Tuesday, January 22, 2008

an anonymous "kinah" over inter-denominational MLK Day commemorations

There was a ceremony last evening in honor of MLK day held at a local Reform temple and attended by a mixed gathering of Reform, Conservative, and some Orthodox Rabbis along with non-Jewish clergy and politicians. I don't take the bunch of fliers sitting around in the local shule I was in last night as of evidence of anything other than the fact that someone found a convenient dumping ground, not necessarily that the Rav or shule in question supports the sentiments conveyed, but here is the poetic lament of some anonymous author:

אוי נא לנו כי חטאנו
כשחשובי אנשט שלומינו
משתתפים באסיפה גדולה בעירנו

בתערובת רפורמים קונסרבטיבים ונוצרים
בה״טעמפל״ של הרפורמים
עם מקהלה של ילידי נוצרים

שלא כדת ושלא כדין
אפילו כשיטת ה״רב״ זצ״ל מבאסטן

מתקבצים לשמוע הספדים
על אחד מגדולי השחורים
שנהרג לפני כמה שנים

זמירות אומרים אבל קינה מבעים
לאלה שראתה זאת ולא מוחים

פורצים פרצות בגדרנו
אוי לנו כי חטאנו

The reference to the Rav is footnoted with a comment in small print the bottom of the page that refers to the Rav's psak that it is prohibited to enter a Refrom shofar to hear shofar, "al achas kamah v'kamah" it is prohibited to go to an "asifas kofrim im komer". I don't know what the "al achas kamah v'kamah" kal v'chomer is (while one may wish to avoid recognizing Reform practice as a valid kiyum mitzvah, there is no similar danger of anyone perceiving a MLK gathering as anything other than a political event), but in any case, I'll avoid any other comment on this and let you make of it what you will.

4 comments:

  1. Shmendrik6:42 PM

    Terrible quality. The third stanza actually made me wince. And the racism implicit in the fourth stanza is disgusting.

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  2. Personally,

    I wouldn't get so worked up over it. There are all sorts of crazy people out there. So some guy wrote a ridiculous poem. who cares.

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  3. Tal Benschar1:54 PM

    "I don't know what the "al achas kamah v'kamah" kal v'chomer is (while one may wish to avoid recognizing Reform practice as a valid kiyum mitzvah, there is no similar danger of anyone perceiving a MLK gathering as anything other than a political event)"

    The first half of your sentence is NOT why RYBS forbade entering a Reform Temple to hear shofar. The reason is that he held it to be chukas ha goyim to conduct services with mixed seating -- and that issur has to be avoided even if one is not mekayem the mitzvah of Shofar.

    The second half of your sentence is incredibly naive. I don't know exactly what happened at this event, but I doubt it was like a political rally. Such events usually take on a quasi-religious atmosphere -- or as you called it, a "ceremony." Church choirs are often asked to perform. Clergy are invited.

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  4. 1) Do you have a source that mentions "chukot hagoyim" as the reason for the Rav's psak? I don't have it in front of me, but the Rav addressed this issue in essays printed in Sanctity of the Synagogue and I don't recall this reason being mentioned. Do you have a quote?

    2) Chukot hagoyim applies to practices initiated by non-Jews as part of a religious ceremony (at least according to the Maharik, Rama). Mixed seating is simply the norm in our society; the preference has nothing to do with religious sentiment. Churches have mixed seating, but so do baseball games. I don't see how the reasoning makes sense.

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