Tuesday, October 31, 2006

A Recent editorial to Moment Mag

(a letter CC:ed to me, sent in to Moment Magazine regarding a piece on Noachides in their October issue.)

I appreciate the recent piece on the Noachide Laws and the efforts of those who seek to abide by them. Two 20th Cent. Gedolim held *other* views on the requirements of Non-Jews to be consider righteous and of the status of Noachide; In the pre-War years, Rav Y. H. Kook (following Maimonides), posited that a Non-Jew who reasoned their way to the Laws of Noach was "truly wise of heart and full of understanding", at a high "level of holiness", and that it is not necessary to say they warrant a place in the World to Come (Igrrot HaRa'ayah, v. 1, p.100). Rav J. E. Henkin - not long after the Shoah - stated that in his opinion, the majority of Non-Jews are not to be presumed idolaters, and in fact should be considered Ger Toshav (a higher status of Noachide), regardless of a stated belief in the Divine origin of the laws - such a motivation only being necessary to live in the Land of Israel (Hardarom 10, p.8). These are only more recent examples of a more inclusive perspective in Rabbinic Literature; somewhat similar views have been expressed by R. Shimshon R. Hirsch, R. Baruch Epstein, R. Israel Lipschutz and R. Yaakov Emden among others.

I added the links. Of very fruitful interest is the addition comment from Rav Kook from Iggerot HaRa'ayah;

"However, even were we to accept the Rambam's words simply [without emendation], we will find nothing in them strange if we say that the quality of the world-to-come that the Rambam is speaking of is a particular state that the divine and special nature of our holy Torah gives to those who keep the Torah. But there are other states that can be transmitted by anything good–only, it is not called the "world-to-come." That special [state called the "world-to-come"] derives from the power of the Torah, and is appropriate for anyone who accepts it and the sanctity of its faith. But this does not in any way deny other qualities that can be imagined regarding every philosophy, each in its own way." (trans. Yaakov Dovid Shulman)

The various perspectives of the world - from atheist materialism, an 'after-life' or 'reincarnation' or whatever might emerge from a philosophy - could all be understood on their own terms as possible outcomes of lives lived in accord with their host philosophy - but they would neither amount to the state of Olam Haba, nor would they be related to it (I have considered this especially with "reincarnation" compared with gilgulim; perhaps gilgulim is an "upgrade" or souped up version of an otherwise natural phenomena known as "reincarnation"; see also certain Jewish doctrines as formulations of natural processes in Shapiro's "Maimonides' Thirteen Principles.." book). This would make sense of the world of examples of "afterlife" phenomena of Non-Jews, including post-death contact, etc...as well as the phenomena of the Charedi Jewish kiruv literature on "Olam Haba"-related issues making use of Non-Jewish accounts of "afterlife" and "reincarnation"!!!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Possible Sources for a "Regional Mabul"
[now including link to a tshuvah from R. Nadel on the Torah, geography and other continents]

1.Offered by Moshe Kaveh in this Parasha sheet;

"Views of the flood as local in scope go back to the time of the Sages. According to R. Yohanan (Zevahim 113b), the torrential rains did not fall on the Land of Israel. Likewise, the Torah Temimah commentary of Rabbi Epstein writes: "Regarding Babylonia receiving more rain than any other land in the world and being drowned by the flood, it should be noted that according to Tractate Zevahim, loc. sit., Babylon was therefore called Shinar, because all the creatures that perished in the flood were tossed (Heb. ninaru) there. It is a deep valley, and therefore is also called metzulah ('the deep')." In the mind of the Sages, Babylonia constituted the 'entire world'. This is evident in Pirkei de-Rabbi Eliezer (Horev ed., ch. 10, s.v. "be-shishi"): "... since all the creatures lived in one place, and seeing the waters of the flood, Nimrod became king over them, as it is said: 'the mainstays of his kingdom were Babylon, ...' (Gen. 10:10).""

I have many problems with this essay, particularly the use of the "Ryan-Pitman" Black Sea hypothesis, repeated misspellings of sources, and too-casual use of terms like 'scholars' and 'scientists'...but i don't know that they dilute a "regional" reading of the above sources.

