Thursday, March 19, 2020

Understanding the Charedi Response to Coronavirus

It's extraordinary. It was just a few weeks ago that Rav Aharon Feldman was being "mevatel his daas" to Rav Chaim Kanievsky regarding voting in the WZO elections. Now, we have the Moetzes Gedolei Torah of Agudas Yisrael of America saying that Rav Chaim Kanievsky makes serious mistakes in his communal guidance.

Of course, they don't say that explicitly. What they explicitly say is that everyone must listen to medical advice and close all the shuls and yeshivos. But Rav Chaim Kanievsky famously stated a few days ago that closing the yeshivos is more dangerous than coronavirus, since yeshivos actually protect against it. The Moetzes Gedolei Torah of America are now effectively saying that Rav Chaim Kanievsky was completely, dangerously wrong.

There's been a lot of talk in the last few days about the charedi response (or lack of response) to coronavirus. I saw plenty of crowds while driving through charedi neighborhoods in Ramat Beit Shemesh. There were large chassidishe weddings here in Beit Shemesh, in which the invitations urged people not to take photos which could lead to prosecution. The Litvishe Yeshivos in Israel carried on as normal (which is only just now beginning to change). Rav Sholom Ber Sorotzkin, rosh yeshivah of the massive Ateres Shlomo network of yeshivos, is on video leading his students to sing "We will not listen to their (the health department) regulations." And even the statement of the Moetzes Gedolei Torah of America, as welcome as it is, is coming several days late.

Many people have responded by referring to the Gedolim or the charedi community as "stupid," "evil" or even "murderous." This is a mistake. As I always make clear in my talks and writings about the notorious ban on my books, people are generally not either stupid or evil. You have to understand their worldview and how it causes them to develop their approach. The opposition to my books was completely understandable, even if its expression in terms of a ban on the books as being heretical was incorrect and mistaken. Likewise, the severely deficient charedi response to coronavirus is completely understandable, when you understand the charedi world.

As I wrote in my monographs on the Novelty of Orthodoxy and the Making of Haredim, the chareidi community developed in the twentieth century based on taking to an extreme the Orthodox concept of communal segregation. They developed a siege mentality; in fact, the first time I saw the phrase "siege mentality" used in reference to charedim was in an article by none other than Rav Aharon Feldman about the Israeli Yated Neeman. Wider society, and especially the government, is the "other." Charedim separate themselves from the "other," and are suspicious of it. Likewise, they are hostile to secular knowledge, science and rationalism.

Coronavirus has challenged us with changes to our lifestyle that are unprecedented and which initially seem crazy and unthinkable. Most of us have made this rapid change because we have been strongly motivated to do so, by a combination of three things. First is the terrifying reports that we read online from Italy and elsewhere. Second is our trust in government authorities with regard to their guidance and regulations. Third is our acceptance of the basic underlying worldview of the scientific community.

Chareidi communities are lacking in all three of those. As a relatively isolated community, they are less in tune with the news and mood of the wider world, and their reactions to events lag behind the rest of us (and in Corona Time, a lag of even a few days is a lifetime). As a community based around a siege mentality, they are unreceptive and suspicious of guidance and regulations coming from the government. And as an anti-rationalist community, they are suspicious of scientific authority. It's only to be expected that the response to coronavirus would be deficient - and that the American Gedolim, less insular than the Israeli Gedolim, would lag less far behind.

Meanwhile, the charedi community is facing complete and utter collapse. The global economic costs of coronavirus are going to be serious; for the charedi community, they will be catastrophic. Already, there is a video of someone asking Rav Chaim Kanievsky what to tell donors to kollelim who are nervous about parting with funds during these uncertain times. Rav Chaim responds with the assurance that the donors will make double of the amount that they donate, but this is unlikely to resonate with people who are also aware of Rav Chaim's previous assurance that yeshivos should stay open to protect from coronavirus.

Many charedim do not have meaningful employment, nor job skills, nor even see work as desirable. They live off government support and private donations, and these are going to be rapidly drying up. They need to make an immediate and drastic transformation to their lifestyle, and start training themselves and their children with the skills and desire for meaningful employment. This in turn will require their rejection of the insistence of the Gedolim that there is no correlation between secular education and parnasah.

The charedi community is going to need bailing out, big time. But right now, before the situation becomes any more dire, donations to charedi institutions should be made with a message to the recipient that just as hishtadlus (closing yeshivos, social distancing, etc.) has been necessary to protect from the virus, so too will hishtadlus be necessary going forward in terms of preparing our children and communities to survive in a world which now lacks the financial resources to support a kollel lifestyle. Which means difficult changes. It means teaching all our children the desire to work and the skills and education to get a job. It means the recipients acknowledging that the Gedolim were wrong about coronavirus, about Rav Chaim's leadership and about other things.

It will be very hard for many donors to insist on this, and even harder for many charedim to acknowledge it. But it's a matter of life and death - from coronavirus, and from poverty.

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123 comments:

  1. Rav Feldman subsequently wrote a long letter explaining that when he was mevatel his da'as to Rav Chaim regarding WIZO it did not mean he had changed his mind, and, perhaps earthshakingly, said he believed Rav Chaim was misinformed about the implications of WIZO membership.

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  2. The חרדים who are ignoring regulations are רשעים גמורים, and they should not be bailed out. They should all be put in quarantine. No one in or out. And burn the corpses as they die off.

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  3. Getting a job is completely irrelevant to fighting virus. Experts are advising social distancing — the exact opposite of what you’re calling for. It is unforgivably disgusting that you would withhold basic humanitarian aid from charedim unless they submit to your wider political goals. You really sank to new lows with this post and you should probably just delete it. Shame on you for cynically politicizing this crisis.

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    1. You seem to have failed to understand my post. Getting a job is indeed completely irrelevant to fighting a virus. But it is essential to fighting the poverty that will result from the virus. What's your solution - or do you not acknowledge the problem?

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    2. Where did RNS ever, in this post, allude to the notion of withholding medical aid and supplies from the charedim community. He wrote no such thing. I presume you can read English?

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    3. The Rav of alei tzion in Hendon, where you lectured to a friendly crowd of like minded people a year or two ago, held a wedding for his daughter, who married the son of an eminent local cardiologist on Monday. There was dancing, albeit that gloves were provided (in line with the UK government's early emphasis on transmission through manual contact - not because they didn't know that the airborne vector route existed - but because it would be too economically expensive to enforce distancing rules to deal with it.) Over 100 people attended. I'm not judging them - events moved too fast for these people to keep up with. On Friday the government was still following advice from Professor Ferguson largely predicated on the mortality and basic number rate of seasonal pandemic influenza - because even professors struggle to deal with the empirical enormity of what they had termed the "reasonable worst case scenario" being the best match to reality in China and Italy. Prof. Ferguson is now unwell.

