Thursday, March 20, 2014

THE PAST AND THE PRESENT : Rabbi Wein : Jewish Destiny

THE PAST AND THE PRESENT : Rabbi Wein : Jewish Destiny

Excellent essay. Unfortunately, the type of essay that you almost have to be an octogenarian to publish today. 


  1. Contrast this to a classic from Rabbi Schwab:

    What ethical purpose is served by preserving a realistic historic picture? Nothing but the satisfaction of curiosity. We should tell ourselves and our children the good memories of the good people, their unshakable faith, their staunch defense of tradition, their life of truth, their impeccable honesty, their boundless charity and their great reverence for Torah and Torah sages. What is gained by pointing out their inadequacies and their contradictions? We want to be inspired by their example and learn from their experience... Rather than write the history of our forebears, every generation has to put a veil over the human failings of its elders and glorify all the rest which is great and beautiful. That means we have to do without a real history book. We can do without. We do not need realism, we need inspiration from our forefathers in order to pass it onto posterity.
    Selected Writings (Lakewood, 1988)

  2. I strongly disagree that you need to be nearly 80 to write this kind of essay.

    Just look at the 70s and how much change occured since, and how much of that change was forgotten:

    In 1970, yeshiva bachurim wore colored clothing, and hats matched. By the end of the 70s, NIRC and Chaim Berlin were the last holdouts, and by 85, color was gone.

    In 1970, only 800 Israeli bachurim per cadre were exempt from the draft. Now there is protesting over a plan to go back to triple that.

    In 1970, *the* North American KLP oil was peanut. I am not sure if the heter was because it was peanut, it was liquid, or oil in particular, or pairing, but it was commonly accepted.

    Not to mention all the bitul that was possible in hilkhos kashrus (still used in most of Europe) because the kosher market and kashrus supervision weren't developed yet. Preplanned bitul al yedei aku"m became less and less possible as more things were done bedavqa for our market.

    In the 1970s, I wasn't the only kid who went from Pirchei or Benos (2-3pm) across the street to Bnei Akiva (3-4pm). Although the wall had gone up. You would need to be 60 or so to remember a day when Orthodoxy was a single community, if with different arms and cliques.

    Kids today don't realize that for nearly all North American O Jews, R' Moshe's word had a halo around it. If not law, something to contend to. Despite his willingness to pasqen lequlah if that's what his sevara concluded. Today, it looks like the masses will only take seriously a poseiq who lacks that backbone.

    My how things have changed, and the changes written out of history. And that's just in the past 40-45 years!

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  4. You have to be an octogenarian because his reputation, his parnassa, and his family are all secure, and he can tell the truth without committing social suicide.

    The bottom line is, and will always be, that reality and theology occupy different universes. Do you think the Satmerers changed one iota of their premise that the state of Israel is the work of the Devil? Don't you know that there are many Lubavitchers that, believe the Rebbe is going to jump out of his grave because he's not really dead dead, only apparently dead. Sounds like Miracle Max- "He's only MOSTly dead." When I listen to talk radio, I can recognize a certain tone of absolute confidence in the face of absolute evidence to the contrary, of the delusional true believers. Outside of religious "thought," such adamant assertions would be seen as symptomatic of a schizophrenic failure to recognize reality.

  5. RMB, REE accurately interprets my clearly ambiguous :-) statement.

  6. May Rabbi Berel Wein have a very long and healthy life! Until at least 120!

    Will there be anyone with any clout left to speak up after he is no longer with us?

  7. IYH there will always be people hitting the end of their eighth decade who will speak up.