Monday, February 1, 2021

Lethal Anti-Rationalism

Previously, I argued that to the extent that the charedi community ignores Covid precautions, it is primarily because they see them as an external attack on Judaism. But more and more, I am beginning to think that another factor, which I had previously not believed could really exist to any significant degree, is actually very significant.

A friend of mine in New York told me about how a certain frum woman is pregnant and on a ventilator with Covid. Her friends, deeply concerned about her health, decided that, as a merit for her recovery, they would bake and separate challah. Which they did - all together. Thereby creating a situation whereby if one of them was carrying Covid, they would all likely be infected.

It increasingly seems evident that rationalism and scientific thought is so foreign to many people in that community, that they just don't see a connection between neglecting precautions and contracting Covid. (Or, perhaps their anti-rationalism makes it easier for them to choose to ignore the connection.) If someone gets sick and dies, it's because Hashem wanted it to happen, and it has nothing to do with any allegedly irresponsible actions taken by people in the community.

In the past, I've been very tolerant of non-rationalist approaches, seeing them as psychologically very beneficial for people. But this is a situation in which they can be deadly.



85 comments:

  1. I had the same thought yesterday regarding the tens of thousands who turned out en masse for the funerals of two major rabbinic figures in Jerusalem, both of whom died of Covid-19.

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  2. A lot of them think that there is no risk because they've all already had COVID.

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    1. This. I personally know many people of the type this post is discussing, including those who have lost family members. There is no doubt in their mind that they had it already eight months ago. Whether they are right or not is a different matter, and may also be a rationalist vs non-rationalist discussion.

      Important to remember that during March and April, most charedim in NY and Lakewood really *did* take precautions, including closing shuls and schools, and making Pesach alone. From their perspective, the virus "swept through their community" during that time.

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    2. Peter Santenello recently filmed a series of popular videos within the Chasidic community. In many of them you hear both him and the interviewees saying not to bother with masks as they've all had covid already. He says the same thing too.

      Just a bit of naivete, ignorance...nothing too malicious or deliberate

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    3. What's ignorant? Covid has an efficacy of 80 percent in protecting against Covid, which is better than the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, and only marginally worse than the AstraZeneca vacc. Or is it your position that normal life cannot continue ever again? Because there is not a qualitative difference between the immunity a vaccine will impart to the immunity infection imparts.

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    4. @The Hat: not everyone had it already and you can get it again after some time. Even if the second time is not as bad (not guaranteed), you can still spread it to other first-timers. Even if this is a low percentage of people, when you bring thousands of people together, you will get spread. A bunch of well-known Rabbis just died of COVID. How?

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    5. "is better than the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, and only marginally worse than the AstraZeneca..."
      This is intellectually dishonest. Why didn't you bring up the vaccines that are actually relevant- those that are approved for the USA & Israel?

      "Or is it your position that normal life cannot continue ever again?"
      Normal life is simply no possible yet. Just ask the vulnerable, elderly & hospital staff. If the rate of serious illness is manageable & hospitals can also continue with routine care (i.e. "normal life" for hospitals), then the question of "normal life" can be discussed. Until then, it's a selfish question. It's the attitude of "שלום יהיה לי".

      "qualitative difference"
      Qualitative: Ok, suppose no difference. How many people have to suffer or die to reach herd immunity? And the costs to people who get "cheated" by hospital triage?
      Quantitative: I've noticed that you've haven't addressed the quantitative difference between infection & vaccine. Why? After all, it's the quantities that make or break herd immunity.
      Is there a single place in the world that has achieved proven herd immunity by infection only? It didn't work for Manaus and they were CONVINCED that they were over it.



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    6. @David Ohsie 'or is it your position that normal life cannot continue ever again. Because there is not a qualitative difference between the immunity a vaccine will impart to the immunity infection imparts'.

      If I can make a scientifically predicated prediction, in 5 years' time significant numbers of predominantly elderly vaccinated / previously infected adults will die each winter from Coronavirus.

