Sunday, August 3, 2008

Fan Appreciation Week

Once again, I must express my gratitude to Boruch Pelta for his continued well placed publicity. I was concerned that he had forgotten about me all this time and am now much relieved.

I also commend him on his bravery to actually include a link to my Amazon.com page in his post. He is taking a big risk there that someone may, Chas v'shalom, actually buy the book. Of course, I would have been more flattered if he would have included a link to my web page at: Web page and to my most unimpressive blog at Blogsite . Also, please note that the entire first 100 pages of the book is available to be read online at: Mazo Publishers .

The most intriguing part of his post was an emailed statement by a "a Rabbi" that attests to the fact that I am a "complete ignoramus" - something to do with history .


My thoughts on this statement run as thus:

The fact that I am a complete ignoramus is the subject matter of the Author's Foreword in which I went to great lengths to point out this fact. One purpose was to tell intelligent readers that if you do not wish to read the work of an ignoramus, close it now.

I am always suspect about people who call themselves "a Rabbi" who have the time to read my book (and email comments to anybody but not to me), especially, as it is 320 pages of ignorance. I am pleased that this Rabbi readily grasped the theme of the Author's Foreword but I am skeptical if he grasped the theme of any of the rest of the book.

What makes this whole issue so perplexing is this obsession on "History". There are about 12 chapters in the book, only about 1/2 of one of which deals with history and my main point is to debate a recognized "Professor of History" at Bar Ilan University who asserted in print, and built his thesis on the assertion, that the 18-19 Century Enlightenment was the "first time in History that Judaism was being devastated by Jews themselves". I suppose that the Adas Korach, Eliyahu HaNavi and Achav and the Baalists, all the civil wars at the last 100 years before the second destruction, and Shabtai Zvi had nothing to do with infighting between Jews. Now, clearly one of us (at least) is a complete ignoramus and it is evident that it must be me because the other fellow is a Professor of History at Bar Ilan.

Now I want everybody to know that I am a an ex-diamond dealer and a Technical Writer. I am not an historian. I barely finished high-school. I am entitled to be an ignoramus. But - and I know this will surprise many folks:

1A7B is not about History! It is about Haskafa and it is about chareidi society and it is about TODAY!

I really hate to repeat myself but I will say this as many times as necessary:


The mission of One Above and Seven Below is to promote understanding. It is meant to enable those who do not understand how chareidim think and who would like to understand how chareidim think, to do so. If you are interested in learning about how chareidim view Judaism, read the book. If you are not interested or if you already know about how chareidim think, then do not waste your time or money on this book. Learn Chumash and Rashi, instead.

Thank you again, Boruch, for your generous publicity and - Keep it up!

Yechezkel Hirshman

12 comments:

Baruch said...

Once again, I must express my gratitude to Boruch Pelta for his continued well placed publicity. I was concerned that he had forgotten about me all this time and am now much relieved.

I also commend him on his bravery to actually include a link to my Amazon.com page in his post. He is taking a big risk there that someone may, Chas v'shalom, actually buy the book. Of course, I would have been more flattered if he would have included a link to my web page at: Web page and to my most unimpressive blog at Blogsite .

I sense a tinge of sarcasm. But seriously, I do think people should read your book. I think it provides an instructive example of what's happening to Orthodoxy.

Also, please note that the entire first 100 pages of the book is available to be read online at: Mazo Publishers
Tip: You should link to that at your blog and website.

I am always suspect about people who call themselves "a Rabbi" who have the time to read my book (and email comments to anybody but not to me), especially, as it is 320 pages of ignorance.
Please stop being mezalzel the rabbanus. This rabbi emailed me using his real name (yes, I know who he is), and if I asked him he might agree to reveal his identity. But I didn't ask him, so I haven't revealed his identity. He was giving me a tip: I shouldn't review books of people who don't know what they're talking about.

1A7B is not about History! It is about Haskafa and it is about TODAY!
Ay, and how do you come to your conclusions about hashkafa? Through interesting claims about Jewish history, like this one: "the perspectives and ideals of the chareidim have been virtually unchanged for the past 2300 years."

It is meant to enable those who do not understand how chareidim think and who would like to understand how chareidim think, to do so. If you are interested in learning about how chareidim view Judaism, read the book.
If you've been consistant throughout your book and your emails, then the following is an interesting caveat: In your mind, a chareidi is somebody who believes that "a Jew who defines Orthodoxy as a society whose primary function is to actively advance the observance of the commandments and the study of Torah and who identifies himself with this society." You believe, as you clarified to me in an email, that such a person is not Zionist. Anybody who is or was a Zionist is a non-chareidi Orthodox Jew (what you call a NCOJ) who doesn't define "Orthodoxy as a society whose primary function is to actively advance the observance of the commandments and the study of Torah and who identifies himself with this society."

So according to you:
The Rav didn't believe that.
R' Ahron Soloveichik didn't believe that.
Dr. Jacob Katz didn't believe that.
Dr. Isadore Twersky didn't believe that.
R' Haym Hirshensohn didn't believe that.
R' Lichtenstein doesn't believe that.
R' Gold didn't believe that.
R' Reines didn't believe that.
R' Kook didn't believe that.
R' Hershel Schacter doesn't believe that.

Shame on you.

Yechezkel said...

As I wrote in relation to a different post, I do not intend to get personally involved in the comments department (if I ever get a slew of comments) as in some other blogs.

But now, business is a bit slow so I'll oblige.

I checked past emails and the most elaborative one I found was from May 13, 2008 said:

"It basically boils down to if you put Toil in Torah first and your zionism in a back seat, you are chareidi. If your zionist shitas will cause compromises on Toil in Torah, no good. This obviously needs elaboration but this is not the place."

Which meant that the two concepts are not absolutely mutually exclusive.

On Cross-Currents April 4, in post #104 I wrote concerning my definition of chareidi:

To say that it “would include people from the Religious Zionist and Modern Orthodox camps” is not totally accurate. What is more accurate is that it does not necessarily EXCLUDE “people from the Religious Zionist and Modern Orthodox camps” or, better, it “would include SOME people from the Religious Zionist and Modern Orthodox camps” but it would be the people that you would anyway look at and say “That guy may as well just put on a black hat, he is so chareidiish”.

So there I am saying again that they are not totally mutually exclusive which is pretty much my standard position, so I am really not sure what you mean by your comment.

Keep in touch,

Yechezkel

Baruch said...

See, I think these quotes were much more elaborative of your worldview:
I only make equations from known values.Charedim are not anti-Zionist l'shem mitzvas being anti-Zionist. Charedim are anti-Zionist because zionism (I of course mean the political nationalist or Herziliean zionism - not the concept of Ahavas Eretz Yisroel) conflicts with the ideologies that they have accumulated from Yeshaya HaNavi and Dovid HaMelech, Rabi Akiva, Rabi Shimon Ben Yochai, Rabi Yishmael, Rabi Tarfon, Rav and Shmuel, Rashi, Rabenu Tam, Mechaber , Rema, Shach and Taz, Maharsha, etc.

While haredim do not identify themselves as Zionists...

There are several other misconceptions about the haredi position vis-a-vis army service. One is that it is a uniquely haredi position. It isn't. It is shared by a number of national-religious leaders, past and present.

Baruch said...

ps the other quote I'm thinking of is your agreement in your book with R' Grylack's definition, which de facto excludes zionists.

Freelance Kiruv Maniac said...

I think its clear that if you would ask most of the people on Baruch's list if they identified themselves PRIMARILY as "Zionists", meaning, Zionism is one of the biggest values in their life, they would say no, it isn't. Learing and teaching Torah are the biggest values of many of the lives on that list.

In that defining sense, Hirschman is right and Baruch is wrong. These people were not "Zionists".

Instead, I would say they were "pro-zionism" or very "zionistic".

Baruch said...

In that defining sense, Hirschman is right and Baruch is wrong. These people were not "Zionists".

Instead, I would say they were "pro-zionism" or very "zionistic".


Actually, that's not what Hirshman is arguing (it also doesn't make sense when you think about it. According to thefreedictionary.com: "Zionist - a Jewish supporter of Zionism."). Hirshman is arguing that his chareidi label “would include SOME people from the Religious Zionist...camps.” In other words, people who were Religious Zionists.

