Tuesday, January 03, 2012

The Making of a Monster

There is no question in my mind that former Knesset member Yossi Sarid is an evil man whose goal is to destroy Judaism. He recently published a vomitous article that went into great detail to show just how terrible the sages and their Halachos were. He apparently went to a great deal of trouble to find sources in the Gemarah that he claims shows that. He lists many examples and claims there are a lot more like it but that he is limited by space from listing more.

It is not my purpose to refute his arguments. Nor to even try and explain the true meanings or contexts of the Gemarah he quotes. I will leave that for others to do. For example Yair Hoffman did a fairly good job at VIN with explanations and countervailing Gemaros that give an exact opposite impression.

The truth of the matter is that I too have had issues with some of these Gemaros. In fact I have even had issues with actual DeOraisos - detailed Halacha written in the Torah itself. For example, how many people think that an appropriate punishment for a rapist is to marry his rape victim? And if she refuses, then the fine is $50 (Shekalim) paid to her father? I have never understood that. Nor have I understood many other things, among them the prayer thanking God for not making me a woman. I have dealt with that issue more than once and I have yet to hear a satisfactory answer.

But the difference between Sarid and me is I realize that there are good answers to questions like these. God loves the Jewish people. We are His chosen ones. He would never harm us in any way unless we deserved it. And sometimes not even then, which is in part what Teshuva is all about. God is gracious and merciful; slow to anger; full of kindness and truth.

Nor is the Gemarah a repository of all that is evil in life. If one were to accept that our oral traditions as transmitted through the Talmud were all about the things Sarid mentions, how could the Jewish people ever have survived over 2 millennia of torture? Why did we not quickly abandon Halacha that he so cavalierly portrays as evil incarnate? How could I as a Jew, or my wife bear such a burden? Or my children?

Mr. Sarid is not only condemning Orthodox Jews. By his words he condemns his own parents and grandparents – if they were observant. If they weren’t then certainly if one goes back another generation or two, one will certainly find a relatively recent ancestor that observed the very Halacha he says we should now abandon. Does he think his ancestors were stupid? One would have to be stupid to live their lives the way Sarid depicts Halachic Judaism.

The Judaism he depicts is not the Judaism I know and live. It was not the way of my parents, nor is it the way of my children. Nor is it the way observant Jews all over the world live, no matter what stripe. We do not beat our wives into submission if they do not serve us properly. And he knows this very well. Which is one reason he is so evil!

What makes this diatribe of anti religious behavior even more insidious is that it is a bonanza for every single anti-Semite with a keyboard. They will uses this stuff. We can expect to see it all over the internet on all sorts of anti Semitic websites. They will salivate over it.

How evil this man is that he would offer such drivel to our enemies – sacrificing even his own welfare so that he can disparage the Torah and Halacha. Neo Nazis, the KKK, and Aryan Nations will care little that Sarid is anti Halacha. Nor does it make any difference to the Ahmadinejads of the world. To them he is a Jew just as much as any other Jew. To them we are all vermin - worthy of being wiped off the planet. And he has provided them with plenty of ammunition to make that argument.

He is a vile and disgusting person. The mere mention of his name now makes my stomach turn.

The question is, why now? Why did he come up with this screed at this point in time? I don’t think it takes a rocket scientist to realize what the answer is. He said it himself. It is the haters and spitters of Bet Shemesh that caused him to write it now. And their enablers and supporters - like those who demonstrated in Kikar Shabbat last Motzi Shabbos.

This is what they have thus far accomplished. They bring out the hate in full force. And that is why anyone who has said that the events in Bet Shemesh were a Chilul HaShem of major proportions - is not exaggerating. How many more Yossi Sarids will be created with this kind of behavior?

And it continues… recently comparing Israel’s police chief to Hitler. The Meah Shearim crowd is completely oblivious to the consequences of their actions. They could not care less about Yossi Sarid or what he said. They see Sarid and the young girl spat upon in Bet Shemesh in pretty much the same light – as evil Zionists.

Yossi Sarid gets no pass from me. There is no excuse for what he did. He is an evil man. But who creates monsters like this?