Tuesday, December 13, 2005
From the mailbag
Here's what some of you may have thought if you went out and bought the book after The Besser Post.....
A reader writes:
I recently finished, on your recommendation "The Rabbi of 84th Street" about Rabbi Chaskel Besser, and it highlighted a question that has troubled me for many years.
From the book we see different attitudes than those of frum society today. Rabbi Besser's father was an important and respected loyal chossid of the Radomsker Rebbe, yet the family was very cultured. They attended symphonies, were what you might call "broad minded", and befriended Jew and non-Jew alike. All of these things are seldom found among today's religious Jewish population. To be sure, this was not true in all areas and in all families, but do we all have to emulate Rumanian peasants?
It seems to me that throughout history numerous religious Jews were knowledgeable and participated in creative art, music, or writing. For whatever reason, these pursuits have been deleted from our education or value systems. If there is a creative soul among us, they are either stifled or forced to the fringe (or worse).
Oddly, however, this seems to be a recent creation; but why should it be that way?
Anybody care to take a crack at it? I know I do.