Sickened by the Chilul Hashem?

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Here’s an idea to consider. Rabbi Yaakov Horowitz has written urging the rest of the Torah community to stand up without equivocation and combat the unspeakable primitivism of many of the Yerushalayim protesters. He takes most of the media accounts seriously. He points a finger at “askanim” who are really in charge, and not Gedolim whom others presuppose are in charge. He cites approvingly the statement of an American philanthropist that he will withhold his sizable donation to a favorite yeshiva until its Rosh Yeshiva publicly condemns the form of the demonstrations. (Note: he does not – and I would not – urge us regular folks to withhold money from the yeshivos that are the lifeblood of Klal Yisrael.)

As an immediate step, he is urging everyone to send letters to the editors of Haaretz ([email protected]) and the Jerusalem Post ([email protected]). I did. The Jerusalem Post has already devoted coverage to this campaign to attempt, as best we can, to neutralize the Chilul Hashem that others make in our name and in the name of our Torah.

Here is his suggested nusach:

As a Torah Jew, I am deeply distressed by the desecration of Shabbos in our holy land — all the more so when it is government sanctioned. However, nothing can ever excuse the type of violence and wanton destruction of public property that has been reported in recent days such as the throwing of rocks at police officers and the burning of garbage dumpsters – all of which is diametrically opposed to the teachings of our Holy Torah. Lest our silence be misconstrued as passive acceptance of the violence, we condemn it in the strongest terms, as do the vast, overwhelming, majority of Torah Jews worldwide

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43 Responses

  1. Reb Yid says:

    This week’s article in the FORWARD on this subject is an excellent read.

    If you go to the FORWARD site, the article’s title is “Clashes Over Sabbath Parking Lots Reveal Divisions Among Jerusalem’s Jews”

    It highlights the divisions among the Haredim here. Even Jonathan Rosenblum–if his quote is accurate–seems like he is less than thrilled with the protests and the consequences thereof.

  2. HF says:

    dr.bill – what are you saying?

  3. dr. bill says:

    Some blame askanim; some blame spin-doctors. I wonder about anyone who requires/allows either to exist. Did the Rav or R. Moshe or R. Shlomo Zalman or R. Goren or the Chazon Ish ztl require/tolerate such assistance?

  4. tzippi says:

    36 (HF), you’re right, and yet…I picture myself walking down the street, suddenly facing a few dozen angry, violent people. Doesn’t sit well.

    And re 31 (benshaul), you’re right. I’m glad that people whose sites are well-visited and referenced are speaking out, but it would be good to see it with the impramatur of some gedolim. Not that I believe we need a haskama for everything we do, but we need live gedolim referenced, not just those Rabbi Horowitz mentioned. Who are following in their footsteps?

  5. The Contarian says:

    This is in rebuttal to how Mark ended off his quite inforamtive post.

    Mark wrote:

    Perhaps we need to protest violence in the Quaker community too since they look like us?

    1. Quakers are pacifists
    2. Quakers dress in the standard American way. I think Mark is referring to the Amish or other Old Order Mennonites.
    3. Quaker is the English translation of Charedi. In fact, the term was derisively applied 350 years ago to a member of the Society of Friends by a judge who made fun of his “trembling before the Lord. The Society of Friends has always considered Quaker to be a pejorative. I have suggested in the past that Jewish Quaker replace Ultra-Orthodox in our lexicon, becuase the Charedim are proud of the fact thet they tremble before the Lord.

  6. yy says:

    “the person making the excuses is essentially saying that this behavior is consistent with a Torah-observant life”

    Esther Miriam (35), thank you for helping me zoom in on the issue, as I see it, from living here for the last 3 years in the eye of the storm (after 20 something yrs in a wide spectrum of other Orthodox settings). I was raised in a very “liberal and enlightened” environment with a bottom line aversion to violence, at most all costs, like many of those here advocating in the name of TRUE Chareidikeit. The problem is, and I say this with much pain, that I have found this IS consistent with Torah-observant life”!

    Depending upon the circumstances.

    By trying to cut these people off from membership in your more “cultured” Yiddishkeit, you’re falling into the old trap of oneupsmanship that has been dogging our holy nation since the time of Yosef and his brothers. It’s one thing to do this to Jews who are extremely uneducated in Torah and or identifying with expressly non-Torah ideologies. But to do so to those whose entire education is emersed in authentic Torah tradition (whether we think its twisted or not) is simply to deny the very real and terribly challenging reality that underlies “Torah-observant life.”

    Yes they are OURS. Problematically so, perhaps. But very much ours. That we rely on their Kashrus Hashgacha is but one proof. Even those who’d like to symbolically boycott that Hashgacha can’t deny this. Their Hashgacha is top-notch and so is many of their gemachim as well as shtiebel services, the functions as melamdim, etc., etc.

