Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Sinat Chinam and Israeli Politics

It may seem strange that the Sages named sinat chinam, "baseless hatred," as the explanation for the destruction of the Second Beit HaMikdash. It relates to the story in which Bar Kamtza was mistakenly invited to a feast instead of Kamtza, and was thrown out when the mistake was realized. Bar Kamtza was so enraged against the community and its rabbis that he devised a plot to make Caesar believe that the Jews were revolting and would attack them. But the hatred there was not baseless at all. Bar Kamtza was forcibly removed from the party, undergoing great personal embarrassment, and had good reason to hate all those who were present and did not object!

In fact, this is a general problem with the liberal use of the term sinat chinam to castigate people. The people being castigated always respond that it's not baseless hatred, they have good reason for opposing others. And they may well be correct!

I've been bothered by this question for a while, but now I finally have an understanding of it. It's an answer which fortunately/ unfortunately puts me in the perfect frame of mind for the Three Weeks. And it's thanks to the actions of various Israeli politicians this week.

For those who don't know, the Family Reunification Law (also known as the Citizenship Law) was created by the Likud itself back in 2002. It blocks Palestinians who marry Israeli Arabs from receiving Israeli citizenship. The reason for it is that the offspring of Palestinians who acquired Israeli citizenship constitute about 15% of those involved in terrorism among Israeli Arabs - three times more than their relative share of the population. The law has to be renewed every year, and the current vote on renewing the law was submitted three months ago by none other than the Netanyahu government, which was still in power.

Now, although the Likud, Religious Zionist party and charedi parties are no longer in power, one would expect that they would still support this law (or at least not actively oppose it), since they themselves instituted it for reasons of national security. But because they lost power, they instead opposed the law, so as to try to undermine the Bennett/Lapid government!

This is so shocking to grasp that it is worthwhile spelling it out clearly. The Likud and its affiliates actively worked to do what they believe would harm national security!

The various justifications that they offered for this have ranged from the irrelevant to the insane. They said that they have a much better law to propose - but this one was perfectly adequate for them until now, and their stronger version wouldn't have been able to pass. They said that a government which cannot pass its own national security laws is not fit to be a government - but this is not a reason for the Likud and co. to oppose the interests of national security. They said that they need to topple the government - but the government did not topple as a result of their actions. They said that they need to expose the danger of the Bennett/Lapid government - but they themselves are the ones that created this danger! They said "Don't expect us to save you from the mess that you made with this coalition" - but nobody is expecting them to "save" the Bennett-Lapid coalition, they are expecting them not to vote against the interests of national security.

In short, they did something which according to their own beliefs, harms national security. It had no benefit other than giving them an opportunity to "stick it" to Naftali Bennett. But that was a sufficiently delicious prize for them, so that they could cheer afterwards - along with Achmad Tibi and other Arab haters of Israel who couldn't believe their good fortune.

This is what happened with Bar Kamtza. He even had very good reasons to hate the community which stood by and allowed him to be shamed. But he had nothing to gain by riling up the Romans against them. Bar Kamtza himself also surely suffered, and was possibly killed, when the Romans attacked. But he didn't care about that; he was so blinded by his hatred that he was willing to cause harm to his own interests, as long as he was able to harm those that he hated. 

This was the sinat chinam that destroyed the Bet HaMikdash. The extent of the infighting among the Jewish people that took place was unbelievable. The various factions of Jews were so intent on scoring points over each other that they were willing to harm their own national cause in order to do so. The factions fought vigorously over the control of Jerusalem, trying to destroy each other's grain stores in order to starve each other into submission. By the time that the Romans finally attacked, the Jews had already lost all their food reserves and had been severely weakened. The Jews did the Romans' job for them!

Sinat chinam does not mean "baseless hatred." The "nothing" which is the translation of the word chinam does not refer to a lack of cause for the hatred. It refers to a lack of gain for it. It's hatred which is so severe that it is exercised even when it gains nothing. Sinat chinam is when it's so important to score points over the other side that you do so even at cost to your own cause. 

Sinat chinam demonstrates that tribalism has taken hold out of all proportion. It's a problem which has become exacerbated over the last few years. This week, we saw one negative result. Let us hope that people have the sense to rein themselves in before the consequences become any more dire.


