Sunday, May 29, 2005

Chana v. Toby

If you read my comments, you've seen this already. It's Chana's answer to Toby's rebutal of Chana's complaint about a post Toby published at CrossCurrents(Jewish)

I thought Chana's objection deserved a wider audience:

..the real point of my message ]was] the double-standards you hold. The double-standard where you claim Jews cannot understand the Holocaust without the prism of Jewish History, but apparently whites can understand blacks without the prism of black history, and men can understand women without the prism of women's history.

The fact that you think that whites can ever learn to have the same feeling as a black child when they sit in class and hear about the Civil War is laughable. More than that, it goes against the Torah. We are consistently reminded to be kind to the convert because "we were strangers in Mitzrayim/Egypt." Not, if you notice, because of the bond of our common humanity. Rather because of our personal experiences. We are reminded to be kind to the orphan and widow. If the Torah does not have a single extra word, and this was something that could have been inferred due to our "common humanity," don't you think it would have skipped on that reminder?

Do you think men can ever truly understand the way in which society degrades women? I believe Shmuley Boteach has just recently written a book on it. Are men portrayed as nothing more than playthings? Are men shown in all kinds of offensive postures in pornography? Have they suffered through a history that discriminated against them? Have whites suffered through a history where they were discriminated against? No. And since they have not, there will never be the bond of experience to cement understanding. No, empathy and understanding CANNOT be learned in this situation. It is experience that binds us together. Do not be cruel to the convert, because you, too, were once strangers in Egypt. Not because of common humanity. Because of common experience.

Which whites and blacks, male and female, do not share. Which a woman who has never lost a child cannot share with one who has. Sympathy, perhaps. Never empathy.

And this is what you fail to understand. All Jews can empathize with one another about the Holocaust, because all Jews went through it. Those who have been through any kind of genocide, the Rwanda genocide for instance, though Non-Jewish, can empathize with Jews. It has nothing to do with "Hitler being our posek." It has to do with the bond of experience that we share. That Jews, even without a "sense of history," have, simply because they know of the Holocaust, have been taught of the Holocaust. The Holocaust is the single most binding Jewish experience we know of in this time. To claim a Jew is "obsessive" or his actions are "pornographic" because he is unaware of his history is to be close-minded and extremely condescending.

Experience, not common humanity. That's what I was stressing. That's what you failed to understand. A majestic failure.

I dare you to post this rebuttal in its entirety. I feel reasonably sure you will not do so. Unless, perhaps, I have shown you a small glimpse of the truth. Somehow, I doubt it.
Chana Homepage 05.29.05 - 12:57 am