Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Tisha B'Av

There are things to mourn, a lotav shit has happened to us Jews - and I figure one day a year its worth thinking about, but I'm very selective in what I'm commemorating.

I refuse to say kinnot which attribute our misfortunes to our sins. One of the biggest themes in the Tisha B'Av liturgy is how we are supposed to take heart of the misfortunes that befall us and reflect on our sins. I don't believe in many things but this I not only don't believe in but find offensive. People create a God in their own image and strive to imitate their ideal being, people who worship a vengeful God will themselves be vengeful. When one says God punishes sinners one is making more than an ontological statement - one is saying that sinners DESERVE to be punished. And since I disagree with a value that I find so abhorrent, I therefore reject even discussing God in such terms.

I also refuse to mourn a loss of some idyllic age for the simple reason there was never such an idyllic age. The Jewish people have never been better off than they are today, Israel and Jerusalem have never been as prosperous as they are today. I kindav imagine God listening to people crying and saying Nachem on Tisha B'Av and him saying "Jeez! What do these people want from me?! I gave them a whole f'ing country and they're still whining about some fires 2,000 years ago!"

And finally, I honestly don't really care about a Beit HaMikdash. Seems a little silly to me sacrificing hoards of animals to feed/please God. I mean I guess tefillin and lulavs and all sorts of other things are equally silly but I suppose they have more of a tradition behind them. Rabbinic Judaism really only became what it is today in Shuls and Study Halls - not in a Temple. I think my point is that some Jews feel they are not complete without a temple and that their religious practice is somehow not good enough, I however am more than happy to keep doing things the way we've been doing it for the last 2,000 years - i.e. without a Temple.

Even without those things there is still enough to mourn.  We've had a difficult past let's not forget it.

Monday, 8 August 2011

History Shmistory

Harry Maryles just posted on Emes V'Emuna criticizing Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky for refusing to say the bracha "Sh'lo Asani Isha" "Who did not make me a woman" - because nowadays such a bracha is a "chillul hashem".

Of course Chas v'shalom that anyone should change the halacha! It is written it shall be done!
 Harry even admits that this halacha bothers him yet refuses to do anything about it!

And he says such things as:

"It is one thing to question why Chazal instituted something or ask why it was instituted in a specific way – one which seems to contradict our modern day sensibilities. But to reject a mandate of Chazal as recoded in the Shulchan Aruch (OC 46:4) is more than just modifying tradition."

he also says

"It is one thing to not understand the reason Chazal enacted certain things..."

What do you mean "not understand"? What kind of silly rhetoric is this? There is no "question here"! It is more than clear why Chazal enacted this bracha. And I wish Harry would say it straight out. The reason Chazal instituted this bracha was simply becasue they were SEXIST. Say it like it is! None of these vague statements about "offending our modern sensibilities" and "questioning Chazal's reasons". Harry won't even say that one word which explains it all so well - SEXISM.

I don't blame Chazal for being sexist in a sexist world anymore than I blame them for not using antibiotics.

But the fact is that if you follow Chazal in such things you have to admit that you are a modern day man/woman following an antiquated sexist law code.

It is an utterly strange philosophy that would require us to OBEY laws which were clearly legislated in a sexist spirit. It is a symptom of the ridiculous anti-historicism which allows Orthodoxy to continue...

Wake up people! Halacha was not created in a vacuum! It was formed in very specific historical contexts! Treating it like it is some eternal unchanging LAW is the height of stupidity.