Wednesday, October 26, 2016
Re-centralization of Halachah Essential to the Mission of Judaism
A thing in the Torah that I did not understand when I first read it as a young lad. In Parshas Netsavim, (Deut. 30: 12 & 13) Moshe Rabbeinu says that the Torah is not in the Heavens, and in the next verse, not over the sea (that we would have to send someone to get it for us.) If we would have to go to the heavens to get the Torah, kal vechomer, logically there is no need to say we would have to traverse over the sea. Boats have existed for a long time, even before Moshe Rabbeinu. Spacecraft, only recently. Why did he not reverse that and say, it is not in the sea, and not in the heavens. The first verse refers to the generation of Moshe himself, he personally went to the Heavens to get the Torah. The second verse refers to the generation of Moshiach, where everyone’s rabbi speaks his own version of halachah and a ruling may be found on this or that side of the sea.
Assuming actual halachah is being spoken by a random rav, we can say eilu veeilu Divrey Elokim Chayim, these and these are the Words of the the Living God. But when those words contradict, what is going on may be the Words of God, but not the intent of God’s law, which would be one law for the stranger and the resident in the land. Sometimes there are strict rules or lenient ones that are suspended in midair, due to the power of poskim to change the way God’s world is run. But when the very rules divide rather than unite, the intention behind HaShem’s law is not being fulfilled. All of those congregations are fully religious and God fearing, and yet they follow 3 different rulings that allow no room for the other. It is no longer loshon hora that is the main cause of our nation’s strife, and exile, but also a symptom of the times. No longer are we in a position where we only need to repent and God will redeem, but we are at a crossroad and do not know which direction to go as a collective. Without redemption, we cannot achieve the full unity we need as a people in our time.
We need a single united assembly of halachic deciders, like the knesses hagedolah (Great Assembly) in ancient times, to put our nation back on one path again. Is a smart phone essential for business, is it a tool of the Satan? Is this eruv a source of unity or spiritual destruction to our people? We don’t need to vote, we only need to know what the Will of our Creator truly is, and we would follow it. That is the only way to win such a dispute.
We are bidden repeatedly in Tanach to not veer to the left or right from the Torah. Nowadays it’s like there is also an up or down by some rabbis, and new authorities are trying to put in diagonal ways as well. Therefore I say, the real tool of the Satan in our time is the decentralization of Torah authority. If the law is really more like the Chareidi Rabbis or the Modern Rabbis, or somewhere in between, so be it. We will not engage in activity of insulting the other side and making the Satan rejoice in our strife. We only need know the direction that our beloved Creator truly wishes us to go and there we shall.
May HaShem please send Moshiach ben David to bring back to our people this precious proactive unity in Halachah, without delay. Hashiveinu HaShem Eilecha, venashuvah, chadeish yamainu, kekedem, Bring us back to You, O God, and we will return, renew our days, as of old. Amain.