Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Haredi and Proud

Harediandproud. What a wonderful name for someone who is proud of his Hashkafa. That is the alias of an anonymous blogger and frequent commenter (of late) on my blog. It’s a shame that he couldn’t just be proud of his Hashkafa without bashing everyone else’s.

That would be laudable. But it is not the case.

He speaks with a condescending air of superiority that is rare even for the most self assured Charedi. His message? My way or the highway. Meaning that if one does not buy hook line and sinker into his Hashaka - he is not only not Charedi, he is not even part of Klal Yisroel (...defined as a Shomer Torah and Mitzvos).

I have no idea who this fellow is. He hides his identity but his self assured, self righteous pomposity is undeniable. His blog is a masterpiece of mischaracterizing the intent of many Jewish bloggers – imputing all kinds of nefarious motives to them - using the most pitiful terms imaginable. It is obvious from his blog that he includes me among them.

His thinking is so disgustingly condescending that it makes my stomach turn. The truth of the matter is that the mentality he preaches is precisely why there is so much divisiveness in Klal Yisroel.  That breed of Charedi is so sure of his exclusionary views, that he has no fear bashing hard anyone who see things a bit differently than he does. The subject of his current tirade is the internet.

He actually believes that when a major world class Posek bans the internet from all private homes and one doesn’t adhere to that ban, he is in the category of a Heterodox Jew. That he has rejected what Harediandproud believes to be one of the fundamentals of the Torah – listening to his Gedolim who have now Paskined for all of Klal Yisroel.  

One can be the most religious Jew in the world. If he has the internet in his home, he is disobeying the Gedolim and therefore disobeying God on purpose. Not much differently than if he would be Mechalel Shabbos on purpose.

Yet he still maintains that this somehow furthers Achdus. How? By basically asking all Modern Orthodox Jews to come on over to his side and become Charedim. To him that is the only real Achdus that exists. Differences of opinion about the value of the internet are illegitimate and immaterial - once a Major Posek has spoken to the multitudes. Those who question his Psak are seen as either rebelling or ignorant.

The bottom line to someone like him is that if we don’t have Achdus it’s our fault. It is not Charedi Rabbanim that chases us out. Those who continue using the internet are choosing to leave.

Ignorance is the only way he can be Dan L’Kaf Zechus to modern Orthododx Jews or even Charedim who visit blogs like mine.  If only they understood the Emes…!  They would quickly get on their hands and knees and beg Mechilla for ever questioning the Psak of such a Gadol and run as quickly and far away from my blog (and every Jewish blog) as possible!

To put it the way he did in a lengthy comment he made to one of my posts:

"The "realignment" is a new definition of klal Yisrael, which is in fact the age old (Chareidi) definition; Klal Yisrael includes only those who adhere to the dictates of gedolei Yisrael, and only those."
What I meant with realignment was… with regard to the issue of the internet itself. A new wall has been erected and those who are in are in and those who are out are out. All are welcome to come in, truly.

We wish you all the best and would help you as we would any Jew, but a family or a person that has unfiltered internet access is assumed by charedim to have been tainted by it.

What condescending arrogance!

I just returned from a Chumash party at my grandchildren’s day school. The thought occurred to me that it is very likely that most of the parent body in attendance probably have internet access. Some of them without filters. The parent body of this school consists of a cross section of Yiddishkeit, from very Charedi to very modern Orthodox. . I know many of these parents from all of the various Hashkafos. They virtually all have internet access in their home.  But to Harediandproud, all of these people might as well be Reform or Conservative Jews.

I want to be clear about this. Haerediandproud actually believes that an entire parent body of an Orthodox day school whose parents are Shomer Shabbos, Shomer Kashrus and Taharas HaMispacha are equal to the non observant Jews of Heterodoxy. To him the only difference is how much of Halacha they choose to reject!

I am virtually certain that most of the Charedi Rabbanim whose pronouncements he so vigorously defends disagree with him. Although they see their own Hashkafos as the correct ones, they do not see people who are Shomer Torah and Mitzvos as some sort of new Heterodoxy. They may think we are wrong, but that is as far as they will go. Putting us outside the Machaneh is something only lesser Charedim might do.

These lesser Charedim that Harediandproud exemplifies believe they are just taking this to the logical next step. But I do not believe for a minute that any one of those rabbinic leaders would refuse to count me or any of those day school parents into their Minyan just because we continue to have internet access in our homes.

His assertion that Modern Orthodox Jews do not listen to their Gedolim is absurd in any case. Anyone who has ever read Rav Aharon Lichtenstein’s writings on this subject would know just how false such a claim is. The difference is that we do not see every word coming out of the mouths of our Rabbanim is intended by to be an edict by them.

Perhaps he is right about one thing. Jewish bloggers - especially anonymous ones like him - can be quite damaging – when the spew garbage like this as gospel!

Update: In response to this post, Harediandproud has assured me that he was misunderstood and in no way meant that anyone who does not listen to his Gedolim are not considered fully observant. He was only referring to Charedim who do not listen to thier Gedolim are  'outside the camp'. I accept that and apologize for the misunderstanding.