R Basil Herring / It was said at the time that on 9/11 our world had changed forever. And indeed it was true – in the first place for the 2,976 grieving families who would never again see the smile, or experience the hug, of their husband, wife, mother, father, son, daughter, or cherished one. And in the second place, it was, and remains, true for those men and men in uniform who have protected each and every one of us with their exemplary selflessness. We are reminded of their heroic sacrifices large and small, offered in the penumbra of 9/11, whenever we see the names, and sometimes pictures, of the young, vital, and earnest, men and women in uniform killed before their time. Of course those who are “merely” wounded, in body or in soul, all too often remain unknown and unappreciated. But indebted we are, to all of them, for the fact that to date 9/11 has not been repeated on these shining shores in any similar fashion.

9/11 Ten Years Later

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Thoughts on 9/11/01 – In the Shadow of 9/11/11

Guest post by R. Basil Herring

Rabbi Basil Herring is Executive Vice President of the Rabbinical Council of America. He previously served as Executive Chairman of The Orthodox Caucus and the rabbi of congregations in Kingston NY, Ottawa Ontario and Atlantic Beach NY. His books include Jewish Ethics and Halakhah For Our Time: Sources and Commentary.

It was said at the time that on 9/11 our world had changed forever. And indeed it was true – in the first place for the 2,976 grieving families who would never again see the smile, or experience the hug, of their husband, wife, mother, father, son, daughter, or cherished one.

And in the second place, it was, and remains, true for those men and men in uniform who have protected each and every one of us with their exemplary selflessness. We are reminded of their heroic sacrifices large and small, offered in the penumbra of 9/11, whenever we see the names, and sometimes pictures, of the young, vital, and earnest, men and women in uniform killed before their time. Of course those who are “merely” wounded, in body or in soul, all too often remain unknown and unappreciated. But indebted we are, to all of them, for the fact that to date 9/11 has not been repeated on these shining shores in any similar fashion.

As to the rest of us, the shock, and the events, of 9/11 remain a searing memory, a wake-up call of epic proportion, much closer to home in both time and place than Pearl Harbor, made all the more immediate by the occasional warnings, alerts, security scares, or (in more mundane fashion) airport and building security lines, that have become an integral part of our comings and goings. We are after all a nation at war, a war that is without boundaries, against a militant Islamicist enemy that respects neither the universal conventions of warfare nor the unwritten codes of civilized behavior. And thus commits war crimes as a matter of course. Motivated by implacable religious fanaticism, and a determination to impose its will and its ways on the world, aided and abetted by hidden cells of religiously motivated malcontents in our midst, it is an enemy and a war of a religious character which, as recently as 9/10, few – if any – thought possible in a largely secular 21st century.

For us Jews, of course, 9/11 bears a whole other set of markers. The hijackers and those who sent them were the sworn enemies of Israel, and more generally of the Jewish people. By attacking the American homeland as they did, they brought home to all our fellow citizens, with vicious immediacy, the horrors that our Jewish brothers and sisters in Israel have come to know and endure. The moral cretins who turned civilian airplanes with their passengers and crews into murderous missiles, to sow mass death and destruction in the very shadows of the symbols of American liberty in New York and Washington, regard America and Israel as two sides of one coin – respectively the “Great Satan” and the “Small Satan.” In so doing they have forced an unwilling humanity to recognize the threat that they pose not just to the Jews of Jerusalem and Jaffa, but to Western civilization as we have come to know it in modern times.

But even closer to home, for those of us who are religiously observant Jews, the cruel and bloody events of 9/11 and the decade that has following in their wake, bear particular weight and instruction. I refer to the specter, to which we have been witness these years past, of the debasement and distortion of the teachings of a world religion at the hands of deeply flawed religious zealots who have led their followers astray. Each time we hear of another outrageous bloody incident deliberately inflicted on innocent civilians in the name of their faith, we should be thankful for the incomparably more redeeming ethos that is Halakhic Judaism, dedicated as it is to inculcating ethical values and moral sensitivities in the heart and mind of the Jew, as an individual and as a member of the collective. Starting in the Torah itself, and then proceeding and developing throughout the prophetic and rabbinic ages and legacies, ours is a faith and a religion that has served to elevate and refine the moral fiber and behavior of a flawed human nature. It is that which has conditioned and uplifted us to improve ourselves and the world we live in, in every realm, be it between Jew and Jew, Jew and non-Jew, or Jew and the natural world, step by painful, but necessary, step.

