Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Aiming to please whom?
(Rabbi Avi Weiss of Riverdale)
I referred to Rabbi Hertzfeld as a Mah Yofis Rabbi. I realize that it may be more of a shem haMush'al than a real term to describe him and his agenda, but that was the best I could come up with at the time. What I meant was that he seems to be more concerned with the supposed terrible plight of these illegals than with the fact that he knows none of the facts. All he's doing is believing the radicals agendas of the mob-infested labor unions and the radical agenda of PETA, the most unscrupulous organization known to man. An organization that has no qualms about lying and cheating to get their agenda pushed onto others. The fact that a Rabbi of a supposed Orthodox shul, who surely has benefited from the fact that Rubashkin is the sole supplier of kosher meat in thousands of venues across the country would go and make a statement like that without ever being asked for his two cents is shocking and embarrassing. In Israel today "Mah Yofis" would refer to a man who always sees fault in the ways and actions of his frum brethren. Thus, the good Rabbi here fits the bill, in my opinion anyway.
Reader "Bray of Fundie" disagrees. He writes:
"Without commenting on your case or Rabbi I'd quibble with your terminology, Tzig. I think it's impossible for an MO to be a Mah Yufis. The archetypical "Mah Yufis" was utterly contemptuous of the Grahf/puritz even while dancing for him. In our long golus informed by physical and, mostly, political impotence our approach towards those by whom we were nigleh (exiled), in whom we saw a mortal enemy, and whom k'mayim punim ehl punim we feared and loathed was to achieve a modus vivendi by maintaining a low profile and earning our livelihoods however they let us. We routinely khanfed, bribed, outsmarted and manipulated them whenever posssible.This approach is still the primary one for most Charedim, although we are richer and, in the west, physically and politically more empowered than our forbears ever were.
However the ideology of Modern Orthodoxy engages and embraces non-Jews in general and Western Civilization in particular. Science, medicine, the arts and High-Tech are not there merely for us to exploit and enrich ourselves with, but to pursue careers in and help build. MOs do not share the visceral hatred of goyim that we feel. They do not incessantly repeat halakha b'yodua sheh'Eisov sonei l'yaakov like some kind of a mantra. Hence IMO by definition they cannot be mah yufis'ls. The mah yufis khanfes he before whom he dances. The difference between khanifa and a compliment is sincerity. The MO sincerlry admires many planks of secularism, higher education and non-Jewish culture and mores. Despite pronouncing a shelo asani goy every morning the words probably stick in this Rabbis craw as, no doubt, the words shelo asani isha do.
I'd be surprised if he did not feel greater empathy and even identity with the "oppressed" yet Catholic uncurcumcised labor force at the plant than with the Charedi, Jewish "oppressors." MO has liberated it's adherents from the constraints of Jewish particularism. They are free to tsk tsk "Chilul HaShem" at every tiny perceived and/or real infranction of their co-religionists and don't feel beholden to the concept of "my people....right or wrong.""