Volume 14 Number 14
                       Produced: Tue Jul 12 12:02:29 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Chasidishe/Right Wing - Clarification on Benei Beraq
         [Shaul Wallach]
         [Avi Weinstein]
The Charedi Community / Education / Jewish Continuity
         [Immanuel O'Levy]
The Chassidishe/Yeshivishe Community in the U.S.
         [Uri Meth]


From: Shaul Wallach <F66204@...>
Date: Mon, 11 Jul 1994 18:19:15 -0400
Subject: Chasidishe/Right Wing - Clarification on Benei Beraq

      In his contribution to the discussion on the difficulties of the
Haredi yeshiva world, Josh Rapps comments on the current state of Benei

>I was amazed by the recent post relating the story of the Mayor of Bnai
>Braq who requested more welfare aid for his city because of high levels
>of unemployment. Seems to me that there are a couple of ways to handle
>such a problem: more welfare or have the people go out and get jobs! If
>that means getting an education to become employable then go get one!
>The leaders of the community, including the Roshei Yeshiva, are to blame
>for not insisting that these people take responsibility for their lives
>and families. Why is there no "Daas Torah" requiring people to provide
>for their families?

     First of all, as I posted, Benei Beraq enjoys high birth and
poverty rates, but not a high unemployment rate. In fact the
unemployment rate in Benei Beraq has always been low in comparison with
the national average because of the smaller number of people who look
for work as opposed to learning.

     To be fair, people in Benei Beraq claim that we are discriminated
against by the government in that we receive proportionally less aid
than do other cities and towns. However, the fundamental question arises
in my mind as to whether Benei Beraq, which prides itself as the City of
Torah and Hasidut, should behave like other cities in requesting
government aid for its Torah and Hasidut. In my heart, I feel that it
would be much more honorable to save ourselves this humiliation and make
the necessary sacrifices to support our Torah with our own resources.
The opinion of the Haredi leadership (the Ashkenazic Haredim, at least)
about the present Israeli government is well known, and it doesn't look
very fitting to me to stick out the hand for charity from them after
they have shown themselves so unwilling to give. The Torah itself,
especially in Pirqei Avot, admonishes us not to go after material
comforts while learning Torah, and there is no reason why we in Benei
Beraq should measure ourselves by the same material standard of living
that other Israelis enjoy. In foregoing affluence, we would really be
making a Qiddush Hashem and live up to our title as a Chosen People.




From: Avi Weinstein <0003396650@...>
Date: Tue, 12 Jul 94 08:57 EST
Subject: Haredim

If excellence is measured in numbers than surely Rabbi Adlerstein is
correct, but if excellence is measured in the quantities of memorable
books to come out of all those full time learners, I am hardpressed to
be as euphoric about the state of learning today which seems to have at
its heart a routine thud of robotic repitition and carries little of the
excitement that Rabbi Chaim of Volozhyn led me to expect when I entered
this marvelous enterprize over twenty years ago.

There is much too much self congratulation and much too little self
criticism among us.  We have forgotten that we should be tough on
ourselves and easy on those around us.

Avi Weinstein


From: <imo@...> (Immanuel O'Levy)
Date: Tue, 12 Jul 1994 09:01:57 -0400
Subject: The Charedi Community / Education / Jewish Continuity

Having read the various postings over the last few weeks about the
Charedi communities and Yeshivot, I would like to relate something that
happened to a friend of mine, and then advance a theory as to a root

In November 1992 I met someone who was in England on a student exchange
programme.  His level of observance was not wonderful, but over the
course of the following eight months he improved greatly.  Towards the
end of the exchange programme he decided that instead of returning home
he would go to Yeshiva in Israel, which he did.

About six months after he joined the Yeshiva, which shall remain
un-named, he left and virtually gave up his observance.  When asked why,
he said that the attitude he had seen of so-called "frum" Jews to
secular Jews and gentiles sickened him.  On one occasion he was in his
room in the Yeshiva reading a book written by a Reform Rabbi, when his
Rov happened to come by.  When he saw what book my friend was reading,
he took it from his hands, dropped it onto the floor and stood on it to
show his contempt for Reform Judaism.  Whatever feelings one has for
Reform Jews, one has no right whatsoever to treat other people's
property in this way.

