Thursday, May 03, 2007


Kedoshim Blogging

This Torah portion, one of the double portion read last week, is the central portion delineating the Jewish concept of holiness as separateness and also as godliness. Much has been written about godliness, so instead, I'll make a few, quasi-random, almost Andy Rooney-esque, comments about separateness and similar Jewish concepts.

Even as we Jews are more and more accepted into gentile society, it is odd how Judaism, except as an "exotic" religion or a quaint set of folkways to which some people stubbornly cling, is ignored (c.f. Nietzsche's, if I may use the term in this context and about this subject and person, crusade against anti-Semitism even as he tended to remain ignorant of Jewish sources raising the same critiques of "Western culture" as he raised). Discussions about late term abortion and especially religion vs. science make this eminently clear.

The standard "religion and science" on separate spheres argument is dismissed, to some extent correctly, by contrarian, "serious thinkers" types as being too glib -- yet this distinction can be defended, in a quite un-glib and theologically sophisticated manner by turning to Jewish ideas of holiness as separateness. Turning to Jewish, rather than Hellenistic sources, also obviates the whole overblown mind/body distinction that seems to muddy a lot of thought on the science/religion distinction. It would detract from the aimlessness of this post and from my laziness to work this out in detail here, but people in the comments may wish to explore how Jewish thought makes the correct distinctions needed to deal with the whole science/religion split while obviating certain "Hellenistic" distinctions that serve to cause this split.

In general, in discussions of science/religion as well as abortion, it sometimes seems as if religions other than (in the case of the science/religion discussion, specifically Protestant, unless there is some Catholic-bashing, vis-a-vis that whole Galileo incident, to stoke up certain prejudices among the American populace) Christianity don't exist outside of some vague form of spirituality to which even atheists are told they should subscribe whether they want to or not. Oddly, the phrase "Judeo-Christian tradition" is bandied about to provide some form of ecumenical cover even as the Jewish point of view on the subject at hand is often quite the opposite of the so-called "Judeo-Christian" (really Hellenistic) tradition being discussed. The idea that some religions have long allowed or even mandated abortion under certain circumstances seems completely alien to today's discussions of abortion and morality even as that idea obviously ought to be very important in considering this subject.

Why aren't today's lefty moonbats more empathetic to Zionists? Over the same weekend in which it was made abundantly obvious that even people who ought to know better in discussion issues of spirituality completely ignore non-Christian religions, I heard The Weavers' version of "Tzena, Tzena". As Arte Johnson might say, it was "very interestink" ... but would a group like The Weavers sing an Israeli song today? Or would that be politically incorrect?

IMHO, one reason why I'm a leftist is because I not only believe in the strategic value of empathy (ok, multiple reasons -- I can't count, so sue me ...) but I also accept the left wing critique of privilege and normality: the idea that a lot of power and privilege is bound up and evidenced by the default assumption that a person is a white/male/straight/Christian and that any other person needs a qualifier (which qualifiers multiculturalism embraces by way of empowerment which occurs when one takes what would otherwise be oppressive and reclaims it), e.g. a lawyer vs. a female lawyer, an actor vs. a Black actor, etc. While I personally have issues with both how Israel acts on the regional stage and with Zionism itself, which issues it would not surprise me that my fellow moonbats would have as well, I find it odd that so many liberals cannot see how Zionism, even if it may be misguided, really follows from the same critique as the left-wing critique of the "default assumption".

Zionism (well, pre-revionist Zionism, at least) isn't only in a sense left-wing because of its socialist leanings, but also because it is a critique of the idea that the normative identity must include "Christian": Zionism built a state (and is attempting to keep a state) where the default identity is not Christian but rather Jewish. However misguided Zionism may be in theory or reactionary it may be in practice, there is a moonbat core to Zionism with which all moonbats you'd think would sympathize at some level. And once you buy into Zionism, Israel's actions are quite reasonable if not entirely defensible. So why do so many moonbat lefties refuse to see things that way? Is it any wonder some think the moonbats are anti-Semitic?

Or at least they, like those who ignore Jewish thinking on abortion and religion vs. science, are ignorant of Judaism as something more than just an "exotic" religion and set of folkways, as a vital and distinct way of viewing the world and finding a path through life?

You may like to explore that wonderful path through life and find solid answers and valuable tools at, Nourishment for the Neshama

Comments are welcome.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?