Israel, Mishegas, Religion

Interesting response to the Druckman Debacle

Haaretz offers an interesting response by Asher Maoz to the ridiculous attempt by the High Rabbinical Court to invalidate, retroactively, all of the conversions performed by (Orthodox) Rabbi Chaim Druckman, posted here by Josh Frankel a few days ago.
Will this finally be the straw that breaks the camel’s back?
Well, I doubt it. Although as Maoz -correctly- points out, such retroactive annulments are contrary to halakha, this is by no means the first ruling contrary to (or at the very least, irrelevant to) halakha made by those leading the charge to make (Ultra-) Orthodox Judaism more stringent, more separate, and more isolated. As a matter of fact, aside from a number of “halakhic” rulings which are simply stringent for their own sake, or the retroactive post-mortem re-ruling of those gedolei hador who ruled more leniently to make their actual rulings seem like they weren’t practices that the gedolim themselves actually followed or to at least try to hide the fact that they made such rulings at all, or out and out questionable practices (many of these have been covered in the Jewschool archives, but I won’t list them here) in general this tendency is in itself problematic as a matter of “al tifrosh” -do not separate yourselves – which is, in fact, the entire point, not simply a side effect, of many of the rulings of these types.
Just for one example of many, several of the halakhic solutions established by the Conservative/ Masorti movement in order to free agunot had actually been under consideration -or being used- by the Orthodox mainstream – until the Conservativim started using them, which them made them treif by association, with the current preferred mode to be to say that all weddings not performed by an Ultra-Orthodox rabbi are not valid, completely in contradiction to Jewish law, and running a real and actual risk of make mamzerut more common, because people are then “free” to remarry when in fact their first marriages are halakhically legitimate (all it takes are a Jewish man, an unmarried Jewish woman and two Jewish witnesses, rabbi not required), making their remarriages halakhically invalid. Oy, what a mess. The only humor to be had being that if it became common for women to get unchained by going to the Ultra-Orthodox and having their first marriage declared void, Masorti rabbis would almost certainly have to start insisting that anyone who had been remarried by the ultra-orthodox get a get retroactively… the entanglements could be legion…okay, not really that funny.
So what’s going to change now? Well, almost certainly nothing. At least not until the Orthodox who aren’t complete loons (most of them, but unfortunately, not speaking up) start saying that it’s not okay to trash moderation, that halakhah isn’t a means to make yourself politically powerful or to control your community’s every move, to oppress certain segments of your population, or to drive your neighbors nuts; when the normal majority start telling their leaders that they won’t follow them when they make stringencies for stringency’s sake, well, then, maybe then something will change.

11 thoughts on “Interesting response to the Druckman Debacle

  1. But even the Orthodox who aren’t complete loons think that everyone who isn’t Orthodox is going to hell. They’re not much better than the Haredim – they just have better (worse?) taste in clothes.

  2. Amit,
    So nice to see such open discourse encouraged on one of my favorite forums.
    Yaakov, orthodox rabbinical student

  3. But even the Orthodox who aren’t complete loons think that everyone who isn’t Orthodox is going to hell.
    But if religion and state cease to be entangled, then it won’t matter what they think.

  4. Amit– come on.
    Sure, there are plenty of Ortho folks who believe all others are going to hell… and there are plenty that don’t. I grew up going to shul with a couple hundred of ’em.

  5. think that everyone who isn’t Orthodox is going to hell
    Does it bother you that other Jews think you’re doing things wrong? I assure you the Orthodox aren’t the only ones who can get a little self-righteous sometimes. Let me introduce you to the Reconstructionists. The Reforms. and the Conservatives. Oh, and those unaffiliated Yids too.

  6. OK FOlks, Yes, there are intolerant louts of all persuasions, Jews and non-Jews, religious and secular. My point was not that the Orthodox think I’m going to hell, or you are, or something (I don’t actually care much, but isn’t it Yitz Greenberg who said “I don’t care which stream of Judaism you’re from as long as you’re a little ashamed of it?”).
    THe point is that, here, like in so many streams of politics, the mainstream has been hijacked by the extremists. I actually don’t think that most Orthodox people think I’m going to hell. In fact, even amongst those who think I do Judaism wrong, I think that there’s a large factor of struggle that I don’t get to see because they’re guarding their doors from censure.
    And that’s the problem, together witht he fact that some of what the extremists are dong are *actually* hijacking halakha – not just taking it in a direction that I don’t agree with, but one that is in fact, wrong. Of course, I know that they think the same of me, OTOH,when one examines the way it’s done, the irony is that when the COnservativim go wrong it’s in not dissimilar ways from the way the Ultra-Orthodox are gong wrong, the difference being th political power to enforce out side their own communities.
    I’d like to see Masorti Jews living a more halakhic life, and it’s difficult to guide people onto that path. OTOH, it’s much harder to stick up for halakha if the looniest of extremists isn’t corralled on the other end of the spectrum because then everyone thinks that following halakha means you’re a nut or a jerk.
    I believe that is the textbook definition of chillul hashem.

  7. WOAH – but I still stand by my claim. I don’t see conservative batei din invalidating Orthodox conversions, though they may have taken eight seconds. I also don’t see Reform people *not* going to shul on holidays if its not *their* shul. I see the Orthodox doing it all the time. It is essenntially part of being Orhtodox.
    Now, if you’re not like that, you’re not Orthodox. You might be observant, quite frum actually, and daven in an “Orthodox” shul – but being Orthodox means – by definition – that everyone else is going to hell.

  8. “but being Orthodox means – by definition – that everyone else is going to hell.”
    Ok, I’ve given up reading Jewschool.

  9. Actually Amit, where I’m from, the Non-Orthodox Jews are very particular about their beliefs and very proud to decide which shuls not to go to based on which ones toe their line most accurately — Minyan A “isn’t egalitarian enough”, Shul B “isn’t politically pogressive enough”, etc.
    In fact, this one time they wanted to kick out a guy in mourning and forbid him from organizing a discreet erev-shabbat mincha before one of the local kabalat shabbat indie minyans, because they “didn’t trust” his views on egalitarianism. And this was a long-time, dedicated member of their community who was just trying to say kaddish yatom 3x a day for his recently deceased father.
    But this isn’t a “They’re more intolerant than them” pissing contest. Or at least it shouldn’t be.
    Personally I think everybody has the innate ability to be obnoxious once in a while: especially when they say things like “being Orthodox means – by definition – that everyone else is going to hell”. Do you even hear what you’re saying?

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