Which brings me to Parshat Ki Teitzei, and the pivotal comments of Rambam and Ramban on the mitzvah of shiluach ha-kan. Why does the Torah command us to send forth the mother from her domestic nest before taking her young? It is an ancient conundrum, they tell us, and there are varying views. But for these giants of the cruel and dark ages in which medieval Judaism found itself, the fundamental and enlightened purpose of such mitzvot is not in doubt. This ordinance – they teach us – was not given us because it benefits God, or because the Torah wants us to be kind to the bird (for if so, why permit us to take its young at all), but for the solitary, and salutary, purpose of making us better, more sensitive, more decent, more civilized people. By stopping to send a mother bird away, we are ourselves more purified of the dross of human fault, even (or perhaps especially) those that are so easily and commonly dressed up in the cover of a religious guise. So it is with shiluach ha-kan, and so it is with every mitzvah of the Torah in its halakhic adumbration, whether we understand it or not. It is all the same.

As we remember the awful events of 10 years ago, let us be mindful of the sacrifices of so many. Let us be thankful for all that we enjoy as citizens of these countries that have brought us liberty and security. And let us rededicate ourselves to be ever better human beings, better citizens, and more committed Bnei Torah and Bnei Mitzvah, so as to continuously improve our own moral character and actions, no matter our station in life, and in so doing to play our part in the certain defeat to come of those at home and abroad who would presume to do us, our fellow citizens, and our fellow Jews grievous harm.

About Basil Herring

Rabbi Basil Herring PhD has headed a number of congregations, taught at various colleges, published a number of volumes and studies in contemporary Halachah, medieval Jewish philosophy and Bible, and best Rabbinic practices. A past Executive Vice President of the Orthodox Caucus and Rabbinical Council of America (the RCA), he is the editor of the recently published Avodat Halev Siddur of the Rabbinical Council of America.

38 comments

  1. “In so doing they have forced an unwilling humanity to recognize the threat that they pose not just to the Jews of Jerusalem and Jaffa, but to Western civilization as we have come to know it in modern times.”

    Halevai! But not true, as we see time and again.

    “the debasement and distortion of the teachings of a world religion at the hands of deeply flawed religious zealots who have led their followers astray.”

    And here’s an example. Two questions:

    1. Is R’ Herring such a mumcha in Islam that he can say this? Has he read the Koran, the Hadith? Can this be said of *any* religion?

    2. Is it any more his business to say this than it would be of a Muslim to, say, take sides in the Beit Shemesh protests?

  2. 1. Irrelevant. One doesn’t need to have read the Koran or know the difference between Shia and Sunni and the name of the 7th Imam to know what happened on 9/11. Just like, l’havdil, l’shitasecha,one need not learn Masechta Shabbos with Rishonim and Acharonim to know that the Beit Shemesh protesters are dangerous.

    2. Yes. 9/11 made it his business, and ours, and yours.

  3. Yehupitz, I’m simply saying that Islam- good old “mainstream” Islam- *is* the problem, and R’ Herring is trying to avoid that fact.

  4. Joseph Kaplan

    And why exactly do you say that Nachum? Because you are such an expert? But let’s say you’ve read the Koran (have you, BTW?) and found things in it that urge violence against non-Muslims. So? You’ve read the Torah and nevi’im, I know, and thus you know that it speaks about slaughtering nations and killing children (Amalek anyone?). You want to open the door to maligning religions? From members of a group whose religion has been unfairly maligned for all too many thousands of years, it’s a dangerous, if not disgusting, thing to do.

