Middah K’Neged Middah

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There exists an eerie parallel between the treatment of Israel by the international media and the treatment of chareidim in the Israeli media. Within two days of the Gaza flotilla incident, videos showing the Israeli naval commandos who rappelled onto the Mavi Marmara deck being set upon with metal bars and knives were available to all news outlets, and the association of those killed with jihadist groups well-documented.

Nevertheless both the United Nations and the United Nations Human Rights Council pushed forward with demands for an international investigation, and much of the international press continued to write about the event as an act of wanton murder. Reuters took a particularly creative approach to uncomfortable facts: it simply photo-shopped them out of existence. The knife in the hands of one of the jihadists, which had been used to eviscerate the commander of the Israeli forces, disappeared from the Reuters photo.

Moreover, the international press turned the flotilla into a huge public relations success by continuing to write about the “humanitarian crisis” in Gaza as an established fact. Few of those reporting on that crisis seemed the slightest bit interested in actually visiting Gaza to witness the crisis firsthand. Had they done so they would have seen consumer goods in plentiful supply at prices far lower than in neighboring Egypt, and learned that the life expectancy in Gaza is higher and infant mortality far lower than in Turkey, from which the “humanitarian” flotilla was launched.

A similar obliviousness to facts permeates much of the reporting of the chareidi world in the Israeli secular press. The Emmanuel case provides a clear case in point. There is no dispute that over a quarter of the girls in the so-called chassidic track in Emmanuel and nearly one-third of the fathers jailed for contempt were Sephardi. And any reporter who took the time to read the Court’s opinion would have confronted early on a lengthy citation from the report of a non-religious inspector (a former high official in the State Comptroller’s office), appointed by the Education Ministry. He concludes that differing religious standards, not ethnic discrimination, lay behind the division of the Emmanuel Bais Yaakov. He also wrote that no girl of Sephardi origin who agreed to the more rigorous standards of the chassidic track was rejected.

Yet the media continues to report Emmanuel as an open-and-shut case of the most blatant ethnic discrimination. Daniel Gordis, for instance, a respected commentator, described the mass rally in support of the imprisoned parents as a rally to “insist on their right to racial discrimination in their schools.”

BUT THE PARALLELS go much deeper. Both the Europeans’ misrepresentation of everything connected to Israel and the secular media’s treatment of chareidim derive, in part, from an effort to assuage past guilt. Europeans love to portray Israelis as the new Nazis and Gaza as a concentration camp. At anti-Israeli rallies in major European capitals, after the alleged shooting of a Palestinian boy, Mohammed al-Dura, at Netzarim junction in 2000, a favorite poster juxtaposed the iconic photo of the terrified boy cowering behind his father to the famous photo of a frightened Jewish boy with his hands in the air in front of a Nazi soldier. (The only major difference: the footage of the al-Dura “shooting” has since then been conclusively proven to be a hoax.)

French intellectual Alain Finkielkraut describes an entire theory that has enabled European elites to “prove” that the Jews are the new Nazis. According to the theory, a new Europe was born in the ashes of Auschwitz, a Europe so horrified by the Holocaust that its most fundamental lesson was that never again must any people be treated as “the Other,” as somehow less human. While Europeans born since 1945 have all thoroughly internalized the lesson of Europe’s failure during the Holocaust, the theory goes, one people has not: the Jews. Because Jews were the victims and not the perpetrators, they never felt that need to learn the lesson. From there it is but a short step for European elites to conclude that Jews have assumed the role of the new Nazis and the Palestinians that of the Jewish Other.

The beauty of the Nazi-Jew analogy is that it absolves Europeans of their guilt for what they did to the Jews by telling them that the Jews are no better than they, and that if given half a chance would act in an equally genocidal matter towards other peoples.

A similar element is at play in the Israeli media’s obsession with chareidi racism. Amotz Asa-el writes in last week’s Jerusalem Post, that ethnic discrimination “exists nowhere else” besides chareidi society “[because] it is antithetical to the most basic Zionist quest.” Ho-ho-ho. Has Asa-el forgotten how Jews from Arab lands were systematically stripped of their 2,000 year religious-cultural heritage?

He is old enough to remember how the Ashkenazi elite rent its garments and lamented the takeover by the lower orders, the chachakim, when Menachem Begin came to power in 1977. And surely he is familiar with the huge gaps that remain between Ashkeanazim and Sephardim in Israeli society. Portraying the chareidim as the only reservoir of the racism of the Galut can only be understood as an effort to achieve absolution.

