of Rebbe Worship, superstitious belief, corruption, people who don't want to contribute to society, denial of knowledge, etc... is certainly NOT Real Judaism and in my book there descendants may not keep correct Torah values either.

    VS. a Reform couple who raise the Kids Jewish, teach them manors and good midos, mitzvos, become productive members of society, are exactly what the Avos were like as was and was the normal practice in Judaism for hundreds of years. Until the Haredi types like Ezra changed Torah law and comon practices, and it is not clear if that was for the better, oops that is another topic.

    Happy Thanks Giving

    Shalom,

    Rabbi Simon"

    Happy Thanksgiving Rabbi Simon. I must say if Ezra destroyed Judaism then we haven't been practicing it for centuries Orthodox or Reform. The Reform certainly haven't been practicing as it was ever practiced by the Avos and Midos in the face of a lack of Jewish education will be suffering from the lack of being higher than the surrounding culture. Shalom back.

    "Anonymous said...

    Dr.Lebovits.

    I believe you have overreacted,and your accusation of plagiarism is completely unwarranted.

    Perhaps you were upset by R. Slifkin's unfotunate choice of the word "satire," as if he were satirizing and criticizing your article. I believe, however,that from the article itself his point was clear, namely, to show how the arguments in your article can be reversed to show how the chareidi world ought criticize its "far right."

    Lawrence Kaplan"

    Unwarranted or not, it is not surprising it would at least be the initial reaction to it. If I did it as a college paper, yes it would be called plagiarism and I would get an F. Rabbi Slifkin did not go to college in the past at least so maybe he didn't realize it.

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  23. Rabbi Slifkin, CrossCurrents is copyrighted. Simply taking whole sections actually is plagiarism certainly by college definition even for a satire. You lifted too much up.

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  24. The irony underlying Dr. Lebovits' piece is that the Chareidi delegitimization of those to the left is precisely an example of deciding on an outcome and then crafting arguments to bolster that position.

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  25. The US Supreme Court ruled unanimously that parody does not violate copyright laws:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Campbell_v._Acuff-Rose_Music,_Inc.

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  26. Of course plenty of Rishonim and Acharonim stated that an Amora/Tanna is not a Diety. But by the simple smell test, this view has the effect today of undermining rabbinic authority and of affirming for us that Rabbis are not omniscient In our specific time this view hurts us. We thus find ourselves today in sha’as hadchak that justifies droping this view from our mesorah. Therefore we can say that Amora is God.
    Where do we draw line.

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  27. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  28. "Charlie Hall said...

    The US Supreme Court ruled unanimously that parody does not violate copyright laws:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Campbell_v._Acuff-Rose_Music,_Inc."

    Nobody said parody violates copyright law. The article says too much copying would violate copyright laws. Which is no revelation. Wikipedia though is not a recognized source of knowledge but it can serve as a springboard to research.

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  29. I am writing in response to the bat, snake, dolphin and related blogs. In general I don't have time to read blogs but a friend who knows I enjoy Bechoros sent me the bat email and got me reading the blog for a while. What is the real goal of the blog? It seems to be that the author feels that there is a groisa mitzvah to repeatedly prove that chazal were wrong. He also seems to derive some perverse pleasure in showing that he is so much 'smarter' than them (lucky him he was born in the 20th century) Why? Let's say they were only as knowledgeble as the science of their times. OK you 'got' them. Let's say there is a big mitzvah to revere chazal (there is) so some truly religious want to believe chazal's every word. Is it really such a big mitzvah to convince them that they are wrong? To deride them if you can't convince them or they don't want that belief of theirs challenged? Maybe a little kiruv would do Judaism more good? Or just some other constructive use of one's time? I might be mistaken about the author's intent. I doubt he will publish this comment nor respond to it but I for one would like to here the justification.
    Sincerely
    Mystified Creature

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  30. I would actually very much like to see Dr. Lebovits, Rabbi Adlerstein, or any of the other people that have called upon the Modern Orthodox establishment to reject the "far left," respond in a cogent and substantive way to the question of why the exact same issues cannot be raised with respect to right wing positions that deviate from or misrepresent the words of chazal, as Rabbi Slifkin has so often and eloquently pointed out in his books and blog. I realize that the specific issues involved are distinct, but the overall issues of halachic process, fealty to the words of chazal, and respect for tradition, cut both ways, and it would be refreshing to see a representative of the right-wing point of view address some of the issues that Rabbi Slifkin's post raises, rather than simply criticizing the way in which he raises them.

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  31. "As satire, I leave it to others to evaluate your efforts. As plagiarism, I am decidely not amused."

    Don't flatter yourself. It's satire and doesn't come close to approaching plagiarism.

