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God made all of us capable to understand His guidance – not only the rabbis 


 

It seems to me, something is missing in this sermon.

 

From a sermon by Rabbi Sacks:

 

Judaism identified three distinct moral sensibilities each of which has its own voice and vocabulary. They are [1] the ethics of the king, [2] the ethics of the priest and fundamentally, [3] the ethics of the prophet.

 

Jeremiah and Ezekiel talk about their distinctive sensibilities:

 

For the teaching of the law [Torah] by the priest will not cease,

 

nor will counsel [etzah] from the wise [chakham],

 

nor the word [davar] from the prophets. (Jer. 18:18)

 

They will go searching for a vision [chazon] from the prophet, priestly instruction in the law [Torah] will cease, the counsel [etzah] of the elders will come to an end. (Ez. 7:26)

 

Priests think in terms of Torah. Prophets have “the word” or “a vision.” Elders and the wise have “etzah”. What does this mean? … Kings and their courts are associated in Judaism with wisdom – chokhmahetzah and their synonyms. … The prophetic voice is quite different, impassioned, vivid, radical in its critique of the misuse of power and the exploitative pursuit of wealth. … The ethic of the priest, and of holiness generally, is different again. The key activities of the priest are lehavdil – to discriminate, distinguish and divide – and lehorot – to instruct people in the law, both generally as teachers and in specific instances as judges.

 

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I am not a rabbi, I am just a thinking Jew as the majority of Jews are, and I feel we are missed in this triangle. I feel we are the fourth cornerstone of Judaism – we the individual humans of Judaism whose ethics are distinct moral sensibilities as well. We are not teaching the Jewish spirituality; we are not counseling any formal congregation of people; and we are not instructing anybody on any Talmudic rules. We have, at least most of us have, Jewish ethics in our genes clarified and enhanced by our families, education and our encounters with many in the triangle above.  

 

What we are doing is modifying and tailoring the “three distinct moral sensibilities” to our distinctive and unique Jewish lives. We are trying, with the help of rabbis or without such help, to figure out how to be the Chosen and how to build together with our Christian human brothers and sisters a better Torah-guided world for everybody. Below are a few example.

 

As a scientist and as a socially active person. One of the areas of my professional involvement was American-Russian relationships, and one of the challenges was whether we had to influence their “perestroika” after the dissolution of the Soviet Union – if they are “made in the image of God” as we are, may be it is better to let them find their own way without our forceful interference.

 

My friend Naum L. was trying hard to strengthen Jewishness of his extensive and politically active family and one of the challenges was to decide what is closer to being Jewish – being politically conservative or liberal.

 

Another my friend Matus S. was involved in shaping up Holocaust exhibitions – should they demonstrate the survival of Jewish nation spiritually or just the massacres.

 

Our Jewishness forced my friends and myself to look for spiritual answers to all challenges in the above – probably as the fourth cornerstone of Judaism.    

 

I tried to find an answer to a question of why our rabbis are not a significant help to us, and what I found is discomforting for the rabbis and myself.

 

The rabbis are trained to teach everything what Judaism created for the last three millenniums, and it was enough when the Jewish majority was isolated from the rest of the “native” people where the Jewish majority lived. For the last two centuries, this situation has changed drastically. Now the Jewish majority lives peacefully together with the non-Jewish population and is building a better world together with Gentiles. Now the Jewish majority lives in the democratic societies where all problems are being resolved by listening to each other and finding a consensus with the others. However, our rabbis are not trained to do that – they are trained to indoctrinate. And the Jewish majority is figuring out, on their own, what to do – how to stay the Chosen and how to build a better world with the others.   

 

From the news media:

 

The study, released by the Pew Research Center, which surveyed the residents of 18 countries, found that only 80 percent of respondents would accept Jews as fellow citizens.

 

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Thus, the 20% of the Gentiles would not accept the Jews as fellow citizens. May it be that this 20% are the Gentiles reside nearby the strictly orthodox Jewish enclaves and observe the unwillingness of these Jews to find a consensus on how to follow common society rules and build a better world for everybody.      

