Monday, October 24, 2011

Birnbaum piles on

A Rabbi Avrohom Birnbaum is the latest member of the Orthodox clergy to publish a screed against Open Orthodoxy in general, and Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky in particular. The article offers nothing new, and is mostly polemics and ignorance wrapped in self-righteousness.

Instead of providing a rational halachic argument against the YCT sponsored innovations, we get the usual Torah True mix of insults and name calling. I don't know why calm discussion is so difficult for those types. Really, what is so hard about saying you can't do [whatever] for [these reasons]? Is it because no such reasons exist? Well, even so, why can't Birnboaum and his ilk offer an argument based on meta-halachic considerations? Instead of scare tactics, threats, and hyperbole, can't they just say "We think its important for Orthodox Judaism to retain a certain form, or tzura, and we don't think that form can be changed cavalierly." That's a perfectly reasonable point of view. Why don't the enemies of Open Orthodoxy present this point of view calmly and develop it intelligently?

Though his article is loud, nasty and boring, Birnbaum does give us one interesting line:
I have absolutely no doubt that if they were alive today, the roshei yeshiva would treat Open Orthodoxy and all of its mutations with the same stringency.
Here, the author is using a method he disdains. Presumably Rabbi Kanefsky also has "absolutely no doubt" what the sages would say about certain blessings if they lived today and saw what we see. Such "knowledge", however, is never admissible in a halachic argument... Or so I thought.

Anyway, if we're going to play that game, I have "Absolutely no doubt" that our Rishonim would strongly oppose Hasidut, segulahs, black hats and the rest of what is correctly called modern nonsense.

Is Rabbi Birnboum willing to accept the consequences of this line of thought?

Search for more information about whiny, loud-mouthed, pointless, sinas chinan breeding objections to YCT at

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