What to Do When a Rabbi Becomes a Heretic

Two years ago an anonymous coward diminished the reputation of the Teaneck Jewish community by publishing a remarkable self-hating screed.

At the time (9/25/05) I wrote the following to rebuff that onslaught:

The formation and development of the State of Israel since 1948 is the single most redemptive chapter in all of Jewish history since the exodus from Egypt in ancient times. No matter how imperfect are the politicians who govern it, no matter how deficient is the army that defends it, no matter how disappointing is the population that lives in it -- the State of Israel is the miraculous "first flowering of our redemption" as a Jewish nation in our day and in the near future.

Any Jew who denies this is a heretic. Any rabbi who denies this is a heretic and a true apikores -- a denier of the essence of Judaism. Any rabbi-apikores who denies this and occupies a pulpit supported by a sincere community of Jews subverts the very core of his mission.

Accordingly, one "powerful" Rabbi S. A. Halevy, author of the horrible screed that appeared recently in the Jewish Voice and Opinion, must be placed into the category of heretic and complete apikores. That perverted essay denied the miracle of the modern State of Israel and dismissed as worthless and corrupt its founders and its current leaders and defenders.

In one fell swoop of gushing diatribe, the author attempted to pull out the rug from under an essential modern American Jewish belief. In one regurgitation of awful hatred, the author sought to reduce to nil the nearly divine act by modern Zionists of the creation of a marvelous entity out of nothing. This denial is heresy -- plain and simple -- clearly and succinctly.

A rabbi who prevents himself from recognizing the truly divine hand of G-d working in our own day, through G-d's chosen emissaries in the democratic government, brave army and valiant citizenry of the State of Israel, is not worthy to call himself a rabbi.

Those ordinary house-holders, businessmen, professionals, young and old, in our communities of proud and accomplished Jews must stand firm in rejecting all divisive, hate-mongering leaders. And certainly even the plainest, most uneducated members of a synagogue have the right and duty to stand up and say to a rabbi who denies the most obvious central reality of our faith -- here is your bus ticket out of our town. Have a safe trip.
Tzvee Zahavy is the real name of a not-so-powerful, not-so-important rabbi and scholar in Teaneck, NJ.


Anonymous said...

Judging by your vitriolic comments against this rabbi, could it be that you are in fact impersonating this rabbi, to tarnish his good name?

Tzvee Zahavy said...

Um, no. There is a real bad rabbi out there hiding behind a pseudonym. He does not have a good name. I am criticizing his theology and labelling him accordingly.

Anonymous said...

"The formation and development of the State of Israel since 1948 is the single most redemptive chapter in all of Jewish history since the exodus from Egypt in ancient times."

This is an opinion that doesn't even consider certain amazing, and longer-lasting, events that took place before the Common Era.

Anonymous said...

Y'know, maybe instead of calling so many people heretics, you ought to present a balanced approach to the issue, such as the one listed here: