Monday, December 04, 2006

Post of the Day

You know it's a good one when a number of people have already linked to it, even though it's been up just a few hours. BeyondBT's R' Yonasan Goldson says It's Lonely in the Middle:
I’ve long been taken with the following quote from Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik: “All extremism, fanaticism, and obscurantism come from a lack of security. A person who is secure cannot be an extremist.” ...

Professor Koppel observes that both the modern world and the Chareidi world make the same fundamental mistake, each in its own way. In their efforts to eliminate this spiritual-physical tension, Chareidim are inclined to reject any involvement with the physical, whereas Modern Orthodoxy is inclined to legitimize everything physical in the context of being a Torah Jew. In my own language, Chareidim tend toward forbidding everything not expressly permitted, while the Modern Orthodox tend toward permitting everything not expressly forbidden.
Read the whole thing (especially as those quotes are way out of context). As Serach always says, "Everyone follows their own rav and has their own minhagim (customs). Each person should respect the other for what they do, even if it's different from what they themselves do."

One quibble with the piece - R' Goldson seems to feel that people in the middle are being forced to choose one side or the other, to their detriment. I feel that over the last number of years, we've seen first a large split along the lines of what he describes; but more recently, we've begun to see the reverse - a rejection of both extremes, particularly by the younger generation, and a resurgence toward the middle from both sides.