Friday, February 12, 2010

Ad K'dei Kach - The Ten Commandments Revisited

I think Orthodoxy is on its way out. Both as a term and as an institution.

The problem is that as a term it is undefinable. It's a Greek word that means: Ortho = straight or correct; dox = opinion or way of thought

So it means someone who has the correct way of thought.

Well, apparently, we now have a variety of "Orthodoxes" or, in other words, we have plenty of "correct ways of thought" to choose from. There is Ultra Orthodox and Modern Orthodox and Ultra-Modern Orthodox and Modern-Ultra Orthodox and I just heard of a new one (courtesy of my friend who is "Centrist" Orthodox): Open Orthodox which obviously implies that there must be a Closed Orthodox (or is it Closet Orthodox?). Everything except just plain Orthodox.

And if they are all Orthodox then they must be all correct. Is that correct?

Evidently, there is nothing Jewish about the term Orthodox and so, there are no Jewish concepts that can be applied to give it a firm definition.

So it doesn't have one.

I wrote about this at length in a post that I actually posted twice (click HERE).

My logic tells me that there cannot be so many different kinds of "correct" and that some varieties must actually be "incorrect" (or a bit un-Orthodox) and as such, they will ultimately self-destruct as is the manner of most incorrect philosophies.

Consequently, a lot of "Orthodoxy" won't last.

So what Orthodoxy will last?

The Orthodoxy that also carries Jewish terms that have clear definitions in Jewish ideals. I wrote all about it in Chapter 9 of my book. These are the Yesharim, Tzaddikim, Chassidim and Kedoshim of our Shabbos prayers at Shochen Ad. The Tzaddikim, Anavim and Yareim in Tehillim, or the "Chareidim l'dvar Hashem" in Yeshaya (and in One Above and Seven Below).

As I wrote in my book and explained to many people who don't feel like reading it, every type of Jew has their opinion of what is the "correct way of thought". What I try to do in my book is to present G-d's opinion. And so I merely quote what G-d tells us in the Torah with a lot of emphasis on Parshat Bechukosai.

It appears that many Jews that fall somewhere in wide range of "Orthodox" aren't ready to handle Parshat Bechukosai. Why don't we just stick with the Ten Commandments? The essence of Judaism is the Ten Commandments so we can safely say that somebody who keeps the Ten Commandments is Orthodox.

Well, last week we read about the Ten Commandments and this week we have a bit of a follow through on the great event including the grand declaration: Naaseh V'Nishma.

But how many of us really understand what we are reading in these two Parshiot? And how many of us understand the chareidi perspective of the Ten Commandments themselves?

To clarify this, I wrote a fascinating Torah essay about the true meaning of the connection between Parshat Yisro and Parshat Mishpatim and what is going on between the two parts of the story of Mattan Torah. It is titled Ad K'dei Kach - The Ten Commandments Revisited and it is presented here as an iPaper document. Parts of it I heard from various darshanim, parts of it are posited by the Ramban at the beginning of Parshat Mishpatim and the rest of it is what I built out of all the parts.

It is meant to answer the following questions:
  • What is the meaning of the short list of unrelated mitvos at the end of Parshat Yisro?
  • Why is the narrative of Mattan Torah interrupted by all of the detailed Halachos in the front of Parshat Mishpatim?
  • What is Rashi really referring to when he says that the opening "vav" in Parshat Mishpatim is adding it on to the previous words?
  • Why, as opposed to some "Centrist" thinkers, there is nothing "Orthodox" about "Open" Orthodoxy?

So for your oneg Shabbos, I hereby present Ad K'dei Kach - the Ten Commandments Revisited

Note - I have been encountering difficulties with the embedded document display. If the document does not display in the window, please click on the link to view.
Ad Kdei Kach- The Ten Commandments Revisited

1 comment:

Dov said...

The Netziv (Ha’amek Davar, introduction to Sefer Bereishis) blames the destruction on excessive “righteousness,” that is, “righteous” individuals who treated others who did not exactly conform to their beliefs as heretics (apikorsim). This was, in actuality, a particular form of sinas chinam. The misplaced persecution of those people led to the destruction, because, the Netziv explains, God does not want this kind of excessive “righteousness,” but rather moral conduct in every day affairs.

See also the Netziv's comments on Bamidbar 36:24 and Devorim 32:5 and Meshiv Davar 1:44.