As a teenager I was once privileged to attend a Q&A session with Rav Yisroel Belsky zt”l where he was asked to define “nivul peh”, disgusting speech. He replied by stating that he was not going to tell us the obvious, rather he wished to explain something that is far worse, using the wrong term for the wrong thing. Basically, he explained that one can turn the worst possible “aveiros” things that offend the senses into acceptable modes of behavior.
Ever the teacher, he illustrated his point with a number of examples, one of them was the term “pro-choice”, basically one can take an act of murder and turn it into something debatable by substituting the word murder with choice. That, Rav Belsky, explained is the ultimate “nivul peh” for it is using language to change the very essence of humanity, to redefine right and wrong.
It goes without saying that as one of the greatest Halachic minds in America, Rav Belsky was fully aware of the various nuances of halacha in this particular sensitive topic. However along with his knowledge of the nuances, he was also aware keenly aware of current events and the over-arching political climate.
I was recently reminded of this lecture when I heard a snippet of a speech given by Senator Cory Booker, a Democratic Senator from New Jersey, by virtue of which he is my representative in the United States Senate. In this speech he discussed the currently Supreme Court nomination and in doing so he framed the choice as one that was more than just political. In his words the choice that is about to be played before the august body that is the United States Senate is one that is at its core a “moral choice”. Those who stand for good, those who stand for “morals” will vote against Brett Kavanaugh, the nominee under consideration. While those who are “immoral” who stand on the side of “evil” will vote to confirm this nomination to the Supreme Court of the United States of America. As such he exhorted all to unite in opposing him for all of us, regardless of political party or persuasion must stand against evil. He solidified his words by not just quoting “Psalms’ but offering his explanation for the verse he chose to quote.
Now why does Sen. Booker define this nominee as evil? Because in his words and the words of his party, Mr. Kavanaugh is not in lockstep with the value system of the liberal wing of the Democratic Party.”
I refuse to dignify these so called “morals” with naming and explaining them. Suffice to say that they can basically be described as a deep stated belief that each person has the right to do what they want, when they want, how they want, with no consequence. And the ability for one to do what they want is not enough, rather the proper approbation is required, bystanders are not just required to tolerate and allow it. They must believe it is correct and proper, they should teach their children it is moral and if someone else who wishes to do what they want based upon this new “moral code” wishes the assistance of one who does not share their moral feelings in carrying out their base desires then one should be forced to do assist them. However this moral code, this value system, this sense of “right” of which Sen. Booker speaks is not one that he has inherited nor is it one that is based upon the very Psalms that he references in his speech. Rather it is one defined the editorial board of the NYT, it is conceived in the dens of universities and it changes with the political wind. In fact it stands in direct opposition with the moral code of the afore mentioned Psalmist.
However for this audience a refutation of the present iteration of this ever evolving (much as the last Presidents views regarding a central plank of this value system) moral code is not required. What is required is a firm and proud rebuttal of his very words.
You see Senator Booker does not have the right to define what is morality. He does not get to decide what is moral. The fact that some people voted for him does not give him moral authority. In fact no human being does. True moral authority rests only with our Creator, the one who created us and placed us here upon the earth in environment he created for us. And what is moral based upon the words for our Creator is not something we must guess at nor is it something that is hidden far away from us. It is close to us, it is something we know, we learn, and we study. It is based not current events nor on popularity nor on polls or marketing rather the immortal words of God that are not just theoretical, rather they are the instruction manual we all study as much as we can based upon which we strive to live our lives.
They are not just a belief system, they are a way of life that tens of thousands of our parents and grandparents sacrificed their very lives for. And it is these morals that state that what Sen Booker calls moral is in fact immoral. And we refuse to allow him to take that word to change that word or to dine that word.
Acts that are immoral at there very core can never be called moral.
Don’t redefine right and wrong for us.
Name withheld upon request.
NOTE: The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of YWN.
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