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82 comments:

  1. Rein in,not reign in.
    Nice drush, but I always interpreted the sinas chinam as being the mentality of the folks who threw out the poor bloke from the party

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    1. I know that many people understand it that way, but I don't think that's what's going on. First of all, the host isn't even named - if it was his hate that set everything in motion, surely he would be named. Second, we don't even know the reason why the host hated Bar Kamtza. Third, the thrust of the story is explaining how Bar Kamtza caused all the problems, because he was so full of hate.

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  2. You write, as always, in vivid, sensationalistic, purple prose (in the grand tradition of yellow journalism) but rarely do you let truth and accuracy slow you down. That's why I've learned its foolhardy to trust your characterizations of either facts or motives. If anyone in party leadership actually *said* they were voting for no other reason than to topple the government, or actually *said* they believed voting this way would harm the people, then share it. Otherwise, you just have a different political opinion. Shocking. This being a Wednesday, it should only be another four days for your opinion to change again.

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    1. Likud don't have to 'say' anything. They knew that the could have toppled the government in this matter. Their actions, so to speak, were louder than their words - they knew that any vocalization of their views would have reflected poorly on them - similarly failing to understand that they look poorly post-vote as well. You offer no rebuttal to NS lucid and clear opinion on the matter.

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  3. Meanwhile, what percentage of Jewish olim are tax dodgers or, worse still Malka Leifers and Todros Grynhauses?

    3 times an unknown number is an unknown number. How am I to assess whether the risk of proportionate to naked racial discrimination? And don't tell me only zero risk is acceptable when you take the risk of walking out your front door every day.

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    1. They too need to be dealt with as risks to IL society.

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    2. All olim are Jewish, you expert in hating Jews.

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    3. Many Jews oppose the occupation. That doesn't make them haters. It is an intrinsically reasonable, rational, moderate perspective.

      People who call us Kapos, self hating Jew, wife beater(!), Erev Rav, or Nazis - are themselves consumed by rage and hate.

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    4. Oh, it makes them haters, all right.

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    5. Kahanaist extremists using vile language here are haters. People who care about the tzelem Elokim have a profound love for all of Creation.

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    6. People who can't find anything good to say about the state of Israel, or the IDF, who are proponents of making Yesha judenrein including the Gush, Maaleh adumim, East Jerusalem and probably also Har Homa fall absolutely into the categories of "self hating Jews" and "useful idiots".

      If the hat fits...

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    7. Frank,

      I've already expressed my moderate Pro Zionist, pro Palestinian views elsewhere. I don't think patriots support or engage in apologetics for criminals. Doubtless you think the IDF don't support the IDF for punishing Elor Azaria, and the truth is that you nationalist fanatics have zero loyalty to the institutions of the state when you disagree with them.

      I can see you are trying to provoke be to descend to your levels of hating Jews. All I can tell for Jewish antisemites like yourself, whose cancerous nationalism has outgrown the native love every Jew has for each other, is a profound sadness. You, too, are a spiritual victim of the Occupation.

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  4. I hope slowly Israelis will come to realize how destructive Likud and the Haredi parties have become (I'll admit it took me a while). And at least there's some good news - daycare subsidies for kollel families are getting axed!

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    1. And of course that's not sinat chinam at all since it's directed against kollel people!

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  5. We saw the same phenomenon when every sector of Israeli society (Charedim, left-wing protestors, Arabs, partiers in Tel Aviv) refused to protect themselves from COVID unless the other sectors were forced to do so too.

    Frankly, humanity deserves to be wiped out by this disease, based on how self-destructively stupid everyone acted.

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  6. Of course, attacking chareidim is ok and definitely not sinas chinam.

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    1. Correct, criticizing problems in charedi society is ok and important.

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    2. Yes, and putting pressure on horrible governments to change them is also ok and important.

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    3. I have to say, that was a good one, happy.

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    4. OTOH, if the government is doing something one disagrees with, one can vote it out.

