Thursday, June 21, 2007

Concerning the Study of Tanach in Our Days

“Ever since the rise of the accursed Haskoloh movement in the world, its avowed goal was to swallow up the holy Tanach and desecrate it by stripping it of its holiness, G-d forbid. The Maskilim established themselves, as it were, as guardians over the Tanach, just as their heirs and followers instituted themselves as guardians over Eretz Yisroel, and they defiled that study as a holy undertaking.

“They related to the holy figures depicted in Tanach as if they were picayune peers, our own contemporaries, more or less, paralleling the ancient Biblical times to our latter days. The brunt of their work was to reduce the greatness of those ancients and place them on par with our own generation and times, as if they were equal to us, without the vast generation gap.

“All of ancient history, including its illustrious figures, was reduced to mere tales, novel material, newspaper items. They allowed themselves a free hand to putter around, to stir up the soup of history which they concocted and doctored, and then to ladle it out according to their desired degenerate distortions, devoid of all spirituality. They critiqued and analyzed Tanach as if they were newspaper commentators of our times, removing the dividing parameters between holy and profane, and consequently between Jewry and the nations and all other such demarcations.

“The written Torah was reduced, G-d forbid, to mere literature which they rewrote and redefined according to their own standards. (See Rambam on his commentary on Ovos, Chapter One, on the Mishna: Antignos of Socho.)

“This approach to our sacred Torah roused the gedolim of recent generations throughout the Diaspora to denounce them categorically and to deny them any say on religious matters. Our leadership insisted on forbidding the teaching of Tanach to the children of our ranks before they were fully versed in the Oral Tradition and had gained the due reverence and appreciation for Torah, the teachings of Chazal and their exegeses upon the Scriptures, so that they would thus be well-grounded in the proper approach towards the study of the Written Torah Text.”


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