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Saturday, December 11, 2010

Mark Madoff and Ira Stup, Confused Jews

Mark Madoff was Bernie Madoff's son.  Was is the key word here.  Apparently two years after it was officially revealed that his father's investment business was just a very successful scam, a Ponzi scheme, he committed suicide

Talk from the beginning was how strange that the sons weren't arrested along with the father.  Could they really have been totally ignorant of the true nature of the business that had given them such a richly comfortable life? They had good jobs in the firm.

Just today, at the Shabbat table, Pirkei Avot, Ethics of the Fathers, was mentioned, especially the mishne Chapter II, 8
"...the more possessions the more anxiety...But the more Torah the more life, the more schooling the more wisdom; the more counsel the more understanding; the more righteousness the more peace. If a man has acquired a good name he has gained something which enriches himself; but if he has acquired words of the Torah he has attained afterlife."
Too many possessions is not my biggest problem, thank G-d.  I hope that the Madoff family get their legal and religious affairs in order.  Apparently, not being jailed isn't the blessing some would think.

And who's Ira Stup?  The New York Times' Roger Cohen has made him famous, the new poster child for the supposedly well-intentioned Jew who doesn't know what Jewish values really are.  I found it very amusing that Cohen's article is called "The 'Real Jew' Debate."  Do Cohen or Stup really think that they who live abroad (out of the Land of Israel) and pick and choose whatever Jewish Laws if any to observe consider themselves experts in Judaism and Jewish values?

I find Cohen's description of Stup being “intoxicated with Jewish democracy” as one of the most peculiar descriptions imaginable.  "Intoxicated," drunk, out of control, stupefaction, stimulation, or excitement by or as if by use of a chemical substance...  I consider that a negative term.  Someone intoxicated doesn't know what he's doing, is judgment impaired.  And "Jewish democracy?”  There is no such concept.  It doesn't exist in genuine, Torah Judaism.  When I think of "democracy," a majority vote in the Bible, I immediately think of the Sin of the Spies. 

Very soon after the exodus from Egypt, G-d tells Moses to send a representative of each of the twelve tribes to tour the Promised Holy Land just before the Jewish People were to enter the Land.  The plan was for them to return with an encouraging report to enthuse the people to immediately enter and settle the Land.  Unfortunately, that didn't happen.  The majority, ten out of twelve, voted that it would be too hard, too dangerous and the people, democratically, voted with the majority.  They rejected the reports of Joshua and Caleb.  That's why they were punished with forty years of wandering.  That generation had to die off before entering the Land led by Joshua.

So, simply put, Cohen and Stup seem to be in the camp of those supporting the ten sinning spies, favoring democracy, rather than G-d's will.  Judaism is not some version of Liberalism and all sorts of Left wing ideologies.  Don't fall for the big scam.


Bryan said...

The Story of the Spies doesn't necessarily preclude democracy. One could also interpret it as a story of what happens when democratic leaders fail. Even if 10 of the spies were genuinely afraid of what they saw in the Promised Land, they could have said, "Well, there are going to be X, Y, and Z problems, but we should go anyway." Instead, the 10 spies missed the point of the mission and reported only negatives.

One could say that the failure of the 10 Spies was simply not being in tune with G-d's intentions. It wasn't the people's fault that they voted out of fear; it was the fault of the leaders who failed to give them the necessary information to make an educated decision, and they failed in this because they didn't understand what the mission really was, which was to provide evidence that the Promised Land was all it was cracked up to be.

Batya said...

Democracy isn't what it's "cracked up to be."

Anonymous said...

Check Ira Stup's articles in the Columbia Spectator to discover that his intoxications are wide-ranging and unnatural. Not your average middle-class Jewish student as Cohen in the Times tried to portray him.

Batya said...

So chalk that up to another Roger Cohen "miss-information."

Anonymous said...

This is sad...but why can't Jews just live as straight shooters???

They always go on spying (Pollard) or running scams (Madoff) or planning wars & chasing power (Scooter Libby)- they just can't live quietly and do their jobs like everyone else can they? Most other communities in the US can- Turks, Greeks, Iranians, Vietnamese, Jamaicans, etc. Why not the Jews?

"Jews, Jews, Jews, always in the News, News, News"!!!

Batya said...

a, so how do you explain all the non-Jewish criminals?