    Ah, but it’s a perversion of REAL Torah observance, you say? Nonsense. It’s a very real outcome of this lifestyle under certain circumstances. That’s why I say come here and live in Mea Shearim for awhile and see how you’d act before decrying their vices. just like I say to them that they should live in a giant American metropolis without a solid Torah chinnuch before judging so many of their frie brethren who come to gawk at their tischim.

    As we enter the Three Weeks, we all need to ask ourselves why our history is full of even some of the greatest Torah scholars locking into outrageous battles with one another’s camps. I can still hear Rav Bulman’s cry during a P. Avos shiur in Migdal Ha’Emek about the warning to beware the “bite” and “sting” of Talmidei Chachamim:

    “People love to pontificate about the sublime value of tolerance, but most do so because they’ve NEVER tasted absolute truth. Once you do so you begin to become aware of the terrible Yeitzer for intolerance. How DARE the other trample the truth I know so well. It’s a nisayon which very few can appreciate…”

  7. Menachem Lipkin says:

    We need to find a way to appreciate the RAGE inside the average Chareidi around here and offer it constructive expression. Throwing out disdainful cries of criminality and “you’re not one of us” only deepens the woeful lack of trust between every “camp”.

    yy, you’re accusing me of being “pollyannish”, yet you advocate classic American liberal clap-trap about “understanding” the roots of criminal behavior. That’s been proven not work. That approach only encourages the behavior. Mayor Giuliani cleaned up New York City by putting criminals in jail. It’s just that simple.

    We actually tried it your way. We set up committees. We sent every apartment in 3 buildings Shalach Manot. We had a Melava Malka. One of our Rav’s went to meet with their leading Rav. Yada, yada, yada. In the end we were played for fools. The people who really understand that community, and I’m talking Rabbis from within their community, told us in no uncertain terms that the only way to stop their behavior is to behave like them! I, for one simply can’t do that.

    We’ve gotten into their heads, and believe me it’s quite a scary place. Their behavior has nothing to do with the police. It stems from an extremist way of thinking that leaves absolutely no room for the “other”, unless the other is acting 100% on their terms. (Sound anything like some of our “oousins” in the greater Mid-East neighborhood?)

    People like that should be living in isolated towns, not in diverse cities like Jerusalem and Beit Shemesh.

  8. HF says:

    I just hear such a great story that belongs here.
    A husband of a friend of mine was very recently on Bar Ilan where a grand total of about 40 – 50 ‘bochurim’ (read: bored at risk kids) were burning trash and acting out of control. A Mizrachi Jew cam over to this obviously chareidi guy, and asks, ‘How do you answer to this outrageous chillul HaShem, how is it that they don’t listen to your Gedolim and stop the violence?’ To which this avreich answered simply and brilliantly, ‘This is really a kiddush HaShem! Were you here last Shabbos when 40-50 THOUSAND showed up and davened and sang in peaceful protest? As PER our Gedolim’s call! And here you have a MINUTE, SMALL group of bored stupid kids, not listening. WOW! Do the math . . 50 kids, to 50,000 strong, that’s 1-1000! Pretty amazing no?’
    No, we are not condoning those kids, they need chinuch, direction, whatever, but why oh why is the media harping on them, why oh why are so many blushing furiously over these silly figures, why is this article asking us to PUBLICLY apologize, which in fact invalidates the protests that are and should be carried on?
    I put forth a better ‘suggested nusach’ for you to send to the media you so need to sashay up to.
    ” As an educated Jew, I am deeply distressed by the one-sided and obviously biased media coverage of the recent Shabbos protests taking place in the Holy city of Jerusalem. We have been bombarded with reports regarding the ‘violence’ the ‘rioters’ the ‘instigators’ the crazy black chareidim. Yet, in fact it has been proven beyond a doubt that those are the minute minority. They are not condoned by the Torah Chareidi Leadership. They are not the thrust of the protests. Why was there not just coverage on the grand peaceful demonstration of 50 thousand? Why are Chereidim perpetrated by the media in the same fashion the world media perpetrates Israel? I demand fair coverage “

  9. Esther Miriam says:

    Rabbi Adlerstein, about a year ago we had a dialogue about your post about some behaviors being “beyond the pale.” You asked at that time why it was so important to me to see it publicly written that violent behavior from people who (dress like) Charedim was beyond the pale. Here’s why it’s so important. When leaders from the right publicly distance themselves from the people who are dressed like them but acting in an inexcusable way in gives more credibility and positive feeling towards the people who are genuinely Torah-observant. (So, in this case, it allows more sympathy towards the cause of the majority of the protesters who were non-violent, and more likely to agree that the police brutality is out of control.)

