A Valediction: Forbidding Rap Music

Schorsch's speech was strange, to be sure. Rap is not a devil whispering in the ear of Conservative Jews. It is, rather, a genre of popular music. (Perhaps Schorsch missed the essay in the back of Etz Hayim, written by R. Tupac Shakur, which makes this important distinction. Tupac is nothing if not inert.) Students writing random words in the snow is symptomatic of nothing but rabbinical students looking to have a little fun. Has the chancellor really forgotten his own yeshivah days?

But there is something very important that the rabbi said:
The history of Jewish spirituality is the never–ending effort to keep halakhah and meta–halakhah in creative tandem. Halakhah is the deed; meta–halakhah, the disposition. Halakhah is fixed, meta–halakhah fluid. Halakhah is legal, public and objective, whereas meta–halakhah is theological, private, and subjective. The intent of meta–halakhah is to inform, enrich and spiritualize our fulfillment of the mitzvot. Or to revert to my image of the aquifer, what is concealed is no less vital than what is visible.

The malaise of Conservative Judaism today . . . is that its adherence to halakhah is devoid of a spiritualizing meta–halakhah.

Perhaps he was too high-falutin in his language and snobby in his approach, but the problem is there and cannot be denied. There are many people working on pushing the cart of Conservative Judaism out of the theological-spiritual mud its stuck in, but the effort must be made. Criticising Schorsch for his criticism won't help us.

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