  5. Ye’yasher kochakhem to all the distinguished interlocutors on this important topic. My understanding of how to approach this problem is based on what RYBS writes in Confrontation: there is simply no possibility of interfaith theological dialogue between orthodox religions. By definition, an orthodox religion believes itself to be true, to the exclusion of all other faiths. Because we live in an as-of-yet unredeemed world, we as Orthodox Jews are unable to convince other nations of our convictions. In our as-of-yet unredeemed world, we can only ask that governments preserve constitutional freedoms for all citizens to maintain freedom of religion and the preservation of law, so that we can practice Orthodox Judaism in a safe world. The 9/11 hijackers shattered the preservation of law, and so must be condemned.

  6. “Anonymous on September 9, 2011 at 3:02 am
    “In so doing they have forced an unwilling humanity to recognize the threat that they pose not just to the Jews of Jerusalem and Jaffa, but to Western civilization as we have come to know it in modern times.”

    Halevai! But not true, as we see time and again.

    “the debasement and distortion of the teachings of a world religion at the hands of deeply flawed religious zealots who have led their followers astray.”

    And here’s an example. Two questions:

    1. Is R’ Herring such a mumcha in Islam that he can say this? Has he read the Koran, the Hadith? Can this be said of *any* religion?

    2. Is it any more his business to say this than it would be of a Muslim to, say, take sides in the Beit Shemesh protests”

  7. “Anonymous on September 9, 2011 at 3:02 am
    “In so doing they have forced an unwilling humanity to recognize the threat that they pose not just to the Jews of Jerusalem and Jaffa, but to Western civilization as we have come to know it in modern times.”

    Halevai! But not true, as we see time and again.

    “the debasement and distortion of the teachings of a world religion at the hands of deeply flawed religious zealots who have led their followers astray.”

    And here’s an example. Two questions:

    1. Is R’ Herring such a mumcha in Islam that he can say this? Has he read the Koran, the Hadith? Can this be said of *any* religion?

    2. Is it any more his business to say this than it would be of a Muslim to, say, take sides in the Beit Shemesh protests”

    Agreed

    “Nachum on September 9, 2011 at 10:35 am
    Yehupitz, I’m simply saying that Islam- good old “mainstream” Islam- *is* the problem, and R’ Herring is trying to avoid that fact”
    Agreed

    “You’ve read the Torah and nevi’im, I know, and thus you know that it speaks about slaughtering nations and killing children (Amalek anyone?). You want to open the door to maligning religions? From members of a group whose religion has been unfairly maligned for all too many thousands of years, it’s a dangerous,…, thing to do”
    Agreed

  8. 1100 PM posted while I was beginning a post-as one can see it was part of my 1104 post

    “this problem is based on what RYBS writes in Confrontation: there is simply no possibility of interfaith theological dialogue between orthodox religions. By definition, an orthodox religion believes itself to be true, to the exclusion of all other faiths.”

    RYBS did not prohibit all non public interfaith discussions he did prohibit public interfaith theological dialogue.

  9. R’ Mycroft,
    Thank you for your kind response. I think we are articulating the same thesis, but I just wanted to confirm with you. Namely, my understanding of Confrontation is that RYBS envisaged as impossible any interfaith theological dialogue, whether private or public. However, RYBS did warmly encourage interfaith co-operation on secular issues (as RJDB writes in the conclusion of his most recent Tradition article, as well). As Mori VeRebbi R. Kaplan has pointed out on another occasion, this is somewhat different than RMF in IM YD 3:43, which is why RYBS did not respond to RMF’s request (-but, in any event, on the theological dialogue both RYBS and RMF advance the same position).

  10. Joseph, you’re engaging in a logical fallacy. In any event, *I’m* not the one telling Muslims how to follow their religion; I’m merely recognizing the true threat, which should be obvious to all who choose to see it.