ONE QUESTION REMAINS: Could there also be an element of middah k’neged middah in the treatment of chareidim by the Israeli media and the chareidi media itself? The Emmanuel case brings the question sharply to the fore because an element of a Divine gezeirah seems evident in the portrayal of chareidim. The Slonimer Chassidim accused of racism are among the least vulnerable groups in chareidi society to that charge. Ahavas Yisrael permeates the Nesivos Shalom of the previous rebbe. Almost alone among major chassidic groups, Slonimer chassidim did not withdraw from the general Bais Yaakov system in Jerusalem in1989 to set up their own schools.

Perhaps we should ask ourselves whether the objectivity of our own media is ever subverted by partisanship. Do we ever ignore major events in the chareidi world because they are sponsored by groups with whom we do not identify? Do we ever refuse to identify major players in important events by name, as a means of showing contempt? Just asking.

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34 Responses

  1. pk says:

    The article started off speaking about “Midah Keneged Midah” re the Israeli Press portrayal of Chareidim having some relationship with the World Press treatment of Israel and then veered off to Imanuel as an example of the Secular Press in Israel’s treatment of Chareidim. The Talkbacks then speak completely about Immanuel. I think the Immanuel example of how the Secular press treats Chareidim is not the best example. There are hundreds of examples where the Secular press is vicious in its treatment of Chareidim. We should organize “Honest Reporting” of “Camera” for Chareidim and juxtapose vicious and semi vicious articles in the Secular press against Chareidim vs vicious and semi vicious articles in the World press against Israel. Then we should put these up as ads on busses etc. Maybe this will make some of the Secular press rethink the way it reports about Chareidim.

  2. dovid 2 says:

    Simcha Younger: “Perhaps if they had sued to be admitted to the Ashkenazi school there would be some merit to this argument, but as they instead to sued to close it, it is hard to argue they were trying to improve their own education.”

    You know as well as everyone else that the argument was about the wall and the humiliation resulting from the it, and not about the new track per se. “They are spilling our blood …” How can you take such feelings lightly? Or, are you saying that they are also paranoid? Had the chassidische track relocate elsewhere which they should have, the plaintiffs wouldn’t have demanded that, no, they must come back and integrate with the rest. It was wrong to build the wall.

    A good Shabbos to everyone.

  3. dovid 2 says:

    Tziki, I live in America, but I am Israeli, born of Hungarian parents. I know quite a few Sephardim and found them a pretty confident lot. I was one of the the only two Ashkenazim in my squad, worked with them, and have relatives married to Sephardim. I haven’t met one Sephardi that thought of himself as a nebach case because of his/his parent’s country of origin. If anything, I found Ashkenazi Jews from Romania very self conscious about their country of origin. Three months into Israel, they refused to speak their old language. Rak Ivrit (even if it was still pretty broken)

    “2 brothers …1 came to israel as a child and became a drug dealer…the other is a famous doctor in france”

    I don’t know the story. All I can see from your statement is four statements of fact: (1) someone immigrated as a child to Israel, (2) his brother at one point found himself in France, (3) the one in Israel became a drug dealer, and (4) the one in France became a famous doctor. Where is inferiority complex here?

    “90 percent of prisoners are sefardim in israel”
    I don’t about 90%, but yes, the majority of the prison population is sephardi. But I assure you that none of them suffers of inferiority complex. But have you ever thought the reason the brother in Israel is a drug dealer and the majority of the inmates are Sephardim? You know, there were no Jewish inmates in Arab jails sentenced for civil crimes or drug use or deals? Maybe the medina’s policy of social engineering by forcefully uprooting the Sephardim from their traditions and religion has something to do with it?

  4. Chaim Wolfson says:

    “Yes it applies to Israel as well – cheshbon hanefesh is always appropriate and often leads to a better outcome” (joel rich July 22nd, 2010 at 6:59 pm)

    Criticism can be constructive even if it’s not intended to be, but not if it has no substance. More often than not, the criticism leveled at Israel can only engender the type of cheshbon hanefesh the children of Yaakov Avinu engaged in in Bereishis 42:28.

  5. dovid 2 says:

    ”– Is there a particualr passage we have in mind?”

    I appreciate your eagerness to fight without cause for what’s worth. No one in this thread, nor my comments discussed the issue of intermingling or intermarriage across tribal lines, etc. Rashi tells us that HKBH gave us the Torah when He gave it because that was a unique moment in Jewish history in that we were united as one. Chazal and later on baalei mussar have repeatedly pointed out that we lost battles with the neighbors during the reign of our first king because of lack of national unity, backstabbing, etc. despite Saul Hamelech’s tzidkus, as well as that of Dovid’s and Shmuel HaNavi’s, while we won our battles in the time of Ahav, despite the long list of averos chamuros committed by him, his family, and much of the nation, because of relative unity within k’lal Israel as exemplified by the nation refusing to reveal Ovadia’s sheltering and feeding of 100 neviim. I trust no modern-day wall builders in the k’lal claim they are busy building walls to ensure the purity of their tribal descent.

    “I cannot think of any offhand which criticize the Jews for having distinct communities within the nation.”

    Let me give you two examples of zealous wall builders that come to mind. The leader of one large group passed away. Two of his descendants, fortified with armies of supporters, fought tooth and nail who should become the next leader. Money, prestige, and influence were at stake. They couldn’t agree. Neither side would back down. Since fist fights couldn’t tilt the balance, they went to civil court. The judge declined to determine who should be the next leader. The issue of Hillul Hashem didn’t seem to have crossed their minds. Eventually, they split. One splinter is in New York, the other one is in upstate New York. Another wall. There is another comparable group that had a similar kind of fight. They also split. The two new groups are two blocks apart in Boro Park. I hear they are not in speaking terms with one another. More walls. Do you think these continuous pirrud, and bitter fights and rivalries, not l’shem shomaym will bring Moshiach, or that they reflect the will of HKBH?

  6. Tal S. Benschar says:

    Just to be clear, when I said “I think the Sephardim have somewhat of an inferiority complex” I meant the Sephardic parents in Immanuel, not Sephardim in general. Acc. to their version of events (as CL presents it), they are just as God-fearing and medakdek in mitzvos as the Slonimer, except they insist on adhering to their own customs and don’t want to become Ashkenazim. (The Slonimer tell a different story, of course, but I am writing le shitasam.)

    If I were in that position, my response would be, “I am proud of my own heritage and customs, and we are going to have our own school of God-fearing parents and children who adhere to our own customs. If you think you are superior, you have something else coming to you.”

    I certainly would NOT bring suit in a secular court to force parents to send their chidlren to our school where they are not wanted.

  7. Yitzhak says:

    Simcha Younger wrote:
    “When the parents went to a beis din Lalum refused to go (lying to the media about it also) and the beis din publicized a letter clearly blaming him for not cooperating, and acknowledging that the parents had properly accepted the authority of the beis din.”

    Accusations of lying have been made in both directions; R. Yaakov Yosef (in the Kikar HaShabat interview) has accused a member of the Beis Din of lying:

    “A man, a judge in Israel, lies. He said in the media ‘R. Yaakov Yosef was here and he signed borrerus.’ That man has a son who is currently found there, in jail, to our pain. And the Beis Din therefore has difficulty judging in the matter.”

  8. Tziki says:

    Dovid 2…you must live in america…any one with eyes sees the safardim have an inferiority complex…90 percent of prisoners are sefardim in israel… I already wrote i know 2 brothers …1 came to israel as a child and became a drug dealer…the other is a famous doctor in france,,,that’s to say in israel they have a complex , france and america not…

  9. Simcha Younger says:

    dovid2: “HKBH’s re-occurring taana throughout the Tanach IS NOT our lack of chumros, but lack of unity within k’lal Israel.”

    — Is there a particualr passage we have in mind?
    The torah actually seems to clearly expect peaceful division within Jewry. There is geographic seperation basde on family lines (the portions of each tribe), there is different expected occupations (Yissachar as scholars, Zevulun as merchants, Levi as judges, Shimon as teachers).
    There are many passages in the Tanach crticizing the jews for aggression against each other, but I cannot think of any offhand which criticize the Jews for having distinct communities within the nation.

  10. Simcha Younger says:

    Miriam: “The plaintiffs started with a beis din. The defendants did not show up. At which point halacha states that the beis din gives a heter for the plaintiff to turn to the secular courts.”
    Can you provide any source for this? It is the first I have heard of such a thing. Was the ‘ksav seruv’ (The beis din’s authorozation to go to the secular court) ever published? Did they even identify which beis din it was that they went to?
    When the parents went to a beis din Lalum refused to go (lying to the media about it also) and the beis din publicized a letter clearly blaming him for not cooperating, and acknowledging that the parents had properly accepted the authority of the beis din.

