Tuesday, July 03, 2007
Judaism Is A Mental Disorder
Rather, Jews are mentally deranged – we should not confuse Jews with Judaism. I am of course talking about yesterday’s article by Gil Student on his famed website. Generating close to 300 mostly angry and accusatory comments, it is not hard to guess the nature of the article.
The interesting thing is that Gil has clarified, in the comments section, that the subject in no way was inter-partial, but only a remark to illustrate how people follow their leaders’ example.
I believe, however, that Gil erred in two areas: a) he gave absolutely wrong and out of context examples, (despite their relevance and actuality) and b) he’s mixing unrelated issues together (although this is also the case with R’ Chaim Dovid Zwiebel’s question, which probably was a factor in leading to this mistake)
But let’s capitulate: the article claims that laymen criticize their leaders because their leaders speak disrespectfully, or disparagingly of other Torah Scholars. This is the answer to R’ Zwiebel’s question as to why people denigrate gdolim.
Since this 17th of Tammuz doesn’t fall on Shabbos, we will take the liberty to sort the apples, oranges, bananas and rotten tomatoes. Gil brought as an example to his thesis the attacks on Rabbi Dr. Lamm and Rabbi Shlomo Goren from the Chareidi leaders. Not surprisingly, a war of words loaded with emotions of such extreme affection between Jews ensued, that Ahmadinejad almost gave up on his nuclear development program. The far more appropriate examples for this purpose should have been the unfortunately all too many instances of intra-party/segment arguments and attacks; The Yated of the last Shmitah, the anti-Rav Steinmann demonstrations in Monsey, the Giva’t Ze’ev highway and the Rav Slomo Aviner vs. the “settlers” controversy are but a few unfortunate examples. Similar examples unfortunately exist in all camps.
The fact of the matter is that Rabonim harshly attacking Rabonim of other groups, based on their halachic decisions –or using them as pretexts- has nothing to do with their own constituents criticizing them. Members of their community criticize their own rabbis because those rabbis deserve criticism, period. Such criticism is very rarely the subject of blogs. The blogs systematically and almost exclusively criticizing Chareidi leaders are almost invariably anonymous, and their so-called criticism seldom rises above smear level. The very few Charedi blogs almost invariably criticize or bash only Rabbis from other groups.
R’ Zwiebel put together the bloggers and back-of-shul grumblers, two completely different things. Gil brought as examples attacks of Chareidi rabonim on the greatest MO/Mizahi leaders. Despite Gil’s protests, it was only natural that people took it as criticism of Charedi leaders' too harsh stance against other groups.
The ensuing comments exemplify the virulent hatred that still rages between us. And it is totally unjustified.
In a time when bombs go off in airports, there are threats of attacks here in our homeland, yet not one community focuses on emergency plans – such as evacuation, communication, transportation in case of disaster H”V, no one thinks of school security, (Unless you call the Agudah’s schnorring a few more dollars for the cause a meaningful action…) not to mention the situation in Israel. Think for a second how this looks to an outsider – someone unfamiliar with the idiotic Orthodox internal politics. To a prospective baal-tshuvah. To someone who wants to know about Judaism. A good starting point, I guess.
Yep. Jews are mentally deranged. And the battle rages on…