Thoughts on Judaism

Thursday, May 19, 2011

May 21 is upon us

The date May 21st has been established as the date of the "rapture". That is when the Christian Bible says that true believers will be taken to heaven to sit out the terrible tribulation here on our planet. It even says that two people will be standing together and one will be taken and the other left, so it should be simple to discern that it happened.

On the remote chance that we exit Shabbat and enter the morning of Lag B'Omer with the world still full of Bible thumping Christian fundamentalists, including Harold Camping, what will the excuse be? And what of the Great Parade in Crown Heights? Does it matter which messianic leader and chasidic you believe in? Do they have Jews in heaven in Christianity? Kosher food? Chinese take out? This could go on forever. So many questions I could not care less about.

However, you gotta love Camping. There are some real lulus in the world, but it takes a special cheeseball to predict the end of the world on a specific day with undeniable effects. I wish I could watch the hem/haw interview. Oprah, magic healing queen, should do the honors. "So, Rev. Camping, you say that you miscalculated because G-d goes by the revised after leap years and daylight savings time are taken into account, and we must add the 70 years for the 4 four horsemen of the apocalypse and divide by the shoe size of Obama the Antichrist?"

I knew it would be locusts. I have already sprayed OFF on my clothes and treated the lawn with the antibug stuff. Who knows what the mark of G-d is? The tattoo parlors should know. It's their job.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Israel Independence and Chabad

Chabad leadership has disassociated themselves from a Chabad rabbi in Israel for taking part in a Yom Ha'atzma'ut ceremony with Moshe Holtzberg, the survivor of the horrific terror attack in Mumbai. Young Moshe is used by Chabad for the considerable PR he provides, but this attempt to use the child and his grandfather resulted in a mess. While the public face of Chabad strongly supports Israel, as a nation of refuge for Jews and homeland for Jews, the underlying Rabbinic authorities are embarrassed in front of Charedim and other Chasidim to assert this position. It is in fashion for Jews to assert their frumness by stating that, since Israel is not run by Torah law, it is evil at the core. Note that Rav Eliezrie rushed to apologize for the contradictory position by laying out the assertion that while Chabad is "Zionist" in a religious way, serving in the army and paying taxes, yet they are Zionists who reject the secular principles of the founding of Israel.

Rabbi, if that is the case, that you respect Israel as a nation and serve it, then why object to recognizing its founding? Even by your position, Chabad took actions that indicate a rejection of the legitimacy of the state itself, not those that would represent loyal opposition. By comparison, many Americans would consider some of our founding principles deeply problematic, (problems that could legitimately be said to extend into our times), but only the most radical would refuse to sing the national anthem or the pledge of allegiance. Certainly, even more radical would be the proposition that an American would be invited to participate in a ceremonial honor for a non-political purpose to the nation, and his group behind would emphasize that they do not support him. In this case, the participation of Rabbi Rosenberg and Moishe emphasizes the "refuge from persecution" aspect that they supposedly agree on with the state of Israel.

In previous generations, Chabad followed the other Chasidic groups and even enemy Charedi groups (yes, Chabad and Charedim were opponents!) in racing to denounce everything the "Tziyoni" did as secular, destructive to Judaism and not G-d's will. By contrast, Ben Gurion tried to develop a plan whereby the rights of religious and secular Jews could be guarded, in a "live and let live" state. The religious insisted upon the impossible standard of running Israel on Torah law. WHOSE TORAH LAW????!!!!!

Well, to carry their position to its logical conclusion, this is why Eliezrie does not support Rosenberg. He would like to see a state run on Torah law. When the forces of "Torah" get together, they will need to agree on a standard. Naturally, they will want to be inclusive of all groups. Therefore, they will adopt the strictest standard that anyone holds in any matter, by definition. Shaved heads and wigs for all women, enforced tznius to teh strictest known standard short of Burkas, no pictures of women, separate buses, all able bodied men learning Torah and not working as a matter of principle, withdrawal from all international bodies, political, educational, and athletic, education that forbids exposure to modern science and teaches ancient science as fact, nullification of conversions and divorces, even held under Orthodox auspices, enforced Shabbat observance, kashrut to the nth degree only, to the strictest known standard, beit din with the power to give makat mardut as it sees fit without check or control, including floggings, imprisonment, torture, even for things that are merely violations of their protocols. Are you scared yet? Are you packing your bags to move to Torah-run Israel? Pack a weapon, because even if you are as scrupulous as humanly possible, any number fo groups will automatically declare you a heretic and want to kill you. Internecine civil strife would be the rule until a strong dictatorial leader rose up, declared himself the Messiah with the help of some celebrity Rabbis, and killed, jailed or silenced everyone who disagreed with him in any matter. While the "Messiah" would not actually do any of the things that prove him the Messiah, he will be declared "b'chazkat Moshiach" until some undetermined future date.

Is that not the Israel you dreamed of? That is the Israel that Chabad would have us dream of. And they are supposedly the least crazy of all. So next time you hear a Chabad shaliach measure his words and tell you that, while they "support the state" (even though they oppose its founding principles, even ceremonially), they really want to improve it into a state that is run by the Messiah and Torah law, please consider what that really means.