      If there is a community of people behaving in a way that one disagrees with, one cannot simply vote out the leadership. (Although that has the potential to be hilarious: who's running for Gadol Hador this cycle! Oh, nobody won? New elections! Ah, NOW we have our new Gadol Hador!)

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  7. I think you just explained your own problems without realizing in. Bimumo posel.

    I think you are bar kamtza. You were hurt by the ban and hate. Perhaps it wasn't chinam as if nothing happened.

    But instead you attacked hundreds of thousands. You went to the internet and wrote against anyone you wanted to under the guise that they all deserve it etc.

    Amazing parallel. You are the son of kamtzah!

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    1. I think you are hurt by Rabbi Slifkin's criticisms of charedi policies. And so you attack him under the guise that he deserves it.

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    2. The real bar kamtza was the friends we made along the way.

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    3. Great analogy. Hard to dispute. Although I don't think RNS hates Chareidim like bar kamtza hated fellow Jews. True, the tone is a BIG problem. And I can see why many take the tone with great issue in these posts, but he is no bar kamtza, even though its tempting to say it.

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  8. It refers to a lack of gain for it. It's hatred which is so severe that it is exercised even when it gains nothing.

    What do you mean lack of gain?? And who are you to talk about sinaas chinam? What gain do you accrue from posting vicious attacks against chareidim on an almost daily basis? You have been asked this question before, and the response is that you hope to incrementally influence chareidim to leave the chareidi world, and influence others to avoid joining.

    Well, the same thing is here. These parties gain a great deal by discrediting the current, horrible government. And incrementally causing it to fall apart.

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    1. What gain do you accrue from posting vicious attacks against Rabbi Slifkin on an almost daily basis?

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    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    3. Happy, He has never criticized chareidim, and certainly not every day. Where have you been?

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  9. This is so interesting... I always interpreted the "sinat chinam" in the Kamtza/Bar Kamtza aggadata to to be referring to the behavior of the host of the party (and the rest of the guests) in kicking out and embarrassing Bar Kamtza.

    Bar Kamtza certainly doesn't end up looking like much of a good guy by the end of the story, but I always thought he was the victim of the sinat chinam that set events in motion.

    (It's worth noting that the notion of sinat chinam appears nowhere in the gemara in Gittin where the story is related; in fact, R' Yochanan there attributes the destruction of the Temple to the "inflexibility" of Zecharyah ben Avkulas in rejecting measures that might have mitigated the damage done by Bar Kamtza's vengeance.)

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    1. I know that many people understand it that way, but I don't think that's what's going on. First of all, the host isn't even named - if it was his hate that set everything in motion, surely he would be named. Second, we don't even know the reason why the host hated Bar Kamtza. Third, the thrust of the story is explaining how Bar Kamtza caused all the problems, because he was so full of hate.

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    2. I understood that Agada to be focusing on failed leadership. Leaders didn't stop the host from embarrassing bar kamtza, and he gets angry because of their silence. Later the Gemara criticizes R Zechariah Ben Avkulas for not deciding any particular way, and lastly the Gemara layer circles back with a story of married man who later becomes a servant to the man who lent him money to divorce his wife and later married her. There too there seems to be no leadership condemning the ethics of that story.

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  10. The Likud tactic is to show up the coalition for what it is - a government dependent on leftists and Arabs. Likud's alternative bill could get through if not that the leftists and Arabs in the government would threaten to walk out.

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    1. Actually, the leftists and Arabs voted *for* it. I know a Meretz MK whose mailing list I'm on and he just sent me a long tortured email trying to "explain" away his vote to his leftist voters.

      They weren't going anywhere. Two Likud or RZ votes would have passed it.

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    2. If we're going to be, pardon the term, rationalist, the whole Bar Kamtza story is probably an extended allegory by Chazal (not that they wouldn't have believed it to be true themselves), with perhaps a few real details mixed in, over what was going on then- hatred, division, self-interest, religious purity (for which, see the Netziv), and so on.

      I once read a suggestion that the idea that the Mikdash was destroyed because of "sinat chinam" really ultimately comes from Josephus, who pins the defeat on the practical point that the Jews were (in his view, not entirely unfounded either) too divided to put up a united defense. It wouldn't be the last time- just look at the Warsaw Ghetto.