 

The news media are free … to be ideological and biased  


 

Yes, that is true: the news media are constitutionally free – free to be biased and to be used as ideological warfare. Why? Because the news media outlets are businesses, which are tailoring their information products to the customer demands to attract more customers and make more money.

 

To do this, a particular news media outlet selects a particular group of potential customers and tailors its information products to the beliefs of the selected group. That means this particular news media outlet cannot be objective by definition since the objectivity requires presenting the information that may be disliked by the selected particular group of potential customers and therefore may hurt the business.    

 

The news media outlets are used by various ideological consumer groups in politics, in social life, in economics, in arts, in religion, etc. to advance their ideological preferences in society and in various country’s governing institutions.

 

Below are a few illustrative examples.

 

Haaretz, the Forward, New York Times and Washington Post are the ideological warfare of the left-wing groups who do not like the life under the Torah/Bible traditional guidance and are trying to replace this guidance for the so-called “social justice and human rights” guidance. The left-wing groups are sponsoring these four publications since the published information is strengthening the left-wing causes in the public arena and the chances for left-wing electoral victories.

 

Yisrael Hayom or Breitbart News are the ideological warfare of the right-wing groups who see great dangers for the Israel and the USA to deviate from the Torah/Bible guidance in political, social and religious life.

 

In order to please its customers, the mentioned news media are reporting only on the facts that directly favor the ideology of their readers/viewers/listeners or could be make favorable by ascribing to the facts some negative motivations to ideological adversaries.

 

It looks like when Donald Trump is describing the news media information products as the fake news he has in mind the news media information products, which are ideologically adversary to the governing ideology of his administration. The news media that sell the fake news take the real facts but ascribe to them the fake motivations that their customers would like to believe in.

 

Here are a few examples on how it is being done.

 

From the news media:

 

U.S. President Donald Trump said anti-Semitism should be defeated and called the Holocaust the “darkest chapter of human history” in a video address on Sunday, following two missteps by his administration regarding statements about genocide during World War Two.

 

“The mind cannot fathom the pain, the horror and the loss. Six million Jews, two-thirds of the Jews in Europe, murdered by the Nazi genocide. They were murdered by an evil that words cannot describe, and that the human heart cannot bear,” Trump said in a speech to the World Jewish Congress Plenary Assembly in New York on Yom HaShoah, Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day.

 

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It looks like this is a perfect pro-Israel and pro-Jewish statement by Donald Trump. However, the anti-Trump news media ascribe to this a fake statement that this is a Trump’s effort to cover up the “true anti-Semitic feelings” in his administration.

 

From the news media:

 

The author Michael Chabon’s tour to the West Bank was led by Breaking the Silence, the controversial Israeli group that collects and distributes Israeli soldiers’ testimony about their service in the occupied territory. Chabon, along with his wife, Ayelet Waldman, are two of the 24 leading novelists who will visit East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza over the next few months to research a book of essays marking 50 years of Israeli occupation. The couple will edit the book, which aims to illuminate what it’s like to live under Israeli military rule. Chabon’s essay will focus on Sam Bahour, a Palestinian-American businessman who moved to Ramallah to build the Palestinian economy in the wake of the Oslo peace accords, only to watch the Israeli occupation deepen around him.

 

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It is indeed a true fact-based description of the Michael Chabon’s tour to the Palestinian Territories. However, a few fake descriptors are used to please the anti-Israel supporters. Some of them are “the West Bank” and “Occupied territories”.

 

In this publication, the historic Jewish name Judea and Samaria is replaced by the Arab-oriented political name “the West Bank” to discard the historic connections of the Jews to this land.

 

The “occupied territories” descriptor is debunked by the Levy report.

 

The Levy Report, officially called Report on the Legal Status of Building in Judea and Samaria published on 9 July 2012, authored by a three-member committee headed by former Israeli Supreme Court justice Edmund Levy. The committee, dubbed the “outpost committee”, was appointed by Israel‘s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu in late January 2012 to investigate the legal status of unauthorized West Bank Jewish settlements, but also examined whether the Israeli presence in the West Bank is to be considered an occupation or not.

