Friday, June 11, 2004

Rav Aharon Lichtenstein vs. Chaim I. Waxman

In the course of reading several Waxman articles (CIW), certain ideas tend to continually show up. But among his basic positions are a couple which explicit or implicitly challenge Rav Aharon Lichtenstein (RAL). So, for the benefit of my readers I present CIW vs. RAL:
1) CIW: Unity with the Jewish people is so important, that MO may be required to break with Hareidi society to maintain our position as a bridge between O. and non-O. Jews.
RAL (in a speech from memory): When push comes to shove, we throw our lot in with the maaminim, without question.
2) CIW: Judaism should be understood using the tools of academia (anthropology, sociology, phychology, history, etc.) to better understand ourselves and our community.
RAL: No. Judaism is sui generous.
My personal position: 1)RAL, 2) CIW
(However, based upon reading CIW articles, I have found him using these categories superficially, sort of like how "intellecuals" talk in Kiddush Shabbos morning over a plate of cholent & a single malt scotch. For a more serious application of these disciplines, see Alan Brill's article.)

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