Two essays that appeared in the press this week are remarkable in their style and similarity. The first was right here in the 5 Towns Jewish Times by our contributing editor, R’ Arye Zev Ginzberg. The second was by who people refer to as a Chareidi columnist whose articles appear in both Mishpacha Magazine and the American Yated Neeman weekly publications, and that is Jonathan Rosenblum.
In the R’ Ginzberg piece in this week’s issue he was responding to the heartfelt expressions of Far Rockaway resident Barry Jacobson, whose article in last week’s issue—“The Mesorah of Chesed,” attracted a lot of thought provoking attention. The readers I came in contact with this week either loved or loathed it.
Jacobson’s contention was that achdus and unity were the chief casualties of the disparaging exchanges between those advocating palpable change in the legal status of the ultra-Orthodox community in the area of national service and going to work to fend for themselves and boost the Israel economy. On the other side of the equation is the idea that the real motivation for wanting to exact this type of change is to weaken and setback the growth of the ever increasing Chareidi population in Israel.
R’ Ginzberg in his piece that can be read in its entirety at 5TJT.COM, writes that Jacobson is misguided and that it is both inexplicable and unforgiveable for him to either second guess or the directives of Gedolei Torah. But it’s the style of his piece that is the subject here. The Rabbi starts out with great praise Mr. Jacobson’s lauding him for his forthrightness and openness on a matter that troubles. But then once the niceties are concluded R Ginzberg goes about the business of picking part Jacobson’s contentions and stopping just short of calling his entire existence into question.
Just as interesting was an apology from columnist Rosenblum to MK Dov Lipman of Yesh Atid for mischaracterizing some of his pre-Knesset activities in Bet Shemesh about two years ago. In his piece that can be viewed at Cross-Currents.Com, Rosenblum starts out apologizing to Lipman by saying, “I erred. Big Time.” Then he directly goes about after klapping al-chet on the matter by keeping his fist clenched and going for a verbal knockout punch brutally criticizing everything that Lipman is involved in from his position on Charedim in the IDF, The Women of the Wall and halachic conversion.
The fascinating thing about both pieces is that while they start out conciliatory and even magnanimous, the tact seems to only be a set up for doing journalistic surgery without any anesthetic.
They are both great pieces worth reading on these issues both for their substance as well as their style.