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    7. Ephraim:

      You've elided lockdown being able to be ended "yet" with "ever"

      Read this: https://www.uea.ac.uk/news/-/article/herd-immunity-may-not-be-achievable-even-with-high-vaccine-uptake

      There seems to be no viable end game for lockdowns.

      Thanks to government imposed lockdowns, I've lost my business, I went through a three month period in which I couldn't sleep as it was possible I could lose my family home, I am suffering from stress induced eczema, I am home schooling children without a teacher's pension, I now work as a salaried employee until the early hours, I have no time to exercise, and I have put on weight.

      I kind of resent being told I am the selfish one.

      But at least I have the internet with cartoons on Amazon Prime, and my family size is smaller than the charedim you so indolently pass judgement on. I can tell you the situation at these homes is very far from shalom yihyeh li.

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    8. But your children - and you - are alive. And their teachers are alive. And maybe the older generation in your family is alive, I do not know where things started, but if your kids are school age, then presumably there are some susceptible grandparents still alive. And free of respiratory consequences, blood clotting consequences, and random bouts of fatigue (well, fatigue more than usual).

      It is indeed heartbreaking to hear about the financial straits that people have been through - Jewish and non-Jewish. But as it has been shown again and again (repeatedly with schools in Israel as well as in various fora in the US) when the lockdown is lowered, more people get sick.

      So don't come at us with "At least!"

      At least you are alive!

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    9. It's very nice of you to congratulate me on surviving the 0.15 percent case fatality rate. For reference the CFR for my age bracket for influenza is around 0.05, so you are congratulating me on surviving approximately three winters of flu.

      I'm not having suicidal ideation, but you ought to know what the single biggest risk to the life of an under 45 year old male is after car accidents before making your benevolent decisions on my behalf.

      Even in the moral panic of 2021, it isn't respiratory illnesses. The second biggest killer of young men is themselves.

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  3. Natan, you speak as if you are intimately familiar with the thinking of American chareidim.

    Problem is that you sound yourself off an echo chamber. Masking and social distancing just haven't been proven to effectively contain the Coronavirus.

    Chareidim happen to be more empirically informed than the liberal and "science" community which are full of conjecture and hysteria.

    Chareidim see through the charade of the covid hype. True people are dying, nothing is to say who will be affected and that it is even containable.

    It’s a pitty the rest of the world can't also move on and continue living.

    The saddest part is that millions of people actually believe that Biden's administration works with science!

    Matter of fact they spew anti science ideas like Transgenderism.

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    1. How is it "hysteria" if "true people are dying?"

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    2. So you are claiming that "Chareidim happen to be more empirically informed" than the "science community".

      So in your opinion a Yeshiva education gives you a better understanding of science than a PHD in science.

      I guess that you have proved Rabbi Slifikin's point that "scientific thought is so foreign to many people in that community, that they just don't see a connection between neglecting precautions and contracting Covid."

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    3. Joseph, you speak as if you are intimately familiar with the thinking of the scientific community.

      Problem is that you sound yourself off an echo chamber. Masking and social distancing have been proven to effectively slow the spread of the Coronavirus.

      Chareidim happen to be informed by conjecture and hysteria, prone to using words like "empirically" when they have no idea what it means.

      Chareidim believe that nearly 500,000 dead in America is nothing more than a charade of the covid hype. True people are dying, though you certainly will not let that affect how you treat others, as levayos and minyan are more important than pikuach nefesh.

      It’s a pitty the rest of the world can't also move on and continue living. In the meantime, we vow not to practice spelling easy words with less than five letters.

      The saddest part is that millions of people actually believe that science deniers understand science!

      They are unable to *not* spew bigotry and hatred, like condemning Transgenderism even when it has NOTHING TO DO with the topic at hand.

      Have a day.

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    4. Love trolling this blog :-)

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    5. Could you point me to a randomised controlled trial showing that the effects of masks is to reduce deaths, and which does not assume that correlation indicates causation? (I'll give you a hint: you can't).

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    6. "Masking and social distancing just haven't been proven to effectively contain the Coronavirus."

