Vol. I, No. 7

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This study is brought to you by Dr. David and Rena Hurwitz & their family, in memory of Harav Yosef Shlomo ben Yaakov, Rabbi Joseph Schapiro (his yahrtzeit is 4 Nisan); Joe's love for Torah, Am Yisroel, and Medinat Yisroel were legend. An ardent reader and propagator of these studies, he urged everyone to read them like a telegram -- every letter counts!

A. Getting Egypt Out of Israel

Getting Egypt Out of Israel

We celebrate and relive two great events on Passover; both are paradigms for the Jewish People in every age and place-- 1) Exodus, when God gets the Jews out of Egypt, decadent idolatrous land of their Exile. 2) The 7 week Omer Period, when Moshe our Teacher begins to get Egypt out of the Jews. Egypt's evil influence gradually disappears as Israel's true soul emerges. Israel's 49 day spiritual ascent culminates on Shavuot at Sinai. There the Jewish people receives from God both His teaching- the Torah-- and their mission-- to be a model kingdom of priests and holy nation in the land of Israel (Ex. 19:6).

Today too-- 1) after 1900 years of exile, the Jews are returning and building modern Israel; sensitive Jews, as on Passover, thank God and celebrate His great Redemption on Yom Haatzmaut, Israel Independence Day. Israel-- Birth of a Nation is a great and gripping new documentary film on the struggle for Israel's independence, against all odds; it will be shown soon on Israeli TV. It includes newly discovered color footage from 1948-49 by Bernard Beecham.

Armin Krausz z"l published a beautiful machzor for Yom Haatzmaut in 1964, matching the Routledge British Machzorim, a historic item for collectors of Judaica. We recently received some new copies, which were in storage for 35 years. Anyone donating $50 or more to TOP may obtain one upon request. 2) We too must discard our alien diaspora values and lifestyles, returning to our Jewish roots and souls (e.g. Uri Zohar and Adin Steinsaltz, l'havdil squared). God's Torah must be deeply ingrained in every Jewish heart, permeating all areas of life: "HEAR ISRAEL, GOD IS OUR LORD, GOD IS ONE. YOU SHALL LOVE GOD, YOUR LORD, WITH ALL YOUR HEART AND ALL YOUR SOUL AND ALL YOUR MIGHT. THESE WORDS WHICH I COMMAND YOU THIS DAY SHALL BE UPON YOUR HEART. YOU SHALL TEACH THEM TO YOUR SONS AND SPEAK IN THEM, WHEN YOU DWELL IN YOUR HOUSE AND WHEN YOU GO ON THE WAY AND WHEN YOU LIE DOWN AND WHEN YOU RISE UP (Deut. 6:4-7).

So, after Independence Day, Jerusalem Day focuses us upon our return to the Wall, symbolic of our Jewish soul and its unique values. To create any cohesive society, there must be clear direction and consensus as to values, traditions and proper conduct (U.K. Chief Rabbi J. Sacks); only Judaism can so unite Israel's ingathering of Jews from so many diverse lands and cultures. But non-Jewish Israeli "culture" threatens both our physical and spiritual return; it fosters internal yerida, abandonment of Israel's Divine dream for a mess of pottage, e.g. tourist dollars (cf. Eilat).


A maelstrom or potpourri of conflicting and confused values, ideas and examples is not likely to produce men or women of clear-cut faith, identity and integrity. A child (or childlike person) is to be taught the right way to live; she's not to be bombarded, in the name of liberalism, by a mass of opposing doctrines, causing confusion in self-identity-- this is the malaise of modern man, "so open-minded that his brains fall out"! Parents stand by helplessly as their children "experiment" with destructive lifestyles. The end is often the opposite extreme-- returnees to Judaism, who adopt the most rigid and narrow lifestyles, afraid even to explore alternatives WITHIN the tradition or have any contact with the outside world. Once one matures and is involved in the world, he can explore and evaluate it vis-a-vis his own beliefs; he may then modify or change them, but from a standpoint of emotional maturity and stability.

So the Jews answered that "We will do and we shall hear"-- understanding of God's Word emerges from performing it. Torah and Reason must be in accord-- but bad habits would become ingrained and much of life wasted if man would not follow the Torah before he understood it. The very act of living against Torah would prejudice and distort one's reasoning process and his attitude toward it (Saadya).


