The Supreme Court ruling that reversed Roe versus Wade brought to light another philosophical debate.  The debate was between Ben Shapiro, a yarmulka-clad media personality and Rabbi Shmuel Bloom, a former vice president of Agudath Yisroel of America.

The disagreement could also be called, “Noah’s Ark versus Lighthouse.”  As the words imply, Noah’s Ark means – “let us forget about society, for now,and work rather on our own development.”  Lighthouse implies, “Let us share the moral beauties of our heritage to help shed light to others around us in a stormy and turbulent sea.”

Ben Shapiro, a graduate of YULA High School and UCLA, writes columns for Creators Syndicate, Newsweek, and hosts The Ben Shapiro Show, a daily political podcast and live radio show.


Ben Shapiro asked a pertinent question.  Why is he the only one that actively voiced the Torah opinion against abortion?  The verse in Genesis tells us, “one who spills blood within man – is culpable..”  How can we stand by idly while so many lives are being put to death?  Where were all of the other Torah organizations?  Why was orthodox Jewry not at the forefront of such a campaign?


Rabbi Shmuel Bloom, in an interview made on JFoundation, explained that Jews and Jewish organizations should not be out front on these issues.  Rabbi Bloom explained that being circumspect about our views has been instrumental in our survival throughout the nearly 2000 years of exile.  He enumerated the dangers involved in being so public.

Rabbi Bloom did, however, express one caveat.  He stated that when other factions of Judaism are actively falsifying the Torah’s view, then we do have an obligation to speak up and make the Torah view known.


The issue also has to do with parsing the views of various politicians. Do we look at the totality of a politician’s view or should we be concerned about just one issue – moral issues?   The Agudah view was that morality is certainly one factor to take into account.  But there are other issues too and those, taken together, should be the determining factors.  The underlying question is:  Where and how can we live hassle-free as Torah-observing Orthodox Jews?


Generally speaking, Agudath Israel is not associated with left-leaning views.  Senator Ted Kennedy, however, was just such a politician. Kennedy favored stricter gun control, he supported expansion of abortion rights, and also advocated strongly for a health care system wherein the government paid for everyone.

And yet, in 1982, Rabbi Moshe Sherer, the then-president of Agudath Israel of America, presented his organization’s Humanitarian Award to Kennedy for his role in the reunification of Jewish families from the Soviet bloc countries. While honoring him at the 1982 dinner, Rabbi Sherer actually presented the Senator with a mezuzah which the organization had originally planned to present to the late Sen. Robert Kennedy.  Many took issue with Agudah doing so at the time.

There is no question that Rabbi Avigdor Miller zt”l, disagreed with the view espoused by Rabbi Bloom on the JFoundation podcast.  Rav Miller, the former Mashgiach of Yeshiva Chaim Berlin and the Rabbi of the Young Israel of Rugby held strong views that we must actively protest lifestyles and other aspects of the decadent society around us and not compromise on such things just because we want to benefit financially like other communities or ethnicities.

Another question that may be particularly  pertinent to the State of Israel is how do we act now vis a vis the irreligious or gentiles around us?  Should we act as a lighthouse, so to speak, bringing the incredible moral values of our Holy Torah to others?  Or perhaps we should shut ourselves in our own cocoon, and give up on the world around us?  Should we be a Noah’s Ark and only care, for now, about our own development?


A friend of mine was a student at the Yeshiva of Staten Island when Rav Moshe Feinstein zt”l was alive.  He related to me that when Rav Feinstein reviewed the weekly Torah portion, there were five years in a row when he wrote down his new thoughts in a notebook.

Later on, when the Drash Moshe was put together by a relative, some of the pieces began in the same way.  He suggested that there were key paragraphs involving the idea of Noah’s Ark versus Lighthouse that were inadvertently left out of the printed version of the Drash Moshe.  He showed me one such piece.

The piece essentially paraphrased a conversation between Yaakov Avinu to Pharoah as to why Yaakov Avinue wished for his children and his other descendants preferred to reside in Goshen and not where Yoseph had dwelled in the heart of the central seat of Egyptian government.

Yaakov Avinu’s message to Pharoah was, according to Rav Moseh Feinstein t”l, as follows:  When Yoseph my son was here in Mitzrayim, he was essentially alone.  He, therefore, acted as a lighthouse to others, influencing others to do the right thing and to behave morally.  Now, however, there is a Klal Yisroel, and we must first perfect ourselves before we can work on others.  Our own house must be shape so that we can ultimately fulfill our future destiny of bringing the teachings of Hashem to the world at large.

Rav Feinstein’s view zatzal, seems to have aligned more with the presentation of Rabbi Bloom then of Ben Shapiro.  However, it could also be argued that when it can also be done from afar, without the lighthouse affecting our own development – then we do not need to wait for the Messiah’s arrival in order to influence others.

A similar question arises as to whether we should be actively convincing the gentiles around us to observe the seven Noachide laws.  It is known that the Lubavitcher Rebbe zt”l had a different view than that of the leaders of Agudath Israel in this regard.

In the Rosh haShana davening we recite the words, ve’yaasu kulam agudah (no pun intended) achas laasos retzoncha b’laivav shalaim – And then [after the advent of moshiach] all of them (the nations of the world) will form one organization to fulfill Your Will with a complete heart.”

As reported by Vos Iz Neias