Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Now, About Modern Orthodoxy II

[somewhat old, rather negative; hope to offer something positive soon, without too much 'trauma']
Many take it as inherently impressive that Torah lifeways (Shabbat, learning, etc), can have appeal to lots of doctors/lawyers, the usual 'symbols' of affluence and success. Aish for example even sells it's Chavruta program on just this presumed appeal. Yet we know that profession and education is no barrier to someone making decisions not based in critical thinking, or being any less prone to such choices based on emotion and psychological need. How many "professionals" have been wrapped up in New Age religions, religious cults and self-help pyramid schemes? But;

1) Modern Orthodoxy really makes an icon of the Yuppie Professional. I think it's proof that MO has dispensed with any pretense that its constituency should follow through with one of its stated principles - the engagement of the wide parameters of human knowledge and experience within a kosher framework; the principle is no longer Modern - no longer current, it would be proper to say. How many people are actually inclining their children towards profitable *trades* over 'traditional' professions (dr,esq,cpa/financial professional)? Or even less-profitable college pursuits valued by previous generations of MO "forebearers"(Assyriology or Philosophy anyone?...)? In a related vein, it's the fringes of MO where there are MO people in the arts, music, etc - and I mean in the arts as such - not as individual hobbyists.
It is lip service that MO is all about pursuits that are a 'full engagement' of everything meaningful, redeemable, rewardable or even profitable within a Torah framework. It's not about sanctifying HKBH's world - it's about Torah u'Parnasa, Beltway Yuppiedom or Upper West Side Metropraxy -but having made that stab at '-praxy'; to the degree ones does mitzvot as mitzvot - they count, do they not? On this no one can judge anyones 'praxy' (let alone me, as this is increasingly how I look at my own lifeways). I don't think intention exhausts the efficacy of mitzvot though - though I don't know that this is also a universally kosher view.

I think American Modern Orthodoxy, ideologically speaking, is incapable of sustaining itself;

2)It produces far too few teachers because it's institutions will not pay them enough, and it's culture will not glorify enough the value/place/importance of teachers - those who teach TORAH, or the place of lifestyle sacrifice...so it's left to charedim who teach charedi judaism by silence on MO matters - and are willing to sacrifice where MO's will not - to reach Jewish neshamot (with brave and praiseworthy exceptions - but too few in number). It cannot sustain itself outside of the Upper-Middle Class - and MO is all about maintaining Upper Middle class-'consciousness'.

3)MO don't have the necessary numbers of children or the retention rate to it's ideology; it needs the 'converts' from the non-orthodox movements or unaffiliated - in some ways not unlike the Shakers, who were also rather homogeneous and didn't 'reproduce' enough next-gens.

4) "Bio-diversity"; diversity is as rare in MO circles as among the Charedim (in the professions particularly, as noted above) - pointing out a few exceptions only proves it exactly. And I'm not 'celebrating' "diversity" l'shma - what is lacking is diversity necessary for a species to survive; biodiversity. There are ways 3 and 4 can apply to Charedim as well; to do kiruv to educated, worldly-in-knowledge, experienced people, they need formerly-worldy, experienced people because Charedi judaism cannot produce a sufficient diversity of perspectives on its own; it may tolerate them, encourage certain of them - but not it cannot emerge them. I'm no longer impressed by BT chassidic/charedi scientists (read "physicists"- a rant warranting its own post). I've heard them describe a real and thick loneliness in their adopted weltanschauung that they don't describe regarding scientific peers. In the arts, its the 'fringes', in the home as hobbyists where artists exist among the charedim and modern; again, examples prove the exceptional nature of their presence (and often, they are on the fringes of the given groups; BTs themselves, 'by affiliation' members, or on the fringes they should be on...I love these people).
Neither can produce enough "bio-diversity" in its intellectual gene pool; it is a handicap to the Charedim - but crippling to the MO who ideologically make claim to the modern conviction of diversity (Charedi homogeneity ensures more integrity regarding their ideological paremeters). This is across the spectrum of human endeavors.

