Sunday, June 14, 2009

Profiles in Koferut: Sara

So Da'as Hedyot has this thing called "Better Know a Kofer" where he tries to debunk the myth that OTD types/heretics are weirdos who go on to live unhappy and unfulfilled lives.

Not a bad idea. I'm all for it. Respect is a two-way street, and since I want irreligious Jews to respect me, I'd better respect them.

The first interview is with this girl named Sara.

Sara grew up yeshivish. She had parents who were strict about halacha. But they had some tendencies that weren't quite geshmak, like showing affection in front of the kids.

I would now point out that, from the classical point of view, or rather, the Artscroll point of view, that explains everything.

But since I treat people like real people, we are going to need to dig farther to understand why Sara left.

We find that she first came to question the entire system of halacha.

Now, it seems to me that in some circles, halacha is presented as THE unchanging decree we recieved and passed on, generation to generation, from Mt. Sinai, orally.

That's lying.

And when they find out that they have been lied too, of course they will leave.

Psychologically speaking (although I am not a psychologist, nor am I a dentist) she was submitting to an external authority. This is called "the method of authority". Or, "Do this because I know better". And when you honestly believe G-d told you to wait 6 hours between milk and meat, despite any personal hardships or personal objections to such a law, you obey.

In classic Jewish terminology, this is "yirat shamayim", without any "ahavat shamayim".

An interesting thing emerges when you read Halachik Man, by Rav Soloveitchik. The halacha - the ideal construct - is internal. He is not submitting to some higher power that has decreed unknowable laws - the laws are in his bones. Internalized. By following halacha, the Rav is being true to himself.

Sara then goes on to defend herself, tellingly, saying
"do we really, really think that two or three or seven hundred years ago people counted 18 minutes before sundown, and 45 or 52 or 72 or 90 minutes after? Do we really think that people counted six hours after eating meat or poultry? That's just implausible."
No, Sara, we don't think the Rabbis of old had clocks. We know that some things are different now, better even.

Well, she became a Christian, because they have Jesus, who died for our sins. In the sense that the Christians are obsolved from most of the mitzvot due to the eternal azazel Jesus, yemach shemo, represents for all time for all humanity.

Fun fact: "Yeshu" is an acronym for "Yemach SHemO"

This looks like a classic case of "Lo b'emet hem ovdim avoda zara, aileh l'hatir lahem arayot."

She left because she couldn't take the laws, intellectually.

Eh. We have another casualty. In another day and age, she would have done what Jews do because she was a Jew. She would not have had the space to intellectually question her upbringing.

Category: Meshumad l'khol ha-Torah kula - an apostate with regard to the whole Torah. She has lost her "Kedushat Yisroel". Her children are not Jewish.


  1. Interesting blog.

    My main problem with this post is you use common frum terms, and appeals to your holy books. I guess that's okay within your group, but you understand that for people outside the group, it doesn't really apply. For example, the Bible says I should be killed for desecrating Shabbos. Fortunately, I don't believe in the Bible, or else maybe I'd kill myself?

    I think you come to this conclusion way too fast: "This looks like a classic case of 'Lo b'emet hem ovdim avoda zara, aileh l'hatir lahem arayot.'"

    Generally, I would expect no better from a frum person, but I think you can be held to a higher standard, as you've mentioned "But since I treat people like real people, we are going to need to dig farther to understand why Sara left."

  2. Fine.

    I'll make an emotional argument:

    The moment a person picks up a cross, willingly, they betray 2000 years of Jewish history.

    To quote Fackenheim: "We are forbidden to hand Hitler another postumous victory."

    Hitler. The Inquisition. The Crusades. Rome. Greece.

    All of them.

    A person who converts to Christianity (from Judaism) betrays history.