Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Ruth Calderon as a Threat to Haredi Society?

Yesterday, new Yesh Atid MK  Ruth Calderon gave her inaugrual speech at the Knesset, analysing a talmudic Aggadata. The speech was deep, insightful and leaps and bounds more stimulating than any of the other inaugrual speeches.However, Kikar Hashabat (Haredi website) had a different interprentation in an op-ed entitled "The True Existential Threat: Ruth Calderone Learning Gemara" (Heb):

"Calderon and the Yesh Atid gang, don't want to erase Torat Yisrael, they don't want to make us into just one of the nations. The opposite, they want to spread the Torah "Rambam for the people" they demand "Talmud for everyone", and this is where the great danger lies.
However, there are also similarities between the rabbis of the 19th century enlightenment movment and Yesh Atid, both make use of the words of Chazal. (מתכסים באיצטלה דרבנן). Rabbi Shai Peron, Dov Lipman and the "Rebbetzen" Ruth Calderon make use of our weapon - the Talmud, Gemara and the Poskim - against us, and also serve as a fig leaf."
However  the article surprises at its conclusion: The author states categorically that there is a differnce between Yair Lapid and his father. Tomi Lapid haded Haredim, while Yair really want to include Haredim in the larger Israeli society. How should Haredim react? like Shamai who used a ruler to push away a cheeky convert, or like Hillel who brought him in with softness? The conclusion of the op-ed leavs the question somewhat open.

It will be fascinating to see the future interactions between Haredi society and Ruth Calderon. Will they acknoweldge her learning? will they be able to respect her brand of Talmudic interprentation?

Sidenotes: I noticed that it is "Harav" Shai Peron, but not Harav Dov Lipman. There was a rumor yesterday, that a Haredi MK asked his rabbi whether Lipman can be joined to a minyan. I suspect that Lipman - himself an anglo Hardi - will be the target of much abuse from Haredi society.

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