4) MO cannot produce the biodiversity necessary for survival as both Modern and Orthodox - where it is 'strongest', it is on temporal life support, in a 'zoo' setting, a cloistered setting not so different from the way those in Charedi strongholds live their lives; but Charedim don't claim to engage the modern world! Can it honestly weather, as a movement, the "wild", real world, which is to say HKBH's world He Made...to live Torah in? Have we so rendered HKBH's Yahadut and HKBH's world in such relationships that they are irreconciliable without 'genetically engineering' each, such that they are non-vioable?
How many of MO's intellectuals and thinkers (not doctors or lawyers, not CPAs or Social Workers), could sustain themselves outside the cloisters of the Bar-Ilan's and [certain departments of] Hebrew U's and YUs?...and again, many of the same arguments could indict Charedi judaism as well. We're muffed, and the only things that sustain us are money and the profound Mercy of HKBH for this ship of fools adrift at sea, each of us drilling holes under our own seats.

Torah & Science From a Different Angle
[juuust a mock up]

"Torah lo b'Shamayim he" and l'hvdl Methodological Materialism

Torah and tevah, the Book of Torah and the Book of the World. Over time, I've heard many examples of 'the sciences' being 'reconciled' with Torah - usually physics, less so biology, even less the social sciences; this breakdown strikes me as "Intelligent Design" of a sort. Though we claim science is of one world, and applies uniformly within it, do we make claims of 'special creation' in historical matters, even where Tanach or the Tradition does not?

-In biological history, evolution compared with Jewish history & the social sciences; Holmes Rolston, Loren Eiseley, Teihard de Chardin, their awe-struck voices on the natural world and their reflections in Heschel, etc., who engage historical-critical process, history, etc and Yahadut.

-Solomon's role in the building of the Temple as metaphor in its application to Torah text as well as the world. Narrative/Science (Rolston), and history in creation, Shemtot, etc. that which has 'occured' in both Jewish history and world history (microcosm/macrocosm).

-The claims of Torah "rationalists" and their claimed 'advocacy' of science; Yad Hashem, miracles, supernatural causes, etc, in judaism treated as 'outdated' - seemingly based on outmoded expectations/conceptions of science (deriving from Aristotlianism, etc?). Present examples of frontline advocates for science (Jewish and non-Jewish - since "true science" is both/neither...) and their supernatural views - and the evidence they would offer for the rationality of accepting traditional models of miracles, supernatural agents, based in mainstream sciences limits, etc.

-Just as the "Book of Nature" is in a perilous place by our hands - such is Yahadut; trenchant 'sanctity' given to the divisions of denominations - where observance is supposed to be the measure of 'sanctity'. The Torah 'rationalist' modernists and the 'Daas Torah' camp, neither of which are necessarily either (nor are they necessarily the 'camps' they see themselves as). converging theological catastrophes on par with environmental, economic and social ones?

-The distinction of being Told something (revelation) as opposed to coming to know or believe independently (reason, science, etc). While independent realisation is indicative of real development, it is not communal, not communication. being Told entails relationship, engagement - not dispassionate analysis (R. Eliezer Berkovits on encounter and 'no science of the personal,' maybe Greenberg essay on BibCrit). In regard to the "independent-knowing" sciences - it is quite likely that we would not come to know nature in the depth and dimensions we do, if we were not Told certain things that are not among the deliverances of reason; fundamental presuppositions necessary for science are Biblical - not 'religious', not ultimately emergent - Biblical. I started this post with Methodological Materialism and "Torah lo b'Shamayim he"; here I think is such a common substrate; both entail certain meta-principles that aren't reasoned to, they're reasoned from; ultimately, they must be Told - though overtime we may so assume them that we forget their Divine source, ourselves (as Jews) so emerged from them. Here, both science and Yahadut/Halacha share emergence from Torah. huh.
This, among many simanim, is an indication that Torah has at the very least something Divine to its narrative (no 'contentless revelation' here; though that may be the case some other way). If even a fragment resulted from the Encounter (Berkovits quote), Torah as the account of it would still be Torah from HKBH; encounter and ensuing relationship is central. How is it logical, even by "Conservative" theologians, to 'hint' that HKBH is absent in the account of a covenanting conversation between God and man!? How can one claim mitzvot aren't defining from such a conversation? I'm not presenting a perspective from "classical" Conservative judaism - where mere history, culturally-'developed' and accumulated 'achieved' beliefs and ideas, and accumulate some "binding authority" of Revelation. History does not hallow - HKBH Hallows history! With obvious caveats I offer Louis Jacobs;

