Friday, August 22, 2008

PhD as Invective

There's been this spat going on all week at Y-net, between a bunch of rabbis. The details are really and truly not important. They deal with some arcane reason about why when a restaurant is kosher maybe it isn't, but perhaps it is. It's August over here in Jerusalem, it's hot, people's minds get addled, nothing serious.

The funny part of the story is that one of the rabbis wanted to belittle one of his predecessors in the discussion. The one being belittled is our rabbi, Rabbi Dr. Benny Lau. The fellow who wanted to belittle him pointedly refused to refer to him as Rabbi; instead, his article kept referring to the nonsense Dr. Lau is spewing. The effect this had was to change the focus of the discussion: everyone's forgotten the original issue about whether the resaurants are really kosher or not (and a good thing, too), and now they're in an uproar about how offensive it was not to call Mr Lau Rabbi, but merely Dr.

The fray has now been entered by a relative heavyweight, Rabbi Yuval Sherlo: he says that he mostly agrees with the positions of Rabbi Lau, but most of his article deals with the offensiveness of pretending Lau isn't a rabbi, merely an academic. Sherlo, by the way, is my age (we were teenagers together, rather some years ago), which means that he's got at least 20 years to go before he can become a really important rabbi. For that you need a good 50 years of study, at least.

The interesting thing is that not a single participant in the discussion has any problem with the underlying text, whereby the title Rabbi is clearly more important than Dr. They may even be right.


Anonymous said...


Alas, there was once a time to be a rabbi brought respect to the entire family. And, not just in old European shtetls.

Heck, I had a friend who was a rabbi's daughter. And, she complained about how perfect she had to act in public. Well, that was long ago.

In today's world? So many American Jews aren't even affiliated; that about half the Jewish population is unaware, even, of temple politics.

Even Bar and Bat Mitzvah's, if you're rich enough, get leached of all religious meaning. And, becomes a way to show off wealth. (Where, in Hollywood, it means you can get top talent to provide entertainment to your guests. In your living room. Or under a tent in your backyard.) And, the kids? They count the cash.

Ah, once. Jewish mothers dreamed their sons would become doctors, and lawyers. (Not even becoming a dentist was good enough.) And, if you went back to the 1930's, the old ladies thought "becoming a rabbi" was good, too. Till ya just can't earn a living being one!

Ah, the problem's been solved in America, because NOW, women are ordained.

As to the fights between sects, you think it's just over words between rabbis? Look at the Catholic Church, and how Martin Luther exploded the teachings that kept men celebate. Today? Ministers are married. And, there's such a variety of Christian thinking, you can probably find any kind of church you'd like to suit your purpose. Some are pretty flakey, too. Believe it. Or not.

Now, if you think the Israeli brand of Judaism is powerful, then, how come so many Israelis go to Cypress to wed? How many kids are "run-aways?" Not interested. And, not buying.

Sometimes, you gain reality when you look to see if the economics provides customers for your lifestyle.

While adding women to the roster of the rabbinate, here in America, is a very good thing! And, some females are cantors. People are much more bold than the "alta-kahkers."

Anonymous said...


Okay. Another "invective" worth noticing.

Since this one, here, deals with how "educated" Jews deal with their hatreds and jealousies, in public. Where they claim "the turf."

While the prime minister just got questioned a 6th time. SANS BEING CHARGED! SANS A JUDGE. With the trimmings of a non-partial jury.

What's with you folks?

It's not religion when it's just ornery folks who scam money through their religious enterprises; and then misuse "the text."

Same is true when you have police who feel free to attack an elected official; and drive them from offide.

You've recently seen the "rape charges" that got Katsav to resign, actually put into any legal format, where you'd read the man didn't rape anyone. It was just a bunch of feminists and elite academic liberals, who've taken over the Rule of Law. And, discarded common sense.

Most people have enough common sense to know when the system stinks.

But sharks and lawyers, and rabbis, too, are smart enough to know that when people lose their faith in these organized religions, down the road the price is going to affect the State's edifice. Wasn't just Rome that forgot how to exercise good judgement.

So, you count believers today.

I'll predict: Empty pews ahead, though.