Thursday, August 25, 2016

Summer Camps and Summer Camps

There are all sorts of summer camps. Most familiar to most of us are summer youth experiences like Camp Agudah, Camp Sternberg, Camp Morasha and many others like them. They combine Torah-study and stress on Jewish ideals like chessed and tefillah with sports activities and arts and crafts. Spirits are famously high in such camps, lifelong friendships are made and many a successful Jewish adult credits his or her love for things Jewish and for other Jews on their formative camp experiences.

In the same state, there are summer offerings, too, for young people from other streams of Judaism, like Satmar. In these camps, children are taught "to express their freedom of speech" by denouncing Israel.

During the summer camps’ stint, hundreds of children enjoyed their camp experience. As Modern Orthodox, Centrist Orthodox and Yeshivish youth here in America were taught water safety, wrote skits and cantatas and composed and heard divrei Torah, Satmar youths were striding down the street in the style of a demonstration, chanting “Israeli government, shame on you!” and waving creative anti-Israel banners that they had designed.

The Modern Orthodox, Centrist Orthodox and Yeshivish campers, as every year, were enthusiastic about the the unity they felt with their fellow campers and the caring mentorship of their counselors. As Tisha B’Av came closer, the spirit of mourning over the batei mikdash was intermingled with yearning for the Geulah sheleimah and realization of the tefillah of “Sim shalom.” At a Satmar camp, on the other hand, children were given eggs and told to throw them at a black SUV which represented the car of the Prime Minister of Israel, whilst yelling derisive slurs.

In Modern Orthodox, Centrist Orthodox and Yeshivish media outlets, the camps' creative and sporting activities were highlighted in photo features. In the Satmar's official newspaper Der Blatt, a full-page feature displayed photos of the children throwing eggs at "the Prime Minister's car."

Summer camps and summer camps, l’havdil meah elef alfei alafim havdalos.

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The above was inspired by Rabbi Avi Shafran's latest column in Hamodia, which contrasted Agudah camps with Hamas camps. It is indeed important to be aware of the depravity of our enemies. However, there is certainly no risk of Hamas making any inroads into Jewish religious society. Satmar, on the other hand, presents a real danger of influencing other Jews with its hateful approach. Yet Rabbi Shafran did not see fit to write a column condemning it, and as far as I know Hamodia likewise did not cover it (despite it often providing news about the Satmar community). Why not?

This is also the reason why many people had a problem with Rabbi Avrohom Gordimer's mission against the Open Orthodox. Last week he announced that he is taking a break from his three-year crusade. He described the reactions to his writings as falling into two camps: those who rated his work as being "of great import and necessity," and those who vilified him and failed to respond to the issues on their merits. No mention is made of those who presented reasonable critiques of various aspects of his approach or of his arguments. One of those critiques was that it seem strange to go on a crusade against the largely irrelevant and miniscule numbers of those stray too far to the left, while completely ignoring the much more relevant and greater numbers of those who stray too far to the right. Mishpachah magazine even put Rabbi Gordimer on the cover for his crusade against the Open Orthodox. Yet would they ever feature a critic of Satmar or others that are too far to the right?

To those who would claim that Satmar is not relevant to other Orthodox Jews, we can point out the following facts: A few years ago, Satmar planned a rally in Manhattan that was also attended by many other chassidic groups as well as right-wing Litvishe rabbis, including Rav Aaron Schechter (of Chaim Berlin), Rav Elya Ber Wachtfogel (South Fallsberg), Rav Osher Kalmanowitz (Mir), Rabbi Moshe Meiselman (Toras Moshe) and others. Speakers at the rally spoke about the "evil Zionists" and compared them to Amalek. They described Israel as an "evil regime," spoke about how “the very existence of the state is a rebellion against God” and about how “the [Israeli] army was founded on murder and blood spilling.”

Why is the charedi community, and similar people such as Rabbi Gordimer, so enthusiastic about criticizing those who are too far to the left, even if they pose no significant threat to the rest of Orthodoxy, yet they will never criticize those who are too far to the right, even if this is very relevant to the rest of Orthodoxy?


46 comments:

  1. Isn't heresy (if it is heresy) different than being wrong (if they are wrong)?

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  2. Why is the charedi community, and similar people such as Rabbi Gordimer, so enthusiastic about criticizing those who are too far to the left, even if they pose no significant threat to the rest of Orthodoxy, yet they will never criticize those who are too far to the right, even if this is very relevant to the rest of Orthodoxy?

    Because there's no real audience for it.