Kashrut-implies that even what we eat affects our spiritual souls. It may be even more important that the ideas and experiences which enter our eyes, ears and souls and those of our children are the healthiest kosher spiritual food available. Otherwise, says Jewish tradition, permanent damage to one's soul may occur, affecting even its eternal life. This leads concerned traditional Jews, who see Torah as the essence and leitmotif of life, to approach secular experiences and ideas with the greatest of suspicion and caution; this attitude is alien to most modern Jews; they follow contemporary mores and patterns of thought without really questioning their effects and worth; they relegate Torah study and observance to a relatively minor role in their lives and society.

On the other hand, just as a physical diet must consider the individual involved and his level of discipline and maturity, so our children and pupils may abandon their faith and tradition if our standards are too strict for them, too much in conflict with the world about them. Every individual and society must be treated in light of their position at the moment.


The Jewish home is supposed to be a holy temple in miniature, emanating only holy and wholesome "vibes". Unfortunately, today's most pervasive and high impact educator, television, which enters our homes, does not carefully screen its screenings; many shows portray and promote decedent Western culture; they teach, both overtly and subliminally, the opposite of Jewish values-- e.g. Sex as a Snack (and beauty contests), children mocking and directing their parents (even in Cosby), socially-approved lying and stealing (The Chancers) and the joy of aggression and murder (and frenzied sports competition). While we rush a child who has witnessed a murder to the nearest psychologist, we let our children do so freely all day via TV (Dr. David Greenberg). The American Psychological Association's recent report, "Big World, Small Screen: The Role of TV in American Society", concludes that the average child will have watched 8000 murders and 100,000 other acts of violence on TV by the time he leaves elementary school; this likely influences viewers to use violence to resolve conflicts, and makes them more accepting of sexual violence. Little kids' cartoons are often equally violent (cf. Goldilocks).

In the midst of writing this, I glanced at the Post (4.2.98) and spotted a large Reuters article-- Just Turn It Off! A new anti-TV movement gathers momentum in and beyond the U.S.. TV Turnoff Week started in 1995 in the USA. This year it spreads to the UK, Canada, Denmark, and Down Under. The campaign is endorsed by AMA, AHA, and other prominent groups. About 11 years of an American 72 year old's life will have been spent in front of the screen! 4 million folks joined the campaign last year. Henry Labalme, who directs TV-FREE AMERICA, notes: "20 years from now, people are going to look backand wonder-- What on earth was everybody doing, spending all that time watching the tube?"


Thus TV is banned in haredi neighborhoods, despite the many fine shows; yet many haredim do watch kosher videos during vacations. Concerned non-haredim have it tough-- if they have no TV, their resentful children are likely to watch it elsewhere, unsupervised. If they have TV, it's very difficult to ensure its proper use. Rav Nachum Amsel, Jerusalem's expert on Torah & TV, stresses the huge emotional impact of visual stimuli-- even Moshe doesn't get angry when God tells him of the golden calf, only when he sees it (Oznayim Latorah). Amsel prescreens everything which his children watch.


Some elements in American culture are antithetic to the religious life. How can one teach a religion that demands constant discipline and vigilance to men and women who are accustomed to unbridled freedom? Why should they willingly embrace laws and rituals which are burdensome and restrictive?; How can a rabbi touch man's conscience in a society which idealizes happiness and associates guilt with neurosis? In a democracy where everything is voted upon, what is there to preclude people from voting out religious laws, not to their liking? (cf. U.S. non-traditional Judaism). How can elders impart wisdom and tradition in a society in which being older is associated with senility and youth is symbolic of intelligence and worldliness? In our society, young people are cast into adulthood rather than being allowed to mature into it... it took me quite a while to accustom myself to the rootlessness of U.S. Jews.

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America was founded on dreams of the future, on innovation and change. Immigrants came to these shores determined to chart a course for a new and better tomorrow. What was old became archaic, what was new became synonymous with progress. These cultural attitudes struck the Jewish people perhaps the hardest, for our religion is based on respect and reverence for all that is timeless. Therefore it could not co-exist with a philosophy that worshipped newness for is own sake, and regarded change as a cure-all for all problems (Esther Jungreis; she responds in The Jewish Soul on Fire).

