Thursday, March 22, 2007

Horseradish in Syria

"So, erev Pesach, when you stand there grating the horseradish and tears flow down your cheeks, think of your grandparents performing the same function, the same way, in some little town in Lithuania, Poland, Hungary or Syria."


The gist of the above, from an article by the Yated editor Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz is that the YCT brouhaha comes down to one thing: mesorah. YCT ignores it, says Rabbi Lipschutz, while all other authentic Orthodox Jews don't.

"It is our conviction that the rank and file of contemporary Orthodox Jewry - Modern, Chareidi and everything in between - still possess authentic Torah sensibilities which are repulsed by the erasing of historic conceptual boundaries on the part of YCT faculty and students. "

Now let me say that horseradish in Syria is a minor thing. It is. It is no big deal that the Syrians don't grate horseradish for marror. But the problem is that this minor thing is symptomatic of a larger thing. Much (how much?) of what Rabbi Lipschutz is convicted is mesorah is projection and not mesorah. As someone on the Areivim mailing list astutely pointed out, Rabbi Lipschutz presupposes that an intellectual approach to Yiddishkeit (hey, did you know that "Yiddishkeit" doesn't mean Judaism, but Jewish culture and was coined by secular Yiddishists?) is against the mesorah.

"RPL is certainly within his rights to espouse the avowedly anti-intellectual hashkafa; like it or not, there is certainly such a strain within Torah hashkafoth. However, when he implies that anyone who is unwilling to accept this approach places himself outside the pale, this is another matter. There are other legitimate hashkafoth, even within the haredi world. "

Now I know that will be argued that the approach at YCT is not equivalent to "an intellectual approach to Yiddishkeit," but my point is that if mimeticism would lead one to project the present onto the past, sometimes in a very misleading way, well, sometimes something a bit more critical and a bit more investigative can also lead to some emes, maybe sometimes to even more.

c.f, "What’s the Truth about ... Using Horseradish for Maror? "via Parsha Blog

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts with Thumbnails