  11. ” Namely, my understanding of Confrontation is that RYBS envisaged as impossible any interfaith theological dialogue, whether private or public. However, RYBS did warmly encourage interfaith co-operation on secular issues (as RJDB writes in the conclusion of his most recent Tradition article, as well). As Mori VeRebbi R. Kaplan has pointed out on another occasion, this is somewhat different than RMF in IM YD 3:43, which is why RYBS did not respond to RMF’s request”

    Agreed except to perhaps the interpretation of 3 words “interfaith theological dialogue”
    Al regel achat the issue is complex the Rav would permit discussions on issues such as repentance, Torah study, or the Sabbath. According to the Rav one could discuss social
    issues based on the religious secular order of Judeo-Christian ethics; the Rav allowed academic discussions of faith. The realm that was clearly prohibited was the presentation of faith commitments. One should look at what the Rav permitted during the roughly 20 years between 1960-1980-when the Rav was clearly in charge of the RCAs actions in this area. It is simplistic to make the distinction on secular vs theological-one has to see what the Rav permitted to see what the Rav believed.
    Perhaps frequent Hirhurim blogger and Rav expert Prof Kaplan could correct my comments.

  12. Nachum, Saying a threat is obvious does not make it so. And I didn’t think you were telling anyone how to follow their religion. I thought you were telling us what their religion mandates and, quite frankly, I don’t think you’re correct. Of course, I’m no expert, and if you are, I apologize. But for some reason I don’t think you’re any more expert than I. The difference is, I don’t go around accusing other religions of being dangers to humanity. I leave that to the anti-semites who accuse Judaism of that and to others who act similarly to other religions.

  13. Joseph, the threat is Islamic terrorists. And if they believe their religion mandates terror, then, yes, their religion mandates terror. It’s not my, or R’ Herring’s, business to tell them it doesn’t, and trying to do so is a fool’s errand. And closing one’s eyes to this is dangerous and foolish.

  14. Nachum: If an O Jew believes his religion mandates killing innocent Palestinian children that means that Judaism mandates the murder of innocents? Closing one’s eyes to terror is, indeed, foolish. Telling someone his understanding of his religion is incorrect (if you are not a member of his religion) is also foolish. And accusing a religion (as opposed to some who allegedly speak in the name of that religion) of mandating immoral actions simply because some members of that religion say it’s what their religion mandates is, in my view, yet another foolish and dangerous thing.

  15. Shalom Spira on September 10, 2011 at 11:54 pm
    R’ Mycroft,
    “Thank you for your kind response. I think we are articulating the same thesis, but I just wanted to confirm with you. Namely, my understanding of Confrontation is that RYBS envisaged as impossible any interfaith theological dialogue, whether private or public. However, RYBS did warmly encourage interfaith co-operation on secular issues (as RJDB writes in the conclusion of his most recent Tradition article, as well).”

    Almost certainly a better reply than I wrote can be found in

    http://www.bc.edu/dam/files/research_sites/cjl/texts/center/conferences/soloveitchik/Berger_23Nov03.htm by Prof David Berger

    “This, I think, is the real thrust of R. Soloveitchik’s position. Of course many elements of religious doctrine, of the content of religious belief, can be conveyed. The assertion that the great encounter between God and man cannot be communicated, applied in the same breath even to individuals of the same faith, cannot mean that no theological discourse is possible

    Since Rabbi Soloveitchik believed that untrammeled interfaith dialogue presumes to enter into that realm, he declares it out of bounds. Even though dialogue among believers concentrating on social issues has a religious dimension, it does not presume to enter that innermost realm, and its value therefore outweighs its residual dangers. If I am correct, then even theological discussion that knows its place would not be subject to the most radical critique in “Confrontation

    Rabbi Soloveitchik worried that theological dialogue would create pressure to “trade favors pertaining to fundamental matters of faith, to reconcile ‘some’ differences.” He argued against any Jewish interference in the faith of Christians both on grounds of principle and out of concern that this would create the framework for reciprocal expectations

    A prominent Jewish ecumenist denounced a Catholic document for implying that at the end of days, Jews would discover that the Messiah is after all Jesus of Nazareth. Such a denunciation is, in my view, a virtual reductio ad absurdum of the sort of interference in the faith of the other that Rabbi Soloveitchk warned about. As Dr. Korn notes, and as I emphasized in my reaction to Dominus Iesus, Cardinal Ratzinger’s expectation that Jews will recognize the truth of Christianity at the end of days is entirely unobjectionable, and it indeed parallels Rabbi Soloveitchik’s assertion of the eschatological confirmation of Judaism.

