Thursday, November 1, 2018

It's a Miracle!

In all my life, I don't remember ever being so giddy with joyous disbelief. Dr. Aliza Bloch, a dati-leumi woman, won the Beit Shemesh elections!


The significance of this is enormous, and we are still processing it. But here are three immediate takeaways:

1. Never Give Up Hope
For five years, everyone in Beit Shemesh, both charedi and non-charedi, thought that there wasn't the slightest chance of ever having a non-charedi mayor. The charedi community outnumbered the non-charedi community, and they also benefit from a much higher rate of voter turnout. When Dr. Aliza Bloch launched her campaign, many of us dismissed it as a vain and futile hope, a complete waste of time and effort. And yet she won! By over 500 votes! The message to cynics and realists

Dr. Aliza Bloch, with some of her many charedi supporters
2. It's the Beginning of the End of "Daas Torah" and a Return to Classic Torah
Aliza Bloch won with the support of thousands of charedi voters. This includes not only post-charedim and people on the fringes of charedi society, but even many charedim who voted United Torah Judaism for the political party (in Israel you have separate votes for mayor and for political party). That is to say, thousands of people who strongly identify as part of the charedi community nevertheless went directly against the "Daas Torah" of all the Gedolim. This is staggering. (I urge people to read the comments written by charedi residents of Beit Shemesh against the hateful letter published in Cross-Currents.) This marks a return to traditional Jewish concepts of Torah and rabbinic authority, and away from the recent hijacking of it by political interests.

3. There's a Tremendous Opportunity Here
The charedim who voted for Moshe Abutbul were convinced by "Daas Torah" that Aliza Bloch wants to harm the charedi community, destroy the Torah way of life and secularize the city. Right now, they are probably filled with despair. But in the coming years, they will see that they were utterly misled. Aliza Bloch has zero ill-will towards the charedi community, and certainly does not want to destroy their lives and secularize the city. On the contrary, she will improve the city of Beit Shemesh for everyone, including charedim. So when the next elections come around, in five years, the re-election message will be obvious: "Daas Torah" deceived you last time, and there's no reason to trust it. And people will see that there are genuine Torah values to be found in other communities, too, and that charedim and non-charedim can work together for the good of everyone.

We live in historic times! Baruch Ha-Tov VeHaMeitiv!

37 comments:

  1. Another point : Moshe Abutbul did not campaign at all. Despite him reportedly have said "we can't be complacent" there were no Q&A sessions, no chug bayit, never saw him or anyone pitching him, and on sukkos, I commented that the election was a month away and he had not begun campaigning. Aliza Bloch on the other hand started 6+ months ago and I saw her everywhere. Train station supermarket.

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  2. the chareidi rabbi's here we're forced to tell thrrt people to vote abutbul, the represenetives went to the "gdolim" told them nothing, got the letter, and with that forced their ways on the local rabbi's, the people had enough.
    if only they would change around the represenetives in the chareidi system, she would never be elected, but they thought the people are stupid.. you can lie some of the time... but not the same joke every elections.. no more

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  3. If you're calling this a miracle, does that mean that you'll be changing the name of the blog to "irrationalist Judaism"? :-)

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  4. Delighted to join you and most of the city in joyous disbelief.
    Actually not disbelief. I had high hopes from sounding out ramat gimmel and from the Peleg factionalism which has changed since last time round.
    Shabbos clothes for me today...
    L'chaim!

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  5. It's worth bearing in mind that the same 'da'as Torah' that demands you vote Abutbul in Beit Shemesh just because he's Haredi also demands you vote against the Haredi candidate in Yerushalayim with a real agenda to make life better for all Jews in the city and instead vote for a secular guy who is best buds with Avigdor Lieberman.* It's almost like they just make it up as they go along.

    *Even weirder, Peleg endorsed Elkin.

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  6. When a rationalist starts calling things miracles....

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  7. So, a theoretical problem: if Aliza succeeds as a mayor and is popular with the plurality of residents, including those nominally 'chareidim', and is voted in again...are those who voted her in still considered chareidim?
    Every group self identifies I guess, but in the last 20 or 30 years the definition of chareidi has become increasingly entwined with Rav Dessler's unusual perception of Da'as Torah. By rejecting that, are they creating a new sect?
    It's not reasonable to call those people Dati Leumi or Modern Orthodox... they don't fit those boxes at all. But they just as surely aren't going to feel comfortable in the chareidi box.

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    1. Perhaps post chareidi-ist?

      There is a huge difference between chareidi Jews (a reasonable world-view that I happen to disagree with) and Chareidi-ist ones (Which one of my teachers calls football Judaism where adherence to a particuar Rebbe, Rosh HaYeshiva or Rov, and slavishly following his minhogim, dress style and views, no thought required, is far more important than the niceties of the shulchan aruch as it relates to interpersonal relations - or anything else for that matter.)

      If this event is truly the beginning of the death of Chareidi-ism and Godolotry, then it may, indeed, be a miracle.

      Delete
    2. No, daas Torah is not (directly) intertwined with Rav Dessler's interpretation, as much as its just political pragmati$m on the parts of the particular different rabbonim. Proof is that they differ, expecting more spoils from one or the other than the other. (The example of willingness to join Labour (whatever they're called) or Likud is just one example. Then they go crying when lapid gets in, cause he won't play ball with them.)

      Yet they still expect the current system to stay the same, in five years, or fifteen years, or twenty five years. No concept of long term planning. Just what they can get right now. Which is why they vote for various forms of Oslo (then supposedly regret it) or nesigah (well, everyone regrets that one). As long as the money keeps rolling in.

