Culture, Justice, Mishegas, Politics, Religion

Glenn Beck apologizes (sorta) but I'm not impressed.

After the ADL gets pissy with him Glenn Beck apologizes (sorta) for his rude comparison of Reform Jews to Islamic extremists but I have to say — I’m not impressed.
First of all, let’s just set aside for a moment the ridiculousness of mentioning Islamic extremists in every other breath – really, I have to say (I never thought I’d defend Beck in any way whatsoever) that really, his comments weren’t about Reform Jews being terrorists. While his comments were completely inane, his point was that Reform Jews are primarily a political organization rather than a religious one. How many ways this is a stupid comment leaves me gasping, but it’s not what most people seem to have taken it as – i.e. a claim that Reform Jews are terrorists.
However, the level of stupidity remains pretty high:
1. Reform Judaism is not a political organization.
The now-taken-down Jonathan Marks piece (for which an apology was issued, but not by Marks) seems to have gotten what Beck was saying (without actually saying anything worthwhile). The claim he makes is that because Reform Jews tend to take certain kinds of political positions, that must mean that Reform Judaism isn’t a religion. Now, there are LOTS of things that I disagree with the Reform movement about. Religiously speaking, nearly everything, in fact. Having grown up Reform, though, and coming from a still-Reform family, I can surely say that knowledgeable Reform Jews are practicing a religion, not a political platform.
What’s really wrong here though is the premises that underlie Beck’s claim: Christians have a particular view of what it means to be a religion – it isn’t necessarily one that matches up well with Judaism. Because Christianity is the dominant ( i.e. more populous) religion in the USA, it is that view of religion which most people understand. But it’s not the only one. That view of religion claims that it is belief which is the central driving force behind spirituality. Let me be clear: I am NOT claiming that Christians think that one should not do what they call “works” -what I am saying is that “works” are derived from belief for Christians. For Jews, on the other hand, spirituality is derived from praxis – behaving a particular way.
Just in case anyone missed it, what Beck did was criticize Reform Judaism for being more like traditional Judaism – grounding its spirituality in behavior, That makes Marks’ piece particularly ironic. While I don’t think that what has come to be called “Tikkun Olam” (I won’t get into the difficulties of using that term here) is anywhere near enough for Jewish practice (I don’t have to, I’m not a Reform Jew), for Reform Jews, where it is in fact the mitzvot bein adam l’chavero (between one person and another) which are considered obligatory, their engagement in making sure that other human beings are treated with justice is, in fact, exactly what they ought to be doing. For Marks to say that it’s somehow a lack only shows his profound lack of understanding of both Reform Judaism and Judaism in general. In fact, to serve human beings through observance of mitzvot between one human and another are -if really engaged in as a regular practice- profoundly spiritual acts for Jews. For Reform Jews (by the way Mr. Marks “Reform” not “reformed” – just because you don’t agree with them doesn’t mean you have to stoop to writing their name incorrectly), to engage in work to make sure that working people get a just wage (for example) is what lays the grounding for them to be able to say the Shema and be, as the rabbinic understanding is, an “eid” -a witness- for God.
2. Not just for the Reform
While it’s ironic enough to have to break down why it’s part of a spiritual practice for Reform Jews to help their fellow humans and increase justice in the world, let’s not lose sight of the fact that these are obligatory for all, not just Reform, Jews. For Jews who are aligned with more traditional interpretations of Jewish law – in which halacha (Jewish law) is obligatory – it’s important to remember that Judaism for halachic Jews ( for whatever part of the spectrum they’re in) obliges us to also make no distinction between mitzvot bein adam l’makom and mitzvot bein adam l’chavero – obligations between one human and another and obligations between a human and God- those Jews who consider themselves traditional, halachic, Orthodox, Conservative, Mizrachi, Sephardi, Masorti, Hareidi or whatever are not doing what they are supposed to if they don’t act for the benefit of their fellow human beings. Simply keeping shabbat and kashrut isn’t even vaguely near enough. It may not technically be a violation of kashrut to allow workers at the slaughterhouse to be underpaid, but there’s a HUGE body of literature that very carefully lays out the mutual obligations (read: mitzvot – commandments or obligations) between an employee and employer, and, -I want to make sure this is very clear- the obligation for Jews who see another Jew violating Jewish law – Jews are required to take action against Jews who violate the rights of workers because those laws are quite carefully spelt out in the Jewish legal works from the Talmud on.
So what’s the obligation if a non-Jew violates the rights of another non-Jew?
Well, you might get some people arguing that there isn’t one, but I think that’s a very difficult argument to make. Aside from the specific strictures that are laid out for Jews interacting with one another, there are plenty of general strictures that require an observant Jew to go beyond the minimum in assuring justice for others, for treating non-Jews with respect and dignity, and for working towards making the general society that we live in as Jews a just society – even the Noahide laws (laws that God commanded to non-Jews, there are seven of them) specify that no one can live in a society that doesn’t have a just legal system.
3. And Islam?
Well, I’m not an expert, so if anyone who is Muslim is reading this and I get it wrong, please forgive me. But from what I’ve learned from Muslims, Islam is very similar to traditional Judaism in that it is behavior focused. The goal is submission to God’s desire, which is accomplished through the five pillars. But the five pillars, as in Judaism, are just the beginning of how one expresses one’s devotion to God – there are all kinds of details, like one’s diet, and so on. but let’s also be clear about this: Islamic extremism is not a religion. As a matter of fact, there is a good amount of evidence that Islamic extremism may clothe itself in the language of religion, but the masterminds behind it tend not to be so very religious, but come from secular, often western-educated backgrounds. Like most extremism, Islamic extremism is not about submission to God, but about developing and maintaining earthly power and control over others – and that doesn’t make Islamic extremism significantly different from Christian, Jewish, Sikh or Hindu (name your favorite extremism) fanatics, who are not actually working to perfect themselves and their society, but to maintain control over others – women, people of other colors or races or nationalities, or who look, behave or believe differently – or for that matter, people of “your own group” whom you can manipulate into being ugly to others for no good reason.
In that sense, it isn’t Reform Judaism which is most like extremist Islam, but Beck and Marks, you may be familiar with a group that is very much like it. In fact, I believe I’ve heard of a group at this very minute working hard to deprive a large group of Americans of the ability to negotiate a fair wage for themselves. Say, that wouldn’t be one of yours, would it?

