Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Does Faith mean passivity in the face of danger?

Quote from a "chareidi" writer:
>>>But there is something deeper, I think, that explains the lack of Jewish Sturm und Drang despite the abundance of anti-Semitic abuse. It lies in a fundamental Jewish religious attitude, one articulated at the end of the mainstay of every Jewish prayer: the silent Amidah, or "standing"-service. Its penultimate paragraph begins: "My G-d, guard my tongue from evil and my lips from speaking deceitfully. To those who curse me, let my soul be silent." The sentiment is not one of resignation, but of faith<<<

There are a number of publications that I regularly avoid because I can't stomach the stupidity that regularly crosses their pages, quote above being an excellent example. Written during the week of Parshas Beshalach, where undoubtedly the author heard the pasuk "Mah titzak eilei - dabeir el Bnei Yisrael v'yisa'u". Faith is NOT the equivalent of passivity. There is a time for prayer, for quietude, and there is a time for action, and one hopes our Jewish leaders know the difference. If not, "Im chareish tacharishi revach v'hatzalah ya'amod layehudim mimakom acheir".


  1. Anonymous3:52 PM

    Can you cast this into a question about hishtadlus/bitachon, that is how much hishtadlus is required in a given situation? I don't have an answer, but I know it is subject to much debate (and I think alot about it too) especially when one considers the question of how much time one should spend on study vs. time spent to earn a living.

    On a second, and to me at least, a related track. We have the "case" of David and Shimi. Why did David restrain Avishai (if I remember right) from killing Shimi when Shimi cursed David? Shimi was certainly a mored b'malchus and under the circumstances liable to death. Moreover David's restraint was not indefinite. Ultimately David commanded Shlomo to "take care of Shimi". Why wait so long or choose this method to respond?

    One must consider not only whether to respond, but also how and when. Sometimes the best response is no response, or a very delayed one. How to choose is not obvious and is certainly highly case dependent.

    These are questions I struggle with, and have not come up with any answer I would commit in writing even anonymously.

  2. Anonymous1:46 PM

    As a postscript to the above post, and on the issue of faith vs. passivity, one might look at the Ma'amer Darchei HaBitachon, in the sefer Madreigas HaAdam by the Sabah from Novhardok.