A requiem for Truth

Along with good and evil, the natural corollaries of Truth, Objective Truth has been replaced by subjective narratives.  Someone please say a kaddish.Op-ed.

Rabbi Yehoshua Mizrachi , | updated: 5:00 PM

Gaza terror tunnel
Gaza terror tunnel
IDF Spokesperson

"Anybody here seen my old friend TRUTH?
Can you tell me where he's gone?
He freed lotta people but it seems the good they die young
You know I just looked around and he's gone."

With apologies to Dion...

I'm so naïve. Silly me, I understood scholarship to be a passionate quest to reveal Objective Truth, of working to build the collective body of knowledge about ourselves and the universe we inhabit. The academic disciplines - mathematics, the sciences, literature, history, languages, music, art, theology, philosophy - although perhaps speaking different languages, all are different approaches towards understanding the same Grand Truth. Like the many facets of a single large diamond, each discipline contributes a piece to the broader understanding of that Truth. The purpose of a liberal arts education, then, is to cultivate and sharpen the critical thinking skills indispensable in making reasoned assessments of that which fits in to the Greater Truth and that which does not.

But apparently I got that all wrong. Today we are told that Objective Truth is passe. Along with good and evil, the natural corollaries of Truth, Objective Truth has been replaced by subjective narratives. Someone please say a kaddish.

In our uber-sophisticated post-modern culture, everyone has a narrative, every interest group has a narrative. Narratives can be riddled with historical inaccuracies, distortions and outright lies, but no matter - the narrative is true to them and that makes it valid. After all, who's to know what's REALLY true? What can we really know, anyway? Edward Said could invent out of whole cloth a Palestinian Arab culture based on oral narratives - not a shred of documentary evidence to his fairy tale - and the salons of Manhattan swooned - what a narrative!

Forward thinking ethicists have abandoned the concepts of good and evil, and instead are reduced to functioning as mere referees, mitigating disputes between conflicting narratives.

It follows, then, that scholarship is no longer a quest for Truth, it should rest in peace, but a marshalling of evidence for this narrative or the other - witness the bad science used to push the Global Warming agenda.

So Hamas has a narrative, and the Jews have a narrative. Neither is right or wrong, each one's narrative is true - for them. CNN, MSNBC, the New York Times and all the other corrupt media aren't lying [if there's no truth, naturally there can be no lies], they're merely relating Hamas' narrative - journalism at its most noble. The IDF's Purity of Arms Doctrine, which goes to heroic efforts to minimize civilian casualties while defending Israeli citizens, doesn't fit that narrative, well then, best not to report it. And of course, the media create an equivalence between narratives, which is precisely the point.

These ideas are not new, but we are just now harvesting the poisoned fruit of this moral relativism. While
It turns out that those who are prepared to advance their particular narrative with riots, looting, rockets, blackmail, intimidation and murder find that their narrative effectively silences all others...
this moral relativism is predicated on the notion that all narratives are equally valid, it turns out that those who are prepared to advance their particular narrative with riots, looting, rockets, blackmail, intimidation and murder find that their narrative effectively silences all others, because they are prepared to visit violence on anyone who has the temerity to disagree. In this morally relativistic framework, the bullies always win. Goebbels would be so proud.

Hamas' narrative runs parallel with Black Lives Matter [BLM], BDS, Hezbollah, Iran, the EU, China, Russia, the UN and the Jihadis - that on balance, the world would be a better place without Jews. And it's damned unsporting of the Jews to defend themselves while we're trying to finish them off. They don't need their own country, it was much better when they lived as pariahs in our lands, the easier to rape, pillage and murder them without a fight. It's downright rude for the perfidious Jew not to go like sheep to the slaughter. Let's pound our fists on the table and pass another UN resolution condemning them for their impudence.

In the US, BLM has taken the country hostage, forcing otherwise reasonable people to adopt their narrative through violence, blackmail and intimidation - at the expense of any other narrative. To watch American television, one would be tempted to think that no white people live there - everyone on TV is now a person of color. Disagree and you're in the crosshairs of Cancel Culture. It is no longer possible to say ALL lives matter, because that contradicts BLM's unsubstantiated assertion of endemic racism. Violence from the reactionary right is treason; violence from the radical left is understandable. And although my maternal great-grandfather came to the United States from Galicia in 1904, forty years after slavery was abolished in America, I, by dint of my toxic white maleness, am to be held guilty for the ills of American Slavery in perpetuity. Hang 'Em High.

That proposition is doubly laughable because the same culture that would hold me accountable for 250 years of slavery has conveniently exculpated itself from the systematic extermination of the Jewish People in just two short generations. Amazing.

When Martin Luther King famously said that a man should be judged by the content of his character, not the color of his skin, he was making a spiritual argument. We are spiritual beings with physical bodies, not the other way around. But the new identity politics says the ONLY thing that matters is your skin color, not the content of your character. They've twisted and corrupted King's message into a physical one, labeling people to be judged by criteria over which one has no control, like skin color. I believe those racial policies were tried about 80 years ago somewhere...It's a slippery slope to tattooed forearms.

But guess what? Judaism has never been a populist movement. It has been our historical role to stand against the prevailing social mores, not to give religious sanction to them. Judaism was - and is - the original counter-culture.

The holy Torah is, first and foremost, the Book of Truth. The Talmud in Tractate Yoma says that, "The Seal of Gcd is Truth." Father Abraham alienated Nimrod and the Sumerian pagans; we Jews and our Torah were a headache for the Babylonians, the Persians, the Greeks, and to the Romans after them. Yesterday, radical feminism and militant gay advocacy were enjoying their 15 minutes of fame; today it’s the Squad, BLM, BDS, Iran and the Jihadis that are the darlings of the press. Tomorrow it will be something new and more provocative and undoubtedly more sinister. We have a moral and historic charge to stand up to it all.

Emet - true it is that Hashem promised us that He will never abrogate the Covenant with Jewish People . Emet - true it is that at the End Times, He will lead His People back to Israel from the dispersion . The living fulfillment of these verses rankles the Jew hater to no end, as it poses a direct and unanswerable challenge to his fairy tale narrative, and because despite their best efforts, they are powerless to prevent it.

To paraphrase Mark Twain, the reports of the demise of Truth have been greatly exaggerated.

Jews must, above all else, stand in defense of Objective Truth, even if the Nations think us rude for doing so. Yes, to be sure, in every generation there have been Jewish hellenizers, appeasers, reformers, modernizers who will enthusiastically embrace every trendy new social movement. But in every generation they fall away, largely forgotten by Jewish history.

A feel-good Judaism defined by what is popular or trendy or lucrative is not Judaism, it is mob rule. History has taught us again and again that only the Torah and its adherents endure. "Etz chaim hee lamachazikim bah," the Torah is a Tree of Life to those who choose to cling to it.

Today as always, guided by Torah, guided by Truth, we Jews stand alone as the conscience of the world. The ennobling Jewish universalist vision of an ethical, compassionate monotheism has much to contribute to the ongoing social dialogue and to the ethical refinement of humankind. And if, by teaching an authentic, unadulterated Torah message, rabbis must stand in opposition to the newest cultural verities, must even risk sitting in jail, then so be it; there is ample historical precedent for that as well.

Rabbi Yehoshua Yekutiel Mizrachi has served several congregations in the US, and writes three blogs. He is also writing a book entitled "Holistic Judaism," which analyses some of the more egregious excesses in the Torah world and makes the argument for a balanced, holistic Torah Judaism. He is currently cruising the world on his boat and plans to culminate his travels by resuming his aliyah.



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