Navonim - The Ramblings of Garnel Ironheart

Navonim - The Ramblings of Garnel Ironheart

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Are They Starting To Realize

One thing the modern state of Israel has taught us is that you can't shove Judaism down people's throats.  Until the arrival of Moshiach the Torah observant community has a responsibility to increase observance in our nation but through kindness, positive example and education.  Forcing people to "do Jewish" does not create the desired result but rather the opposite - bitterness, hatred of Torah and alienation from its influence.
Unfortunately there are many in the right wing of the Chareidi community who either cannot or will not understand this basic point.  The same folks who refuse to acknowledge the Jewishness of the State scream and shout when that same State does anything they believe contravenes their values.
One ongoing example of this is the Karta parking lot in Yerushalayim, the site of endless Shabbos protests by members of the Eida Chareidit and their friends.  Initially these protests were large, noisy, violent and a great source of public chilul HaShem by Chareidim who thought calling secular policemen Nazis was the way to defend the sanctity of Shabbos.  As time wore on the protests started dying down until recent weeks when, for various reasons, they seem to have ignited again.  Yet even as this has happened it seems cracks are developing in the community as the leaders seem to realize what many of their followers choose not to:
Shabbat protests have returned to Jerusalem, but it seems that even the members of the Eda Haredit faction, which organizes them, are at odds over their necessity.

Shmuel Chaim Pappenheim, considered one of the faction's unofficial spokesmen, has slammed the decision to resume the protests against the operation of the Karta parking lot on weekends, claiming that most of the community members are against them.
On the other hand, the chairman of the Committee for the Sanctity of Shabbat is in favor of the protests and accuses the secular public of "bringing them upon itself".

According to Pappenheim, the former editor of the Eda Haredit's official journal, while in the past only the central stream of the haredi public was against the protests – now most members of the extreme faction oppose them as well.

He explained that Eda Haredit leader, Rabbi Tuvia Weiss, is almost the only one among the faction's rabbis and leaders who supports such protests, and that most of the participants do it in order to defend his honor.

Pappenheim says that only several dozen Eda Haredit members have been protesting against the Karta parking lot every Shabbat for the past two years.

This past weekend, following intense pressure, the Toldos Aharon Rebbe decided to lead the protestors for several minutes, and this prompted hundreds of his followers to join the demonstration.

"They nagged him constantly, also because of what happened at the slaughterhouse in Mea Shearim last week, and he agreed to go out and protest so as not to humiliate Rabbi Weiss," says Pappenheim.

"But in principle, the Toldos Aharon Rebbe – and many of the Eda Haredit members – doesn't appreciate these things. He understands that the lawlessness and desecration of Shabbat are not worth it."

Pappenheim believes that the desecration of Shabbat in places like the Karta parking lot, which are not located within or near haredi neighborhoods, is no reason for such a protest as the public has become more sober, and the influence of the radicals – even within the Eda Haredit faction, has significantly dropped
Now, there are obvious defects in Pappenheim's thinking.  Blaming the secular authorities who actually took several steps to limit the chilul Shabbos involved with opening the parking lot is like a rapist blaming his victim.  In addition, his blaming of the situation on radical elements contradicts the famous Daas Torah position of the Chareidi community when it comes to venerating their leadership.  Who's really in charge?  The Toldos Aharon rebbe or the lunatics that claim fealty to him?
In any community there will always be a group that believes itself to be the guardians of the purity of said group's ideology.  Hopefully the majority of the Eida Chareidit will recognizes the idiocy of endlessly antagonizing the secular population around them and some peace will return to the situation.


Michael Sedley said...

Notice that every summer when there are long hot Shabbat afternoons and young bochrim are bored there is a new round of Shabbat protests.

These protest prove, as you mentioned, that there is no such thing as "Daas Torah", as the "Gedolim" are being driven by the radicals, and not the other way round.

They also involve huge amounts of chilul Shabbat - especially by police, many of home are religious or traditional, yet are forced to leave their families during Shabbat to do extra Shabbat shifts to police these demonstrations.

These protests have definately caused massive chilul Shabbat, but hard to imagine that a single person has given up driving or any other forbidden activity as a result of Shabbat demonstrations.

Bottom line, a massive Chilul HaShem, Chilul Shabbat, and Chillul Torah (or at least Daas Torah), all in a day's work.

SJ said...

>> the majority of the Eida Chareidit will recognizes

nice sentence structure.

Anonymous said...

Oh, Mighty Garnel Ironheart...

I don't agree with you much of the time, but I sympathize with you on this situation. You have the challenge of salvaging Judaism in a post-Zionist world (or keeping a Judaism that is authentic and faithful, yet also sane in a post-Judaism Zionist setting), against secularization on one hand, and fanaticism on the other. The adjustment of adapting what was essentially an exilic religion for 2,000 years to the reversal of galut with the establishment of the State of Israel, is tough enough. But it's made more complicated by these loony Chareidim (who are mentally trapped in galut) who tarnish all of Orthodoxy, even Dati Leumi and Modern, in the eyes of the general (secularized) public.

P.S. Don't the protests on the Sabbath constitute violation?

Anonymous said...

P.P.S. The comment by SGay greatly amuses me because someone of obviously inferior intelligence would criticize someone of obviously superior intelligence for a minor grammatical error the latter made. It should amuse anyone! But I wonder why you even give SGay the time of day? Why would someone of your intellect waste their time at his blog? I take it that it's a cheap source of laughter for you. You must find the musings of some smarmy little faygeleh endlessly amusing. Am I right?

Garnel Ironheart said...

Actually when I was just starting out years ago SJ was one of the first to regularly comment on my posts. I guess it's hakaras hatov.