      This is intellectual dishonesty. Nobody ever claimed this. The claim has been, and indeed proven, that masks & social distancing effectively REDUCE (but not necessarily contain) the spread of covid-19.
      So if 200 people are in the same building without adequate ventilation for long enough- there will be spread even the people are masked & 6 feet away from each other. But the amount of additional infections (and perhaps, disease severity) will be reduced.


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    7. "Could you point me to a randomised controlled trial showing that the effects of masks is to reduce deaths, and which does not assume that correlation indicates causation?"

      Double-blinded RCT are the gold standard for scientific proof. But sometimes the gold standard is not possible or ethical. So we rely on the "silver" standard instead. And the best evidence we can get so far shows masks are helpful.

      No one even claimed that the evidence for masks were as strong as for other medical interventions & diseases/conditions.

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    8. To clarify: I am an avid mask wearer and early adopter. I was wearing masks back when the state and its medical drones were discouraging the proles from obtaining any protection at all because those supplies were being hoarded by our new masters of the universe (young fit doctors who as a result are at lower risk of contracting Covid than bus drivers).

      I am just pointing out the pretensions of these Covidiots who abandon all civility and comity to abusively hiss "follow the science!" at hapless targets when actually what they are doing is following the mob.

      I have a hunch that masks work. It's a respiratory disease, it makes a degree of sense. I would encourage everyone to wear it, and everyone else to exercise proportionality and a measured response to those who do not.

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    9. Very good Mr. Hat. But that level of seichel is lacking among many people. It's all or nothing, so if one person gets sick despite mask use, it's Oh well Masks Are Useless, rather than statistics, which (unfortunately??) govern life.

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    10. There are over 400,000 dead, probably more like half a million in the US, many more including me with long-term health problems as a result. Taking the pandemic seriously isn't "hysteria". It is bare common sense.

      The problem is that Americans in general and American religious fanatics such as the charedim and Evangelicals in particular have grown lad and privileged. They have forgotten that people can get sick and die and that it has consequences.

      That is why African countries had better results. They have had to deal with everything from measles and malaria to Ebola. They understand that public health measures are important and that even if they are religious prayer won't protect them.

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    11. Taking it seriously is not hysteria.

      Locking down indefinitely, closing schools, letting cancer and cardiac patients die, screaming at strangers in the street or shop, stopping all mental health treatments, accusing am entire group of society of murder: utterly selfish and hysterical.

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  4. Are you rational now and irrational when you wrote http://www.rationalistjudaism.com/2020/03/it-wont-last-it-cant.html?m=1 or vice versa?

    Struggling to keep up with the balletic movements of goal posts...

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    1. I didn't think that it was serious enough for the government to put a million people out of work. I was wrong.

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    2. Or perhaps you just did what humans for and adjusted to an incredible new norm of open ended curtailment of accustomed basic liberties for unquantified benefits (and costs) because that's the current mood of social hysteria amongst the people you respect.

      How many people did lockdown save (we only know how many it didn't save) and for how long is their life preserved? How much did it cost? How many people died because of lockdowns (certainly less than lives saved but let's not write them off entirely). How many people do lockdowns save from serious long term effects of Coronavirus?

      We are now more than a year into the pandemic and these are rather fundamental questions.

      If politicians and doctors want to make the case for lockdowns I want budgets, numbers, performance targets, dates, deadlines, and clear plans for aspiring policy if performance targets are not met. Instead, no imposition seems too much for society to be asked to bear.

      Why are people rioting in the streets when their basic rights of education, assembly, travel, work, practice religion are curtailed without any consultation, without any defined temporal limits? It's a real mystery.

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    3. "At some stage, corona will just be something that society accepts, because it's too costly to try to halt it - like cars. Cars cause a tremendous number of fatalities and accidents, but society is unwilling to live without them. Corona will just be accepted as a slightly more severe version of the flu - which kills hundreds of thousands of people annually - and life will go back to normal. Hopefully this will be before there is too much damage to the economy."

