Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The Outrageous and Constant Chilul HaShem Must Stop!

Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach speaking at a rally yesterday (Arutz Sheva)
I can’t. I just can’t comprehend it. How religious young Jews from what are likely mainstream Charedi homes can behave like this is beyond my understanding. Watching a video of them yelling at a secular woman whose only crime was crossing the street –  ganging up on her, calling her a Shiksa (a derogatory term for a non Jewish woman), and kicking her - makes my blood boil.

It also makes it easier to understand why there is so much contempt for Charedim in Israel.  If I were a secular Israeli, I would want to run away as far and as fast from them as I could. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere near them or have anything to do with them. I would oppose everything they stood for. I would want to cut off all government aid to them. I would vote only for the political parties that want to destroy them.  

These young Charedim are not only your typical Meah Shearim types. Some of them were pretty Yeshivsh: clean shaven, wearing suits and black fedoras. Not people with long beards and Peyos; wearing the Chasidic long coats and hats they typically wear. One was even wearing a light blue sweater. But they were all involved in this massive Chilul HaShem. Just one of many that seem to be a never ending stream of them.

These young people are being taught to be zealots for God by their leaders. Both in the Eida HaCharedis and by Rabbi Shmuel Aurbach. In that role, they probably feel they have the right, or perhaps even the obligation to physically assault anyone who is does not possess their religious world view. They are surely taught that the world revolves around them as Bnei Torah. Secular Jews and their ‘anti Torah’ values are constantly being disparaged.

I have no doubt that the speakers at that rally whipped these young protesters into a frenzy. Protesters that whose hatred for the State of Israel is constantly being reinforced by their leaders. How can they feel anything but hatred when they hear one of the speakers say the following (from Arutz Sheva): 
“The first Prime Minister of Israel, whose name it is forbidden to mention, may his name and memory be erased, said that within 20 years there wouldn’t be a shtreimel [fur hat worn by some haredi men] here, and we are here today and this is our revenge. We will fill the jails. They won’t scare us,” he said. “We got past Pharaoh, we got passed the Spanish Inquisition, we got past Hitler, we’ll get past you, too.” 
After hearing speaker after speaker talk in this fashion, it might have seemed like a natural response for them to gang up, kick and scream insults at a secular woman that inadvertently crossed the street they were protesting on.

This is what they learn from their rhetoric of their leaders. I have no doubt that these young Charedim actually believed they were making a Kiddush HaShem by ganging up on that poor woman.

There is not a scintilla of doubt in my mind that this was a major Chilul HaShem. One of many - the repercussions of which have yet to be fully felt. The damage they have caused to the honor of the Torah is incalculable.

Let me be clear. These are not exceptions. These are mainstream followers of the Edia HaCharedis and Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach’s Jerusalem faction. There are thousands upon thousands of them. I believe that any one of those thousands of protesters who joined the rally might have done the same thing those young Charedim did had they been in a position to do so. This is what the world sees and then judges every Charedi Jew that way.

Let me be clear about another thing. Most young Charedim in Israel are not adherents of the Eida or Rabbi Aurbach. They do not behave like street thugs. They do not attend these rallies and do not support them. They do register for the draft even as they remain deferred from army service while they are in Yeshiva or Kollel full time. They instead lead normal non zealous lives and spend their time in the Beis HaMedrash. Not in the street.

But it doesn’t matter because this is not how the rest of the world sees them. How could they? They see a media that focuses on these protesters and the violence. Because its news. They will not go into the Beis Hamedrash where many thousands sit quietly and study all day long and wouldn’t dream of being violent. Because that’s not news.

The secular public has no other frame of reference other than what the news media feeds them. How can they be blamed for HATING Charedim! If I didn’t know better, I would hate them all too after seeing this kind of thing happening repeatedly.

One more thing I want to be clear about. I do not blame the media. They just report the news. I blame R’ Shmuel Auerbach and the Eida HaCharedis. It is their fault. Not because they protest the draft. Not even because they protest the arrest of one of their own for resisting the draft. They have the right to protest all they want in a democracy. No matter how much anyone disagrees with him.

I blame them for the way their young adherents demonstrate that disagreement. Their rabbis are the ones responsible for whipping up a frenzy in their young people that continually results in a Chilul HaShem. And these leaders do nothing to prevent it or stop it. Which ends up as encouragement to them - considering a disgusting attack like this as a fulfillment of their anti secular mission. Especially after the kind of hateful rhetoric they heard from the Eida Rabbis and Rabbi Aurbach.

Rabbi Auerbach may be a giant of a Tamlid Chacham. But he has clearly lost his way. And he may actually succeed at destroying his sainted father’s legacy.

If the Charedi world is to survive, opposition to the Eida and Rabbi Auerbach must be made clear. Silence is no longer an option. The leaders of the majority of Charedim need to condemn, - not only the violence and disruption, but the Eida HaCharedis that foments its.

And perhaps more importantly they need to condemn Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach.  If I recall correctly there has already been some activity along these lines. Obviously it has not been enough. 

They have to go full force in my view and put Rabbi Auerbach in a state of Nidui (a quasi Cherem - excommunication) if they have to. Then make that as public as they can. So that the rest of the world will know that the majority of the Charedi world is not represented by him or his followers. That they see their methods in the same way the rest of the civilized world does. And they need to do it soon, loudly, and often. So that it sinks in and hopefully the ways of the Torah’s can once again be seen by all as pleasant. The way they should be seen. That would be a Kiddush HaShem. 

Video by JerusalemOnline