Church / Judaism / Rabbi Joseph Dov Soloveitchik

Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik on Interfaith Dialogue

B”H
Rabbi Reuven Ziegler wrote a wonderful book called “Majesty and Humility – The Thought of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik” which served as my source for this article !
However, first of all I have to say that I never used to deal with Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik until a couple of years ago. Until I learned more about him. Before I preferred dealing with the Soloveitchik branch coming from the famous Rabbi Chaim or, in other words, the Brisker movement. Now I am learning from both sides of the family. 🙂
Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik is extremely famous among Orthodox American Jewry. Some even claim that the Rav is popular among the modern – Orthodox. Well, I would say that it depends on “how modern”. The “modern, modern, modern” may even refer to him as “too frum” and rather follow Carlebach. 🙂
Torah, Mitzvot, Halacha … These “things” should attract a Jew but, speaking for myself, I have to say that I also like to use my brain. And others who like doing the same receive lots of food for thoughts from Rabbi Joseph B.
As far as I have learned it is a mistake to regard the Rav as liberal and modern. Sometimes it may seem so but, on the other hand, he could be very strict. Rabbi Reuven Ziegler writes in his book that Rabbi Soloveitchik strongly opposed changes in Synagogue practice. For instance, a Mechitzah (the barrier preventing intermingling between the sexes in the Synagogue) was not an issue to argue with him.
Regarding “Interfaith Dialogue”, the Rav stated that every religion has developed its own way to worship G – d. Jews can and should work together with other faiths on matters such as general welfare, progress of mankind, fighting diseases, eliminating human suffering, helping the needy and protecting human rights, however, matters of faith and principles should not be discussed. Joint worship should not be encouraged.
True tolerance doesn’t express itself in “Gleichschaltung” but in granting opportunity to all faiths to promote their world views and practices within unique historic and theological dimensions and to thrive in an atmosphere of mutual understanding and respect.
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