We hoped that Israel would become a homeland not only to rescue Jews but also and mainly a spiritual center for World Jewry. In fact, we're witnesses instead to the dangerous constant and dominant influence of American mass culture on Israel. When Oriental Jews came, their background and behavior was more or less Orthodox. But in Israel they were influenced and even incited to give up their traditional way of life in favor of the "new Israeli way of life", whose substantial content nobody knew or yet knows exactly. As a result they lost their traditional culture. Left with a spiritual and cultural vacuum, many of them became victims of the communications media, namely mass culture imported mainly from the U.S. If this is the situation in Israel, how can we even dream that the relatively new Israeli culture and literature is going to influence, or even dominate, American Jewry?

Yet there is identification and solidarity with Israel in times of need, threat and danger. Beyond this, only religion can unite all of us... there's no chance that any human value, even the State of Israel, will have the force to unite and to be of profound lasting and concrete contents to Jews all over the world in periods of peace and normalization. Young Israelis, due to their ignorance and negative attitude to anything concerning religion, can thus hardly understand Diaspora Jews. U.S. style religiously based community centers, not religious politics, may be the way to Israel's spiritual and religious renaissance (Michael Shashar, Israeli Consul, Tradition, Summer 66).


"A few generations ago when ashkenazic Jewish parents spoke of compassion, decency and fairness, they called it "menschlichkeit"... They were convinced that there was a right way and a wrong way of doing things. They expected us to learn the right way... We are more tentative in our assumptions as parents. Many of us have been deluged by all the conflicting theories of human behavior... Like Hamlet, we can see both sides-- sometimes many sides-- to every issue, and are stymied by indecisiveness and inaction... Our lack of certainty makes us vulnerable to all the conflicting advice about how to be a good parent. Is it any wonder we are anxious, worried or doubtful that we have what it takes?... Goodness is not an innate or natural disposition. People are not born good. The simple Yiddish expression says it all: machen fun kinder menschen-- making human beings out of children. Raising human beings is a process of teaching children right from wrong and turning them into responsible individuals. In traditional Jewish families, a child was reminded daily, if not hourly, to eat like a mensch, dress like a mensch, talk like a mensch, and behave like a mensch... Menschlichkeit is a life-long goal... but our society provides little support or encouragement to be a mensch" (Neil Kurshan, Raising Your Child To Be A Mensch).

When I was young, I admired clever people. Now that I am old, I admire kind people-- A. Y. Heschel.


Powerful ideologies have buried Man's inner Divine self in every age. Idols, be they statues or demagogic charismatic supermen, have led Man in wild pursuits of passionate pleasure and prideful power (e.g. Pharoh, Molech, Mars, Aphrodite, Marx, Freud, Hitler, Stalin, Elvis, Madonna, The Crusades, Khoumani). Idolatry obscures the Biblical dream of a peaceful world united under God. "Judaism states that there is one God, perfect, omnipotent and sublime, Who created Man in His own Image. Man must live up to the perfection and sublime essence of God. The alternative natural view of the world, best known to us through the Classical tradition, was peopled with gods and godesses--conversely created by Man in his own image and projecting his own standards and self-perception (Dr. Elie Borowski-- may his Bible Lands Museum convey his message to all Mankind from Zion). Man's worst enemy or idol today may be modern epistomology; it assumes no absolute truth in the moral realm, that all is relative, that the worst perversions are but "alternative life styles" (Rav I. Chait).

"After Exodus, Israel was admonished again and again that its national life was only assured if it worshipped God; the adoption of heathen idolatry would bring national death and destruction. The Jews were greatly tempted to imitate the surrounding cultures even when they had independence. It was much harder to resist alien influences and assimilation after Israel's captivity, and during its 1900 year dispersion, when idolatry was often the state religion. Small minorities of monotheists heroically withstood the law of gravitation which tended to cause their absorption in the surrounding mass of polytheists and idolators. Extreme measures were essential. There could not be the slightest compromise, nor could the smallest loophole be left open. In this matter, if anywhere, a fence-- and a very high one-- had to be made around the Torah. An unscalable barrier must be erected, behind which the Jew would be protected against the allurement of his neighbor's rites and beliefs, with their strong appeal to the baser side of human nature.

"Besides denouncing idolatry as a cardinal sin, and demanding sacrifice of a Jew's life to avoid its violation, the rabbis had to formulate practical rules to prevent Jews from contamination by heathenism. They banned all benefit from idolatry and instituted various regulations to prevent intimate association with heathens for Jewish racial, spiritual and moral preservation. In a world of debased standards, the rabbis waged a resolute contest for the preservation of the higher and nobler concepts of human behavior which reflected the Will of the God of Israel; in so doing, they rendered a conspicuous service to their own community and also to the advancement of civilization" (A. Cohen, The Soncino Talmud, Avoda Zara).

