Saturday, February 13, 2021

There's More To Torah Than Charedism

Last week, in The Angst of Jonathan Rosenblum, we discussed how charedi Judaism's preeminent spokesman has been expressing his dismay over his gradual realization that the community which he joined forty years ago is deeply broken, culminating in the disastrous response to Covid. In his latest Mishpacha column, Dealing With Disappointment, Rosenblum continues on this theme, describing how a phone call made him aware of many others experiencing similar existential despair, both baalei teshuvah and FFBs. It left him, he says, "badly shaken."

Rosenblum comes up with a number of possible responses to make to people in such a crisis.  One is that there is nevertheless so much of value in a Torah life - Shabbos, community, inspirational religious teachers, and so on. Second is that since a Torah life is True, then we have to live it even if we are disappointed with its practitioners. And he briefly notes that awareness of this Truth is reached by different people in different ways - for some, their faith is due to the miraculous fortunes of the Jewish people, for others it is the scientific evidence for a Creator, and for yet others it is immersion in Torah. He concludes by noting that while none of this prevents his frustration about charedi behavior, it ensures that he won't change his way of life.

Did you spot the error?

All of the positive things he mentions are things that are true of Orthodoxy as a whole, and are not limited to the charedi community. But all the negative aspects that bother him so greatly are uniquely features of the charedi community! In the non-charedi communities - whether the YU, Modern Orthodox, or Religious Zionist communities - the response to the Covid pandemic has, by and large, been exemplary. Rav Schachter and Rav Willig were trailblazing in their halachic guidance. In one recent public question about vaccines addressed to Rav Yaakov Ariel, he replied: "I'm a rabbi. Go ask a doctor!" My brother-in-law Dr. Joel Kaye, a PhD immunologist who has taken a public role in dispelling disinformation about Covid and the vaccine, was invited to give a presentation to Rav Eliezer Melamad and Har Bracha, and he was blown away by Rav Melamed's grasp of how disinformation works. I haven't heard of anyone suffering a religious crisis due to the Covid response by non-charedi rabbis and communities.

I don't believe that there is any wilful intent by Jonathan Rosenblum to mislead here. It's a phenomenon that I wrote about last year, in a post titled "Who Are "Torah Jews"?" Many people within the charedi world don't even really grasp that non-charedi frum communities exist! They simply don't consider that there are communities of religious Jews and yeshivos and kollelim and rabbis and Torah scholars that are not charedi.

Those for whom the charedi response to Covid is the last straw, the watershed moment that shows how much of the rabbinic leadership and many in the community are completely disconnected from reality to the extent that they bring about sickness and death, don't need to be told that the Truth of Torah requires them to stay in the charedi community. There's more to Torah than charedism.

 

If you'd like to subscribe to this blog via email, use the form on the right of the page, or send me an email and I will add you. And if you live in Israel and haven't been vaccinated yet, then for Heaven's sake (and for the sake of the rest of the country) go and get it done - ubelieveably, there is more supply than demand.



58 comments:

  1. I never spotted the error. But perhaps he left out as it is second nature that he views the charedi gedoli torah the only ones who are the real deal.

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    1. The error was that all the good aspects of Judaism apply to Judaism as a whole while all the bad aspects only apply to charedism.

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  2. The covid response isn't the only thing shaking decent people's feelings about frum Jews and Orthodox Judaism. We all just saw four years of the wider Orthodox world, including the Modern Orthodox, cheerleading for Trump.

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    1. You're obviously part of the problem

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    2. Yeah, there was no reason at all to support Trump.

      You must feel superior writing off seventy-five million Americans.

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    3. Nachum,
      Very disingenuous. 74.2 (not 5) million voted for him. That is a very far cry from "cheerleading" for him. So much of righty media keeps making the silly claim about 75 (rounding up I suppose) million americans, as if all of them supported every last dishonest, immoral, crazy thing that person did. How many do you think chose Trump over the brain-addled, demented Biden but actually support very little of what Trump stands for?

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    4. Sure. And that applies to Jews to.

      Although I can put it quite another way: How many supported what Trump stood for but were a bit more ambivalent about the man himself?

      Are there idiots? Of course there are. There are a lot of idiots on both sides. I don't think any of it has to do with this topic, and I think it's supercilious to assume any motives.

