Sunday, November 06, 2005

Rabbi J.J. Schacter and 'Modern Orthodoxy'

Our shul has just had the excellent experience of hosting Rabbi J.J. Schacter as Scholar-in-residence over the weekend, who spoke on several different aspects and issues surrounding ‘Modern Orthodoxy’.

In addition to some spirited presentations on Friday night and during Shabbat, this (Sunday) morning he spoke about the balance between ‘religious essence’ and ‘religious manifestation’ – ie the balance between ‘inner religious experience’ and the application / performance of halakhah. It was an excellent session, and he brought many interesting sources (from the Rav, Isidore Twersky, R’Chaim Brisker, the Shulchan Aruch, Rambam etc).

There was no time for questions at the end of his session, as he had to leave for the airport straight away. One of the questions I very much wanted to ask was as follows:

“Clearly the optimum practice of Judaism involves a healthy balance between the inner religious feelings and motivations of the individual and the observance of halachically-prescribed acts and behaviour. But to be able to do that, the halakhah has to be in balance; and it seems to me to be a huge part of today’s problem that the administration of the halachic system has become, well, haywire. In this connection – isn’t there a ‘missing Soloveitchik’ from the sources circulated – Haym Soloveitchik, whose famous article on ‘Rupture and Reconstruction’, detailing the breakdown of the application of halachah in the post-war world, is highly relevant to this issue?”

NOTE to commenters/ors: I do not have editing access to Haloscan. This is a polite and civilized blog, as far as we can ensure it. If you wish to indicate that you disagree or disapprove of anyone - no difference if it is the person who served you in the bakery this morning, or an eminent scholar - please do so in respectful and appropriate language. Preferably - keep to the issues on issue-based topics, like this one is meant to be. And apologies to Rabbi Schacter, whose name I initially inadvertently misspelt (now corrected).

No comments: