Not Taking A Stand

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A specific Left Wing Modern Orthodox yeshiva was recently maligned in a newspaper, as is being discussed on other blogs. I find many of the critiques unfair and this whole episode distressing. However, because there are significant areas with which I disagree with the yeshiva’s policy, I choose not to defend it because of the risk of seeming to be one of its supporters. Instead, let me quote the following from R. Binyamin Yehoshua Silber’s approbation to R. Moshe Tzuriel’s Otzar Gedolei Yisrael (as translated by R. Daniel Eidensohn in Da’as Torah, p. 38):

[I]t is not surprising that there is in this era–immediately preceding the Messianic Era–an increased problem of internal splits and divisions between religious Jews supposedly for the sake of Heaven. Even if we are only lacking in this ability to communicate [without heated disputes] that itself is indicative of divisions and factionalism. Therefore, [to aid in achieving this full communication] it is important to be aware of the variety of legitimate approaches and therefore it is good to gather them together…. [Therefore] in this generation–standing at the very end ofexile–there is a greatly increased desire to create divisions. Consequently, we must strive to minimize the barriers to communications to fulfill the words of the prophet [Malachi (3:16), Then the religious people will speak to each other.]

(If it seems from this post that I am easier on Left Wing Modern Orthodox than Right Wing Charedi, then it is a misimpression. The opposite is the case.)

About Gil Student

Rabbi Gil Student is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of TorahMusings.com, a leading website on Orthodox Jewish scholarly subjects, and the Book Editor of the Orthodox Union’s Jewish Action magazine. He writes a popular column on issues of Jewish law and thought featured in newspapers and magazines, including The Jewish Link of New Jersey, The Jewish Echo and The Vues. In the past, he has served as the President of the small Jewish publisher Yashar Books and as the Managing Editor of OU Press. Rabbi Student serves on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America and as Director of the Halacha Commission of the Rabbinical Alliance of America. He also serves on the Editorial Board of Jewish Action magazine and the Board of OU Press. He has published five English books, the most recent titled Search Engine volume 2: Finding Meaning in Jewish Texts -- Jewish Leadership, and served as the American editor for Morasha Kehillat Yaakov: Essays in Honour of Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks.

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