Are Rabbis In The Plan?

If one follows Rabbi Daniel Lapin’s logic perhaps not. Rabbi Lapin said on the American Family radio show,

In the Lord’s language there is no word for retire. I hope you’re not thinking of retirement, but if you are, it’s not in accordance with the plan. There is not word for retire. One of the great things about our deteriorating culture is that it now serves as a very good comfort, whatever it does go the other way. And the reason for that is, and I think most people are familiar with this with friends and family, people who retire tend to go downhill health wise – yery very common. And there is a reason for that. Basically what you are saying to God is, “You know what? I’ve got enough, I’m taking my toys and going home.” If you’re not existing to service people anymore, then who needs you? [My transcription from YouTube clip]

When Rabbi Lapin refers to “the Lord’s language,” I can only suppose he is talking about Biblical Hebrew and Biblical Aramaic. He may be including Mishnaic and Talmudic dialects but where does one draw the line. There certainly are expressions for retirement in the Modern Hebrew. Designations begin to appear in a language as the thing they designate appears in society. I’m not sure when or how “retirement” came into Modern Hebrew but it was no doubt quite late. I’m too lazy to research this. To me, the usages in Tanakh seem as good (should I say “arbitrary”?) a place to draw the line between “the Lord’s language” and something that isn’t “the Lord’s language” as does any place else. With this premise and Rabbi Lapin’s logic, a rabbi isn’t “in accord with the plan” either. Tanakh does not contain רבי, “rabbi.” No רבי, no רבנים in the plan. It’s as simple as that. Therefore it seems to me that Rabbi Lapin should retire before he further offends the Lord.
Rabbi Lapin’s self-confirming bias confounds a couple of other things. First, the lack of a word in “the Lord’s language” has no consequences, ethical or otherwise. I noticed that Rabbi Lapin was pictured wearing a suit with a neck tie. Oh, the shame of it. Second, within the framework of his comments, many people thrive in retirement. His God seems rather capricious in condemning some retirees to declining health while others thrive. Some folks even retire so they can serve people in ways they couldn’t while working.
Via Ed Brayton at Dispatches from the Culture War.

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