Windows and Doors

Windows and Doors


Tisha B’av and the Ethics of Communication

posted by Brad Hirschfield

A response to Norwegian Shooter who commented on yesterday’s post as follows:

When I returned to your blog to see if you responded to my comment on the previous post, I was quite surprised to see you posted your comment to Shoshanna (the hypocritical one) as its own entry. So I feel the need to ask again, do you think your post on Harris and Kilinghoffer treated them with as much love and respect as possible?
I must say that I checked out some other posts and believe you seem to practice your what you preach in general. However, your criticism of Jimmy Carter and Steven Waldman was based on misunderstanding, as was yesterday’s post. To respect their views, you have to understand them.
Carter was not “equating his own understanding of religion with the will of” major religious figures. He said the practice of some current religious groups violates the teachings of these major figures. Do you disagree with that?
Waldman’s quip against the Rabbis was in support of the separation of church and state, which is more obvious in his second Cronkite post, not the authenticity of their faith. Then you weirdly take a few words Waldman used in describing good journalism and say the Rabbinate would use the same words to defend their church and state as one position. Yeah, so?

Norwegian Shooter,
I generally don’t debate commenters, especially when they make accusations about hypocrisy or use personal attack. I responded to Shoshanna simply to head off a fight which I have no intention of joining. There are already too many fights in the world, don’t you think?
I will however suggest that you may be confusing understanding with agreement. You insist that I don’t understand simly because we disagree. And my guess is that those post about which you say nice things, are ones with which you share my beliefs.
I happen to think I do understand the words upon which I comment and the fact that we disagree about their meaning, does not mean that I do not. For me, big issues can be properly understood by different people reaching very different conclusions.
That is exactly what people like Jimmy Carter fail to understand. People lile Moses, Paul, Jesus and Muhammad said many things and they can be interpreted in many ways. In fact the durability (inspired queality, if one is a believer) of their teaching lies in its ability to invite ongoing interpretation, including ones which you, Jimmy Carter or I may not like.
As to Steven’s post about Cronkite, do you find it odd that you criticize my failing to respond to a second post that had not been written when I commented on the first? Not to mention that my oposition is to virtually all absolute cliams about intelletual and spiritual authenticity — they do so much more harm than good.
Again, and I am only guessing here, you are probably a fan of Cronkite’s and not Israel’s chief rabbinate. Could this be another one of those agreement/understanding moments?
On Tisha B’av, a day when Jews recall tragedies, many of which were caused by how people comminicated with each other, I hope these are questions we all take a moment to think about.



Advertisement
Comments read comments(6)
post a comment
roy

posted July 30, 2009 at 12:55 pm


Noble words, Rabbi, befitting the true gentleman and responsible scholar which you are.
But, somewhat naïve, I am afraid.
You note that “David has, and I assume will, continue to take shots at me. That’s his problem. It’s only anybody else’s if they busy themselves reading what he writes. And if people do so, then they cannot simply blame him for writing it. If people stopped reading it, he would probably stop writing it, and it certainly would have little significance.”
Unfortunately, these days, such an approach is wholly unavailing.
Just ask Sen. John Kerry.
Two words: SWIFT BOAT.
On behalf of a national presidential ticket featuring one individual who scrupulously avoided combat and another who dodged the draft because he had “other priorities,” a political group viciously assailed and called into question the war record of bemedaled combat veteran Kerry. Feeling that this campaign ploy was so silly and outrageous that no one would believe it, Kerry did nothing. Enough voters fell for this calumny to cost him the election- and thereby consign this great nation to four more years of deceit and arrogant incompetence.
In a Senatorial campaign in the South that same year, a 4-F candidate ran a TV ad associating his opponent, a Vietnam veteran who was a multiple amputee, with Osama bin Laden- and won.
Sadly, this is the current state of affairs.
Consider the vehemence of the accusations leveled at President Obama during the recent campaign. Some of the same people – including in the Jewish community, and especially the Orthodox segment – were arguing AT THE SAME TIME that:
1. Mr. Obama was actually a Muslim; and
2. Mr. Obama had been heavily influenced by the teachings of Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the pastor at his long-time Church.
Rush Limbaugh claimed that Mr. Obama was an Arab.
(By his cowardly and puerile attack on Shoshanna, “Norwegian Shooter” has established himself as part of this ilk, as well )
Should such falsehoods and bullying untruths go unchallenged ? You are certainly familiar with the rabbinic axiom: shtika kahodaa !



report abuse
 

roy

posted July 30, 2009 at 12:56 pm


the “David” referenced above is David Klinghoffer.



