Wednesday, March 26, 2014

this is not a kiddush Hashem -- it's lunacy

I do not know how you can watch clips like this:

Or this:

And not want to cry.  Dancing and singing triumphantly that you defeated the “shilton hakofrim” that wanted to do what exactly – have you show up and fill out a form to get your draft deferment?!  For refusing to do that you think you accomplished a kiddush Hashem on par with what Avraham Avinu did?!

I wanted to write more about bitul b’rov today, but es chatai ani mazkir wading through technicalities of dinei bitul while insanity is taking place is hard to do. 

This whole debate about draft laws is just a symptom.  The real question is this: Do you believe that the establishment of the State of Israel is theologically significant and that the building and support of the State has inherent religious value?

Do you want to stand hand in hand at rallies with Satmar, who view the State is a sin?  Or do you think that the State is at best a vehicle to secure the safety of Jews and provide a nice place to setup yeshivos and no more than that?  You can get that here in the United States.  If that's all the State means, then how can you blame the chassidim who are ready to pack it in and leave because the means (in their view) no longer supports the end? 

In the years I spent in MTA/YU I never once heard a Rebbe or Rosh Yeshiva speak about R’ Soloveitchik’s views on Zionism, much less Rav Kook’s.  It was assumed that we supported the State, but why we should do so, is it aschalta d’geulah, how we should respond to that idea, etc. were just not addressed.  The study of Zionism is not for a political science or history class – it belongs in the beis medrash, in the curriculum of our yeshivos.  For shame that it's not there.

For shame that our talmidim don't even know the names of talmidei chachamim and gedolim in the dati-leumi and chardal world.  Unless you live under a rock, if you are in the MO world you probably heard of R' Hershel Shachter, R' Aharon Lichtenstein, and a few other names, but that's about it.  If you are a Rebbe in a MO high school, share a nice ma'amar on the parsha from R' Ya'akov Shapira.  Share something from R' Ariel, from Rav Drukman.  Dispel the notion that the chareidi world has a monopoly on Torah study and Jewish thought.

Sorry for the rant and the lack of coherency.  I really don't know what you can say anymore in response to the lunacy out there, and feel like it's a waste of time anyway.


  1. Again, a long comment that didn't make it to your site! This is too frustrating! Well, the time is gone, so all I can do is summarize in rashei peraqim (chapter headings).

    1- The bottom video is far more obnoxious. The people in W-burg aren't protesting the very people who make their lifestyle possible.

    2- The central issue IMHO is NOT how one relates to Israel. The Satmar Rav zt"l was able to preach anti-Zionism without preaching a message of separation from the rest of the Jewish People. His chassidim didn't always hear that message, but he took some efforts to correct them. Prayers for the chayalim and those they defend during wartime, if not for the army and state as institutions.

    3- What I do think is the central issue is a lack of gratitude and that separation. For years the chareidi parties only involved themselves in the gov't for the sake of being able to get things from it. Picture a 20-something who decides to go to grad school, and expects his parents to pay. After running out of money paying for college, they agree, but add a new condition he didn't have until now -- he has to get a job on the side because they now need help meeting the budget. He then explodes about how his folks down't understand the value of higher education, and it's all about trying to change him into something else.

    There is no gratitude for the years of college, nor for the future level of support. After this law goes fully into effect, the State of Israel will still be the biggest investor in Torah in history.

    They set up an us-vs-them so deep, they can't empathize. Never mind agreeing with the parent who wants to know why someone else's kid is exempt from the draft, but theirs isn't. They can't even believe that the parent actually could feel that way -- it must be camouflage for more nefarious motives.

    FWIW, I actually believe those motives are real. I just wonder who is responding negatively to whom. However this downward spiral began, to say that benei Torah and their gedolim were forced to respond as immaturely as a Tommy or even Yair Lapid, that provocation can't be resisted is pathetic. What kind of gedulah is it to call other Jews "mizera Amaleiq", to protest their legislation by asking G-d to "pour out His wrath", to "dash their infants against the rocks", or "drag them down to the lowest pit", etc...?

    1. I'm sorry your original comment got eaten!

      Even if you want to protest and object, there is a way to do so. I know one of the bachurim in a local yeshiva here who on the day of the protest (it was strongly suggested that they all go, but not mandated) instead of going said a tehillin in his beis medrash with the few others that stayed behind and then spent the rest of the day learning k'seder. if you believe your only focus should be Torah, then that's the way to show it. Maybe it's me, but I have a very hard time respecting the devotion to Torah of people running like a hooligans through the street singing about "shilton hakofrim." I cannot imagine someone who is a talmid chachaim, someone who claims to be completely immersed in Torah like sheivet Levi, acting that way.

    2. Take 3... But at least now I know my problem. The "Sign out" button that logs me off of my Google account for "Reply as:" is where my subconscious expects the "Publish" button to be. I've been hitting the wrong one!

