By Jason Gold
Chareidi Tunnel Vision
Missing the Boat (or in this case, the Plane)
Thoughts from a Torah-observant (at least the best I can) non-Chareidi Jew. With all the hubbub about how El Al flew a makeup flight last Shabbat post Mafia, oops, I mean post Histadrut strike, I was reminded of a story that Moshe Feiglin told me last year. He was being interviewed by a secular radio host from Tel Aviv during the Likud primaries who at one point asked him why he wore a kippa (skullcap) and didn't he think he would appeal to more voters if he took it off? Feiglin answered that while that was probably true, he would not betray what he was although there was one potential circumstance where he would never wear a kippa. When asked what that was, he responded, that if the state tomorrow mandated all men should wear a kippa, he would not.
That story and the Chareidi reaction to what happened at El Al are symptomatic of one of the (many) problems in Israel that can be traced to a lack of faith-based, non-theocratic leadership in Israel today. Such leadership would be non-coercive in nature in that if some secular Jew wanted to open his store on Shabbat or if El Al wanted to fly on Shabbat, big deal, let it be. The observant Jew already knows that this shouldn't happen and so it does not affect him/her spiritually in the least. Forcing the secular Jew to close shop or forcing El Al not to fly will not increase secular Shabbat observance one iota. All it does is increase sinna or hatred of the Chareidim by the secular and makes the Chareidim look down their noses at the secular with an air of self-righteous spiritual superiority, all the while making the rift between secular and chareidi wider and wider. Even a Torah giant like Rav Elyashav, Shlit"a, as well as the rest of the Chareidi leadership, must come to realize that you cannot legislate Shabbat. You either feel it or you do not. By reaching out in a non-coercive way rather than throwing stones or yelling "Shabbos, Shabbos" to a non-observer, you stand a much greater chance of turning someone into a Shabbat observer. Calling for a boycott of El Al or again yelling "Shabbos Shabbos" at them is not the way, either.
A Lesson from Rav Moshe
Rav Moshe Feinstein ZTK"L was once asked if a shul can give an aliyah or Torah honor on Shabbat to a man who, although supports the shul monetarily, is a known violator of Shabbat observance. He answered yes in that the shul was not being maskim (agreeing) to his lack of observance and by doing this, you might be able to reach out to him in a gentle way and gradually increase his Shabbat observance. I think the lesson is obvious. Tolerate this person and find common ground rather than shutting him out.
Watch the Hypocrisy as your Youth are Watching You
So now I have questions for the Chareidi leadership. With all the indignation raised at El Al, will you still take their tax money for your institutions and yeshivas or will you return it? Will you continue to distort the geo-political issues to someone like Rav Elyashav and force him into a position to make decisions that he should not have to make? Did you know that when Rav Feinstein ZTK"L was asked about things like land for peace and other political decisons he responded that he was not a diplomat or general or geo-political expert and therefore had no say in matters like this? How did you justify sitting in a government that threw 10,000 Jews out of their homes in Gush Katif while helping to organize a prayer rally at the kotel? How do you now help keep buffoons and thugs like Olmert et al in power while not lifting one finger to help a Shabbat/Torah observant Jew like Feiglin become manhig shel yisrael (leader of Israel)? I am not the only one asking these questions. Your youth are also asking these questions. Your youth are disgusted by what they perceive as the sell out by their teachers, their leadership, the ones who are supposed to teach them Torah and Torah values. Your youth are identifying more and more with the religious Zionist/Orange youth from the Shetachim (settlements). You think not? Then ask them where they are spending their Shabbat when not at home. Your youth are hungry for real, proud, faith-based Torah leadership. I saw this on Sukkot in the old city as they gobbled up pamphlets and CD's on Manhigut Yehudit. Your hypocrisy will cost you your youth if you do not alter a distorted worldview. Think, don't react in the old way, but think and think hard. Happy flying.
Everybody (even Yuli Tamir) Needs an Education
So says Ray Davies. So why is everyone so surprised that Peace now-nik and faux education minister Yuli Tamir wants to Green Line the textbooks? She is just being true to her ideology. In a way, she should be admired as she is trying to do what the Mafdal, Limor Livnat, et al failed miserably in doing, i.e., imposing an ideology (albeit a warped and twisted one) on the education curriculum. I mean what is the big deal, right? Seventy percent of these secular kids already can't complete the phrases "shema yisrael..." or "avraham, yitzchak....", and have absolutely no spiritual connection to the land. No? Aside from an amazing experience of Shabbat Chaye Sara in Chevron, it was sad that most of the secular soldiers guarding Maarat HaMachpela had no idea what they were guarding. So why not drive a few more nails in the coffin?
Sure Tamir is the new Shulamit Aloni, but so what? Tamir is a symptom of the disease of a corrupt, morally bankrupt government that is trying to strip any vestige of Judaism out of Israel. Is it any wonder that in the last Likud primary one of the hot-button issues identified by Feiglin and Manhigut was the need for Jewish education in the secular school system? The answer, class? Why again, it's all about faith-based leadership. Manhigut Yehudit. Keep repeating as eventually, the lesson will be learned, one way or the other.
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