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Thursday, November 16, 2006

Fundamental nature of God is not debatable

In response to Rabbi Darren Kleinberg’s article, “Reaching for Perfection”, the Jewish News of Greater Phoenix published two rebuttal Letters to the Editor. I also sent in a response, but it wasn’t published. I'm glad, as the printed letters were better than my own.

The newspaper titled the letters, “Debating the nature of God”. Rabbi Ariel Shoshan and Rabbi Andrew Gordimer were not partaking in a debate, but presenting viewpoints which they obviously believe are not debatable.

Here are Rabbi Shoshan's and Rabbi Gordimer's eloquent letters:
Count me among those saddened to read that someone would state, in the name of the Torah, that God is "less than perfect," that his choosing the Jewish people was "a moment of imperfection in God's creation and decision-making," and that Abraham and his family are "the founders of the three great religions of the West" ("Reaching for perfection," Jewish News, Nov. 3).

A simple reading of Deuteronomy 32:4 - "Perfect is His work, for all His paths are justice; a God of faith without iniquity" - as well as Maimonides' Foundations of Torah and Maimonides' 13 Principles of Faith clearly illustrates that the author's assertions are not in consonance with traditional Torah beliefs.

Rabbi Ariel Shoshan

I read with dismay "Reaching for Perfection," in which the writer negates two basic principles of Judaism: the perfection of God and the unique, eternal chosen status of the Jewish people. These concepts are essential and clear in our basic religious texts, and I am shocked that a rabbi - no less one who calls himself Orthodox - could dare contradict these basics of our faith.

It is unfortunate that this incident is one of many in which the writer and fellow graduates of his rabbinic school, Yeshivat Chovevei Torah (YCT), have undermined the fundamentals of traditional Judaism. YCT graduates participating in interfaith prayer, writing articles that question the authority of Halacha and adopting non-halachic practices are all too well-known. If this can be called Orthodox Judaism, I do not know what cannot.

Rabbi Andrew Gordimer
New York
Relevant links:
- Blog guest: response to "Reaching for perfection"
- Heresy? or, Heresy!

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