Rabbi David Bar-Hayim thinks Israel’s Orthodox Jews are debating the wrong things. By way of example, the rabbi points to a few silly questions that have been posed to him about food:
Whether religious Jews should eat anything that looks non-kosher Whether the desire for kosher cheeseburgers indicated a character or spiritual flaw Whether one should eat in a restaurant at all Whether one should stick to eating “Jewish food”
He points to these narrow arguments about diet as evidence of an “Exilic” mentality that is hostile to innovation and “incapable of providing the intellectual and spiritual leadership necessary for the flowering and growth of Jewish life in Erets Yisrael today.”
So what should Jews be debating? The rabbi has some suggestions:
Whether religious Jews should actively seek the reinstitution of the pre-Exilic customs of the Land of Israel Whether the lack of desire for the Temple indicates a character or spiritual flaw Whether synagogues should still be saying the prayer for the spiritual centers and Torah academies of Babylon” How we can re-establish institutions such as the Sanhedrin and the Temple in order to “renew our days as of yore”
This is progress? Personally, as much as I share Rabbi Bar-Hayim’s distaste for holier-than-thou one-upmanship, I still find heated discussions of kosher beef patties topped with tofu “cheese” more appetizing than the alternatives he proposes.
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