      There model isn't sheivet Leivi, no matter how much they insist it is. Sheivet Leivi didn't learn as an end in itself, they were those who served in kelei qodesh positions for the rest of the nation. They're acting more like Sheivet Yissachar's kollelnikim, but instead of getting Zevulun to pay because they believe in the project, chareidim used political leverage to pull the money from a group that most of whom didn't. And Yissachar was not exempt from the draft.

      Although... According to the Netziv (see here for HaEmeq Davar, Devarim 33:18, "veYissachar be'ohalekha") not all of them actually fought. Yissachar's learners went to the front and studied at the army bases where their protection was most needed. Non-coincidentally, because I think this is the cause of that protection, it must have had a serious impact on the holiness of the camp, with secondary effects on the environment and the behavior of the fighting men. Think of what a plan like this could do for Israeli culture!

      But chareidim already built up a culture of separation and demonization.

      Speaking of "running ... through the street singing about 'shilton hakofrim'" I did something related... Back when my boys were the right age, meaning old enough to march with their school in the Israel Day Parade and yet young enough to want me there with them, I would teach their class the chorus of the Eidah Chareidis anthem on the busride there. Then, when we march past 59th and 60th, where the Neturei Karta stand alongside the Palestinians, we sing "Ubeshilton haKoferim" and see them looking at us confused and struggling for the right response. Not necessarily the best chinukh, but better than the angry shouting boys that age would otherwise do.

      Anyway, I don't want to "protest and object" back. Okay, I do, but that's not the part of me I want to develop. I would prefer to light a candle than curse the darkness. So, I am taken with the end of your post. I omitted an important piece of my first comment in my summary, so I'll put the idea here.

      Let's make your closing suggestion concrete and implementable. There are collections of divrei Torah available on-line by gedolim of the Mod-O, Dati Leumi and perhaps other "Torah im..." and "Torah u-/ve..." camps. What if you and I collected links, but put them in our blog sidebars? We could also approach the web sites with higher hit counts -- OU, Torah Musings, R Harry Maryles's, etc... -- and see how many others would carry it. MO doesn't emphasize the notion of gadol as much as chareidim do, and for important reasons. But we're erring in the opposite direction, leaving the feeling that to be MO or even Left Wing Yeshivish requires feeling abandoned by the current links in the chain of mesorah. There is an important breach to fill!

    3. That would be a good idea. I will try to add some links and maybe post them before shabbos if I get a chance. I'm not so into selling it to others, but by all means, if you can do so it would be great.

    4. The problem with buliding the list is that the concept of "gadol" is fuzzy. Get too narrow, you'll offend someone and still under-report something you are trying to remind people is sizable. Get too broad, and the project becomes unweildly and the result feels to the reader like a list of rabbis, not gedolim. So I'm glad you're offering.

      I think I can spread the word. One advantage of being on the 'net since before there was an internet is that I bumped in to most of the key players.

      (I sent email and usenet posts by ARPANet back in '82. I'm detouring to thank Dr Aizik Leibovitch a"h, the head of the CS Dept of Yeshiva College (and Stern?) in my day, who had the foresight to get UNIX, C and networking into the curriculum before they hit most schools. But beyond his skill at the curriculum, the man was a mentor -- not merely a professor -- to many of us, and thereby helped feed numerous families. Yehi zikhro barukh

      From the former {philabs|cucard|pegasus|rocky2}!aecom!berger )

    5. >>>So I'm glad you're offering.

      I think I just got volunteered into something : )
      I have a few sites I go to, but nothing comphrehensive. It's something to work on over time... YU has it's own web portal that is extensive without needed PR from me. I think it's the Israeli yeshivot and sites that need more exposure here.

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  3. I don't think it's Satmerer's qua Satmerers. I think it's Hungarian Jews. That's just the way they act, and they would act the same towards those with whom they disagree if they were Kookniks. Some people think it comes from a psul yichus somewhere along the line, but considering their awesome chesed work, I think that's wrong. It's just a quirk of personality, just the way they are, and it's impossible to know if it's nature or nurture. Whatever it is, to bemoan their behavior and hope for change is to hope that Hutus and Tutsis put on lederhosen and start yodeling.

    1. The second clip of the bachur released from prison is not a Hungarian thing -- those are bachurim from what we would call Litvishe yeshivos doing the singing.

  4. In many yeshivos, the seichel doesn't develop until they're much older.
    I don't mean to say lashon hara about Hungarian Jews. Maybe that's the right way to act. Extremism is just another way to say intellectual honesty and dedication to truth. They seem to be a healthy and burgeoning frum community. Without them, the US would probably look like South Africa, where all the Litvaks went before the war.

    1. Just how old are the Roshei Yeshivos of these talmidim; have they reached the age of seichel yet?
      Or am I mistaken: are the R"Ys really protesting these activities of their bochurim at the top of their
      lungs, and I am simply not acquainted with that fact?

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  5. - Kiddush Hashem at Vobid-19, documentation.
    קידוש השם, בימי הקורונה