Sunday, June 1, 2008

Sounds Like The Olde Time "Stevie Wonder"

Way back in the mid-1960's, we were wowed by stories of a young rabbi, who grew up just about a mile away from my childhood home. He was already a legend, having convinced his first rabbinic congregation to get off its "conservadox" fence and go all the way to Torah Judaism. Everyone referred to him as "Stevie Wonder."

Over the decades, even though he had left his then enormously successful rabbinic post, taking along many congregants and followers to Israel, I became disenchanted by his strict adherence to certain Left-wing ideologies and fence-sitting.

I was beyond words, furious, that as the monstrous Disengagement approached, Rabbi Shlomo Riskin hadn't opposed it fully, without apologies. Then when I was waiting to speak at an anti-Disengagement Rally, in Times Square, NYC, I was shocked to hear him announced as a featured speaker.

  • I wish I could write that since then he has taken a leadrship role in our struggle to settle, hold on to our precious Eretz Yisrael, the Land of Israel.
  • I wish I could write that he has used his great leadership powers and talents in the political sphere to give us an alternative to the tired, selfish and corrupt politicians.

Just here and there, we hear a spark of "seichel," intelligence, common sense, from him. This Friday's column in the Jerusalem Post is one of those. Here are some excerpts:

I am ashamed of a government whose prime minister, former president, former finance minister, former government ministers of health and internal security - among others - have charges of moral turpitude hovering over their heads, making a bitter truth of Natan Sharansky's quip that the difference between him and other Israeli ministers of state is that he was imprisoned before he joined the government. I am ashamed of a Chief Rabbinate which can summarily nullify the conversions of thousands of Israelis (even though they were performed by a court of Torah scholars) with crass indifference to the lives they are destroying, and disregarding the manifold biblical directives of how we are to love the proselyte. I am ashamed of the religious court judges who, in the name of the "purity" of Israel, are impervious of the cries of abused women, captives to husbands who either refuse to grant a get or demand a high ransom for them. I am ashamed of a politically controlled, coalition-driven system of religious court judges who disregard the compassion of the Talmud and have made our divinely given and just laws a cruel laughingstock for Jews and gentiles alike. I am ashamed that our political and religious leaders answer to a party rather than a constituency, that many of our politicians are motivated by profits rather than prophets, and many religious court judges seek grace in the eyes of those to their Right rather than in the eyes of the One above.

Most of all, I am ashamed that these "leaders" are not ashamed, and that, in a presumed democracy, individuals in high office hold onto their seats despite many opinion polls crying for their resignation.
I must say that I am ashamed that a man of Rabbi Shlomo Riskin's great potential hasn't been the leader we're praying for.

That means that G-d willing there is someone else who will lead us, and I pray that we will hear his voice and begin the process to Geula shleimah, complete Redemption.

Shavua Tov U'Mevorach

May you have a good and blessed week.


Anonymous said...

cgostThe explanation is so simple; the only religious, God-fearing Jew wanting to lead is Moshe Feiglin. And instead of one, there should be more. It's so easy to ridicule one guy, especialy if you can't field your own.

Rav Yitzhack Levi, former Mafdal, (who knows what party he belongs to now), is still following the old tactics - get into the knesset in order to latch on and influence the government.

The time has come for Jewish Leadership. Feiglin was right and Moti Karpel was right. Maybe Moshe is not the charismatic leader we need, but dammit, if he's soooo bad, then why hasn't the 'orange team' fielded someone else instead?! I'm sick and tired of voting for the losers, it's time the religious right runs for office. That would revitalise the disenchanted religious voters, anything else, like some stupid (no regrets about that word) initiative to 'unite' only in order to join the government instead of be the government is a waste of time, bitul torah, and prone to fail.

Batya, please tell your friends in National Union that whoever 'leads' should go for the gold.

Batya said...

Sorry, but I don't see Moshe Feiglin as a leader. I may agree with his policies, but leading is a skill he doesn't have. Davka, the evil Olmert has it.
But I do agree about Mafdal. It's a "special interest group" and shouldn't be a political party.

Hadassa DeYoung said...

Shalom, Batya!
Did R. Shlomo Riskin say not to refuse orders before the expulsion? I seem to remember R. Riskin aligning himself with the OU, which also said that the decision of the government must be upheld, ignoring the fact that Sharon was elected on an anti-expulsion platform and that an internal referendum opposed the expulsion.

I'm ashamed that religious Jews consider democracy something for which to strive. Judaism is not democracy and we shouldn't use the term democracy in a positive light.

Batya said...

For sure I was not happy with his "psak." Did you read my other posts about him circa Disengagement?
I was tempted to boo him off the podium at Times Square. But it wouldn't have done us any good. He was gone before it was over, so I couldln't speak to him.

Anonymous said...

The problem is that only about 5% of the population agrees with your political and religious outlook. And then when that 5% doesn't get its way you get disillusioned with democracy!

You could easily get a majority to agree that giving the Palestinians a state is stupid. But you'll never get a majority to agree that it's assur. Once you realize that, you will begin to have political influence.

Batya said...

tzori, 5%? Where do you get your statistics? Many more agree.
Besides that, I don't follow the majority. It doesn't make it right.

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