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    4. "How many people did lockdown save"

      If people wore masks, socially distanced, avoided crowds, there wouldn't be a need for lockdowns. Here in Israel, the malls were allowed to open under strict conditions. They were supposed to limit the amount of people in the mall at once. Individual stores were supposed to run under restrictions too. But they simply didn't bother & were one of the factors that lead to the lockdown.
      The best argument against a lockdown is that covid spread can be reduced by other less restrictive measures. But you argue against other measures. It's a case of תפסת מרובה.

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    5. " like cars." ... "will just be accepted" "flu"

      Nonsense. Car accidents deaths & flu have NOT been accepted as you claim.

      We still have cops issuing tickets to reckless drivers. We still have engineers working on safer cars, whether it's airbags, crumple zones, mobile-eye & other tech. Roads & highways are also designed for safety. There are gov't agencies & organizations that are active in educating the masses for safer driving. So no, we have never accepted car accident deaths.

      On the flu front, we have continuing research in the development of more effective vaccines. And no doubt, researchers are working on better treatments for the flu. So no, we have never accepted flu deaths.

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    6. If people wore masks, socially distanced, avoided crowds, there wouldn't be a need for lockdowns.

      Unevidenced assertion.

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    7. Ephraim -

      Acceptance of risk does not mean allowing maximum risk. It means limiting the risk as best as possible, without destroying basic liberties and basic societal functioning, among many other disastrous consequences. The measures we've taken to prevent car accidents and the flu, do not entail an end to basic human and societal functioning, unlike the coronavirus response.

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    8. @thehat 756pm

      just wanted to commend you on that post. It is written very well, and your arguments are compelling.

      @Dr. Natan, there is no reason to ascribe villainy or abject stupidity to a whole group of people. You yourself know that this is not the case, you were once one of us.
      The simple facts are that in America as a society, (after april2020) outside of a few hyper woke and with-it cities, we have not approached the covid restrictions with the same religious national fervor that it has been accepted in Israel. The attitude for the most part in the under-50 crowd is that covid goanna covid, live your life as normal and be careful around your parents and avoid your grandparents.
      I guarantee you that these 40 women aren't stepping out for the first time since march because they think that baking challa as a group is such a big zechus that its more important than their careful precautions that they have been undertaking for a year, they have been out already since may, probably with very few complications.

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  5. I posted earlier about my experiences as an Avreich in a Chareidi Yeshivah. I would highly recommend reading this article: https://iyun.org.il/en/sedersheni/the-adjustment-disorder-of-charedi-society/ which overlaps with Rabbi Slifkin's views and perspective.
    In addition, I would like to point out two things which very much disturbed me recently: 1) The mass Levaya's held yesterday - I am a member of a very large Chaburah which has many serious Avreichim. Yesterday, as we were sitting and learning the Avreichim around me began discussing whether to go to the Levaya of Rav Dovid Soloveitchik. One the one hand there would be significant Bittul Torah involved but on the other hand it would be Kavod HaTorah to go. Eventually the vast majority decided to go to the Levaya, leaving myself and one or two others by ourselves. To me the reason I did not go was nothing to do with Bittul Torah, nor was I even concerned with contracting Covid, I recovered from the virus just over a week ago. Rather it was the knowledge that the Levaya would inevitably lead to a mass Chillul Hashem which I did not want to be involved in.

    Many of the members of my Chaburah are individuals who I respect highly, and yet I wonder why they did not even entertain or consider the fact that their actions would lead to a terrible Chillul Hashem - it wasn't that they thought the benefits outweighted the risks - they didn't consider the matter at all! I don't have a very good answer to this question, but one thing I know is that Charedi society is living on a very different plane to the rest of society at the moment. The Avreichim in the Chaburah did not even think it even remotely out of the norm to be partaking in a mass Levaya during a lockdown, because their lives are so close to normal (some have celebrated weddings and other events with well over 100 people in the past few weeks). Covid is not something they have learnt to live with, but rather an obstacle to overcome with as little thought as possible.

    But another factor which I concluded is the complete and utter apathy which the Chareidi world have of the perceptions from the outside world. Did they realise that their actions would lead to an article on the front pages of major international news outlets (BBC)? It is hard for many people to see how their actions could have effects on a macro level, but for the Jews it is a necessity. How can we complain of anti-semitism and even worse anti-charedi sentiment, when we are the ones driving it?

