The Zionist Conspiracy
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
Dual Hashkafah Theory
Much has been written about the dual covenant theory for Judaism and Christianity, a theory that has never made much sense to me.
I'm wondering whether it's time for those of us who are observant Jews with ties to both the charedi and modern sectors of Orthodoxy to promote a dual hashkafah theory. (Hashkafah refers to Jewish thought and/or ideology.)
The dual hashkafah theory does not call for complete pluralism within Orthodoxy. Instead, it would seek a tacit acceptance among the majority of Orthodox Jews for the legitimacy of certain views and practices prevalent in large sectors of Orthodoxy.
For example, within the charedi world, serious study of Jewish texts by females has increased substantially over the last generation. However, for a variety of reasons, the idea of females studying Talmud remains a non-starter, and that's not going to change anytime soon. I don't think those who are not charedi should push for change in this area or denigrate or even challenge the charedi norm. They should accept and understand that Bais Yaakovs and charedi seminaries won't teach gemara.
At the same time, those who are charedi should accept and even respect the fact that in virtually the entire non-charedi world, the idea of Talmud study by females is now fully accepted.
Israel is another issue to which the dual hashkafah theory would apply. Most charedim actually have a positive view toward the State of Israel. Most non-charedim don't really believe that Israel is definitely the start of a messianic redemptive process. The differences are largely based upon a view regarding whether the idea of secular Zionism was religiously and historically a good thing, with the charedim focusing more on the extreme secularism of the early Zionists, and the non-charedim focusing on the obvious historic evidence that Jews would be a lot better off had we all formed a state and gotten out of Europe sooner. Both of these viewpoints have legitimacy; can't they coexist together?
Over time, differences in hashkafah are often accepted within normative Orthodoxy. Ideas, sects and practices that once were deemed radical or even heretical often ultimately receive acceptance. There is no need today for any group to embrace or accept radical change, but practices that are mainstream within large sectors of Orthodoxy should generally (there may be certain exceptions) be accepted as legitimate by those in other sectors.