Tuesday, August 08, 2006

European Antisemitism

A must read by R.Yitzchak Alderstein on Cross Currents:

http://www.cross-currents.com/archives/2006/08/08/the-end-of-european-jewry/

40 comments:

  1. I commented there but it might not pass the 'censor'. Anti-semitism aside, we do have a problem. The notion of a 'Chosen People' is racist / ethnocentric / offensive, no matter how you try and spin it. The notion that we believe God gave us this land has NO place on the world stage. Imagine if the Arabs claimed God said they must destroy us! Is that a legitimate way for world politics to proceed, based on people's religious fundamentalust beliefs? The whole concept is ridiculous.

    Even saying we are not superior, and that God chose us for a responsibility etc etc etc, spin it how you like, ultimately it's an offensive doctrine.

    Ex GH

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  2. Imagine if the Arabs claimed God said they must destroy us!

    Ummm, this doesn't require much imagination. But in any case, I think chosenness can be spun around into something fairly innocuous; Louis Jacobs does a passable job. And I don't think the chosenness principle is used to justify our presence in Israel, at least not on the "world stage."

    Also, if you are really GH, I have one thing to say to you: "Please start blogging again!" I don't care what you write about, just write something! With all due respect to DG and the other bloggers, the internet is boring without you! I never realized how boring the internet is, and my own blog is no exception. I want to read some interesting debates again! Where are mis-nagid, holy hyrax, benavuyah, chardal, b.spinoza, S, lakewood Yid, and all the rest? Where have all the flowers gone? I miss them badly.

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  3. Jews deserve Israel because of the historical reality of our temple being there, and thats where our people are from. Even if the arabs keep trying to erase that evidence.

    It has nothing to do with "chosenness" Not even accordign to Rashi.

    Rashi says that G-d made the world, and he can put any people wherever he chooses.

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  4. GH's argument is really the argument of Satmar and all that accept the Shalosh Shevuot as Hallacha. They argue that it will require a Divine intercession for us to have a right to settle in israel. For the Zionist position and Rav kook I will leave it to Chardal to explain.

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  5. Forget Satmar. I'm talking about the concept of a 'chosen people' being offensive and racist!


    Some guy: Thanks for the compliment, maybe one day I'll start up again. Maybe david will let me do a guest post here.

    ExGH

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  6. GH you are welcome any time!

    I know what you are saying. Satmar is basically saying the same thing couched in halachik terms. Shelo Ya'alu Bachoma, Shelo Ymredu ba'umot etc...

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  7. The way I see it is that there is no way to justify our being in Israel to the nations just as there is no way to justify the first conquest at the time of Moshe. it is a purely internal religious issue. It is part and parcel of our quest to have the whole world learn that God is One. For that we need a land of our own as a practical matter.

    The historical factor gives us the impetus to go for this specific land, the religious tradition that it was given by HKBH to Avraham is the internal justification. It would not stand up in a court of public opinion. That is why the Herzel argument is still the best and Ben Gurion's bedam Tivaresh Ha'aretz is unfortunately the best defense.

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  8. >Forget Satmar. I'm talking about the concept of a 'chosen people' being offensive and racist!

    It is also offensive and sexist/racist in today's world to say that Women have two X chromosones and Men have an XY combination.

    I am not being silly either, it really is Sexist and offensive to say that in the modern era if you have any sensiblities and arn't backwards.

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  9. >the religious tradition that it was given by HKBH to Avraham is the internal justification.

    Just so you know, this is not True.

    Avraham bought the land or squated the land he was in, it was not given to him. It was "given" to the 12 tribes only after Yeziat Mizrayim.

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  10. >Just so you know, this is not True

    טו כִּי אֶת-כָּל-הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר-אַתָּה רֹאֶה, לְךָ אֶתְּנֶנָּה, וּלְזַרְעֲךָ, עַד-עוֹלָם. 15 for all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever.

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  11. Isn't that future sense?

    2 things. 1. Abraham did not act as if the land was his.

    2. Ishmael is also his seed.

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  12. to thee will I give it

    he must have been alive when he received it.

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  13. "The notion of a 'Chosen People' is racist / ethnocentric / offensive, no matter how you try and spin it. The notion that we believe God gave us this land has NO place on the world stage. Imagine if the Arabs claimed God said they must destroy us! Is that a legitimate way for world politics to proceed, based on people's religious fundamentalust beliefs? The whole concept is ridiculous."

    well that was not the basis of the UN recognition of israel.

    But fwiw the only reason Jerusalem is holy in Islam is because it is holy in Judaism and Xianity first, and that is why Mohammed "went up to heaven" from al aqsa. The arabs are full of it.

    According to Sheikh Palazzi, the Koran says that Israel belongs to the Jews, and that the land will return to the jews in the end of days.

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  14. GH is absolutely right. The concept of chosen-ness has no place in the western world nor does it have a place in most of the western world.

    Which is why Judaism is a different idea which in not 100% compatible with western sensibilities and one must choose which path to follow and go down that path.

    You are foolish if you actually believe that peace would come to the world if everyone would accept reason alone as an axiom. a) that is impossible. b) we would just have a different set of problems to deal with.

    If you choose to follow the path of least resistance since you live in a western culture that is your choice but you are probably cosigning yourself to the trash-heap of Jewish history. That is also a choice. Of course, I could be wrong, time will tell.

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  15. >You are foolish if you actually believe that peace would come to the world if everyone would accept reason alone as an axiom. a) that is impossible. b) we would just have a different set of problems to deal with.