      Delete
  8. I heard from a friend that he spoke with a Charedi counterpart and he told him that he voted for Abutbol but davened for Bloch. Ha.

    I also spoke with someone who is a Sefardi Charedi. He told me that he voted for Abutbol cause of daas torah but he will be really happy if Aliza Bloch wins. He said that he heard her speak and was so impressed with her and her middot and how she was so careful not to say anything bad about other people etc. Furthermore he feels that she would do a better job with bringing achdut to all the parties in the city council and hopefully the city as a whole.

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  9. Don't be so optimistic. The street belongs not to the majority but to those who scream the loudest. For the next few years you will have endless protests, riots, acts of public disobedience, all in the name of God and Torah, of course. You'll have sanctimonious articles published at CC and other Charedi sites and newspapers explaining what a "perutzah" the new mayor is and how all she wants to do is destroy the Torah. The silent numbers of Chareidim who are sick and tired of this bovine faeces will not make their voices heard. Good luck.

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  10. I'm glad she won, but this is politics. Be prepared for 5 years of compromise and little disappointments in the best case.

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  11. The messiah has yet to come



    https://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Beit-Shemesh-elections-show-limit-of-haredi-rabbinic-power-570821

    So what has happened in Beit Shemesh does not presage any massive rebellion against the authority of the haredi leadership; it is still alive and well.

    But it does show the limits of this power, in particular when sectors of the haredi population who are more integrated into Israeli life, and in particular the work force, are involved.

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  12. I pray you are right about 3

    The real question to be asked IMHO is can one truly be chareidi and not listen to the universal daas torah on an issue as boolean as voting

    KT

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  13. Now you know what I felt when Trump won over here. And there’s a lesson for you to learn here. The same way the rabbis lied about Dr. Bloch, and the stooges believe them, so too the media lied about Trump and continues to do so, and half this country still believes them.

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    Replies
    1. Once you've referred to people who blindly believe what they are told as stooges.
      Can you specify the "rabbis" and the "lies" to which you refer.

      Delete
  14. The real lesson, which ought to give you pause, is that charedim are not as monolithic as the stereotype you obviously fell for. You realize that, as a religious Jew, there are plenty of secular Jews who would stereotype you too, and say you are controlled by your rabbis. They don't see the shades; to them, religious Jew = controlled by rabbis. You obviously felt the same about Charedim. Rethink your premises.

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    Replies
    1. What leads you to believe that? The last time he one 51-49. The incumbent mayor was so bad that a bit over 2% of Abutbol voters switched over. (Given population changes, it was perhaps a bit bigger. Let's say 5%). I don't know why that would indicate anything about being monolithic. Daas Torah is not a stereotype. It is an explicit principle that many, but not all, Charedim endorse.

      Delete
  15. A rationalist calls this a miracle?

    But bottom line, politicians rarely deliver on a fraction of their promises once in power. For all sorts of reasons (but never their fault of course).

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  16. Wonderful news, but how is it a miracle?

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  17. To those who question use of the word "miracle" here, please remember that in Judaism a "miracle" does not necessarily mean the suspension of natural laws. A great many rabbis (including Rambam, if I remember correctly) have said that God's miracles work within nature, not against it.

    You may remember learning (as a small child) that we experience miracles every day. Like the fact that the sun rises every morning, or the simple fact that we are alive. All natural, but miraculous nonetheless.

    Regarding a political election, I think you can be justified to consider it miraculous if it is unexpected and ultimately ends up beneficial to the Jewish people. The first part is definitely true. We'll have to wait a few years to know if the second turns out to be true or not.

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  18. I for one have for the last 5 years been assuming that a non-haredi candidate would indeed be able to win because of splits in the haredi vote.

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    1. You seem to be misinformed. There was no split in the chareidi vote; there were only 2 candidates: Dr. Bloch and Mayor Abutbol.

      Delete
    2. I think you have misunderstood.
      He means that instead of monlithically all voting for the Chareidi candidate, the chareidim split into Abutbol voters and Bloch voters...

      Delete
  19. "The message to cynics and realists " --- It seems that the sentence here was cut short.

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  20. "In all my life, I don't remember ever being so giddy with joyous disbelief."
    I would save my excitement until the city actually improves. It is easy to promise change when not in the driver's seat; to deliver is not always so simple. She will have to contend with a lot of harsh realities and facts on the ground. I wish her much Hatzlacha.

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  21. It's the Beginning of the End of "Daas Torah" and a Return to Classic Torah

    Don't hold you breath. Daas Torah *is* classic Torah and is well and alive. With regard to Beth Shemesh, Abutbul got almost half of all votes, which means only small amount of Haredim did not vote for him.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ... which means only small amount of Haredim did not vote for him.

      The difference is more significant than you imply. Last time, RBS-G had barely any residents. Today, it is (nearly) as populous as RBS-A, but almost 100% Charedi. To give such a narrow margin of victory, there had to be several percent that did not vote Abutbol.

      Of course, a lot may have voted no-vote (blank ballot), but in this case, the effect is the same.

      Delete
    2. Do you think that ignorance and untruths are good for kavod haTorah?
      I ask merely because you seem to think so.

      Delete
    3. Daas Torah *is* classic Torah

      Not in Judaism it isn't.

      Delete
    4. @Avi RBS-G is primarily Modern Orthodox Americans, hardly Haredim.

      @Fozziebear Ignorance and untruths are often qualities of those who consider themselves their own Rabbis.

      Delete
    5. @Lazar: I think that you have big misconceptions about Americans.

      You are stating the Gedolim problem well. When someone considers himself an unquestioned authority, the result will be ignorance and untruth.

      Delete

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