29 June 2017

Answer to Assimilation - Just Call Everybody a Jew

5 Tamuz 5777

I purposely did not say "make" everybody a Jew, because that's not what these "private" conversions are about. The conversions being discussed in this Ynet article, Tzohar chairman: Conversion bill could split Jewish people, is about just sticking the Jew label on people who have no intention of observing the Law of the Jews, aka Torah.

Those who brought these non-Jewish Russians to Israel are the ones responsible for them. It is not now the job of Orthodox Jewish authorities to clean it up for them by waving a magic wand and declaring them all Jewish. The day after, nothing at all will have changed. They will still be non-Jews if they don't convert leshem Shamayim.

I really dislike "Modern" Orthodox who make a habit of pitting Jew against Jew in their misguided struggle against chareidi influence in the state. I remember when Mayor Barkat appeared at the OU Israel Center in Jerusalem in his first campaign and he referred to "us" (MO and secular) as opposed to "them" (Chareidim).

Rabbi Stav of Tzohar does that when he claims erroneously that keeping all conversions within the Chief Rabbinate's purview "would mean hundreds of thousands of people who have been prevented from converting by extreme groups inside the ultra-Orthodox world would be permanently blocked...."

Are we to believe that abiding by Torah law and halachah which we have followed for centuries is now to be considered "extreme"? I have some experience with the Rabbanut's conversion courts and process and no one is "permanently blocked". At any point that they can convince the courts that they are sincere in their desire to convert according to the halachah, even if they were previously rejected, they will be converted. This is just hyperbole and scare tactics by Tzohar because they know these 400,000 Russians, most of them Xians, will never convert k'halachah because they just want to be called Jews, not actually be Jews.

Rabbi Stav further claims,“This bill will cause the rise of two Jewish peoples by preventing hundreds of thousands of people who want to convert from converting,”.... Does he mean the actual Jewish people and those who claim to be Jewish, but aren't? It's impossible for there to be more than one Jewish people. It's a nonsensical statement meant only to incite.

Again, among these people being rejected by the Rabbinate are those who only want to be called Jews (or want to be allowed to marry Jews), they don't actually intend to be Jewish. The Xians among them will go to the local Messianic Jews and think that makes them ok.

Thank God for the Chareidim. They are our last line of defense as everyone else seems to want to allow everything regardless of any consideration of Torah or halachah. In my opinion, anything that calls itself "Modern" is already suspect!

And this is why more and more dati leumim are going to become chardalim (like me).
Are Disenchanted Bayit Yehudi Voters Moving To Yishai’s Yachad Party?
...it seems that the voters are not ready to wait and many voters and supporters of the chardali (chareidi dati leumi) party, Yachad, are moving over to Yishai now.
So, the birur continues and this, in my opinion, is the wave of the future. "Modern" is going to have to make a choice whether to go more chardali or go to the "Open" which is really Conservative which itself is really no different foundationally than Reform, i.e. no longer Judaism. The middle has shifted. The real center is today considered by many to be "extreme". 

Where the Truth is extreme, I'll be happy to be called "extreme."


  1. Where can one find a list of the different groups (i.e. dati leumi, chardal etc.). I still don’t know what they are and who they are. I notice that different groups dress differently, as a badge of their religiosity. I don’t like ‘uniforms’ and prefer ‘halachic Jew’. Maybe you could list them all for your readers, who might not know who’s who. I know I’d appreciate that.

    1. I don't know of a list. I imagine if you asked Israelis to define these terms you'd get a lot of different answers. I'll have to be very simplistic here. Generally speaking, and according to my understanding, there are four main groups in Israel - chilonim (secular), traditional (would include any level of observance not termed Orthodox), dati leumi (national religious, settler types to Modern Orthodox - nationalists re: the state, the army, etc. as a rule), chareidim (usually refers to anyone who wears black hats, coats and wigs, may or may not be nationalistic.)I think most Israelis lump the chassidim in and the media likes to use the term "ultra"-Orthodox which I know no one who uses that term. As you know there is a wide, wide spectrum within each group which can be broken down further.

      The chardal is something of more recent invention. It includes not only dati leumi who lean towards the chareidi hashkafa regarding things like the State, army service, da'at Torah, secular culture, etc., but it also includes chareidim who are moving towards the dati leumi hashkafa in some more desirable ways, too. Hopefully combining the strengths and positives of both.