    First of all, it's not impossible, just highly unlikely. I think this may even be the traditional way of looking at things. When everyone recognizes God's unity then peace will naturally follow. Assuming that God's unity is reasonable (which I think it is) then it would appear that using reason leads to peace

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  16. Its not just Hashem's unity but Hashem's malchus.

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  17. Of coures I also think that God is an axiom and not a result of rational inquiry, but that is a different issue. Plenty of smart and reasonable people reject His existance.

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  18. >Its not just Hashem's unity but Hashem's malchus

    one follows from the other. No?

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  19. one follows from the other. No?

    Only if we accept certain axioms which reason alone can not arrive at.

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  20. >plenty of smart and reasonable people reject His existance.

    That's true, but it depends on how what they mean by the term "God". I think most people have an incorrect idea of God

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  21. And I would agree but that gets us nowhere. What you are really saying is that it is possible for all people to accept the same axioms, not that it is possible for all people to arrive at a unified system through reason.

    I accept this approach but only because I accept the promises of the neviim.

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  22. If you choose to follow the path of least resistance since you live in a western culture that is your choice but you are probably cosigning yourself to the trash-heap of Jewish history.

    Ooh, Chardal, that's harsh. The trash-heap? Why so?

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  23. Ooh, Chardal, that's harsh. The trash-heap? Why so?

    Maybe its harsh but it is generaly what has happened to Jewish movements that rejected chosen-ness. It is a core concept of Judaism and there are no versions of Jewish hashkafa of which I am aware that can trully function without it.

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  24. I don't know... I don't see chosenness as being a huge part of Jewish hashkafa. Certainly, it's all over the Bible and liturgy (including last week's parsha), but I think many people would admit they don't really understand the idea, but nevertheless accept that their role is to do mitzvahs and be a light unto nations. As Jacobs points out, the chosenness of the Jewish people in some sense already a historical fact, in that our ancestors did introduce radical monotheism to the world (which may then have paved the way for the evolution of Western philosophy and science). That cannot be undone. I think many Jews go about their hashkafic business without really concerning themselves about chosenness as it might apply to them personally.

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  25. The implications of non-choseness, as I see it, leads very quickly to the idea that assimilation is a good idea.

    I just can't see any way around that.

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  26. I don't think that's the case if you believe there are inherent benefits to Judaism, as Rambam and others have argued. If you believe that Judaism is a completely arbitrary set of practices, then there might be a problem...

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  27. Professor Leibowitz wrote a lot against chosenness claiming that Rambam never mentions it. I personally don't believe it in the sense popularly seen. I believe chosenness is a result of an individual's development. God choses those that get close to Him and I don't mean through rituals.

    In hil AZ Rambam quotes the Passuk we read last week,

    ועניין זה, הוא שהזהירה עליו תורה ואמרה "ופן תישא עיניך השמיימה, וראית את השמש ואת הירח ואת הכוכבים . . . אשר חלק ה' אלוהיך, אותם, לכול העמים" (דברים ד,יט): כלומר שמא תשוט בעין ליבך ותראה שאלו הם המנהיגים את העולם, והם שחלק ה' אותם לכל העמים להיותם חיים והווים ונפסדים כמנהגו של עולם; ותאמר שראוי להשתחוות להן, ולעובדן. ובעניין זה ציווה ואמר "הישמרו לכם, פן יפתה לבבכם" (דברים יא,טז)--כלומר שלא תטעו בהרהורי הלב לעבוד אלו, להיותם סרסור ביניכם ובין הבורא

    the next passuk says

    כ וְאֶתְכֶם לָקַח יְהוָה, וַיּוֹצִא אֶתְכֶם מִכּוּר הַבַּרְזֶל מִמִּצְרָיִם, לִהְיוֹת לוֹ לְעַם נַחֲלָה, כַּיּוֹם הַזֶּה

    Being a Nachala means denying AZ according to this interpretation. It is dependent on our actions not an integral part of our being.

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  28. some guy,

    what's the name of your blog?

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  29. >What you are really saying is that it is possible for all people to accept the same axioms, not that it is possible for all people to arrive at a unified system through reason.

    some axioms are self evident and a unified system based on reason is one that logically follows from these self evident axioms.

    You can either arrive at true knowledge either through a step by step logical process or you can gain insight through intutition which is when the existence (kavayochel) speaks to you directly without going through the logical steps one by one

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  30. It's "Knowledge Problems." I like to keep my "blogging" personality and my "commenting" personality separate, though. If they ever met, it might cause some kind of tear in the fabric of the universe, so they say.

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  31. Professor Leibowitz wrote a lot against chosenness claiming that Rambam never mentions it. I personally don't believe it in the sense popularly seen. I believe chosenness is a result of an individual's development. God choses those that get close to Him and I don't mean through rituals.


    Ok, that is nice. But why should I beleive Rambam over say, A really famous Jesuit Priest? Or why should I believe ANY of them over that of Confucious who claims that G-d is uknowable and therefore doesn't even pretend to even adress the issue?

    There are "pure" rationalists in every camp, why choose one over the other?

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  32. Irviner, read my post about Newton.

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  33. Some Guy, Now that you have enlightened me I just want to say I love your blog. You have been too quiet lately!

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  34. Thanks very much, David. I really admire your ability to consistently post good, deep, thoughts. I discovered that posting good, deep thoughts is harder than I thought it would be. However, I am working on something new...

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  35. Are you actually already awake at 4:42 AM?

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  36. Some guy, How else could I post deep thoughts if not in the depth of the night?;-)

    You did not ask what time i go to sleep!

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  37. Some Guy,

    I'm not familiar with your blog. Can I have a link or the URL?

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  38. You're robo-skeptic? nice

    Thanks

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