Thursday, August 28, 2008

// // 37 comments

Lies and Statistics

by Reb Akiva at Mystical Paths

"What are you doing here?" asked the pension specialist as he signed me up for the company plan in Israel 10 years ago. "I work here" I responded. "No no, I mean, what are you doing here?" he asked again. "Umm, working here to support my family?" I tentatively responded, clearly not understanding what he was asking. "No no, I mean, what are you doing here, you people don't work."

The common street belief among secular Israelis is charedim (the ultra-orthodox) don't work. And while it is true that they are not significantly represented in the offices and stores of Tel Aviv, today Haaretz prints an article "proving" charedim don't work that shows the exact opposite.

Haaretz: Record yeshiva enrollment predicted to cost economy NIS 5 billion!!!! - Oh my oh me, those darn charedim are stealing 5 BILLION FREAKING SHEKEL from us! Hmm, lets read further...

Some 63,000 young men are expected to begin studying this week in kollels...The rate paid by the Education Ministry for every student is roughly NIS 720 per month, or NIS 8,640 annually. Ok trusty calculator, lets do the math. 8640 x 63000 = 544,320,000. Wait a minute, that's 544 _million_, not 5 billion? Did Haaretz misplace a decimal point? I think they noticed the problem, as next they try to buff up their numbers...

In the regular ultra-Orthodox yeshivas, in which most students are at the age that most Jewish Israelis are serving in the military, some 30,000 students were enrolled last year, a figure also expected to climb this year...The cost of funding study in those institutions is NIS 400 a month, or NIS 4,800 a year. Eww, ouch, nice jab Haaretz on serving in the military - but a statement of incredible ignorance - it's yeshiva if they're not married, kollel if they are. Regardless, lets go to the calculator: 4800 x 30000 = 144,000,000. 544,320,000 + 144,000,000 = 688,320,000. That's not 5 billion, what's going on here? I thought they taught basic math in Israeli secular schools?

So here it is, the secular Israeli complaint against Torah study in Israel. How many people in Israel are studying Torah at the "expense" of the State and working population? How much of a drain are those charedim from Israeli society? What do you think - 25%? 40%? Could, (not G-d) forbid it be 50%? How can poor Israel be expected to support such a burden? Here it is, from secular Haaretz itself...

The 95,000 students in kollels and yeshivas represent 3.5 percent of working-age _men_.

That's it folks, 3.5% of the Israel _male_ population is studying Torah full time. Just to play the same numbers game, most Israeli women are in the workforce, which means we divide 3.5% in half (as men are half the workforce) to see a total workforce impact of:

1.75%

Now lets talk about the money they receive. NIS 720 per month = $200 per month. For a family, husband, wife, children, to live on. While many Torah families live a very frugal life, no one in Israel can live with less than 8 times that number or so (and that's living the poorest lifestyle). So where's all that extra money coming from?

The wife works - the parents help - the husband works a bit on the side - charity collected abroad and locally helps support the Torah learning - local food and clothing charity also helps support the Torah learning - stores and businesses give special discounts (forgoing their profits) to Torah students. This is the choice of the family and the religious communities in Israel and abroad to support Torah learning rather than buying a big screen TV. This is the community's choice on where to put their money. Torah first.

Haaretz's 5 billion shekel fantasy statistic assumes all those men go to work and the whole community starts buying big screen TV's, going to movies and the disco, buys a car, vacations in Cyprus, shops at the mall and hangs out at the espresso bar...


A 2004 Knesset report found that if members of the community participated in the workforce as do the general population, their contribution would be close to NIS 5 billion.

But the religious community doesn't subscribe to the "general population's" lifestyle, and therefore chooses to participate and direct their funds according to their priorities. Funny, I never see articles in Pennsylvania about the Amish not contributing to modern society. Only in Israel. 1.75%

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37 comments:

yitz.. said...

i wonder what the unemployment rate is ... don't you think there's probably another 1.75% of the workforce that is similarly unemployed that doesn't learn in kollel..?