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    5. How could Jews cheerleading for a racist who buys into the dual-loyalty libel, believes American Jews aren't really American citizens, and who has a long history of Jews hating speech POSSIBLY be problematic?

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    6. If you're going to spit out lies like that, of course it's less understandable. (Although I could attempt to explain. A lot of it has to do with your self-image as an American Jew, which- you may be surprised to learn- is not shared by all Jews.) Obviously, though, many Jews think, correctly, that those are all libels themselves. Indeed, I challenge you to provide clear examples.

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    7. Nachum, remember you were responding to Y A who said that some were turned off by Jewish "cheerleading" of Trump. This cheerleading was explicit, unrelenting, and nauseating. The appeal to the 74.2 million is wrong because they merely "voted" but did not necessarily "cheerlead." It seems that even the community is recognizing its folly, with various rabbis being asked in public forums whether the community went too far in its adoration for this guy.
      As an aside, any cult of personality is a problem, but it boggles the mind that THIS man would warrant raising a cult of personality around himself, especially from a community that prides itself on intellect, middos, and honesty. I do not endorse the claims that he is racist, but he IS clearly a vulgar, immoral, dishonest, and borderline crazy person. Do you need examples of that?

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    8. I was always (still am) an enthusiastic supporter of his while not being blind to his faults. (Fault number one, he wasn't aggressive enough.) It was a considered decision. I can't speak fof simple-minded fools.

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    9. You gotta love it when Trump-supporters sidestep the fact that he's borderline insane (or believes/claims insane things) by benignly calling it a "flaw" or that he's a "warts and all" guy. Still, that is order of magnitude better than the many, many supporters in our community who won't even concede that much. I absolutely can understand choosing him over the other choices - but being an "enthusiastic" supporter of his? No way.

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    10. And don't forget how deeply uncaring he is about facts that he spouts. I guess you can completely ignore how immoral/vulgar he is - perhaps that's a question of personal taste (although it wasn't back in the day for Republicans, but whatever), but the dishonesty and insanity should greatly concern everyone, since they presumably play a role in his decision making processes.

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    11. Ah, yes, the tired old "Republicans used to be good" line.

      Thank God I have a memory.

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    12. Notice that Nachum's entire response seizes on a parenthetical aside (to my second comment) while ignoring the actual content of the comments. How telling.

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  3. By merely recognizing and being upset over these issues, rosenblum demonstrates that he himself isn't Charedi! He was merely an armchair charedi PR guy without knowing it. The same is true with the disillusioned charedim elsewhere.

    Also, you conspicuously leave out specific groups in orthodoxy. There is ALOT between "Charedi" and MO/YU/DL. What about black hat baalebatim in Brooklyn? Velvet yarmulke professionals and businessmen in the 5T's? Not Charedi or MO by any means.

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    1. Great point which is often unfortunately lost. How about sefardim, that atf definitely broken down differently. Now that you bring it up I think most people view the black hat bal habatim in the charedi camp and the velvet yarmulke 5T as MO which may not be accurate at all. Even among Lakewood Kollel guys there are ones that are more open to college and working and ones that are further away which is why there often so much antagonism amongst the comments on this blog.
      The same way he breaks down YU and MO and Religious Zionist which is a great breakdown but only obvious to those that are within that camp so too you should have similar breakdowns within the other camps.
      Maybe there should even be a difference between Mir guys and Briskers.

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    2. Yep. Also, it's important to note that there is always a discrepancy between the leadership and the layperson. All the people who get brachos from RCK when they go to EY, aren't themselves Charedi. The Charedi rabbis they look up to are figureheads not personal leaders they actually relate to. Working class black hatter's are they're own group

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  4. This pandemic, viewed as a community calamity, is hands down the biggest challenge faced by the Jewish nation since the Holocaust.
    If you ever wondered if there was a failure of the community leaders in the pre-Holocaust days to to sense the impending didaster and act decisively upon it, the dysfunctional reaction of the chareidi leaders in COVID times is a real eye opener.
    One famous Chareidi Rosh Yeshiva in the early days of the pandemic was busy to be melamed chovah on Klal Yisroel. He could not stop himself to view Klal Yisroel as a bunch of rowdy teenagers in a Yeshiva setting. What does a Rosh Yeshiva do in such an instance? He gives a Mussar Shmuess.Thinking out of the box is not expected from him, so he falls into his old behaviour pattern.
    If he only had the foresight of warning us of big gatherings and exhorting us to wear masks, he might have saved a few of his followers.