What's the difference between heresy and truth?- Ten years! (cf. reactions to hassidut, and Y.U. U.).


But heresy is also a serious matter for a truly observant Jew. Maimonides (falsely labelled "liberal") follows the Talmud and rules: The Holy One, Blessed be He, has commanded us not to read these books (of idolators) at all, not to think about them... It is even forbidden to look at the image of an idol-- "Do not turn to the idols" (Lev. 19:4) and "lest you seek to find out about their gods... (Deut. 12:30)." So we are warned not to consider any thought which will cause us to uproot a fundamental belief of the Torah. We should not turn our minds to these matters, think about them, or be drawn after the thoughts of our hearts" (M.T., A. Zara 2:2-3; cf. Mamrim 3:1f). Rav Elchanan Wasserman claims that one is exposed to heresy or pornogrophy by all secular texts. Likewise, to accentuate the positive, Judaism forbids lashon hara, any negative comment about anyone, no matter how truthful, unless to correct a bad situation.

Tho classical Jewish thinkers were anti-rationalist, they were not anti-rational (cf. Latin Church Tertullian's credo: "I believe BECAUSE it's absurd").Skepticism of the value of reason is not the same as raising the denial of reason to the status of a virtue (Rav N. Lamm).

Censorship and Freedom of Expression in Jewish History by Moshe Carmilly-Weinberger portrays 2000 years of tension between preserving Jewish purity of mind and soul and preserving freedom of speech. Censorship is against human nature and was minimal among Jews, mostly occuring during the last few centuries. It may have been needed for Judaism to survive amidst hostile and powerful alien civilizations, but was often used to destroy the other side in violent rabbinic controversies (e.g. Emden-Eibeshitz, Hagiz-Luzzato-- cf. Rav Shach-Chabad). Halachic, apologetic and economic considerations motivated censorship even of non-erotic literature, especially from the 16th century. The Shulchan Aruch (O.H. 307:16 rules: "Secular talk strewn with proverbs and allegories and erotic remarks, such as fill the book of Emanuel Haromi, as well as books of warfare, are forbidden for reading on the Sabbath Day. Even on weekdays they are forbidden because they constitute frivolous enjoyment, which is pagan by nature. Erotic contents are prohibited because they stimulate lust. Those who write them, copy them, and print them mislead the many (but Rama allowed "worldly talk", if written in Hebrew-- see B'er Hativ ibid, Tos. Shabbat 116b, cf. Maariv!)". Carmilly concludes that suppression of ideas is not likely to succeed. Ideas are defeated by other ideas, not by force (tho a chest full of alleged heretic Ramchal's manuscripts was successfully destroyed by Rabbis J. Poprisch, M. Hagiz & Co.).


Even if secular learning and experience does not contradict Judaism and is not harmful, should one devote precious time to it? A Jewish male's entire life should be spent in study of God's infinitely deep and complex Torah. How can one forsake, even for a moment, the study of the eternal word of God for transient human knowledge and experience? Ben Dama asked R. Yishmael: "Is one like me, who's mastered the whole Torah, permitted to study Greek Wisdom?" R. Ishmael quoted Joshua 1:8-- "You shall meditate in Torah day and night"-- "go and find a time which is neither day nor night and study Greek wisdom then" (see Men. 99b). Thus many Hassidic rabbis, especially Nachman of Breslav, opposed both critical thinking and secular studies.


But Jewish tradition itself gives 4 compelling reasons for secular study (see Torah Umada, a video lecture by Rav A. Soloveichik):

  1. One must teach his son a good trade, to support his family with dignity without using the Torah as "a spade to dig with" (Avot 4). "The study of Torah combined with worldly ways is beautiful, for the effort required by them both puts wrongdoing out of one's mind; yea, all Torah study which is not accompanied by work ends in futility and brings wrongdoing in its wake (Avot 2). But Rav Meir warns: "Minimize (but don't eliminate) your business and (don't sit idle, but) be preoccupied with the Torah (Avot 4)". God Himself studies Torah 1/4 of the Day and judges and feeds the world and teaches deceased children during the other 3/4 (A. Z. 3b). "Much greater is he who (also) supports himself than he who only fears God" (Ber. 8a). Rav Akiva Eger concludes that children should also be taught writing and arithmatic an hour or two a day, as is Jewish custom (Responsa No. 67).

