Thursday, October 16, 2008

A Reform Response to Chabad - New Voices

Way too little, way too late, and wrongly polarizing...  The problem is that the entirety of the FFB/BH world is tacitly accepted as the holiest of the holy, the archetype of what being a pious Jew means, even by those who oppose them whether ex-BT or never observant ostensibly Reform. That is the problem in this discussion, the source of the impasse. Those who oppose the charedi (and Chabad Lubavitch are a strain of charedi no matter what they and Satmar or Breslov say about each other) a priori concede the spiritual leadership to them.

It's not different from the Christian world where the Catholics are still regarded subconsciously from before the word go as the true protectors and carriers of whatever it means to be Christian. You will notice it isn't Presbyterian ministers in those apocalypse movies who stand up to evil, it's Catholic priests speaking in semi-old Latin, and badly I might add, and tossing holy water about.

Your average Lutheran never really deals with holy water. Catholics rub it on their forehead as they enter church every Sunday. Bet your butt that the Lutheran believes that should one ever come up against a vampire, head for the Catholic church across town.

Similarly, while this rabbi makes some good points, he is way too late and mostly alone. The bulk of Judaism already sees the BH community as the archetype of Jewish spirituality and if you concede the position to your opponent in advance, then your argument is predestined to fail. It's like playing a baseball game when you have every expectation of losing and in fact intend to because you've already decided the other team is better.

Unless and until a new Jewish spirituality, a neo-Chasidut maybe, grows up and splits from the pack and redefines what it is to be religious for Jews, that argument is pointless and Chabad is already acknowledged to be right before the first argument is constructed.

Not that I oppose Chabad. I like them and the Breslovers and so on a lot. Many things are an issue for me, but I don't see the Reform as offering a lot of spirituality that can be embraced. It's a lot of purposely non-judgmental wishy-washiness that leaves way too much fill in the blanks space for people that they ultimately aren't looking for in religion. They want assurance and Orthodoxy promises that. Their mistake is they promise way too specifically and promise way too much and in the name of G-d, making him look like a horse's ass when the mortal men who shill for him fail because let's face it, you sour on Ford altogether when a bad salesman sells you a lemon. Ford had nothing to do with it, but their rep is screwed.

Hence the numbers of disaffected Catholics and Orthodox. One shouldn't set G-d up to get a bad rap that way, but the reason we do is inherent to why we make religions.

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