    Another point I have realised relates back to Rabbi Slifkin's previous article which points out the anti-rationalist and ignorance of the Chassidic community. In my Yeshivah and around Meah Shearim I must have seen thousands of Chassidim over the past few months and in total I can probably count the amount wearing a mask on one hand. Whilst their Litvish counterparts will all at least be wearing masks in public, the Chassidim simply refuse to. I have thought long and hard about this phenomena and can't really figure it out. Is it because Chassidim deny the reality even more than the Litvish? Are they just copying their Rebbes? Do they believe the anti-Covid conspiracy theories and propaganda? Possibly I would suggest they also take much more care in their dress and appearance, a mask would be an affront to their "Tzuras Ha'Adam".

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    1. Fascinating. Thank you so much for your insider's perspective.

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    2. Anonymous 4:56 PM,

      “... I have thought long and hard about this phenomena and can't really figure it out. Is it because Chassidim deny the reality even more than the Litvish? Are they just copying their Rebbes? Do they believe the anti-Covid conspiracy theories and propaganda? ...”

      No reason to think long and hard regarding reprehensible Chareidi/Chassidish brazenness and incivility. The solution to your quandary is as evident as the moon in the sky. Every Hashkafa has its own presumptions and pretentiousness. Your religion is nothing more than unfalsifiable claptrap.

      “...Later, Prof. Mevorach updated the morbidity data in the haredi sector: "For every 100 haredim aged 60 and over, one dies. The significance of this is so great, it's not just 4 times, it means it's equivalent to tens of thousands of dead...”


      https://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/296023

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    3. But the same statistics show that there is a significant barrier to spread from Charedi to non Charedi communities. So most of the 'you guys are killing us' argument looks overblown.

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    4. "the same statistics show that there is a significant barrier to spread from Charedi to non Charedi communities. So most of the 'you guys are killing us' argument looks overblown."

      I think your emphasis on "significant barrier" is overblown. You're selectively choosing which data to look at. Also be aware that overwhelmed hospitals can't treat other patients- so yeah 'you guys are killing us' still is a legitimate claim.

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    5. That's a kind of last dog to wee on the lamppost comment. There's nothing substantive in what I said that you are arguing with, and there's nothing of substance in what you said that I'm arguing with. By all means, be top dog in the space provided below.

      Delete
    6. Wait a minute. Health never even came up either?

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    7. Avreich - did you mention the PR/ chillul Hashem aspect to them?

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  6. Misticism means lie.
    Lie brings death.
    It's simple.

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    1. Life means death. Even simpler, and actually more evidence to support it.

      Delete
  7. "Alice laughed: "There's no use trying," she said; "one can't believe impossible things."
    "I daresay you haven't had much practice," said the Queen. "When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."
    -- Alice in Wonderland.

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  8. Chasidim are definitely a lot more lax even from the beginning for whatever reason, I don’t think they even know.
    Most Litvish think they had it, or even if they didn’t they are healthy enough for it not to be a big deal like it was for the majority of people. Plus, many already started with vaccines. Furthermore, Covid fatigue effected them even more because of the closing of the shuls and yeshivos. Added to the fact that BLM was everywhere without social distancing and hardly enough masks, thousands of bikers spent their summer in South Dakota with no masks (and although it spread from that event it was no where near the amount they predicted) so the oilam is basically done.

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  9. My daughter actually catered a Chanukah party in her shul. One person had Covid and 14 got infected. I haven't attended any events since last February. They take no precautions and mix with hundreds in the most close proximity. The thing is that her son had been tested positive for antibodies, but nobody got sick. She says the social distancing restrictions are not realistic and she can't keep them. They all say that and live like nothing is happening. Their isn't much deep thinking going on, people are just trying to survive financially and psychologically. I'm speaking for NYC.

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    1. We speak a lot about the 'R budget'. There a societal compliance budget as well, and scientists and doctors have drawn very heavily indeed upon it with very little thought or indeed gratitude.

