Discover more from Rationalist Judaism
So Why DO They Only Criticize The Left?
In the previous post, Summer Camps and Summer Camps, I noted how the charedi establishment and its hangers-on tends to only criticize those on the left, no matter how insignificant they are, and never criticizes those on the right, even when they pose a much more severe threat to proper Torah values. The examples discussed from Satmar included their summer camps which incite to hatred and violence, and the anti-Israel rally in New York which was joined by the right flank of the Litvishe world. (There is also a news item about a horrifying children's board game, called Bashert!, in which you win $70 for breaking the trait of haughtiness, and $500 for screaming at a Zionist soldier. Contrary to press reports, however, it seems that this is not from the Satmar community, but rather from Neturei Karta. However, given the activities of the Satmar summer camp, this game appears to be equally representative of the values of that community.)
So what actually is the reason for this incongruity? Several suggestions were offered. These include:
"People enjoy the feeling of righteous indignation that arises when the latest set of blistering accusations against the "other team" is posted. And they vastly prefer to read a condemnation of Open Orthodoxy rather than of Satmar, with whom they feel more cultural comfort."
"The problem is theological. We have a left end to Orthodoxy, a point where it falls off. However, there is an underlying "more is better" ethos that prevents us from having a right end where one can be too Orthodox."
"It's all about having Gedolim. Satmar had the Satmar Rav. Open Orthodoxy doesn't have Gedolim." (I don't think that this is a major factor. First of all, it's not as though the Satmar Rav is around to legitimize their new extremism. Second, people generally just invoke Gedolim to give license to their positions, they don't really base themselves on them.)
To these I would like to add another explanation. Charedi society is built upon trembling in fear - of not appearing frum enough. Everyone is always too afraid to say what they really think about things. So the entire notion of formally protesting those who present themselves as being super-frum, no matter how loathsome their words and actions, is frightening.