    If nothing else, the current U.S. presidential election demonstrates how much people enjoy the feeling of righteous indignation that arises when the latest set of blistering accusations against the "other team" is posted. (People are much happier to believe that if others disagree with them, it's because the others are perverse. The alternative - that one might be wrong - is unthinkable.)

    I don't think i'm misquoting the folks at Cross-Currents when I note that their stated mission is to condemn rather than to convince, and most of their audience vastly prefers to read a condemnation of Open Orthodoxy rather than of Satmar, with whom they feel more cultural comfort.

    So while you're correct that there are excesses worthy of criticism on the right, they're not of any more interest to Rabbi Gordimer's readers than the violence of, say, the Tamil Tigers is to yours.

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    1. > most of their audience vastly prefers to read a condemnation of Open Orthodoxy rather than of Satmar, with whom they feel more cultural comfort.

      I think you're right. In my yeshivish days, Chassidim seemed to me a little odd, but frum people in jeans made me uncomfortable.

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    2. 'I don't think i'm misquoting the folks at Cross-Currents when I note that their stated mission is to condemn rather than to convince'

      I submit that you are not only misquoting but actively lying. Please do inform us where 'the folks at Cross-Currents' state their mission as you say.

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    3. Well, your willingness to falsely condemn people certainly puts you in their target audience, but here you go:

      "Rarely do we publish essays in Cross-Currents that are meant to convince dissenters"

      Rabbi Yitzchak Adlerstein, May 11, 2016.

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    4. That is not a mission statement and certainly makes no mention of condemnation. No banana for you.
      If you would like to be honest, consider giving the context of that statement and quote what R Adlerstein thinks actually is the purpose of essay on Cross Currents.

      Otherwise, consider yourself condemned sir.

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    5. That is not a mission statement and, as I'm sure you've noticed, makes no mention of condemnation.
      If you want to be honest then give the proper context of that statement and tell us what R Adlerstein thinks actually is the purpose of Cross Currents statements.

      Until then, consider yourself condemned sir.

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    6. Ben, after your comment I went to the 'About Us' section of cross currents, and I think that Pookie Number 2 actually has a point. He captures the spirit and tone of what they write. They make it pretty clear that they are not out to 'convince' but rather to 'set the record straight' about what Orthodoxy (capital O) says - as opposed to what those lefty evil people say about them. Read it for yourself... this is just one quote that i selected..

      "By hearing about Orthodoxy from the Orthodox, it is our hope that you will — if not a member of our community — develop a more balanced and nuanced perspective than that which you find in the general and Jewish media."

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    7. Ben -

      I get that you don't want to acknowledge the blatantly obvious, but I'll give it one more try in the unlikely event that truth rather than provincialism matters to you.

      Cross-Currents' authors frequently criticize people with whom they disagree. By the explicit acknowledgement of the only decent human being amongst their regular writers, that criticism is not intended to convince people of the merits of the Cross-Currents arguments.

      If you have a better word for their purposeless criticism than condemnation, I'd be happy to substitute it. But one need not have an official mission statement to have an obvious mission.

      My point is clear, correct, and supported by their own statements. Any my argument is intended to convince rather than just criticize, with the understanding that people such as yourself who enjoy pointless criticism of the "other" aren't honest enough to listen.

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    8. Fozziebear- I respectfully disagree. I think their lack of emphasis on convincing people is due to a wariness of trying to impose an agenda, which sounds very R Adlerstein-like. They make quite clear, I think, on the 'about us' page that they want Cross Currents to make available to the wider world an internal Orthodox conversation which will challenge outsider's perceptions. That is why they are not out to convince. But that has nothing to do with a mission to criticise.

      Pookie dear, you have moved from 'noting the stated mission' of Cross Currents (herewith CC) to implying the lack of an actual mission statement. And then hurling accusations of not being interested in truth. Pot, kettle.

      Cross-currents authors do indeed frequently criticise people with whom they disagree. So does R Slifkin, you may have noticed. Does his criticism arouse your ire?
      I don't think his criticism is intended to convince dissenters either. He's talking to people already broadly on the same page. Same with CC.
      This blog's mission statement is 'exploring the legacy of the rationalist rishonim'. Cross-current's is on their 'about us page.
      Both, in practice, can be heavy on polemics. But neither has abandoned their mission statement.
      So please abandon your high horse and acknowledge that CC is talking to its audience in a very similar way to R Slifkin. On average less polemically in fact. But you identify more with R Slifkin's approach and so feel free to castigate CC for its authors' polemics.

