Monday, November 23, 2009

RCA draws a line in the sand - but why here

Well, the RCA has decided it stands for something - it requires members not to be meschists. I wasn't aware of a flood of chabadnik rabbis overwhelming the RCA. The new RCA loyalty oath includes the following:


"In light of disturbing developments which have recently arisen in the Jewish community... declares that there is not and never has been a place in Judaism for the belief that Mashiach ben David will begin his Messianic mission only to experience death, burial and resurrection before completing it."


I'd rather see the RCA require the following:

In light of disturbing developments which have recently arisen in the Jewish community... declares that there is not a place in Judaism for the belief that belief in a world older than 6000 years is kefira


In light of disturbing developments which have recently arisen in the Jewish community... declares that there is not and never has been a place in Judaism for the belief that only glatt meat is kosher for Ashkenazim


In light of disturbing developments which have recently arisen in the Jewish community... declares that there is not and never has been a place in Judaism for the belief that long standing conversions can be retroactively nullified


What vertebrae would you add to the RCA's backbone? Reply in the comments

Rambam and me

One of my few original contributions to the laws of the Jewish internet
were The Rambam syllogisms:

Rambam 1:
Rambam was a genius but he lived a long time ago.
I live today, and I believe X.
Therefore if Rambam were alive today he would believe X.

Rambam 2:
Rambam was a genius, and so his works are correspondingly difficult to
understand
I believe X.
Therefore if we study Rambam's works, we can see that he believed X.

Personally, I believe that if Rambam were alive today, he'd probably say
"get me out of this tomb!". And then he'd be upset at all the bare faced
women on the women's side of the mechitza at the tomb site.

Of course, when people say if Rambam were alive today they generally mean
'if Rambam was born 50 years ago' rather than 'if when Rambam allegedly
died 800 years ago he was actually brought through time and no is saying
what he thinks about the state of today's Judaism'. I'm not very
interested in either Rambam - what the former thinks is unknowable and what
the latter thinks is irrelevant as he does not qualify as 'the judge that
is in our generation'.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Nightmare 3

In a post on Curious Jew's blog, we were discussing the validity of platonic relationships.
Someone asked:
As far as having female friends — is the advantage of their friendship really greater than the danger of inappropriate (in this context) feelings appearing between us?
and I replied

As a 50+ year old man who BT'd in his 40s, I will unequivocally answer that based on the experiences of my life the advantages of platonic friendship with women overwhelmingly outweigh the dangers of inappropriate feelings for me.

A third party responded:

Based on what concept in Judaism do you give this answer?


I was dumbfounded. I talk about the fact that you can and should see everything through the lens of halacha, but the idea that one should simply completely disregard one's life experience unless you can show that halacha supports what you have actually lived seems insane to me.

After a few minutes I answered (in two posts)
Chaim Bachem. Or Darchei Noam, if you prefer.

I'm sure the commenter will find this answer completely inappropriate because he thinks it misuses the concepts I brought up.