Truth And Consequences

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25 Responses

  1. Joseph Kaplan says:

    R. Carmy writes: “religion may on occasion make life and death demands” and “but the recognition that Shabbat is, in principle, worth the sacrifice.”

    The problem that I see in this argument is that the sacrifice is not being made by the person who is bound by the religion’s demands. We all understand that a Jew must give his/her life for the Big 3. But that is very different from saying that a non-Jew must give his/her life for Shabbat when a Jew does not. I, for one, have difficulty with that argument.

  2. David says:

    “Where people understand that religion may on occasion make life and death demands, the law that Shabbat is so important that it is overridden only for those who are members of the community that observes it is difficult but not scandalous.”

    Religion cannot legitimately make life and death demands of persons other than its adherents. It is beyond “scandalous” to adhere to a rule that demands that someone else pay with his life for your beliefs. The group most noted for that sort of belief right now is Islamic fundamentalists. How awful that we, as Jews, should in any way partake of such a thing. A human life is a human life, and, regardless of what sort of makhlokes one can dig up in the Talmud, nobody should die to ensure someone else a day of perfect rest.

  3. Nachum says:

    David, you’re making up all sorts of definitions to suit your point. No one is dying “to ensure someone else a day of perfect rest,” they are dying (theoretically, since no one actually dies) because of Shabbat, which is more than just “rest.” Ditto for your claim about “other people keeping the law.” The Jew is, the (non-existent victim) is not. Again, this goes to Joseph’s point as well.

  4. Michael Klein says:

    We are not asking a non-Jew to die for our beliefs, but rather the question is if we have permission to violate Shabbos to save the life of a non-Jew. In the overwhelming number of cases, the non-Jew will not be dying because of anything we did, and we will have no intention of preventing anyone from saving the non-Jew.

    My own position is, and it is freely open to criticism, is that I would not hesitate to violate an issur d’rabanan or a shvus to save the life of a goy (and that include amira l’akum). As for a melacha d’oraisa, I would hesitate, as the gemara says explicitly that digging a goy out from under a fallen pile of stones is assur on Shabbos. As I understand it, if by not intervening one will cause animosity, then the melacha becomes mutar as a melacha sh’eina tzricha l’gufa, which we poskin is only assur midrabanan.

    I pray to Hashem that I never be put in a situation where a goy is put in danger in front of me on Shabbos and halacha would not allow me to intervene, as this would be a very difficult nisayon for me, and I’m not at all sure I could pass it.

  5. tzvee says:

    Not fair to Feldman and not necessary IMHO to exaggerate his whining. He does alright on his own. He doesn’t ask for accolades, just recognition. There is a big difference. Nor is it needed to call him a baby or an adolescent. Egotism is a recognized adult trait and one we respect in our culture. No. There is no fair comparison here of Feldman to John Henry Newman. You’ve caused JHN to turn over in his grave at the slight. And not cricket impugning the poor shmo with the label of antisemitism because he rehearsed a teacher’s legitimate Talmudic monologue. Oh my, methinks you have poured it on too thickly. It makes for a weak counter to overstate matters so. Let the ragamuffin self-implode. We reserve a special place in American cultural hell for those who violate the uniform code of politeness towards the religion of the other. Let him roast.

  6. Ben Bayit says:

    Feldman equates the Rabin killing and the Baruch Godlstein incident with the anti-semitic cannard of Jewish doctors not treating gentiles. They are bascially just updated versions of the same type of anti-semitism. How ironic is it that Rabbi Carmy himself – as well as his teachers – also did not hesitate to use these incidents in order to take swipes and potshots as certain elements of national religious orthodoxy.
    What’s good for the goose is good for the gander and the cat will always get out of the bag, I say.
    Perhaps they need to study the last paragraph of the above essay until they are sore of it.

  7. Meir Shinnar says:

    The issue of saving non Jewish lives on shabbat has two different aspects the practical and theoretical. While, on the practical level, the halachic decision of most poskim is to allow, the theoretical issue is quite different. I am surprised that Rav Carmy didn’t cite the position of his teacher, rav soloveichik zt”l, (who was also the leader of noah feldman’s school), as documented by Gerald Blidstein, that the traditional position does (and should) cause us moral discomfort. The theoretical decision should be based on the view that the traditional view was based on living in a society of immoral idolators – and does not apply to today’s gentiles.

