Monday, January 16, 2023

Sometimes Rebelling is a Good Thing

A sold out all female concert for women in the UK. (Jewish News
I’ve always been a rebel. Hopefully in a good way. Most of the time. I think that should be obvious from the way I discuss issues that affect the Jewish world – most particularly the Orthodox Jewish world. 

I am not really a contrarian in the sense that I always disagree with the establishment, But when the occasion calls for it; when I feel that establishment is wrong on any given issue, I speak up. And try and ‘right the wrongs’ that the establishment (in my eyes - erroneously) supports. 

So in reality, I am not anti establishment either. I am just opposed to what I believe to be the occasional mistakes made by the establishment. When I believe they are right, I support them. When I believe they are wrong I oppose them. My purpose has always been to serve God, promote the best interests of the Jewish people, and denounce a Chilul HaShem.  Especially in those cases when there are few voices in the establishment willing to do so publicly.

For me, it is all about pursuing Emes as I understand it. Which is based on the education provided for me by my parents, teachers, peers, children, friends, and even enemies  An education that continues to this day. As the Mishna in Avos (4: 1) tells us: Eizehu Chacham - Who is the wise man?  HaLomeid Mikol Adam - He who learns form all of mankind. Then quoiting Tehilim (119:99).the Mishna continues: MiKol Melamdei Hischalti. From all, my teachers, I have become wise

I am quite happy to note that - as reported in the Jewish News (of the UK) - there was a rebellion of sorts by Charedi women. As recently noted here, I condemned the warning issued by the Charedi leadership there to women of all ages against attending an all female concert. I am happy to report that this warning was honored entirely in the breach. It was a sell out crowd consisting of a variety of women from all strata of Jewish life  that included many Charedi women. (I would guess that most attendees were Charedi.)

I have no clue how the Charedi leadership in the UK will react to this. But my hope is that they will not condemn anyone for attending. Hopefully they will realize their mistake about the spiritual danger of such a concert and apologize - or at the very least not say anything. 

The women decided to completely ignore their leaders in this instance because they knew instinctively how wrong they were.  That instead of being spiritually damaged, many were spiritually inspired... as music so often does. I doubt that there was a single woman whose spirituality was damaged.

I am therefore happy to welcome these women to the ‘club of rebels’ to which I belong.  A club that knows when to depart from the ‘wisdom;’ of their rabbis - and when not to. In this case their rebellion was the right thing to do. 

If only this type of rebellion would prevail in communities that deny their young the benefits of an education in Limudei Chol… who knows, what kind of a Kiddush HaShem they could ultimately bring into the world! 

This breach against this ‘wisdom’ of Charedi rabbinic leaders should be a lesson for all of us. Not to always rebel, God forbid. But to do so when it is so obviously warranted. As the late, great  Kenny Rogers immortalized in song:  You gotta know to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em. What these Charedi women did en masse was a great illustration of those wise words. 

For which – as a fellow rebel - I offer my hearty congratulations.