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From: rhendel@mcs.drexel.edu (Russell Hendel) Date: Sun, 7 Dec 1997 18:48:55 -0500 Subject: Talmud Torah--A prerequisite for Keyruv An additional thought on what Keyruv should and should not do. First some history: Several hundred years ago the Baal Shem Tov founded Chasidus--its purpose was that non Torah scholars should be able to come close to God by involvement with Mitzvoth (Until that time it was expected that anyone who was very close to God should/must also be very learned). The Vilna Gaon (and many others) visciously opposed Chasidus because of its deemphasis on Torah. A sort of cold war evolved which was settled (without any physical violence)--the conclusion universally held by both Chasidim and Mithnagdim today is that all Keyruv no matter WHO it is addressed to and no matter WHAT its initial goals are MUST have a Torah component in its program. Some examples: The Hinani movement of Rebetzin Jungreis Aish Hatorah movement (as well as movements that emphasize the codes) In other words everyone agrees that independent of WHAT turns you on and how desparate you are the Keyruv program must have a Torah component. Every known keyruv movement has kept to this goal. And indeed, it is Talmud Torah -- the learning of the law...the perception that the reciting of regulations is Divine service... that distinguishes Judaism from other religions and other cultures. Russell Jay Hendel; Ph.d;ASA; rhendel @ mcs drexel edu