Sunday, August 14, 2005

B'nei Israel

I was thinking about somethings after my last post about The Great Kippah Debate . I think the thing, after thinking some about it more, that really disturbs me about the stupidity of that whole debate about velvet vs. knit kippot is what it really is, and that is meaningless.

What I mean is this, if we accept the Torah as being true (and the divinity is not the point of this post) then we have to think about this. We are not a people, we are not a religion, we are not even a culture. What we are is a family. I really think this concept has been lost to us since we began to call ourselves Jew (or Jewish). First this implies, which is not true, that we are all decendents of Yahuda. But with the acceptance of the Ethiopian Jewish communities as the Tribe of Dan, and the B'nei Menashe as at least a portion of the Tribe of Menashe the idea of us all being Yahudean is really not true any more. (And to be honest was never true, as the Levi'im and Cohanim were never Yahudean, but were the decendents of Levi. And not all of the others were Yahudean either.)

So the question is what do we call ourselves? We really have become so used to the idea of 'being Jewish' that we just accept that, and I think to our detriment. So, why do I think it is a detriment? Well first of all, I think as I was sort of implying in the last paragraph, that it tends to cause us as a people, to forget were a family. That we can have our crazy cousin Heshy, or our caring cousin Shifra. Our humorous, if not slight bad-boyish, cousin Amshinover, and our 'trust-fund baby' cousing DovBear. Hey, I will even through in our cousin Mobius (from Jewschool) who, while I have disagreements with find quite fun to read. What we tend to forget that were here, as a family, for a far greater reason than worrying about kippot materials, or what someone is wearing, with the idea of modesty being fore-most not what those modest clothes look like.

Okay, it is late and I may be rambling a bit. I feel a need to think on this more. I have made the statement in the past about us being family, but the more I see of us in the jblogosphere, the more I realize just how much of this we have forgotten as a family. Hopefully, with some more thoughts on this, and a little sleep, I will be able to begin something that I am more and more beginning to believe we need to do. And that is forget the differences. You know Reform, Conservative, Orthodox anything else you like to add. Remove the ideas that we are different, we aren't, last time I check all of B'nei Yisrael are human. (Unless some one from Mars or else where snuck some genes in to the gene pool.)

We like to use the terms like Klal Yisrael, when it is useful to our agenda, but not when it is really necessary. And that is when the person we disagree with is the cousin we've overlooked. So in the 'shadow' of the commeration of the destruction of the Two Bet HaMekdosh, and with the on-going issues in our homeland, I ask Please think about this with me, and if you have any ideas on how to get the message out a little more I would love to know.

Shavouah Tov. I will talk to(at) you again soon.

Little Wolf

I'll argue with you at whichever blog you prefer. But don't think that I am the impetus behind your constant repitiousness. It is, in fact, your need to fall back on either the 'political' case or ad hominems which results in your deja vu tone.

Of course I have a political agenda. But, so do you. In any case, I think I have attemped (and maybe even succeeded) in insulating my argument against knit yarmulkes from my own political views. I have argued solely from a Torah perspective.

Contra you, the Rambam was discussing emulation in the fullest sense. There are a number of ways of concluding that. The simplest, of course, is that we are proscribed from dressing like idolators (or misguided or bad people in general). See parshas Acharei where we may not "follow *any* of their customs" So, it would seem to follow that those customs for which we are forbidden from emulating the goyim must be learnt from the Jews (and of course, what better Jews to learn from than the Torah sages).

Having established that we should dress like our contemporary Torah sages, we can plainly observe a uniformity among their vestaments. So, the question is really on you: what basis can you have for deviating from the established way of dress of our Torah sages?

I would not keep responding to you if I didn't feel that "something [you] said is legitimately incorrect". Your whole approach is legitimately incorrect. And with all do respect, your approach is representative of the secular narcissism which gave birth to the knitted yarmulkes to begin with.

"If a person is living the commandments, the other crap..." Despite your myopic perception, the "other crap" is the heart of the very commandments which have guided the Jewish people for thousands of years.

Torah is not a political agenda and to label it as such is deeply offensive.


Torah is not a political agenda and to label it as such is deeply
I agree, and I have never said that the Torah is a
political agenda, only that you and Heshy have one.

If a person is living the commandments, the other crap..." Despite your
myopic perception, the "other crap" is the heart of the very commandments
which have guided the Jewish people for thousands of years.

First of all if you are going to quote me, quote me don't cut the
quote off just where it makes the comment seem to be bad. The full
comment on Heshy's blog was "
If a person is living the commandments the other crap that you and
Heshy are spew as far as clothing and kippot materials really means
nothing." It really means something different when you put the whole
quote there as the word crap is adressed to the spew coming from you
and Heshy, not anything to do with living the commandments or living
an authentic Jewish life.

As I said in a post of at Heshy's I am not playing word games, I will
ask, if you wish to continue this discussion that you do the same. I
have neither misquoted you where you where I have discussed something
that you wrote nor edited a sentence. I will not do so either.

Now to your other points: I will repeat what I have said before, I
have made no ad hominem attacks. Anything that I have stated that you
take as such is either a return of your words in a different form, as
with the '3 step argument' or your misinterpretation of something that
I have said.

You state that you have succeeded in separating your political agenda
from the argument, and I disagree. My argument in favor of the knit
kippah, or more correctly against your statements against knit kippot,
has no political agenda at all. I am not saying anything about
zionism or the lack there of, only that you have argued from a
politcal stand point and the best argument you can make against the
knit kippah is 2 fold. 1. is that it represents Zionism, both my
points and those of several other on Heshy's blog show that that is a
failed argument as I and others do not wear them for that reason.
That is the judgement of the community in which you and Heshy live.
2. That Torah sages don't wear knit kippot but only wear velvet
Kippot. My response to this is the same as it has been all along.
This is only true if the Torah sages you are discussing have lived in
the last few hundred years. If you go further back to older Torah
sages they wore kippot of other materials, this being the case, I do
not feel that you have made any point.

I am not saying that dressing modestly and nicely isn't a good thing.
I am also not addressing the issue of Jews dressing differently than
the population at large, I am addressing the statement that if you
don't dress in a certain type of clothing, or clothing from a specific
era, that you are less Jewish than someone who does. As I have said
before that type of thinking is utter crap. The clothing that you
choose to wear is indicitive of the community from which you come,
nothing more nothing less.

My view has nothing to do with secularism as you wish to state. I
admit to a more secular lifestyle, and certainly more secular than I
plan on it being in the near future, but that having been said, my
argument in favor of the knit kippah has been as I have state before
entirely based on the responses both you and Heshy have given since I
first started asking the questions. My approach has been to get to
the bottom of the situation. I am not arguing to argue, and although
I have a personal reason for wishing to wear a knit kippah, if the
arguments that were being made were for reasons other than things that
can only be seen as a communal bias against the perscieved reason that
knit kippot are worn, I would be more likely to follow it.
In the last several years I have done an extensive study of all the Bible Characters. One of the major points to the study was to find out about Tribes of Israel . This study included researching the contemporaries of the time in secular history, the Hebrew meanings of the the individuals name and trying to find out what was going on in secular history at the time of each Biblical character. You may find this information useful in your own study. You can check this out at .
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