2.The entire piece by Rabbi Michael Hattin from the Yeshivat Har Etzion VBM website is devoted to the issue of the 'universality' of the Mabul, and how even some of the familar statements from Chazzal (particularly Gemara and Meforshim), on the Mabul can be understood in a 'limited mabul' sense. Of particular interest is statement to the affect that;

"...Admittedly, the examples are unique and limited, but are nevertheless sufficient to force us to reconsider the thorny verses that seem to imply a universal flood that covered the entire globe and caused complete and utter destruction:

Behold, I plan to bring a flood of waters upon the earth to wipe out ALL FLESH THAT POSSESSES THE BREATH OF LIFE FROM UNDER THE HEAVENS, EVERYTHING UPON THE EARTH SHALL PERISH (6:17).

In seven days, I will cause rains to fall upon the earth for forty days and forty nights, and I will erase ALL OF CREATION THAT I HAVE FASHIONED from upon the face of the earth (7:4).


The above citations certainly seem to suggest a universal deluge that sweeps over the entire planet, unsparingly washing away everything that breathes from its surface. And yet, at least for Rabbi Yochanan, the land of Israel was spared and Og was preserved! Apparently then, expressions such as "EVERYTHING UPON DRY LAND THAT POSSESSED THE BREATH OF LIFE IN ITS NOSTRILS PERISHED " or "ALL OF CREATION UPON THE FACE OF THE EARTH…WAS WASHED AWAY FROM THE EARTH" were not understood by him in an absolutely literal sense but rather as emphatic and resounding expressions of widespread and thorough (but not necessarily universal and absolute) destruction."

3. Nosson Weisz's (possibly 'censored') piece from Aish Hatorah (may still be an unlinked page at Aish);

"God decided to wipe out all vestige of civilized man. It is curious that all the peoples surrounding the region of Mesopotamia have a flood myth as part of their cultural heritage. There is also archeological evidence of a flood that covered the entire region. There is no trace of the flood in Australia or the Americas, or any other region that was not culturally attached to the cradle of civilization.
According to the thesis presented in this essay this makes perfect sense. The flood was truly world wide, but the world referred to is the world of Adam, the civilized world. The rest of the planet was still inhabited by Stone Age man, the creature created on the sixth day along with the rest of the higher animals. That creature was never summoned to judgment, and there was no reason to destroy his world."

Also in email coorespondence, he offered several other sources for a regional event; suggesting a Rashi in Parashat Noach where Rashi quotes a gemara in Sanhedrin that asks essentially 'if people sinned, why did Hashem punish the animals?', to which the Gemara answers that they were only there for the people, imply that where people were guilty the world was destroyed - where there were no civilized people (and therefore no sinners), the world was not destroyed. He also mentioned that The Maharal often says that the wilderness is not considered "a chelek of the yishuv". I do not know that any of this remains his view on the issues per se, nor do I know that he would offer them now. I don't want to rule out the possibility that the link to his original Mayanot piece was deactivated in accord with a decision on his part - not simply due to pressure from others.

4. Rav Henkin's readings of pertinent posukim (his own translation, btw);

Translated from Commentary on the Torah "Chibah Yeteirah".
Bound together with Resp. Bnei Banim volumes 2-3, also separately.

(Bereishit 7:19). "All the high mountains were covered that are under
all of heaven." Not all mountains were covered. The word "all" (kal) is
repeated and is a ribui achar ribui and comes to limit (l'mayeit). Thus,
according to one opinion in Zevachim 113 "the flood did not descend to
Eretz Israel." This is also the implication of "the high mountains were
covered that are under all of heaven" i. e., those mountains that have all
of heaven above them, which excludes the highest mountains whose tops are
in the clouds. And similarly the implication of "that are under all of
heaven" is those [mountains of the sort] that are found everywhere, which
excludes the very high mountains that are only [found] in a few places."

