Sunday, August 24, 2008

From one of my talmidim at OS

I'm not sure I have an answer... :-(

Hello RYGB,
If you have time can you please answer a big question ?

On divisions within Judaism

It is very funny and sad, that when people's opinion differ there is what I call random categorization that happens. For some reason people have a need of labeling other people? Your a left wing and I am a right or you are Haredi and I am not, Ultra Orthodox and modern.

All what these labels and categorization do is separate and distance people to the point that each has to go to his own shul, and live in a different community, and has his own shulchan aruch.

I often wonder when 600,000 Jews received the Torah did they all started labeling each other.

Did 600,000 Jews with 600,000 opinions started separating from each other due their hashkafas. Did say you are lefty (therefore wrong) and I am righty (therefore right).

Why is there a need to label different Jews? Why does disagreeing with another Jew we feel a need to separate ourselves. Do people honestly believe that calling somebody a liberal or a modern Jew makes you go to Heaven because you are more strict on Judaism while for whatever reason you give yourselves a Heter to say Loshan Hara about a group of Jews.

Anyway a person spins it, whenever he refers to a somebody as a lefty or a modern he has a negative connotation when he uses that term. He treats them differently and speaks to them differently, and I know we all think we are tzaddikim that we have only the most holy thouhgts in mind when say this but the bottom when we label somebody, we try to distance ourself, and inferiorize them.

There is joke, 2 Jews get stranded on a island and live there for 5 years togather. One day they are discovered, and they look at the place they build. There is 1 house, 1 hospital, 1 gym, etc.. and 2 shulls, They asked why do u have 2 shuls, they respond this is the 1 I go to, and this is the 1 he goes to.

On a more serious note a very interesting thing I read on exile of Jews from Spain, that may clarify what I am saying.

The following is taken for Anti-Maimonidean demons by Jose Faur

R. Solomon Al'ami (c. 1370-1420), himself a foe of philosophical studies, described the new ministry produced in Spain:

Some of our recent sages lost their way in the wilderness! They erred[even with] the most obvious! Because they hate and are jealous of each other, and put up for sale the Torah for presents. Their goal of their curriculum is to know how to read [the Torah] meticulously and
expand their own innovations. The study of Talmud and other works [also is wanting] because they are concerned with every minute detail of the law and the diVerent views and opinions [not with its sub-stance]. They thrust aside the humility of the virtuous, temperance
and holiness. What [one rabbi] instructs the other darkens; what [one rabbi] permits the other prohibits. Through their quarrels the Law had become two! They knit [their views] on a spider's web, embarrassing themselves and exposing their wickedness: their eyes are closed and cannot see; their hearts fail to understand. They show favor [when
issuing legal decisions] of the Law, and fail to tell the people their disgrace. Because God had poured over them a spirit of foolishness and had close their eyes. This is what disgraces the Torah in the eyes of all those who see and hear [them].
R. Solomon Al'ami, Iggeret Musar, A.A. Haberman, ed. ( Jerusalem, 1946), pp.40-41

Have a good day.


  1. You should throw this one out to so called daastorahblog it his proffesion.

  2. Qin'as soferim is a good thing.

    On the other hand, the Netziv in his introduction to Bereishis, defines the sin'as chinam that led to churban bayis to be such inter-camp warfare.

    I think the point is whether I'm looking up at him, wondering why I can't learn X or Y from him and his community. Or, whether I look down at him because he doesn't do A or B like we do.

    Forming camps is most often a cheap way of feeling good about oneself. Rather than going up in one's own estimation by improving, we can draw everyone else as being worse.

    Instead we should realize that we are all one body, and spleens are supposed to do A and B for the whole while panrceases are supposed to do X and Y, each according to its skills an inclination.

    But the whole thing isn't so simple as the theory.

    How do I make peace with someone I believe stepped beyond the ideological pale? How easy is it to make peace with someone who believes I did?

    And so, people always have good seeming reasons to break into camps, even if those reasons are merely wallpaper for playing the "yeah but he's worse" game.


  3. Here is Daas Torah Responce which I think Micha Took from

  4. Good guess, but nope. (I would have preferred you not assume I was delaying the ge'ulah without more evidence, BTW.)

    Although RDE (the author of Daas Torah) and I are both in a conversation of the topic of that Netziv (launched by R' Meir Shinnar) over on Avodah. I recently cited the Netziv there as well. The Haameq Davar also discusses sin'as chinam in these terms in Bamidbar 35:34 and
    Devarim 4:14.