Moral Clarity: It Depends Who's Looking: An Open Letter to Rabbi Schwartz

By: Herbert Burack  |  January 17, 2021

By Herbert Burack

Dear Rabbi Schwartz:

I read your opinion piece in the YU Observer. In the words of the great English detective, Sherlock Holmes, “Watson, you see but you do not observe.” It seems that you, as well as Rabbi Blau (see his opinion piece in the Jewish Week a few weeks ago), have emerged from your spiritual bubble on Amsterdam Ave. and crept into the public political landscape. From the outset, you state that “there is no need for yet another voice to come forward and talk about how despicable Wednesday’s attempted putsch was…” and yet like all rabbinic speakers who begin their sermons with a “short d’var (words) torah”, tend to be long-winded and just plain long, you too, opine with just another long-winded diatribe.

You sit there on your mighty throne pointing fingers at the Orthodox, “who were not embarrassed to align themselves with the most vulgar parts of America.” You accuse writers in Orthodox periodicals who “refuse to issue a full-throated condemnation of violence and instead create a false equivalency between the ransacking of government with localized political violence this past summer.” Where were you all summer long when American cities burned? Oh yeah. The violence came from rich, white ANTIFA and BLM radicals but since they weren’t Jewish, and therefore not our problem, the world be damned!

The truth be told, the Orthodox who went down to DC, went there to peacefully protest the perversion of America’s greatest invention: a free and untainted election, no matter who won. The fact that low-life elements of society, White Supremacists, and Nazi sympathizers were there as well, had no bearing on the protest. The majority of people, from all walks of life, came there to protest something that was stolen from all of America.

If there was ever a call for moral clarity as you state, I wonder what Rebbe Akiva (who supported Bar-Chochva, with all of his flaws, in the wars against Rome after the destruction of the second Temple) and the son of a prostitute, Yiftach (who was hounded out of Israel due to his flaws and was called back due to his military prowess by the people, to fight against the nation Amon), would have done in this situation. But then again, we already know the answer.

Herbert Burack

Teaneck, NJ