Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Legislating the Neighborhood

There was an article in the news today about various concessions to which Netanyahu had agreed in order to have the charedi parties support his coalition. It's the issues of unlimited military deferrals and no Shabbos construction which get most of the public attention, but buried in this article was something remarkable:
"Another clause stated that anything that might “injure” a religious or haredi way of life should be prevented in neighborhoods where these sectors constitute a majority."
This was particularly interesting in light of an article on Yeshiva World News yesterday titled "Secular Residents Protest The Coming Of The Chareidim To Charish." There have often been secular complaints and protests when charedim move into a city or neighborhood, with Kiryat HaYovel as another example. Charedim respond that this is discriminatory and hateful. But if the charedim are trying to legislate that as soon as they become the majority of a neighborhood, other residents cannot do anything that might "injure" a charedi way of life, then how can they possibly complain when other people do not want charedim to live in their neighborhood?

Of course, my own home town of Ramat Beit Shemesh is a case in point. When I moved here, eighteen years ago, it was around a third charedi, a third dati-leumi, and a third secular. Within a few years the secular all moved out, as life here had become quite uncomfortable for them. Then the charedi community tried to impose its standards on the rest of Ramat Beit Shemesh, with signs and letters in the commercial center demanding charedi standards of modesty, and local rabbis (including Anglo-charedi rabbis) trying to prevent restaurants from having outside seating areas. Imagine if they had the legal power to do this!

If you're going to demand that other people conform to your restrictive social mores, don't be surprised when those people don't want you to move into the neighborhood!

28 comments:

  1. B"H Beit Shemesh still has its tattoo parlor.

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    1. If the Torah prohibits tattoos, why should we bless Hashem that BS has a tattoo parlor?

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    2. Is the prohibition on tattoos Biblical, when not done as part of a mourning ritual?

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    3. Yes, but even if it would not be, why are derabonons any less important?

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    4. The biblical issue of a tattoo is not related to mourning. While the prohibition of a tatoo is referenced in the same pasuk that also prohibits “gashing” for the dead, the prohibition of a tattoo, from a biblical sense is not limited by this condition. The Mishna does attempt to explore what constitutes a biblical tattoo – which could either be defined as cutting and injecting permanent ink (TK position) or tattooing the name of Hashem (or, alternately, the name of a pagan deity) (R. Shimon), the discussion does not consider mourning as being a prerequisite for a biblical tattoo. Either way, the tattoos offered at this parlor most likely fall under a clear-cut rabbinical prohibition if not biblical. But, I think this is beside the point of the comment…

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  2. Natan, why do you censure legitemate comments?

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    1. How do you know what he does or doesn't censor? Given several comments on here, I've observed that Rav Slifkin actually is pretty liberal with what he lets through, even when his own character is questioned. I myself have had issues when attempting to comment using an iOS device - the comment appears to have been accepted, but it goes off into the ether. Also, depending on where you are vis a vis Rav Slifkin's location, there could be a significant time difference, which would result in posting delays as well.

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    2. This comes up every once in a while. R Slifkin has noted that comments sometimes go to the spam box so he doesn't see them to approve them. The only time he don't approve is when the comment doesn't have a name or pseudonym or one person keeps post the same thing over and over.

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  3. If charedim replaced the one third secular then they have a majority.

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  4. Nothing surprising here. They've tried to this in the past simply by being a majority. I'm just amazed that their PR is good enough for them not to be called out more often.

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  5. What was the issue with outdoor seating areas in restaurants?

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  6. Why do Charedim oppose outside restaurant seats?

    Which chumrah does that violate? Just curious.

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    1. The Talmud actually condemns such eating in public under the term "ochel bashuk" which could certainly be construed to mean eating in a public domain such as some restaurants have outside the store.

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    2. Highly speculative. Like so many chumra pronouncements, we don't know the reason for it. Furthermore, you're using a very expansive translation of the term אוכל בשוק. Check out the תוספות on that דף and you'll see that the exact meaning of the term is not clear at all.

      Also note that Rav Aviner paskened that eating in a restaurant's outdoor seating is not אוכל בשוק.
      See also here: http://din.org.il/2015/02/17/%D7%90%D7%9B%D7%99%D7%9C%D7%94-%D7%91%D7%A9%D7%95%D7%A7-%D7%9E%D7%A1%D7%A2%D7%93%D7%94/

      "which could certainly be construed to mean eating in a public domain" REALLY? So all those super-frum families who go out to public parks to barbecue & eat are comparable to dogs? Ridiculous!

