ORTHODOX ANSWERS to REFORMED JUDAISM #3


CONTINUING with Professor  Cherry's  lecture:


TODAY  WHEN  WE  THINK  ABOUT  MODERN  ORTHODOX  JEWS,  WE  MIGHT  THINK  ABOUT  THE  MOST  FAMOUS  ORTHODOX  JEW  IN  AMERICA  -  SENATOR  JOSEPH  LIEBERMAN,    (born 1942). 


JOE  LIEBERMAN  IS  SOMEONE  WHO  WEARS  A  KNITTED  "KIPPAR"  AND  HAS  A  SECULAR  EDUCATION;  THE  REST  OF  HIS  DRESS  IS  LIKE  EVERYONE  ELSE  DRESSES,  HIS  ENGLISH  IS  VERY  GOOD,  HIS  HEBREW  IS  VERY  GOOD.  HE  IS  SOMEONE  WHO  HAS  ACCULTURATED  INTO  AMERICAN  CULTURE,  WHILE  STILL  MAINTAINING  FIDELITY  TO  TRADITIONAL  JEWISH  LAW.  HIS  KIND  OF  DUAL  CITIZENSHIP,  IN  BOTH  THE  CULTURE  IN  WHICH  YOU  LIVE,  AS  WELL  AS  JUDAISM,  IS  REFLECTED  IN  SAMSON  HIRSCH'S  MOTTO  FOR  THE  SCHOOL  HE  OPENED  UP,  WHICH  IS: "TORAH  IM  DERECH  ERETZ."  IT  MEANS:  "TORAH  WITH  THE  WAYS  OF  THE  WORLD."  AND  HE [HIRSCH]  HAD  SEVERAL  PRINCIPLES:  IT'S  FINE  TO  ADOPT  THE  DRESS  AND  THE  LANGUAGE  OF  THE  COUNTRY  IN  WHICH  YOU  LIVE;  SYNAGOGUE  BEHAVIOR  SHOULD  EVIDENCE  DECORUM.  HE  ALSO  WANTED  TO  PROMOTE  THE  KINDS  OF  'REFORM'  WITH  A  SMALL "r"  THAT  THE  REFORM  MOVEMENT  WAS  ADVOCATING,  IN  TERMS  OF  A  LESS  BOISTEROUS  PRAYER  SERVICE.  THE  SERMON  SHOULD  BE  IN  THE  VERNACULAR.  CHORAL  SINGING  IN  THE  SYNAGOGUE  WAS  ACCEPTABLE;  NOT MUSICAL  INSTRUMENTS,  THAT'S  AGAINST  TRADITION,  BUT  CHORAL  SINGING  THAT'S  OKAY.


SO  YOU  CAN  SEE  WHAT  HIRSCH  AND  ALL  THE  MODERN  ORTHODOX  JEWS  ARE  TRYING  TO  DO  IS  TO  CHANGE  JUDAISM  WHEN  IT  DOESN'T  COME  INTO  A  DIRECT  COLLISION  WITH  THE  "HALAHA."


IF  IT'S  JUST  CUSTOM,  IF  THERE'S  ROOM  WITHIN  THE  "HALAHA"  TO  MAKE  THESE  CHANGES,  THAT'S  USUALLY  FINE.  BUT  WE  RUN  INTO  MUCH  GREATER  PROBLEMS  WHEN  WE'RE  TALKING  ABOUT  CHANGES  THAT  ARE  ANTI-THETICAL  TO  THE  HALAHA  HAS  TRADITIONALLY  BEEN. 


IN  ADDITION,  ONE  OF  THE  DIFFERENCES  BETWEEN  REFORM  AND  ORTHODOXY,  IS  THE  COMMITMENT  THAT  MODERN  ORTHODOXY  HAS  TO  HEBREW  PRAYER  SERVICE.  TRADITIONAL  PRAYER  SERVICE  IS  GOING  TO  STAY  THE  SAME,  NOT  GOING  TO  BE  MODIFIED,  AND  IT'S  NOT  GOING  TO  BE  TRANSLATED  INTO  THE  VERNACULAR.  ALTHOUGH  THE  SERMON  OF  THE  RABBI  SHOULD  BE  IN  THE  VERNACULAR,  TRADITIONAL  PRAYERS  WERE  SAID  IN  HEBREW,  AND  THEY  WOULD  CONTINUE  TO  BE  SAID  IN  HEBREW.


NOW  A  VERY  DIFFERENT  KIND  OF  ORTHODOX  RESPONSE  TO  REFORMED  JUDAISM,  WAS  THAT  THAT  BECOMES  KNOWN  AS  ULTRA-ORTHODOX.  


IN  A  DISCUSSION   OF  ULTRA-ORTHODOX  WE  MOVE  FROM  WESTERN  EUROPE,  FROM  GERMANY  AND  FRANCE,  TO  CENTRAL  EUROPE,  IN  PARTICULAR  -  HUNGARY.  THERE  WERE  JEWS  IN  HUNGARY,  THAT  REJECTED  ANY  SYNAGOGUE  REFORM  WHATSOEVER,  OR  ACCULTURATION  TO  THE  NON-JEWISH  ENVIRONMENT. 