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  5. This is a misguided post. No single community has the only correct mode of practicing Judaism. The tribes of Jacob represent the different approaches to Judaism. While a particular group may be doing many things wrong, (so long as they stay within halacha) they can still present a legitimate approach to Judaism.

    For example: The chareidim may be wrong about their approach to Judaism regarding; working, the military, public service, covid etc. They can still be correct in say the area of modesty which all other communities lack and have what to learn from.

    When we say that the chareidim are wrong, it should only be limited to the point in which they are wrong. Not to dismiss the group as being an illegitimate group.

    This point I would say is greatest failing of this blog and many posters on the blog of making everything an all or nothing criteria. The chareidim are bad period closed case, end of story.

    This middle ground should be used to evaluate all communities. Each one has failings and each one has something positive to teach the other communities. This is perhaps the challenge God has given us until mashiach is to learn to take the good that all communities have to offer while rejecting the bad.

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    1. Natan does what's good for the museum and what sells. Sad how he can only find negative things to post about. Zero balance on this site. To be fair however, I feel he bashes chareidim so much he must veiw them as a threat to his lifestyle.

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    2. Only the Charedim community has dedicated itself to a parasitic lifestyle and to killing fellow Jews through denying a plague.

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  6. "In one recent public question about vaccines addressed to Rav Yaakov Ariel, he replied: "I'm a rabbi. Go ask a doctor!"

    ...and in the same vein a friend of mine who asked his Charedi Rov whether he should take the vaccine was also told to ask his doctor - a highly respected practitioner from rbs alef, who as far as i know is the number one stop for large numbers of Chutznikim.

    and he asked him.........

    and the doctor advised him against taking it. (after confirming that my friend was not part of the high risk category)

    I was also slightly taken by surprise, but then again it seems that not all is as fine and dandy with the vaccine as you make it out to be.

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    1. Maybe not all is as fine and dandy with this doctor, as you make it out to be...
      With the virus variants, everyone is in a high risk group.
      Chana Rachel

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    2. Correct. No authority - whether clad in a dark coat or a black one - can be trusted. Ultimately you have to engage your own grey matter. And given that several million think that Trump won the election, I don't hold out much hope.

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    3. Sounds like a doctor who doesn't understand the clinical trial data, doesn't understand the implications of leaving large swaths of the public unvaccinated, doesn't know much about virology, and isn't aware of the serious non-death health risks from Covid that exist for almost all age groups.

      A rabbi should be referring you to ask an infectious disease specialist, not just "your doctor." Asking your local doctor / general practitioner, who thinks he is an expert on all things medical (but isn't) is not much better than asking your local plumber his opinion on the vaccine.
      There are even some very rare exceptional cases of infectious disease specialists who also lack comprehension of risk/benefit and speak against covid vaccines, often touted on viral youtubes or whatsapp posts, but almost every ID specialist in the world will advise to be vaccinated in light of all the available information to date (much of which the GP doesn't even know). And there is a reason why that's the case!

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    4. The solution to people who appeal to their professional authority rather than factsb is not to point people to even more hyperauthoritative authorities. The issue here is not a lack of technical knowledge, it is an inability to objectively assimilate empirical evidence. And the only cure for that is sechel.

      Sometimes doctors are wrong. Be sceptical and trust evidence not authority.

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    5. The Hat
      I sympathize with your position, but you are staking out pretty ridiculous territory here. I have little background in biology, zero in virology and zero in statistics. How do I go about gaining the information I need to judge the vaccine on my own? I just hope covid doesn't kill me for the next few years while I'm researching these subjects (besides also researching the antibiotics I take, and my other medications, some of which may be new, and the new Boeing 737 max which I have to fly, and y'know, living).

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  7. "I don't believe that there is any wilful intent by Jonathan Rosenblum to mislead here. It's a phenomenon that I wrote about last year, in a post titled "Who Are "Torah Jews"?" Many people within the charedi world don't even really grasp that non-charedi frum communities exist! They simply don't consider that there are communities of religious Jews and yeshivos and kollelim and rabbis and Torah scholars that are not charedi"

    "Did YOU spot the error?"