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  10. Also, culturally charedim are primitive savages and their attitude to Covid isn't much different then of the white proles from Staten Island. They are unfit to function in a modern state or to be members of the general society. Again, I don't find any deep thinking behind their behavior. On the New Year there was a party of 300 chassidim hollering, singing, playing music and fressing until the wee hours of the morning, no different then Staten Island proles. They also get a special kick from violating the rules and a New Year party was a perfect occasion. There is no thought there and nothing to do with Torah or Avodas Hashem (I'm laughing while writing this). It's a different world like the gypsies in Slovakia, Bulgaria or Romania.

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    1. Not sure why you’re hating on the working class so much unless you’re actually from Staten Island, the only goyim in NYC that vote Trump.

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    2. Did I say something that is factually incorrect? Voting for Trump isn't the only standard for judging a demographic.

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    3. You either have something against Staten Island or blue collar workers. Even calling them proles have a negative connotation. So it sounds like you just don’t like white people that aren’t accountants and vote trump.

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    4. I like on the topic substantive discussion.

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    5. Other then calling all chareidim savages and Gypsies and blue collar workers from Staten Island what are you indeed talking about

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    6. Taking the pandemic seriously vs not doing so.

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  11. It’s fascinating to see a Dr. purporting to be an expert on mysticism vs rationalism, he even wrote a book about it, and only now (after writing countless articles condemning (and then trying to understand) chareidim) realizes that people actually believe that “If someone gets sick and dies, it's because Hashem wanted it to happen, and it has nothing to do with any allegedly irresponsible actions taken by people in the community.”. In other words that people actually believe what they say they believe.

    Moshe from BP

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    1. But why would they believe that? They go to doctors when they're sick! !ונשמרתם מאוד לנפשותיכם

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    2. Moshe from BP,

      I’m gratified that you continue to believe that “if someone gets sick and dies, it’s because Hashem wanted it to happen.”
      So it’s not unreasonable to ponder why Hashem decided to kill The Gedolei Hador, R’ Dovid Soloveitchk, R’ Yitzchok Sheiner, and R’ Dr. Abraham J. Twerski. All succumbing to COVID-19. They dropped like flies, one after the other. They didn’t die peacefully in their sleep. My Hashkafa tells me that Hashem purposefully killed them because they weren’t the Great Gedolim that Klal Yisroel imagined they were since they never led Yidden along the True Derech.
      I think Hashem took it out on them as a stern warning to expect a lot worse if Chareidim refuse to learn a trade to support their families and refuse to serve in IDF in Israel.
      Well, at least Hashem is living up to Chareidi expectations.

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    3. Maybe they think in this case, challah will help. It makes no sense to me.

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    4. @mirskym
      In the previous post’s comments, I tried offering some sort of explanation of how Chassidim live their lives in-between those 2 ideas; of Hashem running the world or the people’s doing ultimately decides who lives or dies. You can try your own explanation if you like, put please do so after reading and listening to what the Chassidim actually say and believe.
      http://www.rationalistjudaism.com/2021/01/scientific-ignorance-or-anti-influence.html?showComment=1611325625499#c2308607747746098793


      @Uriah’s Wife
      First of all, I never indicated what my personal believes are, I was merely pointing out what the ‘internal dialogue’ is.

      Second, because they believe that it is in the hands of hashem to decide who lives and who dies, does not mean anyone knows why hashem made the decision one way or the other.

      Moshe from BP

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  12. https://www.theguardian.com/world/commentisfree/2021/feb/01/loose-rule-breaking-culture-covid-deaths-societies-pandemic

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    1. According to this theory, we can say that because the Jews in Europe who were following the rules died in the holocaust, the Jewish survival instinct now evolved to deliberately not follow governmental rules, and this instinct is now working against them :).

      Moshe from BP

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    2. יֶשְׁנוֹ עַם אֶחָד מְפֻזָּר וּמְפֹרָד בֵּין הָעַמִּים בְּכֹל מְדִינוֹת מַלְכוּתֶךָ וְדָתֵיהֶם שֹׁנוֹת מִכָּל עָם וְאֶת דָּתֵי הַמֶּלֶךְ אֵינָם עֹשִׂים וְלַמֶּלֶךְ אֵין שֹׁוֶה לְהַנִּיחָם.

