Download Orthodox Judaism Carnegie Shul Chatter

yes no Was this document useful for you?
   Thank you for your participation!

* Your assessment is very important for improving the workof artificial intelligence, which forms the content of this project

Document related concepts

Rabbi wikipedia , lookup

Jewish feminism wikipedia , lookup

Who is a Jew? wikipedia , lookup

Jewish views on sin wikipedia , lookup

Haredim and Zionism wikipedia , lookup

Supersessionism wikipedia , lookup

Oral Torah wikipedia , lookup

Index of Jewish history-related articles wikipedia , lookup

The Reform Jewish cantorate during the 19th century wikipedia , lookup

Jonathan Sacks wikipedia , lookup

Reform Judaism wikipedia , lookup

Interfaith marriage in Judaism wikipedia , lookup

Pardes (Jewish exegesis) wikipedia , lookup

Ritual washing in Judaism wikipedia , lookup

Origins of Rabbinic Judaism wikipedia , lookup

Hamburg Temple disputes wikipedia , lookup

Conversion to Judaism wikipedia , lookup

Halakha wikipedia , lookup

Schism in Hungarian Jewry wikipedia , lookup

Conservative Judaism wikipedia , lookup

Homosexuality and Judaism wikipedia , lookup

Conservative halakha wikipedia , lookup

Jewish religious movements wikipedia , lookup

Neolog Judaism wikipedia , lookup

Orthodox Judaism wikipedia , lookup

Jewish views on evolution wikipedia , lookup

Jewish views on religious pluralism wikipedia , lookup

Jewish schisms wikipedia , lookup

Carnegie Shul Chatter
July 6, 2016
Candle lighting time is 5:07
Shabbos services are at 9:20
Elie Wiesel
On Saturday, July 2, Elie Wiesel
passed away.
I don’t have to tell you who Elie
Wiesel was, the whole world
knows the story of this Nobel Prize
winning survivor of the Holocaust.
CCaannddllee lliigghhttiinngg
mee iiss 88::3344 ppm
SSaabbbbaatthh sseerrvviicceess ssttaarrtt aatt 99::2200
Orthodox Judaism
Well, I have written about Reconstructionist Judaism and Conservative
Judaism, so that leaves Reform Judaism and Orthodox Judaism for me to
write about. Or does it?
Is Orthodox Judaism a single branch of Judaism or is it several? After all,
there are some Orthodox Jews who refer to themselves as Modern
Orthodox, but there are others who are Chasids, and Lubavitchers, and
Misnogdim. Where do you begin?
I remember that as a kid I thought that Orthodox Jews differed from me
as a Conservative in that their entire service was in Hebrew while our
service included English. Simple, but far from comprehensive.
In fact, prior to the rise of the Reform and Conservative movements, the
term “Orthodox” wasn’t really needed. It was probably then more
appropriate to refer to Jews as either “observant” or “secular.” Observant
Jews kept Kosher, were Shomer Shabbas, and tried to follow as many of
the 613 mitzvot as possible, while secular Jews fell along a broad
spectrum that followed a few or a great many of the mitzvot.
As I have in the
last two Chatters, I will turn first to and its
Judaism expert, Lisa Kaplan, for her commentary on Orthodox Judaism.
Then I will turn to two additional sources for a further look at Orthodoxy.
The whole world knows of this
man, of whom President Obama
said, upon learning of his passing,
“Elie Wiesel was one of the great
moral voices of our time, and in
many ways, the conscience of the
world. Elie was not just the
world’s most prominent Holocaust
survivor, he was a living memorial.
After we walked together among
the barbed wire and guard towers
of Buchenwald where he was held
as a teenager and where his father
perished, Elie spoke words I’ve
never forgotten – ‘Memory has
become a sacred duty of all people
of goodwill.’”
Elie Wiesel dedicated his life to the
remembrance of the 6 million Jews
who died in the Nazi death camps.
“To forget the dead would be akin
to killing them a second time,” he
wrote in his personal Holocaust
story, “Night.”
I must admit that I have never read
“Night,” but it is next on my toread list.
Elie Wiesel died on Shabbos. May
his eternity be in peace.
By Lisa Kaplan
Orthodox Judaism believes that both the Written and Oral Torah are of divine origin, containing the exact
words of God without any human influence.
Rambam's 13 Principles of Faith are an excellent summary of the core beliefs of Orthodox Judaism.
1. I believe with perfect faith that God is the Creator and Ruler of all things. He alone has made,
does make, and will make all things.