      Of course, Josephus has a point he's trying to make too, that the Jews were much better fighters than the Romans gave them credit for and it was only reasons like this that they lost.

      But to be super rational, we can simply point out that the Jews started a violent uprising against the world's most powerful empire. It was only a matter of time before they were crushed, their Temple destroyed, and they were exiled. The same exact thing that had happened more than 650 years earlier, in fact.

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    3. R. Wein explains sinas chinam to mean "factionalism." The Second Temple was marked by the rise of political parties. And the problem could not be fixed, for the same reasons it cannot be fixed today. As nicely demonstrated by Rabbi Dr Slifkin in his response to Commenter "Ash"s cogent point above, its OK when I do it, but "terrible, terrible" when you do it. That's factionalism.

      You're right what you said about rebelling against Rome. Perhaps we can say that had it not been for the petty fighting (between the Prushim, Biryonim, Sicarri, Sadduces, etc), there would not then have been a rebellion.

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    4. That's a good point at the end. Maybe with a united voice they could have dealt with issues. Heck, maybe Jesus never would have been killed.

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    5. A. Schreiber: I think there is a difference between political parties and the sects of Second Temple Jews. But swap the wording and yeah.

      Nachum: or even become a thing in the first place

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    6. Why can't you all be for the "People's Front of Judea"???
      You splitters!!!

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  11. A six months extension was going to grant citizenship to 3,000 Arab families. The previous extension allo Ed fir 1,500 over a year. This is a 4 time increase, which the coalition was trying to hide from the public. Bennett and Shaked are hitting new bottom.

    אריה אלדד שוטר 6 יולי 21
    שלום אני אריה אלדד ואני היום השוטר הטוב
    שכויעח לחבר הכנסת עמיחי שיקלי. שהצביע אתמול נגד חוק האזרחות ואי אימון בממשלה.
    לכאורה האיש הצביע בניגוד למצפונו - כי הוא מתנגד להתאזרחות ערבים בתחפושת של איחוד משפחות. אבל מצד שני מצפונו מתנגד לממשלה התלויה בחסדי רע"מ. ובין המצפון הזה והמצפון הזה באה איילת שקד, וסידרה לשיקלי את העניינים . כי כדי לגייס את תמיכת מר"צ ורע"מ, הבטיחה אזרחות ל- 3000 משפחות ערביות . ועוד ניסתה להסתיר את זה.
    איילת שקד, שפעם ראיתי בה מועמדת טובה לראשות ממשלה, מדגימה בדיוק מה זה מדרון חלקלק. כדי להחליף את נתניהו - רעיון טוב כשלעצמו - היא היתה מוכנה להיכנס לקואליציה עם אויבי ישראל. פשע לאומי כשלעצמו. אבל מי שהבטיחו שמדובר רק בתמיכה בהצבעה אחת ודי, הצבעת האמון בממשלה - התרסקו אתמול מול המציאות החלקלקה של המדרון. אין לסחטן שום סיבה להפסיק לסחוט את קורבנו כל עוד משלמים לו. יאיר לפיד אמר אתמול את האמת - החוק הזה הוא על דמוגרפיה. באה שקד והיתה מוכנה להקריב את הדמוגרפיה למען השלטון.

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  12. The book "Why We're Polarized" by Ezra Klein is a good resource on understanding the effects of strong polarization.

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  13. Very good article. I agree with it. This is the one time I disagree with Bibi. He shouldn't be doing this.

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  14. Wrong. Baseless hatred is when people give you hate when you did nothing to deserve it. Ie, you go to Pizza shop and somebody gives you a hate pizza free of charge. Please, learn the Rashi in Shabbat on this...

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    1. Bread - it seems as there may be an issue with definitions/labels. True in Shabbat 32, Rashi describes Sinat Chinam in a particular way; and true other sources (Yoma 9) say that Sinat Chinam caused the destruction; and true other sources (Gittin 55; Eicha Rabbi 4:3) say that the episode of kamtza and Bar kamtza led to the destruction.

