My recent post about Barack Obama’s Western Wall prayer drew the attention of American Spectator contributing editor Jay Homnick, who was mentioned in it.
How could I be said to be abusing a religious tradition for partisan ends? I criticized Obama and his team for crass behavior and I demonstrated the basis for the complaint. How is that partisan? And how is that abuse?
It is instructive that you do not mention the issue at hand; namely, the hanging of huge political posters in the Square in front of the Wall.
This is a “shining” example of the pot calling the kettle black? That is your fair-minded judgment?
And what is your second paragraph maintaining? That the Wailing Wall should not be viewed as a holy place that inspires the Jews of the world? This essay leaves me utterly befuddled.
Posted by: Jay D. Homnick | July 27, 2008 11:15 PM
Well Jay, I love that you read the post and hope that you will see this as well. Even more, I hope that you read and comment regularly.
Your “abuse” of the tradtion (admittedly a harsher term than one which I would normally use, but fair in this case because it wasintroduced by you to the conversation), comes in the form of sharing an isolated midrash to prove a particular political point. There is a midrash to “prove” anything, which is a strength of rabbinic literature, but a fact which demands greater modesty on the part of those who use it.
And while I appreciate your saying that you are “befuddled”, we both know that is not true. You are far too smart for that. What you are is poorly informed about Jewish history. You assume a false dichotomy between “a holy place that inspires Jews” and one which can be used, as it always has been, for politcal purposes.
Not to mention that you keep insisting that it is a place of inspiration for Jews, suggesting that it can be one others as well. That too is disturbing but for other reasons and to be discussed at some other time.
What do you think?
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About Windows & DoorsAuthor, radio and TV talk show host, and President of CLAL-The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, Brad Hirschfield is the author of You Don’t Have To Be Wrong For Me To Be Right: Finding Faith Without Fanaticism. Listed as one of the nation’s 50 most influential rabbis in Newsweek, and a regular commentator on Court TV, he is the creator of the popular series, Building Bridges, airing on Bridges TV, and the co-host of the weekly radio show, Hirschfield and Kula.
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