      The UK government itself has not yet shut down schools, and only today made limited reductions to the transit of large numbers of people crammed together into large aluminium containers on the London underground. There is no directive to shut down pubs and restaurants. The Cheltenham festival, with 75,000 people attending, sent ahead as planned on Sunday.

      In fact, on this blog, a certain Rabbi Slifkin stated his belief in the inevitability of the resumption of mass transit of people from around the globe for Pesach. One week ago, Rabbi Slifkin.

      As for Fox News... In February the virus was a democratic plot to reimpeach the president.

      There is no shortage of Slow on the Uptake all around. As usual, you spout sectarian prejudice with no real evidence that chareidim are any different to da'ati le'umi cardiologists and Rabbis.

      I understand the temptation engendered by the give anxiety everyone is feeling, but we will get through this difficult situation without resorting to crude sectarianism.

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    4. Don't be a dimwit (if at all possible). The Rav of Alei Tziyon was following (bad) official advice, Kaneivsky is still refusing to follow official advice. EIGHT weddings happened yesterday in Stamford Hill, all with >150 people. The mikves (at the best of times a disease factory) are still open.

      You can bang on about sectarianism all you want. In four weeks, Charedim are going to be dying in much greater proportions than the rest of the population. Less so in Israel - no thanks to them. Their leadership has led them to the grave.

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    5. The Hat: You mean that Gedolim are as fallible as the UK government and Fox News?

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    6. Until just a few days ago, Boris Johnson's plan was to let the virus run its course quickly through the population.

      Fortunately some researchers in London put out a paper showing the likely consequences of that, and he seems to have changed his tune. Donald Trump also flipped from characterizing the entire thing as a hoax to sounding concerned, although he has yet to take any effective action to get resources to where they are needed.

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    7. On Gavriel's last point - some of the announcements in the US that continue the shul closures and schedule online shiurim etc still tell people to go to the mikvah. But maybe in Gavriel M's opinion, Modern Orthodox mikvahs might be cleaner?

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    8. All Mikvaot should be closed, but mikavot in Stamford Hill are seriously gross. It's really stunning how many people in Stamford Hill have had a bout of cellulitis ('a roiz'). I'd never even heard of it before and for months I thought 'a roiz' was a euphemism for cancer.

      Back to the Rav of Alei Tziyon (who I'm sure is a nice guy but no-one would imagine is a gadol). I assume that at the wedding there were no old people, as per the advice at the time. Conversely, right now there are frail 80 year old men at chasunahs, schuls, bar mitzvas and filthy 38 degree baths filled with public hair and skin flakes. The British policy was bad, but there was a certain mistaken rationale to it. What is going on in the Haredi world is just nuts. It's going to get really, really bad.

      (Parenthetically, I was just talking to someone in NY and he said that the infamous Yacov Shapiro has been telling everyone to self-isolate for weeks, so he may just have his place in olam habah back).

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    9. Donald Trump never said the Virus was a hoax, only the way the media was presenting what he said

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    10. Yes, I agree. Trump never called it a hoax. People misunderstood him.

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    11. @Yosef R

      On shabbos, a little light bulb went off and I realised you were talking about women's mikvehs! Totally different issue.

      Delete
  4. I agree with much of what you wrote. Let’s hope the charedi community accepts the effects of the coronavirus sooner then later, and as a result, change to meet the necessities of the times. Chareidi communities should recognize that the notion that the “Torah protects” may not be true. The Torah does, however, bind Jews together for a millennium.

    I also agree with Rabbi Slifkins’ other views as well. It is obvious that the charedi community is not "stupid," since most Nobel Prize Winners are comprised mostly of Jews probably because Jews generally have a higher than average intelligence and put a lot of on emphasis on education. Although only 0.2% of the world’s population and 2% of the American population, Jews make 24% of the Nobel Prizes and 37% of the US in science and medicine. Also, B&H is owned by charedi Jews. Similarly, it can’t be "evil" either. That would be just stupid and anti-semitic. So they must be mistaken. It is their worldview which needs to be changed in many ways. It can start with finding employment and enlisting in the military (IDF), or accepting government assurance and regulations to fight against the coronavirus. Chareidi communities worldwide need to understand that the Gedolim (for example, Rav Chaim Kanievsky) can be mistaken in matters of science.

    Last night, Yosef Mizrachi exclaimed that G-d inflicts people with coronavirus “because of their sins” and for no other reason. This kind of thinking is why the charedi community generally scoffs at the scientific community and government guidelines regarding the coronavirus. Yes, RNS is correct to say that it will be catastrophic for the charedi community because of coronavirus. However, I like to think that the charedim community will embrace science, education, and rational Judaism in light of recent events. Indeed, it is a necessity and essential that they do so.

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  5. At least the Iranians who kiss shrines that have the coronavirus will win most of the Darwin Awards. Jokes aside, Iran and Italy are in bad shape (because the elderly make up a third of the poly and most of them are heavy smokers). Now is the beat time to quit smoking.

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    1. I don't smoke.
      Should I start and then stop?!

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  6. I'm not convinced you understood Rav Chaim's position correctly. After being told today about government pressure, Rav Chaim supported/urged Yeshivas closing, citing sakana chamira meissura. I think that earlier when he said they should remain open he wasn't properly informed of what was going on or the gravity of the situation. It's important to give our Gedolim the benefit of the doubt and treat them with respect, especially in these times. We should try to only focus on the positive in all our fellow Jews unless there's clear and direct Toeles otherwise, and otherwise focus on our own deficiencies.

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    1. Do yeshivos protect against Coronavirus or not? Is it that up to a certain rate of infection they protect, and then when it reaches a certain tipping point all of a sudden they switch from being helpful to harmful? That's ridiculous. Plus he never said that it's conditional on infection rate.
      What's important is for people to start realize that they have to stop relying on the Charedi Gedolim for major life decisions - about corona, and about education.

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    2. For this to happen, the "Gedoilim" have to stop offering guidance for major life decisions - tell their followers to behave like adults and think for themselves. It seems pretty clear that the current generation of leaders will not do this.

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    3. "For this to happen, the "Gedoilim" have to stop offering guidance for major life decisions - tell their followers to behave like adults and think for themselves."