38 thoughts on “Glenn Beck apologizes (sorta) but I'm not impressed.

  1. Wow, it sounds very complicated. Is there a bottom line? Today, everyone enjoys pointing at the problem. Little do we know or understand the reason we see the problem is because we are part of it! Almost all the ten commandments are examples of what not to do! Simple. Right? I think if we could just try to understand and obey these simple laws, things would be very different today. I think everyone should just try to not take the Lords name in vain! If I can’t even respect that simple request. What on Gods green earth would make me think I am being true to anything???Back to the basics my friend, that is where I am going and I hope to see you there??

  2. you have no idea what is Islam, therefore you are forgiven. But do not write anything without acquiring knowledge about any thing for that matter.
    you would save us time and we do not need to read misinformation.
    Islam is everything. From religious practices to terrorism. Just think for yourself, if Islam did not feet to the ideology of terrorist, they would not have used it in such effective way as many are doing it today in the east.

  3. I do not believe, despite all of the seeming evidence to the contrary, that Beck is an Antisemite. I think that he is simply ignorant.
    I predicted when he first went on the air, and still predict, that he will burn out. But time will tell.
    But one prediction you may bank on – he will NEVER apologize for being an Islamophobe.

  4. Hi Kol,
    (hope I got your name right)
    I am not a scholar on Islam, but I am a Muslim and I do my best to study and practice Islam. Seeing your article reminds me of the many decent and outstanding Jewish people I have known in my life. I hope that doesn’t sound like “my best friends are black,” because I don’t think mines are, black or Jewish, even though I am African American. I have not followed the things that Beck does because it is an unending stream of nonsense. Ten years ago, I was very conservative and pro Bush, but Republicans and the conservative movement have left me with the impression that they can’t let go of prejudice and that it only changes form from one group to another. About Islam and faith versus works: I think it’s a false argument. I am not sure about Judaism, but in Islam you have to believe. And as an ex-Christian, I know belief is required there as well. What the dichotomists fail to realize is that faith and “works” are tied together in an inseparable way. If you believe in God and God commands good, what kind of faith drives you to apathy? Apathy is the true opposite of love. To not care about living a clean life or prayer ritual or caring for your fellow man, regardless of religion is clear evidence of a lack of faith. In Islam our first requirement is Shahada, which is a testimony that we are witnesses to the truth of God and the Prophet Muhammad. Immediately behind that pledge is a call to prayer and to be good citizens. I don’t think our requirements are substantively different from one religion to the next. An explicit part of faith is belief and true faith in what is good demands we engage in good actions, no matter what we call the religion.