      Your points are unsupported, polemical, condemnatory and hypocritical. Your extrapolations about me from the minimal information available to you are way off mark, but consistent with my assessment of your points.



      Delete
  3. Perhaps the reason that they don't write about the issues in their own communities is because one can reach his own community verbally. The point of the written essays is to reach those not in the "charedi community" who won't hear their hashkafas, but might read their literature.
    I assume this is the same reason that you regularly criticize Charedi publications and institutions on this blog but rarely take Modern Orthodox institutions to task. Most of your readers agree with your posts, which shows that you aren't speaking about the issues that are central to your community.
    I don't blame you though, because I don't think you're writing for them. I think you're writing for the Charedi in Kollel who will never hear your words, because very few charedim are willing to get into these topics anymore, but if he reads your blog, he can see a whole different perspective.
    Is this not correct?

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  4. First of all, I'm troubled that you didn't mention Bnei Akiva's Moshava camps. Secondly,as the Meshekh Hokhmah teaches us from the Yerushalmi, at the public level what Satmar does is worse than Avodah Zarah.

    משך חכמה על שמות פרק יד פסוק כט
    בהתבונן בדרכי התורה נראה כי במצות מעשיות כמו עו"ג ועריות יש כרת וסקילה ושאר מיתות ומלקות לא כן בנמוסיות ומדות כמו מחלוקת לשון הרע רכילות גזל אין מלקות דהוי לאו הניתן לתשלומין או דהוי לאו שאין בו מעשה, אולם זה דוקא ביחיד העושה אבל אם הצבור נשחתין בזה מצאנו להיפך בירושלמי דפאה (א-א) דורו של דוד כולם צדיקים היו וע"י שהיו בהן דילוטורין היו נופלים במלחמה כו' אבל דורו של אחאב עובדי עו"ג היו וע"י שלא היו בהן דילוטורין היו יורדים למלחמה ומנצחין בו, שאם הצבור נשחתין בעו"ג ועריות ע"ז נאמר (ויקרא טז, יז) השוכן אתם בתוך טומאותם אבל בנמוסיות ומדות לשון הרע ומחלוקת ע"ז כתוב (תהלים נז, ו) רומה על השמים כו' כביכול סלק שכינתך מהם

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  5. Its a fair question, but I would answer: (a) One person can't cover every topic. A person can spend a lot of time complaining about tuition or the Yankees, for example, knowing there are a lot of other greater injustices out there. (b) For the audience, Satmar is not a relevant topic. The Modern Orthodox and even yeshivish have nothing to do with them - no contact either personally or culturally or intellectually. OO on the other hand, is very much here amongst us.

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  6. The yeshivishe have nothing to do with Satmar? Are you for real? Leading RYs were at that anti Israel rally. Lakewood is in bed with Satmar. What are you taking about?

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  7. "A few years ago, Satmar planned a rally in Manhattan that was also attended by many other chassidic groups as well as right-wing Litvishe rabbis, including Rav Aaron Schechter (of Chaim Berlin), Rav Elya Ber Wachtfogel (South Fallsberg), Rav Osher Kalmanowitz (Mir), Rabbi Moshe Meiselman (Toras Moshe) and others."

    Yet do not those groups/individuals cite Torah as the basis of their opinions ?

    Based on my limited knowledge - Orthodox Judaism as a whole was not enthralled with the idea of the formation of Israel and especially with the Zionists. Religious Zionism was for the most part a later development.

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    1. ACJA, your admittedly limited knowledge betrays you. The masses of Orthodox were thrilled with the formation of a Jewish state even if they weren't 'card-carrying' Zionists,i.e., Mizrachi party members. Don't confuse certain rabbis and organizations such as Agudah and Satmar with the masses. Even Agudah joined the first Israeli cabinet in the form of the Gerer Hasid, I.M. Levine. In my yeshiva, Torah Vodaath, a high school/bet medrash rebbe who was a Neturei Kartanik was threatened by the Board with removal if he persisted. He did and was dismissed. Religious Zionism, i.e., Mizrachi existed well before the state and was part of all the early governments lead by Ben Gurion's party, Mapai. In addition, the most prominent students of Rav Hutner, head of the Chaim Berlin yeshiva - including his daughter, Beruria, were leaders in the Mizrachi youth organization, B'nei Akiva, in the early days of the state.

