Tuesday, February 12, 2008

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Culture War

by Akiva at Mystical Paths

Yitz, commenting on my Defending the Torah vs. Loving Your Fellow article wrote:

"While I can "hear" your point to a great extent, I think you kinda lost it in your last sentence, even tho it was in parenthesis:

(Of course, it is possible in Israel that some violently secular policeman did choose to cruise a religious neighborhood on Shabbos just to upset the residents. I prefer to look with a good eye, however.)

Where is your good eye toward the Chareidim? Do you really feel their pain? If it were Yassamnikim coming thru a Nitzan or other former Hitnatkut area & they booed him, how would you react? If Sharon got out of his coma & drove thru?

I realize that I'm probably in the minority, but I have to agree with most of what Ben-Yehuda wrote above. I also once heard from a Rav I highly respect, that the Chareidim shout "Shabbos" out of pain, their pain of seeing another Jew defiling the sanctity of the holy Day. In addition, they say it for themselves - as a kind of reminder, "Hey even if you saw a Jew driving, remember it's...SHABBOS!!!"

In an area for improvement, I find in Israel many people are so invested in their position that they rarely see the other with a good eye, or rather rarely see the other as a brother or even a person! As R. Nati's post of the past, interacting with a Yassamnik (who now shows up in his yeshiva), he never really considered charedim brothers or even people. This doesn't seem to matter whether it's a store clerk (the "small head", 'oh, it's a customer, do I truly have to be bothered'), bus driver, or government official.

I consider this an outgrowth of the socialist and communist background of the country, where people are divided and have to fight for their piece of the pie, and have to push down the other to get that piece (as opposed to trying to bake a bigger pie!)

There's a famous story from the Chofetz Chaim. The yeshiva administration came to tell him that they caught one of the talmidim (students) being mechalel Shabbos (violating the Shabbos). They requested permission to expel the student. The Chofetz Chaim told them to send him the young man.

The story was told by Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, zt"l, who told it in Miami and said, "we don't know what the Chofetz Chaim said, but we know it was only a few minutes, the young man left the Chofetz Chaim in tears, became Shomer Shabbos (returned to Shabbos observance) and stayed in the yeshiva." When Reb Shlomo told this story, he says in the back an old man got up, said HE was that student, and told him what the Choftez Chaim said...

He came to his office terrified. The Chofetz Chaim, already a very old man, slowly came over to him, took his hand, and _cried_ "Shabbos, Shabbos..." and his hot tears fell on the young man's hand.

If people are crying out from their hearts, Shabbos, Shabbos, then their actions are understandable, and a message from the heart will be heard by the heart. But, while it may have started like that in the past, in a crowd that's not how the young men are acting now.

If a rav was leading the kehillah to block a road, with tears in his eyes for Shabbos, I would join him.

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