Can anyone imagine a more Tznius setting than Bnei Brak? If there are highs standards of modesty anywhere it is there. But in the never ending effort to deal with every matter in the form of a ban, the rabbinic leaders in Israel have outdone themselves. Again.
An article in Ha'aretz reports that an outdoor Simchas Beis Hashoeva concert has now been canceled. Why? Because of the danger of "lewdness" during the festivities.
Bnei Brak? Lewdness?!
I don't know how many people have ever visited that city but lewdness has been 'abolished' there. It is a virtual impossibility for adolescent boys and girls to meet anywhere in that city. There are no movie theaters. There are no TVs. The internet is forbidden. Fast food restaurants are not allowed tables and chairs so as to prevent them from becoming hangouts. In short there is virtually no way for a young person raised in Bnei Brak to ever meet a member of the opposite sex or to know what lewdness even means.
About the only entertainment this community knows is of a religious nature. So when a Simchas Beis Hashoeva concert takes place in Bnei Brak on Chol HaMoed Sukkos it is a truly special event. With a dearth of activitites available to young people throughout the year this day must be a very special day.
So what has the rabbinc leadership done? They've banned it! At least those which take place on the outside in the open air. All concerts must take place indoors if at all. Why? They are afraid… very afraid! The rabbinic leaders have been convinced by their 'mafia' that lewdness takes place there. So they ban. Probelm solved.
I quote the following words written by a very popular Mechanech:
"Today… we have self proclaimed agitators and charlatans who have nothing to do with their time but to go around to our leading Torah sages and try to convince them that separate-seating concerts are a threat to our Yiddishkeit and to ban them. They falsely claim that there is pritzus in the hallways plus other fabrications. Exaggeration is a blood relative to falsehood, and almost as bad. A gossip is one who can give you all the details without knowing all the facts."
"When sports and concerts are forbidden, and all forms of kosher entertainment are off limits, we are asking for trouble. If our kids can’t find a place to vent their energy within a kosher environment, then they will find it elsewhere."
This good advice ought to be listened to by those who promulgate all these bans in Israel. Maybe they should consider that the bans are proving to be the cause of the problems rather than the cure. And if bans are not the cause, they are a major contributing factor. By continually limiting the availability of leisure time activities, it might just lead young people to find recreational outlets among the forbidden.
Isn't that what happened in the Catskills this summer? It was in part because there was a lack of such activities that young people were found participating in activities that were lewd… or worse! …activities far more lewd that anything one might find at a Simchas Beis Hashoeva concert in the middle of Bnei Brak!
One of the first things some very wise rabbinic leaders in the US did about the Catskill problem was to create more kosher entertainment events like concerts. It was apparently clear to them that by not providing kosher options for adolescents it will almost guarantee that restless adolescents… good kids in many cases from fine Charedi homes… will inevitably find places where unthinkable behavior will take place!
Should Israeli rabbinic leaders say that there is actually a lot more of this lewd behavior talking place in Bnei Brak than one could even imagine… then this ban is nothing more than a band aid anyway. If this is truly a problem in Charedi society then all that over protection clearly isn't working. They should consider that there is a flaw in their approach. If the hard core Tznius standards that this community imposes on their young people still has so many of them participating in lewdness at sepeaete seating concerts then there is something definitely wrong. They should reconsider their over-protectionist ways.
Chabad has decided to ignore the ban. Now it is quite true that Chabad does not listen to the pronouncements of rabbinic figures outside of their own. And I do have very serious issues with the movement as is well known by my readers. But in this instance I applaud them. They are very clearly making a statement. They are telling the Charedi world that they don't think much of their leadership. And that Neturei Karta is siding with the ban and protesting Chabad makes me certain of the fanaticism at play here.
The fact is that the leadership is not in control now and have not been in control for a very long time. It is the 'mafia' that surrounds them who is in control. They are nothing more than self proclaimed agitators and charlatans who have nothing to do with their time but to go around to our leading Torah sages and try to convince them to issue harmful bans.