- Samson Blinded - http://samsonblinded.org/blog -

Honesty cannot be reformed

Posted By Obadiah Shoher On June 5, 2008 @ 10:29 am In rogue Judaism | 18 Comments

Jewish reformism is not bad per se. Orthodox Jews were the biggest reformers in their time: they substituted rabbinical Judaism for the Temple-based [1], land-centered religion of the time. The amount and severity of changes introduced by Pharisaic rabbis dwarfs the ambitions of the current reformists.

There is, however, a critical difference between the Orthodox and reformist approaches, namely honesty. Orthodox rabbis honestly tried to save Judaism in the absence of the Temple. Their approach eventually carried them far from normative Judaism, leading them to some petty and senseless legislation; secular legal systems, too, eventually succumbed to the tendency to legislate trivial issues. Most Orthodox rabbis honestly close their eyes to the gap between their Judaism of superstitious rites and the faith in God that requires us to take painful political actions in the real world.

Reformism, on the other hand, doesn’t seek to reform anything. It is a typical leftist movement which uses  the sophistic device of redefining terms. Reformism dresses the atheism of its flock in arbitrarily redefined Jewish terms rather than seeks the current meaning of the ancient terms. Such a reevaluation of meaning is unnecessary, as human morality has not changed a bit throughout history. We read Sumerian Gilgamesh and the ancient Greek poems, marvel at the expressions in the Song of the Songs, and Shakespeare continues to amuse us. Persian tortures made their way into the Inquisition and mass tortures in Soviet forced labor camps. The Romans would have recognized British colonialism and considered the two world wars somewhat brutal. The romanticism of modern human rights advocates would sound familiar to medieval troubadours.

Judaism is about justice: unrelenting, unforgiving, harsh justice aimed at maintaining moral purity in the Jewish community. Reformists lie about every part of this definition. Justice for them became social justice, or rather communist welfare ruled by the bureaucrats who handle distribution.

They emphasize mercy, though the Torah lacks a concept of human forgiveness: it is harsh to the extent that witnesses must personally execute the convicted offender. Our legislator is wise: instances of forgiveness only encourage other evildoers. But reformists cling to what the rabbis called, “a mercy of fools,” forgiving the wicked.

In Judaism, moral purity is the only human objective. Lives are entirely irrelevant. Jews are commanded to execute or banish their compatriots for moral offenses committed in the privacy of their homes, whether homosexuality or leavened bread on Pesach. Judaism is not consensual: even foreigners, or any non-Jews who live in the Land of Israel, must adhere to Jewish law on pain of death. Reformism stresses the contrary feature: tolerance, the right of every individual to live as he pleases not only in the private sphere, but in the public one as well.

Judaism is isolationist: Jews are “the people who dwell alone.” Nehemiah ordered the Jews to send away their foreign wives, breaking up every family in Jerusalem. We accepted converts in numbers small enough that we could assimilate them; Nehemiah saw that the foreign wives were too numerous for safe assimilation and ordered them all evicted. And we accept converts on our terms: one does not become a Jew by thinking that he is one. Judaism believes in being the only truth around, in Jews being the only chosen people. In the framework of Judaism, any other faith is not just inferior, but abominable. We don’t hate other peoples, but we despise their faiths. And in our prayers we thank God for not having been born into a foreign religion. What could be farther from the reformist paradigm of interfaith, intermarriage, cultural interchange, and eventually assimilation?

How many people in the average reformist temple believe in God? None, including their lesbian rabbi. The enlightened audience cannot believe in the God who created the Earth and listens to our prayers. Liberal Jews cannot stand the concept of their own chosenness. Jews with analytical minds refuse to believe that God spoke to us from Mount Sinai and gave us every commandment. Even if they had believed in God’s existence, that would be of no practical consequence to them. If the Torah is not of divine origin, what should we make out of God’s existence? What laws should we follow? Reformists, therefore, fall into the comfortable position that they follow those commandments which fit their pan-human consciences. Here comes a vicious circle: they test the religion against the ethics, and consequently their religion is always narrower than even their ethics. And their “Judaism” is indistinguishable from the ethical maxims of a well-mannered Swede.

