Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Tragic color blindness

A guest post by Y. Bloch

Have you wondered what Rabbi Avi Shafran has been up to? Don't worry, the Agudath Israel of America spokesman has not dismounted from his heresy hobby horse. Yesterday, while others might have been thinking about the passing of Rav Ovadya Yosef, he was back to hammering YCT with "True and tragic colors: Yeshivat Chovevei Torah is simply not what it claims." Of course, you can also read it on Cross-Currents, but you can't comment there.

R. Shafran begins by lambasting Rabbi Ben Elton's piece on the Grossgemeinde controversy. Let it never be said that any Orthodox rabbi co-operated with Reform rabbis in 19th-century Germany: no, there was some sort of Hyde Amendment to make sure that frum money was not used to fund heterodox activities.

He returns to many of his favorite YCT quotes, which he may or may not carry around in his wallet in laminated form. They prove that the yeshiva and its affiliates are nothing but a font of heresy, according to R. Shafran. Sympathy with gays, engaging with biblical criticism, reassessing the centrality of dogma in Judaism--truly, these are "tragic colors" to show. Personally, I avoid the tragic color section at Home Depot, but what do I know? I do know that R. Shafran and Agudah condemned every innovation introduced by Rabbi Avi Weiss, long before any of these opinions were voiced. Many of those innovations have become normative in modern Orthodoxy.

But back to the heresy:

Such positions espoused by YCT leaders (and those are but a few of many such examples) are run-of-the-mill notions in the non-Orthodox rabbinic world. They wouldn’t raise any eyebrows in non-Orthodox circles. But how do they comport with “car[ing] very much about Torah and mesorah”? There can be only one answer: they don’t.

See, folks, it's that easy. Your care setting must be set to "Torah and mesorah." There's no way to allow any other sort of considerations. That might cause your true, tragic colors to run, and it would be the saddest laundry day ever. 

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