Tuesday, November 10, 2009


The Neged Jew

by Reb Akiva at Mystical Paths

Neged - Opposing, opposite, standing against.

The Critic - The critic is a perpetual kvetch. No solutions, just nit picky complaints. However, he is fully observant (performs the mitzvot). You know the grumpy old guy in the back of the synagogue who always grumbles this event stinks, he could have done it better, but has never actually done anything to help.

Now the critic isn't always wrong. There are failings in Jewish society and balances that cry out to be corrected. There are failings in every synagogue. And the perfect rabbi or societal leader, well, not in this world.

So the critic's tendency can be used for good. He can point out a problem, rally people around it, and push to make things better...

But the Yetzer Hara (the evil inclination) usually keeps the critic firmly in the "just critical" stage.

The Karrite - The modern Karrite is a Jew who believes in the written Torah but not the oral Torah (the Mishnah, Gemora, Shulchan Aruch, etc). Often this may be due to bad experiences with rabbis and a rejection that rabbinical power or influence could possibly be kosher while not wishing to reject G-d. Other times this may be due to the seemingly simplistic or straightforward relationship with G-d demonstrated in the written Torah. In either case, he ignores the inherent contradictions of the written Torah and focuses upon the simple narrative. He tries to connect to G-d with his heart, but leaves behind his mind and the opportunity Judaism offers to elevate the physical world.

Now the karrite isn't always wrong. There are sometimes rabbinical excesses, and simple faith in G-d is a special thing. If he were able to infuse this into his mind and into mitzvot, he would truly reach a high level and be a shining light for those around him.

But the Yetzer Hara (the evil inclination) usually keeps the karrite from taking the next step.

The Rationalist - The Rationalist de-mystifies yiddishkeit. Stories of angles and demons are seen only as metaphors, as are all stories outside the realm of physical possibility as understood by modern science (except when such events are specifically described as direct actions by G-d, true miracles.) The rationalist decomposes many Jewish rituals looking for influence of kabbalah or other non-rationalist thinking - to point out what doesn't make sense. But he doesn't change his davening (praying) or performance of mitzvot, just his understanding of what's behind it.

Now the rationalist isn't always wrong. One of the defense mechanisms of Judaism is a reluctance to change, and some customs and things that have become rituals were due to local cultural influence from many generations past, or physical understandings far out of date. The rationalist could help reconcile modern science and/or the modern world with Jewish tradition.

But the Yetzer Hara (the evil inclination) usually keeps the rationalist struggling internally and makes him argumentative with the traditionalists, resulting in activating the time honored defense mechanism of Judaism to push away change.

It's surprisingly easy to become a Neged Jew, and to get involved with one. They're ALWAYS passionate about their position, and their passion attracts attention and interest. Beware the passion being focused negatively, as it's often the case.


  1. Experiences are a huge shaper of one's perspectives.
    I agree that we should try to keep our passion positive

    I believe in being in the middle,
    both rational and mystical.

  2. Akiva, why do you continually assume that 'yiddishkeit' is derech haShem while those who do their utmost to keep the Torah is not. That they are not somehow enlightened. I can assure you with 1000% certainty that haShem has deemed me kosher. Remember the story I wrote about some thunderings in Israel quite a while back. Think about it.

    This is off topic but I want to show you an example of what the Oral Torah really is.

    This is a touchy subject and not being spoken of for a debate. But before the teachings of the Jew from 2000 years ago got corrupted into a great pagan lie that now we have a knee jerk reaction too mentioned the Oral Torah as references on 99% of his teachings to Jews only. (The goyim stealing it, changing it and corrupting it is another story. Even Rashi redacting the Talmud is a problem). In every instance from the earliest extant sources the Oral Torah he spoke of is what you refer to as the written Torah. The written Torah that he spoke of was the 10 Sayings. To me this is pure logic as the early Hebrews (way before his time even) where illiterate. The early Hebrews obviously carried around the Ark with the Tablets in them (the Written Torah of haShem) and they heard the Oral Torah (5 books of Moshe) every 7 years.

    Now, history and archeology simply don't add up to what the Talmudists are saying. I agree that there needs to be an Oral Torah, this is where I part way's with the Karaites. But they are not wrong in saying that the Talmud is not from the time of Moshe. The Talmudists cannot accept the historical evidence along with the archelogical evidence.

