Navonim - The Ramblings of Garnel Ironheart

Navonim - The Ramblings of Garnel Ironheart
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Thursday, 30 May 2013

Maintaining One's Temper

The ongoing political struggles in Israel regarding the current government's efforts to bring the Chareidi community out of its ghetto and into greater society through universalizing the draft and cutting welfare coverage have had their fair share of coverage in news recently.  Unfortunately much of that coverage has feature the Chareidi PR establishment's less than conciliatory approach to the new government demands.
In fact, much of the conversation sounds like this:
Seculars: We want to discuss you guys sharing the burdens of society by participating in the army and teaching your kids basic skills and knowledge so they can be employable.
Chareidi PR guys: Nazis!  Cossacks!  We know what you really want!  All you do is sit around all day and think about how to destroy Torah!  You're worse than the Czar, Haman and Hitler all rolled in together!  Don't you know it's our learning that keeps the world alive?  You need to be grateful for our limud Torah!  Wait, why do you hate us so much?
The weaknesses of the various Chareidi positions regarding learn-don't-earn have been documented elsewhere as have the obvious rebuttals to the whole Torah-study-defends meshugas.  I don't need to go into them again at length.
But there is one point I'd like to make.  Like a spoiled child who drives his parents into anger and then screams "See!  You do hate me!" the Chareidi leadership seems hell-bent on creating an atmosphere of hatred among the secular population at which point they will turn around and say "See!  We knew you hate us!"  It's either that or the leadership is so devoid of insight into its behaviour that it really does believe the empty lines it spouts about Chareid exceptionalism.
Whichever is the case it is important not to play into either strategy.  There is much that is important and necessary for Jewish survival in the Chareidi community but it has to be isolated away from the elements that would like to see Chareidim permanently impoverished and ignorant.
Therefore it behooves all of us to remember that the proper response to provocations, attacks and lies from the Chareidi spokesmen is to recall the average Chareidi has a lot more to fear from his own leadership than he does from the secular worlds.  The principles that secularism has a life of its own and doesn't exist simply to destroy Torah must be repeated.  The idea that sharing the burden fairly is a value society wants implemented in all its sectors must be repeated.  The fallacies that the Chareidi PR folks spout about how the halacha supports their positions when it really doesn't must be calmly but thoroughly countered.
Most of all we must remember that the average Chareidi on the street is a normal person with normal aspirations, held prisoner to a rigid ideology that imprisons his opportunities to grow and succeed.
Only through keeping calm and remembering that these initiatives are done for the benefit of all might they succeed.

8 comments:

E-Man said...

As we see with all extremists, it is impossible to have a conversation with them. You can't discuss something with a person who believes their religion tells them the opposite. Even if you try to prove that their religion is counter their thoughts. That is why they are extremists.

Chaim B. said...

why do you assume all the problems stem from the leadership alone?

MIghty Garnel Ironheart said...

Two reasons:
1) At least publicly Chareidim give their loyalties to their "Gedolim". We are repeatedly told that these leaders and their "Daas Torah" make all the important decisions that good Chareidim must follow. So why blame the followers? If there is dysfunction it's from the leadership since they set the agenda.
2) I don't want to attack "Chareidim" in general. I think that's wrong, very wrong. Those things I disagree with in the Chareidi community have to do with policy, not the average person and again that brings us back to (1)

Fred Komarow said...

Great post with sound logic. Unfortunately, the haredi approach also mimics the reflexive tendency among many, if not most Jews, to classify any perceived criticism or Israel, or Jewish practises/tradition as "anti-Semitic", and the person who opens his mouth is a presumed "anti-Semite". It becomes so boringly predictable at times that we loose track of the immature attitude so many Jews portray, where they can't arg

SJ said...

>> Most of all we must remember that the average Chareidi on the street is a normal person who wears heavy clothing in the summer .......

Atheodox Jew said...

Very good post. I'm not sure if they're trying to provoke a response, or if they have truly do have such a xenophobic, paranoid, myopic view of the world that anyone who wants them to change even one iota *really is* Amalek in their eyes - but I agree 100% that "keeping calm" and restating what should be common-sense principles is the right way to go.

RAM said...

I've come to understand that, for all his polish, Lapid is an ignorant, incompetent demagogue fully worthy of scorn. That said, his opponents owe the public a more reasoned, detailed argument.

Rabbi Ben Hecht said...

It all starts with a simplistic definition of good and evil. The position being: if what I am doing is good, must be that you in disagreement are evil. This immediately blocks any possibility of dialogue for the opposing position is already defined as wrong. This is a obstacle that is most difficult to overcome -- this is the challenge that must be faced if we are going to cause any movement.

Rabbi Ben Hecht