Tuesday, September 1, 2020

You'll Never Believe Who And Where

You will never, ever guess who wrote the following paragraph, and in which magazine it appeared:

A large and diverse community can only join together for common purposes on the basis of some shared values — first and foremost, that of respect for the right of others to think differently from oneself and tolerance for divergent views. Such tolerance starts with a recognition of one's own limitations and the unlikelihood that truth rests exclusively with one person or group.

So who wrote this, and where?

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks in a controversial sequel to The Dignity of Difference?

Thomas Friedman in The New York Times?

Ellen DeGeneres in Vanity Fair?

Nope!

The answer is...

Jonathan Rosenblum, in Mishpachah magazine this week! 

Incredible!

Now, it's true that Rosenblum is referring to the community of the entire United State of America. But obviously his words are also extremely applicable to the particular sector of Orthodox Judaism that Mishpacha represents, which most certainly lays claim to exclusive truth and has very little tolerance for divergent views. 

It particularly brought to mind the responsum from Rabbi Daniel Travis/ Rabbi Zalman Nechemia Goldberg (alas, it is impossible to know the true author) in which a person was told to disregard his father's dying wish to leave a donation to conservation and not to a kollel, and was told to give it instead to a kollel. This is based on the presumption that "we know better than him what he would really want to do with his money." Such an approach is the exact opposite of "respect for the right of others to think differently from oneself" and "recognition of one's own limitations and the unlikelihood that truth rests exclusively with one person or group." 

So, does Rosenblum secretly wish that the Mishpachah readership would also subscribe to the approach that he suggests for America as a whole? Or would he claim that only others should recognize their own limitations and the unlikelihood that truth rests exclusively with them, but charedi Jews do indeed have the exclusive truth?

Alas, there is no way to know. But either way, it's interesting to see such an approach promoted in Mishpacha as being desirable!

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32 comments:

  1. maybe ask rosenbloom what he meant?

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    1. That would be a good idea. Or we can all pontificate on what he meant. That might be both more fun and more enlightening as well.

      I think it’s clear from Rosenblum’s own words that it is specifically in a “large and diverse community” that the “respect,” “tolerance” and “recognition of one’s own limitations” are necessary. Perhaps within the chareidi community which is much smaller and much less diverse, those things are not necessary at all.

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  2. There is no contradiction to the alleged ruling of RZNG. Obviously, Rabbi Rosenblum is talking about Orthodox Jews who follow halacha. If RZNGs psak is correct, that is the halacha, and doesn't contradict the particular context in which "respect for the right of others to think differently from oneself" was stated, that is, halachic Jews.

    Obviously, you would agree that when Rabbi Rosenblum says "the right of people to think differently", he doesn't mean their right to not keep harchakos, or to carry outside the eruv.

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    1. That's not what he's talking about. Read the article

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    2. I stand corrected, and should have read the article. He's talking about the non-Jewish American public. To the contrary, since Rabbi Rosenblum isn't talking about frum Jews at all, RZNG's ruling has nothing to do with it. Clearly he isn't advocating that frum Jews should respect and tolerate non-Jewish values within their own community.

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    3. If he won't recognize his own limitations and acknowledge the unlikelihood that truth rests exclusively with him, on what basis does he expect others to do so?

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    4. @Rabbi Slifkin I think you're correct, and the article is just a vacuous call for tolerance that he doesn't really mean, which I believe is usually the case when people call for "tolerance". You may have seen this: https://slatestarcodex.com/2014/09/30/i-can-tolerate-anything-except-the-outgroup/

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    5. RNS would you disagree with the psak of RZNG if the father wanted to give his money to a hunting club or a house of ill repute? We all bring our views of objective morality to the table...

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  3. This is based on the presumption that "we know better than him what he would really want to do with his money."

    Maybe it's based on the fact that what the living do have no real effect on the dead?

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  4. the unlikelihood that truth rests exclusively with one person or group
    ============================
    the commentaries explain that this statement is true (as in the unlikelihood that one person or group will win the lottery) but leaves out (because "they" wouldn't understand) that someone does win the lottery (in this case the group R'JR represents) and are thus exempt from the analysis.
    KVCT

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  5. So why don't you show some tolerance for the view that the father's wish should be set aside? (A view, by the way, commonly applied by secular courts in will contests.)

    All you're doing is proving what everyone already knows, viz, that the concept of "tolerance" was always an illusory hypocrisy, applied selectively when one chose to do so.

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    1. I think it was wrong for the farther's wish to be ignored.

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    2. Ida know, DF, that's a strange direction. You might as well extend it all the way and ask why we don't extend religious tolerance to those who believe in honor killings. There are some things that are simply Wrong and bending over backward religious gyrations don't make them good. "Do not give my money to X" does not translate to "Sure! I really meant hand it over to X," and if the psak is that it DOES mean that, this psak should be VERY SUSPECT if the one doing the paskening is, or is connected to, X. We take shochad and nogeia badavar very seriously in this religion... most of the time.

      And to my understanding, overturning a will ain't so easy. Sure, it's done sometimes, but it's a huge hassle and argument. I do not have statistics, but I'd be curious to know what percentage of contested will cases have the will upheld.

