31 December 2009

On Bringing Redemption

Rabbis: Abortion will delay the redemption - Jpost, Dec. 29, 2009, Matthew Wagner

Rabbi Metzger and Rabbi Amar (JewishPress)

Declaring that abortions "delay the redemption," Israel's chief rabbis have pledged to "strengthen" the work of an anti-abortion council in the rabbinate and urged state-employed rabbis to take other steps to reduce abortions.

In a letter sent out on Monday, Chief Rabbis Shlomo Amar and Yona Metzger encourage local rabbis to devote their Shabbat sermons to speaking against abortions, distribute anti-abortion literature to couples registering for marriage at religious councils, and work in coordination with the pro-life organization Efrat to encourage grassroots opposition to abortions.

It is indeed gratifying to find those all too few occasions where Jewish leadership draws a clearly demarcated line of separation where virtue of Torah supersedes political expediency.   Cast within the announcement by the Chief Rabbinate that aborting the unborn will “delay the redemption” Chief Rabbis Amar and Metzger have revealed yet another disconnect between the Jewish liberalism espoused by mainstream non-Orthodox organizations at the will of their constituent’s and Torah  values.  It is cliché to point out that the desires and values reflected in the non-Jewish world of Edom are given favor by our non-Orthodox brothers and sisters at the expense of a Jewish world view. 

The Rabbinate’s ruling is focused upon the  misogynistic procedure known as abortion, {short for the aborting of a pregnancy, IE withdrawing through barbaric means, “potential” life called a fetus, from the womb of a female, (in the Jewish sense we must hold by halachic interpretation not conventional wisdom) and preventing it from attaining a full gestation at which time the fetus would leave the womb of the female carrying her, and attain rights under both halacha and US law as a live human.} 

The act of destroying potential life is antithetical to Torah values.  While our non-Orthodox brethren emphasize and focus upon the Torah’s  imposition of financial remuneration for the miscarriage caused unintentionally by another Jew as the pivotal point in understanding what is perceived to be permission to destroy a fetus, those same Jews fail to continue the logic which follows when learning the din of the intentional act of causing an abortion, (see pg 2 Daf Digest) which reviews the Gemara in question and the response of R. Moshe Feinstein, (ZTL) to the idea that a Jew intentionally causing an abortion is viewed as a murderer.)

Having determined that the performance of an abortion by a Jew is murder, one must look with curiosity at the non-Orthodox heterim for abortion. All opinions that I could find in my review express a value statement upholding the sanctity of life within all of the opinions. However, strangely, this expression of sanctity gives way to what appears to be an equal or greater “right” of giving a woman “the choice” of withdrawing the potential life, IE the fetus from her womb with varying degrees of permissibility. The woman's right is usually based on an undefined “psychological” condition.

This wording of choice has always baffled me. What choice? The natural order of pregnancy is concluded by the female giving birth. This is how Hashem determined procreation should occur and gave a positive mitzvah to the Jewish male to have offspring. Mitzvah of procreation.

Tragically, miscarriages occur. Both the conception, pregnancy, delivery and even miscarriage when it occurs (it should be His will that they never occur) are acts of G-d. How does someone choose a different path? How can destruction of the fetus be considered a choice when it is the Aibishter that made the pregnancy possible?
We learn that jealousy is a great sin, less because the negativity it portrays but the fact that jealousy represents a denial of the existence of G-d's will. Who determines what should happen and how? Who is the rich man? (hint: look for the answer in Pirke Avos). The same goes with pregnancy. It is Hashem's will that pregnancy exists and his will who will become pregnant and who will not. We merely need to look no further than the early chapters of Sefer Bereshis and learn this from the matriarchs. So choice, does not represent what the modern American feminist says, a woman's control over her body but a denial of the G-d's order in the world. Only intentional disinformation bred of Edomite culture can interpret a blessing as a curse. Our poor brothers and sisters in the non-Orthodox world have adopted this twisted non-Jewish inspired kefira.

Now, there is a danger here of going too far. We must recognize that there are clear halachic grounds where destruction of the fetus is not only permissible but required most notably when the continuation of the pregnancy would be the direct cause of death to the mother – a rare occasion these days. In all of these situations, a competent halachic expert must be consulted. One Orthodox Rabbi once told me in fact that since the Pro-life movement could restrict halachic abortion as well as impermissible abortion that he was leery of the movement. However, given a choice between the two movements, one would have to conclude that Torah has more in common with the Pro-life movement than the alternative. If Jews were put in this world to bring the light of Torah to this dark place than we must emphasize the position which most reflects the Torah's perspective. Indeed, not only must we bring the light here but we must turn the darkness into light. One step in that process is for pulpit Rabbis to speak passionately on the theme suggested by the Chief Rabbinate and not shy away for political reasons from the truth. For bringing light into the darkness must start in the Jewish congregations.

Supporting articles

Jewish Virtual Library Article on Reform Practices
Women's League of Conservative Judaism
Ask Moses Article on Abortion
JLaw Article on stem cell research which discusses life issues

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What Words Offend Arabs? The Truth.

Children's Poetry Booklet Recalled After Arabs Complain
(Israeli censorship kowtows to Arabs.
When Will We Tell The Truth Without Fear)

(IsraelNN.com 7 Sivan 5768/June 10, '08) Ynet's web site and Arab complaints against a ten-year-old boy's poem about terrorists has resulted in the recall of all of the Nes Ziona municipality's children's poetry booklets.

Ynet boasts that its coverage of the poem resulted in its being recalled.

The text of the poem (Ynet's translation):

Ahmed's bunker has surprises galore: Grenades, rifles are hung on the wall. Ahmed is planning another bombing!What a bunker Ahmed has, who causes daily harm.Ahmed knows how to make a bomb. Ahmed is Ahmed, that's who he is, so don't forget to be careful of him.We get blasted while they have a blast!Ahmed and his friends could be wealthy and sunny, if only they wouldn't buy rockets with all their money.

Poetry competition director Marika Berkowitz, who published the booklet, was surprised at the protests and told Ynet: "This is the boy's creation and this is what he wanted to express. Of course there should be a limit, but I think the there is no racism here. 'Ahmed' is a general term for the enemy. These are the murmurings of an innocent child."

The Education Ministry told Ynet: "The local authority that published the booklet should have guided the students in a more correct manner through the schools. The district will investigate the issue with the local authorities."
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