גילוי said...

Akiva,

I sure wish you wouldn't force me to defend Haaretz.

The sub-katavah on the front page of haaretz right now is:

Funding for 63,000 students costs state NIS 685 million yearly, nearly NIS 5 billion in lost production. 14:58

That is to say they are not just talking about cost, but what is lost by the fact that all these people are not economically productive. That is an accepted economic idea. Your calculations are not based on their headline's idea.

Anonymous said...

Pirke Avot and the Gedolim have summarized the precept of import: all are to have a trade.

Rambam was a physician, Ramchal was a diamondcutter (among other things)...the list goes on and on.

The reason being that Torah was not only studied during the course of the day, but lived...lived and practiced...as they worked in their respective trades.

There are many who do not follow such a policy. When the "scolex" is not drinking deeply of the blood of the congregation, it is screeching loudly to maintain its position (pseudo-justification through intimidation).

yitz.. said...

@anonymous,

i'm sorry that i'm not staying silent.. but 1) A Tana (Rashbi - Rabi Shimon Bar Yochai) clearly states that one doesn't have to work, learning torah is more than enough. 2) today's situation of the kolels was created intentionally to ensure that Torah study would not be lost entirely. (something that was feared would happen in Rabi Shimon Bar Yochai's generation as well and it was he who ensured it didn't happen, coincidence? i doubt it.)

Akiva said...

גילוי - I challenge their point by noting that they are not receiving enough to live on, and therefore are spending the same amount that they would "generate" if they were economically productive. How? By being more frugal, having a working wife, a side job, contributing parents, and contributing charities from overseas and from the local community.

If they worked, perhaps their wife would stay home and care for the kids, they'd receive no overseas charitable contributions, and wouldn't work a side job. It might be close to a wash, and certainly wouldn't be a gain of their "full" productive value. However, these side items are intentionally excluded to make them seem like leeches.

But it's just not true.

גילוי said...

Akiva,

Again, that is not what they are talking about.

Their point is that on average, a person in the working class adds amount X in value to the economy, in taxes, GDP, whatever their measure is.

In other words, not only is it the value that you came up with for just the stipends, but the fact that it is *me* that has to pay those stipends, and the majority of that kollel community that is not paying for it with their taxes, is not paying for the salary of people on milu'im, etc.

It is a secular argument akin to this one:

http://keitzmeguleh.blogspot.com/2008/07/on-reuven-and-gad-from-doresh-ltzion.html

Sitting idly causes damage to the economy.

גילוי said...

And we are all aware, men on average have higher salaries when in the workforce than women (due to multiple factors).

But you haven't addressed the base issue. We are all aware of Zevulun and Issachar's arrangement. This does not work in modern Israel if the average Israeli does not *want* to pay towards this.

shiloh said...

Any sage worth listening to worked to support his family, this is how they used Torah, living in this real world. That is why the Torah was given, not to be in the getto.

Akiva said...

shiloh - you make a mockery of most Jewish sages. Many were in paid rabbinut positions, many had family businesses, usually run by their wives. Some were independently wealthy (Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi anyone)?

Would you suggest Rav Moshe Feinstein, zt"l, was "not worth listening to"???

גילוי - The Haaretz article was not addressing the national payments to kollels - it was addressing the "lost economic income" to the nation...

GDP: $170.3 billion (2006 est., CIA factbook)

The Haaretz impact is 2.9% of the Israeli GDP. IF it's real. Because they exclude all things except their straight measurement, I disagree that it is. Those overseas charitable contributions churn through the economy, as do their wives salaries and their parents savings being spent. Those things would be lost if they went to work. And I suspect the numbers wouldn't be that far apart. Even if they were, say they're 1/2, that's a 1.5% economic impact per their lifestyle choice.

Israel is not a communist country, its citizens have that free choice. They choose Torah. No, the government is not obligated to support them - it's a tremendous mitzvah that it does. But neither may it command they work.