      Y. Aharon

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    2. @ Y. Aharin - I am not sure - mentioning some Orthodox who joined the Israel Cabinet is not convincing. Nor is the fact some Orthodox Rabbis were "Zionist' And how widespread was support of Mizrachi within OJ ? What percent of Orthodox actually fought for establishing Israel ? What percent made financial contributions and how much did they give ? It seems to me back then most OJ had difficulty with Zionism and it was not widely accepted as true Torah.

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    3. True, although he might have a point in that Satmar's ideology is based in a large part on the views of more mainstream leaders - such as members of the Agudah - who also opposed the manner in which the state was establishment. And while they may have made post-facto ideological concessions, Satmar believes it is upholding mainstream pre-1948 views: an important point if one is to debate or deride them.
      As much as it does seem vile and absurd, - and I or you may maintain otherwise and produce compelling Torah perspectives to the contrary - there does exist very strong Torah support for their views, and one must keep this in mind if one hopes to dissuade them.

      R Stefansky

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    4. Y ahron, he said orthodox Judaism, not orthodox Jews. The prevailing orthodox Jewish opinion, amongst the leaders and thinkers, ran the range from apathetic to hostile to the idea of a Jewish state in the form it was taking.
      If the masses did not feel that way, the official Yiddish publications certainly taught that way

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    5. ACJA-
      First of all, the Mizrachi was formed around the year 1900, before Agudat Israel. They received a significant amount of the vote from religious Jews in the Sejm Polish Parliament, including Jews we could consider Haredi Jews today.
      Secondly, you are confusing support for creation of the state with supporting the Leftist, largely anti-religious MAPAI/MAPAM group that ran the government. I would say most Haredim WERE "thrilled" with the creation of the state while, at the same time, being very critical of the Ben-Gurion/MAPAI group that ran it.
      What you are many people seem to forget that it wasn't Ben-Gurion, or the MAPAI or the kibbutznikim that built Israel, although they all played a role, it was AM ISRAEL that built it and maintains it to this day.

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    6. http://www.torahmusings.com/2005/05/religious-zionism-debate-v/

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    7. @ Y. Ben David as you say there are two aspects. "The evil group, conspiracy of the wicked, known as the “Zionists” deny the coming of the messiah, the holiness of the Holy Land and all the promises of the holy Torah and prophets who teach us that the future redemption will be supernatural and above human understanding, as it is written, “No eye but Yours, O G-d, saw what You will do for those who wait for You” (Isaiah 64:4). And they want to take away from the Jewish people their simple faith and give them instead the false contention that everything will happen naturally, G-d forbid, and we need to buy land in Palestine and learn agricultural techniques, in order to be farmers and vine keepers. To them, that is the long-awaited end, and they attempt to teach us the right way to reach it. Anyone with a G-d-fearing heart knows that all their words and lies are against G-d and His holy Torah. (Hagadah Divrei Binah)
      Rabbi Simcha Bunim Sofer, author of Shevet Sofer, rabbi of Pressburg (1843-1906)" I assume this is a legitimate quote I found on the web. Maybe you can check it.

      The Orthodox could have at least 2 reasons to not support the formation of the state of Israel 1) Those evil secularists Zionistic Jews 2) Theological reasons related to how Oral Tradition was understood. What was and what was not permissible regarding settling in Israel and creating a State of Israel. This I already hinted at but maybe you missed it. So what was Orthodox Judaism's position regarding the creating of the State of Israel in the 1800's, early 1900's, 1920's ?

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    8. "We have already spoken about these nationalists. They are a recently-founded group with the purpose of fooling the people and leading the masses astray, thinking that they can settle the Holy Land by natural means and attain sovereignty over it. They are mistaken and they are
      swindlers, and their plan will not succeed. (Liflagos Reuven, Drashos, Chanukah 5672, p. 331)
      Rabbi Amram Blau refused to hold Zionist coins, and Rabbi Zelig Reuven Bengis spat on Zionist currency. (Gilyon Ho‟emunah, Bamidbar, Sivan 5742, issue 6)
      Rabbi Avraham Yishaya Karelitz, author of Chazon Ish (1878-1953)"

      I cant vouch this quote is accurate - maybe somebody can verify.

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    9. ACJA-
      Okay, you have given me some anti-Zionist authorities. I can come back with pro-Zionist authorities. The views you presented are not definitive.
      BTW-I do not consider all secularist Zionists "evil", even some of those we would consider anti-religious which I would say most weren't.