      BUT, I don’t know of any sources in Chazal that say the episode of Kamtza & bar Kamtza is an example of Sinat Chinam. In fact Shabbat 119 (among other sources) suggests many reasons for the destruction. However one labels the episode of Kamtza and bar Kamtza (either as an example of Sinat Chinam or something else very bad), RNS is correct in pointing out that Bar Kmatza had nothing to gain, and everything to lose, from his reaction. And that type of reaction (however you choose to label it) is something we should take note of and try to avoid.

      As an aside, the fact that the Label of Sinat Chinam on the story of Kantza and bar Kamtza does not (apparently) originate with Chazal, probably results in different perspectives regarding which of the characters in the story are the ones who display “sinat chinam” (as “e” and “just curious” point out above).

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  15. Oh, please, the Kamtza, Bar kamtza story, is Rabbinic allegory, for the internecine hatred between Aristobulos and his brother Hyrcanus in their dispute for succession to the kingship.The result was Pompeii came in and that was the end of Jewish suzerainty, that eventually led to the loss of Jerusalem etc.

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    1. Interesting! And likely true.

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    2. Nonsense. Chazal had no problem referring openly to the hatred between Aristobolus and Hyrancanus, as shown in Sotah and elsewhere - they had no need to resort to parable. The key point of the Kamtza story - which is stated in black and white was the failure in rabbinic leadership. First, by those who didn't protest at the feast; and then by R. Zecharia ben Avkulos, whose insistence on certain standards for Kodshim led directly to the invasion. This later statement is stated openly by R. Yochanan, summing up the episode, and is the sole purpose for recounting the episode in the first place.

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    3. A.Schreiber, you are a traditionalist, I'm a rationalist. We differ. But please don't say what I wrote is nonsense. cheers,
      mb

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    4. Mb - perhaps nonsense was a strong word, and if you felt hurt by it I apologize. However, your suggestion is untenable. More importantly, Pr. Slifkin's post is even more untenable. Sinas Chinam is a concept mentioned in Yoma. The Kamtza story, which does not even mention Sinas Chinam, has a different focus altogether.

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  16. Great post. How sad. How tragic.

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    1. The worst part is all the Arabs will come in and take over the country in eight days.

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  17. That would be שנאה לחנם. But whilst we're suggesting novel interpretations, what about שנאת חנם meaning a hatred of their חן, i.e. a hatred based in jealousy of their apparent standing.

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  18. Do you think Lieberman;s comments about Charedim alos fit inot this category?

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  19. The Ba'al HaTanya explains the problem of שנאת חינם based on the statement in Yoma 9b: "In the [First Temple period], their sins were revealed to them, therefore the time of their redemption was revealed to them; in the [Second Temple period], their sins were not revealed to them, and therefore the time of their redemption was not revealed to them."

    But the Gemara there just said that the people in the Second Temple period were guilty of שנאת חנם! They knew (or at least know now) what their sin was!

    The Ba'al HaTanya says that the person who suffers from שנאת חינם, is not even aware that he's guilty of it. That is the meaning of לא נתגלה עוונם--he is unaware of his sin. He justifies his hatred--but the justifications come after the fact, as a result, not a cause for the hatred.

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  20. I keep being surprised by how surprised you are whenever politicians act like politicians and don't put the country's interest first.
    Rabbi Slifkin, you were swooning over Bennet's and Lapid's inaugural speeches. But it's a matter of time until they show you that they are also willing to betray the interests of the nation for political gain.

    Maybe when that happens, you will finally realize that when chareidi society put their narrow interests ahead of the interests of the country at large, they are only doing Israeli politics. Actually, just politics. It happens everywhere.

    Even your own DL community proudly puts their narrow ideological interests ahead of the country's interests when they insist on davka settling areas of biblical Israel that provoke our hostile arab neighbors.

    So stop hopelessly expecting people to give up their personal agendas for the greater good. Give it up already--and stop pretending only your opponents do it while your favorite team doesn't.

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    1. 100% agree - because politicians think their "narrow ideological interests" ARE the country's best interests. The DL believe (and as it happens, I agree) settling all of Israel is in the national interest. The Charedim believe (and I agree too, to a lesser extent and with caveats not important here) that the health of their community is in the national interest. When the Labor party was still viable, they thought unionizing the country was also a national interest. The Marijuana party, ditto. Green party, ditto. Etc. Etc. [Maybe we can make an exception for "The Penina Rosenbloom party" of yesterday.]