  5. Mr. Rahman,
    Thanks for your response and your kind words. I don’t disagree with what you say, although I do think that there are significant disagreements with the how, if not the ultimate what
    Judaism does require belief (how can one say the Shema, which testifies to God’s one-ness if one doesn’t believe in God and God’s one-ness?).
    But I completely agree that “faith” and “works” are difficult to separate… but it does make some difference about the orientation – if one gives to charity because one believes in a savior who would want one to do so, it can practically have some differences to one who gives because they are commanded by God to give and has an obligation to give a certain amount. Ultimately both give (one hopes) but the how and why are a little different. Of course, the best thing would be for them to join up and make sure their society didn’t have any poor people in it.

  6. B”H
    First let’s look at Glen Beck.
    Glen Beck is a Mormon fundementalist cristian and a paid entertainer. He has no clear understanding of Judaism and Islam so his statements come from ignorance mixed with cristian propaganda.
    Judaism is deed based, but the deed must be revolve around the intention to obey G-od. Belief in existence, absolute One-ness, and absolute sovereignty of G-od are the only belief commands and they are emphazised in an oral statement twice each day, but a Jew must constanly keep them in mind.
    Islam as I understand it (from a Sunni) friend has two main factions, Sunni and Shia. The main difference is which scholars are correct in their interpretation of Islamic law.
    Islamic law or Sharia law is a codification of rulings made by Muslim Scholars . Islam revolves around these rulings or Fatwas and do allow for martyrdom during Jihad or holy war if permission is given by a recognized Muslim Scholar or Mulah. From the point of view of these Mulahs it is martyrdom not terrorism. However not all Mulahs recognize the Jihad even in Iran’s own Council of Guardians.
    Most Mulahs do recognize the Jihad and sadly Islam unlike Judaism does NOT allow for non-muslims to live by anything other than Islam umder full Muslim law while living in Muslim lands where there has ever been Sharia law. It does allow for non-muslims to be segragated in non-muslim communities as long as they believe in One G-od. Only Jews are recognized as such by Islam.
    Christianity is considered paganism due to the belief in a trinity, incidentally Religious Jews believe the same thing.
    The difference in Judaism and Islam is that Judaism centers actions around belief AND and a negative thought is generally not a sin unless one acts on it also forgiveness is reached through a process where the victim must be appeased, then G-od is asked for mercy directly.
    Islam centers on belief then action while holding one accountable for negative thoughts regardless of action.
    (my friend was not able to give me info on atonement )
    Christianity in its most basic form requires a belief in the trinity and an acknowledgement of a saviour who died for the sins of
    mankind. Through requesting of forgiveness a christian can enter paradise regardless of sin. While works are considered important if a christian is dying for example and asks forgiveness for not doing works he is forgiven.
    My source for my statements concerning Judaism are Messilat Yesharim and Sefer HaMitzvots
    Statements on Islam are explanations by a Muslim friend.
    Statements on Christanity are based on the official doctrine of the Coptic, Catholic, Roman Orthodox and Greek Orthodox forms of Christianity. They have been listed in order of formation, beign the oldest surviving forms of Christianity. Incidentally each has its own Pope or Pope equivalent.