Anonymous said...

?their parents savings being spent. Those things would be lost if they went to work"

Their parents savings would be lost? They would send their money to America or something?

"Those overseas charitable contributions churn through the economy"

These donations would end up elsewhere, probably in Israel, likely in the Jewish world.

You post is not solid. On a macro level, loss of production will always be an economic loss. Don't try to argue against that. Rather, you could try to argue that there is no loss of production. But then you will have to give some measure of "output". If this would be true, you could do without subsidy. Or admit there is a loss and that it is worth it. Convince a Zevulun to pay for you.

Anonymous said...

?their parents savings being spent. Those things would be lost if they went to work"

Their parents savings would be lost? They would send their money to America or something?

"Those overseas charitable contributions churn through the economy"

These donations would end up elsewhere, probably in Israel, likely in the Jewish world.

You post is not solid. On a macro level, loss of production will always be an economic loss. Don't try to argue against that. Rather, you could try to argue that there is no loss of production. But then you will have to give some measure of "output". If this would be true, you could do without subsidy. Or admit there is a loss and that it is worth it. Convince a Zevulun to pay for you.

Anonymous said...

Boker Tov.
Now, Reb Akiva, how is Shiloh "making a mockery of most Jewish sages" by stating that a sage worth listening to worked to support his family?

He hasn't made a mockery of anyone. He "hit a nerve," so to speak: the subject is so sensitive as to make almost anyone quiver.

What Shiloh meant was that a sage or teacher who worked has a worldly knowledge to combine and blend with Torah instruction. If we were to say that all things worldly should be disposed of, then we turn against the principle of Tikkun Olam.

Shiloh's words meant that Torah is to be taught by EXAMPLE (living it, practicing it, and demonstrating it) each day. He meant that being disciplined...to work, and teach within our time of work...would instruct by making it real. Just as HaShem's Name constitutes an action verb, He intended us to take action with Torah and APPLY it...not just stare at it and memorize it.
He did not mean to snub anyone. Neither do I.
Akiva, you charged Shiloh of making a mockery of others. That's pretty serious. I ask you to reconsider such words, especially on Erev Shabbos.
Shabbat Shalom v'l'chayyim.
"Ha Kloom"

גילוי said...

It seems to me that you are attempting to not see the whole economic picture, which is what the article is speaking of, and then you are accusing them of lying. I have seen plenty of lies in Haaretz, but I don't see what you're getting at.

The government expends money for kollel families in the way of kollel stipends, as well as the high level of child payments, which their representative political parties lobby for. That is the direct shekel amount of money that the Israeli economy loses. The indirect amount is that which is not gained through their participitation in the economy.

It is obvious that the amount of kollel students is higher than it would be if the child payments and kollel subsidies were lower. Therefore it is very relevant that we discuss free choice. Whose free choice is it? The average Israeli does not want to subsidize these families' incomes. In fact, these payments become a rallying call for anti-religious movements, G-d forbid.

The "free will" you speak of seems to be one sided. I don't get the option of getting a tax break because I would like to support my own Torah learning and not someone elses, or the yeshivot of my choice.

Do you really believe economics is a fairy-tale science and that the self-imposed unemployment causes no harm to the economy beyond these payments?

Good Shabbos

Shiloh said...