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    10. @ Y. Ben-David - I am mainly discussing history - 1800's to pre WWII. What was the overall Orthodox Jewish narrative regarding Jews (secular or otherwise) taking active action, (which potentially could require violence) creating a State of Israel ? Again, based on my limited experience and knowledge they were not enthralled with the Idea. I could be wrong and it would be an interesting historical study. Now that there is a State of Israel you would think the issue should be moot. But I wonder, if there was this antipathy it may still be lingering at least in some circles. Add to that Israel is not run per religion for the most part and that Jews are committing all sorts of abominations in the holy land. To add insult to injury, the prime movers in the goal to create a state of Israel were secular and they succeeded and I think they still dominate the country and continue to be successful. Then they have issues with government policy like encouraging secular studies which as we all know are like the shifting sands compared to the Truth of the iron pegs in the ground of Torah. And every minute of studying Torah is a mitzvah and we should not waste time time with other narrishkiet that also G-d forbid may lead to you know.

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    11. Rav amram bloi issued his own paper currency, which was cashable by him by appointment in his bet medrash for israeli currency, which transaction he personally handled.

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  8. As a musmach of YU, I imagine that Rav Gordimer is far more directly affected by what goes on in Open Orthodoxy than by what goes on in Satmar. This would explain his greater interest in one than the other.

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  9. Rabbi Slifkin, I think your comment-ers are thus far being far too generous. It seems to me that, for some, criticizing Open Orthodoxy has become both a cottage industry and an obsession, through which their own sense of self (and at times sense of superiority!) is stabilized. They don't criticize the excesses of the right-est wing because doing so wouldn't generate for them those feelings in the same way. Additionally, by identifying a single clear enemy they clarify the otherwise insecure borders of both their own selves and their communities. That is, what's at stake in these critiques isn't ideology or a sincere desire to protest a beleaguered Orthodoxy, but psychology, both individual and communal.

    Another point: I once heard a shiur (I believe it was by Rabbi Rakeffet citing the Rav) in which it was asked why we need laws governing how soldiers who capture women can make them their wives, a la parshat Ki Teitzei. The answer: because we go to battle not with those who are most different from us, but with those with whom we have something in common. That's why, according to the speaker Jews fought with Arabs: common ancestry and culture. So perhaps those who attack Open Orthodoxy do so out of a semi-repressed attraction of sorts...Like the little boy dipping the girls' pigtails in ink...

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    1. The Israelites fought the Canaanite nations, and later the Philustines, because of common ancestry and culture? News to me.

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    2. > The Israelites fought the Canaanite nations...because of common ancestry and culture?

      That is the academic consensus. Though according to the same line on reasoning, the Israelites didn't so much fight the Canaanites as they were a Canaanite faction which slowly gained ascendancy over the other factions.

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  10. Rabbi Adlerstein at CC just posted a piece criticizing the Satmar summer camp episodes.

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  11. There's a great quote from the 1973 Masmid which I dare say I'm the only one who remembers (I did not write it) that offers important advice:

    "Who seeketh Utter Wisdom, not power-play nor pelf.

    Let him not seek Belquinor but within himself."

    sure we need to be aware of issues (and even point them out) in other camps but we should spend some time to "fix yourself first"
    KT
    Joel Rich

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  12. The problem is theological. We have a left end to Orthodoxy, a point where it falls off. However, there is an underlying "more is better" ethos that prevents us from having a right end where one can be too Orthodox. A chasid shoteh is still a chasid. So yes, you can be a decent person willing to help all make the world a better place but if you let a woman be a rabbi(t) in your synagogue you're a heretic. You can be a total menuval but as long as you support mehadrin buses and eat only mehadrin meat you're in the club.

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  13. Interesting question - what actions or beliefs on the "right" flank (e.g. Satmar, Lubavitch) would be required to elicit a public community (e.g. Agudah, RCA) rejection?


    KT
    Joel Rich

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  14. The yeshivishe are so in bed with Satmar that Satmar can do no wrong in their eyes. Hence no criticism EVER.

    Chabad? There's strong antipathy to Chabad by the yeshivishe chevra, due to deification of a human, never-ending belief in the messiahship of a dead rabbi, etc etc. so Chabad gets negative treatment.

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  15. http://www.kikar.co.il/207696.html

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  16. While I disagree with Satmar's view of Israel, their position about Israel is theological and absolutely not because of lack of ahavas yisroel. Satmar do a tremendous chesed, such as free delivering fresh home-made meals to patients in any hospital in New York area (of course regardless on their affiliation if any).

