Rabbi Yair Hoffman Responds to Yossi Sarid, Unconvincingly

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Yesterday, I wrote about Yossi Sarid’s disgraceful article of vile hatred for halachic Judaism. I expressed my discomfort in writing a point by point response because when first started to write a point by point rebuttal, it came off as sounded apologetic and disingenuous. I was not able to articulate how and why Sarid was wrong in every one of his examples. I tried. But I was unsuccessful.

Rabbi Yair Hoffman also tried. His article is a lot like the one I was writing. It explains a few of the statements that Sarid misquoted or misinterpreted. More importantly it provides quite a few important sources that indicate reverence, respect and admiration for women in the Talmud. Clearly, Sarid ignores as many, if not more, sources than he barbarically wields in his unscrupulous attack on halacha.

This is great work by Rabbi Hoffman. But in the end all he has done is presented another side to the story. He has shown that the Talmud has statements that are praiseworthy or women and there are also statements that portray women negatively. This is because he does not refute the majority of Sarid’s sources.

I decided to analyze the debate systematically. Read…

Yossi Sarid Shows Us the Ugly Side of Secular Extremism

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I have a confession to make.

I read the recent op-ed written by Yossi Sarid and published in Haaretz. I found the article highly offensive, despicable and ugly. I thought I would “fisk” the article and counter each and every one of Sarid’s twisted, angry points. I got through about half of Sarid’s ugly diatribe and I was forced to quit. I could not win. I was unable to refute every one of his points without twisting myself, Chazal and halacha into a stale pretzel.

So I gave up.

Instead, I offer two independant points in this blog post inspired by Sarid’s disgraceful article.

Sarid’s main point is that the extremists in Israel are only applying the lessons that are taught in our holy tradition. He proceeds to quote several sources that demonstrate his view of the way Judaism treats women. A few of his sources are misquoted. A few others are opinions of one rabbi and not every rabbi. But by and large, one can build a solid case against orthodox Judaism’s approach to women using Sarid’s sources.

By pointing to these sources, Sarid proposes that the extremists are just following the logical conclusions of halacha and traditional Judaism. Therefore the problem is not the extremists, the problem is all Jews who adhere to halacha. All forms of Judaism that believe in the veracity of Torah are to blamed. This is akin to one of Hitchens’ more well-known arguments against religion. If extremists can follow the text of a religion and be bad people there is a flaw in the religion. Sarid lumps all Jews who follow halacha together. The extremists are extremists but only because they follow the same texts as I do, they just do it better.

Sarid is wrong. Dead Wrong. Read…