  2. Religious Jews must know secular culture to challenge and change it-- to show the princes and the nations (and alienated Jews) the beauty of the Torah. "Learn Torah ardently and know what to answer an unbeliever (Avot 2)"-- secularists mock Torah scholars who lack worldly savvy; God's name is then disgraced. Jewry's 2 great late leaders, Rav J. Soloveichik and the Lubavitcher Rebbe, z"tzl, both had extensive secular education (Saul Deutsch portrays their Berlin university years, with many photos and documents, in Greater Than Life, Vol. 2, $35 from TOP). Rambam himself explores and disproves philosophical alternatives to Judaism in his Guide to the Perplexed, written in his ailing old age. Maharal, quoting Averroes, urges us to listen respectfully to opposing religious positions and books before answering them (Beer Hagola, end); Rambam permits debate only with a Gentile heretic-- there's no hope for a Jewish one! Per Rav Israel Chait, a Torah scholar must master just enough secular knowledge to function as a respectible member of society, which shouldn't take him much time; any interruption of Torah studies must be weighed against its necessity and effect, e.g. demonstating for Israel in NYC. One can't completely isolate oneself from the rest of the world today and return to the shtetl; one must cope with an open society. Just as Israel returns to history, those hassidim who are isolationist may deprive it of effective religious leadership.

  3. I've heard it said that God wrote a book-- the world; and He wrote a commentary on that Book-- the Torah (R. Zadok of Lublin). The so-called "secular" study of science and mathematics is indeed a religious exploration of another aspect of Divine Revelation-- the laws and formulae with which God created and constantly recreates the universe. We bless God for giving secular wisdom to gentile scholars. Tho internal problems of Torah can be solved within the Torah, it does not contain human wisdom (Meiri). We don't synthesize DNA from Torah nor does the greatest Mea Shearim isolationist learn how to bake a Yerushalmi kugel from the Torah. Yet Torah has priority, both as our guide to conduct and the blueprint of the universe. The Vilna and Rogotchover Gaonim also believed that one must know science to uncover the Torah's corresponding wisdom. Whoever maintains that he only possesses Torah possesses not even Torah (Yev. 109b). A religious judge must be familiar with math, medicine, idolatry, etc. to properly and effectively apply the law to reality (M.T. San. 2:1).

  4. So Rambam writes: "It's a mitzva to love and fear the glorious and awesome God-- `You shall love God, your Lord' (Deut. 6:5) and `Fear God, your Lord (Deut. 6:13)'. What is the path to His love and fear? When a person contemplates His wondrous and great deeds and creations and appreciates His infinite wisdom that surpasses all comparison, he'll immediately love, praise and glorify, and yearn to know His great name, as David stated: `My soul thirsts for the Lord, for the living God' (Ps. 42:3). When he reflects upon these matters he will immediately recoil in awe and fear, appreciating how he is a tiny, lowly and dark creature, standing with his flimsy, limited wisdom before He Who is of perfect knowledge, as David stated: `When I see Your heavens, the work of your fingers... What is man that You should recall him?' (Ps. 8:4-5)."-- see Mishna Torah, Y'sodei Hatorah 2:1-2. $4) Understanding the universe in which he lives is part of Everyman's self-fulfillment.

  5. To build and develop the world, a taskwhich Jews share with all mankind-- "For on it (Shabbat) He rested from all His work which He created (for man) to do (and complete; Gen. 2:3). Rav Hirsch notes that "the beauty of Torah with worldly ways" (Avot 4) includes everything necessary to develop the world and create a fine civilization, not just making a living. Thus we must balance preservation and protection of God's ancient pristine Torah with Israel's other Divine mission-- to relate to, learn from, and teach the modern world.

