Too much tolerance seems to make people intolerant

At what point does tolerance make people intolerant?This is a question I have been pondering more than ever as I am exposed to some very “open minded” individuals here on the left coast. These open minded individuals tend to remain open minded as long as everyone is on the same page. God forbid someone should say something negative about Obama, specific mitzvos for men and women or one of the many other things which you cannot go against the liberal status quo – this is not meant to bash the left wing so much as it is to open people’s minds to the intolerance that exists in so called “open minded” places.

In some Jewish tolerant places it seems that all is good unless you are orthodox, it happens to be the same way with the orthodox – but not many orthodox folks I know claimed to be tolerant of other streams of Judaism. It’s as if being orthodox means you must be sexist due to all of the male centric traditions and leadership roles assumed by males. No one is asking you to be orthodox, and as long as the women don’t revolt and ask to add more to their plates in terms of torah commandments, I am sure orthodoxy will stay within it’s male centric realms for eons to come.

Tolerance is a great thing, but to me it seems to be abused. Why should the left wing have a monopoly on tolerance? It’s not like they are tolerant of opposing views, they are just as bad as the right when it comes to senseless bashing, in fact they treated Bush way worse than the right treats Obama, although that will change once he loses his superstar status. The good thing about the left is that they are a little more sane when trying to indoctrinate you, try admitting you are a left winger to a bunch of Republicans, it is really a painful situation, but admit you’re a right winger amongst a bunch of liberals and everyone just shrugs and makes some kind of joke about there being worse thing.

I really just wanted to talk about how left wing Jews bug me because they are rarely tolerant of orthodoxy, even though that is what their doctrine is.

Flip this situation for a moment and let’s consider the fact that most of our laws, and traditions were made and written by men for men in a time when women were second class citizens. It seems to me that torah and tradition can and should evolve, my problem is, how much? There are so many instances of upheaval within traditional orthodoxy – just look at Chassidim vs. Misnagdim – and now we all live in harmony, save for a few women getting beat up on buses and some riots once in a while.

To lay it all out for you – all of these thoughts have been roaming around my head during the denouncing of Avi Weiss by the Gedolim for his ordination of woman rabbi, which I knew would happen and am totally cool with. My problem is this, I think it was a great decision and a terrible decision at the same time – make sense?

On the one hand, I think it’s great for anti-orthodox segments of Judaism to see that certain sects within orthodoxy can comply with halacha while still giving women bigger roles like many more left wing Jews want, which would act as this kiruv mechanism to welcome in non-orthodox Jews to orthodoxy, imagine if women start using the mikvah because of this one decision, it could be worth it just for that.

On the other hand, I fear that the break down of fences will lead “open orthodoxy” astray to the point that they will not be orthodox any more. As the saying goes give them an  inch they will take a mile, and I have a feeling that blurring the lines too much is not a good thing. Introducing an orthodox woman rabbi is a big step, and it probably happened slowly over time – but what is next? Will they allow her to officiate at a wedding, be a witness or daven for the amud? Does this break into the laws of tznius, and make people less aware of the boundaries between men and women? Or have we over sexualized everything and just be normal like everyone else?

Too put it bluntly, I am quite confused – first about the lack of tolerance amongst the tolerant who love to espouse tolerance and second the fact that I am pro and against the decision to make an orthodox woman into a Rabbi.

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