      So yes - Rabbi Dr Slifkin can criticize charedim all he wants and every day and all day long. But the pearl-clutching, and the hysterics, and the claims to be "shocked, shocked" that political parties actually have agendas - well, its just a little amusing.

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    2. I'm not sure if you are stupid or disingenuous, but there are so many mistakes/lies in your comment that it is hard to know where to start. I'll list a few:
      1. RNS's attack was against the Likud, the DL party itself and also the chareidim.
      2. Political parties have voted for this law year after year, also from the opposition (including the Likud).
      3. Those who settle the land believe that this in the national interest (even if you don't).
      4. If you think that it is impossible for people not to act like Bar Kamtza, you may as well give up on life.

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    3. To A. Schreiber:
      Yes, it is definitely the pearl clutching and the faux outrage which makes Rabbi Slifkin's posts so annoying and tiresome.

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    4. "The Charedim believe... that the health of their community is in the national interest."

      No, their believe it's in their interest. Plus, they weren't interested in the health of their community during the pandemic, even though such recklessness wasn't definitely not in their national interest.

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    5. "The Charedim believe (and I agree too, to a lesser extent and with caveats not important here) that the health of their community is in the national interest"

      Haredim don't care about the rest of the country. And notice even in your statement every other community is focused on the entire nation not on their specific sector.

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    6. Kornreich, "stop hopelessly expecting people to give up their personal agendas for the greater good. Give it up already--and stop pretending only your opponents do it while your favorite team doesn't."

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    7. Not sure what you're getting at here, Anonymous...but in case I was misunderstood,, I'll clarify:
      I meant--"for *what you decide* to be the greater good"

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    8. To Ephraim, who thought it wise to bring up Corona - you're living on another planet. The Charedim, both here and in Israel, and I include all religious Jews other than the modox, had the right response all along. It was never even remotely as dangerous as recklessly stated, the numbers were false from the get go, and only the charedim and like-minded people recognized immediately the long term harm of the so-called "measures". And of course, and as now is abundantly clear even to the most gullible true-believers in "science", they were pointless all along.

      In this tiny little echo chamber, you and Dr. Slifkin can keep telling yourself you were right, that "three million people died of Corona!" or the Charedim "made a chillul Hashem" or whatever nonsense you want to believe. Out there in the real world, the Charedim are proud of the way they refused to fall for the garbage, and did everything they could to largely limit the damage. Of course, if you disagree, and you were scared to death of getting the virus and wore three masks while hunkered down in the basement, you can always go to Canada, where they're still in lockdown. I'm sure you think they're government is doing a good job too.

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    9. To Isaac - no political group, or every political group, is focused only on their own sector. Many countries have had labor parties for more than a hundred years - did they ever care about anyone other than union members? Or how about the US Democrats - do they care about anyone other than blacks and homosexuals?

      אלא מאי - they'll tell you they think their policies are good for the country as a whole. Now, you can reject that thinking, or call it cynical nonsense, but that's what they claim. Charedim are even better than such hacks, because they are at least in Israel, and part of the political system set up by Ben Gurion that *promotes* partisan party politics. Say what you want about their lifestyle choices - from a political perspective everything they do is 100% כשר וישר

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  21. And the Plishtim stopped up the wells that Avraham had dug...

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  22. Israel is harmed every day this government exists to much greater extend than by allowing an extra few thousands Palestinians entering Israel. An attempt to bring the government down was worth trying. Besides, it was an Yamina member who topped the scale.

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    1. "Israel is harmed every day this government exists". How exactly?

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    2. Every day when Liberman and Co are planning Shabbat transportation, Shabbat commerce, fake giyurim, eroded Kashruth- harms Israel. The should read loudly Dvarim 28.

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    3. "Every day when Liberman and Co are planning Shabbat transportation, Shabbat commerce, fake giyurim, eroded Kashruth- harms Israel. The should read loudly Dvarim 28."

