Thursday, July 1, 2010

Rabbi Ginzberg;s article on Rabba Sarah Hurwitz

Harry Maryles and DovBear have both put up posts today about Rabbi Aryeh Ginzberg’s article in the Five Towns Jewish Times in which he expresses his outrage at Rabba Sarah Hurwitz’s being invited to be a scholar in residence at a shul in the 5 towns area. Here’s some thoughts I had when reading the article.

From Rabbi Ginzberg’s article:
"In this case, I know many will not be pleased, some will even possibly be angry at me for stirring the pot. But I have been asked by one of the senior gedolei ha’dor, as well as by several of my distinguished colleagues, to bring to the attention of the general community the great bizayon haTorah, the degradation of the gedolei Torah, that took place in our community this past Shabbos."
Who is this super secret godol hador? Why can’t he be quoted? This is what’s sickening about the whole “daas torah” system. People are expected to faint in respect when even an anonymous “godol hador” is referenced. It’s absolutely ridiculous. And who are the “distinguished colleagues”? Why can’t they be named? I guess it’s good enough to say that they’re distinguished.

"[This article has been reviewed and approved by several other community rabbanim as well, whose names will be available from the editor upon request.]"
OK, so it’s nice that the names are available upon request. Why can’t they just be mentioned in the article? What are they all afraid of? If I wasn’t at work, I’d call up the editor right now. Can someone reading this undertake that?

"one maverick individual, a rabbi from Riverdale"
Is this along the same lines? We all know he’s referring to Rabbi Avi Weiss. Is there some fear that by saying his name he’ll legitimize Rabbi Weiss? Maybe this way he doesn’t have to capitalize “rabbi”.

"This unified call for condemnation of the breach of tzniyus and mesorah was unprecedented in that similar calls were heard from the Rabbinical Council of America (albeit in different words) and from the roshei yeshiva of Yeshiva University’s Rav Yitzchak Elchanan Seminary, led by the gaon and posek Rav Herschel Schachter, shlita."
See! I, Rabbi Ginzberg, bring in Rabbi Schachter, and call him a gaon (shlita!) in a brazen attempt to sway what I naively think is the modern orthodox world.

"The unprecedented public outcry at this breach in mesoras Yisrael that was heard from every Orthodox organization, including the National Council of Young Israel"
Another organization that R Ginzberg seems to think is Modern Orthodox, so drags in to bolster his case.

"Those words sent a loud and clear message to all who heard them: the unified words of our gedolei Torah and distinguished rabbonim mean absolutely nothing. The concept of da’as Torah, emunas chachamim, and kavod for talmidei chachamim are all ancient ideas that are to be tossed to the side, along with our ancient mesorah, all for the sake of feminism and perceived equality."
Right, deference should be given to a group of old, out of touch men who have no clue what it going on in the real world and want to just protect some idealized cloistered false version of the shtetl. Meanwhile, any rabbi who does support the Maharat program is automatically disqualified from being one of the “distinguished rabbonim”. Kind of a catch-22, no?

"Several months ago, when this issue came to the forefront and the gedolim all spoke in a unified voice as to the dangers that this brings to our community, some took a different position and publicly attacked the position of the gedolei Yisrael."
Who decided that those people (still unnamed) are the “gedolei yisroel”?

"I want to emphasize a thousandfold and to be very clear that this has absolutely nothing to do with the intellectual capacity or even book knowledge of Ms. Hurwitz (whom I never met). She may be proficient in the entire Shach and Taz (which I have no way of knowing, yet I am highly doubtful)."
Notice that in the same paragraph in which he supposedly is trying to show his fairness to Rabba Hurwitz, he also insults her and all women by saying that he’s “highly doubtful” of her torah knowledge. On what basis?

"Unfortunately, with my Rebbe’s passing over two years ago, I don’t have him to consult with on these types of issues."
So I have to try to think for myself, a novel concept to me.

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