      'Thinking for yourself' is not the solution, GOOD LEADERSHIP is the solution.

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    4. Incorrect. Thinking for yourself is much more important than good leadership. Because if you think for yourself, you can challenge or ignore the leadership when they make poor decisions. Which they will, at least sometimes.

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    5. @Gavriel and Yitz

      Good leadership exists when that authoritative figure is guiding a community how to think for themselves

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    6. Good Leadership encourages Thinking for Yourself (and then offers guidance in the hopefully few instances where thinking fails).

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    7. Rabbi Slifkin, I think you may have misunderstood. The point is that Rav Chaim didn't initially think that the threat was great enough to warrant such a drastic act of Hishtadlus as shutting down the Yeshivos. The Torah protects- after appropriate Hishtadlus is taken, as many comments pointed out to the last article. And while I agree you want to make sure any Rav knows all the facts before you listen to their ruling, that doesn't mean that we should in any way denigrate the quality of their insights into the facts presented them.

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    8. If there is anything that people are bad about thinking about for themselves it is exponential growth. Plenty of people 'thinking for themselves' have been saying 'lol its just the flu' when they should have been buying tinned food. Plus, in cases like this thinking for yourself isn't even all that helpful. There's still going to be a pandemic all around you.

      What you need is people who do what they are told and people who are good at telling them what to do, plus a backup mechanism if the people at the top start messing up. This is a tricky engineering problem, but not a remotely insoluble one. Look at Singapore.

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    9. People keep saying "The Torah protects.". But if the Torah actually protected in any noticeable way, then, by definition, said protection would be noticeable. You would see populations of learners have noticeably less disease or noticeably longer lives or noticeably better health. If anything, the groups that study Torah most extensively have noticeably WORSE health, because of the ashkenazic genetic diseases and their aversion to science. I read that women in Israel, for example, have higher death and illness rates from cancer because addressing things like breast cancer and ovarian & cervical cancer are not considered modest. So, in summary, the concept that "The Torah protects" is a falsehood.

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  7. Many sensible Charedim are using Zoom and Skype to continue shiurim including Daf Yomi. Our local Gerer Shtiebel (Elstree, UK) has closed. This too shall pass.

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    1. hopefully before rosh hashana.... but in US some are predicting 18 months...

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  8. One of the comments above states "I think that earlier when he said they should remain open he wasn't properly informed of what was going on or the gravity of the situation. It's important to give our Gedolim the benefit of the doubt and treat them with respect, especially in these times" this statement is accurate, but where does it leave us? The lack of respect is in how decisions are being made in this community. A small group of self selected people scream questions at an old man, he replies haltingly, and thousands jump. Where is the basis for the decision, the discussion, where is the pushback, the expertise needed to make decisions medical, social, educational? This is not the way of Torah.

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    1. I would like to strongly second this comment and expand on one section of it.

      Charedi gedolim are very, very old. True, many of them are impressively well preserved cognitively in their old age. So was my posek, and yet he at some point felt he needed to stop giving psak-- he is still capable of learning every day at a higher level than plenty of people, but he himself felt he was declining.

      Charedi gedolim aren't, to the best of my knowledge, really given the ability to step down, to say, listen, I'm experiencing very early stages of alzheimers or other old age dementia, it's not wise to continue coming to me with questions, find someone else. They're put on too high a pedestal. And even leaving aside cognitive decline, they're old, tired, their hearing is almost certainly not as sharp...

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  9. It really pains me to say this, but if Rav Kanievsky is making a ruling which affects the lives (and deaths) of hundreds of thousands people, and if he made the ruling without consulting medical experts or the Haredi (deputy) Minister of Health, then if G-d forbid there are deaths even indirectly caused by this pandemic (e.g., because the hospitals are overwhelmed), Rav Kanievsky has blood on his hands.

    As the acknowledged Gadol of the Lithuanian world, this the perfect opportunity to show leadership and save lives, so far we are not seeing the leadership we would expect.

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    1. A 92 year old man with no connection to anything other than ancient religious texts should not be consulted, or listened to, regarding things like pandemics. Or really most other things.

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  10. Does anyone else find it unusual that the Agudah missive has no individual signature attached. Gedolim are usually not very shy about attaching their names to most anything. Is it possible that the Agudah lay leadership has begun a quiet revolt against their Rabbinic leaders?

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    1. Incorrect. It is fairly usual, or actually quite common, for them to sign "Moetzes ...."

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  11. I think the post could use a little editing, as it makes two points and doesn't delineate between them. Something to make the outline more obvious would be more useful:

    1- Chareidi response to CoVID-19 is sane, if you understand
    a- their worldview, and
    b- the impact of isolation on knowing exactly what we are facing.

    2- Their heavier reliance on a support system of donors and government aid is going to give Chareidim a huge financial crisis during uncertain times like these.

    I would add that 1(a) should be a real factor in choosing which posqim to consider. There was a time when rabbanim served as communal leadership. People who were in the trenches and knew the world their balebatim faced. Then, due to universal education and so many people having a relationship with their rosh yeshiva, we shifted to halakhah being decided by rashei yeshiva.

    Rav Moshe was the right person at the right time -- a communal rav who was also a rosh yeshiva had exactly the right cache to become The Gadol in the eyes of most observant American Jews. And exactly the right mix of knowing the theoretical halakhah and mastery of the art of applying it lemaaseh.

    But there is a problem with this, more so in Israel and only a few communities in chu"l -- we now have posqim who live their entire lives in the ivory tower and rely on second hand information to know what the realities are that they're being asked to pasqen on.

    R Chaim Kaniefsky's earlier pesaq to keep the yeshivos open -- for grounds that have no changed even though the pesaq apparently did -- is an extreme example, and should serve as a wake-up call.

    But I think it won't.

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    1. you confuse 'sane' for 'consistent'.
      their stance in insane, but consistent with their worldview

      it's also not jewish
      show me where in the Torah it says that limmud torah doche pikuach nefesh

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  12. Those who follow the advice that becoming a professional is a suboptimal lifestyle are more likely not to value expert opinion in secular fields. Whether they or their husbands stay in full time Torah study or live lives they believe are inferior to those who do.

    Logic aside, think in terms of communal psychology. How do you teach that going into a profession is bad without that emotionally overflowing into a cultural stance that undervalues professionals and their expertise?

    After all, the Chazan Ish supposedly mastered neurology in the bathroom better than the planer's top neurologists! A community where many. / most are able to believe this legend speaks volumes.