report abuse
 

alphonse greco

posted July 30, 2009 at 3:47 pm


Is it me, or does the writing style of “Norwegian shooter” seem to closely resemble that of David Klinghoffer?
Roy is spot-on. You have to stand up to bullies. Ignore their words and too many people will assume that because they go unanswered, they must be true. Note Rush Limbaugh and his bigoted “ditto-heads”.
Rabbi Brad, you are far too good-natured and trusting for your own good.



report abuse
 

Norwegian Shooter

posted July 30, 2009 at 4:25 pm


Wow, you really just don’t get it. It must be your education.
The first statement is not a personal attack because I will show why I say that based on your own writing. But the second is and I really don’t believe it. It just exemplifies a personal attack, which I did not make in either of my comments.
Why do you think an accusation of hypocrisy doesn’t need a response? My original question is still unanswered: do you think your post on Tuesday treated Sam Harris and David Kilinghoffer with “as much love and respect as possible”? Also, you joined the fight with your original post. You read what both men wrote, publicly responded and then said don’t read what they write and they will go away. Too late.
Reading the second and third paragraphs above, I really am confused now. So I’ll address the original Carter and Waldman issues separately, and then discuss how they are related.
I didn’t see this at first, but you provide an excellent example of why selective quoting can say anything you want it to say. Compare the first paragraph of your Carter post to the source.
You: Former President Jimmy Carter condemned “the male interpretations of religious texts” that have “provided a reason or excuse for the deprivation of women’s equal rights . . . This is in clear violation not just of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights but also the teachings of Jesus Christ, the Apostle Paul, Moses and the prophets, Muhammad, and founders of other great religions.”
Jimmy Carter: This discrimination, unjustifiably attributed to a Higher Authority, has provided a reason or excuse for the deprivation of women’s equal rights across the world for centuries. The male interpretations of religious texts and the way they interact with, and reinforce, traditional practices justify some of the most pervasive, persistent, flagrant and damaging examples of human rights abuses. (Your ellipsis is actually 13 paragraphs and a topic sentence, so it is disingenuous at best to continue within quotes and allow the next part to start with “this”) This is in clear violation not just of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights but also the teachings of Jesus Christ, the Apostle Paul, Moses and the prophets, Muhammad, and founders of other great religions – all of whom have called for proper and equitable treatment of all the children of God.
After this mangled quote, you claim that Carter made “statements equating his own understanding of religion with the will of ‘Jesus Christ, the Apostle Paul, Moses …’ ” I don’t think your claim is justified by what Jimmy Carter wrote. In fact, he wrote the article in support of a group of leaders from many different religious backgrounds, who quite obviously don’t claim a monopoly on religious truth. This negates the rest of your argument because the premise is not true. It gets so obviously misguided that you say “[O]f course that attitude [Carter’s] of knowing best is the basis of all oppression committed by people in the name of religion.” Rather than having that attitude, Carter explicitly argues against it and agrees that it leads to oppression.
Carter is arguing against a practice that is religiously justified, but does so on secular grounds. The rest of the Carter post and your paragraph above are actually not against Carter, but in support of moral relativity. (Try not responding to that!)
As for the dispute about Waldman’s post, since he is your Editor-in-Chief, I would appreciate it if you would publicly ask him if his Cronkite witness story was an attack on the authenticity of the Israeli Chief Rabbinate. I’ll leave it to him to agree or disagree.
The common thread between your posts on Carter and Waldman is that you believe that they both made an absolute claim of authenticity, spiritual and intellectual respectively. Carter did not. As to Waldman, I must confess that I don’t know what intellectual authenticity is and how he made an absolute claim to it. (By the way, the word “real” doesn’t appear in Waldman’s post, so I have no idea why you put it in quotes in yours. Got to work on that quoting thing.)
Finally, you should notice my comments here are not based on my opinions of Cronkite, the rabbinate, Carter, Waldman or you, but on what the last three of you wrote. After you have taken a moment to think, how about answering any of the questions I have asked?



