" 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)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A Pop Quiz For The RCA

Disclaimer: The following post should not be taken as an attack against individual rabbis within the RCA. My problem is with the organization itself, which purports to represent  a segment of the "orthodox Rabbinate", and then releases a statement that is contrary to Halachah. A rabbinical organization has an obligation to formulate a statement from a Torah framework, without resorting to the kind of politically correct nonsense that one expects to hear from the Anti-Defamation League. Naturally, I have zero confidence in the RCA, which leads me to my next point. If there are individual rabbis within the RCA who disagree with the official position, I believe they have an obligation to publicly state their opposition and then rescind their membership. In this manner, they will be able to distance themselves from an egregious desecration of The Almighty's name. As a general rule, in the interest of maintaining respect for the Torah, one should accord respect to the individual rabbis within the RCA (Most of them anyway. Some have gone off the deep end.), despite the collective chillul Hashem of the organization's statement, which cannot go unanswered. Yahadut maintains that whenever there is a desecration of G-d's name, one cannot remain silent.

As Ricky Ricardo would say, the RCA has some "splainin to do." I'm still waiting for a comprehensive Halachic statement from the RCA which addresses the issue of renting and selling property to non-Jews in the land of Israel. After all, they were the ones who interfered when several Tzfat Rabbis stated the Halachic prohibition of selling or renting property to Arabs  in Israel. According to the RCA, the issue is more "complex", yet in their entire statement they neglected to mention even one Torah source. Somehow, I don't think that Rav Soloveitchik (of blessed memory) would have authored such a statement (whatever his position would have been). So much for their commitment to "Halachic Man." So I'm waiting for something more substantial from the RCA. Something with meat in it. Perhaps there are sources that the Tzfat Rabbis are unaware of. I want to see these sources. Don't lecture us, without giving us a proper shiur

No. There were no Torah sources, but there were a lot of tired cliches from the PC obsessed RCA. Instead of Halachah, we were lectured on the need to show "special sensitivity to societal realities, widely-held ethical principles, and historical injustices." The RCA noted that, " it is wrong and unacceptable to advocate blanket exclusionary policies directed against minorities of other faiths or ethnic groups. Of all people, Jews should know that such practices are beyond the pale, having ourselves suffered from them in the past." Very moving of course, but what about the Halachah

I'm not finished with the RCA. I've got a pop quiz for them. Open book, in fact. It shouldn't be difficult for anyone who underwent the rigors of semicha (rabbinical ordination). The questions may seem a bit disjointed, but I assure you they were chosen with great deliberation. I wrote them because I am concerned with the theoretical mindset behind this recent RCA statement. The purpose of the quiz is to get a sense where they are coming from. Obviously, the "7 Nations" are not around anymore (see question 1) but a response to the question will tell us a lot about the hashkafah of the individual members. To ascertain if they are more modern than orthodox. To gauge their perception of yahadut. (I'm considering emailing this quiz to the RCA, with a request to take my test. I don't expect that any of them will oblige me. Of course, my readers can also print up this post and hand it to their local RCA affiliated Rabbi. With respect of course. Always with respect.) 

The Jewish Fist Pop Quiz: Answer the questions as detailed as possible, citing any and all classical Torah sources that are available. Feel free to bring in the Acharonim.
  1. What was the Halachic mandate regarding the "7 Nations", when the Jews first entered Israel? 
  2. What were the Jews required to do with the rampant idolatry (temples, altars) ?
  3. What is a ger toshav? What are the criteria for becoming a ger toshav?
  4. What is the Halachah regarding selling or renting property to non-Jews in Israel? (What did you expect, that I wouldn't ask this?)
  5. What is Judaism's classical approach to individuals who want to convert Jews to another faith? 
  6. May Jews date or marry non-Jews? 
  7. What is a milchemet mitzvah? How does the Halachah instruct us to treat the enemy, during a milchemet mitzvah?
  8. In your opinion, was Matityahu, the Hasmonean priest, correct in slaughtering the idolatrous Jew in Modiin? If yes, what halachic justification can be cited for killing a man without following the standard halachic procedure of justice?
  9. The Torah speaks of an ongoing war "from generation to generation" against the nation of Amalek, including an eventual final showdown where Amalek is obliterated. How do you rationalize the original mandate (as well as any implications for the future) which calls for collective annihilation against seemingly innocent members of society? In your understanding of the issue, will the future war with Amalek require us to slaughter men, woman, and children? 
  10. Is Israel's current democracy consistent with the Halachah? Theoretically, would it be proper for an Arab to become Prime Minister if Israeli demographics were to change? What should a religious Jew do when the secular state of Israel engages in actions that contradict or violate the Torah? May one evict Jews and tear down Jewish homes?
Oh, and one last thing, before I forget. I expect Torah answers to these Torah questions.

1 comment:

  1. http://choppingwood.blogspot.com/2010/12/selling-land-to-arabs-pre-post.html


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