Friday, June 07, 2013

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Even More on Edge – Pinchas or Korach?

by Reb Akiva @ Mystical Paths

th (11)Pinchas was zealous for Hashem (for G-d).  Korach was zealous for his own ideas.

Israel is in the midst of its perennial culture war.  Yet due to demographic shifts (the commonly stated one is that at least 55% of 1st graders in Jerusalem are now orthodox or ultra-orthodox Jews) segments of secular Israel society feel they’re in a last gasp position to get things under control.

A friend alerted me, “people were arrested today for asking shaylot (asking a rabbi or Jewish halachic authority) if they could shoot the Women of the Wall for their planned event (at the Western Wall in Jerusalem) this Sunday morning.”  (An event that will violate the standards and customs of that holy place.)

In response to my article “Allow Oneself to be Killed”, several writers in email took me to task for taking a position opposite their understanding of a public religious stand taken by a holy Jewish Torah sage 60 years ago.  Their implied statement was “how can I take a stand opposing one taken by a Torah authority?”  (And if I’m doing so, am I not separating myself from the charedi community?)

The secular community, or rather the political leadership, is out to get the charedim (the ultra-orthodox Jews).  The question is, will the charedi community respond with wisdom, with the zealotry of Pinchas, or with the zealotry of Korach?

With wisdom says the political class can push you around and influence you so strongly because you have become overly dependent upon government support.  Become more self supporting and the secular political class loses their leverage.

Zealous like Pinchas, in a modern stable society context, means you see what the political class wants to trample and damage, you cry for your misguided brothers and arrange for all who cry with you to come and sit down, block the way, stand silent and strong in your position.  Regarding the Women of the Wall, the charedi community can easily bring 50,000 mature serious committed people to come and fill the Kotel prayer area – silently maintaining it properly.  It’s even democratic.  No need for anger or, G-d forbid, violent actions.

(Alternatively the charedi community could literally make the point by keeping EVERYONE away.  The Women of the Wall are doing what they are doing for coverage, outside support and funding, and impact.  If there is no one there to impact…  What would the press say if the whole plaza was empty except for one charedi spokeswoman who sat on the ground crying and said “it’s too painful for us to see this happen, if they insist on trampling on the holiness of this place, we leave them to G-d and to your cameras.”)

Zealous like Korach means argument and chaos, damaging actions and anger.  It devolves into egos and feelings of self righteousness.  And the young, the impulsive, the bullies, the impassioned without proper direction and those who fall under the influence of the other side, can and will end up doing wrong.

Those who fan the flames, whether pundits or gedolim, whether merely for effect or impact, are playing with fire.  They’re throwing gasoline onto a simmering situation.  There is no wisdom there, or even zealotry for Hashem.  This is the other side taking advantage of the situation to bring an explosion.

And when we fight ourselves, we’re doing our enemy’s job.  Literally risking our lives and our future.

Shabbat Shalom,
happy Parshat Korach
(always a time of makloket, division).

1 comment:

  1. It's just disgraceful ... both sides in this Kotel incident are just plain misbehaving. There should be no other worshipers at the Wall when the wow are there. Leave it empty, except for a predetermined minyan in the alcove on the mens' side. This would surely have an affect on publicity seekers and the wow group, reducing it to a bunch of loony women "doing their thing". Because people crowd in to watch the circus (chv's) it's a shanda!

    For men to behave as children is awful.

    The stuss of folly has certainly overwhelmed supposedly frum people.

    My husband and I came this R"H in the aftn. The amount of non-Jews (tourists) was amazing. While their recognition of the Wall as being something spiritual is/was because of the Jews davening there since '67. But I found it unpleasant. I'm sure HaShem understands, but something needs to change because I'm afraid the place is losing Kedusha chv's.


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