Friday, August 04, 2006

Is That All There Is To It?

Yesterday I watched a kiruv video at Adereth El (one of the oldest shuls in the country). It was a good way to kill a few hours, although the lack of air conditioning made the fast a little less tolerable.

Now, normally I would have spent the entire video making fun of it, but I chose not to do so for two reasons: 1) Shifra hates that and 2) it was Tisha B'Av and I felt bad bashing a kiruv video on the day when ahavat chinum is supposed to be a theme. But there were some points where I just couldn't control myself.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm all for kiruv and think it's a good and important idea. It's just that the video made the people who became frum look stupid, ignorant, or childish.

One guy from Aish HaTorah spoke about how he used to have parties that were so crazy that the police used to send helicopters to break them up. Well obviously that sounds a little unlikely, but I'll let it go.

Long story short, the guy ends up in Israel and decides to show the Yeshiva guys that they're wrong. Being philosophically educated on the "street" he starts to debate them when one guy makes a striking point: if there's no G-d and everyone can make their own morality, then was Hitler wrong? Well the guy was sure Hitler was wrong and that got him started on a path to Orthodoxy.

It's great this guy is Orthodox, but come on, does that really work on normal people? Why can't Hitler be wrong and morality be entirely subjective? Or why can't morality be absolute and G-d not be its origin? There are so many other possibilities besides everyone is right or only G-d decides morality.

Another person was drawn in by the experience of seeing people pray fervently. They were genuine and that struck him. Are Orthodox Jews the only people who are genuine? Tom Cruise seems genuine. I'm pretty sure the Dali Lama is genuine. Most cult members are genuine. So why choose Orthodoxy?

Are people really drawn in by Discovery? Really? I mean people who aren't teenagers. Do these arguments work for most people?

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