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    1. Next time you're in Lakewood you can check with SG, the widow of the patient, he spent his childhood in Israel, for whom the neurologist ignored the CI's advice and thus caused him untold suffering for the remainder of his not very long life. Then you can gauge if the story is a legend that only chareidim should consider a fact.

      BTW, the version that CI's mastery of neurology came from reading in the bathroom is the view of his celebrated student Rav Nadel, but the version of Sod H' Lireyav- a long subject that RNS has addressed- is perhaps more popular among chareidim.

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    2. I find it possible and even plausible, that the CI had interested other than Torah, including neurology. And he could have autodidactically studied quite a bit. But as you agree, not just in a minute here and there in the bathroom.

      My reason for mentioning the story revolves about this belief that a person, even a genius like the CI, could learn an advanced profession without effort.

      You both debunk the myth and assert its truth.

      But in any case, see the note for yourself. It wasn't like he https://www.hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=21194&pgnum=504 Ask a neurologist if he could identify where to make an incision from that diagram.

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  13. Someone on my building whatsapp group shared a segulah by Kanievsy this morning. I let them have it and I was actually taken aback by the response. There are no real Charedim in my building, just a few sephardi wannabes, but it was as if I attacked Moshe Rabbeinu. The pathetic attitude of DL Jews is really something to behold, especially given how DL rabbis are talked about by Charedim.

    But anyway, I think Kanievsky's lunacy is overrated as a cause of what's going on. The Chassidish communities are much worse. What it really comes down to is this: Charedim are chavs, with some extra virtues. The reason they are still having weddings is the same reason English lager louts were getting pissed in Mallorca in the middle of a lockdown: ignorance, lack of a scientific mindset, and not really paying attention to what's going on out of their circle. Because Charedim haven't died yet it's not real to them. This is is analogous to, although obviously more extreme than, how it wasn't real to most of us (me included) until it hit Italy.

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  14. IMHO there’s a more basic issue which is not seeing oneself as part of the community. I agree that there are certainly different ways to go about responding to the virus depending on priorities. The problem is if each individual or sub group decides on its own how to respond, then the national response will fail.
    kt
    joel rich

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    1. From R' Akiva Eiger's response: (From R' Torcyner translation):
      And after each prayer, evening and morning, they should recite Tehillim, certain psalms which his honour should select, and then the text of Kel rachum sh’mecha, Aneinu Hashem aneinu, Mi she’anah, and the Y’hi ratzon after Tehillim, mentioning in it the king, may Gd protect him, and his children and nobles and all who live in his land.

      IMHO the last part is also about the realization that a united community response is required bderech hateva (not each sub-segment deciding on its own what to do)
      KT
      Joel Rich

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  15. "As I always make clear in my talks and writings about the notorious ban on my books, people are generally not either stupid or evil. You have to understand their worldview and how it causes them to develop their approach." Yes, Haredim (with exceptions, like Eliezer Berland and his followers) are neither stupid nor evil. It is the Haredi worldview that is stupid and evil.

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    1. @Avi

      I'd agree. I think an even more accurate statement is that it's an "immature" worldview that, if failed to mature, leads to millions of grownups acting like children and adopting behaviors that are stupid and may lead to actual evil

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    2. How can the charedi community or worldview be "stupid," when most Nobel Prize Winners are comprised mostly of Jews probably because Jews generally have a higher than average intelligence and put a lot of on emphasis on education. Although only 0.2% of the world’s population and 2% of the American population, Jews make 24% of the Nobel Prizes and 37% of the US in science and medicine. Also, B&H is owned by charedi Jews. Similarly, it can’t be "evil" either. That would be just stupid and anti-semitic. So they must be **mistaken**. It is their worldview which needs to be changed in many ways. It can start with finding employment and enlisting in the military (IDF), or accepting government assurance and regulations to fight against the coronavirus.

      Haredi rabbis are not stupid or evil. They're just a little bit mistaken.

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  16. "in Corona Time, a lag of even a few days is a lifetime"

    The number of known COVID-19 cases in New York City doubled yesterday.

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  17. Fire Marshals from the Fire Department of the City of New York have had to break up large weddings in Brooklyn. Many in the charedi community are decrying the stupidity of their fellow Jews.

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  18. This article is an important adjunct to RNS's post:

    https://forward.com/news/441938/orthodox-doctors-plead-with-community-via-viral-whatsapp-messages/

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  19. What an obnoxious and ill-informed post.

    The Agudah did not say (which you later amend to "effectively") RCK makes "serious mistakes in his communal guidance." It's false claims and false attributions like this that cause many people to call you dishonest, a reason why your credibility is what it is. What they said is to follow health care guidance. Because they have no choice in the matter, by police enforcement. Perhaps they think RCK is 100% right. Their advice is entirely political and practical, and says nothing, whatsoever, of RCK's decision making process, on this matter and certainly not on other matters.

    And did you notice the "many people" in the preceding paragraph? Kind of like "many have called the Charedim stupid", is it not? Cicero-era rhetoric. Put the insult in someone else's mouth. It doesn't fool anyone. It's almost as bad as your disgustingly patronizing follow up, saying (effectively) "they're not evil, just ignorant morons." לא מדובשך ולא מעוקצך They don't need your approbation.

    The Charedi approach, or the modified Boris Johnson approach, of doing nothing may well prove to have been the wisest course of action. Society is a perpetual motion machine, not designed to be paused. We have no idea how we will emerge from this. We are already nearly on the edge of Great Depression era economics. Already there are videos of people fighting over food in groceries. The police in Philadelphia announced they are no longer arresting people. And people are already struggling with school closures and being shut in. For most people this is Day 4. What will things look like in a week or two? We have no idea. Certainly an amateur zoologist has no idea.

    Show some humility. No one knows if the steps being taken will have a material impact. All of history is filled with initiatives that in hindsight proved to be disastrous. And for sure no one knows if the cure may prove to be worse than the disease. One day in the future rabbis may yet speak of the gezeira when all yeshivahs and shuls were shut down, and how even orthodox Jews went along. Who knows? I don't. Neither do you.

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    1. @DF

      Really thought-out response. Thanks for sharing.

      I am in agreement with you regarding RNS's conclusion-jumping regarding the agudah and RCK.

      However, the statement that "The Charedi approach... of doing nothing may well prove to have been the wisest course of action" is potentially problematic, seeing that this particular approach is deliberately disobeying government and higher authoritative orders. Indeed you are 100% right that "No one knows if the steps being taken will have a material impact", but that shouldn't justify people ignoring those steps being taken, while at the same time demonstrating a complete disrespect for those who actually are trying to follow the rules.

