Another "distinguished" speaker lamented that he saw a "supposed" dayan actually wearing some "brown" article of clothing and "smelled of cologne"; the EJF speaker commented something along the lines of, "can you imagine such a person serving as a dayan?"… (link)It has been widely believed that the '"supposed" dayan' who fails to conform to the contemporary Chareidi dress code is none other than Rabbi Barry Freundel, who is in fact a dayan, and is also the head of the RCA's conversion committee.
Today I happened to have opened his book Contemporary Orthodox Judaism's response to modernity at random and this is what I saw:
ParshaBlog has a post today called "Dybbuks, Gedolim, and adding to ikkarei emunah via makchich magideha." A couple of excerpts:
Judaism has several axioms, called ikkarei emunah. Rejecting these axioms puts one into the category of heretic. Yet there are few of them. There are many other beliefs in Judaism, and someone who rejects any of those might be grievously wrong, and an idiot, but not necessarily a heretic. This despite how these beliefs have always had, or have gained over time, common acceptance, including among great rabbis.. . .[. . .] in a theological debate, there is great temptation to turn one's frum position into an ikkar, an axiom. That way, you are automatically right; no one can question the foundations of the axiom, and you are not forced to grapple with its foundations yourself. Furthermore, your disputant need not be engaged. He is a heretic for daring to say this, and one should not engage with a heretic! And proof that he is an oisvorf whose words and proofs should not be considered is this position he is putting forth.Thus, as an example, the belief in the integrity of the transmission of the Oral Torah is expanded to include the integrity of the Zohar, despite it being revealed / having been invented in the 13th century. If someone argues that this is not part of Oral Torah, and has proofs of late authorship, this should not be considered. After all, he is a heretic, according to Rambam! This even though Rambam did not agree with certain kabbalistic beliefs and considered them nonsense.
Interesting! I almost wonder, by the way, which would be considered the bigger outrage; a dayan who wears brown suits and cologne, or one who holds you can be a full and complete Jew while disbelieving all of Kabbalah?