  7. Hi everyone,
    I thought I was finished with this, but the general rule on communication is that it is almost impossible to say everything you need to in one shot and as much as I wanted to believe otherwise, my first attempt at addressing this had flaws and so here I am again, trying to make things clearer. Kol: Muslim PC for my name is simply to call me Abdul. I was a little off in my earlier post and that, I think, is your reaction. There are substantive differences of faith in Islam, Judaism and Christianity in what we believe about God. Once you get past belief and say, okay I believe, all three faiths say you have to be good in action and this is where I was trying to say, we are more similar than different. We all have mandatory beliefs (which is why we differ), prayer rituals and most important here, a requirement to care for our fellow citizens regardless of faith. Warith Deen Muhammad said the world would be a much better place if we all would work hard at being very good in our faith, no matter what that faith is. NuShin brings me back to my unending work of answering and correcting misstatements about my faith. There are sects in Islam, but over 85% of Muslims worldwide are Sunni. Within Sunni Islam there are four standard teachings of Islam and we agree to disagree. It is distracting to talk about sects in this forum because as an outsider to Judaism, you will only confuse me with insider talk. It is simpler for me if you tell me what makes you Jewish in the broadest simplest way possible. So too for Islam. We have two basic elements of faith: the God of Abraham and Prophet Muhammad. The Shia/Sunni split is a political one that goes back 1000 years. It is really only a debate about the followers of Prophet Muhammad, not the Prophet himself nor belief in the God of Abraham. A second point is that whenever you hear someone use the term “Mullah” it usually means his or her experience with Islam comes from a negative place. “Most Mullahs recognize Jihad…” Yes most Muslims recognize jihad, because we say jihad does not primarily mean “holy war” but that the primary definition of jihad is to exert effort towards what is right. If you go to the mainstream websites run by Western Muslims (I am under ISNA), you will find in each one, an unequivocal condemnation of terrorism, no matter the justification. An often over-looked fact is that no one wants Bin Laden dead more than the Saudis and that terrorists kill far more Muslims than they do Jews or Christians. NuShin, please go to a mosque and get it from the horses mouth if you are going to go around teaching Islam. Islam says for every good thought is a reward and for every good action is ten times the deed. In Islam, sin is always an act. You are very wrong about sin being a thought in Islam. It doesn’t even make sense when you say a faith system punishes for negative thought. Even in a pure theocracy, how do you catch a person and punish them for thinking the wrong thing? That’s God’s job. We have scholars in America and Europe and websites. In Islam, atonement is First and foremost God’s Mercy, then prayer and good actions to follow the bad. Finally, Al Andalus is the name for Muslim Spain 500 years ago. It was the first empire post-Jesus that contained religious diversity. The Muslim rulers allowed Jews and Christians to practice their faiths without interference. Our book, the Quran say we cannot compel others in matters of religion. “Your friend” is a poor and incorrect source.
    Peace and as salaam alaikum to the Muslims

  8. B”H
    You stated that a Mullah comes from negative experience with Muslims, but this is simply a term for a Muslim Schollar. Also 1000 years ago the split that formed the Sunni and Shiite factions was over wich religious leaders had the right to be the final authority on Islam. An argument that continues this day.
    Suni and Shii scholars do not recognize the others validity. As for
    negative thoughts beign sinful well yes they are. Jihad does mean to exert effort, but its context as used by Mohammed is to make war on something that is against Islam even if means physical violence. My friend is not in any way ignorant of Islam.
    Essentially what makes a Jew a Jew is the Mother.
    If she is Jewish then the child is Jewish. Another method
    is an Orthodox Conversion through a Religious Court.
    By the way Jews and Christians were intensly persecuted by the Muslims at almost all periods in history where they were in power.

  9. I believe NunShin is confusing his particular sect’s viewpoint with halacha (Jewish law) thus proving Abdul’s point.
    It is also incorrect that Muslims persecuted Christians and Jews whenever they were in power. Historically speaking, the only places where Jews came even close to the level of safety and security that we have today would have been Muslim Spain, although we also did pretty well in the Ottoman Empire, and in particular Ottoman Salonika – right up until the end, when the Greek-Ottoman dispute ended in a transfer of outlander Christians to the local and local Muslims being transferred away. They hadn’t grown up with Jewish neighbors and relatives (Salonika had a -for the time- fairly high intermarr
    iage rate) and so didn’t care about protecting them from the Germans. There’s a wonderful book about it called, “Salonica, City of Ghosts: Christians, Muslims and Jews, 1430-1950” by Mark Mazower for those who are interested.

