March 6, 2005
I reviewed your letter on your website regarding the red string. I have also read about it in the JewishTimes. I am a little confused. The Rishonim seem quite clear on this and your sources are Achronim (I am assuming so. I haven't heard of them - my shortcoming) Can Achronim argue on Rishonim? Can a custom remove an Issur – a prohibiiton?
But even putting aside the source “battle” what about the logical arguments? Does a red string have power? Is it justice for God to punish someone for not wearing a red string and rewarding one who does regardless of their merit? Does it make sense to you?
What about the Shema, which tells us that the road to prosperity is keeping the mitzvos? Why should one do Teshuva, Tefilla, U'tzedaka (repent, pray and give charity) if all it takes is a red string? It would clear up a lot if you could address these arguments on your site. Simply quoting sources that (at least seemingly) go against the fundamentals of Torah - of Ein Od Milvado – “There is none other than God” – only clouds the area. Please explain how this practice of wearing Red Strings does not go against the fundamentals of Judaism, how infusing an object with power is not at least approximating idolatry. Thank you.