It’s late; I’m just going to start this while my bread dough is rising, but I don’t know how much will get done.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the nature of Modern Orthodoxy vs whatever it should be called (depending on how nice I want to be) but lets’ just go with Hareidi Judaism for now. There is a distinct leadership vacuum all over the place, but the interesting thing is the emphasis on authority in the Hareidi world. The whole notion of Daas Torah is so off-putting to me. I really am much more than a libertarian; I think at heart I am an anarchist, so it riles me up to no end. I believe in the availability of scholarship for all, and then the authority is bestowed upon you by the scholarship that you have undertaken. Oh yeah, the women’s thing and the no rabbi bit; it doesn’t have to stop you if you have the knowledge. I understand there’s process, but it isn’tas big a deal, I think, that people make it.
I know that at other times, I do, but for now my issue is one of accessibility and individual potential. Horizontal vs. Vertical. This is why there can be a Jewish Heroes contest in the general Jewish world, that you would never find in the Hareidi world. They would not propose someone who works in a soup kitchen to be a hero. Okay, maybe Chabad would, but they’re going to push their rabbis at the top of the line.
So here’s an interesting twist on the topic. I think it proves my point; that what appears to be a democratization of Orthodox Judaism, having all the texts available to all the poor dumb shlubs in the world who haven’t bothered to learn Hebrew or Aramaic well enough to look at texts in the original languages can look at these now. But not get their own answers. It keeps them down on the farm in the most bizarre way.
I’ll have to think about why the Hareidi world gets away with their sense of righteousness, even as so much of the facade has been crumbling away. Is it better to have a stronger sense of superiority?
Obviously not, but they do keep pushing us down, even as they fall.