Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Card trick

While surfing the aether recently, I came across this post on the Than Book blog, in which the author reprints a discussion he participated in in the comments to a post on another blog, regarding Lubavitcher dissembling about Messianism. He concludes the post with a quotation from the host of the blog the discussion took place on:
So it would seem, that there is permission, if not an actual mandate, to hide the truth about Lubavitch messianism. IOW, you can't necessarily believe what they tell you about "Oh, I don't believe in that stuff". They may well, but because it's off-putting to other Jews, they may feel compelled to go so far as to lie about it. The Shi'i Muslims have a word for this: Taqiyya.
I'm disturbed by that last sentence, and by the fact that Than Book liked it enough to title the post "Lubavitcher Taqiyya." What would have been lost if that quotation had ended with "go so far as to lie about it"? Not much. Nothing except the chance to play the Shi'ite card, which seems to be a new variation on the old Nazi card. The illusionist taps his hat, pulls out a card, and goodness gracious, where did Khamenei come from? It looks like in this case the whole idea is to namecall and demonize.

And it's not even well-chosen namecalling. According to the linked Wikipedia article, taqiyya is lying in the face of persecution or other danger. We Jews can be unpleasant to each other, but I don't think we usually rise to quite that level.

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