Monday, March 06, 2006

The Road to Lakewood...

Blogs have been awash with posts and comments on the recent visit of three charedi rabbonim to Teaneck, New Jersey. Gil put up a guest post, as did Godol Hador (I, II, his thoughts). While most have billed this as an "achdus building" event, GH has been more skeptical.

GH wants reciprocity. He wants R' Shechter, R' Willig, R' Rosensweig, etc to be invited to speak in Lakewood. That would show their generosity, that it is truly an achdus building event. Why?

As it stands, all we have are Charedi rabbonim speaking in MO institutions. If your goal was to convert or proselytize, would you really allow the other side to speak to your congregants? I should hope not. You seek the advantage, that you can speak without being spoken to. Imagine walking into a Yeshiva and giving a shiur on the intricacies of Torah and Science, history, etc. How literary structure can be used in Tanach or Gemara (especially aggadita). And then, the talmidim walk over to their rebbe, who for years has told them this stuff is shtus, and ask why they can't learn it. I think that's what GH is really afraid of. We're giving them a forum, without demanding one back. There's no quid pro quo. He may be right, or overly alarmist.

I for one hope its an achdus building event. It may take time for reciprocity. Even if it were true that the organizers and speakers were "just out to get us," by them speaking it opens the door. Just a crack. That's how diplomacy works.

This was a big event. And hopefully the beginning of a new era.

[Update: R' Harry's thoughts here.]