5. R. Gedalyah Nadel's position as presented by R. Slifkin;

"The conventional understanding of the Torah is that the flood covered the whole planet,
based on Bereishis 7:19. But Tosafos states that the verse means no such thing. If so,
there is no reason to think that the flood covered the entire planet, just the “world” of
the Torah. This comparison was suggested to me by Rav Gedalyah Nadel z”l
, who
stated that since the flood only covered the world of the Torah, which does not
include South America and Australia, it is likewise acceptable to explain that the
Torah’s list of animals with one sign is not intended to cover these areas" (pp. 40-1)

Friday, October 27, 2006

Some things you must never stop refusing to bear

Quote from a recent piece by Chief Rabbi Sacks;

“DO YOU believe,” the disciple asked the rabbi, “that God created everything for a purpose?”
“I do,” replied the rabbi.
“Well,” asked the disciple, “why did God create atheists?”
The rabbi paused before giving an answer, and when he spoke his voice was soft and intense. “Sometimes we who believe, believe too much. We see the cruelty, the suffering, the injustice in the world and we say: ‘This is the will of God.’ We accept what we should not accept. That is when God sends us atheists to remind us that what passes for religion is not always religion. Sometimes what we accept in the name of God is what we should be fighting against in the name of God.”

Which reminds me of another quote from William Faulkner;

"Some things you must always be unable to bear. Some things you must never stop refusing to bear. Injustice and outrage and dishonor and shame. No matter how young you are or how old you have got. Not for kudos and not for cash, your picture in the paper nor money in the bank, neither. Just refuse to bear them." (from Intruder in the Dust, p.201 or so)

And if you still need more...Bruce Springsteen? Ok, I like the lyrics, but his version is rather sedating. Rage Against the Machine did a great cover.

The Ghost of Tom Joad
Man walks along the railroad track
He's Goin' some place, there's no turnin' back
The Highway Patrol chopper comin' up over the ridge
Man sleeps by a campfire under the bridge
The shelter line stretchin' around the corner
Welcome to the New World Order...
Families sleepin' in their cars out in the Southwest
No job, no hope, no peace, no rest...no rest!

And the highway is alive tonight
Nobody's foolin' nobody as to where it goes
I'm sitting down here in the campfire light
Searchin' for the Ghost of Tom Joad

He pulls his prayer book out of a sleepin' bag
Preacher lights up a butt and takes a drag
He's waitin' for the time when the last shall be first
and the first shall be last

In a cardboard box 'neath the underpass

Got a one way ticket to the promised land
You got a hole in your belly and a gun in your hand
Lookin' for a pillow of solid rock
Bathin' in the cities' aqueducts

And The highway is alive tonight
Nobody's foolin' nobody as to where it goes
I'm sittin' down here in the campfire light
Waiting for the Ghost of old Tom Joad

Now Tom Said; "Ma, whenever ya see a cop beatin' a guy
Wherever a hungry new born baby cries
Whereever there's a fight against the blood and hatred in the air
Look for me Ma, I'll be there
Wherever somebody's strugglin' for a place to stand
For a decent job or a helpin' hand
Wherever somebody is yearnin' to be free
Look in their eyes Ma,
You'll see me...

And the highway is alive tonight
Nobody's foolin' nobody as to where it goes

I'm sittin' down here in the campfire light

With the Ghost of Tom Joad.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Consolidated Mabul rambles
[NOTE:New 3/07 consolidation here]

in something of an order of importance. not sure that it's even all of them, just most of them.

Though not offering resolutions (thats the second piece), here are some issues I have
with other ways of situating The Mabul in human history, geology, etc. First off, I would mention now that I have never thought it necessary to go so far afield as R. Shubert Spero - any more than we should consider a few general issues in M.E. Archaeology means we should be comfortable allegorizing Yetziat Mitzraim. I think there is enough evidence in the source material I offer in favor of a more 'historical' reading of much of the narrative, and that his generally-allegorical/mythic reading proposition falls 'far afield'. I do though think his allegorical understanding makes sense for those after the Mabul (and perhaps at the time; read the "general exposition" below), who did not experience the event itself - but could then understand their own experiences in the light of HKBH's Hand acting in nature's awesomeness in the specifically-meaning-filled narrative of the Mabul when told over/read). Later followed a few posts, one spured by reading a Chabad piece on Sci/Torah issues, another a further elaboration of 'maps' (more thoughts to come on use of many 'weak signals' vs. a few 'strong signals' in navigation, applied to the use of narrative, etc, derived from this piece).