      It's hard for me to put into words. I feel that both dati leumi and chareidi have both positive and negative aspects. Chardal, to me, is combining the positives and eliminating the negatives from both sides. I see it as a wholy desirable development which is only going to grow in the future. It's not defined so much by the group you physically associate with, but the worldview that informs your actions within your group.

      Sorry, it's hard for me to explain and it's a purely subjective understanding after all.

  2. Agree. Your last line is quotable!

  3. Devash: My husband and I converted through the RCA into a Modern Orthodox community. I don't like the term 'modern' because of what it not so subtly implies for other Jews. My husband and I have become more and more drawn to Chassidut over the years. Can you suggest a reading list so we can become more knowledgeable? Forgive me for going off topic ..

    1. Besides Rambam's Mishneh Torah, the two books that mean the most to me are Derech Hashem by the Ramchal and Or Hara'ayon (2 volumes) by Rabbi Meir Kahane.

  4. I like to call myself a radical monotheist because anyone dedicating themselves to G-d in this world is thought to be extreme.

  5. Absolutely agree with every word you wrote here. Also, just to add about 'extremes'; it's been clear that the more the Jewish world has become assimilated where Torah has become completely foreign to them, the more extreme (with all kinds of added chumros) the chareidim became. Believe this was their way of keeping Yiddishkeit intact. Like everything in this world, extremism brings an opposite extremism. The more unJewish and G-Dless the reform movement and their affiliates become, the chareidim feel they need to insulate themselves even more than before and, B'H, for that. We need to realize that there is only one 'Judaism' and that is Torah and there are no denominations in Torah and no veering away from it in any way.
    One Torah, one people, one Land and, of course, ONE G-D! There is only Hashem - Ein Od Milvado!

    1. Recommended books to strenghten true yiddishkeit inside accd to the mesorah:
      -all the works of Rabbi Samson Rafael Hirsch
      - anything that the Chofetz Chaim (R'Israel Meir Kagan) wrote
      - all the Perushim on the Torah of the Rishonim
      - Shaarei Tshuva of Rabbeinu Yonah MiGerona

      Comment to your writings about the charedim:
      I guarantee you one thing, as soon as you know the whole Shulchan Aruch you will see that most things the Charedim do that you claim to be a Chumra is Stam Halacha Lechatilla. Learn and you will see. No Chumrot a all. The Chumrot are kept private e.g. to use the knife for schechita only 1 time, to make your own wine, to keep stricter opinions in halacha without the onlooker seeing it, etc.

  6. Rabbi Samson Rafael Hirsch would be considered "Modern" in his times. But today, the Rav is highly respected within Charedi circles in the Diaspora. Even the Chofetz Chaim's views on certain topics may be considered extreme today and not many "modern" Charedim would abide by them. I wish Moshe Rabbeinu were here today so that he can straighten us out. Boy do I miss him!

    1. Rabbi SR Hirsch is not modern at all and was not considered like that. The one who claims this never learned him. He used High German to talk and write, this was his modern thing. Please inform yourself, what the Magid of Mesritch and the Ksav Sofer said about him. There is almost nothing higher than him. He is pure Mesorah, just like it has to be, all based on Gemara and Tanach. He fought anything modern (Reform and others of satan's ilk) to the blood. I talked to a Chavrusah of the Chazon Ish, an Elder of our generation, he combines yichus from Rashi and the Arizal, he told me years ago to learn the commentary on the Chumash of Rav SR Hirsch in manner to straighten out my Haskafah and understanding of the Torah accd to the true Mesorah. He also knew the Chofetz Chaim personally and said one should go with the Mishna Brura, bc this is a secure and true path for our time. In my opinion you should proceed along that and not care modern/non modern/charedi, whatever. Our target is to be a simple jew, a halachic jew, a klal jew ... in my opinion it's not possible today to be this except in a charedi neighbourhood, it must not be extreme or chassidish, but more like Lakewood/Ponovicz yeshiva, sth like that.

  7. Why on earth would anyone want to be called a Jew and not really be one? Do they think they're getting the best of both worlds? After all, at the end of 120 years a person who is declared converted is judged just like a Jew. If he/she didn't intend to follow the Halacha - too bad. If they thought Jews got away with anything and they hoped to go for the ride, they have another thing coming.

    If you feel I'm writing about you, this is your warning.