 

The report concludes that Israel’s presence in the West Bank is not an occupation, and that the Israeli settlements are legal under international law.

 

Indeed, the news media are free to be ideological and biased, and we have to treat them accordingly.  

 

Judaism as rabbinical profession and as Jewish way of life


 

Let us first define Judaism as rabbinical profession and Judaism as Jewish way of life.

 

Judaism as rabbinical profession has, like any other profession, its higher education institutions the yeshivas with their curriculums, accreditations, alumni-type associations, publications, and of course the spiritual competition among them.

 

Like in any other profession, there are sages and authorities (rabbinical authorities) such as for example Rambam, Hillel or Lubavicher Rabbi Schneerson – they are the greatest in the profession who earned the trust of their pupils the Jewish majority.

 

At the core of this profession is the Jewish understanding of God’s guidance in the Torah on the human morality and the rituals in support of this morality.

 

The professionals in this profession, the Rabbis, have been teaching all that to their pupils in the synagogues and other places of Jewish education.

 

Judaism as Jewish way of life is the application of the rabbis’ teachings to the day-by-day life of Jewish families – at home, at work, in politics, etc. in the variety of places where Jews may live – how to do the Jewish rituals and how to live morally Jewish.

 

In the historic Jewish past, there was no misapprehension between Judaism as rabbinical profession and Judaism as Jewish way of life. Judaism as rabbinical profession provided complete guidance on Jewish way of life. That was so since the Jewish communities were separated from the “natives” in countries of Jewish residence and the haredim orthodox rabbis were the ultimate legal authorities on the rituals and the morality in segregated Jewish communities from the birth to the death. The rabbis’ teachings and instructions had no competing forces – it was a sort of spiritual guiding dictatorship.

 

In the contemporary Jewish life, everything is different – now most of the Jews are exposed to numerous competing spiritual guiding ideas. Only about 20% of Jews are under the old-style haredim orthodox rabbinical guidance. The rest of the Jews are under competing influences of non-haredim Jewish spiritual streams (Modern Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist) and various non-Jewish spiritual streams.

 

Pew Survey of U.S. Jews shows that less than one-third of American Jews belong to a synagogue. Among them, only twenty-three percent attend synagogue on a regular basis. It looks like only about 20% of the Jews in America have a rabbi as a personal spiritual adviser on the Jewish way of life. The great Jewish majority in America is “under influence” of many non-rabbinical authoritative forces which are shaping their morality – the government, the employment, the neighborhood, the Gentile news media, the Christian and Atheistic realms, the Gentile social circles, etc.

 

However, and that is very important, in the Jewish families, as Pew Survey of U.S. Jews shows, 96 percent are trying to raise their children as Jews. It means the Jewish majority is eager to preserve their Jewish way of life through their own understanding of Judaism for contemporary diversified life conditions.

 

That means that nowadays the Judaism as rabbinical profession is separated from the Judaism as Jewish way of life for about 80% of American Jews.

 

Nowadays no traditional rabbinical authority is directly guiding the Jewish majority in many morality decisions. Here are just a few examples.

 

Orthodox Judaism maintains the historical understanding of Jewish identity. A Jew is someone who was born to a Jewish mother, or who converts to Judaism in accordance with Jewish law and tradition. However, that is not the case anymore. Many Jews are marrying Christians not to abandon Judaism as way if life but rather to include the newcomers to the Jewish family in the Jewish way of life. They would like to get traditional rabbinical guidance on that but they do not get it. For the traditional rabbinical community the adherence to professional doctrines is more important than helping the intermarried Jewish families preserve their Jewishness in a sort of renovated form. This pushes many Jewish families to the non-traditional rabbinical authorities (Reform, Conservative) and then out of the rabbinical guidance at all.

 

The politically correct directives of US government on what is Good and what is Bad for the society are changing and challenging the Judeo-Christian definitions on what is Good and Bad. However, there is no traditional rabbinical guidance on all that and the Jews are making their moral decisions here being influenced not by traditional rabbinical authorities but rather by anti-Judeo-Christian forces.

