Monday, July 10, 2006

Driving Rabbi Kagen

DF writes:
I heard this old story once about a Rebbe who wouldn't ride in a carriage with a driver who didn't cross himself when they passed a church. He thought he was safer with a believer.

Reading this post, I know now that the Rebbe was wrong.
I've heard this story a few times. In one version, the rebbe who wanted a believing Christian to hold his carriage reins was none other than Yisrael Meir Kagan, aka the Chofetz Chaim.

The official DovBear response? Yeah, right.

And you can quote me.

My unsubstantiated hunch is that the story about the CC and his carriage-driver was dreamt up by GOP Jews for the purpose of justifying their own facination with the Christian right. The Chofetz Chaim, who lived toward the end of the great secularization of Europe, would have known the secularists of his time were commited to things like emancipation and equal rights. He would have known that it was secularists, not believers, who had defended Jews during ourpourings of Christian hate such as the Damascus Affair, the Mortora crisis, the Kishinev pogrom, and the Beilis trial.

While secularists were extending rights and privelages to Jews in every place where they held power, believers were fighting mightily to rebuild ghetto walls and to strip Jews of those rights. While secularists insisted that all men were equal under the law, believers were eagerly spreading the slanders of Jewish parasites and the world-controlling Jewish financiers.

Unless the Chofetz Chaim knew absolutely nothing about the world in which he lived, there is no doubt in my mind that he would have preferred the company of a secularist.

No comments: