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Tashlich Takedown

R. Alan Yuter has a few critical words here about Artscroll’s, or at least the book which they published, take on tashlich.

The political significance of Feuer’s Judaism is to infantilize Jewry into an obedient and uncritical mass whose world is hopelessly enchanted and frightful. The right reverend rabbis who possess both Daas Torah and Book Torah, whose holy intuition transcends the canonical text, are for this Judaism, Israel’s authentic leaders. What Orthodox moderns observe in this phenomenon is the canonization of culture in place of covenant, where the rabbi reads the mind of God in addition to the allegedly unchanging Torah of Sinai, and the most troubling and ironic insight, that Ultra-Orthodoxy is ultra/super in its assertions, but its essential Orthodoxy is itself subverted.

Tashlich in popular religion Judaism allows the throwing of bread to fish on the Rosh Hashanah holy day. Jewish law forbids feeding fish we do not own on Rosh Hashanah. We do not throw stones, which are muqtseh. We do not reject Tashlich because it is a new innovation; we insist that innovations be done within the parameters of Jewish law. We use an opportunity to think religiously, but we resist the misdefining and mystifying of Torah. Torah sanctifies Israel with commandments and makes Israel free; ultra-Orthodox Jewry re-enchants the world with imagined spirits and spooks, and cannot allow religious maturity or probing freedom. The religious Jew affirms self and casts off the imagined images of spooks and spirits. May Tashlich empower Israel to cast off its wrongs and historically conditioned wrongful understandings.

For more on tashlich see here and here.

One Response to “Tashlich Takedown”

  1. 1
    Alex Herrera:

    Forgive me but I speak critically for the sake of Heaven…

    R. Yuter is “critical” in the article in the sense that R. Yuter builds a case that the understanding of how Tashlich came to be observed in the Ashkenazi community has been distorted. R. Feuer more than missed an opportunity to correct this distortion and R. Yuter takes him to task for it. I tried in several drafts to summarize R. Yuter’s point here, but I find myself unable to do so without trivializing it myself. I suggest the reader look at the full (long) article to understand the context of the above quote.

    The link to the article “Tashlich Takedown” is here: http://www.utj.org/Viewpoints/?p=140

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