  11. Simcha Younger says:

    dovid2:
    — “the Sephardim have no inferiority complexes at all…. Litvishe yeshivos have been superior to the yeshivos of other streams for quite a while, and the non-Litvishe welt is simply giving recognition to this fact.”

    Perhaps if they had sued to be admitted to the Ashkenazi school there would be some merit to this argument, but as they instead to sued to close it, it is hard to argue they were trying to improve their own education.

  12. dovid 2 says:

    Tal S. Benschar writes: ” … the Sephardim have somewhat of an inferiority complex.” “The Lithuanians and Chassidim each have their own groups, customs and yeshivas. Neither seem especially put out that that the other group feel themselves superior in some ways.)”

    The Sephardim have no inferiority complexes at all. They are ganz all right. And they are also sharp and have a healthy sense of humor. If we are talking about complexes, wall builders have superiority complexes. About Sephardim wanting to learn in Litvische yeshivos, guess what, there are plenty of Chassidim learning in Slobodka (Bnei Brak), Ponovitch, Mir, etc. Litvishe yeshivos have been superior to the yeshivos of other streams for quite a while, and the non-Litvishe welt is simply giving recognition to this fact. Chazal residing in Eretz Yisroel often went to learn in Bavel not because they had inferiority complexes, but because Bavel was a superior makom Torah.

  13. joel rich says:

    Chaim Wolfson
    July 21st, 2010 at 12:45 pm
    “As we say – if enough people tell you you look ill, maybe you better lie down” (comment by joel rich, July 19th, 2010 at 1:11 pm).

    ——————————————-

    The actual quote was : As we say – if enough people tell you you look ill, maybe you better lie down ( or at least consider alternative explanations with a healthy dose of concern that they may be right)

    Yes it applies to Israel as well – cheshbon hanefesh is always appropriate and often leads to a better outcome
    KT

  14. Miriam says:

    CL wrote: Let’s assume that the plaintiffs here had the purest of motives. What they did was turn to a secular court that has an anti-Charedi and indeed anti-religious agenda.

    The plaintiffs started with a beis din. The defendants did not show up. At which point halacha states that the beis din gives a heter for the plaintiff to turn to the secular courts.

    They have now created a precedent that secular courts in Israel are empowered to order parents….

    It’s a bit strong for you to say that the plaintiffs wished for the entire mess the Supreme Court whipped up. And perhaps the defendants are equally to blame for rejecting the invitation to address the complaints within a religious framework?

  15. Bob Miller says:

    We ought to restrain ourselves from getting too wrapped up in midah-knegged-other-people’s-midah.

  16. Tal S. Benschar says:

    CL:

    Let’s assume that the plaintiffs here had the purest of motives. What they did was turn to a secular court that has an anti-Charedi and indeed anti-religious agenda. They have now created a precedent that secular courts in Israel are empowered to order parents — individually and on pain of contempt and jail — to send their children to a school they consider harmful to their children’s education, and that any objections can be dismissed as so much fanaticism. It is the Court, and only the Court, that gets to decide. Your preferences as a parent count for nothing. You like that result, CL?

    If the Shas parents and leadership do not understand that this double-edged sword can and likely will in the near future be turned against them, then they are indeed fools. And to the extent they might avoid that result, it will be because of 100,000 to 200,000 who turned out for a protest against the Court’s gross over-reaching.

    (Frankly, some of the complaints you list are off the mark. So some children made fun of other children. Not nice, in fact an issur Torah, but it happens all the time.

    As for parents deciding with whom their children can and cannot associate, that is my right as a parent. I don’t let my children associate with just anyone, and I don’t think that is due to sinat chinam or lack of ahavas yisrael.

    Finally, I think the Sephardim have somewhat of an inferiority complex. Why not set up your own school, in which you are proud of your Sephardic (or Edot ha Mizrach, if you prefer) heritage, customs and practices? They have plenty to be proud of.

    The Lithuanians and Chassidim each have their own groups, customs and yeshivas. Neither seem especially put out that that the other group feel themselves superior in some ways.)

  17. Simcha Younger says:

    If every person may choose their own Truth, and pursue their self-granted Entitlements through any means at their disposal, and there is no common Law which regulates social interaction, then there is no society at all. There is nothing which connects any two people, except the ability of one to overpower the other.
    Even if Lallum and Yaakov Yosef are right, can they also claim the right to unilaterally declare themselves right, and to give themselves further the right to act on their feelings without any law which they must obey? If that is true, cannot every person do the same?
    The Torah is the law which governs the interaction between Jews. It is what each of us commit to as a religious Jew in our dealing with each other, as a total commitment, both in that all that is in it is fully binding, and that all that is not in it cannot create a compelling claim between us. If this bond is not respected, we no longer have a religious society, or any Jewish society at all. If one can claim in the name of their religion that which their religion does not grant them, they have no religion, and no moral claim.
    When we consider what conclusions to draw from the story, it cannot be enough to point to division as a justification for what was done, because as soon as one side decides it is free fron the common law, there is nothing connecting us, and no meaning to arguments of division.
    I believe that there was no justification at all for what was done, and therefore believ it is correct for those who consider the place of God in their lives to ask what lessons God may have been teaching us. But those who beleive that the lawsuit was just will not be looking for a message, because there is no message in the correct consequences of incorrect behavior. But they must still ask themselves a more important question, that if they were correct in the way they sought redress, then there is no law, and no society, and nothing which has meaning between us.

  18. Miriam says:

    Mida kneged mida? I seem to remember a suggestion years ago that the Intifada was also a mida kneged mida. How’s it go? People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones….

  19. Chaim Wolfson says:

    “As we say – if enough people tell you you look ill, maybe you better lie down” (comment by joel rich, July 19th, 2010 at 1:11 pm).

    By that logic, Israel must be guilty of genocide against the Palestinian as well. After all, “enough people” are telling them they are.

    I have never understood how the media can be so wrong about Israel and so right about everything else. Maybe the answer is that they’re not. Or is it just that the Israeli media has much higher standards then, say, the NY Times?

  20. cvmay says:

    Michael
    It is evident that your research/investigation into the Emanuel issue which has been simmering on the back burner for over three years is quite inadequate. Read some of the charedei press which interviewed families from the original Bais Yaakov, Rav Yakov Yosef’s interview, quotes and statements from Chachem Yosef and Aryeh Deri. You are seeing less than the tip of the iceberg.

  21. dovid 2 says:

    The world according to Michael and many others: Who is this Charedi Leumi stirring the pot? The humiliation was imaginary. There really was only one bad guy, in the employ of NIF, who for mercenary reasons, waged war against us, the true, blue blooded Charedim, and went to the Israeli Supreme Court, etc. We, Charedim, we are squeaky clean. There is no substance to the claims of this chronic malcontent Charedi Leumi. Therefore, “Case closed.”

    Why have we for the thousand, nine hundred and fortieth time mourned the destruction of the Temple? It’s because of the walls we never stopped building to separate one group from other legitimate groups, because one group believes it’s superior to the others. HKBH’s re-occurring taana throughout the Tanach IS NOT our lack of chumros, but lack of unity within k’lal Israel. The families on the “wrong” side of the wall in Emanuel were bona fide, Gd fearing Jews, not any less than you and I are. Most likely more so. Chacham Yosef didn’t say Yoav Lallum had no case as you, Michael, in a most cavalier fashion claim. All he said was that Lallum should have brought his case to bais din for adjudication. Furthermore, one of his sons was very involved at various stages in the case.

    Do you want to practice or take on a chumra? Kol hakavod. But if the only way of practicing it is by building walls, or offending good Jews, desist until the circumstances allow you to practice it in an unobtrusive fashion. After all, you took on the chumra to come closer to HKBH and not for the show, or is it the other way around?

    This “victory” that you, Michael are celebrating will come with a steep price. One immediate casualty will be the increased mistrust and sinna between the Charedi and secular sectors of the Israeli society, which in turn will result in the unwanted message that BTs are not welcome. But, alas, those busy building walls have historically been apathetic to attracting BTs.

    With regards to your original question as to who this Charedi Leumi is, all I can tell you is that through his penname he must want to inform us that he belongs to a group of dedicated people for whom ahavas Eretz Israel and ahavas Ahm Israel are not abstract concepts, but most cherished values for which they have been repeatedly moser nefesh and moser guf. They are also against walls within machane Israel. That explains why the majority of the Charedi Teimanim in Eretz Israel are kipa s’ruga.