  8. Reb Yudel says:

    First, welcome back Hamevaser! As one of those responsible for the mid-’80s Hamevaser editorial turn toward “Jewish thought and ideas,” I’m delighted to see the resurrection of an old friend: Baruch mechayeh metim! With the nomination this month of my former Hamevaer editor Shalom Stone to the federal court of appeals, this is indeed a propitious time for Hamevaser.

    And how appropriate to inaugurate a renewed Hamevasaer with this essay from Rav Carmy.

    However, it seems that many of those in the blogosphere have missed the etzem of his subtle argument, which I explain at length in my blog posting track-backed above. I welcome the response of the Hamevaser community.

  9. Jeff Strashun says:

    I have spent far to much time this past week reading the thoughts of some of the best thinkers of our generation debating the virtues of Noah Feldman.But everyone seems to be missing the real issue: what caused Feldman to, for lack of a more p.c. term, TRASH his Torah values, TRASH his yeshiva education, and in short, TRASH Am Yisroel. When I attended YC in the mid 70’s, nary a student would be seen walking on campus without a yarmulke. Eating a treif snack in public was also invisible. Yet, today, as YU expands to bring back more of our lost souls, we cannot deny that these sightings are getting more frequemt, albeit a minority. We may not be able to solve the intermarriage dilemma in a few e-mails but perhaps we should focus our discussion more on why those who were fortunate to enjoy a Torah education in thier youth to now flaunt it and reveal an amazing disrespect to our Gedolim as these youth mature and gain so called secular wisdom. To refer to Rav Mose several timesin the article as simply “Feinstein” is beyond adjectives.How dare he define the debate for us!How dare he tell us how to live a torah based life and interpet halacha for us!Unlike Shmuly Boteach’s generous comments, I do not see Feldman as a Prince but rather as a Pauper. He had it all and he threw it away. Sad to say, he is lost forever. So let us start our quest to save those who can be saved rather than throw a hole filled lifejacket to a sinking man.

  10. Nachum Lamm says:

    “Perhaps they need to study the last paragraph of the above essay until they are sore of it.”

    Come, come, Ben Bayit. It’s always *other* people that need correcting.

  11. Ben Bayit says:

    Nahum – I don’t envision myself as a baal mussar or as a maggid. But if you haven’t realized by now, in addition to exposing communism, one of my favorites pastimes is exposing hypocrisy – irrespective of the practitioner. I am very familiar with the fact that
    “There are rabbis and teachers, who sometimes feel that they must show their cleverness at any cost. At times it seems that the less they have to contribute, the more they wish to stand out. Like precocious children impressing the adults, they vie for the attention of their students with forced displays of cleverness and provocation. The point is to come up with something that nobody else would think of saying and to say something shocking and memorable.”
    and to the degree it is practiced by members of – what was referred to above as – “the Hamevaser community”. and that even Rabbi Carmy himself might just be guilty of this on occassion – even if only a teeny tiny eensy weensy bit. intimately familiar.

  12. Nachum says:

    Ben Bayit, I’m agreeing with you. I’m only pointing out that with all due respect, people calling for “introspection” is more often than not thinking only of others, not of themselves. This is especially true when criticizing us right-wing fanatics. “We Orthodox have to examine ourselves” is very often code for “Those fanatics should disappear.”

  13. Chaim says:

    Feldman did not mention the countless number of Jewish doctors, some orthodox, who use their skills to save the lives of arab terrorists even on Shabbat if they survive a suicide bombing or military attack. No, he picks a theoretical heuristic part of the Talmud, out of context, to defame orthodoxy and satisfy his hurt from being rejected.

    We can expect his comments on the failure of the Iraqi delegates to write a proper constitution because the Malaki government did not give him proper respect and recognition since he offered to assist the new government to write a constitution, as if the Iraqi people are waiting to accept the advice of an American Jew who studied Arabic at Oxford.

