Sunday, January 16, 2005

Left handed support

I dont personally know any of the bloggers at Cross Currents. I dont know what positions they hold in the community. Please excuse my ignorance. Actually, I have read Marvin Shick and know a little of what he does from his columns in the Jewish week. I have to agree with Shmarya(who appears to have posted comments everywhere I visited) that R. Adlerstein's post is a very carefully worded response regarding R. Slifkin. I do give him credit for posting, and initially saying "unqualified support" for R. Slifkin. But, by usings words as "thrust" and bringing in the 'kiruv' aspect, It does not appear that he is giving unqualified support for R. Slifkin. If you support the thrust of the book, you can still disagree with details. Obviously, by reiterating his support of the 'thrust' of the books, he is going against the ban against the books, but it clearly isn't total and unqualified. Why? And why have we not heard more?

In my shul, I dont think the rabbi addressed the issue. My small and unscientific survey revealed few who knew about the ban, and even fewer who cared. It is a pretty stereotypical middle of the road MO shul, if you need a label. NO ONE CARED. The rabbi could have made a huge speech against the ban, and it would have made no waves at all. Obviously, this ban right now only affects those in the Yeshivish and Chareidi world. It is there that the words of the banning rabbis carry weight. So why have we not heard more?


1. they haven't decided where they stand.

2. they dont want to make waves, create contraversy

3. they want to try to resolve it without causeing a big fuss(probably too late)

4 true respect for the gedolim who signed the ban

5. fear. yup.. sad but true. fear of either looking like a kofer themselves. fear of taking on the gedolim signed onto the ban. fear of personal and professional repercussions.

Take this example out of the sphere of religion and look at it in a different context. Suppose a geologist came out and said the theory of plate tectonics is wrong. I would assume that all prominent geologists who still agreed with plate tectonics would howl in protest. They wouldn't just sit in their office and say, "well, I wrote a book agreeing with plate tectonics 3 years ago, and I haven't retracted those views." They would stand up for what they thought was right, and not want to leave the public with the mistaken impression that the guy was possibly right.

If the gedolim who signed the ban really believe it, and it wasn't instigated(as my informant tells me) by a rabbi who was looking for more chareidi "street cred", then I respect their right to hold those beliefs, even if I think they are wrong.(and that is another issue to blog about later) That is a seperate issue. But the way it was done, with no due process, and the silence of those who dont hold by it, that is even more troubling. It is sad that fear, or the suspicion of fear, taints this whole conversation.

I guess I am not one of the mevinim.

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