Rabbi Saul Berman Comes To Town

I’ve heard mixed reviews about his Sabbath talks.

I’m told:

Like many speakers he had more time to speak than material. He was a bit ideological Friday night on his point that chumras are a socio-cultural/historical phenomenon of post-Holocaust Judaism. He railed against the spread of "glatt" kosher, and said the thing we need to be machmir about are the mitzvot bein adam l’chaveiro (i.e. treating each other decently). A predictable message, with lots of repetition. The positive review was that, like Rabbi Cherlow a few weeks ago, speakers like this offer chizuk (strength) to a beleaguered crowd beat up by the right wing Orthodox. Shabbos morning, interesting ideas about jealousy in the Joseph story, specifically, that the brothers’ jealousy derived from the fact that their mother Leah was absent from the stars bowing down dream and thereby he was writing her out of the family; also that Joseph starts out the search from his brothers from a standpoint of ambivalence until he meets "the man" who tells him where they are and thereby helps him get focused, good close reading; again, sounded like he could have given over his message in 10 minutes but took much longer. Seuda shlishi (third meal on the Sabbath), underwhelming. Rabbi Berman reviewed the halachic issues around reproduction and infertility but without focus.

Most interesting thing I heard was that this was sponsored by Yeshivat Chovevei Torah which thought it was sending him to speak to the whole community — Beth Jacob, Young Israel of Century City — but those shuls just weren’t interested. I don’t know how much it was badly planned vs rejected outright.

More about Rabbi Saul Berman here.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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