  22. dr. bill says:

    Simcha Younger
    July 19th, 2010 at 7:19 am
    dr. bill – can you explain why the comparison of Levy to sonei Yisroel is wrong? We have unfortunately throughout our history had such people, who despite thier Jewishness and even their professed religion, acted against us. Such analogies are entirely appropriate here.
    Also, the principle of ‘Midah Knegged Midah’ is taught to us so that we can use to to interpret the events we experience and witness. We should not say we definitely know why a specific event occurred, but we should search for the most reasonable suggestion. Here, applying ‘midah knegged midah’ is definitely suggested by the events.

    Your first question is followed by an assertion about individuals who despite their apparent religiosity were not. And therefore – ergo?? The fact that men have walked on the moon, does not imply that judge levy has. and to answer your question, to call someone a sonei yisroel would require some evidence that their actions are so motivated. I could imagine other (MUCH more plausible) reasons for the judge’s behavior. I dare say that I would not call someone I strongly disagree with and believe is causing irreparable harm to klal Yisroel a soneai yisroel; his intentions may be altogether good and honorable whether you judge his actions positively or negatively. Your first question is not torah and hence response is permitted tonight.

    Your second question or claim, is a commonly espoused/populist view of religion in general and Judaism in particular. It assumes that to learn a lesson of “what to do” in response to an event requires that we understand “why” the event occured. For us even to deign to understand middah keneged middah, even as you say to determine the most reasonable cause, assumes our having God like knowledge and perspective. if one must motivate their response by assuming “why” there is NO reason to tell others. And I know there are in every generation popular religious figures who express themselves as if they know the “real” reason for an event. But for us to know or guess at God’s reasons, is in fact asserting that we can approximate His knowledge. That to me is not dissimilar from us being able to describe His hand or His throne. Ki Lo machshevosai machshevosaichem does not only say God’s wisdom or knowledge is deeper or broader; it means we can say NOTHING to describe a Divine attribute in human terms and certainly not why things occur. I write this tonite, because it is fundamental to understanding Eicha, the tragic event that we mourn and how we must respond but never deign to explain.

  23. joel rich says:

    As we say – if enough people tell you you look ill, maybe you better lie down ( or at least consider alternative explanations with a healthy dose of concern that they may be right)
    KT

  24. Adam says:

    The issue that needs to be better explained is exactly what veering to the left or to the right means. Because to some (e.g. “Charedi Leumi”) it means going to far and in doing so missing Torah whereas to others (e.g. “Charedi” in general) it means not going far enough to ensure the Law is never broken.

    This is the issue that needs to be discussed because this is the issue where good intentions from both sides are being funneled and the conflict is thus arising.

  25. Simcha Younger says:

    I would suggest some other midah-knegged-midah possibilities that the chareidi community can consider.
    1) The courts decide based on their world-view, and hide behind the ‘law’, which played no part in their decision. — we have seen too many times that ‘halacha’ has been used to tell us to do things which are not based on halacha, and whether they are correct or not should not be said in the name of the halacha.
    2) The courts consider their world-view binding on the whole country — people are expected to listen to ‘daas torah’ even from people they have not chosen to be their Rabbinic authority, but only because the relevant ‘daas torah’ was selected by other central players in the community.
    3) The courts have taken responsibility for education from the parents — many schools likewise seem to believe that they are responsible for the education of the students and the parents are their stand-in after hours, instead of seeing themselves as the appointees of the father, who is the one who must ultimately make all educational decisions.
    4) judges seem to believe they may say what they like, and everyone must accept it as true. — Many questionable pronouncements should have been properly explained to the community, instead of being defended by the assertion that what is said must be accepted. (I will specifically excluded here many issues which were defended, but there are those who do not accept the explanation. The choice of each person to accept or reject an explanation does not alter the fact that an explanation was given.)

  26. Simcha Younger says:

    dr. bill – can you explain why the comparison of Levy to sonei Yisroel is wrong? We have unfortunately throughout our history had such people, who despite thier Jewishness and even their professed religion, acted against us. Such analogies are entirely appropriate here.
    Also, the principle of ‘Midah Knegged Midah’ is taught to us so that we can use to to interpret the events we experience and witness. We should not say we definitely know why a specific event occurred, but we should search for the most reasonable suggestion. Here, applying ‘midah knegged midah’ is definitely suggested by the events.