"It is exceedingly difficult, if not impossible, to account for the lofty teachings of the Hebrew Prophets, the civilising influence of the great Law of Moses, the history of a small people who found God and brought Him to mankind [this is really the case if content was '2nd' to Encounter in Jacobsian sense - where HKBH Revealed Himself - far surpassing the Giving of 'mere' text, temporal content], the Sinaitic revelation itself and the spiritual power these books continue to exercise over men's souls, unless Israel really met with God and recorded in immortal language the meaning of that encounter. We can be sceptical of the individual details in the Bible. We can dwell on the numerous parallels with Egyptian, Babylonian and Assyrian mores. We can point the striking resemblances between Hebrew poetry in the Bible and Canaanite hymns in praise of the pagan gods...[look up this cutout bit yourself if you're curious]...What cannot be seriously doubted is the 'something else', which has ensured that this and no other collection of books has become the sacred Scripture of a large proportion of mankind; that there are living Jews who regard themselves as the heirs to the Bible and no living Babylonians, Canaanites, and Assyrians (OK, except them...); that there is a Voice which speaks here..." Louis Jacobs, Faith, p.107

This is Louis Jacobs speaking! One of the people who would really know what an academic challenge to Judaism is and is not!..Actually, I should have prefaced it with "and some less obvious caveats"; even Jacobs is ignorant of certain voices from the mesorah itself that temper the challenge of his 'critical' approach, as I keep discovering in reading him...especially here.

Academia narrows its focus down to "what can be quantified" in the tradition, and as a result deals with an expurgated tradition, an expurgated text. If not for the the fact that Am Israel Chai, "Wissenshaft de Judentums" would seem to be as any other science. In painting this picture of Israel, it is as a Divine/Human dialogue rendered as human monologue (in a sense, noted by Jon Levenson). Expurgated from the above God/Torah/Israel equation is He who Authors the very greater, mathematical-logical context that is all Creation, in which Jewish history, the setting of the Great Tri-alogue - occurs. This 'monologue-ification' is noteworthy and ominous among quasi-'Orthodox' postmodern 'halachic Judaisms' that claim full observance and learning 'Without Foundations' - even academically-aware Conservative Judaism [and Orthodox?...] articulated - if erroneously - foundations!
In such a setting, one can tragically have "non-denominational" people sitting and learning, etc, each with no idea that they are each studying something completely different based on what their presuppositions are; some - however open to scholarship - are not only engaging in Talmud Torah, they're studying Divrei Hashem, they're taking part in an ongoing dialogue with the Divine. Others, even their chavruta, are studying, literally, empty words, human legalisms and cultural expression. Unless you cognate that you are in a conversation, how can it be said you're in one? If you refuse to read the Words of The Other, Gans Anders, as they sit before you (and as they sat before those before you), as OTHER than merely human words?

Regarding the natural world as Creation; natural processes such as evolution do not, of necessity, limit their very Creator or exhaust His attributes - just as Jewish history, to the degree natural processes apply there - do not proscribe HKBH or indicate the fullness of His Godliness; a painting/novel does not exhaust or reveal fully it's creator! - it only reveals what is Placed there - in humans, knowingly or unknowlingly (an interesting place for HKBH being "all knowing" in intellect while fully conciousness?). In this sense, we know from nature only of Him what it is built to tell us (Berkovits and the proliferation of the view of the universe as created among non-Jewish-related faiths). But Israel was Told Torah, Told the ways and degrees which we can perceive Him through nature on a new level, not deduced from horizontal relationship with nature alone! Evolution as a tool in Divine hands, like history, etc., as a means of indicating and obscuring - functions both in explication on His part and 'coming-to-know' on our part. Compare to 'ID vs. Dawkins' et al.; both religious fundamentalists and militant secular skeptics benefit from the public false presumptions of "what scholarship can tell us"; both would like to say science is Scientism, and it deconstructs and reduces all 'religion', either unsucessfully (as fundamentalists would believe) or successfully. The reality is that the very design of science's nets limit what it can catch, etc. ex of pro-evolution religious scientists, etc.