    I have already emphasized my understanding that Rabbi Soloveitchik was not asserting the categorical impossibility of all theological communication. Persuasive anecdotal evidence indicates that he worried about the lack of qualifications for such dialogue among most Orthodox rabbis, … One of the rabbis most committed to enforcing Rabbi Soloveitchik’s guidelines has told me on more than one occasion that his revered mentor had said that he trusted … to deal with theological issues in conversation with Christians”

    I accept what I quoted -I believe that there is a lot of revisionism about the Rav-his position was much more nuanced than generally believed-note of course that Cardinal Ratzinger referred to is the present pope.

  16. MY 1116 post quoted only segments of Prof Berger that I believed were relevant to my post-a reader can check the original in the website that I linked.

  17. Joseph: So we’re mostly agreed. I suppose we could say it comes down to whether you think, say, Catholicism and Methodism are the same religion.

  18. No, we’re not agreed. You first said “mainstream Islam” is the problem. Are you “such a mumcha in Islam that[you] can say this”? But you did. And it is that broad brush attack on “mainstream Islam” that is, if I may borrow your words yet again, “foolish and dangerous.” Talking about the all too many terrorists who are Moslems and who claim to commit their atrocities in its name is a different story.

  19. R’ Mycroft,
    Thank you for your kind words as well as for illuminating my eyes with the clarification and insights.
    I see now that Yigal Sklarin offers an analysis of Confrontation in Modern Judaism 29:3, pp. 351-386, which concludes: “When assessing Rabbi Soloveitchik’s attitude and opinion towards Jewish involvement and participation in the Second Vatican Council, his public statements, and private correspondences, echoed by the words of his close students provide tremendous insight into his multifaceted thinking. Both in public, in private and to his students Rabbi Soloveitchik presented a coherent, categorical, and definitive model toward involvement with the Council. While he advocated a singular approach, it was a duel faceted; we as Jews could engage the Church on a secular, social level, but not on a theological one. Even this peripheral participation, Rabbi Soloveitchik warned, must be heeded carefully and with tact, lest Jewish morals and self-respect be forfeited at the expense of short gained results.”

  20. Joseph Kaplan wrote in part:

    “accusing a religion (as opposed to some who allegedly speak in the name of that religion) of mandating immoral actions simply because some members of that religion say it’s what their religion mandates is, in my view, yet another foolish and dangerous thing.”

    Why? It is well documented that Islamic spokesmen speak one way to Western audiences and another way which is extremist, fascist and incorporates the worst elements of anti Semtism in the Arab world.

  21. Some Islamic spokesmen do, in fact, do that. So? Islam is a religion of hundreds of million (billion?) people, and many claim to be its spokesmen. Nachum made accusations not against certain Islamic spokesmen but against “mainstream Islam” and I objected to those statements against mainstream Islam. Are you saying that mainstream Isalm is a religion that preaches war and terror and the killing of innocent people, including children?

  22. Joseph Kaplan-look at the facts on the ground.

  23. Nice way of avoiding my question. But I’ll take that as a yes. So let me ask this: the facts on the ground exactly where; in which mainstream Moslem communities? You know that the mainstream Moslems in Indonesia or India or Manhattan or Detroit or Teaneck think this? If you do, please, as you have asked me, give us some support for, say, that the American mainstream Moslem community believes this.