2. I believe with perfect faith that God is One. There is no unity that is in any way like His. He alone
is our God. He was, He is, and He will be.
3. I believe with perfect faith that God does not have a body. Physical concepts do not apply to Him.
There is nothing whatsoever that resembles Him at all.
4. I believe with perfect faith that God is first and last.
5. I believe with perfect faith that it is only proper to pray to God. One may not pray to anyone or
anything else.
6. I believe with perfect faith that all the words of the prophets are true.
7. I believe with perfect faith that the prophecy of Moses is absolutely true. He was the chief of all
prophets, both before and after Him.
8. I believe with perfect faith that the entire Torah that we now have is that which was given to
9. I believe with perfect faith that this Torah will not be changed, and that there will never be another
given by God.
10. I believe with perfect faith that God knows all of man's deeds and thoughts. It is thus written
(Psalm 33:15), "He has molded every heart together, He understands what each one does."
11. I believe with perfect faith that God rewards those who keep His commandments, and punishes
those who transgress Him.
12. I believe with perfect faith in the coming of the Messiah. How long it takes, I will await His coming
every day.
13. I believe with perfect faith that the dead will be brought back to life when God wills it to happen.
In terms of practice, Orthodox Jews strictly follow the Written Torah and the Oral Law as interpreted by
the Medieval commentators (Rishonim) and codified in the Codices (Rabbi Joseph Karo's Shulhan Arukh
and Rabbi Moshe Isserlis's Mapah). From the time they get up in the morning until they go to bed at night,
Orthodox Jews observe God's commandments concerning prayer, dress, food, sex, family relations,
social behavior, the Sabbath day, holidays and more.
The term "Orthodox" Judaism only emerged as a result of the growth of new branches of Judaism.
Orthodox Judaism views itself as the continuation of the beliefs and practices of normative Judaism, as
accepted by the Jewish nation at Mt. Sinai and codified in successive generations in an ongoing process
that continues to this day.
It follows that Orthodox is not a unified movement with a single governing body, but rather many different
movements that all strictly observe Judaism. While all Orthodox movements are similar in their beliefs and
observance, they differ in the details that are emphasized and in their attitudes toward modern culture
and the State of Israel. Modern Orthodox tend to be a bit more liberal and more Zionistic. Ultra-Orthodox,
including Yeshivah movements and the Chasidic sect, tend to be the least open to change and the most
critical of modern society.
Chasidism, founded in Europe by the Baal Shem Tov, believes that acts of kindness and prayer could be
used to reach God, as opposed to the older view that one could only become a righteous Jew through
rigorous learning. The word Chasid describes a person who does chesed (good deeds for others).
Chasidic Jews dress distinctively, live separately from modern society, and are dedicated to strict
observance of Jewish Law.
Orthodox Judaism is the only movement that has preserved the mystical foundations of Jewish theology,
referred to as Kabbalah. Orthodox Judaism believes that both the Written and Oral Torah are of divine
origin, containing the exact words of God without any human influence.
While that is a good beginning, I still want to know more. Here is what it says at
An introduction to the roots and wings of Judaism's most traditional branch
By Rabbi Louis Jacobs
Rejecting Reform
The actual term "Orthodox" is derived from Christian theology and was, at first, a term of reproach hurled
against the traditionalists by the early Reformers at the beginning of the nineteenth century, to imply that
those who failed to respond to the modernist challenge were hidebound. Eventually, however, the term
was used by the traditionalists themselves as a convenient shorthand for the attitude of complete loyalty
to the Jewish past, although some traditionalists prefer the term "Torah-true" to describe their religious
position. In any event, Orthodoxy came to mean for Jews faithfulness to the practices of Judaism, to the
halakhah (Jewish law) in its traditional formulation.