Anonymous, thankyou for the words. What "a"kiva does not realize is that he is not aware of what he is doing. This is ok, it's supposed to be this way. He is programed to slander me, to mock me as he has done many times before and will continue to do in the future, this too I expect from him. For vengence will be that of haShem, I don't worry about him at all, let haShem harden their hearts more. I hit nerves of many, well, too bad. As you can see, with comments like the above, we are in for a rough ride. Hopefully we would wake up, but sadly there is a stranglehold on things. I will leave it at that. I wish you only good, and that haShem bless you in every way. Sometime put your real name, you have nothing to fear from anyone. Just a note, I truly hope, that haShem cleans our house soon of Erev Rav. As hard as it is, He, Blessed be He, must, as it say's in the Tanach, "for My name will He do this", because we as a nation have and continue to profane The Name daily. Sadly, 'a'kiva is a perfect example. May we return to Derech haShem soon. I will give you an example of a Jew who I worked with, a 'observant settler' while at work we where discussing some touchy subjects. It bothers me not to discuss such things, but after our conversation ended, he mumbled some words of slander towards me, he immediatly fell off his ladder, onto a shelf and broke a rib. He hated me even more after that as I wish him no harm. He thought I did some 'kabbalistic' nonesense, that's the furthest thing from the truth. The same gentleman, another time after a conversation ending in slander towards me, again had a bad accident. He admitted to another settler friend he had awaken to the fact that slandering one, will be a scary thing to do. Anonymous, we are so far lost, it's amazing to the fact, that we are still hanging on, except for the fact that haShem promised it, so be it.

yitz.. said...

@גילוי,

I hear what you are saying re: the economic theory. But Economic theory would clearly also show that working on shabbath would be beneficial to the economy, so they might as well complain about all the religious jews who prevent the whole country from working on saturday.

(note this is a deviation of the discussion and not an attempt to defend akiva, though i don't think he's wrong in actuality)

As to you would rather fund your own Torah learning than someone else's; you think taxes would be lower without the stipends and child payments? they would just take the money for something else. And the fact that the government funds Torah is the _most_ problematic part of the government's budget? what about all the money it gives to the PA? or any of a number of more significant corrupt dealings of the government?

Also, the child payments cannot be said to subsidize the Kolel students as technically EVERYONE receives them. The fact that Kolel students have more children on average (if it were true? i don't know that it is statistically) should be shaming the rest of the population into having more children. (otherwise this won't end up a democratic OR a Jewish state)

Not subsidizing children is suicide on a national level, something europe never seemed to figure out -- and now it's too late for them.

גילוי said...

yitz,

Notice which parties in the Knesset argue constantly to increase the amount of the child subsidies.

We're not discussing everything that is wrong in the national budget here, obviously this is not the end of the list of things that needs fixing in this country. I was merely trying to make a point that I should not be forced in to supporting Talmud Torah at a governmental level.

yitz.. said...

@גילוי

i still don't understand? You can be forced into providing health care.. and that's ok.. (even though the regulatory bodies that determine how useful and effective that healthcare is are government bodies run by fallible people)

however torah or other spiritual pursuits that ALSO affect (and benefit) the klal, it's not fair to force someone into providing/supporting it?
The people and the administrators of the system are fallible and human but no more so than those of the healthcare industry and they are both under constant governmental advisory/observation.

so what seems to be the problem?

Just because modern economics doesn't have the ability to recognize the actual real-world benefit of having kolels and people in them, does that mean we who actually appreciate the effect and value Torah learning has on the nation, the land, and the world have to donn their bifocals? (good for economy = good; bad for economy = bad)

I understand the original debate was whether the article made sense in and of itself, but it's become a kolel-bashing fest..

and i dont think anyone who has had actual first hand relationships with kolel families would truly bash them as if they are what's wrong with Israel.

moshiach said...

Shilo: agreed, unless a Torah scholar is too sick to work, he should be giving the right example and work fairly for a living. It is a moral obligation of everyone to do productive work, and it gives the Torah scholar a good image (hence Torah a good image). People who work out of their own will are the opposite of slaves and slave drivers (and criminals). To a degree "teaching Torah" is work, but the Torah isn't that big a book. There is easily enough time in a week to both study Torah law, and work. The klal does not yet do the law of the Torah, not even close and hardly even trying, and therefore there isn't a whole lot to study beyond Tenach. How many times does one need to study "don't sell money for profit" before one remembers even the exact words by heart. By working and then "demanding fair pay" (a law of the Torah) the Torah scholar can be example (do mitsvoth if you like). By "not selling money for profit," the Rabbi can teach the klal by example some more, by not being rough with colleagues at work, the Torah scholar can be yet more example, and by organizing strikes to demand fair labor conditions/pay the Torah scholar is in the center of "the war of HaShem" for Justice. Doing work like picking fruits, cleaning streets, building homes, and so on, real work that nobody denies is real work. Rich greedy people don't want to work but be lazy, not unlike the pharao's, hence becoming needy of obedient slaves to do the work that doesn't get done by them.