  24. “Shalom Spira on September 12, 2011 at 12:22 pm
    R’ Mycroft,
    Thank you for your kind words as well as for illuminating my eyes with the clarification and insights.
    I see now that Yigal Sklarin offers an analysis of Confrontation in Modern Judaism 29:3, pp. 351-386, which concludes: “When assessing Rabbi Soloveitchik’s attitude and opinion towards Jewish involvement and participation in the Second Vatican Council, his public statements, and private correspondences, echoed by the words of his close students provide tremendous insight into his multifaceted thinking. Both in public, in private and to his students Rabbi Soloveitchik presented a coherent, categorical, and definitive model toward involvement with the Council. While he advocated a singular approach, it was a duel faceted; we as Jews could engage the Church on a secular, social level, but not on a theological one. Even this peripheral participation, Rabbi Soloveitchik warned, must be heeded carefully and with tact, lest Jewish morals and self-respect be forfeited at the expense of short gained results.””

    Agreed completely as to Jewish participation in Vatican 11 which
    was an internal Catholic body suspect more nuanced in general

    See eg from
    http://www.firstthings.com/article/2007/01/duel-over-dualism-41

    “For almost thirty-five years, it has been my privilege to be involved in what Shalom Carmy (“Orthodoxy and Reticence,” February) disparagingly calls “official dialogues” between Catholics and Jews. Many of these have included representatives of Orthodox Judaism. Because of Rav Soloveitchik’s dictum, we have avoided calling these encounters “dialogues,” using instead the term “ongoing consultations.” Rabbi Carmy’s line of reasoning does not reflect an adequate understanding of the encounters in which I have taken part….It is true that official consultations over the past three decades have spent a lot of time discussing our respective communal agendas. I see no inherent problem with that. We are communities of people, and both sides have priorities for which we would like the support of allies. Joint statements have been made by the Holy See and the International Jewish Committee for Interreligous Consultations (which includes Orthodox representation) on the environment, family, religious freedom and holy sites, education, and most recently on “tzedek and tzedakah” (social action and righteousness) in Buenos Aires in 2004. These statements have often involved a mutual exploration of the biblical, rabbinical, and patristic roots of our common religious understandings. In a similar way, the themes of repentance and forgiveness were deeply explored in dialogues in response to the Pope’s Liturgy of Repentance during the year 2000. The statements these dialogues produced are not the result of “bargaining” but of the quest for appreciation of each other in our very specific otherness….story of the Rav comes back here. If we humans, all together, are “the image of God,” that means we come from some place certain in God’s will and are called to some place certain. Jews call this place the Malchut Shamayim. We would call it the Kingdom of God. Are we not all called to utter this unutterable mystery of God’s will for humanity to humanity? It matters little whether one calls the process of seeking understanding a “discussion” or a “dialogue.” It may matter greatly to human destiny that we address and proclaim the Kingdom of God together.

    Dr. Eugene J. Fisher
    Secretariat for Ecumenical
    and Interreligious Affairs
    United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
    Washington, D.C.

    Shalom Carmy replies:

    I cited Rabbi Soloveitchik’s remark (about Jews and Christians discussing the meaning of imago Dei) in the course of lamenting the fact that many Jews, including some who take their religion seriously, fail to appreciate the fruitfulness of discussing such matters with Christians while at the same time remaining insensitive to the dangers of uncritically accommodating secular perspectives on the human condition. I am sorry if I failed to make this sufficiently clear.

    I have no intention to insinuate, in the absence of evidence, that theological statements by serious, intelligent religious individuals are the result of “bargaining.” Nonetheless, I believe that certain social and institutional frameworks generate pressure in this direction. One hopes that Dr. Fisher is not oblivious to these risks.

    Insofar as Dr. Fisher agrees with me that much can be accomplished within the constraints advocated by Rabbi Soloeveitchik, the primary area of disagreement between us is rhetorical. I am suspicious of grand words pitched higher than the reality they describe. For me, therefore, the word “dialogue,” with its elevated Buberian associations, implies a level of achieved mutuality that one may aspire to, but must be wary of presuming. Indeed, I believe that Buber’s sharp dichotomy between I-Thou and I-It encounters is misleading as phenomenology. Likewise I am reluctant to employ the powerful image of marriage in describing the relationship between the Catholic Church and the Jewish People.