Anyway, this incident was the beginning of the end of his observance.
After he left the Yeshiva, he took a job and rented an apartment.  Still
living in Israel, he could see what he described as a virtual total lack
of consideration for other people so openly displayed by the Charedim.
I myself have seen this sort of behaviour in this country - one example
that springs to mind occurred when I happened to be at a Chassidic Shul
for mincha one day, and I padlocked my bicycle to the railings in the
car park in the forecourt.  Some of the kids there started playing with
the horn on my bike, which was powered by a gas cylinder, so each
sounding of the horn actually cost me money.  When I told the kids that
they weren't to play with the horn, they asked why.  My response of,
"Because I don't let you" was met with the single word, "So?" and
continuation of the afore-mentioned behaviour.  Is this the legacy of a
"true Torah education"?

My friend has now left Israel and describes himself as post-Jewish, much
to my sadness.  He sees the various Chassidic sects, some of whom don't
even seem to want to talk to each other, as clans who happen to have a
similar core belief system but without unity.

The attitude that so many Orthodox Jews have towards Reform and
Conservative Jews is sickening.  As an Orthodox Jew, if you feel that
someone is of an inferior spirituality, do you spurn them, or do you
your duty as a caring Jew and try and bring them closer to Hashem?

The incident related by Meir Lehrer in v14 #10 is one which I'm sure is
familiar to many other people.  If someone is breaking Shabbos and
driving through your neighbourhood, what right do you have to surround
their car and terrify them?  (I bet they didn't think that by causing
the driver to stop he had to apply the brakes, which meant that the stop
lights on the back of the car came on, and they therefore caused a
further breaking of Shabbos.)

Maybe the problem isn't the people but the way in which they are
educated.  It seems to me (and to many of my friends and to anyone else
who I've told this to) that much emphasis is placed on the bein odom
le'Mokom (between Man and G-d) side of Judaism without bearing in mind
the dichotomy of Judaism, i.e. that there's a bein odom le'chavero
(between Man and his fellow) side of Judaism which also has to be
considered.  The degree of detail to which the bein odom le'Mokom
aspects are taught is very high, and people tend to get bogged down in
minutiae of detail without thinking about personal conduct, ethics and
interaction with other people.  I know people who are worried if their
Lulav is bent by a millimetre yet will quite cheerfully double-park and
inconvenience dozens of people or rip others off in their business

My friend went to Israel in the hope of increasing his religious
observance, but had his aspirations shattered by a few narrow-minded
individuals.  How many other people have been turned off in a similar
way?  Who has more to answer for in causing the loss of observant Jews -
missionary activists, or Orthodox Jews who don't know how to relate to
other people?

One of the latest catch-phrases in the Jewish press is "Jewish
Continuity".  The assimilation rate in Britain is estimated at 10 Jews
per day, and much publicity is being made of Shiurim which are available
and so on.  I feel that great care must be taken to ensure that the
right sort of Jewish education is given, with the right balance of bein
odom le'Mokom and bein odom le'chavero being addressed.  If people who
want to improve their religious observance see Orthodox Jews as people
who are pious with their devotions to G-d but are somewhat
double-standard when it comes to how they interact with others, then
it's no wonder that they think that Judaism is not for them.  It is
important that people are taught about love and consideration one must
show for one's fellow and to be shown that same love and consideration.

I have seen how some Orthodox Jews behave, but one shouldn't confuse
Orthodox Jews with Orthodox Judaism.  I try to make of Halachah what I
can, and try to help others in what they want to achieve.

One final point: The second Temple was destroyed on account of how the
people conducted themselves with each other.  Is it not a hypocrisy to
ask for Moshiach and redemption when our inter-personal conduct is in
the state that it is?

Immanuel M. O'Levy,                             JANET: <imo@...> 
Dept. of Medical Physics,                      BITNET: <imo@...>
University College London,                   INTERNET: <imo@...> 
11-20 Capper St, LONDON WC1E 6JA, Great Britain.  Tel: +44 71-380-9700


From: <umeth@...> (Uri Meth)
Date: Wed, 6 Jul 1994 14:45:13 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: The Chassidishe/Yeshivishe Community in the U.S.