-"If one acknowledges HKBH as the Divine and Creator, where is the challenge in evolution, etc as how His universe was made?"; we say this of physical creation - is it possible to apply the it to other "scientific" challenges to Yahadut? If we find astounding unlikehoods and amazing precisions ("fine-tuned" cosmos, etc), in what we believe to be an evolved universe, why of necessity fear the same in Yahadut?; Jewishly, we say this about accuracies in Torah, about amazing literary patterns and structures, etc - and we say it about a Divinely-authored, evolved universe, but we don't put them together. When taken together, at the very least, there are points where we need not be challenged [the links there are must reads], by BibCrit pretentions any more than by opinions of Dawkins, etc - particularly when so many of their own scientific peers are religious and accept methodological materialism - and its limits. Compare to BibCrit and again, stated limits of what biblical critics say they can even postulate on. Of special note is the recent engagement of some Modern Orthodox theologians with James Kugel (read especially my comments in the...comments section). I would add, even if certain of the fundamental evidences of Biblical Criticism were true - there are many things left unexplained by the approach, narrative and law that are left unaddressed; anachronistic and accurate details that indicate Egyptian setting for much of the Exodus narratives (and similar 'fixing' details) where this would violate certain assumptions about the dating of 'sources', leitworten, literary structures that defy the classifications and determining signifiers of 'sources', etc, etc.

-'masorti', scholarship, belief & observance ramble, HKBH Sanctioning our decisions about what we believe regarding Him and the fact of divergent beliefs over Jewish history by Sages, etc; He exceeds each of these claims individually, cumulative tradition and HKBHs method of 'measuring out' to the prophets (R. Kook, R. Fisher), let alone us, what is necessary for us to know/believe, for our mission, etc.

-Example of Moshiach from "Meta-Halakhah, halakhah as comprehensive system that will inevitably 'emerge' Moshiach - potential in every generation. this would be so regardless of how halakhah changes, if we propose that it's prime features are non-modelability, etc.

Torah Im Derech Eretz

though not so much about TIDE as such, a recent post more on "yeshivish modern" criticism of Torah u'Maddah - they may be claimants to TIDE - without bothering to even reading Hirsch, et al...;

R. Jacobovits I noted earlier had commented on the 'inexplicable' failure of TIDE at just the point it would seemingly succeed. R. Becchofer has written a lot on the issues back and forth, and noted the recent declaration of the 'passing' of TIDE as proclaimed from the pulpit of Kahal Adat Jeshurun (here's an additional round-up post), I'd sent him some of my thoughts on TIDE as it 'exists' today;

It took several years for me to figure out what my main issues with TIDE were, but here are several points.

There is the obvious historical-German setting of it and it's adherents, and their ensuing 'privileging' of *certain* of "the best" of [western] civilisation - as defined in that long ago day - this DESPITE R. Hirsch's claim for it's ubiquity in WORLD Yahadut!

I think this is away from R. hirsch's intent. A proud and stalwart eurocentric triumphalism - defended especially since the era of WWII - from German no less!...is a bit bitter to me, and I don't think I'm alone. I think one indicator of R. Hirsch over his disciples is evidenced by the fact that many of the icons presented - weren't German nationals; Sredei Aish, RDZ Hoffmann, and I'm sure there were others.

also at some point (to a degree I admit, under the influence of R. Yuter), I noted the ubiquity of non-jewish influences at foundational points in contemporary Jewry. For example orthodox is a greek phrase regarding belief; "shomer mitzvos", a Hebrew phrase indicating actions - is used most often pajoratively to say someone is not observant, for example. With R. Hirsch, the constant reiteration of "AND Derech Eretz", a cleaving of two aspects of creation from each other (torah created by HKBH and the world as creation by HKBH, etc), and the willingness to even raise the idea of 'EITHER/OR'; that everything would be sacrificed or given up for the sake of Torah - as if HKBH didn't give us BOTH to use together - strikes me as very Greek, very hellenistic.

The world that TIDE offers us, as it has come to be held (not necessarily as R. Hirsch, I believe, reiterated it, seems pretty small. How much writing exalting the human *creative* endeavors have you seen from the TIDE camp? I actually read Leo Levi, writing very casual over how the liberal arts seemed to have no place in it! We live in a world now were the liberal arts are *already* vastly undervalued in universities! Places of higher education, of "the best of western civ" - are whittling down to glorified trade schools - exactly how charedim view ANY value to education.

I believe we are obligated in defining and the engaging the world; but to do so is to admit we define it for ourselves - anew every epoch. I believe Torah indeed DOES limit our vision and crafts us a certain way, ontologically speaking, to a certain end epistemologically speaking. Other ways, of whatever truth value and significance - are for Others. We agreed at Sinai to a certain vision of the world - and certain lifeways result by this "certain-ty".

