Thursday, January 12, 2012

Taking responsibility for events that happen in a community

R' Slifkin (An Example of a True Gadol), refers to a speech that Rav Aharon Lichtenstein gave after the assassination of Yitzchak Rabin where he does some serious introspection about the murder and what led to it. He doesn't blame anyone else and try to bury this under the rug. He deals with the issues head on and accepts some level of responsibility for events that happened in his larger community. The contrast between R' Lichtenstein's approach and the approach that we see today is startling.

It is also amazing how relevant this essay is to the events of today. Substitute spitting on little girls, violence, Nazi imagery, etc. for Rabin's murder and every word that R' Aharon wrote applies to the current situation. In the essay he brings out 3 points worth of reflection:

1. The self-confidence that arises from commitment and devotion to a world of values and eternal truths - whether in terms of Torat Yisrael or Eretz Yisrael - sometimes has led to frightening levels of self-certainty and ultimately to arrogance.
2. we have promoted simplicity and shallowness ([my addition]e.g. there is only one true Torah derech)
3. Sometimes we taught our students to belittle and suspect others. One who doesn't agree with us is criminal, not merely mistaken.Any opportunity to credit a public leader with good intention was rejected in order to credit him with alienation, with hostility, with malice - not a suspicion of evil, but a certainty!

The essay has a lot more to say and I highly recommend that you read the whole thing.

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