      I don't think you were necessarily comparing it to previous gezeirot in our history of persecution, but the wordage of "the gezeira when all yeshivahs and shuls were shut down" gives off a different vibe than governmental instruction to secure national health.

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    2. The Charedi approach, or the modified Boris Johnson approach, of doing nothing may well prove to have been the wisest course of action.

      Nuts. The Boris Johnson policy was not to 'do nothing' it was to try and massage the rate of the spread through slowly escalated social isolation, then impose a lockdown on the elderly during a hypothesised three month period. They were already encouraging old people to minimise social contact before they abandoned this policy. It was a highly technocratic policy, albeit one based on a number of false assumptions. What on earth does this have to do with Charedim around the world killing off their elderly by acting like African savages?


      Show some humility. No one knows if the steps being taken will have a material impact.

      What on earth are you talking about? Over 400 people a day are dying in Italy from Corona. Not a single person has yet died in Israel. That's your impact.


      And for sure no one knows if the cure may prove to be worse than the disease.

      The economic damage of widespread shutdown will indeed be terrible, but that's why it's so important to close down everything that doesn't have direct economic value. If we can get this under control, we can start opening up enough essential economic activity to avert a major depression, but only if everything else is shut.

      Honestly, one thing this virus has made clear is that conservatives are just useless. The price you pay for slowing down the relentless march of liberalism by a few months here and there are mental cases calling for policies that will kill 10s of millions of people. It's the Singapore model or bust from here on in.

      Delete
    3. I agree that the charedi community can do better. I disagree that RNS is "dishonest." Such comments indicate that you never even read the post.

      Delete
    4. "The chareidi approach of doing nothing"? Are you kidding me? There is no such thing, from what I've learned, of a religious person "doing nothing" when there is even a potential threat to life or wellbeing. Just look at several other chareidim who rightly express that even "safek pikuach nefesh doche issura". It is absurd to think otherwise, and it is obvious that RCK had no idea of the gravity of the situation. He many times does not understand the outside world. And, that's not an insult... fakehrt, it's a compliment. But please, DF, there is no such thing as "do nothing"... ever.

      Delete
    5. Gavriel M.----

      Thank G-d for conservatives who believe in strong control of US borders. Who knows how many people were hurt or killed by those among the illegals who are violent or carried diseases.

      Do people like you who support the Left against conservatives have no conscience about the role you played in these injuries and deaths?

      Did the Corona virus teach you something about the importance of supporting conservatives who want to control the borders? Apparently not.

      Andy

      Delete
    6. Actually, Mexico has no coronavirus so we are building wall to protect them from us. Jokes aside, I agree that Trumps wall should be built and I think four more years of Trump would help the economy and Israel.

      Delete
    7. This morning the Wall Street Journal full editorial board said what I wrote above yesterday. Its not worth the cost. There will be absolute apocalyptic jump in unemployment next week. All the spreads have been blown out. 60bb leaving investment bond market. States in lockdown.

      This is all psychotic. And it is all driven, not by fear of the virus, but by fear of appearances. The fear of appearing to have not done anything. This is a textbook example of how hysteria works. And how it causes even people who know better to fall in line. All because people are afraid to speak up and say "ENOUGH!"

      Delete
    8. DF, you are nothing if not consistent. You appear have zero understanding of math or science. Do you know what exponential growth is? Do you understand why this is a problem?

      Delete
    9. @Andy

      Not only is it obvious from my comments in general that I have no sympathies for the Left, it is obvious even from that comment. Because the Left is so vile it is always tempting to be drawn in and support the 'lesser of two evils' in the societal self-destruction machine that is democracy. But not any more. I will not give in to temptation again and thankyou, too, for showing me why.

      @DF

      If you were remotely serious, you would be demanding Haredim don't leave the house to allow vital economic activity to continue. But you're not. What you're doing is calling for the deaths of 10s of millions of people because you can't cope with reality. (And, by the by, the WSJ has spent the last 30 years gutting the American economy and society through cheap labour and outsourcing to China, so its editorial board can contribute to debate by shutting themselves down).

      Delete
    10. Gavriel M - I wouldn't respond to what I consider a silly comment, but I like your comments generally, so you have street cred with me. The WSJ has spent the last 30 years "gutting the American economy"???! Come now.

      No one says the coranivirus isn't serious, the question is only how serious. What I say, and what more and more are saying - even the NYT allowed an op-ed to be published voicing this - is that however serious it is, it isn't worth destroying our economy.

      Delete
    11. @DF

      Yes, the WSJ has spent decades arguing for cheap labour and outsourcing to China so that CEOs can have 6 billion dollars instead of 5 billion. That's a fact. Whether or not that is a good thing under normal circumstances depends on how you weighh CEOs having yachts vs. 68,000 opioid overdoses a year. However, even the evil calculus of the WSJ leaves out the fact not all times are normal and now America has to go begging China for basic medical equipment.

      Delete
    12. Cheap Chinese labor is what makes you and tens of millions of others able to enjoy many more products, at much lowers prices, than they would otherwise have been able. That includes the masks and thermometers being discussed on the conference call I'm on as we speak. Yes, there's a tradeoff in terms of jobs, and (arguably) in quality. It's a fair debate, usually hinging upon whose ox - constituents - is being gored. But neither side can reasonably be called wrong. And the movement towards more consumer goods would have happened with or without the WSJ.

      Delete
    13. DF vs. Gavriel M in a battle of postulated world views! What will be the exciting result? Reinstitution of slavery? Return to mercantilism? Anti-sodomy laws? Stay tuned...

      Delete
    14. @DF.

      Nuts. Taiwan is producing 10,000,000 masks a day because it has retained its industrial base and can leverage it to meet national needs. America and other Lolocracies has spent the last two months brazenly lying to its population, telling them masks don't work because they don't even have enough for frontline healthcare workers.

      Conservatism is becoming a cargo cult, spitting out random cliches with no relationship to reality.


      @David Ohsie

      Amusing, you must have worked hard at it, but, as usual, your desire to appear clever is your undoing. No-one says postulated world views. Anyway, since I'm a sucker.

      1) Unsurprisingly 'LGBTQ people have a higher risk of Coronavirus'. Of course, recriminalizing buggery will have a relatively small impact on the spread of the virus, but since there is no downside, why not? Too late to save all the AIDs victims, but in time to stop the next gay plague.