Almost a year went by, and I came up with this General exposition of how I think things might have occured. It's what I hold up to other issues when they present themselves, it's definitely not my final word, but I think the general ideas therein presented are not unreasonable. After reading much of "Challenge of Creation", I have the feeling that R. Slifkin would steer more in an 'allegorical' understanding than I would, if he were pressed to give answers (which I'm sure he has been). I have a nice amount of Torah- material that could be read as alluding to a more regional setting for the events, though I need to make a post specifically around that issue, since it's a big one; the general idea being there are such sources.

Regarding fudgeyness of time/space also how we factor 974 Generations, etc.

Brief bit on possible midrashic source for a "local" conception of the events on the part of the ancients.

Regarding geological evidence for a regional scenario.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Unearthed chewed-on bits

Oh...that sounds like nice reading. From an interview with christian "Radical Orthodoxy" thinkers

“If God is the root of everything, the thinking goes, God is beyond definition. To define God would be to use terms God created to explain their creator. As postmodern theory, an unknowable entity that precedes existence reduces all being to self-reference. But as faith, just the contemplation of such an idea reveals at least a small part of a chain of interconnected ideas and things—an infinitely vast outline of the divine.”

Yes, the old stock statement; that God is beyond His Creation, and is not bound by dimensions or natural laws, logic, morality or aesthetics generated therein. Few of us noticed how self-referencial reasoning, epistemic circularity, existential crisis and worse - really, really bad poetry and coffee-shop prose - are the fruits of a Creation read/studied/
loved/feared only as “the Natural Universe”. We can conceive and study academically a theory of God. And if we are fortunately graced to do so, approaching missing a theory of God because of something whispered in it, something all the more awesome for the possibility that it might be so. Do you theorize on your mother and her love, demanding proof of her attributes, embracing the vacuum of possible certainty regarding proof of her being? Or do you know full well from the very seat of your logic that “on mothers, you can trust your sense perception”, your memory as well as your other knowledge-gathering gifts regarding her and her cooking and hugs. And you know intuitively (obvious exceptions aside), that only mean, or worse – deeply troubled people -- pathologically doubt their mother’s love, let alone existence. You don’t (or else you really shouldn’t), approach your mother in theory; you approach your mother in faith. NOT in blind faith but trust; trust built up from infancy, from the wisdom of childhood, trust that comes from relationship and encounter of being a son or daughter or (God willing), a parent yourself.
With God it’s very similar. You were created to bring about a set of relationships only you can - with the world and all the things in it you can grasp with your heart and soul and mind (or fend off with every ounce of your heart, soul and mind). And God created you to have a relationship with him. You miss so much by approaching your parents and friends in theory – you should approach every moment with them with a faith and trust commensurate with the depth and breadth of your relationship, with the knowledge of temporal limits on human existance. What is the appropriate degree of faith and trust in which you approach the Conscious and Caring Source of the Universe, Whom every moment –sustaining every moment?

“Milbank the student found the mix of pre- and postmodernism nothing short of revelatory. ‘If God is radically unknown, that amounts to saying there’s a dimension of everything that’s unknown,’ he reasoned, delighted to find a way of thinking by which reasoning itself was not so much informed by revelation as dependent upon it. The new approach, though, led him not to the church, but to the university. He didn’t hear the calling to be a priest. Instead, he would be a theologian.”

Of course Ein Sof, Gans Anders trysts in fields of Jewish “theology” (Kabbalah), and the way creation relates to the “Un-relate-to”-able one. “A dimension of everything that’s unknown”, yeah…And we can say more than just “a way of thinking by which reason”, we could also say “a way of living by which loving/painting/childrearing/surviving, etc, is not so much more informed by revelation as dependant on it.” Judaism would say it is such a way, with the profusion of 613 mitzvot and the mechanism of Jewish Law (Halacha), by which every moment, every aspect of creation is an opportunity for relationship (by a spectrum of abstentions as well as engagements), through it’s unknown aspect to the Unknowable (who wants you to know he loves you).

“I’m used to people saying, ‘Do you really believe in the virgin birth?’ or the resurrection, the miracles, these things liberal modernity rejected. I would say, ‘Yes, of course we believe.’ But what we’re saying is that this story is a complex theological statement that none of us fully understands. The idea that it’s nonsense, that it doesn’t fit scientific principles, is in itself a secular form of knowledge. The virgin birth is not just a metaphor. Calling it a myth, or a metaphor, assumes objective knowledge we don’t have."”