    On the other hand, when I read a defense of the people who were violent, or excuse-making, the person making the excuses is essentially saying that this behavior is consistent with a Torah-observant life. That is an insult to the Torah lifestyle, and leads to people refusing to donate to any Orthodox cause, to a growing number of us feeling less connection to our Charedi bretheren, and to fueling the anti-Orthodox sentiment among people who will use this as just more evidence of what “those people” are like.

    That’s why I feel so strongly that those in the public sphere must make absolutely clear when someone dressed in the garb is actually doing something that is unacceptable.

    (Note: I am a different Esther from the previous commentator.)

  10. Mark says:

    What many, if not most commenters have missed in the discussion is that these are not “Charedim” as that term is usually understood. No, I don’t mean that they behave like true Charedim and therefore aren’t. What I mean is that the word Charedim is an overly broad term used to describe many groups of Jews, within and without Eretz Yisroel.

    For example, I am identified with the Charedi camp, yet, I have very little in common with followers of the Eidah Charedis. We’re similar only in the sense that we practice the same mitzvos. I don’t agree with many of their unique philosophies, nor do most Bnei Torah in Lakewood even if some sympathize with some of their philosophies to some degree. We all use the buses, pay tax, accept money from Bituach Leumi etc. Some of us even think Nachal Charedi is a good idea.

    Within Eretz Yisroel as well, there are many people who would be called Charedi who have no identification with the Eidah Charedis and aren’t in any way involved or in agreement with them. I’ve spent the past three weeks in Eretz Yisroel, the bulk of my time in Har Nof or Bayit Vegan. I can literally count on one hand the number of times the entire issue of Hafganos has come up. None of my relatives [all kollel sorts] attended any of them and they think about the whole issues as much as they think about the economic climate in Nigeria. They truly couldn’t care less.

    The problem is that most American bochurim learn in the Mir or Brisk which are right in the heat of the action and they think that all Charedim in EY are deeply involved and emotionally invested in this issue. The reality is that they’re not. The Eidah is a world unto it’s own. It’s major contact point with the rest of the Charedi world is its Hashgachah. Their other pronouncements by and large fall on deaf ears. Their approach to most issues regarding Isreali society is not shared by too many [again – even if some of their philosophies are shared in part by some.]

    The commenters here are more engaged in this issue than most Charedim in EY and it’s important to recognize that.
    By suggesting that we all decry the violence and protest it as if it was carried out by “our type” Rabbi Horowitz demonstrates a complete lack of awareness of the facts on the ground. I’ve seen this before out of him so it’s no great surprise but his well-intentioned suggestion appears somewhat absurd to me.

    Just as not all chassidim must rush to condemn the wild actions of one particular sect [I’m not referring to anyone in particular but history offers examples], not all black-hat/Kollel Jews must necessarily protest the Eidah because our only similarity is in the Black hats. Other than that – not much.

    Perhaps we need to protest violence in the Quaker community too since they look like us?

  11. yy says:

    Menachem also said: “you tick off all these examples of the ‘harsh’ life here in Israel and yet you attack me for trying to bring some ‘inane’ yet decent American sensibilities here (…) there may be things worth fighting over. This isn’t one of them.”

    The pt about the harsh life was that the CIRCUMSTANCES basically dictate it as such, not because no one was zoche to hear one of those pollyannish American Jewish visions of how to do a kosher protest!

    This doesn NOT justify the violence, but understands it. Talking peace and love and understanding of chillul shabbos while we work on our middos is simply speaking a different, if not dangerously foolish language. We need to find a way to appreciate the RAGE inside the average Chareidi around here and offer it constructive expression. Throwing out disdainful cries of criminality and “you’re not one of us” only deepens the woeful lack of trust between every “camp”.

  12. yy says:

    As Esther implied, I have no doubt that the vast majority of those who are trumpeting the live-n-let-live and protest-by-loving-them mantras would sing a different tune if they were living here, right smack in the middle, defending what was precious to them. I agree with everyone that public protests amongst Yirei shomayim must strive for the most honorable way to make their points (which personally I think is almost impossible in these circumstances). But once the Gdolim give their ok, it’s not for any of us to hurdle charges of criminality until we’ve been in their shoes.

    Menachem, I know your lines well. Your animosity for the “maniacal behavior by extremist Chareidim” betrays any substance to your calls for Kiddush H’. It is not a one way street. The kiddush is not just by endearing ourselves to chilonim, but to ALL Yidden. People must ask themselves, honestly, with whom they most identify. If the answer is chilonim and modernity over Chareidim and tradition, then all their protests about chariedi extremism is tainted.