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    3. Yosef R - we're saying the same thing. Correct, we DONT speak about "tolerance" when it comes to honor killings, bc we find it repugnant. In other words, "tolerance" is essentially limited to things which we don't really have strong feelings for - in still other words, meaningless.

      The details of the will contest are not relevant here and we don't even know them to begin with. I was simply trying to illustrate that in the same sentence which RNS extolls the concept of "tolerance", he denies it to someone else.

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    4. DF, obviously no one is suggested tolerance for honor killings/Islamic suicide bombings. What RNS is suggesting it that there are wise people in other religions. For example, Rambam accepted much of the philosophy of the Greek PAGAN Aristotle.

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  6. Citizen of Eilam, Subject of KedarlaomerSeptember 1, 2020 at 11:14 PM

    If, as you maintain strongly, the actions of the living have minimal, at best, impact on the souls of those who have passed away, what is the great imperative to fulfill the wishes of the deceased with regard to disposition of his property? If he gave it away while alive, fine; otherwise, let his heirs do with it as they will, regardless of whether we can assume the deceased to have agreed to their wishes either before his passing or in the hereafter.

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  7. I think tolerance is the right approach. As Rabbi Kook said, there is no monopoly on truth. Truth can exist in other religions. I mean to say that there are wise people in all religions. Of course, I agree that Rationalist Judaism is the ultimate truth. Yet, I think it is also important to recognize the Maimonidean concept that the truth is the truth no matter what its source. Thus, Maimonides had no qualms accepting the philosophy of the Greek pagan Aristotle.

    Although I am all for Jewish Rationalism (meaning that if people want to be religious and have a healthy religious experience, they should accept only the rational teachings of Maimonides) I think that people should not force others to believe as they believe.

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    1. @Turk Hill: ''the truth is the truth no matter what its source''; ''people [...] should accept only the rational teachings of Maimonides''.
      I would very much like you to explain how we're supposed to reconcile these two seemingly opposed statements.

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    2. @Jew Well, thank you for your comment. You ask a good question. The two statements are actually consistent. We should only accept ideas that align with Torah and reason. If the idea is true then we must accept it but if the idea is not true then it is not true.

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  8. Charedim have a long history of taking advantage of societal changes with which they would otherwise disapprove. It's been pointed out that without the multicultural changes in America in 1960's, charedim would not have had as easy of time of it in establishing separatist communities. (Changes in that era, of course, also led to them get a lot more money and benefits, but that's not quite directly related.)

    Of course, as Erdogan said of democracy, to them it's all a train you take to your station...and get off. The same tolerance they demand is not extended to others.

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    1. Nachum, I was referencing that very point years ago when I remarked to my best friend that post-60s multiculturalism made it "Free to be Charedi" [pun on feminist musical Free to be You and Me]...I think it is a clever pun myself...

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  9. Jonathan Rosenbloom is typical of the writers at Mishpacha. You will NEVER find anything in that magazine contradicting the party line. Rosenbloom writes in a way that makes you think he is open-minded (by making references to secular writers, philosophers, etc.) but in the end, he always comes back to the party line (as do the other writers). Nothing new, out of the box or even mildly interesting will be found in the opinion pages of Mishpacha because it is a magazine devoted to promoting the party line. Independent thinkers are not wanted there.

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    1. You sound like it's still the early 2000s or the 90s, when independent thought was lauded as a virtue. It's 2020 now. Do you think secular publications want independent thinkers? Will you find an article in the NYT challenging the common stance on transgenderism? The NYT editorial editor had to resign after green-lighting a pretty mild piece from Tom Cotton! Nobody even pretends to want independent thought anymore. But you are correct that Rabbi Rosenblum doesn't really mean what he says here.

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    2. Its depressing that Rabbi Rosenblum doesn't really mean what he says.

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    3. Of course how can we be certain that Rabbi Rosenblum doesn't really mean what he says?

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  10. The Torah and Halacha are very intolerant, thus when religious Jews speak of Orthodox Judaism (OJ) being tolerant they are being disingenuous or are just ignorant or find apologetics to wiggle out and argue we really are tolerant. However, this does not mean all Orthodox Jews are intolerant since many Orthodox Jews have overcome Torah and Halacha.

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    1. ACJA, Can you source that the Torah and Halacha are intolerant? On the contrary, I think the Torah is very tolerant. They are some Orthodox Jews who may be intolerant, but the vast majority of religious Jews (who I know) are very tolerant. Indeed, the famed Jewish sage Maimonides was so tolerant that he accepted much of the philosophy of the Greek PAGAN Aristotle.

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  11. A large and geneticallyvduverse community can never join together because their biology is driving them apart. Diversity is a disaster.

    Yakov

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  12. R' Slifkin
    Yonasan Rosenblum is no hypocrite. He often promotes respect for the Dati Leumi community in his Mishpacha columns. Which is a lot more than can be said for the attitude towards Chareidim promoted in your posts. Who is the hypocrite here?
    Unfortunately, your visceral hatred toward Chareidim extends to Rosenblum and clouds your judgement.
    You have a lot to offer and it is a shame that you waste so much time and energy wallowing in your bitterness.

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