    Rabbi Carmy said it well; “His Majesty the Baby.” A smart student, he turned to the dark side and closed the gates behind him thinking that his alma mater would overlook his tresspasses and extoll his intellectual accomplishments. Let us consign him to the compost collection of apikorsim and come to the recognition that his PhD interfered with his education.

  14. Ben Bayit says:

    Let’s all be honest for a second. Had Feldman not attended Harvard, but rather had chosen to attend Har Etzion for a year and then changed his registration, he would have gone to YU, entered Rabbi Michael Rosensweig’s shiur, signed up for all the requisite intellectual classes with Shalom Carmy, Will Lee, Moshe Bernstein, Mordy Cohen, Louis Feldman et. al, been editor at Hamevaser, been editor of the SOY Tanach journal, received a Wexner fellowship and been feted as the next coming of I don’t know what. But guess what folks – he still might have ended up marrying the shiksa in Yale. None of that would have changed.
    Also, I’m not sure that all the students who meet the above description and who did not marry shiksas, and are perhaps even practicing orthodox rabbis are necessarily all that different. “His Majesty the Baby” could be applied to them as well. Much of their “torah” content is spiritually and Jewishly lacking. They are intellectuals that are full of themselves, totally disconnected from reality.

  15. Nachum Lamm says:

    Yeah, but at least they don’t badmouth Jews in the pages of the New York Times.

  16. Steve Brizel says:

    Yasher Koach on a powerfully logical, coherent and intellectually honest approach to an author who we all know now was not photocropped out of a picture. I agree with Ben Bayit that Feldman should have gone to Israel for at least a year where he would have seen very well that Talmud, Tanach, Halacha and Machshavah of all sorts are not academic subjects but the keys to how a Jew lives his or her life and that RYBS’s understanding of Amalek is still evident in the Arab media, culture, educational systems and most significantly and existentially-in Teheran.

    Based upon the responses of R Carmy, R D N Lamm, D A Nadler and individuals such as Ralph Friedman and a dialogue at LookJed, I would suggest that the essay and the responses would make an excellent subject for discussion at MO high schools, regardless of a student’s future after graduation.

    I must disagree with my classmate and old chaver Jeff Strashun. Yes, the YU that we graduated from in 1976 is a far better and different religious and secular environment. Yes, there are students on campus who do not even meet the standards set forth in your comment. Yet, YU should compete for Baalei Teshuvah by offering the Mechinah Program as opposed to seeking students who lack a basic committment to halacha.

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  1. July 29, 2007

    […] NY Times, so I am going to respond to one of his responders. Jeff Woolf at My Obiter Dicta brings a response by R. Shalom Carmy regarding one of Feldman’s comments, that of violating the Shabbat in […]

  2. July 30, 2007

    […] of Feldman’s rhetorical sleight of hand, Gil Student’s post, Rabbi Carmy’s article in Kol Hamevaser, and Gary Rosenblatt’s editorial in the Jewish […]

  3. July 31, 2007

    Shalom, Carmy: A Confrontation

  4. August 7, 2007

    […] Shalom Carmy and rejewvenator Walk into a Bar August 7, 2007 at 2:41 pm | In Uncategorized | Rabbi Dr. Shalom Carmy’s response to Noah Feldman has been widely praised (and widely anticiapted) perhaps because Carmy is today what Noah Feldman […]

  5. August 9, 2007

    […] The last two weeks have provided many venues – in print and online – for valuable discussion and thoughtful responses to Professor Noah Feldman’s article in the New York Times Magazine. I was especially gratified to read, for example, the insightful arguments and incisive prose of my teachers and mentors, R. Norman Lamm and R. Shalom Carmy. […]

  6. March 29, 2012

    […] of Modern Orthodoxy — in particular, Yeshiva University’s Rabbi Norman Lamm and Rabbi Shalom Carmy.  Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, on the other hand, responded with a far more sympathetic assessment of […]

  7. June 15, 2012

    […] of Modern Orthodoxy — in particular, Yeshiva University’s Rabbi Norman Lamm and Rabbi Shalom Carmy.  Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, on the other hand, responded with a far more sympathetic assessment of […]

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