    Re. K. H. in Gaza, study that one a little more carefully. MAJOR spilts have been going on since then in the RZ circles. Amongst many of those who believed in “fighting-them-with-love” and then lost (hard), there has been plenty of regret and bitterness expressed. Perhaps there are some diehards who really believe in their idealism, which I personally can appreciate in the spirit of elu v’elu, but until you’re someone who’s been there and gone through that, no one has a right to moralize.

  13. Benshaul says:

    to respond to some of the comments. I didn’t say that because the violence worked therefore it is justified , but it’s worth knowing when we debate the issue -that it works, (assuming i am correct).

    If the Gedolim hold that the chiyuv is to protest, and whether or not it succeeds is not our cheshbon i am fine with that. My point was to raise the issue, and to point out that out starting assumption that the police are innocent is at odds with reality and the experience of the average yerushalmi. Even in cases like the one from bait shemesh, the charedi public has a stereotype of the police that prejudices the whole process.
    i personally would like someone of greater stature than Rabbis Horowitz and Adlerstein [bemichillas kevodom] to tell me to protest the charedi behavior, that we all agree is a chillul hashem, -before i go writing letters to the secular media trashing charedim, when it will be probably used against us in some way as the media is wont to do.

  14. Tal Benschar says:

    “combat the unspeakable primitivism ”

    This is a poor choice of words. Acting with derekh eretz and avoiding Chillul Hashem have nothing to do with how primitive or up-to-date one is.

    [YA – We will have to disagree about this. Acting with derekh eretz is a giant step beyond primitiveness. Those who spit and attack are primitives. There are several ways to emerge from the primitive. For a Yid, the best way is through Torah. If the Ohr Hatorah hasn’t managed to shine through – and it doesn’t for every frum Jew – there are other sources, lehavdil. Some people have been touched by none of them.]

  15. Esther says:

    “May I suggest adding a few words about police brutality?
    Comment by Esther — July 7, 2009 @ 9:28 pm”

    May I suggest acting so as to give the police no pretext for brutality?

    Comment by Bob Miller — July 8, 2009 @ 11:19 am

    May I suggest both? Or are they mutually exclusive? Just as we add a few words about shabbos because we don’t want to identify with the shabbos breakers, we can add a few words about police brutality because we don’t want to identify with chareidi-beaters. And if the former does not imply that we condone the violence of the protesters, neither does the latter.

    BTW my RZ-type friend, a child of Holocaust survivors, as a young girl watched two policemen beating a chareidi with such bestial cruelty that the first scream that came out of her mouth was “Nazis!”

  16. Daniel B. Schwartz says:

    What I find interesting is that the Masorti and Reform movements have made huge inroads in advancing their agendas without ever resorting to violence. The Chareidim should learn from them, before it’s too late.

  17. Michoel Halberstam says:

    It has been my observation, particularly where Shmiras Shabbos is concerned, that demonstrations work best when they stress the importance and beauty of Shabbos and not when they can be viewed as a protest against those who are not Shomer Shabbos. The world in which we live does not see or understand how important Shabbos is to the Jews. You are not going to make them understand by letting them convince themselves that the protesters are a group of fanatics who are trying to take their country away. This is patently obvious and no amount of hiding behing Gedolim or anyone else is going to change it. We have to decide once and for all if our objective is to make the Torah a center of reverence that all our people will respect, or to convince our opponent that the Torah itself has nothing to say to them. Whoever fails to understand this is guilty of “Echad Hashogeg Veechod Hamezid Bechilul Hashem”

  18. Nachum says:

    “as much as i hate to say this, the facts on the ground are that in many cases it was davka the violence that got anything done or that serves as an impediment”

    Got what done? Kept cars out of Kikar Shabbat? Mazal Tov. Was there ever a single secular Israeli who became Shomer Shabbat because of violence- or any protests, for that matter?

    Whether or not a single Jew is Shomer Shabbat is far, far more important than whether a car drives through a religious neighborhood and disturbs you (as important as that is, I do admit) or whether a parking lot is open. People’s priorities are out of whack.

  19. Menachem Lipkin says:

    …try applying that to the Gaza evacuation! And presume its your family that’s been living there and self-sacrificing for its success. “Make a kiddush H’ and move on” is an outrageously inanane Americanism to apply here.

    Actually, yy, the Gaza evacuees and the soldiers who evacuated them did, by and large, make a Kiddush Hashem. There was relatively little violence, especially given the severity of what was happening.

    It’s funny yy, you tick off all these examples of the “harsh” life here in Israel and yet you attack me for trying to bring some “inane” yet decent American sensibilities here. If you read my comment more carefully you would have seen that I said that there may be things worth fighting over. This isn’t one of them. And given that the Gedolim have only called for peaceful prayer in protest I would say that they agree.

    So far Rabbi Menken, Mark, benshaul and yy have all said it. Walk down the wrong street and you, too, could be beaten by police.

