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April 22, 2011

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micha

Here are my problems with the article:

1- Who said it wasn't ever thus? The Rambam draws of a picture of a society of a few successfully spiritual / knowledgeable individuals and a masses who don't grope for redemption. R' Yisrael Salanter speaks of the am and the benei aliyah. Perhaps we always had this percentage of people who serve Hashem's plan by being part of the background culture necessary for the few who do search. And millennia before either of them, Isaiah wrote about the masses holding a "fear/awe" of G-d that is merely "mitzvos anashim melummadah -- the commandments of people learned by rote." Why are we addressing this like it's a new crisis with a new cause?

2- How can you blame the internet? The internet has more sites than New York City has addresses. I work less than a block from St Patrick's Cathedral; but I'm not tempted to walk in. Similarly, I spend much of my time on-line, but I have no interest or patience with the kind of web sites the article discusses. For that matter, a significant chunk of my Torah learning is to support discussions I have on-line. What's the difference between me and the orthopractic? It's not the internet, it's the previous step. Why are they interested in those sites? Why aren't they happy and inspired by the answers they already have? Is anyone giving them those answers, or are they still working with a belief system largely unchanged since Morah Miriam laid out "Hashem created the world and gave us the Torah" in preschool?

Do we do anything in our education system, from 1st grade to the shul's weekly shiurim, to give this person a grounding in anything but praxy and vertlach on the parashah? We don't teach Yahadus as a process for reaching for qedushah, and then are surprised that we produce people who just go through the motions?

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