Thought of the day: even after moshiach has come, they go on computing the date of mosciach's coming because they've been too busy to notice it already happened, delaying the redemption further ... Had they worked and suffered like many working people being squeezed for all they're worth, they would want redemption more because it means more from that position.

Doesn't mean that opinions of people who don't work are therefore irrelevant: all opinions should be discussed on merrit in principle.

yitz.. said...

@everyone,

Please don't confuse our own personal opinions with Halachah.

While it might be nice to say that this or that is the way a Gadol should act, HaShem gave us all the Torah, and Halachah describes how a Jew is supposed to act. Not morality and not what seems nice and good.

We should act in accordance with Halachah.

(For a good example of where the two differ: "Moshiach" said a Teaching Torah is work, but according to Halachah you cannot take money directly for teaching Torah. The Halachah of how we support someone who is a Torah teacher is more complicated than that. Teaching Torah is not (Halachically) a service that can be bought.

It is because of these complexities of halachah that many gedolim worked -- in order to avoid these sticky halachic issues. Not because it was the morally correct thing to do.

גילוי said...

Yitz,

You're assuming that the value of the kollel system is on the same universal level in the Torah world as universal health care is in western countries. We still have the Rambam that says that the entire idea is outright wrong.

Akiva said...

A better example, l'havdil, is arts and culture funding.

The Ministry of Science, Arts and Culture has a budget over 15 times the kollel budget. Yes, much of that funds scientific and technology research, which helps build both the economy and give Israel and edge.

But a good portion of it also funds dance troops, plays, a local movie industry, orchestra's, art, etc.

Another similar example is the nationally supported TV and radio stations, funded by the tv and media taxes.

I have no choice in funding those things, and they don't match my cultural values. Yet, this country has compromised in doing both (though the money invested in one versus the other has swung back and forth depending on the governing coalition - right now the cultural side is way up and the Torah side way down), creating a mix to satisfy various demands. And frankly, that's pretty reasonable.

Further, a point you've seen fit to ignore, the national funding is a small portion of what's actually necessary for such learning committed families to live upon. Jews around the world have seen fit to make up the difference, at at least a 5:1 ratio. That's their choice, and qualifies as a Yissacher - Zevulun relationship.

Anonymous said...

"Further, a point you've seen fit to ignore, the national funding is a small portion of what's actually necessary for such learning committed families to live upon. Jews around the world have seen fit to make up the difference, at at least a 5:1 ratio. That's their choice, and qualifies as a Yissacher - Zevulun relationship."

Why, then, are there such complaints against cuts of parts of this 20%?

In my view, settle for what Zevulun gives you. As an individual, go for a life of learning only if Zevulun gives you the means to live. Do not imposte work on your wife, do not impose demands on your parents and parents in law (how many of them get into financial trouble), do not impose poverty on your kids. Do not give Torah a bad name.

Anonymous said...

I would like to know what are the costs of overworked women who take care of a big family and have a job. I would like to know what are the costs of overworked parents of Kollel students.

I would like to know what kind of parents can give substantial amounts of money to their married children? If they have many children, I would like to know how a normal parent can give substantial amounts of money to all of his children. If he does not give equally to all, the future Yerusha of children who do not get, or get less, is given away to their siblings. Does this not cause strife? Even if not, does this not have a taste of thievery, between siblings? Talking about thievery, it is ill-advised to choose a life that will tempt one (or one's family) to become a thief. If one chooses not to work, is one not going against this, a clear advice of Chazal? Is one not creating financial pressure all around? Is that not a hindrance to Torah study?

Akiva said...

anon 7:10 - Why? Because it messes with "the balance". Go ahead, cut art funding, sports funding, culture funding, and kollel funding. Oh, you want to ONLY cut kollel funding - meaning the others get more of the pie at my priorities expense. I don't think so.

Further, support of Torah is in the long term cultural interest of a Jewish state, certainly as much so as local sports or culture.

Akiva said...

anon 8:05 - all valid points - but not directly part of the focus of the discussion. For generations after WWII, a complete focus on rebuilding as much Torah institutions and learning as possible was critical to long term survival.

Now we find we've reached and somewhat exceeded the functional limits of that focus - and the foundation has been rebuilt. However, changing an intense societal focus takes some time, and some pain, and some slamming against the wall. More balance, more earners, and a respect for the earner-learners must and will occur - over time, a long time.

Yet, the conversation here is an upset Haaretz article over 1.75% of Israeli workers not working to focus on Torah learning, and getting (minimal) state support to do so.

Anonymous said...

"Haaretz's 5 billion shekel fantasy statistic assumes all those men go to work and the whole community starts buying big screen TV's, going to movies and the disco, buys a car, vacations in Cyprus, shops at the mall and hangs out at the espresso bar..."

It only assumes they go to work.

Akiva said...

Lets see what it assumes...

63,000 people go to work (the others go to the army, as per the article). The average FAMILY salary in Israel is NIS 7,000 (and some) per month.

63,000 x 7,000 = 441,000,000 income per month "lost". 441,000,000 x 12 = 5,292,000,000, or NIS 5 billion, the number from the article.

So, you are correct, it assumes that 63,000 people go to work, they earn as a group the current average national Israeli FAMILY salary, and today they earn ZERO as a family.

Except today they don't earn ZERO as a FAMILY, for if they did they'd be starving to death (G-d forbid).

In other words, they're playing games with numbers. Here, lets do the same...

They currently earn NIS 720 per month from the government. Since the average monthly kollel stipend is NIS 2,100 per month, overseas and local donations are making up the difference. If those 63,000 students weren't learning, the Israeli economy would loose a cash infusion of:

63,000 x (2,100 - 720) x 12 = 1,043,280,000, or NIS 1 billion per year. Further, 10% of those kollel students are foreigners, Americans, who are receiving an additional overseas stipend of $1,000 per month, or NIS 3,500 per month. So we have to add that in...

63,000 x 0.1 x 3,500 x 12 = 264,600,000, increasing our NIS 1 billion to ~ NIS 1.3 billion lost to the Israeli economy by the loss of that Torah learning. BTW, that's over double the amount the Israeli tax system contributes to the learning.

So, MY statistics say that every Israeli tax shekel invested in Torah learning BRINGS a NIS 2 shekel positive impact to the economy!

Anonymous said...

Akiva, you obfuscate things this way. Think for a moment outside of money terms. If Kollel students would be working, they would be productive. That is the main consideration. Nekuda. If you want to quantify it, go with the average production, i.e. the average salary. Nekuda. They would add to the economy, because and only because they would produce. Because they would add value. Because they would make a piece of software. Because they would serve food in a restaurant, because they would clean clothing, and so forth.

Do not mix in donations. You are close to saying a clear obsurdity, namely that the receivers of donations are really the producer of the money they receive. You cannot show that donations from abroad would not anyway arrive in the Israeli economy. If Kollel students would not need it, there are lots of other poor Jews, lots of Yishuvim, lots of Sifrei Torah, lots of hospitals, lots of Batei Knesset, lots of other very worty purposes, to donate to. Likewise, local donations would not disappear if there were no Kollel students. They would end up somewhere else, used for a good purpose that now does not get it. A purpose that now suffers because of the Kollel system - and that is another way to see the econcomic loss. It is real. No excuses.

Anonymous said...

Shiloh,
You wished my true name. Address it to my pen name below, and here is my address. I will write you in private. As to more on who I am...I am a descendant of a rabbi who authored a very famous work. He never mixed truth and untruth, or fact and mythology. He did not deviate from Torah nor attempt beyel tosif. Neither do I, Baruch HaShem. Send me a letter with your address: it is secure this way, and I will write to you. Post that you have received this.

V. Gloklum
205 Woodhill Dr Apt E
Glen Burnie, MD 21061

Shiloh said...

V. Gloklum, I saw this, but I cannot for safety reasons mail anyone. I don't even trust our own community here for that matter. I may send you an envelope with an email address on it, we can talk that way for now. It will be addressed from Canada. Your posts in my defence have been appreciated. All the best. שילוה

Shiloh said...

Before I write, see if you can answer this. If a person was to 'judge' esav, with a response from haShem, ultimatly what soul would that person possess? Just the persons name. We are all reincarnations for the most part.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Shiloh,
You wished my true name. Address it to my pen name below, and here is my address. I will write you in private. As to more on who I am...I am a descendant of a rabbi who authored a very famous work. He never mixed truth and untruth, or fact and mythology. He did not deviate from Torah nor attempt beyel tosif. Neither do I, Baruch HaShem. Send me a letter with your address: it is secure this way, and I will write to you. Post that you have received this.

V. Gloklum
205 Woodhill Dr Apt E
Glen Burnie, MD 21061
September 02, 2008 4:40 PM
Shiloh said...
V. Gloklum, I saw this, but I cannot for safety reasons mail anyone. I don't even trust our own community here for that matter. I may send you an envelope with an email address on it, we can talk that way for now. It will be addressed from Canada. Your posts in my defence have been appreciated. All the best. שילוה
September 03, 2008 4:31 AM
Shiloh said...
Before I write, see if you can answer this. If a person was to 'judge' esav, with a response from haShem, ultimatly what soul would that person possess? Just the persons name. We are all reincarnations for the most part.
September 03, 2008 2:59 PM
Anonymous said...
As to the soul? I am unable to answer. There is, however, something to consider from the Ramchal in Derek HaShem.
He wrote that the nations did not choose to follow Torah when it was offered in the open...for all.
If the nations conduct themselves in a manner hostile to Yisrael, then yes, their judgment will follow suit.
R' Luzzatto did point out (citing Ruth as an example) that it is possible for the gerim to tear free of the nations that gave them birth.
Delving into "mystical" aspects, many could state that such converts had a Jewish soul to begin with.
My statement: Perhaps, but if so, so what?
So what? How does this knowledge help us here, today?
My reply, Shiloh, is that I do not know Esav to judge Esav by his fathers' iniquities: I judge only the iniquity, not the man. I also follow Nitsavim: the hidden things are for the Living G-D to see, and Torah is for us, the mortals, to pursue.
Yekezkel wrote that HaShem does not desire the death of the wicked...and this includes Esav.
Of men, I judge only myself. Only the actions of men will I judge. To say that one person is inherently evil due to nation/race of birth is to assign attributes that can be overcome by the individual.
Acharei Mot: Ushmartem et chukkotai, ve'et mishpatai, asher ya'aseh otam ha adam vachayyai bahem: ani YHWH.
It did not state "Ivrim" or "Yehudim" vachayyai, it is written "ha adam."

All men. Else, how could the peoples be made pure of speech of the nations? How would there be any survivors if there were no righteous among the nations.
I met a man once..Irish, raised Roman Catholic. As we talked, he told me, "I really am not Christian at all, though. I never believed in the [man-deity], and I believe in G-D. I know that there is only one G-D and He wants us to obey the Torah."

Now, should I "judge" his spirit, here? No. I will salute his actions: to use the G-D given faculty of reason and introspection to differentiate between falsehood and reality.
There are many others as he is. I pray there is.
The Nevi'im have written: 2/3 of the world is going to die.
I do not want it to.
So many are so ready for the geulah. Are they? How about words of the Yom YHWH being a time of darkness, and the ketz hayomim being one of death, destruction?
No, I do not yearn for it. I yearn for peace.
We need to be the example for the world. My bitterness arises from how we claw at one another and squabble...bicker akin to befuddled children.
There is no time for it.
Seek righteousness, seek humility, are the words of the prophets. Justice for the stranger, for yehudim.
Live the Torah. We must LIVE it.
The "spirit of Esav," or the "spirit of Amalek," have nothing above the spirit of false-pride and invincibility that permeates the very fabric of the communities. That emunah is trumpeted, but lo tsayneeot! Lo chesed, lo rachamim!
To turn Esav into a Jew is the challenge...by example.
We are to do what G-D wants us to do: serve as the example.
Shalom, v'ahavat Yisrael
V. Gloklum
September 03, 2008 4:45 PM

Anonymous said...

Shiloh, one last thing. Please do not misinterpret my disinclination to DELVE into mystical aspects of Torah as being disbelief or refutation that it exists.
To parallel your story about the one who fell after insulting you? One Shabbos my landlord (former) and another woman were arguing so loudly that I had to intervene..for the peace of my own house. After things calmed down, the other woman started to instigate things with me. I apologized for the way she felt and hoped she would respect my wishes to keep the peace. She did not accept such and "dismissed" me by turning away from me. I departed.
The next day, she was afflicted all over her body with tzara'ot: two days later, my wife was informed that the woman had shingles...and would have to treat them for 3+ years.
I see such things all the time. While not searching/pursuing after such knowledge, I full well know it exists. Kol Tuv b'shalom,
V. Gloklum

Shiloh said...

V. Gloklum, you did not understand the question. It's a Jew judging Esav, not Esav judging Esav. This is fine, it's a rather large mystical question, not for many to see. Was curious to see if you would comprehend it. Anyway, we'll be in touch.

Anonymous said...

Shiloh,
I see, now. You phrased it, "If a person was to judge Esav.." and I did not consider if (your question meant) one with the soul of Esav judging another with the same "soul," is this what you meant?
From a metaphysical standpoint, such might be an impossibility if each had the same soul-pattern. Such would present the question, "Is it possible to rebel against onesself?"
In that "synergistic parallel," I submit this as a "revised" answer:

(in accordance, once again, with Derech HaShem by R' Luzzatto) - Paraphrased: [Through the effort of free will, it is possible to pull away from one's original tree and graft themselves unto the tree of Avraham]

The star-worshippers believe in the (flawed) concept of sin of origin/birth. Such contradicts the truth: free will as given permits the individual to rise above the mire.

In that vein, yes: Esav can judge Esav. Want some depth? Ready? Here, this is as metaphysical as you can muster:

Esav can only judge Esav completely when he becomes Yisrael.

Read Nitsavim carefully, for "metaphysical" aspects as above: ...with those before Moshe and with those not there before him that day.

Final words: We (Yisrael) must judge Esav's actions and SHOW BY EXAMPLE that he will see...ha emet...and choose by FREE WILL to become Yisrael. I'll let far more brilliant minds than mind figure out whether Esav-the-convert was or was not of hanefesh Yisrael all along.
Two days early, but in case I can't come here tomorrow...Shabbat Shalom
L'chayyim,
V. Gloklum

aoc gold said...

The Arrow And The Song

(1)

I shot an arrow in the air,
It fell to earth, I knew not where; ;

For so swiftly it flew, the sight
Could not follow it in its flight.

(2)

I breathed a song into the air,
It fell to earth, I knew not where;

For who has sight so keen and strong,
That it can follow the flight of song?

(3)

Long, long afterward, in an oak

I found the arrow still unbroke;

And the song, from beginning to end, ,

I found again in the heart of a friend. 。

-----by aoc power leveling

Shiloh said...

V. Gloklum, nice explaination, but I was heading in a different direction with that. It's best left alone. All the best.

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