" Thou comest to me with a sword and a spear and a shield, but I come to thee in the name of the L-rd of Hosts, the G-d of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast humiliated..." (I Samuel, 17:45-47)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Haskel Lookstein's Latest Disgrace!

I am always reticent to attack "orthodox Rabbis" even those that I have serious issues with. I understand that for the sake of kavod Hatorah the institution of the rabbinate needs to be respected. The exception is when an individual espouses a viewpoint or engages in an act that clearly steps outside the boundary of any normative Halachic position. At this point, the obligation of erasing the Chillul Hashem takes precedence and the kid gloves come off. Here I go.

Tonight's target of my indignation is "Rabbi" Haskel Lookstien of Manhattan's Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun. (I will no longer use the title "Rabbi" when referring to this loser.) Lookstien recently desecrated the Almighty's name in front of the entire world, when he participated in an ecumenical service in the national cathedral as part of Obama's inauguration ceremonies. This was a clear violation of Halachah.

This latest "Obamination" (in what for him has been a long history of abominations) was an all time low even for a notorious Hellenist such as himself. Let's put aside the more general Chillul Hashem of an "orthodox rabbi" supporting an anti-Semitic, black separatist, whose views on practically all social issues are against Halacha. That was bad enough. For a religious "rabbi" to enter a church and pray with members of another faith is another thing altogether. Lookstien is the spokesman for many "modern-orthodox" Jews who have now seen their Rabbi/mentor step into a church and pray with members of other faith communities.

The leaders of the RCA showed no courage when they merely criticized Lookstien and declared that his actions were in opposition to the RCA's position on such matters. Lookstien should have been bounced on his head for this outrage! Orthodoxy needs to spit this heretic out. Let him find refuge with leaders of the reform and conservative movements, who mix the sacred with the profane in the name of "tikkun olam".

Lookstien can rationalize his decision all he wants with such pathetic excuses as, "I thought it was my civic duty to honor the new President of the United States", and his talk of taking complete consideration of the Halachah when making his decision to participate. He can babble all sorts of nonsensical justifications for his latest sin, which resulted in an unprecedented disgrace of The Almighty's name. Were I a posek, I would unequivocally state that it is forbidden to pray in this man's synagogue.

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