[b-hebrew] Evil & God

leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il
Thu Aug 11 07:08:56 EDT 2005

Dear Pawel,

While really not wanting to get into the debate between Shoshanna and
yourself (and everyone else), I think that I can help clarify Shoshanna's
use of the term "Torah Judaism". This is a fairly recent (20 years or so)
self designation of a certain "wing" of Orthodox Judaism. Many "orthodox"
Jews are unhappy with the title "orthodox", since it mainy defines what
they are not: not Reform, not Conservative, not Reconstructionist etc.
Since most "orthodox" see themselves as the only "true" Judaism, and that
Judaism is not primarily a cultural society, an ethnicity, a tradition or
anything but full acceptance of the Torah ( in the wider sense of the word
- God's laws and the entire tradition attached to them) as not just
doctrine but as a way of life - hence "Torah Judaism".


Original Message:
From: Pawel pawel at kul.stalwol.pl
Date: Thu, 11 Aug 2005 12:48:50 +0200
To: rosewalk at concentric.net, b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
Subject: [b-hebrew] Evil & God

Dear Shoshanna,

> Ooookay, but it is not Jewish

Exactly what I meant.

> Now, what do you mean by: 'judaism says that...'?
> Which judaism?
> Classical Judaism, normative Judaism, rabbinical Judaism, Orthodox 
> Judaism, Torah Judaism, etc.
> There are not SO many different teachings within Judaism.

Some people say that there are as many teachings as Jews :-).
God gave Torah to his people and ordered them to study it, to
comment on it, to try to understand it better and better.
God did not leave exclusively one way of understanding Torah.
Were it so, there would be no theological debates in judaism.
And you know what other people say - that judaism is one
continuing unending debate on God's Revelation.

Now, could you shed some light on the list of teachings above?
Do you mean one true (in your opinion) judaism having all
those names? Or each name denotes a different kind of judaism?

And what do they stand for? 

Classical judaism - when, do you think, it ended? Is time
the criterion of qualifying a view as classical or not?
Or rather the view itself? If the former - what are the
time limits? If the latter - it does not differ from the 
normative judaism, whatever it might be.

Normative judaism - who is the norm-giver? Is there one
authority or institution telling what is orthodox and 
what not? Do not say 'God', as He admitted pluralism of
views (to some extent, of course).

Rabbinical judaism - do you mean all rabbis agree in each
point of the doctrine? :-) Or you have selected a group
of rabbis who are representative? If so - again - what
criterion of selection did you use?

Orthodox judaism - yes, at last I know what you mean.
The name is commonly accepted - orthodox, so not conservative,
not reform etc., the branch of judaism which was born at the
end of XVIII century.

Torah judaism (?!) - what is this? Do you mean Karaites?
Is there any branch of judaism which would not call itself
'Torah judaism'?

> (NOT including Reform Judaism, Reconstructionist Judaism, Karaites)

Why 'not including'? What is your criterion for 'including'
and 'not including'?

> I know you don't want to make your letter long, but on what 
> information/knowledge/Jewish education, do you base your 
> disagreements with the rabbi?  Are you saying that your learning is 
> equal to or more than, his?

Not fair, Shoshanna. Authority in place of argument. Should I send
you copies of my diplomas?

Btw, it would be good to read some more rabbis, not only Rabbi Miller.
E.g.: R. Abraham Joshua Heschel, R. Elijahu E. Dessler, R. Lawrence
Kushner... Really worth reading!

To end with, a short quotation from the 'Lexicon of Judaism'
(a jewish edition and jewish authors, tranl. from Polish):

Satan -(hebrew: Satan, yiddish: Sotn) - a fallen angel, tempter,
symbol of evil and baseness etc.

Regards -

Pawel Sajdek

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