In v13n86 an article was submitted condeming the right wing
Yeshivishe chareidi community.

>I would like to submit a controversial thesis. Right-wing Yeshivos are a
>sociological failure. The U.S. chareidi community has not created a
>self-sufficient society. The graduates of Yeshiva institutions are not
>in a position to adequately support them. As a result, many must resort
>to illegal means for support. The result is this massive Chillul Hashem
>on an unprecedented scale.

The fact that there are those who have shown up in the media as being
suspected of illegal actions is a terrible thing in and of itself.  Yes,
this does constitute a Chillil Hashem.  However, I don't see how you can
jump from this to saying that their community is a sociological failure.

As Hayim Hendeles points out in his response in v13n94 that to beleive
everything the media writes at face value is foolish and dangerous.  As
an example of how the media perverses the news I will give an example
from todays Philadelphia Enquireer.  There was an article concerning
Arafat's arrival in Gaza/Jerico.  The picture associated with the
article (to catch one's eye) were some members of Neturei Karta meeting
with Arafat, to allegedly give their support to him that he has a right
to all of Israel and the Jews don't.  No where in the article was this 
episode mentioned or expounded on, just in the caption to the picture.
I do not beleive the caption of this picture for one minute.  It was a
headline catcher.  Therefore, it is easy to conclude that allegations
made by the media, without substantial meat behind it is worthless.  If
the media would admit its mistake in a big headline on page one as it
does its allegations (instead of hiding in on page a23) then maybe we
can give some credence to the media.

But getting away from the whole media issue, let us look at the chareidi
community.  This is the part of the Ashkenazic community who has been
the majority and the bearer of the faith for the past few centuries.  To
pass a sweeping judgment on them for these few incidents is not only
unfair but wholly ungrateful.  Let me tell you a story on this note.

When the Israelli govt at the time of Ben-Gurion wanted to draft women
into the army the Chazon Ish called him in for a meeting.  The Chazon
Ish told Ben-Gurion of a Gemara (I believe it is in Bava Metzia).  If
there are two camels with loads on a road, each coming towards one
other, and when they meet there is only enough room for one to pass at a
time, which camel passes first?  The Gemara responds that the camel with
the heavier load passes first.  The Chazon Ish said to Ben-Gurion, It is
true that today, you the secularist are in power.  But for the millenia,
it has been the religious who have kept Judaism alive, it is your turn
to step aside and let us, the religious, assert our influence on this
matter and do not draft women into the army.

Every yeshiva and every community has the good the bad and the ugly.
Some communities and yeshivas are just better at hiding their bad and
their ugly than others are.  Not that I like to hear bad things about
Jewish people, but have you ever spent the time to investigate how many
times other Jewish institutions not associated with the
chareidi/yeshivish community have also allegedly done illegal act.  I am
sorry to say, but all sides have had their fair share.

Don't throw out the baby with the bathwater.  Just becuase there are a
few rotten apples, does not mean the whole system is at fault.

As for all of the non-Yissachars having nothing to do, in most instances
they are encouraged to go into business when the time is right.  They
are not encouraged to go to college and rightfully so based on their
religious principles.  College is no place for a nice yeshiva bochur, i
know that from experience.  (Don't give me counter examples about YU,
Touro or Brooklyn college where you are in a Jewish atmosphere, I am
talking about a non-jewish college).  Universities are a breeding ground
for immorality and if one is not careful can descensitize (sp?) ones
attidutes toward certain halachos.  Also when these non-Yissachars go into
business, they do support their communities.

Next time please be careful before you judge a whole segment of society.
Just becuase you don't agree with everything they do, does not mean that
the way you live you life as a Torah Jew, is any more correct than the
way they lead their lives.

And to end off, with a quote from Rabbi Berel Wein "Do not confuse Jews
with Judaism".  Just becuase there are some supposes rotten apples in
one segment of Jewish society, does not mean that that whole segment of
Jewish society is wrong.

Uri Meth                (215) 674-0200 (voice)
SEMCOR, Inc.            (215) 443-0474 (fax)
65 West Street Road     <umeth@...>
Suite C-100
Warminster, PA 18974


End of Volume 14 Issue 14