Thursday, August 13, 2009

Tace, R. Shlomo Aviner! Amore Dei, Tace!

I openly admit that I have serious differences of opinion with the Hardal (Merkaz HaRav based) rabbinate. I emphatically demur on their messianically driven Zionism. I summarily reject their ever increasing resort to Da'at Torah in order to inveigh on matters of political and other subjects, while wrapped in the mantle of their rabbinic authority. I strongly disagree with their advocacy of standards of modesty that are increasingly reminiscent of the more extreme segments of the Haredi world. I absolutely reject their Western cultural 'know-nothingness.' I am deeply angered by their inability to respect the ideas of others, even from within the Orthodox World.

Indeed, aside from our common commitment to Torah and Mitzvot, I often feel we have little (if anything) in common. [And sometime I have the gnawing feeling that while we learn the same seforim, we don't really see the same words therein.]

This sense of angst is excacerbated when such rabbis hold forth in public and cause tremendous Hillul HaShem with their obiter dicta.

Today's example is provided by R. Shlomo Aviner, the Rav of Bet El 2. Apparently, he has voiced the opinion that non-Jews should be barred from service in the IDF. No, we're not discussing Russian Provo-Slav Orthodox Christians who may (or may not) have had a Jewish grandfather. we're discussing Druze soldiers, whose contribution to Israel's security (along with the Bedouin and Circassian soldiers) can never truly be repaid. His reason for doing this is the forced resignation of a senior Druze officer for misconduct. [It was a charge, by the way, of which Jews are not innocent, either.] And, upon what does he base this insight of his? He found a Rambam, that non-Jews can't be as loyal as Jews.

I don't want to start picking over the Rambam. I do know that the Druze with whom I served in the Police were more loyal, readier to die to defend this country, than the Tel Aviv draft dodgers and the members of 'Breaking the Silence.' I do know that King David had non-Jewish mercenaries in the army that rid Israel of the Phillistine threat. I do know that if anything alienates the Jews of this country from Torah (at a time that there is an upsurge ib searching for Torah and Jewish Identity), it's rabbis who either talk out of place, act out of place and who lack the ability to communicate Torah in a manner that will draw the unaffiliated closer to God and Torah, and not alienate them.
[See Rambam, הקדמה לפרק חלק בנושא הדרכים להבנת דברי חז"ל and מורה נבוכים ח"ג פ"ל .]

Alors, Rabbin Aviner, je vous en prie! Pour l'amour de Dieu, pour l'honneur de la Tora, pour l'avenir secur du peuple Israel ici en Eretz Yisrael: Si vous ne pouvez pas expliquer vos opinions dans un facon que sera
intelligible a tout le monde, gardez-les a vous meme, ou a votre population local. Hazal ont nous enseigne: 'Je n'ai trouve pas un chose meilleure que la silence.'.


Jameel @ The Muqata said...

He's been over the top for years.

He advocates uber-mehadrin buses, which are totally separate for men and women (not like the pseudo mehadrin buses which allow men in the front and women in the back).

Nachum said...

The first thing that popped into my head when I heard of this was "Uriah HaChiti?"

Of course, the meforshim will explain that away, along with the other examples. But pshat is pshat.

Anonymous said...

1. "Indeed, aside from our common commitment to Torah and Mitzvot, I often feel we have little (if anything) in common."
Whoa. that's like saying, "aside from almost everything I hold dear, we have little in common." You know, religious Jews of virtually every stripe agree on about 85% of the issues. But for some reason, they cannot stop harping on the other 15%.
2. R. Aviner has parted company with Mercaz on a number of issues, not the least of which was refusing orders siruv pekuda] during the Gaza disengagement. The MH authorities have also effectively stripped him of his semicha, at least regarding taharat ha-mishpacha.

Jeffrey Woolf said...

When it comes to pushing what's left of the RZ populace into the arms of the Haredim, RA is right up there with the rest of them.

David Mescheloff said...

1 - Well articulated, Rav Woolf (and in French yet!). 2 - However, I must agree with "anonymous" that, however strongly we differ with Rav Aviner on numerous issues of considerable significance, yet our shared commitments - G-d, Torah, mitzvot, am yisrael, eretz yisrael - considerably outweigh our differences. Let's not get carried away! 3 - As much as we may demur from his positions, Rav Aviner's words draw much more attention and carry much more weight with a very large number of our young RZ Israelis than yours or mine. We will continue to speak out - but I wish we could find an effectively competitive way to their hearts. 4 - As to the parallel between the service of non-Jews in the IDF and non-Jews in David Hamelekh's service, note the statement of Itai HaGiti (II Samuel 15, 21), as David Hamelekh fled from Avshalom, and tried to persuade Itai not to join him: חי ה' וחי אדוני המלך, כי במקום אשר יהיה שם אדוני המלך- אם למות אם לחיים - כי שם יהיה עבדך. Itai and his family and his entire unit proceeded to join David Hamelekh in his flight. I am hard-pressed to imagine a deeper expression of loyalty of a non-Jew to Jewish service. We benefit from such loyalty today, and would be (and have been, tragically) fools and knaves not to encourage, appreciate and support such loyalty. Would that we were more worthy of it.