    Jonathan Rosenblum is a self-identified former Conservative Jew turned Charedi, and it was in that capacity and with that awareness of all of the other denominations of Judaism that he composed his article. It sure sounds that at least in his opinion "all of the positive things he mentions are things that are limited to the charedi community and do not reflect Orthodoxy as a whole".

    YOU on the other hand are a former Charedi turned critic, due to some personal unfortunate experience.

    ....you may have something to learn from the infinitely more unbiased view of Rosenblum, who sounds likes he favours for the most part the way of life he found that is exclusive to the Charedim.

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    1. As someone who went from Conservative to Charedi, I would imagine he has zero knowledge of MO and thus doesn't consider them.

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  8. While I agree with your post and consider myself a part of this 'non-Haredi frum' community, the logic is a bit circular.

    I.e. RHS and RMW (and R' Yaakov Ariel) are not exactly Hovevei left-leaning rabbis. They are essentially Haredi in all matters, other than those for which you've (rightly) criticized the Haredi community (working for a living, treatment of women, Zionism, etc).

    It is therefore not a leap to say - I am Haredi other than X, these rabbis are Haredi other than X - let me go hear what they have to say.

    To be fair to the Haredi lifestyle that does not want to follow these more sane rabbis, while the inner-circles of these Rabbis are certainly 'Haredi-other-than-X' and every bit as 'frum' as the Haredi communities (think the YU Bet Midrash), the larger communities who follow these rabbis (think Teaneck and Woodmere) are not. From my outside perspective on the Haredi community, that is not the case for Haredi communities who follow Haredi Rabbis. Rather, they all toe the line.

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    1. Well said.
      Also, this post conveys the message that there are big problems in chareidi society, and there are other societies out there that are much better. Well, this blog does a good job pointing everything in the first half, i.e. all the problems. But we still choose chariedi because, despite the problems, we feel it's the best choice available. Please enlighten us on these other options. I know many people who identify as dati le'umi and excel in their avodas Hashem, but they all seem to represent a minority of their communities. Why not spend some opening our eyes to what else is out there. If that is truly your goal, maybe it's time to change gears and analyze if there really is a better alternative for us that works not just on an individual level, but has shown success on a more societal level as well

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    2. Raymond, I don't agree with your conclusion. Assuming that both Haredi and MO/RZ communities have significant issues, if you're Haredi, it means that you must at least pretend to agree with those who promulgate inappropriate enterprises (religious, corona, etc). If you are part of the MO/RZ - you can excel in avodat Hashem (as you mentioned), and choose to ignore or even actively lobby against parts that you believe can be improved.

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    3. Jenny, I'm not sure I am following your point. Which conclusion are you saying you do not agree with?
      Also, the problem many sense with joining MO/RZ communities is that while we personally may be fine, our families will be heavily influenced in ways not consistent with our core values. Again, I'm not saying that there aren't unwanted influences in chareidi society, but in the big picture, we still feel better off in chareidi society.

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    4. Have you ever spoken to R' Schachter or R' Willig? Heard a shiur from them? Visited YU? None are nearly charedi.

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    5. Raymond - I completely understand your point regarding families. Ironically, being a part of an RZ/MO community, you have complete freedom to send your kids to whatever schools and groups you think are best. It is only because of the Haredi insistance of 'toeing the line' that if you are not part of the Haredi community in all its parts (including those that are rightly criticized), you cannot put your kids where you think is best for them.

      Nachum - I'm not sure I was clear enough regarding the point of the comment (and therefore, the point of the original post). RHS and RMW are Haredi in that their lives are dedicated to learning and teaching torah in a serious manner. Of course they are not Haredi - they believe in openness to the world and to making a living, they are Zionists, they believe (on their own levels) in empowerment of woment, and another 100 things, including they believe in science and that it should dictate how we respond to the threat of Covid. The point is that if you believe that they are correct on these issues (as most of the people who agree with the general thrust of this blog do), then their approach is a better one than the Haredi approach, as it is Haredi (torah lifestyle) minus the things that the Haredim get wrong (or plus those things that MO gets right). I believe that was the point that the original post was making as well - if you are Haredi and disappointed with these things, you should seek out someone like RHS/RMW who will have it all for you (Raymond's point about community and kids notwithstanding).