  10. B”H
    I am familiar with Jewish law having gone to Yeshiva.
    In addition I am very familiar with modern conversion. A non-Jew must aproach a Rabbi (male) capable of ruling on Jewish law on three separate occasions at the very minimum. He or she is educated until deemed ready to convert by the Head of the Orthodox Religious Court. Then if a man and OVER 13 he has a religious circumcision (bris) and is immersed in a ritual pool of water called a mikvah (not any pool will do). If a girl she must be over 12 and she simply immerses in a mikveh. In Temple times offerings were brought also.
    Conversions are not held valid by The Syrian, Morrocan, Yemenites and most other Sephardic communities.
    If I had said “religious court” the offshoot branches would have been included as a religious Jew is not the same thing as a Jew who follows Jewish law. A religious Jew believes in The Ethical teachings of Judaism, but may or may not be Orthodox. An Orthodox individual follows Jewish law and believes in the Ethical teachings. In addition Orthodox Jews see Judaism as G-od given not inspired or man made. A religious person believes in G-od and is moral regardless of
    Any other type of conversion to Judaism is considered INVALID by Jewish Law incidentally The State of Israel also does not recognize other type of conversions and will not recognize marriages of Jews born in Israel and non-Jews.
    Granted some Muslims helped Jews but Jews were given second class status and lived in ghettos.
    Stricly speaking only China has never persecuted Jews. There are about 500,000 Jews in china and most have been there since Imperial times.
    They only marry within particular families and have very little knowledge of oral law, but they are Jewish under Jewish law.
    As for my sect, Torah Observant.
    I am familiar with spain. My father is Spanish (he’s not Jewish) and his family is Asturian.
    Muslims an Christians for a period of less than
    50 years lived side by side with Jews, but there were always anti-Jewish laws in place. Segregation and government required clothing such as red feathers were used to differentiate us. Jews could not be in guilds or hold certain offices. Enormous bribes had to be paid as Jews would be kidnapped by the army.
    Often Jewish women were forced into military brothels in both Christian and Muslim Spain.
    As for Islam I won’t discuss it further. My father is on The United Nations anti-torcher comission
    and has worked with many Mulas. He is also
    Has been to Tunisia, Egypt, and Israel. Though he is not my source he has asked the same questions and gotten the same answers. My friend is Muslim and asking my father he said my friend is correct according to most Sunni scholars. My father has worked with Mulas to end torcher in the middle east.
    But like I said I will not bother to discuss Islam.
    My friend is a religious Muslim and has been raised Muslim. The family is an imigrant family and I resent the insult by GAR on my friend’s behalf. While I disagree with my friend (H) I do realize (H) is knowledgeable in Islam and find it sad that GAR claims a western Muslim site.
    According to Islam there are only Believers and heretics. Islam is absolutist that is a fact.
    Western Muslims incidentally are not cinsidered the best example of Islam and are looked by most religious Muslims as secularized.
    Well I said I would close this nature of Islam debate so I will. I will continue other parts of my thread if anyone cares to comment.
    But getting back to Glenn Beck, he is neither the Republican norm or the Radio Talk norm.
    He is starting to spew nonsense about everyone beign a prophet, the end times, a world government, secret societies, and I’m pretty sure it’s his own beliefs.
    Rush is really just an entertainer and is not to be take seriously, I’m not sure he really believes all his material.
    So let’s everyone have a nice day and relax.
    Life is good… least you’re alive.

  11. B”H
    So sorry for spelling and grammar errors.
    Also I realize not everyone who is Jewish is Orthodox
    and will not agree with me, please do not take my comments
    as judgemental on you as individuals.
    Plelase bear with me as I’m new to blogs. (Not to writing though.)

  12. “A non-Jew must aproach a Rabbi (male) capable of ruling on Jewish law on three separate occasions at the very minimum.”
    Why male? Show me the halacha. I’ll grant you that it may be necessary to have male witnesses. But show me why the rabbi who teaches the convert must be male.
    “Any other type of conversion to Judaism is considered INVALID by Jewish Law.”
    Why? Again, show me the halacha. Why are shomer Shabbat non-Orthodox witnesses unable to serve on a Beit Din (religious court)?

  13. B”H
    The Rav of the comunity is the one who directs the instruction of a potential convert. Women cannot rule on Jewish law. Some of the reasons are because they cannot testify as witnesses, are not bound to most time related comandments.
    Even Devora did not rule on Jewish law, but rather led the people. Instruction is through a Rav but general Judaic education is through a woman who the Rav knows to be well versed in Torah. Halacha is ALWAYS taught by a Rav.
    “Why are Shomer Shabbos non-Orthodox witnesses unable to serve on a religious court?”
    The answer is simple, Orthodoxy is simply a modern term for Torah Observant. If a person is not Torah Observant he is a person who is lax in his observance of the commandments as a whole, uneducated in Torah Observance,
    or a person who is not doing the commandments on purpose. All are inelligible to serve on a Jewish Court. This is because a Jewish man must be known to be a person who keeps the commandments to the best of his ability, educated in Torah (in this case must also be an expert on the laws of conversion), and must also be known to be G-d fearing. Such a person can be both a male and a female but Jewish law requires that a Jewish court be made up of at least three males.
    Its in the Shulchan Aruch, its dicussed in the Talmud, and the fact of the matter is
    this is unchangeable.
    Jewish law is flexible to set parameters, the parameters are not flexible.
    Shomer Shabos or Kashrus doesn’t make you Torah Observant, that is a start but we have to keep all the commandments we can. We can’t pick and choose. That is simply another way of denying G-d. If we are growing in observance then we are Torah Observant.

    1. NunShin writes:
      Such a person can be both a male and a female but Jewish law requires that a Jewish court be made up of at least three males.
      Its in the Shulchan Aruch, its dicussed in the Talmud, and the fact of the matter is
      this is unchangeable.