 

What to do? The answer is obvious: for all Jewish spiritual authorities – traditional and non-traditional, religious and non-religious, pro-Judeo-Christian and anti-Judeo-Christian, political and non-political – get together and propose a set of Jewish morality guidance for the Jews living happily in Judeo-Christian civilization. Could it be done?

 

Perils of replacing Judeo-Christian morality by politically correct one


In the 18th century, the morality of the Torah/Bible Ten Commandments and their derivatives have created a spiritually and economically strong American Nation – in the 20th century, the morality of the politically correct “progressive” commandments are destroying all that.

 

At the core of Judeo-Christian morality, lays the Golden Rule, which states that in a nation (the Golden Rule had been created for a group of people who lived together, knew each other and had mutual understanding of what is Good and what is Bad for them, and that is how a nation is defined), “one should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself”. If it is so, the role of a human government in a Golden-Rule nation should be not to manage the lives of individuals and various human communities but rather to protect and defend the diverse communities from possible internal and external violators of the Golden Rule.

 

At the core of politically correct morality, lays a sort of Oppression Rule, which states that various human communities in a nation are adversary to each other and the role of a human government has to manage adversarial relations among adversarial communities – manage through government laws and regulations.

 

The American Judeo-Christian morality unites the nation while the politically correct morality fractures the nation

 

The politically correct morality fractures the nation by splitting it into adversary groups such as African-American, Hispanic American, Native American, etc., which, as the politically correct troops declare, have been oppressed by the chief oppressors being the White Americans, right-wing extremists and Christian fundamentalists. The oppressed groups should be compensated for economic and moral suffering and the first step is to subject the chief oppressors to sensitivity training to indoctrinate them in accepting various affirmative actions aimed at constraining the presumed oppressive forces in the nation. Among those affirmative actions are the entitlements – the oppressed are entitled to almost everything what the oppressors may have.

 

In the American Judeo-Christian morality, there is no oppressors and oppressed – the American Judeo-Christian morality enhances the equality of everybody in the “image and likeness of God”.

 

The American Judeo-Christian morality promotes the societal advancement while the politically correct morality harms the advancement

 

The mighty tool for any advancement is the competition among various groups and individuals in all spheres of human activities – in science, in technology, in economics, in ideology, in religion, in politics, etc.

 

In the American Judeo-Christian morality, everybody is equal in “the image and likeness of God” and therefore has a sort of divine ability to do something better than the others – that is to compete with the others and therefore to advance yourself and the society. In the American Judeo-Christian morality, there is a free market of competing ideas – you have advance your own ideas by peacefully competing with the others.

 

 

 

However, the politically correct morality harms the competitiveness by legislating or encouraging the anti-competitive concepts such as the following.

 

Victimization – you are a victim of the oppressive forces in the nation and therefore you cannot have a fair chance in the competition.

 

Multiculturalism and nonjudgmental-ism – you should not compete with other cultures and should judge the behavior of the others – for you, all cultures should be of equal spiritual value.

 

If you do not compete, if you do not strive to be better, there is no advancement.

 

The American Judeo-Christian morality strengthen the family while the politically correct morality destroys it

 

In the American Judeo-Christian morality, a man and a woman create a family to procreate, to bring up children along the lines of American Judeo-Christian morality tailored to individual family spiritual stream guidelines, having different but equally important family responsibilities.

 

The politically correct morality assaults all those values. It clearly seen in the slogans of this morality.

 

Feminism, male chauvinism, no-fault divorce, sexual harassment in the family, same-sex marriage, all these slogans are the tools for pushing a wife/mother out of her unique family role and reducing the utmost importance of the family in the fabric of our nation.

 

The politically correct morality builds the road to socialism

 

And finally, the invention of social justice — the politically correct synonym for socialism, where the big government is obligated to deliver the “happiness” to all its subjects by redistributing wealth from the more fortunate to the less fortunate. The history have presented convincing proof of the misery created by the socialism=social-justice in the Former Soviet Union, in contemporary Russia, in Cuba, in Brazil, in Venezuela, and in many other places. However, there is no history lessons for the politically correct instigators.