    It’s enough with this red herring. Police misbehavior is not an excuse for the ever increasing instances of extremist criminality. Bob Miller is correct when he suggests not giving the police a pretext.

    By the accounting of the people above,the graffiti on our sidewalks, the spitting on our women, the rocks thrown at our neighbors and cars, the gang attack on a 14 year old girl, the extortion of store owners under threat of violence to put up “modesty” signs, the throwing of acid, the burning of trash bins, the stealing and vandalism, the verbal and physical abuse of women on buses, can all be mitigated by the alleged police behavior that will happen as a result. Does that strike anyone as logically perverse? Oh sure, there’s always the perfunctory platitude about how the violence is wrong, but those statements are invariably followed by a “but”. That “but” is deafening and generally serves to obfuscate the core issues.

    Thankfully there are wonderful people like Rabbi Horowitz who are much more interested in fixing the problems in his community than making excuses for them.

  20. Bob Miller says:

    Regarding the comment by Michael — July 8, 2009 @ 6:25 pm

    Given that some policemen on duty for these types of events are given to brutality, irresponsible acts by hooligans will bring brutality not only on themselves but on uninvolved Jewish passers-by or residents of the neighborhood. This is one more reason to curb the likely hooligans before they get started, and certainly not to encourage them. The riot police are hard enough to restrain without inciting them deliberately.

  21. Michael says:

    Bob Miller asks “May I suggest acting so as to give the police no pretext for brutality?”

    Who said they need a pretext? Re-read benshaul: “as the gabaim were moving the crowd back home the police stormed in and arbitrarily began hitting and i personally saw a bochur who was walking quietly get knocked over by a cop on horseback and he needed surgery to fix the broken wrist.”

    So far Rabbi Menken, Mark, benshaul and yy have all said it. Walk down the wrong street and you, too, could be beaten by police.

    The police act in a way designed to bring out the worst in others. It is upsetting that they are so successful and I’m happy to hear that the Eidah is now telling only avreichim in yeshivos to come. But it’s just wrong to apologize as if the charedi community is guilty.

  22. yy says:

    (#11) “Israelis are not polite out of town Americans. They are more in your face over there and maybe niceness is interpreted as weakness. I wonder if that is really so. Maybe those who live in Israel can comment”.

    I’m one of those. Really live here. Just a few minute walk from Mea Shearim. When my kids and I walk to Shul we have to navigate the alleyways properly so not to get swept up in the crowds and inadvertantly attacked by the police for being “one of them.” Tonight (Wednesday) I heard the screams of kids yelling “Shaaaabossssssse” and other battle from my window.

    So yes, L. Oberstein, niceness is interpreted as weakness. And EVERYone’s in your face. Bus drivers, grocery clerks, shteibel hoppers. It certainly is not nice, materially comfortable, politically deliberate America. It’s a harsh place where your “brothers” are constantly vying to take control over your most precious assets, like Shabbos, tsnius, kashrus, shalom with your neighbors… and all too often your parnassa! People are virtually on top of one another, day in and ay out. It’s a powder keg society which armchair American wannabe Gdolim have NO idea about.

    (#17)”the history of the police vs. charedim is almost as complicated as the israelis and arabs, and there is a lot of baggage and blame going back 50 plus years”.

    well said, Benshaul

    (#21) “Sometimes you just have to do your hishstadlus, make a Kiddush Hashem, and move on. Unfortunately, extremists are just that, extreme. They leave no room for compromise, they make no space for the “other”. People like that must be dealt with harshly”.

    Menachem — try applying that to the Gaza evacuation! And presume its your family that’s been living there and self-sacrificing for its success. “Make a kiddush H’ and move on” is an outrageously inanane Americanism to apply here.

  23. Menachem Lipkin says:

    I would be very interested in knowing the instances where peaceful negotiations worked

    Your assumption is faulty. You are assuming that the protesters are right and that the only solution is their solution. Just like with prayer, sometimes the answer is “no”. Maybe there are things worth fighting over, there is room for civil disobedience in democracy, but not every issue has to be a “last stand”. Sometimes you just have to do your hishstadlus, make a Kiddush Hashem, and move on. Unfortunately, extremists are just that, extreme. They leave no room for compromise, they make no space for the “other”. People like that must be dealt with harshly. Frankly, notwithstanding some clear cases of police abuse, I don’t the think the police are doing nearly enough to contain the violence.

    The assertion that police brutality is the “norm” is just false. Here in Bet Shemesh we are often faced with the same type of maniacal behavior by extremist Chareidim. The main complaint here is that the police do too little. And this complaint is heard across the religious spectrum. We have people in our community who liaise with the police and the reality is that they have an extremely difficult task in dealing with criminal behavior by these extremists. For example, it takes a huge police presence just to make a single arrest as 100’s of Chareidim come out of the woodwork and obstruct the police the minute they show up.

