Tuesday, October 26, 2010

"We have reached an ugly abyss of hareidi leadership and there is nothing left but to rise up against it. This is not the Torah we know, this is not our viewpoint and these are not our leaders."--Rabbi Binyamin Lau


This is a beautiful speech, which I cannot classify as anything less than a manifesto for authentic Torah scholarship, humanity, and Jewish education.

Thank you, Rabbi Angel, for featuring it on Jewish Ideas/Ideals, and thank you, Rabbi Lau, for saying these words so courageously.

Too many rabbis are hiding in the shadows, keeping their opinions and knowledge to themselves, afraid to speak out for fear that they will be religiously and professionally lynched by an uneducated and fervent Haredi mob.

Too many are standing in judgment of our Torah scholars, hell-bent upon the anti-Jewish intellectual void that is the obsequious rabbi worship.

I fear we are heading quickly into a "Jewish Dark Ages": where learned rabbis fear to be labeled heretics, while heretics roam freely in the street spouting lies without fear.

Judaism is plunging head-first into a sea of ignorance, and our sacred knowledge is being daily replaced by a collection of superstitious mumbo jumbo in the name of "strictness."

This is a serious problem.

Mamoinides warned us that Hashm carefully delineated between Jewish worship and pagan worship by changing only small things so that we would be willing to leave our old ways and embrace the Torah.  If we deviate from the practices handed down by our matriarchs and patriarches, even a small bit, we may find ourselves, unwittingly, performing tasks as a pagan would.  This is why we are told we cannot add to or detract from the Torah--not even one letter.

Unfortunately, the Torah is being added to daily with some new chumrot, and being detracted from daily through the denial of such things as respect for Torah, avoiding Loshan Hara and Motzei Shem Ra, and protecting the stranger among us.


The Educational Imperative
Posted October 24, 2010 - 10:53am

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