I Missed An Important Anniversary

Menachem Butler notes the 350th anniversary of Spinoza’s excommunication was last week. He links to this NY Times op-ed by Spinoza biographer Rebecca Goldstein discussing this. Spinoza has 348 years on me



Filed under History, Religion

14 responses to “I Missed An Important Anniversary

  1. Why is ti that only a few people remember this date? Because history has shown that Jews who go against the Torah will be forgotten by history. In Jewish history, ultimately it is the rabbis and scholars, not the academics, celebrities, and apostates who will be remembered.

    The same way that followers of Karaism and Shabbatai Tzvi dwindled in numbers, I expect the same of Reformists. If a controversy is not in the name of heaven- it will not last. A controversy between two pious Jews continues to be talked about and studied to this day. But a controversy between a rabbi and an apostate is quickly forgotten.

    Expect the Yellow-flag debate to last a while, Shmarya.

  2. C-Girl

    Spinoza: forgotten by history? I forget to send cards all the time. It doesn’t mean the intended receivers are irrelevant. It just means I forgot a date.

    Nice try on the second paragraph, though; I admire your tenacity. At several million congregants in the US alone, the reform movement’s quaking in its boots at this very moment. Really.

  3. anon

    don’t flatter yourself, punk…Spinoza has 384 billion times the brains on you, too

  4. Lawrence M. Reisman

    “At several million congregants in the US alone, the reform movement’s quaking in its boots at this very moment. Really.” And nearly all of those several million congregants had Orthodox great-grandparents. In 1880, of 200 synagogues in America, 177 were reform. Try finding the descendants of the members of those synagogues in any synagogue today. They’re not there, because the natural path from Reform is out of Judaism entirely. But don’t despair, Reform will be around for a long time to come. If the Orthodox can’t meet the challenges of the times to come, their children will replenish whatever Reform loses to assimilation.

  5. S.

    >Because history has shown that Jews who go against the Torah will be forgotten by history.

    Spinoza forgotten by history? That’s amusing.

  6. D

    “Spinoza has 348 years on me …”

    Where were you excommunicated, Shmarya? The only evidence you point to on this site is this protest by Rabbi Zeilingold. He does not use such terms of excommunication as, “menadeh”, “mesareiv” or the like.

  7. 1. Will not give me an aliya.

    2. Will not let me daven from the amud.

    3. Will not count me in a minyan.

    4. Told many different community members not to invite me to their simchot.

    5. Told people not to do business with me.

    6. Has told various people that I am in cherem.

  8. Neo-Conservaguy

    Lawrence’s thoughts about the dynamic of membership among liberal movements – hereditary vs. imported from other groups – are relevant and interesting. The mix of those dynamics is obvious in my Conservative shul; there are 3rd, 4th, and even 5th generation members, but there is also a solid group of refugees from local Orthodox shuls, and they are an important religious influence. As time marches on, if Orthodoxy doesn’t find ways for women to express themselves in public prayer, we’ll have no lack of future membership.

    Of course, such pondering by Lawrence or myself doesn’t change the truth of C-Girl’s statement about millions of (very wealthy) Reform Jews either. I’m practicing my guitar playing of Debbie Freedman songs just in case they take over the world.

  9. D

    Were you summoned to Beis Din? And was there a seruv issued from that Beis Din? A lone Rabbi cannot issue a cherem, niduy, etc. Just because Rabbi X. says that Y is in cherem does not necessarily make it so.

  10. Anonymous

    A Beis Din needs to formally put you in Cherem. You’re not in real cherem you’re an idiot but not in cherem.

  11. No, actually that is not the current practice, unless the cherem comes from refusing to appear before or heed a beit din. By the way, Spinoza was excommuniucated by the lay leadership of the shul. The rabbis did not initiate the cherem.

  12. D

    No, you’re wrong.

    The “hakhamim,” namely the official rabbis of the community, with whose consent the resolution was made to excommunicate the “said Espinoza,” were familiar with thetraditional wording of the proclamations of excommunication and excerpts of these onventional formulations were incorporated in the announcement of Spinoza’s excommunication:

    “By decree of the angels and by the command of the holy men, we excommunicate, expel, curse and damn Baruch de Espinoza, with the consent of God, Blessed be He, and with the consent of the entire holy congregation, and in front of these holy scrolls with the 613 precepts which are written therein; cursing him with the excommunication with which Joshua banned Jericho and with the curse which Elisha cursed the boys and with all the castigations which are written in the Book of the Law. Cursed be he by day and cursed be he by night; cursed be he when he lies down and cursed be he when he rises up. Cursed be he when he goes out and cursed be he when he comes in. The Lord will not spare him, but then the anger of the Lord and his jealousy shall smoke against that man, and all the curses that are written in this book shall lie upon him, and the Lord shall blot out his name from under heaven. And the Lord shall separate him unto evil out of all the tribes of Israel, according to all the curses of the covenant that are written in this book of the law. But you that cleave unto the Lord your God are alive every one of you this day.”

    And, you have not answered my earlier question about where a declaration of Niduy, Cherem, etc. exists in your case. He-said, she-said hearsay on the part of Rabbi _____ does not a Seruv make.

  13. You really fail to grasp both the history and the current halakhic practice.

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