  27. Yitzhak says:

    Michael: Are you aware that one of R. Ovadyah’s own sons supported Laloum? Do you think *he* cares about his Olam Haba?

    “What, in your opinion, does your father Maran Ha’Rav Ovadyah think about this matter?

    Father suffers the pain of the discrimination, he is speaking in a general way against going to the BG”Z, and we, too. But when you have no choice, certainly Father himself thinks so.”

    And see the rest of the article [in kikarshabat]. The Haredi press unfortunately often neglects to mention such things in their discussions of the affair.

  28. Chareidi Leumi says:

    >The schools were separated, and a wall was put up to separate the schools.

    Oh, and it was a wall in the middle of the SAME SCHOOL on the SAME CAMPUS. And the wall was just the tip of the iceberg. Different uniforms. Not being allowed to socialize with girls from the other track as well as daily verbal humiliations which were reported by girls from the “less pure” track. Did you see in the interviews with the parents or the sephradi children saying how much “more fun” it is with the ashkenazi girls gone (since the ashkenazi girls would according to them start various arguments with the “less pure” girls). Do you think Lallum was just searching the map for a segragated school??? The parents approached him!! Lallum only joined the case in the middle of the procedings!

    Rav Ovadia Shlit”a is far more amblivalent on the matter than you present. He ordered shas not to take part in the protest against Bagatz. He wishes this could have been settled out of court but sees the postion of the ashkenazi rabbis in Emanuell as posing a real problem for Klal Yisrael.

    Hashem should protect us from the kind of sinaat hinam that the sephardic girls and their parents in Emanuel were subjected to.

  29. Chareidi Leumi says:

    >Who is this “Charedi Leumi,” and how does he imagine he knows what went on in Emanuel?

    Do you really think that there is only one side to the story of Emanuel and that the Chareidi sources you go to for information are the ones portraying it in a fair and ballanced manner? Did you read the interview with R’ Yaakov Yosef Shlit”a? Did you read any of the interviews with parents in Emanuel whose girls were humilitated for having different minhagim and standards? Do you actually believe that the widespread anger and frustration that sephardi parents from Emanuel and all over the country have expressed towards shas over their silence is mere secular media propaganda? Do you actually believe that Yoav Lallum (who has dedicated his life to batteling anti-Sephardic discrimination in Ashkenazic schools) is a European agent sent to destroy ashkenazi chareidim??? You actually think that this is Lallum (who you dare to associate with Korach) vs. the entire Chareidi world?

    I dare say, that I am pretty well connected to the Shas Chareidi world and if your attitude on this topic (everything is fine and there is nothing that needs to change) is very widespread, then we are headed towards conflicts in the Chareidi world that will make Emanuel seem like a sunday brunch.

    > “There’s nothing the Charedi world could have done — or should have done — to avoid this”

    This is the most astonishing quote of all.

  30. Yitz Turner says:

    please see my comment to R’Adlerstien’s Ais Tzarah Hi L’Yaakov and his response.
    Humans like to live in a world of obvious cause and effect and it might seem obvious that this is Israels punishment for their treatment of Charedim but the mistake we (religous jews) can make is, this is the Chilonims fault and sit smugly on the side line knowing we are right.

    R’ Adlerstein please share with us your opinion. In addition to the geo-political aspects as to why things happen, as Jews we should also take into account our spiritual deeds as well. With out taking the course “what is G-d thinking” ( a line told to me by Rabbi B. Wein) there is an eerie coincidence that the Israeli press vilifies the charadeim, blows things out of proportion and reports facts out of context. This is basicly what the world is doing to Israel. Perhaps the antidote is more than having a good PR team but some introspection in the secular Israeli media is in order.

    [YA – It was the function of the navi to know such things, and I have no such delusions of grandeur. Connecting the dots is not difficult – it is impossible and unreasonable in the absence of a navi. Perhaps the connection is not to the secular press’ treatment of charedim, but to bitul Torah. Or concerts. Or worms in fish. Or sheitels. Or ignoring abuse in the community. Or Rebbes who will stab Israel in the back. Or maybe even the way some charedim treat police officers, or garbage bins, or even secular journalists. Maybe it is to the silence of the majority as a dozen off-the-wall minorities do unspeakable things in the name of Torah.