I'd like to hear what Hirshman has to say. If that's what he actually believes and he accidentally misrepresented himself, then his writings still contradict that. See the quote I just quoted as well as http://oneabovesevenbelow.googlepages.com/HAREIDIFAQ-English.mht:

Haredim don't celebrate Israel's Independence Day (contra R' Ahron Soloveichik and R' Hershel Schacter).

"Haredim, for the most part, do not acknowledge Holocaust Heroes and Martyrs Remembrance Day. It is a common misconception that the reason for this is that haredim do not care about the Holocaust."

According to Hirshman, chareidim don't serve in the military. R' Ahron Lichtenstein wrote an essay about how klal yisrael is michuyiv to serve in the military!

Baruch said...

ps Hirshman agreed in his book (and elaborated in emails to me that yes, he truly does agree) with R' Moshe Grylack's definition.

R' Grylack excludes anybody who is even "politically Zionistic."

Freelance Kiruv Maniac said...

Actually, that's not what Hirshman is arguing (it also doesn't make sense when you think about it. According to thefreedictionary.com: "Zionist - a Jewish supporter of Zionism.").

People often use a term in ways that are different than the dictionary. I clearly defined what I meant by "Zionist" in this specific context, so quoting a dictionary is not germane to the point.

Hirshman is arguing that his chareidi label “would include SOME people from the Religious Zionist...camps.” In other words, people who were Religious Zionists.

I don't see how I differ with Hirshman regarding the inclusion of certain "zionistic Jews" as chareidim, i.e. your list above.

Baruch said...

I clearly defined what I meant by "Zionist" in this specific context, so quoting a dictionary is not germane to the point.
You wrote that "...Baruch is wrong. These people were not 'Zionists'." How am I wrong? When did I define the word Zionist as meaning that they defined themselves "PRIMARILY as 'Zionists?'" Let's be frank: If you asked most of them if they were Zionists, what would they have responded? Yes, they would have responded that they're Religious Zionists. So they were and are Zionists. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.

Also, your definition of the word Zionist is, well, untrue. You can define "apple" as "Georgia's state fruit, the peach" if you wish, but that doesn't make it true. Many identify themselves primarily as Americans, but are still Zionists.

I don't see how I differ with Hirshman regarding the inclusion of certain "zionistic Jews" as chareidim, i.e. your list above
I just showed how that's not what he's saying and you didn't address any of those points.

Let's accentuate the point: The question is if Yechezkel thinks R' Aharon Lichtenstein chareidi or not?

See if he says that R' Lichtenstein's not chareidi, he's calling R' Lichtenstein an NCOJ and all of his caveats on NCOJs in his book apply to R' Lichtenstein.

If he says R' Lichtenstein is chareidi, then why does his website emphasize all of the things I mentioned above, i.e. how chareidim don't serve in the military and don't celebrate Yom Haatzmaut? (obviously, I need to hear all of the points addressed before I'm convinced)

Btw FKM, I'm interested in your thoughts at http://orthodoxfreelancers.blogspot.com/2008/08/q.html

Yechezkel said...

Baruch, if you saw my prevvious comment before I deleted it, then I apologize for the "early morning" quip. I miscalculated the time difference and it was my mistake. I totally retract it with apologies.

That said, I am reposting the main part of that post as written:

Boruch, if you have the book, please look at the last paragraph of page 59 into page 60.

Boruch, I have to say this: You are fighting tooth and nail to be devisive. I am purposely avoiding being devisive and, in fact, my goal is to try to reduce devisiveness. I don't know why you are fighting for it, but it is not something that I can really respect.


Chezkel

Baruch said...

I didn't see your earlier post.

I see that we're not really discussing substance here and you seem to have made up your mind that I am "fighting tooth and nail to be devisive" which is "not something that...[you] can really respect."

I think this conversation is over. Readers, feel free to email me at yodamace@gmail.com if you want to clarify my positions expressed and I will respond per my discretion.

Baruch said...

ps Yechezkel please do me the courtesy of letting me know if you write a refutation of the essay on my blog refuting your book.