Sunday, October 21, 2007

Harnessing the Passion

Someone asked me, "is Israel safe?" and I assured him that for sure in the religious Jewish community its relatively safe. And then I read this from Jacob the Jews blog. Much to my chagrin this phenomenon is turning into an ever growing problem.

Historically, there was a time when Jewish people were known to be fighters. They had laws for war, brave soldiers, warriors (Avraham, Pinchas or Phineas), and unflinching commanders (Moses, Joshua, Gideon, Barak). Then during the modern age, when Europe was where the super-power was, the Jewish people became very subdued. They lived in various shtetl (aka ghettos) and didn't have much rights and faced random pogroms at the mercy of hateful troublemakers.

Interestingly, there was also a time when, in order to get prophecy, prophets would have the music played. I've often wonder what type of music can get someone so inspired that they can even prophecy?! Even that has gone.

Slowly slowly, things are changing, I think. This is my theory. Its raw material, but I am hoping some expert analytical mind can run with it or reject it LOL.

I think Passion is returning to the klal. I think the great influx of baalei teshuva especially from western countries may have spearheaded this wider span of emotional...freedom? boundaries? These countries tend to encourage people to 'express themselves' to 'let it all out' etc.

Thinking out loud here. But this is why there are such zealots nowadays who think they can beat up on women if they don't go to the back of the bus, or this is why groups feel that they can insist -to the point of rioting- that people in living or passing through their community must dress a certain way...or face assaults.

But I think this is also how come so many new genre of music are making their way to klal Yisrael with Jewish themed lyrics.

Its like the floodgates of passion have been broken open. Now if we can harness all that flow into their proper pipes (bina)....Hmmmm..maybe that's where the straight laced Yeshivishe folks comes in?


Harry Maryles said...

I think all people of good will condemn this event. The question is why do we keep seeing events like this from time to time? See my blog for a more elaborate take.

Tania said...


Rafi G said...

I think there was always passion and there were always passionate people, even at the times most of the nation was in a more subdued state.

The problem is when the passion is misdirected and used for selfish reasons, especially wrongly in the name of God.

Shavonne said...

This is something I would expect to come from a Islamic country.

What is with the hostility towards women?

SephardiLady said...

Miriam-Thanks for asking for my take. Really the whole thing just makes me want to cry, yet each passing instance the emotion is dulled.

Frum Funky Fab (slightly eidel) said...

Hm. I mostly agree with Rafi (not Etan, haha) on this one. Truly I think passion is something that come from a person, not a community. There ARE passionate people in the community, always have been, it is just a matter of how the tool is used.

We have been in exile for so long that we are exiled from our true selves and what life is supposed to be like. We don't even have that picture anymore. Generation after generation we have lost more of that picture, and in recent generations I think we have, as a community, been in crisis mode, flailing wildly trying not to drown. And in our fear we tend to strike others and often will drag them down with us. The people with the most fear sink the fastest, and do the most damage. Rather than fear, we need a PLAN.

The whole 'hostility towards women', as shavonne put it, is, when there is hostility towards women, due to that lost picture, and the fear.

The one thing that stood out about what you said is the music and prophecy thing. Prophecy wasn't just like, BOOM, you get on a high level and now you prophecize. It was more that in the context of a greater relationship, there would be an interaction between G-d and the prophet, and part of that interaction included a conveyed message, although the emphasis was on the interaction and the relationship, and NOT on the message, as most people assume today.

Music was used as a tool to get into a happy state, because without happiness, there was no prophecy. Kind of like when parents refuse to talk to their kids while the kids are in a crummy mood. (This makes sense. If one party isn't in a good place, the interaction becomes sour and damages the relationship.)
So music was a tool to happiness, and happiness opened the door to allow the POSSIBILITY of prophecy. But it's important not to gloss over those middle steps.

Common Sense Jew said...

i am very far right wing, but i have to say this. the reason that a few chareidim behave in such an animalistic manner is that they are jobless idiots who have nothing else to do. there is no religous reason for their behavior. a friend of mine asked one of the (supposedly) most extreme rebbes, the toldos aharon rebbe ( you will see the toldos aharon chasidim wearing vertically striped frocks) why certain members of his sect behave the way they do. Is this not increasing hatred, he asked? the rebbe looked stunned. he said he had no idea that his followers behaved this way. About passion, the prophets predicted a meltdown during what they labeled the end of days. children would not respect parents, etc. The only passionate people I respect are those with a very solid outlook on life, people wih alot of common sense. they sense the breakdown and are determined not to be swept along with the tide.

Anonymous said...

A leader who doesn't know how his "flock" behaves is no leader. He's out of touch.

David_on_the_Lake said...

I lived in israel..and always felt safe..
But of the reasons I left was because of all the angst and anger..and fighting always simmering under the surface..
I coudnt take it..

Mes Deux Cents said...


This just shows that misogyny and hostility toward women exists everywhere. Here in the U.S. there have been a few horrific attacks on women this year (Dunbar Village,Florida and in West Virgina).

There is a culture of degrading women that is referred to as hip hop culture. Major corprate interests have made a fortune promoting misogyny here and exporting it around the world.

So although the root cause may be different, we are suffering from the same malady here too.


Ehav Ever said...

I am a firm believer that any man who would do violence to a woman in that way should be themselves beaten. This is one of the reasons I moved to Israel, because these people need to be stopped. They don't represent Judaism or Torah, and they are giving a BAD example. This is also the reason that I believe in teaching all children (male and female) how to defend themselves.