People say to him “do you really believe…”, with their conceptions of what “belief” constitutes in mind. He responds with his conceptions of what belief means. I think in addition (as opposed to Daniel, who in eternal ‘opposition’ stands on tree limbs to get a proper place to hack at them/deny them), that people must learn that they actually have beliefs regarding what belief is. If not, they will forever be bringing their conception of belief, and if converted to your belief, they will offer your belief, not you perception of your belief.
He adds “this story [possibly implying that “story” entail much more than just what is literary, LitCrit analysis, that secular borders of physical/spiritual may be breached in defining “story”] is a complex theological statement [what theological means, what a statement is; some view a proper, fit statement as being in many dimensions, very real], that none of us fully [since, while acknowledging the reality of “understanding”, we deny
The independence of understanding such that “fully understanding” isn’t possible], understands [never exhausts describing, grasping; very “Jewish” reading!].
Then the real gem,

“The idea that it’s nonsense, that it doesn’t fit scientific principles, is in itself a secular form of knowledge [which pomos deny the legitimacy of, and real scientists from the onset assert is beyond the lenses of science to engage]. The virgin birth is not just a metaphor [emphasis on “just”; he accepts the metaphor facet, but like C.S. Lewis maybe, he would add that it is all the more meaningful (considering the dimensions of real world power he would see metaphors has having), for being true*]. Calling it [just] a myth, or a metaphor, assumes objective knowledge we don’t have [objective knowledge we don’t have regarding not only the myth/metaphor dimensions of the miracle, but also myths and metaphors as such]."

* ”True?; what’s that?”, you may ask; by true, I mean that had you been in that historical place or time, you would have been yet another witness to what the narrative describes, and probably more, because the text does not exhaust the event it’s depicting; heck, we can’t even exhaust these narratives and texts after millennia of trying. And here we’re only talking about miracles, not all the other stuff told over in scripture (which seals eras of events and relationships, not to deny anything after; gemara filled with weirdness, and lower levels of prophecy continued even though the Canon of prophetic texts affectively sealed).

There are beliefs that are necessary before other beliefs to be reasonable/functional/ defensible in the marketplace of ideas; even more fundamental, there are “fundamental constant” beliefs that are the very essential foundations to creating ecosystems that gives rise to ‘X’, much like a few fundamental constants and laws that apply to matter that give rise, ultimately, to the universe and our world of life-forms. In the west, most of our most dynamic and pregnant ones are Biblical/Jewish. There are chains of successive, mandatory events(if not for__, __wouldn’t have happened, etc), relationships and “equations” that must have been, that must have happened for things to BE as they are.
Not that they couldn’t hypothetically have come about some other way, but we would exhaust ourselves in trying to fathom the variables making for these hypothetical “other ways”, and probably end up further evidencing the un-likelihood of there being things thinking on things - like we do now, as Gould says in ____ (further along in the world as it is, systems and processes are so established that the unlikely comes less likely, as processes become established, relationships/hegemony formed, evolution is constrained to microevolution, etc).
Anyways, the Torah and the interpretive culture around it, is the only narrative and the only culture to have produced the set of “fundamental constant” beliefs that gave rise to systematic empirical science, that gave rise to ethics with foundation, that gave rise to…gefilte fish?

Gerim and BT's
I should really have said Gerim and Not-Cradle B.T.'s, but that's kind of clumsy; there are also those who - reasonably or not - consider themselves BTs simply because they became Charedi at some point, which they at times see as inherently an "upgrade" (regardless of whether or not their observance or Hashkafa 'before' has subtantially changed). I'm not sure where they would put themselves so I haven't really included them here, though maybe something later.

