Friday, March 16, 2007

O Tempora! O Mores! (Cicero)

In his drasha on Parshat Nitzavim ( in Sefer Duda'i Reuven), Rav Reuven Katz זצ"ל questions why Joshua found it necessary to convene the twelve tribes, toward the end of his life, for a reenactment of the Covenant between Israel and God (Joshua 24). After all, he observes, the Jews were already bound by the commitment they had made at Sinai. Following the lead of R. Nissim Gerondi (Derashot Ha-RaN, ch. 15), he offers that the Covenant at Sinai was made by a tired, persecuted people, who had only recently been enslaved in Egypt. They were desperate for help, tempest tossed by the traumas of servitude. Searching for God and accepting the Torah under such circumstances was natural.

Now, however, the Jews were faced with a totally different situation. They were faced with a life of plenty, peace and tranquility. The temptation to graze in foreign religio-cultural fields abounded. Under those circumstances, a renewed commitment to Torah was required, especially since the residence of the Jew in the Land of Israel is contingent upon faith in God and adherence to the Torah. [Ironically, the Merkaz HaRav/Gush Emunim/Har HaMor crowd seem to forget this little fact. The maintenance of every little outpost in Judaea and Samaria (as much as I support it) means nothing if the religious and moral rot that is taking hold in the rest of the country is ignored.]

In a painful, and emotional coda to his sermon, Rav Katz prays:

Without the Jewish people, there is no place for the in-dwelling of God’s Presence. Therefore, this prayer is doubly pressing. ‘He who returns his Shekhinah to Zion.’ Except that in this generation we are duty-bound to ask the Jewish People, as well, that it allow the Shekhinah to return to Zion, to create a life of Torah and Jewish Heritage so that the Shekhinah may find therein a dignified and appropriate abode.

Imagine! 'We are duty-bound to ask the Jewish People, as well.' And where are we on that score?

Well, let's see. 1) Fifty-Seven percent of Secular Jews wouldn't mind if their children intermarried. 2) The media is hysterically celebrating the fact that Jews have made it. One of our own, Bar Rafaeli is the live-in mistress of Leonardo diCaprio. They even went to the Kotel! (Boy, the Shekhina must be thrilled! Another, Linor Abergil married a Lithuanian Basketball star, who plays in the NBA. Nahas. 3) Our intellectually challenged Education Minister ( along with our former Justice Minister) claim that there's no difference between Haredim and Hamas. Never mind the full time Hillule HaShem perpetrated by the Rabbinate (as in the threatened, ex post facto, revocation of a Get).

This Shabbat we read of another convocation, for Shemirat Shabbat. Food for Thought.


David Guttmann said...

If I am not mistaken I have read not long ago a study where 80% of Israelis keep at least oneMitzvah such as Yom Kippur, Seder, kiddush on shabbat etc...

I am not so much worried about the rituals that are ignored. I am much more worried about the corruption and social rot that we read about. It reminds me of Hoshea and the other prophets who railed against that. It scares me that the people can vote and chose leaders like Olmert, Netanyahu and all the other corrupt guys.

Great Post thogh and Shabbat Shalom.

Ben Bayit said...

so out of the 13% of religious Jews who would marry a shiksa, what percent went to a religious HS that had a principal who was a graduate of Mercaz Harav and satellites and what % had a principal who was a grad of Har Etzion/YU/Bar-Ilan? For that matter what % had a menahel who was a grad of Yeshivas Sfas Emes?

You know who is being affected the worst by post-moderrnism...............

Jeffrey said...

To David Gutterman: I too was extremely surprised by the figures. Had Gesher not been a sponsor,I would have been tempted to dismiss the results as so much Hiloni propaganda. Unfortunately, the numbers show that the absorption of the Russian non-Jews has been too effective and the Rabbanut has failed in its task to turn them into Jews.

To Ben Bayit: Your Merkaz HaRav triumphalism and obtuseness is the problem. In any event, my point was that the self-styled tzaddiqim of Eretz Yisrael and its worship will have a serious Din ve-Heshbon with God on Judgement Day. How do I know? I learn Humash and not just Orot.

Ben Bayit said...

Out of the three groupings I listed,Mercaz HaRav is the one with which I basically never had anything to do with during my life. I'm an even bigger critic of Mercaz HaRav than you are - especially the messianism and the chanupah vis-a-vis the State and its functionaries.

But let's be honest - Modern Orthodoxy and the establishment Mizrachi have a probably even bigger din ve-heshbon - also based on a reading of chumash and na"ch. The sin of hanupah isn't the exclusive province of Mercaz HaRav - if anything it is even worse within mainstream MO and the Mizrachi. At least within the Mercaz HaRav wolrd there is a wing that recognizes that Rav AY Kook advocated limited cooperation with the secular zionists and was againts full integration into the secular Zionist organs.

When will MO wake up - when the "intermarriage acceptance rate" amongst MO reaches 25%? or 50% like the Conservatives?

The Rabbanut didn't fail in its task of turning russian shiksas into Jews. The establishment MO Jews that are part of the system in Israel failed in siding with the Charedim changing the Chok Ha'shvut (much as they similarly failed on the issue of the Supreme Court protests) and failed pursuing the establishment of a sal klita that would attract Halachicaly Russian Jews - therby resulting in Germany becoming the country with the largest emigration of Halachic Jews since 2000 (and only Halachic Jews are eligible for the German federal benefits that are provided for Jewish emigrants - this was a decision of the German givernment that wants the Jews to be integrated into the existing kehillot). How ironic is that? Why isn't Ben-Sasson, Otniel Schneller, Ze'ev Elkin or any of the other modern orthodox non-Mercaz HaRav Jews in the knesset doing anything about that? why - b/c it's just so much easier to blame the Rabbanut and the haredim.
BTW, the piskei din from the Tel Aviv Rabbinate that invalidate the gittin b/c of mekach taut and get meusa are well documented and well-sourced. I can send you some of them. In one instance they involved blatant attemps to cut a child off from his father - that even the social services admitted went far beyond the "norms" of parental alienation. Far from being a hillul hashem. The hillul hashem are the women activists who pushed the recipients of these gittin to then turn around an violate the agreement and turn to a different court - I believe that our classical halachic literature (Rambam, SA, etc etc.) SPECIFICALLY refers to such an action as a "hillul hashem"

Jeffrey said...

I can save you a lot of aggravation. Modern Orthodoxy has never existed in Israel. Mizrachnik Orthodoxy (with which you're so obsessed)is an entirely different animal.