  14. B”H
    The biblical source for this halacha is the fact that death came about into the world through speech. Acording to The Chofetz Chaim in Sefer Chofetz Chaim because Eve spoke negatively about her husband Death was brought upon the world. Negative speech. The reason women cannot act as witnesses acording to The Chofetz Chaim is
    based on the halachic principle of “the prosecutor cannot act as an advocate”
    Just like the high priest could not wear his golden vestments in The Holy of Holies during the Yom Kippur service in The Temple because it is an atonement for the sin of the golden calf so women cannot testify. This is the biblical and Talmudic source. Sefer Chofetz Chaim is available in English and gives detailed Talmudic refferences.
    I ask the moderator to please remove BZ second post as it simply is an insult of an opinion and not a dialouge.
    If you do not agree with someone please say why.
    “Put up or shut up”
    Tell me the difference between Orthodoxy and Torah Observant.
    Please I would love to know.
    List 1 difference.

    1. The biblical source for this halacha is the fact that death came about into the world through speech. Acording to The Chofetz Chaim in Sefer Chofetz Chaim because Eve spoke negatively about her husband Death was brought upon the world. Negative speech. The reason women cannot act as witnesses acording to The Chofetz Chaim is
      based on the halachic principle of “the prosecutor cannot act as an advocate”
      Just like the high priest could not wear his golden vestments in The Holy of Holies during the Yom Kippur service in The Temple because it is an atonement for the sin of the golden calf so women cannot testify. This is the biblical and Talmudic source.

      That’s not a biblical source, it’s an asmachta. Let’s see the source in the Shulchan Aruch and the Talmud (which you mentioned before). Which daf?
      I ask the moderator to please remove BZ second post as it simply is an insult of an opinion and not a dialouge.
      I’m the moderator. And you weren’t stating it as an opinion, you were stating it as a fact.
      If you do not agree with someone please say why.
      “Put up or shut up”
      Tell me the difference between Orthodoxy and Torah Observant.
      Please I would love to know.
      List 1 difference.

      That was hypertext. Click on the link.

  15. B”H
    Invalid points. I gave you the source.
    Sefer Chofetz Chaim is enough.
    Or is Rabbi Kagan HaKohen obm not a sufficient source. His picture is at the bottom of your Jewish Bloggers for resonsible speech online banner.
    If a person commits a grave public action then they are not Orthodox/Torah Observant. Simply put an individual who keeps Kosher but is a rapist for example cannot be said to be religious or Orthodox/Torah Observant. Wife beaters are irreligious no matter the manner of their dress. An Orthodox individual performs the commandments according to the best of their ability. Occasionnal sin happens as Shlomo HaMelech said “there is no person that never sins” [paraphrased]
    Torah Observant is the same thing.
    The Hebrew is Shomer Mitzvos.
    A term I have heard used by more than one Rosh Yeshivah.
    So let’s not argue over two terms for the same thing.
    Why does a moderator have to use an insult as a link BZ? Bottom of the page BZ.
    Smiras Haloshon. Pointing out a specific Jew is Loshon HaRa.

    1. NunShin writes:
      Invalid points. I gave you the source.
      Sefer Chofetz Chaim is enough.
      Or is Rabbi Kagan HaKohen obm not a sufficient source.

      No, that’s not a sufficient source to support your claim that “Its [sic] in the Shulchan Aruch, its [sic] dicussed [sic] in the Talmud”. Let’s see the citation.
      You don’t know, do you.
      If a person commits a grave public action then they are not Orthodox/Torah Observant. Simply put an individual who keeps Kosher but is a rapist for example cannot be said to be religious or Orthodox/Torah Observant.
      You’d better go and edit this Wikipedia article which begins “Baruch S. Lanner (born October 20, 1949) is an American Orthodox rabbi who was convicted of child sexual abuse.” I wonder, what are you going to change “Orthodox” to?
      So let’s not argue over two terms for the same thing.
      They’re not two terms for the same thing. Orthodox is one stream of Judaism, and like all streams of Judaism, it includes individuals who are Torah observant (according to that stream’s understanding of Torah) and individuals who are not.
      Why does a moderator have to use an insult as a link BZ? Bottom of the page BZ.
      “Bullshit” was a characterization of what you wrote, not of you. I don’t know you.

