Letters Secular Power Hofesh in English

Truth, Torah, and Hatred

Dear Sirs:

I am an American Jew who lived in Israel for over two years and presently lives in the New York area. I try to be as observant as possible and believe that the Torah is emet. It strikes me as mindboggling that the most rabid haters of Judaism are found within the Jews themselves. No one says that you have to observe the Torah. No one forces you to do anything you do not want to do. Your hatred, to the extent you have to have it all, would be better directed against those who murder Jews whenever possible--i.e. our Arab cousins.

Dear Mark:

Many thanks for your visit to Hofesh, and we appreciate your sincere comment.

Allow me to address a few points in your letter. First, you declare that the Torah stands for truth (emet). While we respect your belief in this regard, we at Hofesh realize that the vast majority of Jews do not believe the same as you. As hilonim, we have the same right to beliefs, and our belief is that the Torah is a conglomerate of mythology, ancient history, poetry, morals, and legislation (on the positive side), and incorrect stories, lies, cruelty, and in some cases a less-than-human approach to Jews and non-Jews alike (on the negative side). It has nothing to do with philosophical or theological truth. (Parenthetically, on 22 January 1999 a new book was published in Israel by a famous teacher and educator named Moshe Granot. The name of this book is The Tanach is the Book of Lies. You may consider reading it.)

You indicate that we bear hatred against other Jews. Please provide the URL of the web page where this appears. If we are at fault, we will correct the page. We at Hofesh are very uncompromising when it comes to religious coercion, but we are equally uncompromising regarding hatred and incitement. Many times people who disagree with our views conclude that we hate them, but this is not the case.

You ask that we direct our efforts against the Arabs. Our struggle has nothing to to with Arabs. All we want, and what we clearly express it in the many pages on our site, is to be left alone! We want the same rights the Orthodox Jews have--to eat what we like and when we like, to love and marry the way we want, to enjoy our culture and free time without any dictates, and to raise and educate our children without any intrusion and coercion, especially not from religious people.

The Torah is not the entirety of Judaism. Neither is the Talmud. Judaism is the entirety of Jewish existence from its first beginning until our time. The Torah and Talmud are only small components in our ongoing existence. You and I are equal Jews. Perhaps the primary differences between us is that you believe in God and think the Torah is truth, while I know that "God" does not exist, and the Torah is just a book. An important book, but still only a book.

We do have one point in agreement. You indicate that "the most rabid haters of Judaism are found within the Jews themselves." A casual perusal of the haredi and Orthodox press supports your observation. Almost every issue of HaTzofeh and other newspapers, not to mention the illegal haredi radio stations, provide ample descriptions of what the Orthodox think of secular and non-Orthodox Jews. Terms such as "traitors", "clowns", and "Gentiles who speak Hebrew" are common, and insulting. We at Hofesh have standards that rise far above this type of editorial policy.

I invite you to come and visit us again. We are always here.


Shira Arzi,
Hofesh site team

Editor's note: We do not publish identifying personal information on our site. Last names, email addresses and other sensitive data are discarded by the Hofesh team.

Letters Secular Power Hofesh in English