report abuse
 

marc

posted August 1, 2009 at 9:43 am


Here are 2 items also posted on David Klinghoffer’s blog- well, sort of. Unlike Rabbi Brad, who is open to criticism and welcomes all comers, Mr. Klinghoffer censures his detractors by ‘unpublishing’ them- apparently, as a blog host, he has adopted as his role model Hugo Chavez.
1. Re: the Klinghoffer blog entry “Can you trust a guy who doesn’t drink” – which suggested that you are not a real man/Jew/American unless you like to imbibe (and get your date liquored up):
What planet are you living on?
This beloved country has a SERIOUS drinking problem, going back to the rum trade of colonial times. Think of the many DUI-related deaths.
As such, encouraging drinking is irresponsible!
Jews grow up accustomed to imbibing in moderation. Unfortunately, for our Christian neighbors- especially in the fundamentalist ‘good ol’ boy’ culture of David’s Bible-thumping landsleit- it is an all-or-nothing proposition: teetotaling or binge-drinking. (The same holds true for their binary outlook in regard to school curricula regarding reproductive health: teach abstinence or no sex education at all.)
2. Re: the “Synchronicity” blog entry in which Klinghoffer boasts about his observance of the Tisha B’Av fast:
Rabbi Brad is as devout in his observance of fast days as you claim to be – and he has been at it for a much longer period of time.
But you don’t see him ‘bragging’ about in his blog entries- as you do here and elsewhere.
Why? Are you seeking applause? Do you need continual validation because you are a convert? Aren’t you aware of the rabbinic principle of modesty (tzniyut)?
Wasn’t it just this type of public religious exhibitionism which was part of Jesus’ critique of the Pharisaic practices of his day?



report abuse
 

marc

posted August 1, 2009 at 9:51 am


Here are 2 items also posted on David Klinghoffer’s blog- well, sort of: they were posted and then removed.
For, unlike Rabbi Brad, who is open to criticism and welcomes all comers, Mr. Klinghoffer censures his detractors by ‘unpublishing’ them- apparently, as a blog host, he has adopted as his role model Hugo Chavez.
1. Re: the Klinghoffer blog entry “Can you trust a guy who doesn’t drink? ” – which suggested that you are not a real man/Jew/American unless you like to imbibe (and get your date liquored up):
What planet are you living on?
This beloved country has a SERIOUS drinking problem, going back to the rum trade of colonial times. Think of the many DUI-related deaths.
As such, encouraging drinking is irresponsible!
Jews grow up accustomed to imbibing in moderation. Unfortunately, for our Christian neighbors- especially in the fundamentalist ‘good ol’ boy’ culture of David’s Bible-thumping landsleit- it is an all-or-nothing proposition: teetotaling or binge-drinking. (The same holds true for their binary outlook in regard to school curricula regarding reproductive health: teach abstinence or no sex education at all.)
2. Re: the “Synchronicity” blog entry in which Mr. Klinghoffer boasts about his observance of the Tisha B’Av fast:
Rabbi Brad is as devout in his observance of fast days as you claim to be – and he has been at it for a much longer period of time.
But you don’t see him ‘bragging’ about in his blog entries- as you do here and elsewhere.
Why, David ? Are you seeking applause? Do you need continual validation because you are a convert? Aren’t you aware of the rabbinic principle of modesty (tzniyut)?
Wasn’t it just this type of public religious exhibitionism which was part of Jesus’ critique of the Pharisaic practices of his day?



report abuse
 

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the beliefnet.com terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to beliefnet.com and may be used by beliefnet.com in accordance with the agreements.



Previous Posts

More blogs to enjoy!
Thank you for visiting Windows and Doors. This blog is no longer being updated. Please enjoy the archives. Here are some other blogs you may also enjoy: Truths You Can Use Most Recent Inspiration blog post Happy Reading!  

posted 1:28:03pm Aug. 02, 2012 | read full post »

Apple's "Jew or Not Jew" App -- Should It Be Legal?
An Apple application that let users guess which French politicians or celebrities are Jewish was pulled from France's App Store. but its American equivalent is still available. French activist groups said the "Jew or Not Jew?" app violated bans on compiling information on people's religion and rev

posted 1:18:48am Sep. 18, 2011 | read full post »

Is God A Christian?
R. Kirby Godsey’s new book, Is God A Christian?, challenges what the author describes as the commonly held belief among many religious people that the God in whom they believe is “one of them”.  People, Mr. Kirby observes, too often confuse God’s religious identity with their own, leading t

posted 11:59:56am Sep. 12, 2011 | read full post »

Remembering 9/11 - Part One
The tenth anniversary of 9/11 brings up many emotions and presents some very real challenges, among them how to remember the past without being imprisoned by it.  This video, filmed at St. Paul's, the church closest to the World Trade Center site, is a wonderful example of rising to that challen

posted 2:40:58pm Sep. 08, 2011 | read full post »

Gilad Shalit, Still A Prisoner After 1,900 Days
Below is a copy of the Statement I got from the White House, and while I appreciate the words, I can't help but also ask, "Is this the best we can do?"  United States Mission to the United Nations Office of Press and Public Diplomacy 799 United Nations Plaza New York, NY 10017 (212) 41

posted 9:04:17am Sep. 08, 2011 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.