Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Dr Kugel and Mr Hyde

How does one destroy the foundations of Orthodox Judaism (as it is known conventionally) and yet consider himself a Modern Orthodox Jew? I suppose you could say he is just posing, that he, like many others, has too many emotional bonds to his lifestyle that inhibit him from actually practicing what he preaches. But perhaps it is deeper than that. Perhaps the cognitive dissonance has created some kind of split personality condition, two souls living in the same body, one frum, one frei, and not realizing the comic tragedy of their circumstance. During the week, methodically, inexorably destroying the emunah of the Modern Orthodox, then sitting in shul on Shabbos morning, staring, bewildered, at the blood on his hands.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you talking about Kugel or me?!

September 19, 2007 11:41 AM  
Blogger e-kvetcher said...

Kugel. But if you think it applies to you as well... :)

September 19, 2007 12:37 PM  
Blogger Baal Habos said...

It is odd, I don't know how he can show his face in shul!

September 19, 2007 5:42 PM  
Blogger evanstonjew said...

I once wrote about this topic when I wrote a blog. I think I called it Geek Jews or something like that. I have seen it many times. Dr. Michael Fishbain, chairman of the U.of C Jewish Studies program writes books that are devestating for frumkeit, especially his first and last, but is personally quite religious.It has something to do with a sort of split, as you suggest. There are the responsibilities of a professional scholar, and there a person's individual temprement, and the two need not meet.

I think it is just fine. They believe that yiddishkeit is rich enough and strong enough that it will survive the results of any scholarship that is carried out with integrity and a search for truth.

September 19, 2007 7:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

> It is odd, I don't know how he can show his face in shul!

Easy. He davens in a LW MO shul!

September 19, 2007 7:08 PM  
Blogger e-kvetcher said...

Dr Fishbane who lives in Highland Park? I don't believe he's Orthodox, is he?

In any case, evanstonjew, I hear your words but don't understand them. You must be sick of hearing that, but nonetheless. In my primitive understanding, split personality is a disorder. Usually caused by something so terrible that the person cannot face it. Denial - not just a river in Egypt kind of stuff...

You can argue that one person's truth doesn't have to be another's, but if they are the same person, that is at best "intellectually dishonest" (which is what Kugel basically states, yet doesn't face the music) and at worst pathological.

September 19, 2007 7:42 PM  
Blogger e-kvetcher said...

evanstonjew, do you have an email you can share? mine is a_n_d_y__f(at)

September 19, 2007 8:03 PM  
Blogger evanstonjew said...

Yes that Dr. Fishbane. Someone told me he now davens in Lubavitch. He is ordained by JTS I think.Not sure about any of this.

I don't think it's what you call a split personality, a Dr. Jekyl case or a Rosanne Barr.It's not like one day he is one person, the next day he's another.Nor is it a horozontal split,like the classic cases of repression where some thoughts are kept out of consciousness.It's more of a vertical split, both sides are conscious.Think of a frum professional. At the office he's Joe, at home Yossi...Such a split need not be a disorder unless a person has a problem with it. There is no mitzvah min hatorah or min Freud to integrate everything.Of course, if the guy has five selves and they begin fragmenting so he falls apart...that's a different story.

Your trouble in understanding might stem from an overdose of Torah u'Madah, where everything has to be integrated.Witness the sad case of Mr. Slifkin. Charedim don't try to integrate very much.

I believe the email on my blog

September 19, 2007 9:11 PM  
Blogger e-kvetcher said...

>Your trouble in understanding might stem from an overdose of Torah u'Madah

Could be, though I was brought up superstitious atheist... This Modern Orthodox stuff frightens and confuses me :)

I would like to discuss this further, but I need to go to sleep. As the Russian proverb says "Morning is wiser than evening".

September 19, 2007 9:46 PM  
Blogger Ben Avuyah said...

I haven't gotten a hold of the book yet. I wonder if the last chapter is the minimum required kvetch to maintain his social status etc...

Hard to know what he is thinking inside. He may have this type of "splitting" or "nonintegration", as described. But even the excerpts I have read seem to reveal a depth of understanding and inquiry that would make this unlikely.

I suspect he is conflicted in the same way many of the rest of us are...

He has arrived at a conclusion that "ruins" everything, and is turninig it over to the masses much in the same way the blogosphere does internally, with a gesture of shrugged shoulders, saying, "hey, everybody, what are we going to do with this??"

September 20, 2007 9:12 AM  
Blogger e-kvetcher said...

"But even the excerpts I have read seem to reveal a depth of understanding and inquiry that would make this unlikely."

Agree 100%.

September 20, 2007 9:20 AM  

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