Ger in the ancient world vs. now; In the ancient world, they were exposed most often to communities or to a contexted Klal Israel In Eretz Israel, communities in Bavel, etc, to Jews fresh from Exile, to the Rabbis of the Gemara, etc. Nowadays, most people who convert are exposed first to dis-embodied ideas, beliefs, books, expressions of ideal views of Judaism, not first to communities, astounding scholars, etc. Very often these ideas are radically-modified forms of traditional Judaism fit for already-Jews who are new to Torah, kiruv literature and apologetics, IOW. Not a criticism, just a fact. What happens when they actually find the LIVED context of the ideas - communities - disagreeable to them? Often these principles and ideals are discovered to have comparably-limited actual application - perhaps even as minority opinions tolerated for outreach purposes, etc ("Jews as scientists", "a religion of asking questions",etc).
That’s why it so imperative for such people to live in a community before making the decision. There’s also the Greater Context of the Torah Judaisms it would seem G-d has in “mind”, ones where Gerim and BTs are actually respected as people, not as “proof” of Judaism’s rightness or the rightness of the specific hashgafa the Ger chooses.

There is an enormous religion in the world - lets just call it Christianity - wherein the belief in being converted or being “born again” into the religion is incumbent on all for membership (with few dissenting opinions). No child, born to parents of that religion, has immediate membership. In some circles, if others so much as intuit or perceive that you aren’t converted (for example - moving into a new neighborhood and merely switching churches of the same denomination!!), that you aren’t “born again”, you aren’t fully part of the faith community until there’s some clarification. Public declarations are made whereby members obligate themselves to others, and others hold them responsible for abiding by their shared life ways. Sincerely or not, religious Christians wear ‘transformation’ on their sleeves; the untransformed aren’t considered redeemed in this world or the next. Many dimensions of Orthodox Judaism are opposite this; unless you were born into an Orthodox family (even if you are, there are certain societal, external-to-Torah-mandate pressures that may also have questionable constructive value), there is a particular kind of pressure from the community to bury evidence of being “transformed” - of being a BT - or “worse” - a Convert. At best, one is expected to "grow out" of it and into dress codes/reading habits, speech patterns, etc, of other mortals. I don't think it's simply about us being 'tzniusdik' about it* (see below).

Obviously without question, actual Torah on the subject abounds with insight - but it would probably be better to call it merely nice talk - "but it’s Torah!!" - Exactly!...it's Torah and we “talk” it like chizzuk to little kids!!!... about how R. Akiva was descended from Gerim, how a BT stands in a place where even the greatest cannot stand, how the Gemara says descendents of Gerim will be Talmidei Hakhamim and excel in business, how more than any other counsel in Torah is repeated the mandate not to alienate the Ger…If this is all Torah and we give it lip-service - as we do - what does everything ‘else’ we call Torah mean to us? While I'm asking that question...isn't Torah how we define ourselves?...Or have we now even sublimated Torah to societal norms and mores? (I ask that regarding both the "modern" as well as the "reactionary" kehilot - both arguably sharing in their innovations).

The founders, thinkers, doctrinarians and expounders of the dominant religion in the West have almost always been converts to their faith; whether “cradle Catholics” or evangelical “born-agains” - all must take Confirmation/First Communion or “accept the spirit” (respectively), or something at a benchmark age of their life - often more than once. The hagiographies (books of saints, as well as saint-scholars/leaders - considered to share a high spiritual level in the postlife extended community of the given "church"), document life after life of persons who - already-xtian martyrs aside - became religious in their faith.

Despite the evidence of history and Torah, it would be a scandal if any Gedolei HaTorah- of the very self-same Torah mentioned above (which is to say not kiruv authors or knowledgable popularizers of Torah – B”H we have them - but specifically Gedolei Israel across the spectrum), were found to be Gerim or BTs. It would seem the general attitude would be "Heaven forbid their yichus be perceived as containing anyone but Tzadik ben Tzadik back to Sinai". Heaven forbid they actually be “tainted” by transformation?... Rav Shlomo Wolbe ZTL, is a recent example of such an individual.

What does this mean to our communities - 'children' of one community which was founded and led by Gerim and BTs? And what is Torah (the true source of true yichus), which was Given to these Transformed Ones as the very means of continued Transformation in our own communities...what does it mean to these communities?

And who are we, who would claim to be Shomrei Torah, "children" of Abraham - the Convert?

* Isn't it said in a sense that one isn’t fully yotzei a mitzvah unless one obligates oneself in it’s performance? - it comes from the inside out; you can’t impose sincerity in modesty, for example, on someone. What Gerim and BTs - at least those in the "pressuring" communities - are on the receiving end of isn’t “modesty”. If sincere modesty [about being transformed] can't be imposed-what is being imposed? And what is it we are pressured to hide?

