Monday, March 10, 2014

the sentence that should have been part of the "official statement"

The whole “atezeres” thing that took place yesterday in NY has robbed me of any cheishek to write at all – forget writing about that topic.  Look at the logo – Torah with barbed wire?  Is this for real?  Anyway, I just have one small comment about the official statement read at the conclusion.  If I was writing the statement, I would have added just one sentence at the end of this paragraph:

B’siyata diShmaya, we have been privileged in recent years to witness the flourishing of Torah study across the globe, and especially in Eretz Yisrael. In the aftermath of the destruction of European Jewry 70 years ago, when so many predicted the demise of Torah-true Judaism, we take pride and solace in this open manifestation of the Yad Hashem.

My addition:

We give our thanks to those who have served and those who continue to serve in the IDF for protecting our homeland and our people and enabling with G-d’s help that growth of Torah to occur in safety and security.

Perhaps I have a too dim and cynical a view of the world, but sadly, I don't think we will ever see a paragraph like that anytime soon.


  1. It's not tangential. I think that if Israeli Chareidim were willing to do /something/ to show they are one with other Israeli Jews, they wouldn't have gotten into this hole to begin with. Instead, they founded one issue parties that will sign on to any government that promised to continue funding a lifestyle that the gemara itself tells us can't work on a communal level -- ""harbeh asu keRabbi Shimon bar Yochai velo alsa beyadam". They never negotiated, they blackmailed. But most of all, they stood apart, except when it came to making demands.

    The thing that really is bothering me was when I learned that Tehillim kapitl 79 was included in the rally in Manhattan. "Shefoch chamskha al hagoyim asher lo yeda'ukha..." Even if fellow Jews are in the wrong, this is how you daven for them? Chot'im velo chata'im? What exactly is our "Torah leadership" who can support cursing people because after 65 years of supporting something they don't believe in, they decided they couldn't do so any longer?

    1. Maybe they were referring to the enemies of the Jewish State. After all, when Hashem destroys them, there will no need for a massive IDF, and the issue of the draft will become moot.

      I can hope, can't I?

    2. There is truth to everything you wrote Micha, but does it matter to the sheeple?

  2. There is an apocryphal story of the honoree at the banquet of a major Chareidi organization, a wealthy physician who was a very generous donor to chareidi causes.

    He accepts the award, and then begins his speech. "I must thank HKB"H for all the good he has blessed me with. I thank my wonderful wife for her unflagging support. My parents have my eternal gratefulness for their love, care and direction. My rebbeim placed me on the path of Olam Habah and gave me an immense appreciation for torah and mitzvot. But I reserve special thanks for my college professors who trained me, enabling me to earn the money to make the donations that led to my being the honoree today."

    1. You can get away with anything if you are a "very generous donor."
      You are feeding my cynicism.

    2. Remember the quote from the great Rebbetzin Lily Tomlin, "No matter how cynical you become, it's never enough to keep up."

  3. My wife and I watched the streaming video yesterday, and said the tefillim and kabbalas ol with them. I almost missed my high octane Sunday hike to take part. But I saw all kinds of Satmarers in the front row, not far from my father in law. I'll tell you one thing; to get that group together was not easy; to make a statement that wouldn't elicit immediate and dire consequences from some of the participants was extremely difficult. I guarantee that the Aguda very much would have liked to put in that sentence. You know as well as I that the Satmarers wanted a copy beforehand, and that they wouldn't have come had that sentence been in there. I've always believed, and I've written, that it's a fine, fine line that divides theology from pathology, but I'm beginning to think there is no line at all. It seems that they are not by any means mutually exclusive, and that many of our beloved brothers are well grounded in theology and firmly ensconced in the loony bin. I would go to them for a bracha, but shoot myself before following their hashkafos.

    1. >>>I guarantee that the Aguda very much would have liked to put in that sentence.

      So let me put it in simple terms: The choice was between doing the right thing or pandering do a group who consider the State a ma'aseh satan. Agudah obviously made their choice.
      I don't disguise the fact that I did not hold them in high esteem before this - I don't hold most political organizations or big organized religious groups in high esteem. This just served to lower the bar another notch in my book.
      But my book counts for 0.

  4. Does a syllogism have to be pleasant to be true?
    The Aguda in the US is a vital advocacy organization that protects and advances the interests of Orthodox Judaism. Anything in the Yeshiva world that is opposed by the Satmarers and their ilk will die. The sentence you proposed would have rendered the US Aguda an enemy of Satmar, and it would die.
    Sure, there's YU and the OU, that couldn't care less about the Satmarers. Neither does anything like what the Aguda does. And the only time Lakewood shows respect to YU is when Malkiel and Uren get into bed with ORAH because a relative needs useful loudmouths and idiots. Otherwise, YU is irrelevant to what the Aguda does.

