Following the Majority – A Response to Itzhak Shapira
Itzhak Shapira posted a video response to Rabbi Eli Cohen’s accusation against his book. Rabbi Cohen pointed out that Shapira’s attitude toward Israel’s respected teachers is contradictory. On the one hand Shapira praises the rabbis while on the other hand he accuses them of conscious intellectual dishonesty.
Shapira responds to Rabbi Cohen’s argument by using a “straw man.” Shapira pretends that Rabbi Cohen doesn’t understand that you can love someone and disagree with them at the same time as if that is all that Shapira has done.
Shapira doesn’t “disagree” with the rabbis. He ridicules them and he charges them with consciously misleading those who read their words.
Shapira can be compared to someone who claims to love another person but is convinced that the object of his love is a convicted criminal when in fact he is not. Not only is he convinced that the object of his love is a criminal but he broadcasts his accusations to the general public. What kind of love and respect is that?
In his short presentation Shapira presents his belief in a divine Messiah as a valid opinion within the stream of Jewish thought. According to Shapira, it is only the rule that we are to follow the majority that has Judaism rejecting the belief in a divine Messiah. Shapira would have his audience believe that the belief in a divine Messiah is a legitimate minority opinion within Judaism.
This is completely false. The entire concept of following the majority only applies within the framework of a legitimate disagreement that may occur within the parameters of a discussion about the Law.
The belief in a divine Messiah (or of any divine entity aside from the One Creator of the world who is above and beyond all finite existence) is a rejection of the very heart of our covenant with God. No teacher in Israel ever proposed such a belief and anyone who does propose such a belief has effectively cut him or herself off from the covenant community that is loyal to the God of Israel.
Yes, there are those who would love to redefine the God of Israel. But these people cannot consider themselves part of Israel’s covenant with God. Our covenant with God is predicated on the fact that we were appointed as witnesses to the world that no part of finite existence is worthy of worship. And that every facet of finite existence owes all of its devotion to the One Creator of all.
The idolatry that Shapira is promoting stands in direct opposition to everything that Judaism stands for.
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Yisroel C. Blumenthal