    Protesting is healthy. But on balance, despite all the claims of police excesses, the violent extremists get away with far more than they should or would in other societies. Treating them like the criminals they are would benefit everyone.

  24. cvmay says:

    Benshaul,
    In the biography of Rav Lau shli”ta, chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv, he enumerates the many instances of negotiations for shimiras shabbos, kashrus, etc. during the years that he was Chief Rabbi and Rav of the city.

    *violence = accomplishes the end result.
    Sort of reminds me of the story of the abusive husband who battered his wife to submission, then broadcasts to all, how his loving toothless wife
    will follow his every demand.

  25. Shira Halperin says:

    Why don’t the chareidim call the cops on the ones doing violent, destructive things? If they won’t call the police, they bear responsibility for what goes on….

  26. Bob Miller says:

    “May I suggest adding a few words about police brutality?
    Comment by Esther — July 7, 2009 @ 9:28 pm”

    May I suggest acting so as to give the police no pretext for brutality?

  27. Benshaul says:

    Having been in Israel for many a hafgana as a bochur, i would like to add a few comments. 1- in general the eida etc. do NOT sanction violence and when they get a permit for a hafgana they will have mesadrim there to keep it calm. 2- i was at one of those hafganot, going back 20 years ago, and as the gabaim were moving the crowd back home the police stormed in and arbitrarily began hitting and i personally saw a bochur who was walking quietly get knocked over by a cop on horseback and he needed surgery to fix the broken wrist. so the police are FAR from innocent . 3- Israel is not America, and therefore police brutality is the norm, -doesn’t anyone remember the protests and evacuation of Gaza ?- and furthermore in many cases the police themselves act illegally hiding their badges, attacking bystanders, lying in court, etc. I have been witness in many instances to their, or the “yassam” violence so lets not have too much rachmonus on them. 4- I agree that this is a chillul hashem but the history of the police vs. charedim is almost as complicated as the israelis and arabs, and there is a lot of baggage and blame going back 50 plus years. 5- as much as i hate to say this, the facts on the ground are that in many cases it was davka the violence that got anything done or that serves as an impediment. Kikar Shabbos wasnt closed because of negotiations, it was closed because it didnt pay for the city to fight anymore, and they were bloddy battles, and yidden got killed. But in yerushalyim that is part of the collective memories, and we americans need to know that. 6- i saw a letter from a resident of meah shearim that was published on yeshiva world echoed these sentiments from a whole different perspective. 7-
    part of me agrees with Rabbi Horowitz, and yodayim yidei iesav, yet its hard to ignore the anger [in the many instances where justified] of the charedim towards the police or city for their behavior and the reality of it working.

    I would be very interested in knowing the instances where peaceful negotiations worked [in Israel], and i am not saying there weren’t any, but knowing the history of the people and the country as well as the battles fought there , points differently.
    Just food for thought

  28. dovid says:

    “adding a few words about police brutality?”

    Esther, read the title of this threat. It asks: “Sickened by the Chilul Hashem?” It’s about us, how we act and how we are perceived by the outside world. Do we make Hashem proud of us, or the opposite?

  29. The Contarian says:

    Rabbi Adlerstein:

    I believe that you are making a mountain out of a mole hill.

    When societal norms are loosened as in a period of hafganot, society’s miscreants, violent individuas, sickos, and bored teenagers craving excitement come out of the woodwork. This is a universal phenomenon.

    The viloence committed by these fringes of charedi socitey was petty
    compared to what fringes of other groups do in the similar situations.

    I lived in Boro park during the blackout on July 13,1977. I vividly remember seeing one haredi individual dumping garabge out of the public garbage cans and setting a bonfire in the middle of 13th Avenue. I thought that was terrible but later on I had to admit that it was child’s play compared to the looting, shooting, and other mayhem going on all around the city.

    You do not give credit to the Eidah Hachredis for preventing violence at their protest last shabbos by allowing only married men who learn in yeshivahs to attend, They exluded the troublemakers, teenagers and the oysvorfs of ther society. By all accounts, that protest was peaceful.

    The violence that goes on afterward is mainly charedi on charedi violence which is not stopped because the authorities could not care less and even if the would the charedi community would have reservations about calling on the Other.