    "I see I should have been more computer savvy to recognize that the words you highlighted would bring the reader to my piece, though not a single poster made mention of it."

    Once again, if you take a moment to read carefully you'll see that you are referenced by Abe above.

    "If I did it as a college paper, yes it would be called plagiarism and I would get an F. Rabbi Slifkin did not go to college in the past at least so maybe he didn't realize it."

    I hope your degree is not in either law or Enligh.

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  32. Unbelievable how far some Chareidim can leave the path of truth. Most just don't recognise how dishonest they are and R. Schmeltzerfogel somehow recognises their dishonesty, but says it's necessary! It's atrocious. What makes things worse is how they arrogantly think they have the right to condemn others despite their own dishonesty.

    It's also unbelievable how far Charedi Judaism has strayed from tradition - the thing they apparently try and upkeep the most, without any changes. "Hechadash assur min haTorah". Right...

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  33. This post seems to me, as Charlie Hall noted, to be more parody than satire. If I were in an English class and my assignment was to write a parody, then were I to lift extensively from the text being parodied and make some clever and significant changes this woud NOT be plagiarism. See Alice in Wonderland, the Wasteland, and in art the parodies of American Gothic or Washington Crossing the Deleware. By the way, a parody can be a tribute to the original.

    One may differ as to what grade to give the post. Certainly not an F.

    Lawrence Kaplan

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  34. YA,

    I did not write Ezra destroyed Judaism please re-read my post. However maybe I was not perfectly clear, my fault.

    What I meant is the FR prefer to dictate who's a Jew and they love to claim they are authentic Jews and Reform and other denominations, are somehow less then Jewish.

    I can easily argue, the FR is no better then the left, they both equally went of the derech, just in opposite directions. Therefore no one has more right to Judge the other.

    My refereance to Ezra is as follows in short. Much of this rift started with Ezra as he seemed to be the first Haredi type separatist who had some Jewish men remove their alleged non-Jewish wives and kids.

    The major issue with this is historically Judaism was a patrilineal system and never a matrilineal system. Religious or national identity was established by marriage to a Israelite man and the kids would have followed the father, never the mother. Conversion was by marriage in a patrilineal tribal society and the norm was for the woman and children to adopted his customs and religion.

    This seems fairly clear by Torah and previous historical context, Ezra seemed to facilitate the removal of (actual) Jewish wives and Jewish children, even if they were poorly educated in the customs of the day. That was very extreme. We could agrue Ezra never heard of Kiruv either. :)

    It is very disturbing that many historical facts seem to be ignored or white washed by the FR in this case. What Ezra did is still creates major problems for our people today.

    No he didn't destroy Judaism, just hurt it badly.

    Shalom

    Rabbi Simon

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  35. "My refereance to Ezra is as follows in short. Much of this rift started with Ezra as he seemed to be the first Haredi type separatist who had some Jewish men remove their alleged non-Jewish wives and kids."

    Rabbi Simon,

    Why have you neglected to mention the great works of Pinchas and Moshe rabeinu in this realm as well?

    Blaming Ezra for anything seems a poor place to pick for 'hurting Judaism.'

    What about the Cohen Eli who caused a split with the Samaritans, which eventually created a justification for the division between the northern and southern tribes?

    Why not pick King David who took away our mobile Altar and decided that it must be in a fixed place,and thus removed the possibility of korbanot in the exile?

    Or perhaps it was his grandson who split the Jewish people, and created laws forbidding the travel to Jerusalem. Or perhaps the enactment that people from the Tribe of Benyahim are not allowed to marry the rest of the Jews?

    Of all the sources of zealotry and division and changing of precedent, Ezra seems the least harmful of them all.

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  36. "Avi said...
    "If I did it as a college paper, yes it would be called plagiarism and I would get an F. Rabbi Slifkin did not go to college in the past at least so maybe he didn't realize it."

    I hope your degree is not in either law or Enligh."

    Ad hominem. You are so right though Avi. I wonder where I got my notion...hm...I remember now. When you go to college they tell you what is plagiarism. If I listened to you I would get an F and so would you. Believe me in college they make sure you understand the rules of plagiarism. We can play the game of you say, I say but if you go to college it won't help you.

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  37. "thejewishmiracle said...

    Unbelievable how far some Chareidim can leave the path of truth. Most just don't recognise how dishonest they are and R. Schmeltzerfogel somehow recognises their dishonesty, but says it's necessary! It's atrocious. What makes things worse is how they arrogantly think they have the right to condemn others despite their own dishonesty.

    It's also unbelievable how far Charedi Judaism has strayed from tradition - the thing they apparently try and upkeep the most, without any changes. "Hechadash assur min haTorah". Right..."

