Posted on February 14, 2016
Being meqori does not mean joining a new Jewish movement. There is no such thing as “Meqori Judaism” or “Meqori Halakhah.” Meqoriyuth is not a sect or an “ism” and there are no charters, manifestos, or statements of faith attached to it. In fact, it is not a list of beliefs that one ascribes to, nor is it really a label at all. So, what is it?
The terms “meqori” and “meqoriyuth” are collective terms used to describe a social and religious phenomenon within the Jewish world. Perhaps it could also be described as a trend – a trend of returning to the texts of Hazal and their direct expositors in a search for simplicity, truth, and authenticity in halakhah and hashqafah. This phenomenon is most often a reaction to the overwhelming Euro-centrism that has come to stereotype orthodox Judaism along with the superstitious, dogmatic, and authoritarian approach that comes with it.
This return is largely taking the form of ba`aley teshuvah and geriym accepting upon themselves the ways of Sefardic and Yemenite Jewry – both of which tend to be more reasonable and markedly authentic in their pesiyqath halakhah. However, I have also personally been aware of Haredi families that, being burned-out with excessive humroth and halakhic additions (many of which cause not only emotional strife, but financial strain), begin to privately practice the simple halakhoth of Hazal and the rishoniym in areas of shemiyruth shabbath, taharath ha-mishpahah, and kashruth. The Jewish populace is beginning to demand that their leadership be reasonable, and due to the fact that the Haredi world demands years of constant exposure to learning halakhic sources, they are unable to keep their adherents from being able to access the information directly. This dynamic often upsets their division of clergy versus laity and so they engage in shaming and scare tactics to elicit obedience, but many are starting to see through this approach.
There is also less tolerance for the [near obsessive] force of “minhag” in the orthodox world, especially when it is used by Haredi leaders to simply blot out, brush aside, or overturn clear halakhoth that are recorded in the sources. Religious Jews are beginning to tire of re-enacting the less-than-ideal conditions of Poland and the Ukraine when the actual observance of the halakhah as formulated in the Mishnah and Gemara is within their grasp. Attendant to this is that a growing number of Jews want their religion to make sense and to be in step with reality, rather than the superstitious dissonance that the Haredi world often demands of its adherents.
“Meqori” and “meqoriyuth” are not particularlistic terms meant to further divide, instead they are broad terms intended to unite. Just as “martial arts” collectively refers to any and every fighting style irrespective of national origin, or “Arabic” collectively refers to a variety of standard and dialectal forms of the language, or “phone” collectively refers to everything from a rotary to a smartphone, so also do “meqori” and “meqoriyuth” collectively refer to the scholars, halakhic decisions, modes of Jewish practice, and methodologies that share these trends in common. The inclusion of all meqori streams of halakhic Judaism under one umbrella is also not intended to create something distinct from the rest of Jewry, rather it is meant to engender teamwork and community around something unique that we as have to share with the Jewish world.
I believe that meqoriyuth is a major key to positive change within Judaism – only good can come from trying to be more faithful to Hazal and their wise direction – but it will be a tool for destruction if it becomes just another way to break off from the rest of the Jewish world and condemn them (has wa-shalom). This is also true of each movement or stream of meqori Judaism that decides that they alone have something to offer to the Jewish future. This is even true of the Torah itself, as it says in the name of Rava, “…if you are a workman for [the Torah] then it is an elixir of life, but if you are not a workman with [the Torah] then it is an elixir of death” (cf. b.Yoma 72b – see also Rabbeynu Hananel there). We have to be workmen on behalf of Torah values, not workmen on behalf of ourselves.
So, no sects, no groups, no “isms” – just Torah and authentic halakhah for all Jews.
At the hospital a few years ago, next to the bed of my son who had been severely injured in a car accident, I had a lot of long nights to think about how to prevent MVAs.
After consulting with the experts in the Transportation Ministry, I put together a proposed bill. And when I was elected to the Knesset, I tried to get it passed. The Transportation Ministry supported the bill. But it did not pass due to the ‘professional’ opposition of then Justice Minister Tzippy Livni and her ministry workers. This bill will be one of my first goals when, with G-d’s help, I will be in an official legislative position in Israel.
What does the bill state? Simply that when a driver recklessly injures others, he must compensate his victims from his own pocket.
If a bus driver would know that his insurance will not cover him if he is fiddling with his cell phone, would he continue to do so, or would he focus on the road?
What are we more afraid of? Running a red light, or driving without insurance? Clearly, driving without insurance is more frightening. But driving without insurance does not endanger lives. Ahh, but driving without insurance places all the responsibility for possible injury of others on me. Now that is scary.
Today, when we drive, we don’t see people. We see penalties. Mandatory insurance has eliminated the dimension of responsibility from our driving.
Everyone agrees that lack of responsibility is the main factor causing MVAs. Instead though, we focus on road infrastructure (very important) and on more and more penalties (also important) but do almost nothing to deal with the root of the problem: the dimension of responsibility.
Mandatory insurance is obviously vital. We do not want to find ourselves in a situation in which the guilty driver does not have the means to compensate his victim. But my bill said that for certain road offenses – we can call them highway bullying – (For example: Passing over a white line, entrance into the intersection after the light has been red for more than a second – and in my opinion, today we must add texting while driving) – for those crimes, the insurance company – after it has paid compensation to the victim – will have the right to sue the offending driver for the money that it paid out.
If you were a bully on the road, then you have made light of human life in a disgraceful manner (texting while driving). If you are caught, you should be punished for breaking the driving laws. But if your bad driving caused an accident and people were injured, you will have to deal with the repercussions just like divorced fathers – your salary will be frozen, you will not be allowed to exit the country and more.
Just as it is clear that a person who brings a new life into this world is also responsible for that life, even more so, the person who causes his victim to make an unplanned exit from this world must be held personally responsible.
Who is responsible? The individual or the state?
Who belongs to whom? The individual to the state or vice versa?
Centralization or liberty?
For the meantime, we will just have to manage with more and more penalties.
StartPage, and its sister search engine Ixquick, are the only third-party certified search engines in the world that do not record your IP address or track your searches.
Your privacy is under attack!
Every time you use a regular search engine, your search data is recorded. Major search engines capture your IP address and usetracking cookies to make a record of your search terms, the time of your visit, and the links you choose – then they store that information in a giant database.
Tracking your searches can erode your privacy and lead to censorship.
In addition, those searches reveal a shocking amount of personal information about you, such as your interests, family circumstances, political leanings, medical conditions, and more. This information is modern-day gold for marketers, government officials, black-hat hackers and criminals – all of whom would love to get their hands on your private search data.
Why should you worry?
Major search engines have quietly amassed the largest database of personal information on individuals ever collected. Unfortunately, this data can all too easily fall into the wrong hands. Consider the following story:
In August 2006, the online world was jarred when AOL accidentally released three months’ worth of aggregated search data from 650,000 of its users, publishing all the details in an online database.
That database is still searchable. It is an absolute eye-opener to see the potential for privacy nightmares.
|» Enter a query and find who searched for it|
» Then click on a “User ID” to find what else this user searched for
Shocked? You are not alone.
When we search, we share our most private thoughts with our computers. These private thoughts should be safe.
- You have a right to privacy.
- Your search data should never fall into the wrong hands.
- The only real solution is quickly deleting your data or not storing them to begin with.
- Since January 2009 we do not record our users’ IP addresses anymore.
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- Our initiative is receiving an overwhelmingly positive response