Thursday, July 07, 2005

Jewish blogs: Protests against ourselves, our communities or our world?

How do we find a balance in pushing for integrity in our own lives/families, our various communities, and the larger society? In a recent daf, a tradition is brought down in the names of four rabbis:

Whoever has the ability to protest against their household – but does not protest – is punished for the sins of the household.

Whoever has the ability to protest against their community [1] – but does not protest – is punished for the sins of the community.

Whoever has the ability to protest against the entire world – but does not protest – is punished for the sins of the entire world.” [2]

Among Orthodox Jewish bloggers, I have found relatively few who protest consistently as Jews with politics beyond the Jewish world. I’d like to learn about those who deal with the concerns of "the entire world" [2].

A special thanks goes to long-time Jewish activist, and recently author of a Jewish blog, Richard Schwartz Ph.D. who mentioned this Quicksilver blog in a message to COEJL’s Kol-Chai listserv. He has been active on Jewish and Israeli environmental issues for a long time. He is now blogging on Jewish vegetarianism, an interest that he forcefully links to environmentalism. Never stop protesting RS!

Knee deep in the deep muddy.… Push on!

Kaspit כספית

[1] Lit. "city"
[2] Rabbis Rav, Chanina, Chaviva, and Yochanan/Yonatan. Source: bShab 54b, translation based on Artscroll. In the Talmud, "the entire world" presumably means the Jewish world so I have taken liberties to broaden the implication.


Anonymous shmuel said...

See R' Henkin's collected letters (published in the last decade or so by Agudas HaRabbanan) for one written to a group of young rabbis who wanted to publicize and expound the seven noachide laws. He essentially forbade this as a dangerous actiivty.

It's probably also worth pondering the view from Sotah ?? that "Just as it is a Mitzvah to say that which is listened to, so too it is a mitzvah not to say that which will not be listend to." And Beitzah 30a, "Better that they act unintentionally". While Arachin 11b? describes the extent to which one must protest against Jewish intenitonal mis-acting. Mishnah Brurah (hilchot yom kippur, on eating late erev yom kippur) and I think a wide group of others, only require protest against the essentially frum.

However, maybe democracies are different...

Sunday, July 31, 2005 8:34:00 AM  

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