    If you read further you will see Rabbi Slifkin at the bottom says this is a satire. There is no Rabbi Schmeltzerfogel. I think Rabbi Slifkin was being parochial in assuming people would realize funny names were meant by him to indicate parody. I think a disclaimer should have been at the top. Indeed, I did not immediately realize it was meant as a parody. People can have funny or suggestive names like Heimish or Schmeltzerfogel.

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  38. "What I meant is the FR prefer to dictate who's a Jew and they love to claim they are authentic Jews and Reform and other denominations, are somehow less then Jewish."

    Well I hope you realize that they do consider them fully Jewish and just meant they consider them not as much acting Jewish. They certainly do not require Reform Jews from a purely female line to convert. The Reform did try divorcing Judaism from people-hood in the past but the Orthodox did not.

    "I can easily argue, the FR is no better then the left, they both equally went of the derech, just in opposite directions. Therefore no one has more right to Judge the other."

    Well that is a matter of opinion but there is a rampant problem of assimilation and intermarriage and it is mostly a problem to the left although I am not minimizing any groups contribution to the problem.

    "We could agrue Ezra never heard of Kiruv either. :)"

    :) I wonder why Ezra did not try for more leniency.

    "It is very disturbing that many historical facts seem to be ignored or white washed by the FR in this case. What Ezra did is still creates major problems for our people today."

    Well admittedly the argument would be patrilineal or matrilineal. The Reform making it both is an innovation I am unaware of this having a parallel with any other group before it.

    "No he didn't destroy Judaism, just hurt it badly."

    I would disagree. We would have attrition but he strengthened Judaism by having a loyal minority

    "Shalom

    Rabbi Simon"

    Shalom and Shabbat Shalom

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  39. Thank you "the jewish miracle". Hearing from so many posters that of course everyone would know "Chareidi Redux" was a satire and no one would imagine it was an original piece since R. Slifkin linked it to my essay, I concluded that I must have been thin-skinned and self-absorbed in expressing my concern. Your post reaffirmed my confidence in my judgement. And since we know that for every post there are many more readers who agree only don't bother to write in, I suspect many people did not see my piece and assumed as you did.

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  40. "Wikipedia though is not a recognized source of knowledge but it can serve as a springboard to research."

    True. But in this case, anyone can read the referenced decision which is accurately represented by the Wikipedia summary. Parody falls under fair use exception to copyright unless there is too much copying. R'Slifkin is in the clear.

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  41. Baruch Gitlin makes a great point. There are far more halachic distortions being promoted by the Far Right than the Far Left: Contra to the statements of the advocates of the three boys who got caught in Japan, drug smugglers are not "innocent". Contra to the actions of the rabbis who got caught money laundering and cheating the government of taxes but kept their positions of honor, neither is mutar. Contrary to the statements of a beit din in Israel, not only is there no provision in halachah for an *en masse* pasuling of conversions, but the Talmud says horrible things about dayanim who don't hear both sides of a case. I could go on and on but you get the picture. Why is there no organized campaign against this? In contrast, most of the controversial actions by the Far Left involve minhagim, and minhagim can and do change over time.

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  42. "Tefillos such as Hanosein teshuah lemelachim have been exorcised from the siddur"

    are you serious? do you also object to reinserting censored lines of tefila e.g. sheheym mishtakhavim lahevel varik umitpallelim el eyl lo yoshia? hanotein teshua lemelachim was inserted under rather non-ideal circumstances as a strategm for jews to "prove" their loyalty to hostile governments. Thank god we needn't say it today.

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  43. hanotein teshua lemelachim was inserted under rather non-ideal circumstances as a strategm for jews to "prove" their loyalty to hostile governments.

    Where do you get that from? CHazal say that one should davven for the welfare of the government.

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  44. Dr. Lebovits: There are two separate issues here: 1) Does the article constitute plagiarism? To this question, the answer, in my view, is clear. It is a parody,(not a satire) and as a parody is not plagiarism. By the way, I am a University professor, and I know very well what is plagiarism and what is not. 2) Should Rabbi Slifkin have more clearly indicated the fact that hisd article was a takeoff on yours. Here I think that R. Slifkin acted in good faith by linking twice to your article, but that, in retrospect perhaps he should have made it clearer that his article was a takeoff on yours in order ot mke a serious point. In any event, I do not believe you have any grounds for indignation. \

    Lawrence Kaplan

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  45. "And since we know that for every post there are many more readers who agree only don't bother to write in, I suspect many people did not see my piece and assumed as you did."

    But in this case, actually, there are probably many more readers who agreed you were being thin-skinned and just felt no need to pile on. [Until now.] Anyway, meer foort vaiter. We're on the next blog already. ZG.

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