Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Dumb - and Dumber

As if on cue to my last two posts - Satmar comes along and does its thing. Yet again they demonstrate how a segment of Orthodox Jewry deals with its problems. It never occurs to them the harm they do to others or the Chilul HaShem they make. It is all about them.

This time it was on the day of a big event wedding. The granddaughter of the Satmar Rebbe - Rabbi Aaron Teitelbaum - was getting married. Everyone was in a good mood. The streets were festively decorated.

Problem was - decorative lights had been strung from utility poles without permission of the Orange & Rockland Utilities. When the company came to remove them accompanied by state troopers -all hell broke loose.

About 200 young Chasidim shouted in ‘rowdy protest’ and pelted trooper cars with eggs and plastic water bottles. One trooper was hurt.

Yes, I know. They were the exception. As are all the Gazillion other times this sort of thing happens. It is always… the exception!

Chasidim are a peace loving people who define the quality of Chesed - kindness. Especially Satmar. Anyone who has ever had contact with them knows how generous they are and how gracious they can be. They are known for it.

But every time something like this happens they become less identified with Chesed an more identified with self centered arrogance and aggression. Peace loving? Sure. Just don’t get in their way.

Obviously I have no problem with a festive event like this being decorated in their own town. If I were a Satmar Chasid who loved and revered my Rebbe who I believe is the biggest Tzadik alive - I surely wouldn’t expect a utility company to come along with a complaint like this and ruin my day. That would certainly cause me to have righteous indignation and anger. Can’t really blame them for feeling that way.

Yes - they should have gotten permission to use those utility poles. But one cannot blame them so much for seeing nothing wrong with hanging some decorative lights from a light pole.

And it is absolutely absurd for the utility company to make a big deal out this. Assuming there was no danger to life, limb, or property - they should have just looked the other way. They may have been within their rights - but they were stupid nonetheless.

That said the reaction by the Chasidim of Satmar yet again created a Chilul HaShem. And as stupid as the utility company is for asserting their rights - Satmar was stupider in their reaction to it. They gained nothing except to be seen by the world as primitive savages who have no respect for authority; no respect for other people’s property; and as people who will take the law into their own hands whenever they feel like it.

Yes. They are nice people. But don’t ever cross them!