Orthodox Judaism rejects the notion introduced by Reform that, in the light of modern thought and life in
Western society, Judaism required to be "reformed." Granted that the Torah is of divine origin, as the
Orthodox affirm, to attempt to reform is to imply that God can change his mind, to put it somewhat
Orthodoxy also takes issue with Conservative Judaism which, unlike Reform, does accept halakhah but
perceives it in a more dynamic fashion, according to which changes are legitimate if they are in the spirit
of halakhah. Naturally, the Orthodox disagree with the notion that there is a halakhic spirit, in obedience
to which the letter of the law can be set aside where it is considered necessary. Ultimately, the
differences between the Orthodox and Conservative approach depend on whether or not there is a
human element in the Torah.
There are, in fact, a variety of Orthodox approaches, from the ultra-Orthodox to neo-Orthodoxy, and it by
no means follows that every Jew who belongs to an Orthodox synagogue is fully Orthodox in theory and
practice. Yet all who subscribe, at least nominally, to Orthodoxy have in common that they believe the
Torah is unchanging, so that while, here and there, minor changes take place in the wake of new social
and economic conditions, for the Orthodox these are not really "changes" at all, but simply the application
of traditional law to new situations.
To give a simple illustration of how the Orthodox attitude differs from those of Reform and Conservative
Judaism, Reform maintains that the conditions of modern life demand a relaxation of the traditional
Sabbath laws, Orthodoxy believes that no relaxation is possible, while Conservative Judaism allows those
relaxations which can be defended on halakhic grounds if halakhah itself is treated in a more flexible way
than it was in the past.
A Reform Jew will not usually be bothered by such prohibitions as that of producing light and fire on the
Sabbath. A Conservative Jew will accept that the biblical prohibition of lighting a fire on the Sabbath is still
binding but will not (necessarily) accept that to switch on an electric light involves lighting a fire. An
Orthodox Jew will hold not only that the biblical prohibition still applies but also that it embraces switchingon of electric lights.
The Ultra-Orthodox
This rather ridiculous term is often used, nowadays, to denote the attitude of strict adherence to all of the
details of the traditional law. A term preferred by the "ultra-Orthodox" themselves is Haredim ("those who
fear God") based on the verse: "Hear the word of the Lord, ye that tremble [ha-haredim] at his word
(Isaiah 66:5)."
In the ranks of the Haredim belong all of the Hasidic groups (Hasidism is a pietist movement founded by
Israel Ba’al Shem Tov in the first half of the 18th century.); the Yeshiva world; Ashkenazi Jews who try to
preserve intact the way of life followed in (pre-modern) eastern Europe; and Oriental and other Sephardi
Jews who follow faithfully the pattern of life in the pre-modern communities of the East.
The actual pattern of life differs of course, among the Haredim. The Hasidic ideal is different from that of
the Yeshiva world, an Oriental Jew hardly resembles a typical Jew of Eastern European background. But
all the Haredim have in common a total dedication to Torah in its traditional form and believe that the
secular world is best kept at arm’s length.
The basic difference between neo-Orthodoxy and the Haredim is the attitude taken toward modern
culture. The founder of Neo-Orthodoxy, Samson Raphael Hirsch, though strictly observant, held that
Western culture and other details of Western society should not be embraced solely in order to earn a
living and the like, but welcomed as good in themselves.
Neo-Orthodoxy, or Modern Orthodoxy as it is called in the US, is represented in the majority of Orthodox
synagogues in the US and England, with its major institutions for the training of Modern Orthodox rabbis
being Yeshiva University in New York and Jews’ College in London.
Orthodox Self-Definition
Orthodoxy is less an organized movement than a reaction to other groups. There is much internecine
feuding, for example, among the Orthodox, and there is nothing like any official world organization for
Orthodox Judaism.
It is probably true to say that, for most of its adherents, Orthodoxy means simply that one’s own true