    Even in dead sea scroll 4QMMT it shows the fact that the only argument of the first century about the Oral Torah was whether or not to write it down. Not whether or not there was one. Don't get too excited as it is not speaking of what was written down as the Talmud in the 6th century.

    Maybe this will settle what I am trying to get across. Now with that, since we continally add to it over the centuries, which in my opinion is wrong. But given the benefit of the doubt to protect against foreign influences, I believe it is time to correct what now has evolved into Judaism of today. I believe it's the responsibility of the Orthodox, those only whom are not decendents or reincarnations of Erev Rav as they have not repented as of yet to do this. I know many examples of what I would call kosher rabbi's.

    A normative Judaism is what is needed to draw away assimilation, put a reign on the Ultra's whom look down upon so many, bring the secular up etc etc.

    Being we are on the brink of the geulah, this will happen anyways. Why not begin the process and reduce the pain of the geulah and as it is written , the pain that Jews are causing the Mashiach. I know the sources for this.

    Have a wonderful day. That goes for Gutman too.

    By the way, I had these opinions long before the religious started to offend the absoulute hell out of me. There are many Orthodox rabbi's who protect me from the harm of those who are not so kosher. Whom have been the most offensive, arrogant and rude to me, Chabad 'rabbi's'. Not all of course.

  3. I forgot to ask this of you and Gutman. Which historical Ribi instituted the tradition we do yearly at the Seder. The afikoman? If you don't know you will need to seek a Rav of statue like haRav Mordechi Eliyahu who will actually tell the truth.

    Now, even further, the students who wrote much of Perkei Avot where students of which famous Ribi?

    You will see I don't have such a problem with the commentaries as you may believe.

  4. Akiva, superb. Thank you.

    Shiloh, it seems there is something within you that is unresolved, and it is gnawing away at you. Maybe you should try to get close to Rav Arush. Just a suggestion, that might make living more rewarding. Please, this is meant as a heartfelt eitza and not to insult or otherwise.

  5. I'm not a Jew or an Xian or a Messianic, but I'm tired of hearing the Neo-Karaites yammer on and on about how one should only follow the Written Torah and reject the Oral Torah, while they themselves concoct their own interpretations and practices of the Written Torah.

    The majority of them aren't even Jews, but they'll claim that they are - not unlike the Black Hebrew Israelite Movement. Most are Xian or Messianic Gentiles, who belong or belonged to some breakaway sub-sect or revisionist cult thereof.

    At the end of the day, these non-conformists are being guided by their own nefesh behami or that of their leader - typically a self-educated oddball, who wants to be a big fish in a little pond.

    They're just another reactionary movement comprised of misfits or outcasts, who can't tolerate the secular or religious mainstream. They'd probably slink off to some woodland commune and prepare for Doomsday, if they had the resources to do so and could actually manage to get along with each other and not end up like the crew of the HMS Bounty after they settled on Pitcairn Island.

    Most are actually jealous of the sense of continuity and community that the Hasidim and like groups enjoy. What they're seeking - the only way they know how, because they lack the necessary infrastructure and the will to submit to any authority figure for very long - are all those hierarchy of needs that Dr. Abraham Maslow enumerated.

    I feel sorry for them. It's too bad they can't set aside their Freudian Id, scrap together the necessary funds, relocate to a Jewish community and convert to Orthodox Judaism. Of course, I'm totally biased, because that's what I'd like to do. ;)

  6. Refreshing, actually, Crazy! :-) From another crazy here.

    "I feel sorry for them. It's too bad they can't set aside their Freudian Id, scrap together the necessary funds, relocate to a Jewish community and convert to Orthodox Judaism. Of course, I'm totally biased, because that's what I'd like to do. ;)"


    'If only I had an Ego..'
    'But not really..'


  7. Oh, and Neshama, not everyone can be bribed with rewards. OR punishment.
    Speaking from experience here.

  8. Sure Neshama, as a dog returns to his vomit so does a fool return to his foolishness. Why in the hell would I run back to prison after I escaped. The only issue I have is that the 'rabbi's' have changed Moshe's Torah. Simple fact. We celebrate our holiday's on the wrong dates according to the Torah. Shall I keep listing them. I enjoy life more now following the Torah of Moshe then when I was "religious", that's a fact too. Too bad you also cannot see the forest for the tree's. Continue on being puffed up, see what comes next. Religiousity is a training wheel. Time to take off those wheels and connect to the Source.

  9. I loved this post


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