Should Divrei Torah Take Sides in Political Disputes?


by Rabbi Aryeh Klapper

Teachers of Torah must continually choose between timeliness and timelessness.  Both options are legitimate.  When the political issues of the moment are genuinely important, Torah should have something to say about them rather than shrinking off to a neutral corner.  Involvement in politics is a great mitzvah when genuinely motivated by the pursuit of the straight and the good, as G-d gives us to see the straight and the good.

Yet under ordinary circumstances Torah itself must not become partisan. Legal interpretation (really all interpretation) loses its authority when it becomes subordinated to an external agenda. Even the perception of partisanship tends to greatly diminish moral influence.  (I say “tends” because there is a clear exception. The most passionate partisans may dismiss the words of anyone not clearly identified with their political sect. But such people are often open to influence only within a very narrow…

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About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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