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Poole-Dawkins Debate
With the recent upsurge in antireligious works by people like Dawkins and Dennett, I remember a great beating Dawkins took during a dispute with a fellow scientist (other more recent materials from the same people here). Dawkins at one point claimed that Catholicism (and of course log-ic-ally, all religion) was more dangerous to children then child molesters.

A bunch of hippy Jewish Peace links

Ok, it's much more nuanced then that. More just general Jewish Left-oriented links and things, with a few reasonable-Right type folk. Hardly exhaustive but often hard to find things here. Taken from something I emailed someone, so not very edited or coherent;

There is no real order of importance to this list. A few caveats; when I give a name, I sort imply you should maybe google it to see whats out there. Also, there are links or suggestions that don’t seem directly related to peace/SJ as such; part of the issue is that, for Orthodox Judaism, there really isn’t segmentation of life into ethics, law and spirit. It’s all bound up together as a way of life. Or it’s supposed to be. I tried to get as much stuff as possible that’s available on the internet. Enjoy!

Oz v' Shalom; rabbis and some rabbonim (Rav Amital from The Gush was one of the founders of O’v’S), yeshiva students, campus intellectual types, etc. mostly liberal “Orthodox”. It’s been sort of underground since the most recent spats of violence;

Micha Odenheimer, lives in the Old City section of Jerusalem; peace activist, etc. Apparently Orthodox, might have smicha. Carlebachian, I’m pretty sure, may go back that far. Has written some things for Rabbis for Human Rights, a mostly "Reform" religious "peace"group whom I have issues with, but he himself doesn’t seem too out of it.

R Yitzchak Blau teaches at Yeshivat Hamivtar in the Gush; not a “peacenik”, writer in Judaism and ethics, solidly with the Religious Zionist perspective; he wrote several great pieces for Torah u'Maddah Journal (available at yutorah.org under the “publications” section, under Torah u’Maddah Journal). and a piece from "Tradition" in 2000 called "Ploughshares into Swords" on the turn to militant Messianism (my words) in the Religious Zionist camp, etc. I hold him in very high regard.

Assorted books and stuff;

Rabbi Sholom Carmy authored a fabulous essay called “Is Religion a Primary Cause of War? An Essay in Understanding and Self Examination”;

compassion for humanity in the jewish tradition- David Sears (wrote some veggie-R. Nahman-type book recently too)

Universal Jew - Yosef ben Shlomo haKohen. Definitely from a "Frummy" perspective, but more like a liberal Democrat frummy. Suggests alot of mainline Agudah-type sources. Shabsi's may still have, here in B'more.

"Nationalism, Humanity and Knesset Yisrael" by R. Yoel Ben-Nun in "The world of Rav Kook’s Thought". There are many fantastic essays in this book, illuminating some of the many dimensions of a great soul, Rav Yitzhak haCohen Kook. Rav Yehuda Amital has an amazing essay on the contemporary value of Rav Kook’s thought here;

messianism, zionism and jewish religious radicalism by Aviezer Ravitsky
On the various shifts that have occurred in Religious Zionist thought - mostly to the Right. For example coexistence with Arab populations of the region, a rather polarizing concept, was not a controversial idea among Religious Zionists in the earlier years of the 20th Century. Here is a section from his book; http://www.geocities.com/alabasters_archive/revealed_end.html
There remain segments of the Religious Zionist camp who are more in line with classical Religious Zionism, such as the town of Efrat in the West Bank/YeSha, and Tekoa. Here is a good discussion of facets of Religious Zionism (the source of many of the social justice activists in Israel).

Moshe Halbertal "ones possessed of religion; religious tolerance in the teachings of the Meiri"; www.edah.org/backend/journalarticle/halbertal.pdf

R. Michael Broyde "fighting the war and the peace"; www.jlaw.com/articles/war1.html
"jews, public policy and civil rights" www.jlaw.com/articles/jewspublic.html
There is also an expansion along similar lines at;
Somewhat controversial (from a "hardline" peace perspective), for his recent 'defense' of the possibility of permissable torture in Halakha.

