Dennis Prager Debates Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein About Problems In And Future Of Orthodoxy

And this at a conference sponsored by the OU’s West Coast division, no less. Luke Ford was there and – unlike Rabbi Adlerstein – has posted audio of Prager’s talk, Adlerstein’s response, Prager’s response, the Q & A, and Prager’s closing remarks. Rabbi Adlerstein on CrossCurrents will not even list Prager’s challenges to current halakhic practice. He writes:

He cited example after example of halachic areas he thought
problematic. I hesitate to publicize on this blog what are essentially
blows at the very heart of our mesorah (tradition).

And he does not mention even one of Prager’s challenges to current halakhic practice.

Luke also has audio of Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, Rabbi Michael Broyde and others. Unfortunately, his website doesn’t allow for linking in the way a blog does. You’ll just have to go over there and check it out.

By the way, Prager makes a valid point about Chabad outreach as compared to mitnagdish kiruv. Basically, it boils down to this: Chabad values Jews whether they’re frum or not. Mitnagdim value only frum Jews. Largely true. Of course, fame and money are much appreciated by both.


Filed under Haredim, Modern Orthodoxy, Religion

10 responses to “Dennis Prager Debates Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein About Problems In And Future Of Orthodoxy

  1. Anonymous

    Had this Prager thought a second time, and worried about his marriage as being of greater value then his ethical monotheism crap he might not be twice divorced.
    A better debate would have been having Nechemiah Gordon of the Karaite movement debating about halacha and the current state of the Rabbanut and how the Karaites would address the same issues without Torah Shebaal Peh based strictly on the Torah.

  2. Stephen Mendelsohn


    Whatever one thinks about Dennis Prager, note that he did criticize inhumane shechita (read: AgriProcessors) in his talk — and this is coming from someone whom President Bush’s former speechwriter, Matthew Scully, in his book Dominion, strongly criticized for being hostile to animal welfare issues. If Prager can come around on this, why can’t the OU?

  3. Anonymous

    No, the point is that the only “debate” you get is the same old tired one offered by the Q&A section, “Well, if you drop x then everybody will run amok and drop everything.” That’s a specious argument – a fallacy. The real issue is the one the Rabbis won’t budge on – claiming their writings are equal to or greater than God’s commandments. No matter how idiotic, unethical, immoral, scientifically or historically wrong the writings are, they must be God’s word. The talmud makes God look like an idiot to educated people – and you wonder why people walk away? It’s not rocket science, it’s elevating man’s traditions over God’s commandments – adding to the written Torah, which is forbidden.

    I am continually astonished that the Rabbis try to pass of their ramblings as “an unbroken line back to Sinai” when even the written Torah admits that in the time of King Josiah, nobody in the Temple or at court could even recognize if a book of the Torah was authentic or not. They had to go ask a prophetess. If there was an “unbroken chain,” why did no one at the Temple step forward and say, “Yes, sir, this is the real thing! We know all about it! It’s discussed at length here in the Oral Law and we’re sure this is really God’s word.” Can you explain that without sounding stupid and/or self-serving? No, though many Rabbis have tried.

    There is no “unbroken chain.” There is only the power-mongering of a small subset of Jews who has lied, cheated and stole their way to control of Judaism. That’s your “unbroken chain.”

  4. Anonymous

    You’re wrong. Jeremiah and the prophetess Huldah lived when the scroll was found during Josiah’s rule. It was hidden because the former kings of israel were evil men. Jeremiah and Huldah were part of this unbroken chain. So where is this break in tradition you speak of? As for the rabbis tradition, its the closest thing that we have to what G-d wants, and that is all that matters. G-d gave us the torah, and until he brings back the prophets to explain everything, its what we must follow. There is no other valid interpretation of the torah.

  5. Devora Bee

    I actually know this young couple who was mekarev by the local chabbad, they started being shomer shobbos, waked for an hour+ on shobbos in order to go to shul, keep kosher etc.

    Then they got involved with other keiruv people in town. Those people started to bother the girl about covering her hair, and not eating in her parents’ home who are not religious.

    They got offended and left Judaism completely.

  6. Anonymous

    So why didn’t they ask Jeremiah? After all, he’s a man, well known, and readily available. Why ask a WOMAN, who supposedly isn’t a priest nor able to learn? This is bunk. So you admit all the priests at the temple had no knowledge of any oral law or the written Torah? ALL of them?????? Sorry, you fail the self-serving test.

  7. Anonymous

    How could God bring a prophet? You’d just claim they were “teaching against the tradition” and ignore them. God has abandoned you to your own sin and arrogance.

  8. yehud

    There are differnt commentaries as to why Jeremiah wasn’t available at the time. Also, women were leaders amongst the jewish people, so what are you complaining about with Huldah. Furthermore, the tanach is clear that the two kings before Josiah were King Menasseh, who reigned for 55 years, and his son Amon, who reigned for 2 years. The tanach says II Kings chapter22: “9. But they did not obey, and Manasseh led them astray to do what was evil, more than the nations that the Lord had destroyed from before the children of Israel…16. Manasseh shed very much innocent blood, until he filled Jerusalem from one end to the other, besides his sin that he caused Judah to commit, to do what was evil in the eyes of the Lord…23. And he (Amon) went in all the ways that his father had gone, and he worshipped pagan deities that his father had worshipped, and he prostrated himself to them.” After these two kings, Josiah became ruler. Menasseh and Amon destroyed religious life for the Jews, but the tradition was kept alive amongst the prophets, like Jeremiah and Huldah. When Josiah finally realized what G-d wanted from the Jews, he consulted the prophets and reinstated the torah and its oral interpretation according to their instructions. SO yes, after 57 years of evil kings, and 18 years before Josiah found this torah scroll, most of the priests and people could have forgotten about the torah and the oral law.
    and BTW, if G-d brought a prophet he’d make it known he was a prophet, not just some crazy on a street corner, so that the Jewish people would know that he was real thing.

  9. shmuel

    The Jews were killing and/or ignoring real prophets in those times, too. They knew those prophets were “the real thing” and killed them anyway.

  10. They knew those prophets were “the real thing” and killed them anyway.

    There were no real prophets, just plain old guys who claimed to prophets. There were thousands of mishugoyim walking around then as now claiming to speak in the name of God.

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