But to wed ourselves to now-quaint modalities and conceptions of the world, would make us no different than many charedim and chassidim. And I'm sure there are "Yekishe Charedim" who would prefer that TIDE claimants wear Hambergs and Goatees with the same socio-religious intent as charedim wear their spodeks, shtreimels, beards and bekishes. It sounds patently Greek, patently European, modernist (remembering we are in the post-postmodern era...), and domesticated and "genetic engineered" away from nature to speak of "and/or" in such a way - a way shared by many european intellectuals and which we suffer under today (again from my blog);

So many of the problems with our answers stem from where they begin; what we think of as problems. Rabindranath Tagore somewhere noted that the origins of western humanism began in the walled cities of greece and the isolation entailed in "reflection" so divorced from nature [something I DONT find so present in Tanach, Kain as founder of cities, the dispersion from migdal Bavel, the shepherd lives of the Avot, etc] I would add that such musings were NOT divorced from an environment - they were born in a thoroughly human-derived, human contrived environment where reality (in whatever way 'everything' is defined from within human-imposed order, through anthropocentric lenses, etc), is easily viewed as resulting from human or anthropo-morphic ways more like human artifacts than not. The next step is to project that [actual] isolation into the minds of [certain of] the people, 'privileged' to be bound, in mind, to the parameters of the city walls - and 'ground', and sounds, etc..because after all, beyond the city, beyond industry and concrete and lightbulbs there are people 'we' call savages.

None of this is to say I'm on the side of "traditionalists" as such - who are generally people undermined by the very traditions [they strive to] 'defend'. Though criticising engagement with secular knowledge in general, I think Kolbrener's critique of R. Lichtenstein (in Jewish Action, 2004), was true in many ways. He discussed what "happened" to universities over time, etc., and now they are pretty treif - even the 'Torah' settings. I can hem and haw on that - but he leaves utterly unaddressed what happened to TORAH over time; daas torah, the yeshivah world, charedim, revisionism, etc. the TORAH world can be argued on.

Undefined - or perpetually and variously defined - are Torah and Derech Eretz.

Charedi Memes, "viruses" and the Deep Hack

I'm going to do a few posts referring back to and expanding on previous posts, as the issues keep asserting themselves ever more strongly in the public arena, and then hopefully a much more hopeful post on the future.

A very important post was an excerpt from an essay by R. Jacobovits from the "Encounter" volume. I'll give you time to read it...OK?..done? So, I really do think that Charedim have done such a very deep "hack" to the Operating System, have engineered and disseminated such effective memetic "viruses" (in the sense of computer viruses), that one literally has to 'given in' to whatever degree one needs to "compute" on a communal level (sending kids to "modern" schools were most of the teachers are out of work Kollel guys or their Bais Yaakov-trained wives, study offhours in their "community" kollelim - which reflect only their fraction of the community, attend their proliferating shuls and minyanim, etc, etc). I don't think it's a matter of pendulums swinging back or whatever optimistic metaphors people want to think, to say that things will "normalize" again. This is the Normal now...and they've even retroengineered the communal and global past to fit their comfortable present, and expect everyone else not only to not notice - but to accept it - not as it clearly is to everyone who had shared ancestors or studied the natural world to any real degree - but as their sages say it is (or more often as they SAY their sages say it is), as their sages decree the world to be and have been.

It doesn't matter, then, whether what's been done is wrong or right or even self-destructive or contrary to physical reality; like Windows Vista or disastrous city planning - it simply is what IS.

I agree on a certain level with those in Israel in b'Chutz who forsee, if not suggest (I, II, III), a seperation of some kind; the divides, the REAL divides, are that deep. We know it. Much like many Talmidei Chachamim agree with R. Berger that Chabad in general is on shakey ground and Moshiachists headed off the track - we know it, few speak it. Individually, it's wonderful that certain Charedim harbor whatever nice/achdus-y feelings they want about other kinds of observant Jews, etc...but once their selected Daas Torah has spoken, that's it; bitul hayesh!! - one's personal, open, tolerant views were/are *clearly* in error, and one must actually FIGHT these erroneous inclinations that are from the yetzer hara - and submit to the counsel of ones [chosen] Sages, "whether they say left is right and right is left" - which is fine as long as neither of you drive, as I ride a bike and don't want to share the road with such people...literally - and increasingly, metaphorically.

I think it's significant that the respondant to my post cited from rabbinic literature for the temporal historical, sociological claims. I am speaking of explicable, sociological, temporal causes and affects, and respond to him with an illustration, also well within the causal realm, of the profoundly amplified changes in human affects on the world; these things are unanimously acknowledge as unique from the past. I don't think he answers me or the triumphalism of the Charedi world by pointing to Meshech Chochma - and I can expect that the Charedim and their Sages would resoundingly read him to be joyous at such a turn of affairs.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

An Argument Ad Naseum
(No longer for the Sake of Heaven?...)

