Re: Should Tova Mirvis’ memoir of leaving Orthodoxy be taught in yeshiva high schools?
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Re: Should Tova Mirvis’ memoir of leaving Orthodoxy be taught in yeshiva high schools?

November 13, 2018 08:53AM
In his discussion of Tova Mirvis’ novel, Dr. Hendel writes:

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“I start off by pointing out that I am not the first to regard "leaving the path" (off the derech) as a search for physical intimacy rather than a dignified intellectual problem. Indeed, the haunting question of how a nation which personally experienced prophecy at Sinai worshipped a golden calf has been answered in our tradition by pointing out that the idolatrous calf golden calf ceremony had partying and fun, the real reason for the Jews sinning. There were no intellectual problems, just emotional problems.”
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I am not sure how far he is pushing this line of thought but if the claim is that all people who abandon frumkeit are actually using theological and ethical complaints as a cover for their desire to simply have a good time, then I categorically disagree. Such a claim would be unfair and untrue.

It is unfair because it lets us off easily while accusing the opposition of bad faith. Our opponents are placed in a bad light and we do not have to respond to any difficult questions because the criticism is not authentic. How is this different from atheists who claim that religious people are simply looking for a reward in heaven or are acting out the need for a father figure? We should avoid the kind of reductionism of Freud or Marx that arbitrarily debunks any kind of idealism.

Secondly it is not true. Many of us in education have counseled students who desperately wanted to maintain their faith with a portion of them succeeding more and others less. Some of them had experienced severe difficulties such as chronic medical problems or the death of a close relative. To say that they were actually motivated by the desire to fool around and eat cheeseburgers seems almost obscene.

Students who struggle with the problem of evil, biblical criticism, the morality of halakha or the behavior of frum Jews are not being silly or asking dumb questions. These are real issues. Now, I agree that Orthodoxy has legitimate responses and I have written about most of the above from a frum perspective. However, those who arrive at different conclusions deserve respect.

I have not read Tova’s book but I suspect that Dr. Hendel did not give it a fair hearing. Why is being upset with the curse of husbands ruling over wives “silly?” Have women not suffered over the course of history due to this attitude? (Yes, I am aware that it is a curse and not a commandment).

I am grateful that I grew up observant and find beauty and wisdom in our holy tradition every day. At the same time, I understand that those who have issues with that tradition are not simply a bunch of hedonistic fools. Many of them are fine people with ethical sensitivity and intellectual rigor. Though the other narrative might serve our pragmatic needs, we should adopt a more honest approach.

Yitzchak Blau



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/13/2018 08:53AM by mlb.
Subject Author Posted

Should Tova Mirvis’ memoir of leaving Orthodoxy be taught in yeshiva high schools?

Moshe Simkovich October 17, 2018 06:18PM

Re: Should Tova Mirvis’ memoir of leaving Orthodoxy be taught in yeshiva high schools?

Yaakov Bieler October 17, 2018 06:44PM

Re: Should Tova Mirvis’ memoir of leaving Orthodoxy be taught in yeshiva high schools?

Elisha Paul October 17, 2018 06:57PM

Re: Should Tova Mirvis’ memoir of leaving Orthodoxy be taught in yeshiva high schools?

Pesach Sommer October 18, 2018 03:14PM

Re: Should Tova Mirvis’ memoir of leaving Orthodoxy be taught in yeshiva high schools?

Meshulam Gotlieb October 20, 2018 07:58PM

Re: Should Tova Mirvis’ memoir of leaving Orthodoxy be taught in yeshiva high schools?

Jonathan Kroll October 23, 2018 11:26AM

Re: Should Tova Mirvis’ memoir of leaving Orthodoxy be taught in yeshiva high schools?

Yosef Goldberg October 23, 2018 11:39AM

Re: Should Tova Mirvis’ memoir of leaving Orthodoxy be taught in yeshiva high schools?

Russell Jay Hendel October 30, 2018 08:03AM

Re: Should Tova Mirvis’ memoir of leaving Orthodoxy be taught in yeshiva high schools?

Michael Berkowitz November 06, 2018 01:54PM

Re: Should Tova Mirvis’ memoir of leaving Orthodoxy be taught in yeshiva high schools?

Yitzchak Blau November 13, 2018 08:53AM

Re: Should Tova Mirvis’ memoir of leaving Orthodoxy be taught in yeshiva high schools?

Michael Berkowitz November 25, 2018 07:45PM

Re: Should Tova Mirvis’ memoir of leaving Orthodoxy be taught in yeshiva high schools?

Yitzchak Blau December 05, 2018 08:05AM

Re: Should Tova Mirvis’ memoir of leaving Orthodoxy be taught in yeshiva high schools?

Michael Berkowitz December 09, 2018 06:19PM

Re: Should Tova Mirvis’ memoir of leaving Orthodoxy be taught in yeshiva high schools?

Rose Landowne November 06, 2018 07:52AM

Re: Should Tova Mirvis’ memoir of leaving Orthodoxy be taught in yeshiva high schools?

Gideon Sylvester November 12, 2018 09:22AM

Re: Should Tova Mirvis’ memoir of leaving Orthodoxy be taught in yeshiva high schools?

Moshe Simkovich December 09, 2018 06:23PM



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