Apparently, many in the broader Jewish community have taken exception to my rebuttal of Carnie Rose’s article, in which he defames the character of Moshe Rabbeinu (Moses).
I don’t have to wonder how the general readership of the Jewish Light would have responded had an editorial been run condemning Martin Luther King for infidelity. Would not the Jewish community have responded with justifiable outrage? Would not leaders and layman alike have — correctly and properly — vilified the editorialist for needlessly smearing America’s most iconic civil rights leader and obscuring the greater issue of the continuing battle for civic justice?
Why then, was there not a whisper of discontent when Rabbi Rose concocted imagined criticism of Moshe the Lawgiver’s personal conduct? Is the Jewish community so conflicted that its commitment to anti-defamation does not extend to the greatest of Jewish luminaries? Could Rabbi Rose not have found a single source in all Torah literature from which to teach the importance of sensitivity to family members without engaging in baseless slander? And why have I been compared to a member of the Ku Klux Klan for calling him out for his defamatory remarks?
The immediate object[ive] is to stop, by appeals to reason and conscience and, if necessary, by appeals to law, the defamation of the Jewish people.
This quote is taken from the mission statement of the anti-defamation league. Whatever comments I made about Rabbi Rose’s article were consistent with that mission, both warranted and defensible in light of his profoundly and needlessly offensive remarks. I take it as a disturbing sign of the moral confusion of our times that the same Jewish notables who have condemned me for defending the honor of Judaism’s greatest hero expressed not the slightest concern over Rabbi Rose’s wholesale denigration of Moses, a figure far greater and more significant than either Rabbi Rose or myself.
#1 by Ted the Gentile on March 11, 2010 - 8:58 am
It is written: The heroes of these people may you slander: Whites, Americans, Christians, and Jews. All others you may not slander.
#2 by sara g on March 11, 2010 - 10:30 am
What an excellent rebuttal! Very thought provoking.
#3 by Rabbi Asher Reich on March 16, 2010 - 5:27 am
Nothing is new.
We are told (Rashi’s commentary on Devarim) that the same kind of slanderous nonsense was propagated against Moses in his own time. He left home later than usual – “He must have been quarreling with his wife!” : He came earlier than usual to his academy – “There must be tension at home that he’s trying to escape!”
And then in the Midrash at the end of the book of Shemot we are told that these were oy’vei Moshe – enemies of Moses, a distinct sector of the public whose business it was to ‘find’ fault with the greatest of men of all times. When the people stood in awe and their eyes followed him going to his academy, this group would say “Just see how healthy and well fed he looks; it’s all our money and resources that he’s exploiting for himself … ”
Those who want the truth will find and learn to appreciate the greatness of our leaders; those who have other agendas will always find what they want to find.
Thanks Rabbi Goldson for all your splendid articles and accept my blessing that your exceptional talents will be utilized more productively than in having to answer to this kind of ….
Rabbi A. Reich
#4 by Paul Stein on March 19, 2010 - 3:31 pm
Regarding Rabbi Rose’s article a few weeks ago, I would like to submit the following thought.
When Rabbi Rose starts speculating about what Moshe Rabeinu might have done wrong, he is speculating about the greatest of the greats. The Torah already points out the flaws of Avrohom, Sara, Yitzchak, Rivka, Moshe and all of the righteous people in our Torah. It is irresponsible for anyone to speculate about any additional flaws. Would Rabbi Rose publically speculate in such a manner about his Mother or Father? I am sure he is a mensch and would not speculate even privately in such a way about his parents. So too he should not speculate about our Torah personalities, the most righteous men and women in our history. I cannot think of anyone who deserves to be judged to the side of merit more than Moshe. After all, Rabbi Rose did refer to Moshe as “our greatest of teachers.”
Indeed, on this I am confident Rabbis Goldson and Rose could agree.