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Paley, M.C. (1994). Dr. Paley Replies:. Am. J. Psychoanal., 54(4):374-375.

(1994). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 54(4):374-375

Dr. Paley Replies:

Marlene Cershman Paley, Ph.D.

In reading Rabbi Lewis's letter I was reminded of an article I read in the New Yorker (Feb. 7, 1994) by Harold Brodkey. In referring to the behavior of a certain segment of the excessively critical Manhattan elite, he describes their approach as follows: they take a few clues, regard them with sophistication, and they know everything! Regrettably, Lewis's letter demonstrates a breathtakingly rudimentary view of both psychology and Talmudic teachings. Psychology is psychology and Talmud is Talmud and the influence of the latter is nothing more than on the level of “ordinary human insight.” It is unfortunate that a supposed leader of a Hebrew congregation would be party to cutting off her membership from their legitimate collective unconscious, that is 700 years of Talmudic rabbinic wisdom, because she could not value the important psychologic insights within their text. Whether she arrived at this by whim, epiphany, or classical Jewish education is of less interest.

It is remarkable that in light of all the recent revelations concerning Freud's personal and professional improprieties (e.g., abetting Ferenczi in his seduction of his female patients and being a party to Jung's misuse of Sabina Spielrein) Lewis could maintain that he was wise to move away from his Talmudic past.

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