      2) Western Lolocracies are full of gangs of youth disobeying isolation orders, filming themselves coughing at the elderly and licking supermarket shelves. That slavery is the most humane and economical way of dealing permanently unsociablisable people has never been seriously challenged. However, what in normal times is a desideratum becomes essential in emergencies.

      3) Yeah, how dumb to think that decreasing your reliance on foreign imports might be a bad idea. Something something Adam Smith, blah, blah, blah.

      Delete
    15. Grin. Perhaps, David Ohsie, you and Charles Hall will likewise debate whether it all white people who are evil, or just men? Or whether homosexuals should be given affirmative action spots on the Moetzes, or merely be celebrated generally? Let us know.

      Delete
    16. The economy is very important. As Mr. Trump said, we can't have a lockdown go on for years. On the other hand, we can't allow people to die because of the economy. It's a difficult choice, a moral dilemma.

      Delete
    17. Letting the economy tank will also kill people. People who can't afford the same insurance won't get the same care. Even in countries with socialized medicine, there will be less money out there to buy medicines, stock hospitals, etc... Well care, from balanced nutrition to toothpaste quality, will also suffer.

      Think of the retiree who now has less money to draw on because 1/3 of their savings disappeared.

      Delete
  20. This is an extraordinary post. I was discussing with a friend about the Charedi response. You really express it well and show their mindset. And they lay out the problems and possible solutions. Halevi that people will listen to you.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Just to be fair....

    There are halachic nuances when it comes to danger. I didn't have time to look up the gemara, but I believe that "shluchai mitsva ainon nizokin" (an agent to do a mitsva is not harmed) does not apply where the danger is "shechiach" (found to be in significant evidence).

    So it's possible that R' Kanievsky ruled that yeshivas should stay open as a means of protection, up until the point where he understood that the danger was "shechiach". At that point, he directed that the yeshivas be closed.

    Charging him with hypocrisy is extremely unfair.

    Andy

    ReplyDelete
  22. Whole world is focusing on the virus. But as usual, this blog remains fixated on chareidim.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. @Setting

      The point of the article was that "the whole world is NOT focusing on the virus" because a certain subset of Jews are not adhering to the proper safety measures.

      Delete
  23. Another Chochom: This "Mashgiach's" insane drasha about the gezeiras shmad of the Israeli Health ministry regulations: https://www.kikar.co.il/351958.html

    Utter insanity...... I've heard this going around yerushalayim the past few days, of a gezeiras shmad...The minyan factories in yerusahalayim were still packed as of yesterday.

    There seems to be an organized policy of some big Gedolim not wanting to sign their names on orders to close shuls and yeshivos - see the moetzes kol korei, Lakewood yeshiva put out a letter signed "the hanhola", and later a letter from the CEO Aaron Kotler came out. Community rabbonim also authored a letter. But where were the roshei yeshiva, who are the most influential?

    Are they afraid of the precedent set by closing down yeshivos and shuls, based on health dept. regulations? Are they afraid that one day shuls will be shut down for unsanitary mikvaos, towels for drying hands, and the probability that one person in any big beis medrash over a certain period of time must have had some sort of contagious disease? There must be some reason behind it......Though totally uncalled for in this scenario.

    Are they afraid of losing their shlita on the tzibur if shuls are shut down for an extended period? (Some experts even predict the outbreak lasting a year...)

    ReplyDelete
  24. to DF: Whom do you consult when you feel ill? Your rov or your doctor? Do you rely upon your local possek to deliver a baby? How about - G-d forbid- when you are stricken with cancer-do you run to the nearest rosh yeshiva or to your oncologist? The plain fact is that all chareidim rely upon the outside world for most of their needs- medical, economical, communal. Yet, they continue their arrogant ways of denigrating the outside world if it does not agree with their weltanschauung. I could express myself harshly about them what they are but I will just leave history deal with them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agreed with your sentiment generally, but don't see it as apropos here.

      Delete
  25. R. Slifkin,
    Respectfully I disagree with this post very strongly.
    That the Charedim have a worldview is not an excuse for that worldview being dangerously stupid and false.
    If their worldview includes, as it does, inherent rejection of secular leadership and knowledge then they are stupid. And that stupidity is dangerous. It leads to poverty. And it leads to measles. And it leads, now, t9 deaths. Not just to charedim but also to the wider society.
    We may have to bail these idiots out, but only because it's on our own interests eventually. Based on their behavior on this coronavirus situation they lost any credibility they might still have retained.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. @Fozziebear

      The charedi community is not "stupid," since most Nobel Prize Winners are comprised mostly of Jews probably because Jews generally have a higher than average intelligence and put a lot of on emphasis on education. Although only 0.2% of the world’s population and 2% of the American population, Jews make 24% of the Nobel Prizes and 37% of the US in science and medicine. Also, B&H is owned by charedi Jews. Similarly, it can’t be "evil" either. That would be just stupid and anti-semitic. So they must be mistaken. It is their worldview which needs to be changed in many ways. It can start with finding employment and enlisting in the military (IDF), or accepting government assurance and regulations to fight against the coronavirus.

      Note that I strongly disagree with charedi views. I hope that is evident by now. But they are definitely not stupid.

      Delete
    2. The Haredi community is not 'stupid' but is largely weltfremd and - anecdotally - prone to trust the wrong people and sources in matters of (secular) urgency & education. All the Jews you mention who are successful contributors to the world of science and medicine are mostly secular - some traditional - and their pursuit of education and careers that benefit wider society comes from their ability to marry their values to those of the secular world. This virus may lead to a significant reckoning and breach in the Jewish world. When the world is plunged into darkness or destabilized, the Haredi and (extremist( Kiruv world rolls out ye olde 'Mashiach is here! Yechi HaMelech!' shtick and when it all subsides - and secular and profane actions have proven ultimately decisive (for better or worse), Judaism erodes and wanes both internally and externally. Over 2000 years of experience has shown the longevity and uniqueness of Judaism (though Hinduism is just as ancient and resilient) - but the inward lookingness of the faith no longer holds any true universal meaning. I, for one, am done with it.

      Delete
    3. Turk, your logic is beyond atrocious. How many of the jewish nobel prize winners ever learned talmud... .

      Orthodox Judaism, which usually has a positive influence on Jews also has a dark side which makes them stupid and dangerous in certain areas. this is one of them. their attitude to secular knowledge is a dangerous and stupid worldview.
      (I never said charedim were stupid I said their worldview is stupid and it is.)