  16. B”H
    Orthodox was a term first used by the reform movement to separate themselves from observant Jews.
    Wikipidia is a non-reference. Anyone may edit and distort facts.
    An Orthodox Jew is a Jew who practises Masoeric Judaism. This is the belief and practice of The Torah, both Oral and Written as transmited by G-d to Moses, to Joshua, to The Elders, to. The Prophets to the men of The Great Assembly. This Oral law later was compiled into written form by Rabbi Yehudah HaNasi into The Six Orders of The Mishna so that it would not be lost.
    The Gemara is an explanation of The Mishna and and Much later Rabbi Yosef Caro wrote The compedium of Jewish law and known as Shulchan Aruch.
    BZ, an Orthodox/Torah Observant person believes these laws are G-d given and tries to follow them.
    If there are some wolves in sheepskin that does not make them lambs.
    In Judaism there is Torah Observant or not yet Torah Observant.
    The other groups are not based on the afforementioned belief in a G-d given Torah that has permanent and unchanging parameters in which to obey G-d. Reform was known by another name. Hellenism.
    Conservative Jews were Orthodox Jews
    that tried to say Torah changed with the times.
    I’m not saying Torah observance must be in the most stringent way, whar I am saying is there is a set order to The Mitzvos and the Torah allows for leniency and for enhancing the commandments, but there is a boundary.
    Men and Women may not sit together in Synagouge. That is Jewish law. I don’t have to prove it you have to prove why the normative Jewish law is wrong. Tell me in Shulchan Aruch.
    Hasidim, Miznagdic, Haredi, Modern Orthodox, Shomer Mitzvot, Baal Teshuvah, etc. All are Torah Observant.
    A person who is not a perpetual sinner may be included in “Kol Yisrael Tzadikim” or all Israel are righteous.
    “And your people are all righteous they shall inheret the land forever, they are the branch of My planting, My handiwork in which to take pride.”
    Isaiah 60:21 artscroll translation.
    But the verse says ……the branch of My planting, My handiwork…..
    This is interpreted to mean the descendants of Abraham, Yitzhak, and Yakob who are compared to Cedar trees and have through folowing the Commandments made allowed themselves to be molde by G-d.
    That is an Orthodox/Torah Observant Jew.
    Subject Closed.

  17. B”H
    One last thing BZ, an Orthodox Rabbi is not necessarily always Orthodox/Torah Observant. Orthodox Rabbi is the name for a position and is in no way related to practice.
    Orthodox as I use it describes practice.
    Orthodox where it is used there describes a Rabbi within Orthodox community.
    On another topic what do you think of The trend in Israel towards a parliamentary theocracy?
    Facts Orthodox growth is 25%-35%
    Orthodox Jews block vote.
    Shas is the largest Sephardic party and is mending fences with Ashkenzi religious leaders.
    More religious units are beign formed each year.
    The Aliyah movement is largest in religious circles (percentwise)
    61 votes in Knesset, large military presence and the Jig is up!
    Questions: do you see it hapening?
    would it be bad or good and why?
    palestinian issue?
    Let’s have some new fun and fresh discussion.
    I think everyone needs to cool down from the previous discussion.

  18. NunShin,
    I find it incredibly difficult to read what you write. But I know many, many people who are not Orthodox and are shomer mitzvot. I’ve had people tell me that I’m actually Orthodox and just deluding myself. But, I promise you, I am not Orthodox, and have no desire to call myself Orthodox. My belief system is much more in line with Conservative Judaism, which is valid Judaism, despite your attempt to discredit anything that isn’t Orthodox Judaism.
    Orthodox Judaism encompasses a number of theologies. One of those pieces is that mitzvot are binding. Conservative Judaism also holds that mitzvot are binding, but their approach to halacha is different. Educate yourself.
    For a start, why don’t you read the teshuvot that many learned Conservative rabbis have written on women testifying in court:
    For kicks, I’ll even throw in the dissenting opinion:
    This is Judaism. This is learned Jews debating and discussing Torah and halacha. This is living Judaism, and it is just as valid as your Judaism.

