Navonim - The Ramblings of Garnel Ironheart

Navonim - The Ramblings of Garnel Ironheart

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Go Sit With The Women!

The classic definition of a chosid shoteh in the Gemara is the guy who sees a woman drowning in a nearby body of water but refuses to rescue her because he doesn't want to transgress the prohibition regarding negiah.
It seems that nowadays the definition could easily be updated and by those who consider themselves God's most pious and authentic servants:

An IDF officer who boarded a bus in Bnei Brak on Monday claims he and two other soldiers were humiliated by ultra-Orthodox passengers and an Egged bus comany employee, who ordered them to give up their seats for "real Jews," Yedioth Ahronoth reported.
The reserve officer, 26, boarded bus number 981 to Safed on his way to his military base."The moment I got on the bus, the driver told me that I will have to stand because the seats are reserved," he said. He noted that he was surprised because he found no such information when he looked up the line on Egged's website.As the officer, who met two other soldiers aboard the bus, sat down in an empty row, people began complaining that he was taking other passengers' seats.
 "Why are soldiers, who do not pay, allowed to ride the bus?" the passengers yelled as the officer tried to ignore the complaints.
According to the officer, an Egged inspector then arrived and yelled at him and the other soldiers to "get up and let real Jews sit." They refused.
As the bus set out on its way, a few seats remained empty.
 "As someone who served in the army for five years, and continues to serve in the reserve forces, I was appalled and ashamed," the officer said.
Egged said in a statement that the particular bus was part of a pilot program for ultra-Orthodox passengers travelling to holy sites in the north. As part of the program, passengers were allowed to reserve seats.
The Michtav MiEliyahu, volume 3, notes that hakaras hatov is such a quintessentially Jewish value that proper worship of God cannot proceed without it.  We are told by Chazal that the three main characteristics of the Jewish people are that they are rachmanim, bayshanim and gomlei chasadim.  
Now, let's review what Jewish soliders in the Israeli army do.  They spend 3 years of their life or more defending the borders of Israel from attack not just from hostile armies but from terrorist attacks, suicide bombers and all other manner of attempt to kill Jews.  Not Israelis, mind you because Arabs with Israeli citizenship are not the target of our enemies.  Just Jews.  The kiddush HaShem these folks do on a daily basis to preserve Jewish lives is incalculable and may God reward them justly.
But not these folks on the bus!  Even as they proceed on a trip to show how holy they are, how desperately they wish to commune with God at specific places (even though God is everywhere?) because of the high level of piety they are on, they make it a principle of their faith to show no hakaras hatov.  Give a seat to a soldier who is involved in protecting them?  Why, that would cause them to fulfill all three of the main characteristics listed above and they have no time for that.  Any effort to act properly in matters of bein adam l'chaveiro would take away from their bein adam l'makom efforts and that is a yeridah in ruchniyos that they couldn't tolerate.
For all we criticize those on the left who pick and choose, it's important to note that these folks on the bus are just as guilty and their picking and choosing is far worse because of the chilul HaShem it causes.


Shades of Grey said...

I totally agree - especially your last point. It is utterly hypocritical to refer to someone as not being "a real Jew," thereby demonstrating that the one hurling the insult doesn't fulfil the proper criteria in the first place.

Yedid Nefesh said...

It is so horrifying that people, in the name of doing what is "right" (subjectively), often disregard the daily detail of middos humility, and love that can actually make a difference.
(thanks for visiting my blog, I've been searching for other interesting blogs)

Neshama said...

They didn't even look at these young soldiers as human beings, deserving of respect, instead they see everything as politically religious. When I first read this (not at this blog), I was so upset by their treatment of young soldiers that go to protect us so we can live a relatively secure life. How shameful of them.

(yes I know that HaShem is really our protector, but He too needs soldiers)

Bob Miller said...

Has this event been confirmed to have happened as stated? Where are the names?

It's not that I disbelieve everything in the press, but I am properly skeptical.

Rosten said...

There is along story behind the bus wars in Israel. I don't have the energy or interest now to go into it but be assured there is a lot of wheeling and dealing under what you are seeing

Rosten said...

One bus company in Mea Shearim was working for years to try to get into the market. It came up with the idea of separate seating and started marketing it as a religious issue instead of a financial issue. This was twenty years ago. The guy is a Ger Chasid. He managed to get Ger behind the idea and since that Ger chasidut always set the political stance of all other Chasidic groups in Israel the other ones started going with it. Since then this has blossomed into a full time full fledged religion in which so called Zniut (pseudo modesty) is the sum total of all the Torah even though it has no support from the Halacha. It makes you wonder how much other stuff started out this way?
My point of view is the Torah and Talmud define Jewish faith. All this other stuff seems to me to devolution (the opposite of evolution). Which kind of makes sense. after all if chasidim are not for evolution they might be construed as being pro devolution.

AriSparkles said...

Thanks Garnel, you hit the nail on the head. These soldiers protect those who think they are so !@#$ing holy.