Sunday, June 29, 2008

Jonathan Rosenblum on Hirsch: the Op-ed Version

Jonathan Rosenblum just published an op-ed version of the speech he gave at KAJ. What I find interesting about the written version is that Rosenblum has removed all criticism of the Haredi leadership, the Gedolim, that permeated the KAJ speech. The closest he comes to criticizing the Gedolim is when he says:

His [R’ Hirsch’s] writings are filled with an enormous confidence in the power of Torah to uplift and transform every period of history. Accordingly, he addressed the entirety of German Jewry on a monthly basis on the major issues of the day. No Torah scholar of comparable stature fills that role today.

Gone is any discussion of the need for a Torah world that values all sorts of people, not just people who sit and study all day. Rosenblum also omitted his talk about the spiritual value of living in the world and going out and earning a livelihood on a day to day basis.

To me this says two things about Rosenblum. One, that, when he spoke at KAJ, there was no mistake; he did not simply sound like he was being critical of the Haredi leadership. If did not mean to say anything serious or controversial by what he said at KAJ then there would have been no need censor himself for a general audience. Two, that Rosenblum lacks the spine to stand up for his beliefs and accept the real live consequences of those beliefs. Ultimately Rosenblum wants to be able to maintain his belief in dealing with the modern world, a belief necessary in order to justify his continued relevance, while still maintaining himself as a part of the Haredi world.

1 comment:

Izgad said...

In the interest of being fair to Jonathan Rosenblum, the day after I wrote the above post, he published a second op-ed(, which contains the more critical remarks, which he made at KAJ.