    In a difficult world, I take comfort in the positive moral and intellectual contributions of Jews and Christians helping one another. As Dr. Fisher rightly concludes, we bear a great responsibility together.

  25. ” his public statements, and private correspondences, echoed by the words of his close students provide tremendous insight into his multifaceted thinking. Both in public, in private”

    Since the Rav pased away in general discussions have not started with the vast collection of oral decisions that Rabbis who engaged in these activities had received directly from the Rav; rather, it turned to a simplistichas turned to a simple division of social vs. theological. According to the Rav, one could discuss social
    issues based on the religious secular order of Judeo-Christian ethics; he also allowed academics discussions of faith. What is clearly off limits is discussion of our faith commitments. There are clear records of very close followers/students of the Rav engaging in interfaith activities during the Ravs period of active leadership which show the broad latitude of interpretation given by the Rav to his own words. I suspect that this is part of revisionism about the Rav from the right when they ignore what the Rav clearly permitted during his lifetime.
    A reason why this has not been argued more forcefully is that lemaaseh since the area of interfaith activities is so complex-even those who engaged in such activities while the Rav was around to ask sheilos wo the Rav would be much more cautious.

  26. Joseph Kaplan-don’t be fooled by what Moslems in Teaneck think-who but Moslems around the world, including in nearby Patterson, applauded what happened on 9-11?

  27. And the tens of millions who didn’t — even in Paterson (one “t”)? The question is not whether there are Moslems who are terrorists or support terrorism. Of course there are — all too many. And they are dangerous and must be fought. The question that I have been discussing is whether that is true about mainstream Islam. I submit that neither you, nor Nachum, nor, I admit, I are experts on this issue. And if you’re not an expert, I think it’s dangerous, foolish and — as members of a religion who have been on the other side of unfair accusations for generations — disgusting to hurl such an accusation.

  28. “Steve Brizel on September 13, 2011 at 3:35 pm
    Joseph Kaplan-don’t be fooled by what Moslems in Teaneck think-who but Moslems around the world, including in nearby Patterson, applauded what happened on 9-11”
    Certainly a substantial percentage applauded and cheered on 9/11/-MSNBC was rerunning highlights of its coverage from 9/11/ 10 years ago and they showed Palestinians acting ecstactic in the West Bank. That is not to say that all moslems were ecstatic but certainly many were.

  29. There are more than i.5 billion Moslems in the world and MSNBC showed some Palestinians on the West Bank and in Paterson acting ecstatic. Wow! That convinces me that a “substantial percentage” applauded and cheered on 9/11.

  30. “I suspect that this is part of revisionism about the Rav from the right when they ignore what the Rav clearly permitted during his lifetime.”
    Of course concerning Revisionism and the Rav one must read Prof Kaplans article on it.

  31. “Joseph Kaplan on September 13, 2011 at 8:37 pm
    There are more than i.5 billion Moslems in the world and MSNBC showed some Palestinians on the West Bank and in Paterson acting ecstatic. Wow! That convinces me that a “substantial percentage” applauded and cheered on 9/11”
    and I remember a NYTimes correspondent being shocked that he was in Beirut at the time and surprised atthe attitude of middle class Beirut people who he saw celebrating at the time.

  32. This very limited anecdotal evidence does not support “substantial percentage.” Any information on the many hundreds of millions of Moslems who aren’t Arab? C’mon, Mycroft. Your forte is searching the web and giving us detailed statistics and numbers. Here you support a broad allegation with an anecdote or two? Not like you.

  33. Lawrence Kaplan

    Mycroft: Sorry for entering the lists so late.

