ORTHODOX ANSWERS to REFORMED JUDAISM #4


CONTINUING with Professor Cherry's lecture:


FURTHER MORE SCHLESINGER  EMPLOYED "HAGGADAH" - WHICH ARE OFTEN EXAGGERATED  STATEMENTS THAT AREN'T RESTRICTED  BY  GROUPS  CONSENSUS.  HE  USED  THE  PLAYFUL  CREATIVITY  OF  THE  TALMUDIC  RABBIS  TO  CREATE  A  NEW  "HALAHA"  -  I  WILL  GIVE  YOU  AN  EXAMPLE  OF  THIS  IN  A  MOMENT.


HE  ARGUED  THAT  SECULAR  STUDIES  ARE  PROHIBITED,  EVEN  IF  THEY  ARE  NECESSARY  FOR  ONES  OCCUPATION.  LATER  ON  HE  MODIFIED  HIS  POSITION  ON  THAT,  BUT  AT  LEAST  IN  THEORY,  WHAT  THE  JEWS  SHOULD  BE  DOING  WAS  STUDYING  TORAH.  THERE'S  NOTHING  WRONG  WITH  STUDYING  SECULAR  SUBJECTS,  BUT  THAT'S  THE  ROLE  OF  THE  GENTILES,  NOT  OF  THE  JEWS.


WHAT  SCHLESINGER  WORKED  OUT  AS  A  DIVISION  OF  LABOR  WAS:  THE  JEW  SHOULD  DEVOTE  HIMSELF  TO  TORAH  STUDIES,  AND  THE  GENTILE  HAS  ACCESS  AND  SHOULD  ENGAGE  IN  SECULAR  STUDIES,  WHETHER  IT'S  SCIENCE, WHETHER  IT'S  MATH,  MEDICINE,  LITERATURE,  OR  HISTORY;  ALL  THOSE  SUBJECTS,  THAT'S  IN  THE  JURISDICTION  OF  THE  GENTILES,  BUT  JEWS  SHOULD  REMAIN  COMMITTED  TO  THE  EXCLUSIVE  TORAH  LIFE.


NOW  ACCULTURATION  WHICH  THE  NEO-ORTHODOX  EMBRACE,  FOR  THE  ULTRA-ORTHODOX  IT  IS  A  TROJAN  HORSE;  IT  WILL  TURN  JUDAISM  INTO  A  RELIGIOUS  CONFESSION,  JUST  A  RELIGION,  AND  REPUDIATE  THE  CENTRALITY  OF  THE  JEWISH  PEOPLE,  THE  IDEA  OF  ETHNICITY  AND  NATIONALITY,  WHO  FOR  THE  ULTRA-ORTHODOX  MUST  REMAIN  "SHALEM"  -  "WHOLE." 


WHAT  SCHLESINGER  DOES  IS  A  "PLAY"  ON  THIS  WORD  "SHALEM"  -  IT'S  SPELLED  SHA-L-M,  AND  HE  USED  A  RABBINIC  MIDRASH   TO  SUGGEST  THAT  WHAT  WE  NEED  TO  DO  IN  ORDER  TO  REMAIN  "WHOLE"  -  REMAIN  IN-TACT,  IS  TO  PRESERVE  OUR  "SHEMOT" (NAMES),  OUR  "LASHON"  (LANGUAGE),  AND  OUR  "MALBUSH" (CLOTHING)  -  NAMES,  LANGUAGE,  AND  DRESS.


HERE'S  HOW  HE  UN-PACKED  THAT  IDEA.


IN  THE  LATER  PART  OF  THE  19TH  CENTURY  AND  EARLY  20TH  CENTURY,  JEWS  ARE  TAKING  ON  THE  FIRST  NAMES  OF  THEIR  NEIGHBORS;  SO  WE  GOT  TOM,  DICK,  HARRY  ETC.  ACCORDING  TO  SCHLESINGER  WE  SHOULD  REMAIN  WITH  TRADITIONAL  NAMES  -  MEDEL,  FIDEL,  RIFGALAYA  -  TRADITIONAL  JEWISH  NAMES.