      Israel is not a Halachah state - and the moment it becomes one we will bear witness to the end of the state as a state for ALL Jews. You want to keep Shabbat? Keep Shabbat - no one is forcing you to step on a bus. Other Jews and Gentiles have the right to public transportation ANY DAY of the year.

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    4. @Meir Moses You are missing the point. The entire Israel is harmed when Torah is not kept in the land. It's like drilling a hole in the boat under your own seat.

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  23. For people, on what is perceived the losing side of an argument, it is not uncommon to want to burn down the club. Compare to the story Bava Metzia 59a-b where Rabbi Eliezer ben Hurcanus wants to bring the walls down on the entire beit midrash

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  24. Kamtza Bar Kamtza was a Traitor that is why he wasn't invited to begin with (see Hatam Sofer).
    The Likud and Yamina are all phonies and not real Right Wing.
    Democracy is a self defeating system that's bound to fail and bring decision and destruction.
    Ssvi

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    1. True words, if there ever were any.

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    2. “Democracy is a self defeating system that's bound to fail and bring decision [sic?] and destruction.“

      “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time…” — Churchill

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    3. *Devision

      Ssvi

      --- Also remember and do not forget what they did to an actual Jewish leader in our time - Rav Kahane ZTL HYD

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    4. @Anonymous

      It's 'Division', you extremist idiot.

      Please can you and all your fundamentalist Kahanist friends leave Israel and go cause trouble elsewhere. You and your hate-based views are not welcome here.

      "actual Jewish leader", my backside.

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    5. As long as we are quoting, wasn't it Mark Twain who said "Rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated."? I should think that rumors of the death of democracy are similarly so, especially as the world had been trending toward democracy since the Magna Carta. (Athenian democracy and the Roman Republic are more historical models rather than earlier stages as they were not followed by similar, evolving forms. The Magna Carta led to Parliament, which led to curbing the monarch's power, which led to various Revolutions - English, American, French, the European minirevolutions of 1848.)

      One can argue that any institution that exists long enough will start to develop bloat and mission creep, and the US government is no different. I'm not sure that the Israeli government has had enough time to develop quite as much bloat as the US government has. Fortunately, unlike with private organizations, mission creep in government is something that has the potential to get checked since the People are able to weigh in on it periodically. This is how democracy continues to flourish.

      It is of course impossible to predict the future. Karl Marx did his famous thought experiment to figure out "what will come next" and was - to the detriment of the world and the tune of hundreds of millions of lives - woefully mistaken.

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  25. I make no comment on contemporary Israeli politics, but I feel I need to argue on your interpretation of the gemara. The idea of Sinat Chinam as the cause for Churban bayit sheni comes not from the Kamtza/ Bar Kamtza story but from the Gemara in Yoma. The kamtza/bar kamtza story is explicitly compared with the destruction of Tur Malka and Beitar, neither of which had anything to do with Sinat Chinam. What the three stories have in common is the failure to forsee the consequences of one's actions.

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    1. I would add the the Gemara explicitly blames the hesitancy of R Zecharia ben Avkulas rather than bar Kamtza or the host. The language of the introduction compares Kamtza and bar Kamtza to the chickens in the Tur Malka story and the wagon axle in the Beitar story. I.e., the party provides the context for people acting with no thought to the consequences.

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  26. “Second, we don't even know the reason why the host hated Bar Kamtza.”

    Soooooo… sinat chinam then? ��

    I’m kidding around, but it was certainly interesting to learn your alternative interpretation of the story. I wonder which interpretation is the more common.

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    1. Dang it, this was supposed to be a reply to R' Slifkin's reply to my original comment above...

      (Also, those crazy "Super Mario"-looking question boxes were supposed to be a "laughing crying face" emoji...)

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  27. Shalom RosenfeldJuly 11, 2021 at 4:15 PM

    Mishlei 23:29 -- לְמִי, פְּצָעִים חִנָּם the drunkard has gashes "chinam." Check meforshim there. Is it "for no good reason", "for which he can't account", or even a puzzling medrish "that he can get away with without paying the price."

    Backing up a step in dikduk: wouldn't sinas chinam mean "a hate OF chinam"?

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