Last night, Yakar hosted a truly impressive forum on "What's the point in learning Talmud nowadays?" Over 300 young hebrew-speaking religious Zionist students spent a vacation evening (7-10:30 PM! About 180 stayed for evening prayers) exploring their thoughts and feelings about a subject usually deeply felt, but rarely expressed, in orthodox society. The speakers, leading Torah educators, had quite divergent views on the subject. Rav Dr. Aharon Lichtenstein of Yeshivat Har Etziyon expressed the traditional misnagdic view, that the study of the Talmud was of value per se; it is the highest word of God Himself; it connects one to Him and His halachic will, regardless of any benefits and pleasure derived from it, including subjective spiritual joy. Rav Dov Berkowitz, of Mila and Yakar, in the spirit of Toldos Yaakov Yosef, questioned the religious validity of this premise, since God's presence must dwell among us in every aspect of life, as our sandal clad feet stride the newly restored Land of Israel. Our religious studies must interface with our souls, minds and life experience. Agada must blend with Tanach and Halacha in our yeshivot. Rav Lichtenstein strongly objected to this non-traditional approach, "verging on idolatry"; he rejected any major change in talmud study for sandal-clad Jews in the restored State of Israel-- our finest Talmudic sages, clad in black, lived in Lithuania! An attempt to blend these traditional and modern approaches, reminiscent of The Baal Hatanya, was made by Rav Shagar, who claimed to represent the troubled young students of talmud; Rav Tzuriel Weiner summarized the discussion; all the speakers rejected the haredi worldview and life style as their model, tho they admired their simple faith and joy. The audience asked many penetrating ?? and expressed their own ambivalence to traditional talmudic study. Rav Lichtenstein said that his studies of English literature had little impact on his traditional mode of talmud study, tho they contributed to systematic methodology therein.

Intensified efforts of Chabad Hassidim to accelerate the coming of the Moshiach (Messiah) and to even proclaim their Rebbe Moshiach after his death have been condemned by many religious leaders, both within and without Chabad. The Rebbe himself responded with anger to such suggestions. He did not cure all the ills of the world and turn all men to God and Torah, the Messiah's task; tho he may have accomplished far more than anyone else, e.g. Rav Shach, in spreading Torah, it's still but a drop in the bucket toward a perfect world.

In any event, Judaism always stressed God, not Messiah and Rebbes. Our main ancient prayer for the Messianic Age, Aleynu, recited at the end of each service, does not even mention the Messiah. This indicates that stress on Messiah in later ages may be an unconscious response to other surrounding faiths, as $$ & gift giving at Chanuka.

The task of Lubavitch is to become the community for Jews who have no community (The Rebbe; but it may be peripheral to those who do have one!)

The Rebbe's leadership-- rare almost to the point of uniqueness today-- consists in self-effacement. Its power is exactly what it effaces itself towards-- the sense of the irreplaceability of each and every Jew (U.K. Chief Rabbi J. Sacks, who teaches Torah in an effective, tolerant and pleasant manner).

Rav J. Soloveichik said that chabadniks often ignore the Rebbe's great genuine human qualities in trying to make him a kabbalistic magician and Messiah.

Yet the Rebbe might indeed have become Messiah Now. A Chabad L'Chayim tract told the tale of Rav Levi Yitzchak of Berditchav, who took his pupils to visit a notorious murderous anti-semite. After the latter failed to kill them, he broke down, admitted his Jewish origins, and repented on the spot. Gaddafi has a Jewish mother and is thus Jewish. If the Rebbe would have left his headquarters at 770 Eastern Parkway* and flown to Libya, his holy soul might have pierced Gaddafi's hard shell and reached his Jewish soul. Then Gaddafi would have appeared on satellite TV and brought the Moslems back to Torah, dragging the Christians in their wake. Then the Rebbe could have them all from Jerusalem's Capital TV Studios.

YOU (Yaakov) WILL SPREAD OUT (West, East, North and South-- Gen. 28:14)= 770! But, multiplied by its 4 directions, it = 3080, Broadway address of JTS.

Rav Mashash, Sephardic chief rabbi of Jerusalem (but often with his family in France), agreed to sign the Nshei Chabad petition to the Rebbe to proclaim himself Messiah IF the Rebbe brings 2 secular kibbutzim back to Judaism! Likewise, perhaps no one should be made Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem (a political appointment) until he brings two neighborhoods back to Torah. Neither Mashash or his Shachian Ashkenazic counterpart has much religious impact on secular Jerusalemites. Perhaps we need two sets of chief rabbis-- one to tend to ritual matters, e.g. kashrut and mikvas, which the incumbents do very well. The other set would be masters of outreach and explanation, to bring Judaism to the masses.

It is very strange and melancholy that the paucity of human pleasures should persuade us ever to call hunting one of them (Samuel Johnson).

Religion may have indeed once been The opiate of the masses, But communism has much more surely been the faith of the biggest asses.

The most narrow-minded may be those who will not consider the advantages of being narrow-minded.

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