2/18/2008

Rabbis and Doubts

There was a certain theme contained within various reactions to my 'burka' post which I think is worth mentioning. The reaction pertained to the fact that in it I, an ordained orthodox rabbi, expressed some form of doubt in the veracity of the mesorah. I get the impression that some of the reactions would not be as strong if I were 'just a balabus'. So I ask, why?

There's a current thread on the Lookjed Educator's Forum discussing how to deal with students who have doubts. What if the teachers have doubts? Do people who themselves have doubts find it in any way comforting when their ostensible spiritual leaders admit that they have issues with the national meta-narrative, a la 'imo anochi be-tzarah'? If a rabbi has doubts, should he stop calling himself a rabbi? Should he just keep his mouth (or pen, or keyboard) shut, and not agitate the unwashed masses?

For those wondering, I'm not about to pull a David S. Gruber (who, incidentally, was hired to replace my wife when we went to UMD) . Though some of his questions resonate, I don't like his answers, and really don't like the implications that he draws from them. I'm not trying to erase or rewrite Jewish history, or say that anything that happened in the past x number of years in inauthentic. I'm just trying to find some type of taxonomy, some way of looking at things which can validate that which should be validates, and jettison that which should be jettisoned. Like I wrote about Rashb"i, I'm really just interested in finding a path through the graveyard.

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