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    1. I am sorry, but PEOPLE are more important that IDEOLOGY. Jews suffered terribly in the European exile....antisemitism, poverty, repression. The desire for a new start in Eretz Israel where Jews ruled themselves in a just society is NATURAL. Of course, a Jewish community in Eretz Israel must ultimately be based on Torah, but the terrible conditions the Jews lived in and the disillusionment so many felt because they thought the traditional Torah leadership was not able to give them the answers they sought brought many (most?) Jews to focus on the material aspects in the run up to the establishment of the state of Israel and its first years and to neglect and even denigrate the spiritual base. However, it is wrong to tell someone that is suffering and sees a path to improve his situation that he is a rasha, that he is stupid and that he should suffer in silence. This is anti-human.
      Now that the state has reached a more stable situation, Jews are now returning to their Torah roots in order to fill the physical, material framework they have built.
      The Satmar/anti-Zionist position which says how wonderful it is to be persecuted and live as a despised minority is counter intuitive and is rightly rejected by most Jews. The violent language they use and delegitimzation they apply against their opponents is certainly going to turn most people off of their message, which I think really doesn't bother them, since they really view their main goal as controlling their own followers.
      The fact that they do much hesed certainly is to their credit, but it must be remembered that as mathematicians say, hesed is a necessary but not sufficient condition for being a tzaddik. All tzaddikim perform many acts of hesed, but not everyone who does acts of hesed is a tzaddik. Many people and organizations that are active in the realm of hesed are actually quite far from being tzaddikim.

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    2. Lazar,

      David Duke and Louis Faralhan also had tremendous ahava for their mother.
      That doesn't make them any less haters , miscreants and miserable human beings .
      The Satmars are no less evil.

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    3. I am sorry, but PEOPLE are more important that IDEOLOGY

      I am not sure I understand what you mean by this. Granted, pekuach nefesh overrides all (but three) Torah laws. Other than that, Torah takes precedence over any other considerations no matter how attractive they may look. Again, I don't agree with Satmar position on Israel, but I recognize their position has solid basis in Gemarah.

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  17. While I disagree with Satmar's view of Israel, their position about Israel is theological and absolutely not because of lack of ahavas yisroel.

    I agree that their motivation is theological, but the lack of shaves yisrael has proven to be an inevitable consequence.

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    1. Originally was theological, but it evolved into serious hatred of fellow jews. By the rank and file and by their rabbinic and communal leadership.

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  18. I would explain the difference thus:

    Take Satmar and then try and find a movement in another religion that is similar to it. I think whatever examples you can come up with would be strained and open to numerous objections. On the other hand, the Open Orthodox have exactly the same set of priorities as liberal Catholics who have exactly the same set of priorities as liberal Anglicans who have exactly the same priorities as liberal Presbyterians who have exactly the same priorities as liberal Muslims etc. Three things follow. First, while I make no bones about saying that Hassidut (not just Satmar) is a heretical movement which has produced nothing of any value at all, I also acknowledge it as a heretical movement of Judaism whereas, to be blunt, I don't really consider Open Orthodoxy to be a Jewish movement at all, though I don't think, for the most part, that they are heretics and I actually quite like, for example, R. Dov Linzer's writings. Secondly, however powerful Satmar may seem and however small and pathetic Open Orthodoxy seems, ultimately one has the financial and political might of the Western world backing it up and one doesn't. Thirdly, I find the whole incremental softly-softly approach of Open Orthodoxy (and "Beit Hillel") just too tedious. We all know that their views are going to *evolve*. We've seen it two or three times before in Judaism and hundreds of times before in other religions. I don't know whether they are being dishonest or whether they are really so witless as not to realise where this is going. Either way, it's boring now.

    Obviously, I'm not normal, but I suspect Rabbi Gordimer is animated by analogous considerations.

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    1. "nothing of value"
      Really? I consider myself a bigger Mitnaggid than most, but even I'll admit that Hassidut breathed life back into prayer.
      OOC, do you also consider the radical philosophies of Ibn Caspi or Gersonides to be heretical as well?

      R Stefansky

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    2. "Really? I consider myself a bigger Mitnaggid than most, but even I'll admit that Hassidut breathed life back into prayer"

      LOL. Try davening in a Hassidish schul and see how much *life* they breath into it. Perhaps you mean they breathed life into prayer by making hamfisted editorial interjections into the Nusah based on completely irrelevant considerations, or perhaps it was the way they transformed synagogues into rec-rooms, but I'll let you explain for yourself.

      "OOC, do you also consider the radical philosophies of Ibn Caspi or Gersonides to be heretical as well?"

      No. I think the whole problem of defining G-d's knowledge of the future is a complete waste of time if that is what you are referring to.

      Delete

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