religious traditions are followed, whether Hasidic or Mitnagdic (that of opponents of Hasidism in the
eighteenth century and beyond), Ashkenazi or Sephardi.
The real issue on the level of practice between the Orthodox and the non-Orthodox is whether the
tradition needs to be revised in some respects. The Orthodox rightly claim that theirs is the Judaism of
tradition as followed in the pre-modern era. But this is precisely the question. Is the pre-modern tradition
true to the tradition as it is now required to be interpreted? To what extent, in other words, is "traditional"
Judaism traditional?
Okay, but what about the Lubavitchers, the Chabad? I first discovered Chabad 20 years or so ago when I
got a booklet in the mail explaining how to observe Peasach. Later, I got another one about Chanukah. I
liked these mailings. They were well done, easy to follow, and very informative. Later, when I moved to
Mt. Lebanon 11 years ago, I attended a few Chabad services, met the Rabbi, attended some Jewish
Learning Institute classes, and gained a lot of respect for the movement. I go to services at Chabad
occassionally, but I must admit that I prefer sitting with my wife at services and that is not permitted at
Chabad. And I am very happy here at the Carnegie Shul, so I prefer to remain a happy member of
Ahavath Achim.
But here, from, is an explanation of Chabad-Lubavitch:
The Philosophy
Chabad-Lubavitch is a philosophy, a movement, and an organization. It is considered to be the most
dynamic force in Jewish life today.
Lubavitch appropriately means the “city of brotherly love.” The word “Chabad” is a Hebrew acronym for
the three intellectual faculties of chochmah—wisdom, binah—comprehension and da’at—knowledge. The
movement’s system of Jewish religious philosophy, the deepest dimension of G-d’s Torah, teaches
understanding and recognition of the Creator, the role and purpose of creation, and the importance and
unique mission of each creature. This philosophy guides a person to refine and govern his or her every
act and feeling through wisdom, comprehension and knowledge.
The word “Lubavitch” is the name of the town in White Russia where the movement was based for
more than a century. Appropriately, the word Lubavitch in Russian means the “city of brotherly love.” The
name Lubavitch conveys the essence of the responsibility and love engendered by the Chabad
philosophy toward every single Jew.
The Movement
Following its inception 250 years ago, the Chabad-Lubavitch movement—a branch of Hasidism—swept
through Russia and spread in surrounding countries as well. It provided scholars with answers that
eluded them, and simple farmers with a love that had been denied them. Eventually the philosophy of
Chabad-Lubavitch and its adherents reached almost every corner of the world and affected almost every
facet of Jewish life.
The Leadership
No person or detail was too small or insignificant for their love and dedication. The movement is guided
by the teachings of its seven leaders (“Rebbes”), beginning with Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi of
righteous memory (1745–1812). These leaders expounded upon the most refined and delicate aspects of
Jewish mysticism, creating a corpus of study thousands of books strong. They personified the age-old
Biblical qualities of piety and leadership. And they concerned themselves not only with Chabad-Lubavitch,
but with the totality of Jewish life, spiritual and physical. No person or detail was too small or insignificant
for their love and dedication.
In our generation, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson of righteous memory
(1902–1994), known simply as “the Rebbe,” guided post-holocaust Jewry to safety from the ravages of
that devastation.
The Organization
The origins of today’s Chabad-Lubavitch organization can be traced to the early 1940s, when the sixth
Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn of righteous memory (1880–1950), appointed his
son-in-law and later successor, Rabbi Menachem Mendel, to head the newly founded educational and
social service arms of the movement.
Today 4,000 full-time emissary families direct more than 3,300 institutions. Motivated by his profound love
for every Jew and spurred by his boundless optimism and self-sacrifice, the Rebbe set into motion a
dazzling array of programs, services and institutions to serve every Jew.