    I cannot agree with Yigal Sklarin’s discusion of the Rav on the boundaries between permissible and non-permissible inter-faith dialogue (though, on the whole, his article is an excellent one).
    As I wrote in my article in “Revisionism and the Rav,” in light of the Rav’ position paper (as opposed to ‘Confrontation”) the boundary is not that between “the realm of faith’ and “the secular realm,” but, to quote the Rav, that betwen inter-faith “theological dialogue…concerning the doctrinal, dogmatic, andrutia aspects of faith” and inter-faith religious-humanitarian dialogue “concerning socio-cultural and moral issues,” grounded in universal and public religious categories and values.

  34. “As I wrote in my article in “Revisionism and the Rav,” in light of the Rav’ position paper (as opposed to ‘Confrontation”) the boundary is not that between “the realm of faith’ and “the secular realm,” but, to quote the Rav, that betwen inter-faith “theological dialogue…concerning the doctrinal, dogmatic, andrutia aspects of faith” and inter-faith religious-humanitarian dialogue “concerning socio-cultural and moral issues,” grounded in universal and public religious categories and values.”

    Prof Kaplan How about interfaith theological discussions that is not a dialogue-see eg my quote from Prof Berger in my 9/11 1116pm post “I have already emphasized my understanding that Rabbi Soloveitchik was not asserting the categorical impossibility of all theological communication. Persuasive anecdotal evidence indicates that he worried about the lack of qualifications for such dialogue among most Orthodox rabbis”
    There is evidence that in the Ravs lifetime that he permitted theological discussions with non Jews but certainly not dialogue/negotiations as Prof Berger wrote: “Rabbi Soloveitchik worried that theological dialogue would create pressure to “trade favors pertaining to fundamental matters of faith, to reconcile ‘some’ differences.” He argued against any Jewish interference in the faith of Christians both on grounds of principle and out of concern that this would create the framework for reciprocal expectations.”
    There is some evidence that some of the Ravs reticence is due to the skills required to engage in such activities and many would not have them.

  35. “This very limited anecdotal evidence does not support “substantial percentage.” Any information on the many hundreds of millions of Moslems who aren’t Arab? C’mon”

    I am well aware of Indonesia/largest moslem country in the world-India probably most moslems of any country dwarf the number of Moslem Arabs. But one sad fact of Arafats success was to make the conflict between Israel and the Arabs a religious one between Judaism and Islam.

  36. “But one sad fact of Arafats success was to make the conflict between Israel and the Arabs a religious one between Judaism and Islam.”

    Three reactions: (a) Only if you let it. (2) Ah, so now it’s Arafat who decides who we must consider our enemies. (c) Jews and Western civilization have real enemies. Why, without any real evidence (and I haven’t seen any), we want to say that the Moslem extremists who are terrorists or support terrorism represent the hundreds of millions of Moslems around the world, thus making them our enemies, is something I don’t understand.

  37. “Joseph Kaplan on September 14, 2011 at 6:49 pm
    “But one sad fact of Arafats success was to make the conflict between Israel and the Arabs a religious one between Judaism and Islam.”

    Three reactions: (a) Only if you let it.”
    It is not all our choice-but I agree that it certainly pays to try as much as possible to minimize the conflict-I suspect most commentators in Hirhurim disagree with me on that -using homiletics as Esav soneh et yaacov no hope anyway-but I agree that attempts should be made as soon as possible.

    “(2) Ah, so now it’s Arafat who decides who we must consider our enemies. ”

    No he helped bring the religous dimesnion to the forefront-you don’t hear anymorethe constant refrain that all that Israels enemies want is a secualr democratic state

    “(c) Jews and Western civilization have real enemies. Why, without any real evidence (and I haven’t seen any), we want to say that the Moslem extremists who are terrorists or support terrorism represent the hundreds of millions of Moslems around the world, thus making them our enemies, is something I don’t understand.”

    Certainly represent a non trivial percentage if only 10% represents over 100 million people-certainly many won’t report suspicions see leadup to 9/11 how many had to have suspicions.

  38. The year 2001 should not be repeated

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