THE PRIMACY OF LANGUAGE
Let us begin by talking about language. Language is important. Very important. If one uses a word or idea and continuously hammers away promoting that word or idea, that language and its associated meaning become mainstream and shape the narrative. A few examples:
Occupation. The Palestinians have used this word ad nauseam to describe the Israeli presence in Yerushalayim and Yehudah v’Shomron, Judea and Samaria. The Israelis are “occupiers” - a terrible connotation. Menachem Begin would say, “We are redeemers, not occupiers.” Nevertheless, the use of the word “occupation” has been so successful that even right-wing Israeli politicians use it today.
Speaking about Yehudah and Shomron, the “West Bank” is another example of how language can transform Yehudah and Shomron, an undisputed piece of Biblical Eretz Yisroel, into just the west bank of the Jordan River.
I ask my dear readers and anyone seeking to minimize the attack on Hashem and His Torah that Open Orthodoxy represents: Is this cavalier discarding of p’sukim in the Torah, discarding “outdated” p’sukim to conform with the “enlightened” view of this issue, not Reform Judaism? Surely, it is. Are these rabbis who advocate such aberrations not Reform rabbis? Surely, they are, regardless of what they call themselves.
Language is important and we cannot let Reform rabbis hijack the name Orthodox in an attempt to spread their malignant disease. We have allowed their reprehensible conduct, their lies and their obfuscation to metastasize for far too long.
Space constraints prevent us from outlining other Reform practices that they have instituted, such as the ordination of women rabbis, tampering with the chupah ceremonyby allowing the kesubah to be read by women, and interfaith rituals. Perhaps worst of all, the IRF has made a mockery of the laws of geirus, not even requiring kabbolas ol mitzvos, the acceptance of mitzvos, as a prerequisite for conversion. And the list goes on.
The insistence by Open Orthodoxy, Morethodoxy, IRF and others to call themselves Orthodox is an insidious campaign of obfuscation of their goals to deceive unwitting Jews into believing that you can call yourself an Orthodox Jew while conducting your life like a Reform Jew.
The only difference between them and Reform is that they insist that their brand of Reform should be “kosher style” Reform. We have all seen those delicatessens labeled “kosher style.” They sell a mean corned beef on Jewish rye sandwich, delicious kosher style pickles, a piece of kishka reminiscent of the kishka your grandmother could have made, but it is all treif. Glatt treif.
Open Orthodoxy is Reform Judaism for those wanting a certain comfort level with Orthodox ritual and some aspects of Orthodox practice, but just as those delis are glatt treif, so is Open Orthodoxy. In this sense, they are worse than conventional Reform. Just as unwitting Jews may mistakenly patronize kosher style delis, look at the menu, and assume it is kosher when it is actually treif - after all, who would sell kishka if not a kosher place? - so too, unwitting, often innocent Jews who don’t know any better are being ensnared in the trap laid before them by the Reform purveyors of Open Orthodoxy.
THE TIME HAS COME…
In 1956, a famous p’sak halacha was released by many of the great roshei yeshiva of that era, prohibiting collaboration of any sort with Reform and Conservative clergy. I have absolutely no doubt that if they were alive today, the roshei yeshiva would treat Open Orthodoxy and all of its mutations with the same stringency.
As I. Schwartz pointed out a few weeks ago in these pages, Open Orthodoxy has given us ample proof of where they stand. They have repeatedly shown that they have no fidelity to halacha, no fidelity to the words of Chazal, and no fidelity even to p’sukim in the Torah itself.
The holy Chofetz Chaim writes (laws of loshon ho’ra, 8:5), “It is permitted, and even a mitzvah, to speak loshon ho’ra about an apikores.” The Chofetz Chaim defines apikores as someone “who denies the Torah or the prophecies of Yisroel, either the written Torah or the Oral Torah, even if he says that he believes in the entire Torah except for one verse or one law which is derived from the Torah through the principles transmitted at Sinai.”
As outlined above and in the article by I. Schwartz, the Reform rabbis who are purveyors of Open Orthodoxy have shown time and time again that they wholly conform to the Chofetz Chaim’s definition of apikores.
The Gemara (Shabbos 54) states that he who is able to protest and doesn’t is himself culpable in that transgression. The Gemara (Gittin 55) teaches us that when rabbonim do not protest, it is even a greater transgression: “From the fact that the rabbonim kept quiet, it shows that they agree.”
As we approach Rosh Hashanah, the Yom Hadin, we must all conduct a din vecheshbon, a self accounting. Will we and the organizations with which we are affiliated be able to say, “We did our part in stopping an organization that is attacking our holy Torah and our holy Mesorah”?
And a vintage cartoon depicting the products of the JTS seminary (from the "On the Main Line" blog: