Thursday, October 30, 2008


A Moment of Zealotry

by Reb Akiva at Mystical Paths

A religious man went to the kever (the holy tomb) of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai in Meron for a day of zealotry yesterday. He came prepared to defend the holy tomb from those who would defile it.

However, the kever of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai is not a site in danger of defilement. This special holy tomb is visited by thousands regularly, and carries a special tradition as the site for religious families to go to for the first haircut of their son at 3 years old. Families of various religious levels from around Israel flock there constantly.

Our "religious man" must have hunted the site for a while, looking for a target for his righteous outrage. He hunted the site for some time, before coming to the picnic and haircutting area. Finding a family that had arrived for the special tradition with their 3 year old son, he screamed at them about the impropriety of entering the same tent together (men and women, married) and standing together as a family. He had found the target for his instantaneous pre-prepared zealotry.

The family did not respond to his righteous screams. They must be kofirim (heretics)! He selected some righteous rocks to convey his message of holiness, and propelled them with the force of his holy Torah learning.

The family did not accept their punishment properly, yelling back at him. Clearly demonstrating that they are apikorsim (completely rejecting Hashem's righteous words), he charged spraying tear gas from his holy canister of heretic repellent (that he had prepared for this spontaneous moment), and drew his blessed knife (that he also carried in case of instant zealotry requirements) to convey his point, literally.

After stabbing one of the spawn of evil in a spontaneous moment of zealotry as described in the Torah (Parshat Pinchas), our righteous religious man retreated to the bus stop to catch the bus back home and the evening prayers at his neighborhood synagogue.

(For those who don't get it or for whom English is not their first language, this is written in the style of parody, describing a real news event.) There's not just a little something wrong here. Besides this person having a complete misunderstanding of parshat Pinchas and the Torah concept of zealotry, we have reached a point where "zealous" actions for Torah are becoming normal rather than "loving" actions. Aharon HaCohein was a lover of peace and a pursuer of peace. Before one can be pushy in pursuing, first one must LOVE!

Something is being lost at the inner edge of religious society where chumrot, extra stringencies, are being vigorously defended over mitzvot de'orisa - direct commandments from the Torah. From where is one allowed to physically attack a Jewish family for standing together?????


  1. Im telling you Akiva...Massiach must be close, what is happening to us

  2. how can anyone trust the media to deliver the details of any story?

    how do i know if this really happened?

    how can i know the motives of the people involved or what exactly really took place?

  3. Yitz - you have a point. Yet, such zealotry is, unfortunately, not unknown though this case would be somewhat more stringent that others.

  4. i mean if you think about things like this, you have to examine it with an halachic legal eye:

    if there weren't two kosher witnesses, or if there were too many people who saw which would render the whole group pasul, in either case, only beit din shel mala could judge such a person..

    just a thought i had today, interesting perspective..

  5. Reb Akiva,

    While there is certainly precedent for the Israeli media vilifying charedim--and this has spread to world media, on a different level we see ugly intolerance rather than ahavat israel in so many of our communities. (If I am not accurately potraying the situation, anyone please feel free to correct me.) To this extent your allegory serves your intended purpose. We must strive for respect and love, especially in these difficult times when, to paraphrase R' Itchie Morgenstern, so much of the wold is taken by force by bandits.

    Kol Tov,

  6. kind of off topic but I just got through reading about a woman that was stoned to death in Somali-and I KNOW the TORAH proscribes stonings in certain situations. It sure would be nice if some zealous Jewish people would address things like women being stoned for adultery ( or the crime of getting raped)
    I'd love to hear Torah scholars making distinctions between what the Torah proscribes and what the fanatics in Somali have just done.
    But I guess it's like R.Akiva says-you have to LOVE first-that is, you would have to actually CARE.

  7. let me clarify-you would have to care-about women not about acting superior to Muslims

  8. A simple question but I don't see what this family was doing wrong. I mean, they weren't in a shul, so what is the problem? The husband and wife are married.

    And attacking them so viciously? Spilling the blodd of a fellow Jew? That's awful.

    If it was sinful, what the family was doing, it would have been much better to correct them with loving kindness--in private--so as not to shame them.

  9. This is really sad news. I think a rabbi needs to go and talk to that man. He needs to change his focus to a different mitzvot because he clearly doesnt understand what being zealous for the Torah is about.

  10. Could you please post the source of this story? I hope it is not lienetnews or Haaretz.


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