      Delete
    4. Yes, I agree with you. The charedi community still believe that the coronavirus will, somehow for and undisclosed reason, not affect them because the "Torah protects". They also rely on the messiah. For example, one top charedi rabbi in Israel said he was currently speaking with the messiah who promised him that the coronavirus would never enter Israel, even though G-d is very angry at the Jews (never mind that Maimonides said that G-d does not have human emotions) and is punishing the gentiles instead. We should be cautious about novel messianic movements. For example, the fervent Shabbetai Zevi messianic movement was one failed attempt. However, with Zevi’s conversion to Islam, all hope for a quick messianic movement died with him.

      Thus, People need to recognize that people should not sit back passively, wait, and pray for a miraculous messiah to save the world from coronavirus. Rather, People should work to create such an age. For example, charedi Jews need to take precautions and not attend Shul until the virus dissipates.

      I would add that a rational approach is to understand the messianic age as a gradual evolutionary process that encourages people to improves themselves and society.

      Maimonides wrote in his “Code of Jewish Laws, Laws of Kings 11:3, “Do not think that the messianic king must perform miracles and wonders, bring new things into being, revive the dead, or perform similar feats as foolish people believe.” When Isaiah, spoke about lions lying with sheep and beating swords into plowshares, he was speaking figuratively and poetically. In 12:1, he continues, “Do not think that in the messianic age, things will be different, or the laws of nature will change. Rather, the world will continue in familiar ways.”

      Thus, Maimonides says that the messianic age will be a natural period. Thus, the messiah will not save people, end suffering and make evil cease. G-d never promised this event.

      If people listened to Maimonides they would not cry or even pray for such an age. Sensible people realize that the future is in their hands, and not rely on a messiah or G-d to perform a miracle. They would not wait for a miracle or for difficult times before they act.

      P.S. You mentioned Hinduism. I would add that Alan Brill notes that the language of the vedas is very old and not at all like the modern dialects. Though this does delute the uniqueness of Judaism at all.

      Delete
    5. @Fozziebear I agree with you that mot noble prizer winners were either secular Jews or modern orthodox. However, B&H (which supplies Hollywood for film cameras and other equipment) is owned by charedi Jews.
      I wouldn't use "dark" to describe the mystical side of Judaism. I might use irrationality or mistaken. If you don't mind me asking, did you have a history with the "dark side" of Judaism?
      We should all do our best to wan them and keep them safe from the coronavirus, as well as ourselves and our family, as much as possible.

      Delete
    6. No, I have no history with it. Just watching from the side as it turns my fellow co-religionists into racists (the religious zionists) and corrupt ignorant extremists (the chareidim), is enough to do the trick.

      Delete
    7. Of course, not all religious zionists (some chareidim) are racist. However, I think it would be foolish to deny that there are some (Yosef Mizrachi and Ovadia Yosef). Hopefully, the charedi community will grow and learn from both secular and modern orthodox Jews to better handle crises like the coronavirus.

      Delete
  26. Can you imagine what this will do to the Baal Teshuva movement? Everyone outside of the Heredi world or even Orthodox world thinks orthodoxy is a complete joke. HOW CAN YOU DENY SCIENCE! It has all been brought to the surface as a joke what it's all become. HOPEFULLY, AND A PRAY, JUDAISM CAN RETRENCH AFTER THIS AND BECOME A MUCH, MUCH BETTER PRODUCT AND COME BACK TO TRUE JUDAISM AND COME BACK TO HASHEM!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It’s called rational Judaism.

      Delete
    2. Shame that the scientists have been inept at preventing the spread or finding a solution.

      Delete
  27. this will clearly be a test of who is right. if the RBSO agrees with the daas tora overriding logic [banai nitzchuni ] , then hareilis will not sicken or die in greater proportion than the rest of israel...

    ReplyDelete
  28. I don't think you are right that the rabbonim in America are implicitly saying that r Chaim was wrong. they are ruling for America where the number of cases is much higher than Israel.

    Also the guidelines in Israel still say that you can daven with a minyan as long as there is no more then 10 people in the room and a distance is kept between them. They can also work if certain guidelines are kept. From what I understand R Chaim said that this should be followed in the yeshivos as well, he didn't say you should just do whatever you want. He is saying that the same way people can go to work and daven with a minyan while adhering to certain guidelines the yeshivos should stay open doing the same because Torah learning and yeshivos are of vital importance (obviously you don't believe this and are therefore bothered by what he said.)

    ReplyDelete
  29. The hysteria and fear with this virus is a complete giveaway that this whole thing is an excess of caution. The proof is, that when it comes to shutting down shuls and batei medrash it's urgent and pikuach nefesh. But when it comes to daily life no such extreme caution has been put in place. (Referring to the situation in USA)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't know where in the USA you're living, but I'm seeing extreme caution in daily life. All the public and nonreligious private schools and universities are closed, just like the Jewish schools, and everyone is staying home.

      Delete
    2. You completely misunderstood the point. Everything is closed in the US. I know, I live there.

      Delete
    3. I had thought so too until I heard about how many USA businesses are closed. So there's an honest parallel.

      Delete
    4. That's because the emergency regulations in the US are not centralized but localized.

      Delete
  30. Many people of the charedi community think that the coronavirus will, somehow for an undisclosed reason, not affect them because the "Torah protects". They also rely on the messiah. For example, one top charedi rabbi in Israel said he was currently speaking with the messiah who promised him that the coronavirus would never enter Israel, even though G-d is very angry at the Jews (never mind that Maimonides said that G-d does not have human emotions) and is punishing the gentiles instead. We should be cautious about novel messianic movements. For example, the fervent Shabbetai Zevi messianic movement was one failed attempt. However, with Zevi’s conversion to Islam, all hope for a quick messianic movement died with him.

    Thus, People need to recognize that people should not sit back passively, wait, and pray for a miraculous messiah to save the world from coronavirus. Rather, People should work to create such an age. For example, charedi Jews need to take precautions and not attend Shul until the virus dissipates.

    I would add that a rational approach is to understand the messianic age as a gradual evolutionary process that encourages people to improves themselves and society.

    Maimonides wrote in his “Code of Jewish Laws, Laws of Kings 11:3, “Do not think that the messianic king must perform miracles and wonders, bring new things into being, revive the dead, or perform similar feats as foolish people believe.” When Isaiah, spoke about lions lying with sheep and beating swords into plowshares, he was speaking figuratively and poetically. In 12:1, he continues, “Do not think that in the messianic age, things will be different, or the laws of nature will change. Rather, the world will continue in familiar ways.”