      It's not a new story. The reason that מעשה אבות סימן לבנים is because it's the same gene pool. People create a culture, not the other way around. The state of Israel is run like a קהל, secular or religious our national character comes through.

      You can hardly find a more warlike nation then Chechens, but in a matter of days they were all deported to Kazahstan with half perishing on the way and while there. There was very little crime under German occupation because criminals were shot. Again, the German genetic character was expressing itself. I understand that you are jocking, but the matter is far from being laughing.

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    3. You’re just cherry-picking examples that support your hypotheses, the Spartans were also a warlike nation and they survived until they didn’t. With the example about Haman you stopped in the middle of the story, at the end the Jews fought back and won.
      According to the Rambam, quoted countless times by the author of this blog, if the Jews at the time of the second Beis Hamikdush would’ve studied the art of war instead of astrology, they might’ve won the war with the romans. Isn’t the story of Chanukah that the Jews fought against the Seleucid empire and won?
      My point is you can probably support any hypotheses by selecting examples from history that match what you are looking for.
      And yes, I was joking.

      Moshe from BP

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    4. The quote from the Megilah was meant to illustrate that Jews even in those day were accused, deservingy or not, of scoffing the laws of the land. I don't see how fighting wars is relevant to the discussion of the pandemic.

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    5. I might have misunderstood your point. The article explains that nations, whether they follow governmental regulations or not are based on their collective survival instincts. I was trying to say that Jews scoffing the law of the land is really their survival instinct kicking in (which in the case of covid might be working against them, similar to Stockholm syndrome, which originally started as a way to survive captivity and it evolved into assisting the captors even to a point of it working against the captives). The quote from the Megillah which is probably referring to religion, taxes and not participating in wars (it is not referring to health regulation) was an example that their nature of scoffing the law was being used against them; I responded that ultimately the Jews prevailed. Your example of warlike Chechens seemed to be an illustration that fighting against the government does not work so I gave some counter examples.

      Forgive me if I’m again missing your point

      Moshe from BP

      Delete
    6. We are good now. Yes, our scoffing at the law, Torah Law including, is an evolutionary adaptation. It works against us when trying to run a country, deal with pandemic or anything else where personal responsibility, honesty, putting the needs of the society before your own and discipline is required. Obviously that it works against us living a Torah life.

      Chechens were meant to be an example that nothing can resist an overwhelming force. There was no meaningful resistance that we could have offered in most countries occupied by the Nazis.

      Delete
  13. I believe the blind "rationalism" espoused on this blog, which apparently is just another word for "listen to the politicians and experts," is in fact lethal. Universal lockdown measures, which have never before been considered a legitimate tool of dealing with pandemics, are ineffective, deadly, destructive to society, destructive to livelihoods, destructive to mental wellbeing, and I believe a giant step toward tyranny. Yet it is promoted on this blog.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What is better, to listen to experts who deals with statistics and scientific studies, correcting and updating their own knowledge, or to believe that every fine proverb mentioned in the Talmud is an axiom, and every Kabbalistic segula is a proven remedy?

      Delete
    2. One segullah to avoid the coronavirus we can all agree on:

      Stop shmuzing in shuls.

      Delete
    3. I'm not sure, Knesset Member, what you mean by "lockdowns are ineffective"? Do you remember the early death projections? 10 million people from one source, but 2.2 million was the number settled on, for the US. Even assuming that this number is overblown, we certainly did not reach that number - current stats has 443,000 deaths. And this is despite people breaking quarantine and wearing masks like beards or not at all.

      Sure, there is a societal cost. Nobody doubts or denies that. But are you sacrificing YOUR life - or your mother's life - on the altar of "keeping the economy going"?

      Hat: finally, something we agree on!

      Delete
    4. Yosef R -

      That isn't a remotely scientifically valid way of evaluating the effectiveness of lockdowns.