      I was very close with both RHS and RMW when I lived in America. I still bring my kids to see RHS when he comes to Israel (hasn't been for a while). Not sure what that has to do with the point though, which should stand on its own.

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    6. Oh, I see what you mean. You're using the word as my father does, when he says, "'Charedi' means 'charedim el d'var Hashem', as the Navi says. That's me."

      That is indeed him, and he's far from being a charedi. (He was a shiurmate of R' Schachter, in fact.)

      I've said before that being involved in learning full-time colors one's worldview. Indeed, I've said it about R' Lichtenstein. That doesn't mean that such people aren't very, very important.

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  9. Maybe he just feels all those things are done better by the chareidim.

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  10. It is worthwhile to note Rabbi Asher Weiss, a very Haredi rabbi, recognized as one of the Gdolei HaDor, who since the very beginning has been firmly telling everyone how important to obey the Health Ministry regulations and now to get vaccinated. His massive Minchas Asher - Korona is about to be published, with all his responsa on the subject.

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    1. Rav Asher Weiss is not "very Charedi". And when I told him years ago that I was looking for a non-charedi community, he told me "Let me know when you find that Gan Eden."

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    2. Hope you got close to finding it.

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    3. No true Scotsman.

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    4. Whether right or wrong; if you’re not counting Rav Asher Weiss as charedi, the charedi camp is much smaller than you make it seem and in America it’s even smaller.

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    5. @RNS: "Let me know when you find that Gan Eden." I.E. Let me know when you find the impossible on earth - a community without any flaws.
      Rav Asher obviously thinks that the CHAREDIM are closest to a 'gan eden' community because that's the community he's part of.

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    6. And by definition, if R Ascher Weiss is not very Haredi, he can also not be 'one of the Gedolei Hador'.

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  11. I don't see the error. His last paragraph says charedim....

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    1. He literally spelled it out for you. Scroll up or reread the post again.

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  12. How about Chabad in Israel? I assume you can't lump them together with other chareidim in terms of their approach to covid-19. In the US, a Chabad rabbi was recently fired because of his anti-vaxxer beliefs:
    https://www.timesofisrael.com/anti-vaxxer-rabbi-fired-by-chabad-over-social-media-posts/

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    1. I'd say Chabad is very different from charedim in general...except here.

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  13. There are a few D'oraiysa prohibitions that are related to Covid-19, which the majority of Chareidi Rabbanim conveniently ignored this entire year of a Global Pandemic. EVERY Rov who was Mesader Kiddushin at a wedding who did not clearly tell the wedding parties that he will not be Mesader Kiddushin unless he is assured that every family member and guest is wearing a mask for the entire wedding - was ignoring his responsibility to the Klal, not to mention the D'oraiysa of facilitating an event that was going to be putting lives at risk of grave sickness and spreading grave sickness and death. Without a Mesader Kiddushin there is no wedding. If EVERY Chareidi Rav or even the majority would have committed to not officiating weddings without a commitment to mask-wearing by all in attendance for the entire wedding, then it could have saved countless lives and saved countless others from prolonged and even lifelong illness. And they could have also come out with a Kol Korei to cancel the unnecessary partying after the Chuppah & Kiddushin until danger from the pandemic has passed. Or they could have demanded it of their own kehilos or yeshivos or for when they would attend a wedding.

    Protecting life is BASIC to human life. Every human being on the planet knows this. But the Chareidi Rabbonim ignored it and shrugged it off. Whatever lame excuses they give don't hold water. These were CLEAR D'ORAIYSA's that were ignored.

    If so many Chareidi Rabbonim are SO wrong, and can pick and choose their adherence to a mitzvah as BASIC as protecting human lives, then yes, it causes a huge crisis of faith.

    And unless you have experienced such a monumental crisis of faith, judging others' reactions to their own crisis of faith is beyond you. You simply cannot "get it" and you will not in any way relate to it.