    My opinion? I will do better than that. I will tell you a vort I heard from R. Yaakov Kaminetsky zt”l at a Torah Umesorah convention. He pointed to multiple opinions regarding when (and if!) Iyov lived. Each opinion conveyed a different moral lesson. The point of the gemara is that in the absence of any information to decide between competing theories, we are obligated to be guided by all those lessons! When we cannot decide which of our shortcomings is responsible for what seems to be an exercise of Midas HaDin, we are dutibound to address all of them!]

  31. Michael says:

    Who is this “Charedi Leumi,” and how does he imagine he knows what went on in Emanuel?

    The schools were separated, and a wall was put up to separate the schools. Meanwhile, anyone could choose to go to either school regardless of ethnic background — purely based on their religious choices. Where’s the humiliation?

    Actually, the “humiliation” was imaginary. Charedi Leumi claims “parents” were unable to air their grievances and their “only recourse” was the secular courts. Can he name even one family? The plaintiff on the lawsuit to the secular courts was Yoav Lallum, who is a resident of Jerusalem, and who receives money from the NIF to wage a war against Ashkenazi Charedim. The NIF also funds an Arab think-tank which reported that “the Jewish state is inherently illegitimate,” and provided funding to those responsible for 92% of the allegations in the Goldstone Report. There is as much truth in Lallum’s war against Emanuel as there is in the Goldstone Report.

    This has nothing to do with racism and, in fact, nothing to do with education, just with a modern-day Korach following his own agenda. There’s nothing the Charedi world could have done — or should have done — to avoid this. If Lallum cared about his Olam Haba he would have listened to HaRav Ovadiah Yosef. Case closed.

  32. dr. bill says:

    two serious issues:

    1) by implication you are comparing judge Levy to sonai Yisroel; i assume that was not intentional. there are yet other analogies that your essay brings to mind. do we really need any such analogies?

    2) does even the hint of middah kenegged middah with its implication of Divine influence, have any purpose, particularly during the period of the nine days? we will reread “ki lo machshevosai machshevosaichem.” As the Rav ztl stresses never deign to explain “why”, only “what” we might do to improve ourselves. I am sure all of us can find lessons on how we can improve, absent any need to fault others.

  33. Chareidi Leumi says:

    >The Slonimer Chassidim accused of racism are among the least vulnerable groups in chareidi society to that charge.

    Why does no one seem to appreciate that even if we accept the narrative of this post regarding the Emanuel incident – the resulting image is in no way an illustration of proper Ahavat Israel. The best case scenario is one where frum girls who adhered to Halacha were humiliated (and don’t tell me how they SHOULD have interpreted the wall that was put up to separate them from the other “pure” girls – fact is that they FELT humiliated) because they did not adhere to stringencies that are in not way reflective of normative Halacha.

    The parents of these girls (who also associate with the Hareidi world) were unable to get any satisfaction for their grievances for YEARS and felt that their only recourse was to go to the secular courts.

    How is this indicative of Ahavat Yisrael?

    What reward justifies the cost of this extremism?

    Where is the tolerance for people who are religiously different?

    Where is the cheshbon nefesh regarding the cost of ultra-insularity?

    I have many more questions but am shocked that such a spiritually revolting situation is being portrayed as a battle for Torah ideology. If I believed that the parents of Emanuelle represented Torah I would want no part of it nor would most Jews I know. Even if your narrative is correct and the Slonomers are innocent of the charge of racism, there is nothing that I see here that will acquit them from how they treated those young beis yaakov girls on the other side of the wall. “religious standards” should never become a fig leaf for trampling a young girl’s self-esteem or self-image.

  34. L. Oberstein says:

    You are right but take it further and ask why it is so. There is a religious conflict in Israel that .Thank G-d, is not murderous like in Iraq. However, the resentment, mutual distrust, anger and fear of what the future will bring are very palpable. If more chareidim are in the work force, more involved in all aspects of the country, share in the defense and pay taxes, and got involved in the media, there would be a different story. The fact is that Jonathan Rosenbloom is a one of a small number of people who explain orthodoxy to the general media. Israelis are lousy about hasbara, on every level. They don’t get it when it comes to explaining your position to the world or to other group in your own country.
    If one is secular, there is a lot to fear about the future of the State of Israel as it presently is constituted. What percentage of the Religious Zionist population is as angry at the chareidim as are the secular and maybe more so.I just read that such a group is suing to abolish insurance reductions for Kollel fellows.