      Indeed, nobody originally claimed that lockdowns were meant to reduce the total amount of deaths, but rather that it would slow down the spread, so that hospitals wouldn't be overwhelmed

      And yes, living in a free society comes with some risk. That isn't an excuse for curtailing basic human liberties.

      Delete
    5. Sigh. Trump always quoted the 2.2 million figure. That estimate was for what was to transpire IF NO SOCIAL DISTANCING MEASURES WERE TAKEN whatsoever.

      Delete
  14. They must really think Hashem wanted this to happen and so baked some challah. how do they think the challah will help, I have no idea.

    ReplyDelete
  15. There are a myriad of varied reasons why numerous PEOPLE ignore government and even generally accepted medical restrictions that are all alleged to curb COVID. Now add to those the many possible religious motivated reasons. Perhaps the best way to understand what is really motivating people’s behavior is to perform stratified sampling. ACJA

    ReplyDelete
  16. “Her friends, deeply concerned about her health, decided that, as a merit for her recovery, they would bake and separate challah.” Magic rituals, that has got to help. I HAVE a particular aversion to this nonsense for personal reasons. While I was still in yeshiva a well liked brochur got into a terrible accident. The whole yeshiva davened on his behalf. I can not recall but I think we even had some around the clock vigils. Needless to say it did not help his condition. The seeds of my skepticism had been watered. ACJA

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are claiming a third position, not the one promoted on this blog at all.
      You are claiming that Tefilla is useless, hardly the position of the Rambam or any believing Jew.
      This ritual of taking Challa, especially with a magical 40 people at once, is not Jewishly sourced at all, not even according to the mysticists.

      Delete
  17. It seems that a number of people misunderstood the significance of the story. It's not that they were engaged in a useless segulah. It's that they were crowded together in a room, thus making infection likely.

    ReplyDelete
  18. The problem is that a significant percentage of the Oral Torah is non-rationalist. Is someone going to empirically check statements like שלוחי מצווה אינן ניזוקין or תורה מגנא ומצלא? Talmudical Sages believed in demons, ghosts, quack medicine, etc.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The opposite of rationalism is empiricism. Your confusion is common, if inexcusable.

      Delete
    2. @ZD
      Can you define rationalism, if it's "Vs." mysticism and it's the "opposite" of empiricism, then what is it?

      Moshe of BP
      P.S. "excuse" my ignorance.

      Delete
    3. @Zichron Devorim

      So what is the opposite of mysticism?

      Delete
    4. When we see that some mantras don't work, whether they are Communist or Talmuidic/Kabbalistic mantras, the conclusion is simple: these mantras are false. When we see that Bolshevik/Charedi ideology based on these mantras causes poverty and nepotism, it means that this ideology is wrong.

      Delete
  19. At the end of the day, you still believe Hashem gave us the Torah in a very supernatural, non-rational, anti scientific event. You just don't want to admit it and look dumb in front of your super smart friends and followers.
    And If you don't believe in it, then why bother wearing a kippah in the first place?

    ReplyDelete
  20. See here a fascinating article called "Plague, Practice, and Prescriptive Text: Jewish Traditions on Fleeing Afflicted"
    Part 5

    https://brill.com/view/journals/jlrs/8/2-3/article-p152_152.xml?language=en

    Moshe from BP

    ReplyDelete
  21. The problem you are dealing with is fundamental and, I fear, irreconcilable. Revealed religion is radically incompatible with Science. There simply is no way around it.

    You can compartmentalize. You can try and adopt Stephen J. Gold's non-overlapping magisteria. You can try switching hats. Ultimately their views of reality do not mesh. Science will have to be muzzled, generally with bloodshed, when it contradicts Dogma and Authority. Or you can go the other route and constantly backfill and "reinterpret" supposedly infallible revelations in a vain quest to keep the corrosive effects of investigation at bay.

    In this case people are willing to commit mass murder/suicide to deny reality and protect belief.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nonsense! Half the world who aren't religious don't trust the "science" behind lockdown, masks etc.

      Delete

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