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    3. The restaurant will be responsible for the seating area outside the restaurant. So it's not really a "public domain". They wouldn't be able to put tables and chairs outside if it were truly "public" (the same problem as when building a sukkah on the sidewalk).

      I've heard an explanation about the issur of eating "ochel bashuk" applies to someone who goes from one stall to another in an open air market (like Mahane Yehudah in J'lem), taking a sample from each stall. What he's eating is not gezel, since the amount is so small, but, at the same time, he's not paying for it.

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    4. Not that I have ever actually learned the sources on this, just had something mentioned by my seventh grade rebbi, but I always understood ochel bashuk as being very "arai" about eating, like walking with food with no set location. [This idea is connected to the halachos of benching, and "kovei'a seudah," etc.] Sitting at a table that happens to be outside, especially (as it often is though admittedly not always) in a roped off or otherwise designated area, should not fall under this limitation.

      Of course, today we do even walk around eating sandwiches or snacks or ice cream ANYWAY, so have really gotten away from the Gemara's intention even according to that interpretation, but that should not affect the restaurant argument...

      But it's funny - I assumed (wrongly, perhaps) that it was another tznius issue - people who choose to sit outside might be more likely to sit in mixed company, or something? Oh, maybe this: if people sit in mixed company in a restaurant, at least that is an enclosed space where one who is Not Interested can choose to Not Go. But if the mixed seating is outside, then EVERYONE is in the mixed seating section! Including the chareidim just walking on by! And we cannot have that...

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    5. To "setting the record straight" - that's not what "ochel bshuk" means at all, and even if it did, frankly, it would just one of countless Talmudic-era practices that have no application today. (Or when was the last time your wife washed your feet when you came home?)

      But its not what it means anyway, so don't worry about it.

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    6. Have you ever been to a shuk? It's quite different than sitting at a proper table and eating a meal.

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    7. From memory some rishonim write it is only without paying. In addition to the gezeiloh obviously.

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    8. Some bakeries have a plate of samples and or kid samples.
      That's not gezelah (and if someone really overdoes it, most chalk it up to tzedakah.)

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  7. Thanks to everyone who tried to answer my question.

    My guess, which could be wrong, is that the Charedi Rabbis fear that eating outside will cause men to look at women.

    This they fear above all else, even when the women are dressed according to the strictest Charedi standards of modesty.

    My guess, which could be wrong, is that the Melech HaMashiach will finally come when the Charedim become as strict with Business Ethics as they are with modesty.

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    1. They fear loss of control, not any specific "sin," even if it's not a real issue. RNS mentioned it in a previous blog, but charedi society is built on fear, and the rabbis are at the top of the pyramid. If the attitude is that anything that's not "traditional" or not as strict as possible is bad, then it needs to be banned, or else the herd will think that the leaders are weak. Charedi rabbis have been disparaged or seen an erosion of their power in cases where people perceive them to be less strict. Of course, many rabbis and regular charedim really do believe that this stuff is problematic, but for the people in charge, they're generally more worried about maintaining their power than any real chumra or anything like that.

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    2. My guess is that moshiach will finally come when we each focus on what we can improve instead of what others need to work on.

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    3. SL, my guess is that we'll be happy to hear from others how to improve, and even search it out.

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  8. Any chance of prevailing upon Gantz to seek to be part of a coalition with Netanyahu and setting conditions that Netanyahu can accept (like not insisting on dismantling any settlements without any irrevocable concessions from the PA)? Doing so would allow Netanyahu to form a coalition without Charedi support.

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  9. "My guess, which could be wrong, is that the Melech HaMashiach will finally come when the Charedim become as strict with Business Ethics as they are with modesty."

    We will be waiting an eternity!

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  10. Does anyone know what happened to the modesty signs. Are they still up ? were any fines paid ?

    http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/242092

    During a hearing on the issue on Sunday, the Supreme Court accused Beit Shemesh of not investing sufficient efforts in combating the phenomenon and ordered the municipality to install video cameras near the seven major flashpoints in order to enforce the courts directive banning modesty signs.

    The court also threatened to place heavy fines on Beit Shemesh for every day that the signs were not taken down. In response, Beit Shemesh Mayor Moshe Abutbul requested that the Supreme Court remove the municipality from the issue, since several attempts to remove the signs have been made, but it is not feasible to remove them on a daily basis due to the exorbitant cost of bringing in riot police to contend with the inevitable riots.

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  11. It's a monkey business Bibi does know very well that the Bagats won't let trough such laws, so is has nothing to loose by making "concessions".

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