    It's not a question of it being "All or nothing." The crisis of faith means that a whole house of cards comes tumbling down around you. You realize that you've been lied to and misguided about not just this one thing, but a myriad of things. You realize that the trust you put in those who you believed spoke in Hashem's name - the interpreters of His Torah – the purveyors of “Torah She’Be’al Peh” who have supposedly carried its torch since Matan Torah – are liars and fakes and practice the "Convenience Judaism" that they condemn the Conservative and Reform and Modern Orthodox for practicing. And when your Rabbonim fall so far in your mind's eye, the pillars upon which they stood and on which the Torah stood comes crashing down around them. All of sudden you see all the lies that you have tried to look past over the years. All of a sudden all the benefits of the doubts you gave them, all the passes and excuses you made for them, no longer hold water. All your past doubts come crashing in. If your Rabbonim cannot inconvenience themselves enough to SAVE LIVES by insisting on mask wearing or on not having dancing and eating PARTIES after the basics of Chupah & Kiddushin during a global pandemic, or not insisting on it for their kehillos or yeshivos or for weddings they attend or officiate, or not spend their days and nights attempting to SAVE LIVES by using their POWER and the RESPECT, positions of authority and the microphone that is given to them as Torah Leaders – as community leaders and as leaders of Frum Jews – in an effort to save lives, then NOTHING else matters. Because NOTHING comes before saving a life - short of the 3 yahareig v'al ya'avor.

    EVERY chumrah, EVERY mitzvah, EVERY bit of Torah learning, EVERY act of Mesiras Nefesh for Torah is WORTHLESS in the face of being apathetic to protecting life and in being inactive when they had countless opportunities to use their positions as Torah Leaders to save lives and to protect lives.

    continued in next post

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    1. Agreed. Either you genuinely follow the authentic halachik process as passed down over the centuries or you don't and it was a sham all along. The absolute violation of such foundational and irrefutable DeOrayta and DeRabanan issues around covid to privilege new "lifestyle" practices with no halachik basis says those communities involved are the same as reform in substance but not in form.

      Reform and these communities are both radical innovations in reactions to modernity, that does not reflect the Yidishkeit that pre-dated the haskallah. While reform ditched the past totally; these groups reinvented it, making up a new halacha and hashkafah they pretend, often dishonestly, is authentic. Judge people by their actions in relation to halacha, not what they claim or how they dress.

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  14. continued from previous post

    For those whose trust has been so thoroughly betrayed by the ones they trusted the most with their major life decisions, with their beliefs in Hashem and their knowledge of Hashem and of Torah - their whole worlds came crashing down around them. The foundations upon which they themselves built their beliefs and identities have been decimated. They are not running to OTHER Rabbanim because, "Well, these guys are better because they are Modern Orthodox or Religious Zionist." Their trust in Rabbonim and the Torah they taught them and the word of Hashem has been razed to the ground. There is nothing left and they have to build again from scratch. Going to another very similar structure makes no sense to them at all.

    At the end of the day, I would bet that if Rabbi Slifkin were not married with children with a good, strong, frum marriage as a foundation upon which to depend and a home in which to shelter and recover, during his own ordeals when Chareidi Rabbanim pulled the rug out from under him, I would bet that he, himself would not have stayed Frum. That and the fact that he didn't grow up Chareidi and had a strong, Frum upbringing and experienced family life as a good, Frum Jew without the necessity of towing the party lines of Chareidi Culture which considers itself “Torah True Judaism” to the exclusion of all else.

    Not everyone has those things working for them to fall back on when their own crisis of faith smashes the idols of their Chareidi beliefs. And you cannot choose the beliefs you see. Once you see that there is a small, weak, clueless, bungling man behind the curtain who is pretending to be an authority, you can't "unsee it".

    And with all that I wrote above, I have still not even scratched the surface of what someone experiences when having a crisis of faith and losing one's faith in Chareidi Gedolim, Chareidi Rabbonim and Frumkeit.

    So to all of you who judge those who cannot stay Frum, and those who have not run to Modern Orthodoxy or Religious Zionism, save your judgments for when you stand in the shoes of those you judge. "Al tadin es chaveircha..." Until you have experienced what they have, don't judge them, no matter what aveiros they do. G-d knows, they probably haven't killed anyone or done anything to cause the deaths of others, which is more than most Chareidi Rabbonim and most Chareidim can say these days.

    -AFTP

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    1. Seems like a dam holding back a year of pent up frustration just burst.

      If it really is true that you lost your faith in the Charedi way of life for the reasons you stated - then I truly feel sorry for you. Although in a different forum and with less of a hostile audience I think it would be possible to justify the behaviour that you find so terrible.