I have thought much of William Kolbrener, based on insightful pieces he'd written such as a review of "One People, Two Worlds" and a piece or two scattered elsewhere. I was pleased to see he'd started a blog, where I then read a response to R. A. Lichtenstein on Torah u'Maddah. It was again insightful - and revealing and very depressing. Previously, I'd assumed he was a MO FFB - he's a total BT (nice big black hat is fine in certain settings, as long as we acknowledge that it is a clear proclamation of a certain hashkafa - but wearing it in every picture on the blog?....).
Any criticism I have is not for him as a critic of "Torah u'Maddah" - I accept the greater part of them as they're applied to examples he gives - with the caveat that he leaves out entirely all the virtual and Distance-learning based means to the highest of higher education, methods that radically mitigate many of the perceived problems of setting in pursuing Higher Education (however, they're not infrequently advertised for in Jewish Action...). Granted, the problems are about content as well, and that is too variable to discuss here as they depend on personal choice in academic pursuits as well as personal hashkafa.
While he does address Religious higher education environments, it seems incidental, anecdotal personal bits about the affects of specific approaches in those environments - "academic" study of Torah on students. Even then, some have suggested (and I'm sure if queried would offer evidence), that certain 'textual' approaches to Talmud Torah have aided students emunah. Hyper-critical thinking and 'authority-challenging' inclinations can be confronted, engaged and rendered fruitful - not merely decried by teachers or repressed by students.
Though both Kolbrener as a current academic, and R. Lichtenstein a former academic who left it in 1962, do explore changes in the academic climate - neither of them address what has happened in the Torah world over the same span of time - the present day back to 1962, the year when R. Lichtenstein, an unrelenting current advocate of Torah u'Maddah - left academia. Much has been written on this blog and elsewhere on just the very transformations in the Torah realms, I would like to add links here later, but for now; academic treatments, see Gershon Bacon, Menahem Friedman, Jacob Katz, et al (some have material online). I also wonder about the locus of concerns for observant Jews in Higher Education; would education settings require the haskamahs of hashkafahs such that questionable stuff like Intelligent Design should be used to 'innoculate' students, etc? maybe a later post.

In his criticism of R. Lichtenstein, Kolbrener suggests that R. Lichtenstein's manner is obscurantist to a fault - it too often is. In R. Lichtenstein's response itself, R. Lichtenstein is revealed to be quite removed from the realia of not only the Ivory Tower of academia, but of virtually every other english speaking human being. His loshon is habitually obscurantist. This is no small thing. It may be endearing, it may be "a lesson in how we 'should' speak..." (as I recall someone saying)...but as a defender of the relevance and currency of Torah in the world, as a vanguardist in proclaiming the compatibility of "the best" of the modern [western...] world to the world of said Torah, it is highly destructive to speak in a way that utterly alienates the vast majority in both the 'religious' and 'modern' worlds. I have met very highly educated people in matters Kodesh and Kol. I have heard people say that a conversation with R. Lichtenstein turn the tide for them, etc. Yet no one else seems to go out of their way, publicly, to specifically use incredibly esoteric terminology to describe things publically experienced! The learned, educated use of language is about communicability, whether in Torah or Kol (I faulter in both, so I don't claim any standing). This is serious. Certain Modern Orthodox People literally say "we" need to find "our" Gedolim - likely meaning the term as Charedim do (a predilection to which I'm moved to respond "What do you mean 'We', White Man?"...) - and they seek one in R. Lichtenstein; it's very nice that he has no peers; it's a siman that he could be a Gadol by Charedi standards...(though I've never heard someone explain how someone among the Gedolim can have no peers). Another siman is that his peerlessness confirms what many charedim believe;

"Even pursuing some 'balance' between Torah and Maddah has always been reserved for the select few - and 'b'zman ha zeh - this is an ever-shrinking few...he's just the Gadol for you ever-shrinking modern [somewhat] Orthodox!"...

In it's habitual "Gedolim"-izing reactions to Charedi expectations in rabbinic authority, Modern Orthodoxy may again be confirming it is indeed neither. Nor can it be either, and Charedi.

<< List
Jewish Bloggers
Join >>