Thursday, March 15, 2007

Accommodating to The Times; "Left" and "Right"

I only offer this that it be out there. I don't agree with every aspect of his critiques, but...just so it's out there.

“The Orthodox Right complains that the centrist/modernists have compromised the sacred tradition with secular syncretism, but can point to no explicit violation of halachic statute. And precisely because no explicit statue can be cited, the centrist/modernist deviation is all the more threatening [previously he points out the perceived greater threat Modern Orthodoxy poses to Charedi Judaism than Conservative/Reform, etc].
Since the haredi critique of centrist/modernist Orthodoxy cannot be justified on the basis of explicit Jewish law, appeals to metalegal principles must be mustered to advance the critique [not unlike the Reformers...while not wanting to advance haredi critique - I might muster metalegal principles to prevent the sanctioning of slavery, Toddler brides, etc!! Yuter is an opponent of Natural Law, and most likely an opponent of any sort of “self-evident” truths or natural morality by which halakha is further grasped; see R. Yitzhak Blau’s piece]. While some of its adherents fail to observe Jewish law in its entirety, centrist/modernist Judaism has not advocated a reformulation of the halakhic system. Since classical Jewish law, literally understood, affords greater autonomy than haredi society tolerates [universally-human, societally-evolved norms seemingly holding more authority than God-given Halacha...], haredi Orthodoxy has, with the Da’as Torah doctrine, reconstructed, redefined and reformulated Jewish law’s “rules of recognition” in order to restrict the [G-D Given…] autonomy that the gaps in [G-d-Given…] Jewish law provides, and it imputes this doctrine upon now-deceased scholars who can no longer issue disclaimers.
While the centrist/modernists may not be as observant as they should,
given their core ideology, their failures are expressed in occasional violations of Jewish law’s rules of obligation, or mitzvot. But these delicts are consequences of the human condition. [and such infractions are regarded as such in Torah literature expositions regarding Klal Israel] Consequently, some spokesmen for haredi Judaism, have, in their own ironic way, responded to the contaminating secular modernity by reformulating the halakhic order with a daring, innovative doctrine.
Advocates of Daas Torah suppress those elements of Jewish religious thought and practice which they find troubling [
oft times legitimately - but again, distinguish between what has a legitimate vote, and what a veto; clearly these self same haredi critics are responding to temporary, contemporary conditions - circumstance should only have a vote but not a veto; and many haredi statements and strictures seem to imply that temporal parameters and social concerns external to Divine Halacha have the veto, not merely a vote! Again, not unlike the Reformers] and, in passing judgment on their centrist/modernist opponents, are actually making moral judgments on elements of the very Torah that they hold dear, for it is not the scholarship of the persona, but the persona himself, who wears the mantle of authority that is treated with virtual canonicity. Sources become secondary to demonstration, “accepted” practice displaces the precedents which, with time, have lost their sanctity. The transfer of authority from literary text to living sage, in a secular age of humanism, is not without its irony”.

[R] Alan J. Yuter, “Law, Politics and piety in Contemporary Orthodox Debate” in Freedom and responsibility. P.186; see also his "Positivist Rhetoric and its Functions in Haredi Orthodoxy," Jewish Political Studies Review, 8:1&2 (Spring 1996):127-188, this essay, and his Rabbis Corner.


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