Marc Gopin is somehow ‘Orthodox’ I think, went to YU at least. He is a big “Reconciliation” guy in general, has written a book or two and some essays, I’m sure if you Google his name stuff will come up. Obviously a bit Platformist "Left" for me.

Rabbi Menahem Froman is the Chief Rabbi of the town of Tekoa in the West Bank/YeSHa; he is very proactive in coexistence /dialogue issues and such.

R. Jonathan Sacks at his website features some expansions from his book "Dignity of Difference"; http://www.chiefrabbi.org/se-index.html

"A Halakhic View of the Non-Jew", by R. Nahum Eliezer Rabinovitch, available at www.edah.org (by searching his name); also the lengthy piece "Way of Torah" is good, about the holistic preventive nature of learning “all that law” in Jewish society.

Jewish Fund(s) For Justice, A poverty relief organization that actually has support from R. Aharon Soloveitchik, http://www.jfjustice.org/ has recently joined with another jewish peace-type fund which may have made it treif. Better make your own decisions about it.

-Essays in the Orthodox Forum Series volume "Tikkun Olam" on whether there is halakhic mandate to better the non-Jewish societies around us, ways Jews might be involved in the greater society, etc.

The party Meimad in Israel is a “moderate” Religious Zionist party that has more people in agreement with it than actually in it. Represents “Classical” Religious Zionism as it were. http://www.meimad.org.il/

The First Alexandria Declaration

Dr. David Luchins; Hillary Clinton’s Congressional Secretary and a Fedora-wearing Frummy, active in Social Justice issues and flaming liberal and [remains an] all around Mensch. Google him maybe, but he has some audio material around I could find for you. He recommended the Jewish Fund for Justice on an Aish tape I heard. he has some audio pieces at Aishaudio.com

Hindu/Jewish dialogue as the basis for a restructuring of “inter-religious dialogue”; "How the Hindu-Jewish Encounter Reconfigures Interreligious Dialogue." Shofar: An Interdisciplinary J. of Jewish Studies 16, 1 (1997): 28-42.

steven schwartchild essay on jewish ethics/and Non-Jews

Blidstein on Non-Jews and ethics

David Berger on the recent statement by a group of Jewish leaders on other religions called Debru Emet
He's an important scholar in the field(s) of Jewish/Christian dialogue.

Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks discussion on dignity of difference www.chiefrabbi.org/dd/titlecontents.html

Moscow, 1958

Paul Robeson, African American, socialist, political activist, performer and attorney was touring the world, occasionally giving performances of pieces he'd collected in his travels. Reaching the Soviet Union, he was welcomed as a fellow proletariat, come to perform many songs from his travels through Africa, as well as Negro Spirituals, etc. A note from a party official from the committee sponsoring the event passed him a note, informing him that it would not be necessary to perform any Yiddish pieces, as no one would be present at the event who understood Yiddish. He took the stage and did several pieces than began to introduce his next piece;

"And now I shall sing an anti-imperialist song for you which you may not have heard in some time. It was written more than one hundred and fifty years ago by a Russian as a protest against the Czar. The name of the author is Levi Yitzhak, and he lived in the city of Berditchev.”

Good morning to You, Lord, Master of the Universe,

I, Levi Yitzhak, son of Sarah of Berditchev,

I come to You with a Din Torah from Your people Israel.

What do You want of Your people Israel?

What have You demanded of Your people Israel?

For everywhere I look it says, "Say to the Children of Israel."

And every other verse says, "Speak to the Children of Israel."

And over and over, "Command the Children of Israel."

Father, sweet Father in heaven,

How many nations are there in the world?…

Persians, Babylonians, Edomites.

The Russians, what do they say?

That their Czar is the only ruler.

The Prussians, what do they say?

That their Kaiser is supreme.

And the English, what do they say?

That George the Third is sovereign.

And I, Levi Yitzhak, son of Sarah of Berditchev, say,

'Yisgadal v'yiskadash shmei raboh'

And I, Levi Yitzhak, son of Sarah of Berditchev, say,

'From my stand I will not waver,

And from my place I shall not move

Until there be an end to all this.'

Yisgadal v'yiskadash shmei raboh - Magnified and sanctified is Thy name."

Jews, who were of course in great number in the audience, tear-drenched gave him a lengthy standing ovation. I don't recall that he was ever invited back.

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