I’m every bit as lonely in my faith as the Rav Joseph Ber Soloveitchik but at least I don’t go around developing fancy philosophical systems based on my dysfunction.
I’ve done some bad things in my life. I even directed a porn movie. But when I stand before my Creator, He won’t accuse me of creating drones of Modern Orthodox rabbis programmed to intone ten times a day, “I was a talmid of the Rav.”
I’m a pretty easy-going bloke. It’s very hard to get me riled up. I lead a traditional Jewish life. I study the sacred text all day (except for when I’m doing other things). I bother no one and no one bothers me. But when it comes to fancy shmancy Modern Orthodox intellectuals creating systems of rights for the sodomite, the trangendered and women rabbis, well, frankly, I blame the Rav.
The Rav has no influence on the way ordinary Jews lead their lives, but he inspired thousands of Modern Orthodox rabbis to lose themselves in a Lithuanian-German intellectual abstraction completely divorced from the real challenges to their religion brought about by the Enlightenment.
The Rav’s fancy theorizing has been so intoxicating to generations of rabbis that they conceive of themselves as redoubtable intellectuals confronting modernity with the eternal truths of Torah. That’s nonsense. Modern Orthodoxy is more frightened of modernity than ever. And why? Because its best minds have been absorbed in intellectual masturbation.
Sixty years ago, existentialism was all the rage in intellectual circles. Then the bubble popped. People moved on. And the end result of all this existentialism? Zero.
For the past 50 years, the Rav has been the dominant intellectual of Modern Orthodoxy. One day this bubble will pop. Rabbis will move on. And the end result of all this lonely intellectualizing? Zero.
I’m a gentle soul. I’d rather sin with a shiksa than say an unkind word about a fellow Jew, but this “Lonely Man of Faith” pose infuriates me.
If the Rav had been an atheistic communist, he would’ve been just as lonely. In the Rav’s mind, he was lonely because he was so brilliant. In my mind, he was lonely because he was afraid to step out of his narrow intellectual system.
I know poses. I live poses. I’ll tell you until I’m blue in the face that my loneliness is the direct result of my keen insights into the universe, but that doesn’t mean that thousands should emulate me.
Listen. You’ve got to believe me. You’re all individuals. You’re all different. Now go and sin no more.