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Haveil Havalim: What Other Jews are Blogging About

Haveil Havalim #312 – It’s Time To Talk About The Elephant In The Room

Welcome to Haveil Havalim Edition #312!

Founded by Soccer Dad, Haveil Havalim is a carnival of Jewish blogs — a weekly collection of Jewish & Israeli blog highlights, tidbits and points of interest collected from blogs all around the world. It’s hosted by different bloggers each week and coordinated by Jack. The term ‘Haveil Havalim,’ which means”Vanity of Vanities,” is from Qoheleth, (Ecclesiastes) which was written by King Solomon. King Solomon built the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and later on got all bogged down in materialism and other ‘excesses’ and realized that it was nothing but ‘hevel,’ or in English, ‘vanity.’

This week’s host – Esser Agaroth – raises the question of whether one must include in a review of blog posts of the week, those with which one disagrees.  Quoting a previous post of his, he says:

I am not a pluralist,…from far it. Yet, I strongly believe that Jews with differing views working together is the bottom line behind HH’s success. Sometimes a particular issue will have a noticeable theme or skew to it, depending on the host. But, the following week could well provide a completely different one. It is an interesting set of relationships we have been developing here. Do I include posts from people who disagree with me? Am I compromising my principles if I do? But, if I don’t, then I sure can’t expect them to include mine, right?…Like I said, I am not a pluralist, far from it. But, if we take the time to look around and to listen (I mean REALLY listen), we can often be surprised at how much we really do have in common. Even if it’s poetry or music, or a search for the best cappuccino in Israel, it’s at least a start. As they say, “It’s a process.” I don’t know about you, but I am going to keep coming back to see how it continues to work out. 



Clearly, Esser Agaroth has a clear sense of what is appropriate and what is not. Says he:
What do I find offensive?

I find it offensive when Jews confuse Western culture and sensibilities for Jewish ones. Whether we are talking about “innocent civilians” during a milhemeth misswah (obligatory war), turning Jews into non-Jewish authorities, or a[Italian] black hat, none of these are Jewish concepts.

I find it offensive when Jews accuse other Jews of suborning mass-murder, when murder is an act which may only take place between Jews (Mekhilta, Ramba”m, Sefer HaHinukh). “Killing” is universal; “murder” is not. Please get your terminology right.

I find it offensive when Jews distort the Torah according to their pre-established beliefs and [galuti/diasporan] feelings, like when a Jew quotes the Talmud Bavli…

…that to save a life, it is as if one has saved a world.

…and neglects to mention that HaZa”L was not talking about just any old life, but rather a Jewish one.

Here I part company with Esser Agaroth (whom I don’t really know, but whom I am starting to by reading his blog).  Why? Because he sets himself – and his seemingly narrow sense of Judaism – as the sole appropriate posek (decisor/interpreter) of Judaism.  Those opinions end Jewish conversation; its an ancient, more seriously fundamentalist approach – when one party deems the others are outside the realm of legitimate Jewish belief.  
While I disagree with Esser Agaroth, I appreciate the worldview he presents as he hosts this week’s 
Haveil Havalim.  Go over and take a look at it on his blog.

One comment

  1. Ben-Yehudah says:

    Thanks, Paul, for being one to continue to have the willingness to participate in a carnival filled with diverse viewpoints.

    Your post certainly deserves a visit from me, even though I, too, disagree with your points of view, including what is considered to be Jewish or not.

    I have found that many with opposing views to my own are even unwilling to attempt to connect on less controversial issues such as concern for the environment (I hope that's not controversial!), music, healthy eating, poetry, etc. It seems that you might be one of those people who is willing.

    I am afraid I will have to disagree with some of your assessment of my hashqafah. But, as you said, you only just getting to know (we are only just getting to know each other).

    The only real "deal breaker" in my book, when it comes to "Judaism," is ones approach to Torah sheb'al al peh. It's simply not something which can be toyed with,…as the Tzaddoqim, early Christians, and German Jews of the 1700-1800's for purposes more nefarious than most people want to believe.

    Hag Kasher we'Same'ah (traditional usage, not "reclaimed" usage)

    😉

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