Tuesday, May 17, 2005

More of my mussar

I'm in limited email correspondance with a Reform Rabbi. I don't know her very well at all, but she strikes me as a legitimately religious person. Not observant. Religious.

Anyway, she didn't like the triumphalism present on the comment thread of Bopping Bishy, and can you really blame her?

Here is what she wrote:
I am too cowardly to take on the entire orthodox blogosphere right now. You know my philosophy: decline a battle you know you cannot win.

I am up to my ears in tending to the vineyard of the Lord from my blasphemous Reform perspecitve. (Yes, Reform rabbis actually learn and teach Torah, celebrate with bride and groom, attend the bereaved, and bury the dead k'halacha) Tomorrow, I bury the AIDS patient that the Orthodox refused a Jewish funeral. This is why our numbers are growing, while Bishul Akum dances on our apocryphal grave.

(I doubt many of the people here could define Reform Ideology. We are having enough trouble doing ourselves.)

Anyways, I don't have the time, or the calm to take the bait. Maybe after the Omer when I'm not so overwhelmed trying to attend to the Jews nobody else will help.

Who me bitter? Nah baby nah.
Here's what we must remember: The Reform Jewish conscience is not a human failing. It is another kind of conscience. It has reasons. It is a thing of principle, not a thing of taste.*

We, on the Orhtodox side of the fence, may not agree with the Reformist take on law and theology, but we must not condecend to Reform Judaism by regarding it as moral corruption, when it is, in fact, a moral creed. Orthodox Jews are often punctilious about serving God, but they can usually learn somehting from less-than-Orthodox Jews about serving man.

Of still more importance is this: Until proven otherwise, Reform Jews are Jews. And we drive Jews away from Judaism at our own peril
*Yes, sharp-eyed readers. I've paraphrased something Leon Weiseltier once said on another subject.