  19. NunShin,
    Like many contemporary orthodox jews, you seem to be confusing halakhah and minhag.
    a) sefer hofetz hayim is not an authoritative halakhic source. point us to a siman in the shulhan arukh, point us to a daf in the gemara.
    your myopic approach to jewish practice is one of the many reasons that orthodoxy continues to be the smallest dimension of mainstream jewish expression. if you actually believe that the orthodoxy of the last 150 years is indicative of historic jewish practice you have either been lied to, are lying to yourself, or are simply accepting carte blanche untruths you’ve been spoon fed. orthodoxy or what you call “torah observant” (and what others call “torah true”) is as modern an invention as the reform movement. it is authentic jewish practice, yes, but not any more authentic than any other modern stream of jewish expression.
    if you think halakhah is unchanging since sinai I invite you to read some Tosafot or the Ramah. If you think contemporary orthodox minhag is halakhah mi’sinai you’re simply having a different conversation than the rest of us. What you call “Jewish Law” and what historic Jewish expression refers to as halakhah are two different things. Plus, if you’re using Shulhan Arukh as your basis for your practice, you’re already doing something different than what is found in the Tur, you’re already doing something different than what is even found in the Beit Yosef!!!
    Female rabbis are not a modern invention. There were female teachers of mikra, midrash, mishnah, halakhah and aggadah in the middle ages. Read the Travels of Rabbi Petahiyah available for download for free at in pdf form in both Hebrew and English. He speaks of a female teacher of the highest degree who taught at one of the most prominent yeshivot in Baghdad. Your notion of the role of women in Jewish practice is not authentic to Jewish history. Even the Gemara refers to women who wore tzitzit in public.
    You’re in an online discussion with very well educated, very committed and very serious Jews of all walks of life. You may find an orthodox ally or two here, but by and large you are not going to win any discussions by citing midrash and saying “case closed” or by saying “it’s in the shulhan arukh.” Tell us where! Because many of us have the books on our shelves and would love to look it up and learn it for ourselves.
    There are Jews who are shomer mitzvot and torah observant across the myriad of the spectrum of jewish practice. minhagim will change from community to community. Halakhah has never been so simple as “the Rosh Yeshiva says so…” there are always minority opinions and variant interpretations and many ways to practice particular mitzvot.
    Please tell us where to find your sources. and try and to engage with us while acknowledging that many (most?) of us are committed and observant jews.

  20. B”H
    Parliamentary Theocracy in Israel anyone
    I am not discussing Torah Observance any longer.
    Someone please start a new thread.

  21. “Bullshit” was a characterization of what you wrote, not of you. I don’t know you.
    Aren’t you too smart to resort to using “bullshit” in an argument?

  22. B”H
    Israel’s rapidly increasing Orthodoxy is expected to be 20-30%
    of the country. Block voting on issues and their strong ties to the largest sephardic party might allow for a way for 61 votes to be in the hands of The Orthodoxy for quite a while. That and the fact that more and more Orthodox men are joining the Religious units a defacto theocracy might gain power in Israel.
    Any comments? This just has to do with the fact
    that I want a fresh topic.

  23. Wow, NunShin. You have some chutzpah. You come here, to a liberal Jewish blog, complain about how liberal Jews suck and don’t practice Judaism. Then, when you are called out on your absurd and uneducated statements, you say that you want to change the topic to one of your choosing. It seems to me like you aren’t actually interested in learning other points of view or discussion, just a forum for your own opinions.

  24. B”H
    You caught me Shoshie. I am uneducated, I think liberal Jews suck, and I am not really bored with a topic that neither side will win just scared of the other points of view.
    Actually I don’t think anyone sucks. Not Jew or non-Jew.
    Just because I don’t agree, or will ever change my mind, doesn’t mean I don’t want to know your side. I am very educated actually in scientific, religious, and secular analysis. Circular debate just wastes my time.
    I was hoping for a viewpoint from the left on this very real possibility. How would the left react? What might happen?
    Political fallout?

  25. NS: I don’t think this has much to do with the original topic, which, as I recall (since I wrote it) was that Glenn Beck and Jonathan marks apparently don’t understand Judaism.
    If you’re up for conversation, maybe we could get back to that?

  26. B”H
    Well what can one say, Glenn beck is an antisemite or a Christian supremasist or both.
    As a Jewish conservative I find him insulting.
    The same thing with Hannity.
    They believe christianty=conservatism.
    This type of christian conservatism brings down good talk like Rush or Fred Tomson, Or shnitz or Phyl Valentine, or the midnight radio network (conservative truckers with all kins of fun things for truck enthusiasts). Even monica reyley is a fool.
    And Pelin with her blood libel comment. I was for her before that.
    Beck is what he is and his traditional mormon beliefs come out.
    (Christians support Israel to bring their saviour back to Israel in an attempt to fulfill prophesy) The inquisition or Holy House, an arm of the papacy is still technicaly around. As are the Crusaders.
    Beck sees the world through these glasses.
    Problem is most Jews think this is friendship.

  27. B”H
    Correction: My friend reviewed my post and clarified that thought is not initially a sin in Islam but only if not IMIDIATELY corrected.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.