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  • Torah and Jewish Thought
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Is orthodox Judaism always conservative & Trump on Democrats


Rabbi Ari Shvat

If one had to look at Judaism from a specific philosophic standpoint, would you describe Judaism as conservative, Paleoconservative or a believer in High Toryism or all of the above? Please explain why, and what are your sources?
You infer that Judaism is inherently conservative, which is only partially true. Tradition, values, family, and nationalism are all essential parts of Torah, yet so is liberalism (serving the individual, poor, universalism, international cooperation, etc.). Rav Kook (Orot, pp. 70-72) explains that Judaism harmonizes all the good, believing that people are Godly, and inevitably, all ideologies have at least some truth: "There is a time and purpose for everything" (Kohelet, ch. 3), e.g. Judaism is both nationalist and universalist, both conservative and liberal, encourages altruism as well as self-fulfillment, simultaneously valuing kindness, strength and truth, the rational and the emotional. The trick is to always identify the positive aspects of each ideology and trait, and leave the negative sides. True, in Israel today, the religious parties are all on the "right" side of the political map, simply because the main issues are security and religion, while democracy and helping the underprivileged are unanimous. Similarly, opposition to the exaggerated intervention and almost dictatorship of the leftist, anti-nationalist and anti-religious Israeli judicial system, is unanimous among the religious. In other words, although President Trump is undoubtedly Israel's best friend ever in the White House, his recent statements about Jews having to vote Republican and not Democrat, are extremely simplistic and obviously one-sided and politically biased. With Love of Israel, Rav Ari Shvat
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