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Throughout Jewish history every era or number of generations has had its own buzzword that encapsulates within it the apparently new idea that was to replace the tradition of Torah study and observance as the core of Jewish life. In our generation the great buzzword that afflicts us is pluralism. Even though the word is hard to define, the idea that it represents is clear and dangerous. It represents the fact that at one and the same time everyone is Jewish but that really no one is Jewish for there are no set rules or boundaries to define Judaism.

Whatever one thinks Judaism is, then that is what it is. Over the centuries it has been proven time and again that such a non-definition of Judaism leads only to the disappearance of Jews, the watering down of faith, and eventually makes Judaism itself irrelevant and unnecessary. The idea that Judaism is not a religion but that is somehow a warm fuzzy tent where everyone is welcome, without entrance obligations or departure regulations, is one of the great hoaxes perpetrated on the Jewish people in our time.
This is a product of outside ideas and historical ignorance. It is supported by all sorts of groups and the current popular media, but upon closer examination, it is revealed to have no substance and certainly no inspiration as to why anyone should wish to be Jewish, marry Jewish or remain Jewish.
At the time of the rise of Christianity, in the first century of the common era, the early Christians declare themselves to be Jews. They believed in a Judaism that included an overlay of Christianity and some paganism. The rabbis of Israel struggled then against such a notion and succeeded in drawing a clear dividing line between Judaism and early Christianity, a dividing line which has remained firm and clear until this very day.
In a pluralistic society, such as defined by today’s liberal political and ideological movements, a dividing line is unwarranted. It is non-inclusive, anti-progressive and not really kind to others. In later centuries the rabbis also drew a clear line between Karaite Jews and rabbinic Jews. The individual Karaite was considered to be a Jew but Karaism was never allowed to be seen as a part of Judaism itself.
After the debacle of Shabtai Zvi, former believers in his messianic delusions were included amongst the Jewish people but the Shabatean belief itself was never allowed to be incorporated into Jewish thought. In the 19th century in Eastern Europe the Haskala/Enlightenment flourished and was all the rage. It even affected large groups of traditional Jews. However, by the end of the century it had proven to be anti-Jewish, leading only to assimilation, conversion, revolutionary violence and terrible opposition to Torah and Jewish values. Those who followed it somehow reentered Jewish life because of the rise of Zionism – an essentially Jewish religious concept and belief – and the subsequent story of Jewish settlement in the land of Israel.
In our time this idea of pluralism leads to all sorts of strange programs and the justification not only of non-Jewish ideas but of anti-Jewish sentiment. In our modern, progressive society, which pluralism claims to represent in Jewish life and tradition, which is physically immoral in the eyes of Torah and Jewish history, has now turned into the current morality. And if anyone dares foolishly to speak or write against it, that person is immediately tarred and labeled with horrific vocabulary words that are currently the arsenal of the pluralists and the progressives.
Even the most aberrant behavior, which truly borders on psychological and mental disorder, is sanctified and forced upon the general society as somehow being normal and correct. Inviting Jews who do not believe in the divinity of Torah, or God Itself, and who make a career out of attacking Halacha and its exponents, under the protective guise of holy pluralism, is shameful in itself.
But to call it representative of Judaism is a distortion of history and Jewish tradition. The rabbis taught us that the pagan king of Judah told one of them in a dream that if that rabbi would have lived in the times of the king, he would have picked up the hem of his garment to run more quickly to worship the idol. Well, we see even in the traditional world that there are those who run to the idol of pluralism and worship it and inflict damage upon all the Jewish people, unfortunately for generations.
Shabbat shalom
Berel Wein

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