 

Indeed, now we see the perils of replacing Judeo-Christian morality by politically correct one. Let us hope it is not too late to get back.

 

For Trump, the government is business, not politics, and that is what we need


 

Indeed, for Trump, the government is business, not politics – and this is what we had missed for a long time.

 

In the politics, the elected government leaders are governing the country by finding the consensus of the governed. The consensus is at the core of any democracy, and until recent times it worked nicely.

 

President Bill Clinton on immigration:

 

https://www.c-span.org/video/?c4351026/clinton-1995-immigration-sotu

 

In this video-presentation, President Bill Clinton underscored the failed immigration policies and related dangers for the country – the bipartisan consensus in the Congress on the topic was evident. Twenty years later, Donald Trump underscores the same problem and suggested solutions – no consensus at all.

 

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Nowadays the consensus is impossible to find – not only on the immigration but also on almost everything. The latest pro-Trump and anti-Trump manifestations, proclamations, accusations, marches and legislative battles are clear indication of that — in the demands of both sides there is nothing that could constitute a common ground. That is a clear indication that the US are in the state of a (cold) civil war as I described in one of my recent posts.

 

If that is the case, the only way to govern is to treat the government as a business, and Donald Trump is perfectly suited to do this. He was elected not to find a consensus in the nation but rather to “make America great again” as the majority that elected him envisions it, with the hope that the rest of population may appreciate the new social arrangements in the country. How the majority that elected him may find out that we are on the way of making America great again?

 

That is not that difficult – just recall what made America a great country at the beginning when she was truly great.

 

Below is a reminder of the social arrangements at the times of American greatness.

 

·         Judeo-Christian Bible-guided morality was directing the legislative work of the government with no religious authorities at the helm – this morality has to be restored and has to replace the human-made morality of “social justice and human rights”. The Judeo Christian Bible-guided morality is in essence the morality of the Ten Commandments in their American Judeo-Christian interpretation – to strengthen spiritually the nation and let the others follow if they are willing.

 

·         A small government consuming a minimal part of GDP without critical interference into the free-market economy through government imposed regulations – for example, to reduce the size of the government from the existing about 2/3 to 1/3 of GDP.

 

·         Helping the disadvantaged mostly through non-governmental charities with the government involved only on as-needed basis.  

 

·         An immigration policy that promotes the immigration of those who are eager to follow the Judeo-Christian morality of the country – not to weaken it by introducing rival moralities.

 

·         America was respected because of her moral, economic and military strength – not because of numerous free goodies provided to the others.

 

Is there a danger of a government, which is managed as a non-consensus business, of becoming a dictatorship? Of course, yes, and the citizens have to be vigilant. However, now that is the only way to “made America great again”.

 

From the news media:

 

“We congratulate President-elect Trump on his election victory and welcome his clear commitment to be a president for all Americans and to “bind the wounds of division” after a long and bruising campaign,” said Stephen M. Greenberg, chairman, and Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman & CEO, of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.

 

“We look forward to working with President-elect Trump and his advisors in the transition before his inauguration and in the years to come during his presidency on the issues facing our country, as well as of specific concern to the American Jewish community including strengthening the special U.S.-Israel relationship, the rise of anti-Semitism and the security of the Jewish people at home and abroad,” added Greenberg and Hoenlein.

 

The Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean and founder, and Associate Dean Rabbi Abraham Cooper praised Trump’s stated policy on Jerusalem. “We are buoyed by Donald Trump’s unambiguous commitment to a strong and safe democratic Israel and his recognition of Jerusalem as its eternal and undivided capital,” they said.

 

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Unfortunately, not all Jewish organizations appreciate the Donald Trump promise of restoring Judeo-Christian morality in America. Liberal Jewish organizations believe the weakening of Judeo-Christian foundation of America is beneficial to America, Israel and the Jews – and they are wrong!

 

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