Towards a Fuller Picture

This video, which is titled “How the Charedim Really Look” was sent to me by Rabbi Moshe Taragin, a Ra”m in Yeshivat Har Etzion in the Gush. It needs to be translated.

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9 Responses

  1. Dan Daoust says:

    I don’t want to be a downer or a contrarian just for the sake of it, but I feel that a couple of things should be said (if only to get people started on possible responses -– put it that way).

    One: does the tzedaka that comes from the Israeli Charedi community make up for the revenues that do not come from the Israeli Charedi community? Would Israel’s economy, and hence its citizens, be better off if the Charedi community contributed to economic activity and let the benefits of those contributions trickle down and across the country? Or is the status quo better, in which the Charedim are net receivers of aid, though they then in turn make direct charitable contributions to others? Obviously the answer depends in part on your politico-economic views as to which sector is best placed to aid others, but ultimately I think it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that the poor would be better off in the aggregate if the Charedim, who represent 10% of the populace, participated in the broader economy, rather than extracted from it and then chose these or those good works to perform. That’s for two reasons: (1) the rising tide lifting all boats and so forth, and (2) the government can operate soup kitchens too –- and even if it chose not to and the Charedim had to do it themselves, they would benefit from having a wealthier community from which to draw contributions.

    Two: as an institutional matter, do the good works depicted in the video -– soup kitchens, Zaka, etc. –- accurately reflect what is emphasized and inculcated in yeshivas? That’s basically a rhetorical question. In the yeshiva, all that matters is your learning. That’s the lesson that stays with you your entire life. I almost feel like the ones who volunteer to do chesed or work for Hatzolah or what have you had to have somehow slipped away, or fallen through the cracks, of the yeshiva. Now, I’m sure that’s an overly broad simplification, and it’s hard to explain so many exceptions to the rule that glibly. (Although when I think of the dozens of Hatzolah guys in my neighborhood, the sad fact is that the stereotype fits quite well.) But the fact is, our yeshivas –- our pedagogical institutions – put little to no emphasis on these types of activities. So just how much pride do we have the right to feel about them?

  2. Dan says:

    Jonathan Rosenblum,

    I was at the sinai indaba in Johannesburg a few months ago where you and Rabbi Taragin had “the great debate” it was inspiring seeing the amount of respect you two had for each other in spite of you differences

  3. cvmay says:

    PR better known as PUBLIC RELATIONS, getting out the message about the Jewish state (or Religious Jews) has always been a sore point for the STATE of ISRAEL.

  4. Dr. E says:

    Dan Daoust is on the mark. I would suggest having the video shown as part of the curriculum in the Yeshivos as well as in Shtieblach in Meah Shearim, Beit Shemesh, and Bnei Brak. However, I would slightly edit the very end of the clip so that it reads, “to receive training as a volunteer or contribute to these worthy causes, please call _______________”

  5. Esther says:

    Dan Daoust:
    I can’t watch the video because I don’t have utube, but consider:
    1. Add to the sum total the hundreds (thousands?) of Chu”l Charedim sending their kids to study in Israel and all the $$$ they’re spending there.

    2. Why do our “failures” end up doing these tremendous צדקה וחסד, so unlike failures of other societies? Might this have anything to do with anything taught in Yeshiva? You do believe in the power of learning Torah, I hope. תורת ה’ תמימה משיבת נפש, עדות ה’ נאמנה מחכימת פתי, פקודי ה’ ישרים משמחי לב, מצות ה’ ברא מאירת עינים, יראת ה’ טהורה עומדת לעד, משפטי ה’ אמת צדקה יחדיו.

    אפילו ריקנים שבך מלאים מצוות כרימון

  6. Steve Brizel says:

    Dan-WADR, in our community ( KGH) Hatzalah’s volunteers have no hashkafic boundaries or feelings of spiritual inferiority. With respect to the economic issues, IMO, you are applying standard economic theories to a community that views Chesed as an obligation and which refuses to be guided either by Keynesian or Friedmanesque theories of economics.

  7. Joshua Nathan says:

    Dear Reb Jonathan,
    My workplace is made up of daati leumi people and nonreligious people and they all want to know why there is silence from most of Israeli Charedi Rabbonim on what is happening in Bet Shemesh. They also ask why many charedi people are so arrogant and they they believe they are better then everyone and there by entitled to everything. I am at a loss of what to answer them I just try switiching the topic and say not everything is perfect. What would you answer them.Look forward to hearing from you.



    PS.These are people are nice hard working and very sincere.

  8. shaya says:

    Joshua Nathan, just a couple thoughts.

    1. Many charedi rabbis are speaking out. Chabad spoke out, brave blogger rabbis like Rav Eidensohn speak out, and rabbis like Lazer Brody have spoken out — this is just the tip of the iceberg. It’s not always covered in the secular media.

    2. To the extent that many are not speaking out, part of the problem has to do with the charedi media. Charedi media sources are not reporting the same stories the secular media are. If one reads only charedi newspapers, one might not even know about the spitting incident, for example, or about the awful behavior of the Bet Shemesh protesters. Instead the newspapers depict the charedi community itself as the victim. So the process of getting the truth out and getting reactions to it may be distorted or delayed by media sources that are being less than responsible.

  9. Joshua Nathan says:

    Dear Shaya,
    Thank you for bothering to answer me I was hoping the spokeperson for the Charedi World would answer me as well but to date he did not post a response here nor to my e-mail. I imagine with all the going ons in the Charedi world he must be very busy.


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