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Feb 13, 2013

Fighting for the Torah

MK Ruth Calderon (Yesh Atid) yesterday gave her inaugural speech in the Knesset. She surprised many in the plenum when during her speech she read from a gemara, Kesubos. She went on to say "The Torah is not  the possession of one or another factor. It was given to all of us. Nobody has taken from us the Torah and rabbinic literature. We gave them over because we saw that there is another more important task of building Zionism, and now we must take back for ourselves what is ours... My desire is to bring about the situation that the Torah will be the possession of all of Israel. All of Israel's youth should take a portion of the burden - also in Torah learning and also in military service."

One can debate, and I have heard such claims, whether secular learning of Torah has value or not, as Torah. I am happy for the secular to learn Torah, but I have heard the claim that when Torah is not learned by traditional sources, using the words of Chazal as guidance, then it is not really considered Torah learning but is more academic and critical in nature.

Regardless of that, one used to hear the statements, from the secular, of the Torah being irrelevant, perhaps outdated, perhaps disconnected from reality, even described as a work of fiction or man-made. It is refreshing, a bit surprising, and invigorating to hear a secular person, a member of a party that has been described as a secular political party at the bring of fomenting a secular upheaval of society, speak from the Knesset podium and let the world, or at least all of Israel, know that they are equal owners of the Torah, and that she wants all secular to "share the burden" and responsibility and learn Torah.

While the Torah might have previously been "thrown aside" and left abandoned by the bulk of the non-orthodox, the secular are beginning now to let everyone know that they are taking it back!

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  1. Just because the Torah is man-made and the stories contained in it are largely works of fiction, doesn't mean that it doesn't have value or significance in some of its teaching to secular people.

  2. Thank you very much for posting this, Rafi. Her entire speech is especially moving.

    1. Ditto for me, Rafi. Excellent job, thanks!


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