Saturday, January 29, 2005

Parshat Yitro: On “outside” influence—if it was good enough for Moshe Rabbenu . . .

. . . why should it not be good enough for us? Yitro (Jethro), the father-in-law of Moshe Rabbenu (Moses our Teacher) was a priest of Midian, yet Moshe accepted his suggestion concerning the delegation of legal decision-making.

Gedolei Yisrael (Great Ones of Israel/the Jewish People), a group of Torah scholars, have recently banned the Torah-and-science books by Rabbi Nosson Slifkin on the grounds that they’re heretical, since they don’t accept a literal interpretation of the Torah’s description of G-d’s creation of the world. Maybe I’m missing something—which, given my limited Jewish education, would hardly be suprising—but is part of the problem that Slifkin actually pays attention to ideas of non-rabbinic, and even, chas v’chalilah (rough translation: heaven forbid), non-Jewish origin? Should we stop sending our children to medical school because the Hippocratic oath was written by a Greek pagan? Should we stop using computers because neither Bill Gates nor Steven Jobs is Jewish (to the best of my knowledge)? Will the Modern Orthodox cease to exist within the next 35 years, and the entire Orthodox community retreat back within the imaginary walls of self-created ghettos? Where does it end?

Where does it end? You might find an answer—and you probably won’t like it—here:

Sat., Jan. 29, 11:21 PM update: I just saw Paul Shaviv's Friday, January 28, 2005 post on the Slifkin controversy at, in which he says that " . . . our community is being dragged another step into witch-hunts, heresy-hunts, the persecution of individuals and massively powerful 'thought control'. " Does this give you the creeps, too, or is it just me?


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