Sunday, September 20, 2020

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How sad. A rabbi, whose primary role should be to educate and inspire, takes to the pages of The Jewish Link (“The First Modern Orthodox Jew: Two Models,” November 21, 2019) to excoriate a large swath of his own community with the dubious charge of Lot-idian behavior. Somehow, Modern Orthodox life, with all its complexities and challenges, is reduced to a simple and simplistic comparison to an unsavory, albeit cryptic, character in Genesis. Acting as judge and jury, he condemns many in his flock to the dustbin of history.

I’m curious: why Lot? If he feels compelled to compare our modern-day situation to any biblical character, why not Noah? He too lived in a big bad world who, according to some, was a tzaddik only in context (see Rashi). Yet, he was saved and propagated the world! Of course, my point is not to argue about who is the better model (I am sure readers can come up with many far better), but to ask why are we wasting our time? Is this the new definition of leadership? Have we already forgotten the lesson of Yonah, where God leaves the prophet with an unanswered question, suggesting that His rubric for judgment is highly nuanced and mostly beyond human comprehension?

Robert Friedman