      If you'd only wait until the pandemic is behind us when the various responses of the different communities can be viewed in hindsight together with their outcomes - you may find some of your accusations melting away.

      Also if as in your post you believe that every Rov Rabbi... is guilty of murder and his mitzvot are worth nothing, then ironically that in itself should give you room for doubt. Since you cannot really believe that every Charedi Man-women-child-Rov-Layman is totally nuts, which they would be if they dedicate their entire lives and put all of their efforts into something they do not really hold dear. Tens of thousands of them live simply giving up the more pleasurable parts of life to do what they think is important and yet you accuse them all of being insincere. And if they're not all nuts then at least in their mind they must be able to rationalise somewhat their behaviour, even though you cannot be as generous.

      So hold tight until better times when things can be analysed in their correct perspective.

      Then again if you are just another one of the hostile critics from the outside or masochistic complainers
      from within as so many who frequent this blog seem to be, then I still feel sorry for you - and for what must have happened to you that made you hate so much.

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    2. Your accusations are misplaced and your lomdus is not accurate.

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    3. On this blog - I mentioned the violations of Pkuach Nefesh and Chillul Hashem and somebody argued with me about an alleged loophole. In response I provided some quotes from OU and Agudah that claim Pkuach Nefesh and Chillel Hashem DO APPLY. Many Chassidum and UltraOrthodox are oblivious to the likely anti-semitism they are generating. My grandfather, great Orthodox Rabbi warned about the Chassidum. Only now after decades do I now realize his wisdom. ACJA

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    4. To Ruvi

      You write:
      "If you'd only wait until the pandemic is behind us when the various responses of the different communities can be viewed in hindsight together with their outcomes - you may find some of your accusations melting away."
      I'd be curious to hear your interim evaluation of the Hareidi response, or that of your community (realizing that the Hareidi world is not monolithic).
      I can tell you my (for what its worth) evaluation of how COVID impacted my "dati" community in a medium sized city in Israel:
      We take satisfaction in the fact that other than the first few weeks around pesach (when it was forbidden by the lockdown rules), outdoor minyanim continued regularly at the shul, and at many small neighborhood venues. To our knowledge, there were no cases of contagion that occurred at davening. Very few members of our shul were infected, and those who were, were infected at work, or by their kids at school. Quarantine rules were strictly observed; our chesed committee provided deliveries when needed for housebound elderly and families in quarantine. Many of us have very elderly parents in their 80s and 90s- NO ONE was infected, and no shul members were hospitalized with or died from COVID.
      We had programming during the year for all ages via Zoom, but this did not replace in-person contact, which we still miss. Schools and youth organizations (eg Bnei Akiva) also tried to fill some of this gap.
      Challenges- Young mothers and kids have not been able to come to shul, and in-person programming is sorely missed. Getting the kids and young teenagers and young families back to shul will be challenging, and -I assume- will be the community's priority over the next months and years. Many families enjoyed being directly involved in their kids education (and others hated it). All told, i think we can tell our kids that they did a tremendous Mitzva of kibud Horim, by staying home and protecting their elderly relatives, and that now, to the extent that it is safe, we look forward to putting our efforts into giving them, our kids, the aspects of their Hinuch that were missing over the past year.
      Our other challenge will be to support familes that have been financially impacted over the past year. Besides financial help as needed, we will have to engage in networking to make sure that those who are unemployed, find new jobs, preferably in their fields of expertise.

      I'm really curious, How do others view the "outcomes" in their communities?

      Chana Rachel

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  15. A few weeks back there were a bunch of stories about corona hotels full of yeshiva students, each a mixture of charedi and RZ bochurim. The stories were full of reports from the charedim expressing awe that the RZ bochrim were such serious learners and so frum, especially compared to some of their own compatriots there. (As a friend pointed out, the RZ are much more self-selected than the charedim, but this was the point made.) They felt they had been lied to by their teachers who had told them that Torah existed only among charedim.

    As it happened, there were some cherems issued by charedi rabbonim against going to corona hotels. The ostensible reason, I suppose, is that it's not a "good environment," but one wonders if they were reacting to stories of "bochurim gone wild." But one *really* suspects that they fear exposure to very frum, serious about learning RZ bochurim and what that might do to their worldview.

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