  30. HF says:

    This is so so sick. We need Moshiach so desperately, poshut to make the secular Yidden of America see their sheker. The Gemara talks about this, how in the Ikvei de’meshicha (footsteps of Moshiach)the amei haaretz will view their viewpoints as if they actually have standing. Jews who are so afraid to be seen as fire to HaKodosh Boruch Hu if ‘oh my’ the secular public will look askance.
    To correct the public, the badatz eida promotes ONLY peaceful demonstrations. the most threatening they promoted was lying in front of the cars before the parking lot. There have been numerous loudspeakers blaring through the streets, to ask that only avreichim come, no bochurim or children. they asked in those same loudspeakers to refrain at any time from violent activity. This is in the name of our heilege Gedolim, Manhigim, Shlichum before HKB’H, who know more than any of us, at all times, regardless of what you think. There was the most beautiful peaceful demonstration last week of 40k+ Yidden who came out on the streets to daven kabalis shabbos, to show our love and devotion to Hashem and His Shabbos.
    Yet people like those such as this readership seem to be so afraid of any type of stance for our Torah. They quickly condemn the few that are violent, and condemn the entire concept, so easily forgetting just how wonderful the media is to chareidim, and may I remind everyone, to Yidden in general. To align yourself with the Jpost, etc shows just where you are standing. Perhaps a letter positioning the truth, and a demand for fair coverage would be more of the call.

  31. Doron Beckerman says:

    The basic problem here is that the violent protestors have the wrong goals set forth for themselves.

    The Brisker Rov said that the Agudah was established for the sake of opposing Zionism, not defeating it. You have to stay within the parameters of the Halachah, use your good sense, and then have Hashem determine the outcome.

    These protestors believe the goal is to shut down the lot. And if violence is the only way to do it – so be it! But they are profoundly mistaken.

    The Chiyuv one has is to protest Chillul Shabbos. When R’ Shlomo Zalman Auerbach attended Shabbat rallies, he asked those around him to not even yell “SHABBOS!” – because there is a Chiyuv to protest, not to yell! The results? Totally not our responsibility, absent a Sanhedrin.

    And they’re destructive in how wrong they are. Not just physically, but spiritually! Hakrav Al HaShabbat! The Battle for Shabbos!

    Sure, with violence you might win this battle. But the real war is for the willing Shabbos observance of millions of Jews around the world who may look to Orthodox Judaism as a model of morality and pleasantness. And with this sort of behavior associated with the Mekadshei Shevii , the war is being lost.

  32. Esther says:

    May I suggest adding a few words about police brutality?

  33. L. Oberstein says:

    I think that if the rioters in Israel would do what we did in Baltimore, they would have a much greater impact. The rally for Shabbos was not only peaceful,but full of song about shabbos, the leaders of the other side were invited to sit on the stage, the message was one of love and concern. If that were tried in Israel, Ithink it would be a game changer. The secular think that the religious hate them, if we demonstrated our love, instead of our disdain, maybe they would be more open to our message There are two problems with my simplistic ananlysis.
    1. We did not succeed this time with our shabbos rally, but we did succeed 11 years ago . On the other hand, the JCC is begging us to institute more programing to bridge the gap. We fought the good fight and did not leave hatred in our midst.
    2.Israelis are not polite out of town Americans. They are more in your face over there and maybe niceness is interpreted as weakness. I wonder if that is really so. Maybe those who live in Israel can comment.

  34. Ori says:

    Motty: and then applauds that philanthropist who will extort the rosh yeshiva (a gadol??) to do the nadvan’s bidding by threatening to withhold his sizable donation. Is this violent act being done with prior consultation?

    Ori: Since when is not giving a gift to a particular charity an act of violence? Are philantropists obligated to support a particular Yeshivah?

  35. Nachum says:

    “all the more so when it is government sanctioned”

    There is no government-sanctioned Chillul Shabbat going on here. To the contrary, the government has gone out of its way to minimize already-existing Chillul Shabbat. (In fact, much of the “Chillul Shabbat” at issue here is committed by non-Jews, and is thus not Chillul Shabbat at all.)

    Try as I might, I can’t think of any examples of “government sanctioned” Chillul Shabbat. But in this case, at least, it is clear there is none, and I posit that this clause should be removed.

  36. CJ Srullowitz says:

    L. Oberstein asks “Who really runs charedi Israel?”

    The question displays a misunderstanding of how Chareidim live, and attributes to Chariedi society a monolithic structure that simply doesn’t exist. The perception of the Modern Orthodox world, lulei demistafina, appears to be that the Chareidim all think and act alike, and that they are “handled” by someone, be it a Godol or a kano’i.

    False. None of those responsible for the actions being reported are doing so so under the advisement of the Gedolim. Think about it: If a pulpit rabbi can’t get his own congregant to stop talking during Chazoras Hashatz, how do we expect a rav, Godol or not, to stop someone from doing what his heart desires? The fact that someone is dressing his violent behavior in Chareidi “levush” is not a reason to assume that he is doing so with the blessing of his rebbe. In his mind, he might even believe he knows better than the rebbe (If Parshas Korach didn’t teach us anything else, at least it should have taught us that much).

    This destructive behavior has nothing to do with Chareidi Judaism and everything to do with human nature. A thug is a thug.