Indeed, reformists are doctrinally less ethical than gentiles. Liberalism dictates tolerance to immorality because to those who don’t believe in the Bible there is no objective criterion of morality. So the reformists proclaim every individual’s freedom to pick and choose commandments—essentially, to disregard them. Ask yourself, what possible sin disqualifies a person from being a reformist congregant? True, all types of abominations are accepted in many Orthodox synagogues, but tacitly, while the reformists’ professed disregard for private observance encourages the wicked. If the Reform temples welcome those who intermarry, transgress Shabbat and kashrut, and practice sexual immorality, what possible reason prevents the temples from admitting unethical persons as well? In practice, unethical people are welcome there, especially if they contribute substantially. In reformist temples, there is no pressure on the wicked to reform.

Internalizing observance put men above God. Whatever God said in the Bible, now each man decides for himself which commandments to follow, if any. Logically, each reformist congregant should pray to himself, as in their theology his own conscience is the source of his personal religious law. How bizarre it is to pray to God while disregarding his commandments! Moreover, the internalized observance precludes any commonality of congregants. The only thing common among the members of an average temple is their atheism. They differ in every matter of Jewish religious practice, and are united only in their disregard of that practice.

Reformism has no firm values or doctrines, only the lack thereof. In reform “Judaism,” [2] there is not a single value or doctrine which is specifically Jewish. Reformists explicitly reject Jewish uniqueness by their leftist outreach to gentiles. They talk of things too universalist even for Lenin, of repairing the entire world and of social justice for all. Never mind that social justice for some means unjustly robbing others, and repairing the world in Africa means neglecting the Jews in Shderot.

Reformism, a universalist religion, embraced universalist values—but the most universal values are those with the lowest common denominator. Reformism reaches out to everyone by refusing to reject anyone. Reformism embraces moral abominations in nihilist fashion, including lesbian “rabbis” and gay marriages. They make the silly argument that every person is made in God’s image. But that applies to murderers, thieves, and other criminals—should we tolerate and actually welcome them as well? In the end, God will ask each of us, “What have you done to My image?”

In Reform Judaism [3], there is no reason to remain Jewish; a Jew is no different from others. In fact, reformists explicitly promote interfaith dialogue meant to prove that Jews are similar to others. What possible reason is there to be Jewish, to bear specifically Jewish children? One reason is racism: my ancestors were so good that I don’t want to mix with you, who are the offspring of other ancestors; that sounds abominable. Two, cultural chauvinism: Jewish culture is superior to others or at least valuably unique, so I want to continue it; never mind that Jews embraced the culture of the nations among whom we lived, and there is little in common between the Sephardi and Ashkenazi cultures. Three, because God chose us to be his people, and both I and my children must obey his will; this is the only moral reason. It has, however, a problem: reformists reject the absolute authenticity of the Torah, imagine some commandments to be obsolete, and therefore can never be sure that Jewish chosen-ness is both authentic and currently valid.

It is conceivable that Orthodox Judaism will one day encounter true efforts at reforming it, similarly to the reform movements in another religion. The criterion of honesty [4] would be whether that reform leader is a Jewish fundamentalist. The reform must signify a return to Jewish fundamentals, to the core Judaism which can only be practiced in the Land in Israel, a country of our own with no foreigners or outright Jewish traitors. With the Temple and offerings, and the basic conformity of the entire population—forced if necessary—to the laws of Judaism.

Social theories evolve, but it’s different with religions. As they grow old, they accumulate accretions which must be shaken off once in a while. In every other field, new is better. In religion, the old is the only good. And so we await a true reformer: a fundamentalist Jew.

Article printed from Samson Blinded: http://samsonblinded.org/blog

URL to article: http://samsonblinded.org/blog/honesty-cannot-be-reformed.htm

URLs in this post:

[1] Temple-based: http://samsonblinded.org/blog/the-temple-of-our-nation.htm

[2] reform “Judaism,”: http://samsonblinded.org/titles/Judea.htm

[3] Reform Judaism: http://samsonblinded.org/blog/the-religion-of-leftism.htm

[4] criterion of honesty: http://samsonblinded.org/blog/honesty-as-a-toy.htm