FURTHER  MORE  WE  SHOULDN'T  BE  LEARNING  THEIR  LANGUAGE,  THE  VERNACULAR  OF  WHATEVER  PLACE  THE  JEWS  WERE  LIVING;  WE  SHOULD  REMAIN  COMMITTED  TO  SPEAKING  "YIDDISH"  AND  THEN  FOR  PRAYER  -  HEBREW.  AND  FINALLY  "MALBUSH"  -  WE  SHOULD  REMAIN  DRESSING,  IN  HIS  WAY  OF  IMAGINING,   AS  WE'VE  ALWAYS  DRESSED.  THE  BLACK  HAT  AND  THE  BLACK  COAT.


NOW  THAT'S  THE  WAY  THE  POLISH  NOBILITY  DRESSED  IN  THE  17TH  AND  18TH  CENTURY.  AND  SO  TO  IMITATE  THE  POLISH  NOBILITY  THE  JEWS  SHOULD  ALSO  DRESS  LIKE  THAT. 


WELL,  NOW  IN  THE  LATE  19TH  CENTURY  THE  POLISH  NOBILITY  WERE  NO  LONGER  WEARING  SUCH  THINGS;  BUT  THIS  CONSERVATIVE  ELEMENT,  THE  JEWISH  WORLD,  CONTINUED  TO  WEAR  SUCH  THINGS,  AND  ACCORDING  TO  THIS  PHILOSOPHY,  SHOULD  CONTINUE  TO  WEAR  SUCH  THINGS,  EVEN  IN  THE  HEAT  OF  THE  ISRAEL  SUMMER,  WHICH  CAN  GET  INTO  THE  TRIPLE  DIGIT FAHRENHEIT;  YOU  SEE  PEOPLE  WALKING  AROUND  ISRAEL  WITH  BLACK  HAT  AND  THE  BLACK  GARB.  AT  LEAST  THEY'RE  THIN  SUITS,  DOES  NOT  HAVE  TO  BE  BLACK  WOOL,  IT'S  JUST  THE  COLOR  HAS  TO  BE  BLACK.


SO  FOR  THE  ULTRA-ORTHODOX,  IN  ORDER  TO  REMAIN  "WHOLE"  -  TO  REMAIN "IN  TACT"  -  AGAINST  THIS  ONSLAUGHT  OF  MODERNITY  AND  THE  NEW  TEMPTATIONS  TO  ACCULTURATE  AND  JOIN  GENTILE  CULTURE,  WHAT  NEEDS  TO  HAPPEN  IS  THE  JEWS  NEED  TO  PRESERVE  THOSE  ELEMENTS  OF  THEIR  PEOPLE-HOOD.  SO  SCHLESINGER  TAUGHT.


AND  IT'S  IRONIC,  IN  THE  NEXT  LECTURE,  WE'RE  GOING  TO  SEE  A  DIFFERENT  RESPONSE  TO  MODERNITY  THAT  ALSO  EMPHASIZES  RETAINING  THIS  ASPECT  OF  JEWISH  PEOPLE-HOOD  -  ZIONISM  -  THAT  IS  AS  ILL-RELIGIOUS  AS  YOU  CAN  IMAGINE.


SO  ON  ONE  SIDE  OF  THE  PEOPLES  SPECTRUM,  YOU'VE  GOT  THE  ULTRA-ORTHODOX,  WHO  DON'T  WANT  TO  CHANGE  ANYTHING  FROM  THE  TORAH,  AND  ON  THE  OTHER  SIDE  OF  THE  PEOPLE-HOOD  SPECTRUM,  AS  WE'LL  SEE  IN  THE  NEXT  LECTURE,  WE'VE  GOT  THE  ZIONISTS,  WHO  AREN'T  AT  ALL  COMMITTED  TO  LEADING  A  TORAH  LIFE,  TO  SAY  THE  LEAST.


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TO  BE  CONTINUED