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The Future of the New Charedim
In an earlier post, I referred to a lecture at the Orthodox Forum on the topic of the "new charedim." The speaker, Chaim Zickerman, noted that the new charedim have an uncertain future. They are sorely lacking in self-confidence; they do not have leaders who exemplify their values and to whom they can look up to for direction. This is difficult for them, in light of how they are scorned by other charedim.
In terms of the general reaction to the new charedim by the rest of the charedim, Mr. Zickerman noted that there are three possible scenarios: conflict, silence, and harmony. His favored scenario was harmony. But he described that as being a situation in which there is a Yissacher-Zevulun relationship between the two groups.
To my mind, that is not a good scenario at all.
First of all, the historic/ halachic/ hashkafic basis for such a relationship is weak, to say the least. As I wrote in my post "Is Kollel rooted in Yissacher/Zevulun?," the Yissacher-Zevulun model is mentioned in the Midrash - not the Chumash or Gemara. And in the Midrash it says that Zevulun was helping to market Yissacher's merchandise, not fully fund them. According to Rabbi Prof. Yehudah Levy's analysis of this topic in Torah Study pp. 46-50, the early halachic authorities did not discuss a Yissacher-Zevulun arrangement and it seems that they did not legitimize it.
Second of all, there is a fundamentally conflicting system of values between the "new" and "old" chareidim (yes, I know that the "old" chareidim are also new, but everything's relative). The old chareidim believe that the ideal lifestyle, for which everyone should strive, is to be in kollel; the minority who go out to work have essentially failed. The new chareidim believe (as did Chazal) that the ideal, or at least perfectly acceptable, lifestyle is to be self-supportive. This is a significant difference, and I think that it precludes true harmony.