Sunday, November 30, 2008

Bent food in houses of worship

Oh man. Oh man. Oh man. I just had a truly brilliant post written out, and for whatever reason, it disappeared into the ether. That is quite annoying. Another thing that is annoying is that I haven't gotten a single email in over ten hours. Holy smokes folks, I feel as if I've been cut off from the rest of humanity or something like that. But don't worry, I'll get over it.
Rabbi Manis Friedman, fellow Minnesotan and bargaining chip of the '87 world series, farbrenged for the bochurim of tiferes bochurim here in Morristown this past shabbos. For various reasons I was unable to attend, but it sounds like a fun time was had by all. He focused mainly on a diatribe against liberals, as the old saying goes, "There are two types of people in this world: thinking people, and liberals." So the great Rabbi bashed all the liberals in the world, including, I was surprised to find out, homosexuals. I'm not surprised that he bashed them-after all, he is an orthodox rabbinical leader, but I am surprised that he chose to do so in this particular forum. After all, we're talking about the delicate ears of the students of tiferes. Be that as it may, or as it may be, the fact remains that the rabbi reportedly said, "The problem with gays is not that they like men, but rather that they don't like women." Now, far be it from me to argue, so I won't. I mean, what exactly am I supposed to say? I once had this argument with my chavrusa here in Motown. He brought a sicha, which he wanted to use to prove me wrong, but I defended his deathblow by pointing out that a careful reading of the text in fact supported my thesis, that homosexuality is in fact genetic. Score one for me! Or several thousand, if you must. But I digress.
So yeah, I couldn't very well argue with the great rabbi, particularly as I wasn't there, but I would have liked to. It's not that I'm really a liberal or a conservative, though in thinking I tend to fall into the former category and in voting into the latter, but rather I'm a contrarian.
For example, the reason I wasn't into beautiful (ha!) New Jersey was because I was in fact on beautiful Long Island spending a splendid shabbos far from the comforts of mikve and donut shop. Anyway, at the chabad house I was at the congregants were naturally waxing eloquently about the recent horrors in Mumbai; in particular, there was one older Israeli who loquaciously called for the immediate slaughter of whoever it was that was responsible for the terrorism. Now, I'm just as much for retributive genocide as the next Zionist, but my soul did revolt when not a single person in the room disagreed with his prescription for revengeful death. "Where has the old spirit of liberal Long Island gone?!" I cried, leaping onto one of the white folding tables, splattering chumus all over the shliach's kapote and crying out, "Whoso is for the lord, follow me! Allah Aqbar, and death to the infidel Jews!"
All right, I didn't actually say that, though you can sure bet I would have liked to. Unfortunately, as a representative of the chabad lubavitch worldwide movement, under the auspices of Merkos Linyonei Chinuch, I am prevented from making such statements. Tragic, I know.
So instead I was forced to repress my instincts and had to smile politely and pretend that I wasn't revolted by the proceedings unfolding before mine eyes. Of course, if I was by a kiddush in some mosque in Santa Fe, then I would certainly make sure to uphold the honor of my people, probably with the help of a submachine gun or something. But yeah, I'm unlikely to ever find myself in that particular situation. I mean, do mosques even have kiddushes? If they don't then they can kiss this particular convert goodbye.

10 comments:

Cheerio said...

revolted is a rather strong choice of words. i highly doubt you are saying you would not like to see the people who did this die. but... what ARE you saying?

The Real Shliach said...

What am I saying? You should know better than to ask questions like that. I mean, even I have no idea what I'm saying.

But seriously (as if that were possible for me), I meant to say the word revolted, simply because it's great for shock value. As any yellow paper journalist knows, that's the name of the game. And yes, you want to kill the surviving 21 year old? Enjoy yourself. But Jews shouldn't talk like that. Eisav got the weapons, we got G-d.
And please, don't let this degenerate into some stupid argument about Jewish self-defense and other nonsense like that.

Cheerio said...

nah, i don't want jewish kids marching on street corners, policing the neighborhood (besides, we already have that in Crown Heights).
its just - killing in cold blood like that? its called justice. just because we got G-d doesnt mean we also don't have weapons. we're just more selective about using them.

The Real Shliach said...

Nu, so you want to kill people. Go ahead, enjoy yourself, just don't be so convinced that what you're doing has G-d's seal of approval.

Cheerio said...

i guess i just miss the days when our prophets buckled on swords and led the people out to battle.

The Real Shliach said...

Those prophets had the word of G-d guiding them. What do we have, the word of zalman shmotkin?

Cheerio said...

true, we can't actually do anything but leave it in the hands of the rightful authorities. but that doesn't mean i don't wish we could!

Leo de Toot said...

Dear Mr. R.S.:
First let me say that I heartily endorse the sentiments of Mr. Cheerio regarding physically punishing our enemies. Not only is it what they deserve but I suspect we would feel a whole lot better! Second, as someone who really enjoys Rabbi Manis Friedman's talks, I am intrigued at his comment regarding homosexuals and really wish you could somehow elicit the remainder of his remarks from the students who heard him speak. Based on the extract you provided, I feel I'm missing the logic here. He seems to be saying that the way to stop people from stealing is to teach them to love poverty. That can't be right - presumably most of us would like to be wealthy but that doesn't mean we steal to achieve this goal.
Bewildered and bothered (but not bewitched),
Leo de T.

The Real Shliach said...

I think that Manis was saying that having certain feelings is not necessarily a bad thing; acting on them is very bad. We don't necessarily need a kleptomaniac to stop having urges, but we do need to teach him how to contain those urges. The Rebbe compared homosexuality to a disease, though whether he was saying that it's a disease or was merely comparing it to one I don't know.
We're not telling this person to enjoy poverty, but rather teaching him how to make money legally.

Leo de Toot said...

Dear Mr. R.S.:
Thanks for clarifying - I understand (and agree).
LdT.