Thursday, December 21, 2006

A question for my conservative friends

Do you sing the paragraph [*] of Maoz Tzur that is about destroying the red states?

No, I don't sing it with any extra gusto, but please don't deny that deep thinkers on the right would be making something from this on their own lame blogs if "red: equaled "East coast liberal" instead of "toothless, NASCAR-loving hillbilly."

[*]D'chay admon / destroy the red one [...] hokaym lonu roim shivaa / restablish for us the seven shepherds

Ok, let me be serious for second. As discussed before, Edom, or the Red One, is a longtime stand-in for Christianity. The seven shepherds are: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Aaron, Joseph, and David. The author of the sixth stanza of Maoz Tzur (who is not the author of the other five) reeling from the shock of persecutions and expulsions, is asking God to intervene once more on behalf of his people and to defeat our enemies.

Is that relevant today? Maybe. We're not longer under attack, thank God, and most Christians are liberal minded - or at least moderate minded - when it comes to the issues that matter most to Judaism. However there are exceptions.

In 2006 we have our own Hellenizers, men like Daniel Lapin who rejoice at finding common ground between Judaism and the most backwards and least tolerant of Christians. Unfortunately, this common ground is almost always achieved by diluting Judaism. Our positions on abortion or homosexuality or any of the moral issues that animate appeasers like Lapin are richer and more complex and more ambiguous than the Evangelical's absolute 'No.' As readers of the Rabbis are aware our thinking on evolution and the age of the universe is also more accomodating than Christianity's. Samson Rephael Hirsch, for example, was famously flexible about evolution. And the Tiferes Yisroel thought Adam's children married pre-Adamic 'men.'

All of that great Jewish diversity is in danger of being forgetten if our goal becomes out-fruming Evangelical Edom. As we rush to show that we Jews are moral, too, the danger is we'll forget the nuances and details of our own rich tradition. It's already happened on bad blogs like Cross Currents where all doubt about deep questions has been replaced with the smugness of certainty.

NOTE: Post has been modified to make it's point more narrow, and stronger.

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