Thursday, July 12, 2007

The Battle Ground

There seems to be a silent battle going on. Even a war. There are those who claim they are more pure, more holy,and just plain better then all and there are those who argue against it. What to do?

In light of the fact that its the three weeks, a time to mourn, to remember the Beit haMikdash, to perhaps...try to stop baseless hatred; In light of all this I pray that I can make a difference somewhere.


The reality is right now that the formerly mentioned group, let's call them the "frummer than thou" has the upperhand. They got the other group, let's call them the "Oh no you ain't!" , running scared.

It first started with scare tactics, intimidation. Soon it seemed everyone was hiding and pretending to be more frum than they really are. Well, I can't say "everybody" but a good amount of people that I know anyway. And those who were able to break themselves and give up alot of things -whether it was halachically necesaary or not- to (hope to) fit the mold would be so broken, that it hurt or would live in fear that they may fall or would regretably fall into step of the "frummer than thou" legion.

The "Oh no you ain't" found retaliation by snickering, blogging it out, continuing to hide and have nothing to 'do with it' etc.

Now, i'm hearing and reading more outrageous things such as the 'ya gotta like cholent or else your not Jewish' concept -which I hope is simply a story not reported well; and then there's the whole goings on in Ramat Beit shemesh, not to mention others.

Quite honestly, the 'frummer than thou' has got the upperhand.


If I could boldly give any kind of advice to the "Oh no you ain't" side, i'd say stop the snickering, stop the blogging, no more hiding. Remember the true Jewish weapon! Remember ahavat Hashem, yirat shamayim, Torah, prayer, middot, derekh eretz. don't look left or right, keep trying and living your best.

You see, the whole reason I call the other team the "No it ain't!" because its all mostly retaliatory and not its own stance. Its like a team with a defense but no offense.


One thing that I suspect could help to win the war is a focus. Refocusing the attention towards yirat shamayim and away from the fear of man that the intimidation tactics brought on.

I suppose that's one advantage of being black. No matter where I go, I know someone is going to think, "what does she know?!" So, it makes that I feel like i'm starting from a negative. But then when I can -with G-d's help- show that I do know a thing or two its great! But when I err, I say, "hey, i'm a simple Jew!"

This "i'm a simple Jew!" attitude is a great weapon because it fights against the ego.


I think the real battle going on is not really against people or a group of people, but against the ego. Arrogance, chutzpah, Ego, and the leader being Anger are all armed to the teeth! Its up to the little guys, the little Dovid haMelechim, the sweet wonderful Jewish fellas and gals who by their roused love of Hashem came to do His givin mitzvot and eventually came to yirat Shamayim; its up to all of us to summon our legions: humility, love, modesty, our caring for others, with the leading middot being our Awe to fight and win!


Please G-d, I pray that humility wins over arrogance. That people learn that we really need each other. Sometimes I wonder, if people could all become goyim for a day (chas v'shalom) just to see how the world views the Jewish people, maybe then we'd all see how much what we have is beautiful and how much we need each other.


Am Kshe Oref - A Stiff-Necked People said...


Beautifully written and well-thought out. And a lot to think about.

Unfortunately, when it comes to the "frummer than thou" crowd, all they are doing is following what the rest of the world, and this is certainly the case in the United States, is doing. The world, in many ways, is becoming more and more conservative and swinging further to the right. This is very much the case in the US, where we've had a Right Wing Nut Job (RWNJ) as president and a very right wing congress for quite a while.

What goes on in the outside world gets reflected back into the Jewish world. This is an unfortunate reality. It's become very popular for the "frummer than thou" crowd to vote and side Republican because the Republicans espouse "family values" and the "moral high ground." This is, of course, totally not the case (and I can give you many examples), but the American Chareidim have completely fallen for their act just as much of the population here has.

All that's really going on in the Chareidi world is a reflection of what's going on in the outside world.

Now, I don't really think the Chareidim have the upper hand in this for the simple reason that their society is simply not going to be able to survive as it is now for more than another generation or two. This is why they have to fight as they do to get funding in Israel and this is part of why the shidduch system is so screwed up. And the more their funding is threatened, and the less the girls are educated by "rabbinic" decree, the more aggressive and belligerent the Chareidim will become because all the money is going to disappear and their Rabbanim and political leaders know it. That's why MK Cohen called De Hartog worse than a Nazi. He's scared for his community.

I think much of the snickering is the rest of reacting for a number of factors. First, is the fact that the Chareidi community tries to foist their "ideology" on everyone else, and when they are unsuccessful, they either declare the other, "less frum" crowd not frum, or, as in my case, they actually have a hatred for someone who leaves the "derech." Second, we look at these people and they are just a bundle of hypocrisy. They take on more and more silly chumras, ostensibly to make them "frummer." and as they do, their interpersonal relationships worsen since they become "frummer" than you, and if they are "frummer" than you, they can't possibly associate with you. Third, it becomes up to the rest of the Jewish community who doesn't like their attitude to support their lifestyle. That's just wrong when these people are perfectly capable of getting educated and getting job.

So, yeah, we snicker and them and are defensive because we're sick of the society they've created for themselves that the rest of us seem obligated to support. This is why I think De Hartog was correct in hitting Cohen. Cohen was using scare-tactics and hate-tactics, a very Chareidi trait to have (you've seen Ed's comments on other blogs, I assume), and De Hartog had had enough. He's not interested in scare-tactics. He's interested in a sustainable society and system, and the Chareidi one simply is not.

So, many bloggers, myself included, have taken to ridiculing this system (of beliefs and economics). We're all pretty secure in our Yiddishkeit. I'm certainly much more secure now than I was when I was part of that community. And I don't think most of us hate that community. I don't. I just hate what they do.

Anonymous said...

i agree! Way too much sniping.

"sometimes I wonder, if people could all become goyim for a day (chas v'shalom) just to see how the world views the Jewish people"

can you elaborate? How do you feel the world sees the jewish people?

socialworker/frustrated mom said...

Excellent post.

Harry Maryles said...

If I could boldly give any kind of advice to the "Oh no you ain't" side, i'd say stop the snickering, stop the blogging

Great Post. Very thought provoking. And it has generated a post of my own that will be up shortly. Thanks.

Am Kshe Oref - A Stiff-Necked People said...

WOW! You essentially got guest-posted on Emes Ve-Emunah! Great accomplishment!

Miriam said...

Barak -re: the outside world being reflected back into the Jewish world. I hadn't thought about that. good point! Thanks.

Anon -from what ive seen and heard the goyim do not differenciate between who's chassidic and who's sephardic, etc. They see either your Jewish or not.

Also, from what i've seen, there seem to be this split view that Jews are these great people and at the same time they have great anger towards them.

SWFM - thanks! I just hope it makes a difference for the good.

Rb. Maryles -thanks so much for taking the time and reading my post. I really appreciate it!

Ayelet said...


yingerman said...

I think were taght at an early age to proud of being jewish.
Not by birth jewish, but of being a practising jew.
Translated by most to mean that frummer is better, therefore if I go to the mikva 365 times a day then im a better jew than you.

It's not a bad thing to be frum, it took me a long time to figure that out, just as long as you dont force me to eat milichigs after 6 hours of waiting, if you wanna, you go right ahead.
But in the real world people have egos and if I do it, cause I think it's the right thing to do, then I am proud of me, and you don't then your less frum and less of a Jew.

People need to remember that the laws were given to better ourselves, not to coerce someone else, and absolutely not for demeaning someone else.
Its hard to balance the two feelings. Sorta like driving a SUV but never gunning the engine or speeding or passing or waving outta the sunroof.

Juggling Frogs said...