Windows and Doors

Windows and Doors


Tisha B’av, Francis Collins, and Lashon HaRah

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Responding to yesterday’s post about the consternation provoked in both the savagely secular and rabidly religious camps, Shoshanna commented:

mazel tov, Rabbi, on finally joining the fray against
the Christophole nudnick (and most recently, as a recent reader post on this blog noted, cyberstalker!) Klinghoffer.
It is long overdue, given the potshots he has taken in the past at you and the thoughtfulness and refined common sense which you stand for.

While I appreciate the blessing and encouragement, I do not want to “join the fray against” anybody, at least not anybody writing on Beliefnet, and especially the day before Tisha B’av. Let’s all remember that many of the day’s terrible events were sparked by people telling the truth, but in harmful ways. That’s actually a really useful definition of Lashon Ha’Rah – best translated as trash-talking.
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.
While in philosophy class we can still debate whether a tree falling in a forest makes a sound if no one is there to hear it, but in the real world, the answer is ‘no, it does not’.


So, while it’s easy to blame the guy with the ax, we have the power to leave the forest being felled. That ability to respond constructively even in the midst of difficult times is another important message of Tisha B’av. We may not have been able to stop the Babylonians, or the Romans, or any of the others who have hurt the Jewish people, but we always have a choice about how to respond.
I beg of you Shoshanna, especially if you value my work and the ethos of this blog, don’t curse the darkness, light a candle instead. Help me build the readership of Windows and Doors, and spread what you describe as my “refined common sense”.
As we enter a dark day for the Jewish people, please recall that sharing gentle Torah and treating all people with as much love and respect as possible really does redeem the world. We don’t need to be weak, but being right should not become an excuse for being rough. After all, isn’t that what you object to the others doing?
Go with your initial response to that kind of anger, Shoshanna. You know the anger, when expressed by others, is wrong, so why indulge it? You will be so much happier if you don’t. We have waited for thousands of years to be able to be both strong and gentle, and now we really can be, let’s make the most of that opportunity.



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jestrfyl

posted July 29, 2009 at 11:02 am


Genius…
“As we enter a dark day for the Jewish people, please recall that sharing gentle Torah and treating all people with as much love and respect as possible really does redeem the world. We don’t need to be weak, but being right should not become an excuse for being rough.”
Words for all commentators here and elsewhere to live by.



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Norwegian Shooter

posted July 29, 2009 at 6:48 pm


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?



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roy

posted July 30, 2009 at 12:53 pm


Noble words, Rabbi, befitting the true gentleman and responsible scholar which you are.
But, somewhat naïve, I am afraid.
You note that “David Klinghoffer 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 !



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Trent

posted August 1, 2009 at 12:11 am


just click the link to Check out this prophecy about the fast: http://bit.ly/TishaBAv



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jeux drole

posted September 30, 2009 at 10:56 pm


Thank you so much for sharing this informative knowledge. I found from somewhere that democrats who have become increasingly frustrated with growing anti-Obama sentiment are now raising the specter of racism as a reason for the surge.



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