  5. >>>The sentence you proposed would have rendered the US Aguda an enemy of Satmar, and it would die.

    I'm sorry, but I'm not a utilitarian. Who if not "gedolim" should hold idealism as paramount, and to heck with money and politics? Little people like me?
    If Satmar is wrong, then it is the wrong choice to partner with them. Organizational self survival is not a good excuse.
    And what of all the sheeple who are being led astray? And the impression given in the media when thousands of Jews come out to demonstrate against our homeland?
    Didn't you comment last week using Volozhin as the example of sha'as heshemad because better to put a lock on the door than surrender any autonomy? So I'm confused: Rather than surrender a little bit then, or even attempt to compromise on the issue of the draft law now, we have to champion ideals and not bent one iota. But when it comes to support for the State vs. getting in political bed with Satmar, then it's better to chuck ideals under the bus for the sake of an orgzanization's own self-interest?

  6. This kerfuffle is based on the claim, "I guarantee that the Aguda very much would have liked to put in that sentence."
    Before being marbeh b'machlokes, perhaps we can see the proof backing up this "guarantee". Even a claim of "inside
    information" would be welcome.

    But just to stoke the flames a little: many years ago, when the split between Degel and Aguda in artzeinu hekadosha was in full swing, Reb Elya made a speech at the [American] Agudah Convention in which he commented that, of course we have to follow the directives of the Gadol Hador, Rav Shach.

    Half of the attendees threatened to walk out [i.e., the chassidic elements]. The next evening, Rav Elya "clarified" his remarks that what he meant that everyone has to follow the dictates of his gedolim.

    But I direct your attention to the famous gemara in Sanhedrin 19a with Shimon ben Setach and Yannai HaMelech - and the soon-to-be deceased other members of the sanhedrin. Everyone on that sanhedrin was a gadol in the tekufa of the early Tannaim, they all voted [passively] to "accommodate" Yannai [no doubt for the most sublime, holy, and logical reasons], and note the result. Indeed, this may have been the precusor to or identical with the extermination of the gedolim by Yannai from which Shimon Ben Shetach himself escaped.

  7. I can't claim insider info. I can only say that the higher ups that I know there, current and past, are truly grateful to the IDF. It was Shmuel Bloom that first told me the story of Reb Chaim Shmuelevitz's comparison of IDF soldiers that were killed in the Yom Kippur war to the Harugei Lud. But maybe times have changed in the leadership. He was in, then when Rav Sherer was niftar he was purged, now he's back in, who knows who's running policy now.

    Regarding the second part of your comment, he also told me that at a moetzes meeting, how one of the chasidishe cried when they tried to decide what to do with the Jews in Iran- he said "we made a miserably wrong decision in Europe, and they're asking us to decide again?"

    People want to be told what to do. Just because those they ask don't have a clue doesn't matter. It's one of those things that are worth believing even if they're not true.

  8. By the way, another reason for not having included that sentence is that it would have been extremely difficult to phrase it in a way that would not cause more damage than relief. I'm pretty sure that the DL and Chilonim would have felt "he should take his gratitude and put it בשין תיו שלו" I'm pretty sure, because that's what I would say. We don't want your gratitude, we want you to risk your lives for us.

    But that doesn't matter. Even if a safe sentence could have been crafted, the presence of the peltz crowd made it a non starter.

  9. >>>I'm pretty sure that the DL and Chilonim would have felt "he should take his gratitude and put it בשין תיו שלו" I'm pretty sure

    If you read any of the articles in the past week from R' E. Melamed, R' Shmuel Eliyahu, or watched the clip on Arutz Sheva of R' Z. Melamed speaking about the asifa in Israel, I think you would agree that at least in the chardal and the DL world what you wrote is not true. They have gone above and beyond to be supportive of the chareidi world (while still disagreeing with them), even in the face of vitriol from people who don't come up to their ankles in learning.

    The problem with all these behind the scenes stories is they are just that -- behind the scenes. The face of chareidi judaism we are seeing is one that shows complete disdain for everyone outside their narrow path, ad v'ad b'ichlal R' Shteinman himself, who has suffered bizyonos from those who think he is not taking an extreme enough stance.

    And that gets back to my main point. I have no interest in back room politics, where the truth is subordinate to maintaining alliances and appearances for the sake of power, $, or a seat on the dais at the next convention. I don't see how you've addressed that. When is the last time you heard Agudah or anyone in the chareidi world give thanks for the State of Israel in a public forum?