THE  FIGURE-HEAD  FOR  SUCH  A MOVEMENT  WAS  RABBI  MOSES  SOFER (1762-1839).  HE  COINED  THE  PHRASE  "CHANGE  IS  FORBIDDEN  BY  THE  TORAH."  HE  SAID  THAT  A  LOT -  "CHANGE  IS  FORBIDDEN  BY  THE  TORAH."  THAT  WAS  THE  THEORY,  BUT  IN  ACTUAL  PRACTICE  HE  WAS  QUITE  FLEXIBLE.  AND  WHEN  IT  CAME  TO  FINDING  WAYS  TO  ALLOW  JEWS  TO  MOVE  MORE  SUCCESSFULLY  IN  THEIR  SOCIETY,  AND  IN  THE  CULTURE  IN  WHICH  THEY  WERE  NOW  LIVING  RABBI  SHOFER  WAS  QUITE  SUCCESSFUL  AT  MOLDING   THE  HALAHA;  I  DON'T  WANT  TO  SAY  MANIPULATING  THE  HALAHA,  BUT  "MOLDING"  THE  HALAHA  TO  ALLOW  JEWS  GREATER  ACCESS  TO  THE  OUTSIDE  WORLD.


NOW  THIS  TREND  TOWARDS  RELIGIOUS  CONSERVATISM  WAS  FOLLOWED  BY  RABBI  AKIVA  YOSEF  SCHLESINGER (1837-1922).  WE  NOW  MOVE  INTO  THE  20TH  CENTURY.  AND  HE  WAS  VERY  CLEAR,  IF  REFORM  SERVED  AS  THE  PRIMARY  ADVERSARY  TO  MODERN  ORTHODOX,  REFORM  WAS  OFF  THE  MAP  TO  ULTRA-ORTHODOXY.  THEY  WEREN'T  EVEN  WORTHY  TO  BE  ARGUED  AGAINST.


IT  WAS  THE  MODERN  ORTHODOX  FOLKS  THAT  WERE  THE  TARGET  FOR  THE  ULTRA-ORTHODOX.


THEY  SAW  THIS  WHOLE  ENTERPRISE  OF  EMANCIPATION  AND  ENLIGHTENMENT  AS  A  TROJAN  HORSE.


AND  AS  I  TALKED  ABOUT  BEFORE,  IT  BEING  TAUGHT,  "IN  EVERY  GENERATION  OUR  ENEMIES  RISING  UP  TO  DESTROY  US"  AND  YOU  CAN  READ  "DESTROY"  AS  "BETROTHING  US"  -  THE  IDEA  GOD  WILL  SAVE  US  IN  THE  HAND  OF  MARRIAGE,  ONLY  BY  KEEPING  US  CLOSE  TO  THE  TRADITIONAL  WAYS,  AND  NOT  ACCEPTING  ANY  FORMS  OF  ACCULTURATION.  SO  NO  SYNAGOGUE  REFORMS  WERE  TO  BE  TOLERATED,  WHETHER  THEY  WERE   LITURGICAL,  WHETHER  THEY  WERE   HOMILETICAL,  OR  EVEN  ARCHITECTURAL.


WE  BEGIN  TO  SEE  ARCHITECTURAL  CHANGE  WITHIN  THE  MODERN  ORTHODOX  COMMUNITY  IN  THE  19TH  CENTURY  AS  WELL.  BUT  FOR  SCHLESINGER  EVERYTHING  NEEDS  TO  STAY  AS  IT  WAS  AND  HE  FREQUENTLY QUOTED  HIS  TEACHER  IN  THESE  SUBJECTS  -  SOFER  -  "CHANGE  IS  FORBIDDEN BY  THE  TORAH."


MORE  OVER  WHEN  IT  CAME  TO  HALAHA  WHAT  RABBI  SCHLESINGER  DID  WAS TO  TAKE  THE  WIDE GAMUT  OF  RULINGS  ON  ANY  GIVEN  ISSUE  AND  SAY  ONLY  THE  MOST  STRINGENT   RULINGS,  HAD  ONLY  IN  THE  PAST  BEEN  APPLICABLE  TO  THE  MOST  PIEST  IN  THE  COMMUNITY,  NOW  IT  WAS  THE  MOST  STRINGENT  RULINGS  THAT  BECAME  THE  NORM,  FOR  THE  ENTIRE  COMMUNITY.


THIS  REALLY  SEPARATED  THOSE  WHO  WERE  DEDICATED  TO  THIS  KIND  OF  PIETY,  FROM  THOSE  WHO  WERE  WILLING  TO  ACCOMMODATE  MODERNITY   AND  ACCULTURATE  TO  VARYING  DEGREES.


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TO  BE  CONTINUED