    Thus, Maimonides says that the messianic age will be a natural period. Thus, the messiah will not save people, end suffering and make evil cease. G-d never promised this event.

    If people listened to Maimonides they would not cry or even pray for such an age. Sensible people realize that the future is in their hands, and not rely on a messiah or G-d to perform a miracle. They would not wait for a miracle or for difficult times before they act.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Listening to some of my neighbors, I caught what sounded to me like a self-contradiction.

      1- The virus is no big deal, and we should have been allowed to keep the shuls and batei medrash open. (Which is different than Turk Hill's report of "Torah potected". More like "not much to protect from, compared to Torah.")

      2- The virus is a huge deal, of messianic proportions.

      Delete
    2. @micha berger I agree with you. Yes, the contradiction apparent. When it means to close shul they will say the "Torah protects," however, when viewing the crisis from afar (Italy) it must be a coming-sign of the messiah. As I wrote previously, people should not look for signs or times of difficultly to act but work to create such an age. Part of that work requires people to stop going to shul when dangerous viruses are present. Yes, it is sad to close them, but it is a necessity.

      Delete
  31. Adam from ManchesterMarch 22, 2020 at 9:10 AM

    The chareidi community in Israel will not take decrees from the Tziyoinim as they are trying to destroy Judaism, apparently.
    Money yes.

    ReplyDelete
  32. This could have a really interesting effect on the Battle of Demographics that has been happening in Israel. I have heard for decades that the balance of power in the Israeli State towards the Charedi, as their birth rates are much higher than that of the secular population. If The Charedi communities see a disproportionate percentage of their populations die as a result of the coronavirus , erasing some of their demographic gains, I wonder how they will interpret that?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. *balance of power in the Israeli State IS SHIFTING towards the Charedi.

      Delete
    2. Somewhat balanced by the fact that some portion of the Chareidi world follows the Eidah Chareidis who don't vote.

      Delete
    3. Not if they keep this up. Across the street from me EVEN NOW there is a well attended (and loud ) haredi simcha going on in a hall.
      Regarding the balance of power, the question is: will their behavior kill more of us or more of them?

      Delete
  33. I think a virtual minyan would be a very good idea. Either that or a minyan that keeps to the governmental regulations of social distancing. Though a virtual minyan would be much safer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. R Herschel Schachter found that experience shows that too many minyanim that are set up to keep to "the governmental regulations of social distancing" still end up leading to a lot of closer contact than intended.

      He therefore ruled that "lo pelug -- we make no distinctions" and ban attempts to construct such "safe minyanim".

      As for a virtual minyan.... There are many disputes about what can be done by electronic recreation of a voice and what cannot. Amein, yes. But while that works for berakhos, and even (according to a recent Zoom shiur by R Herschel Schachter) for answering Qaddish, it almost certainly is not sufficient to establish the minyan to permit saying that Qaddish. Person 11 or 12 or... could answer remotely; but that's not our situation. (I say "almost" because I am not sufficiently informed on the subject to be able to say I knoew every opinion.)

      Delete
    2. @micha berger

      I agree with what you wrote. I would add that since it works for berakhos, Torah readings, blessings, and prayers, then it should work for Kaddish all the same. When you talk with someone over the phone, you accept what they're saying as their voice and intent. I think it makes no difference for Kaddish.

      Delete
    3. RHS said that answering Qaddish would indeed be the same as answering a berakhah. He also said that it wouldn't qualify as joining in to be counted toward a minyan to justify saying Qaddish. So it would work only if you were listening to an existing minyan, and thus useless for our purposes.

      Berakhos generally don't require a minyan, except for chazaras haShatz, which I do not recall him discussing. So, the comparison has to stop there.

      Delete
  34. Charedim are not stupid or evil.

    They are ignorant.

    Without internet access, they are simply living in cloud cuckoo land, blissfully unaware.

    My proof? Photos/videos I saw of Chasunos today and yesterday in Israel, America and London, none of whom observing social distancing. SHomer Pesoyim Hashem - I hope that none of them gets ill.

    We should feel sorry for them. They are their own worst enemies.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. From what has this ignorance arisen? If you’re not afraid of being called an apikores or worse, you already know the answer. It’s an outgrowth of an unfalsifiability that governs Orthodoxy. Chareidism is simply the extreme consequence.

      Delete
    2. @Baal Ha Boss
      Yes, sadly they are their own worst enemy because of ignorance. We should do all that we can to improve them and teach them about social distancing. We should also give to (Charedim) charity so that they can afford internet access and learn about government regulations.

      @Abe
      We don't need to go as far, to be called an apikores. We can go to Maimonides who was a rationalist (modern orthodoxy). Charedim need to grow and improve, and they can and should do so.

      Delete
  35. R. Adlerstein provides a sobering perspective on what has happened writing "While some in our community have perpetrated *what may be the largest desecration of His Name in modern history*"

    https://cross-currents.com/2020/03/19/shiva-and-isolation-in-a-world-of-mourners-part-1/

    RYA has hit the nail on the head and its frightening to consider the fallout from this.

    MG

    ReplyDelete
  36. Remember after Reb Moshe's petirah, people pointed out the 5,746th verse in the Torah was "וַיְהִי כְּכַלּוֹת מֹשֶׁה לִכְתֹּב אֶת דִּבְרֵי הַתּוֹרָה הַזֹּאת עַל סֵפֶר עַד תֻּמָּם" .....

    well the 5,780th verse in the Torah is "כִּי־ גֹ֛וי אֹבַ֥ד עֵצֹ֖ות הֵ֑מָּה וְאֵ֥ין בָּהֶ֖ם תְּבוּנָֽה"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. if only it made actual sense that the real age of the world was 5780 years. but perhaps that form of ignorance was what you were insinuating with "וְאֵ֥ין בָּהֶ֖ם תְּבוּנָֽה"?

      Delete
    2. People who believe the age of the world is 5780 years are probably the same ones still holding weddings and going to minyan during the pandemic

      Delete
  37. Judging by the overwhelming attention this blog gives to Charedi-related issues, I get the sense that your rationalist identity is defined much more by what it's not (charedi) than by what it actually is (?). Would love to see more of that side of rationalist Judaism

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. @Raymond I think its because Rabbi Slifkin used to be Charedi.

      Delete
  38. If you're used to getting by on a low income, I think you can handle hard times better than those who are used to higher incomes.

    ReplyDelete

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The Black and White Problem

The charedi community has a tendency to extreme black-and-white thinking. Biblical figures are either holy righteous people whose spiritual ...