    It is up to the rest of us to react against this behavior with a loud and unequivicol voice.

    Rabbi Adlerstein, thank you for the email addresses and the proposed text.

  37. YM says:

    In the other related post, Rabbi Menkin says “In every other instance, the expectation is that the police will keep order, and with the least amount of violence possible. Only when it comes to charedim is a new standard applied: the Rabbis are blamed for any lack of order, and police brutality, thievery, and unlawful imprisonment is overlooked.”

    Isn’t this EXACTLY the point? We are not allowed to behave the same way that everyone else behaves – if we do, the penalty is multiplied.

    I am really interested in what a Jewish leader is supposed to look like. Especially in the context of leadership in the secular world, where we expect or at least tolerate dishonesty, parsing of words, etc as long as the leader is “successful”, in the opinion of the lead. In the secular world, in most cases, the ends justify the means. I don’t believe this can be true of a Jewish leader.

    I don’t think the current situation is tenable.

  38. Yitzchok Adlerstein says:

    4.I am a bit confused. First Rabbi Adlersaein decries those ‘askanim’ who decide things without the approval of the gedolim and then applauds that philanthropist who will extort the rosh yeshiva (a gadol??) to do the nadvan’s bidding by threatening to withhold his sizable donation.

    Not confusing at all. First of all, your problem is with Rabbi Horowitz, not with me. I’m just reporting. Secondly, I don’t see the contradiction. Everyone – including major donors – has the right to make his feelings and perspectives known. Many changes in Jewish life have occurred because the people on the bottom were able to persuade the gedolim on top of the urgency of a situation. The gedolim can say “no” to pressure if they like, including the financial pressure of the donors. (At that point, the donors usually fold, and listen to their rabbein, which is how it should be.) This is different from the manipulation that goes on by thugs and terrorists who insinuate themselves into semi-official positions of leadership, within earshot of gedolim who are sometimes kept in the dark about the entire picture.

  39. L. Oberstein says:

    I respect both Rabbi Adlerstein and Rabbi Horowitz and I hope that it works,but i am doubtful. I think that the perpetrators couldn’t care less what you think about them. They live in their own world and don’t consider you or me real Jews like them. They are the “chosen few” who live in poverty , dress like Jews, etc. They certainly do not expose themselves or their children to any education for a job. When they walk around my shul in the morning getting dollar bills, what is going on in their minds? The rioters have a branch in Ramat Beit Shemesh. They are oblivious to our concerns.
    The real problem is that for some reason, the next level of ultra-orthodoxy is influenced by them . Is it true or false that Rav Elyashiv is the absolute ruler or chareidi life and that all that passes is only with his guidance? Does he not personally decide who will be Chief Rabbi of Israel, pushing aside a great man like Rav Simcha Kook for someone whom he can control. Does he not decide everything,even though he is over 100 years old and is isolated by his “handlers”? How did Jewish life reach this situation where no one can open their mouth because the Supreme Leader is infallable. Is this Israel or a nearby country we are talking about.
    I have been reading Mishpacha and Hamodia, they are not willing to give an inch about the parking lot, they are retreating from the “deal” made with the mayor out of fear of taint . Who really runs charedi Israel and what are they doing about this chilul Hashem.

  40. motty says:

    I am a bit confused. First Rabbi Adlersaein decries those ‘askanim’ who decide things without the approval of the gedolim and then applauds that philanthropist who will extort the rosh yeshiva (a gadol??) to do the nadvan’s bidding by threatening to withhold his sizable donation. Is this violent act being done with prior consultation?

  41. Bob Miller says:

    How can the Jewish communities target corrective measures directly at wayward askonim, to minimize collateral damage to our precious learning institutions and their personnel?

  42. Yossie Abramson says:

    Won’t this be admitting that their “Creative Mistranslation” was on the mark?

  43. Joel Rich says:

    ” He points a finger at “askanim” who are really in charge, and not Gedolim whom others presuppose are in charge. ”
    ==================================
    Interesting juxtaposition with R’ Doron Beckerman’s earlier post on bloggers where he said “To the left lies a future where the Torah leadership of the Jewish nation has been completely undermined and discredited. Their mistakes held under the microscope, magnified, and determined by the bloggers to be fatal. No longer can they be trusted to lead, and the best course is Ish Hayashar B’einav Yaaseh. Let each man do what is right in his own eyes.”
    =======================================

    Is there a tacit admission that “the Gedolim” (I’d prefer the term manhigim) do not in all cases lead? Perhaps our focus (and this is not just for the charedi community) should be on the models of leadership. Until we are willing to say no to “the askonim” or “the machers” or….(and the we is the community as well), we will get the leadership we deserve/demand by our actions. Also we should be aware there will be a price to pay.

    KT