Thoughts on Judaism

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Hilarious Gemora

Bechoros 51

Hanina the evil one punched (possibly in the ear) a certain person, and he was required to pay a sela, equaling a half zuz (the coin of that time). He offered a very worn zuz (which was acceptable according to halacha but) which he could not circulate (thus costing him nothing) and requiring the victim to actually pay him a 1/2 zuz as change. The court ruled that the man whom he struck did not have to give change for the worn zuz, so Hanina struck him again and gave him the coin.

Were the courts that inept and powerless to administer justice, or is this an allegory about injustice? I rather suspect the latter, but I wonder what fundamentalists do with this story. The sages were about as sarcastic and funny in expressing themselves as jurists in any century ever.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

New Policy on Fundraising

Anyone who comes to my door or solicits money from me will now be answering the following questions:

1) Do you have any connections to the Sikrikim in Israel, the NK or the Haredim in Beit Shemesh?
2) Do you support the Sikrikim, the Neturei Karta or the Haredim in Beit Shemesh?
3) Do you sympathize with these groups?
4) Do you condone or defend their actions in Beit Shemesh, or any of the militant activity or harassment of the Sikirikim or Haredim of past few weeks?

If I am not satisfied that the person is truthful and that he is adamantly opposed to these groups and activities, he will be shown the door. Further I will encourage everyone that I know to elicit an active (not a passive) rejection of these ideologies before handing a thin dime to anyone posing as a Jew collecting for yeshivas or communities in Israel, and I will advise them if someone is in the neighborhood collecting and he has not passed my muster.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Beit Shemesh - The cure

Momma always used to say, "Stupid is as stupid does." People who are by their nature judgmental (emphasis on mental), controlling and overbearing are always playing offense whereas people who just want to make peace and get along are always on defense. In most games, it is far harder if not impossible to score when there is no offensive threat.

The cure in Beit Shemesh is to tell the truth, and to tell it to the Sikrikim themselves. In every video, there are well meaning people standing around arguing with Sikrikim or grubeh yunger who are there merely to be offensive. You are trying to build respect where respect is not available. Try this. Organize an equal number of people to stand opposite the Sikrikim, with their backs to the street and the girls passing by, and yell back, "Shkatzim! Minim! Return to the Torah!" Fighting chanting with chanting will equalize the playing field at very least, and make it sound to anyone passing like a bunch of people yelling at each other, rather than a bunch of scary creepy people intimidating the girls. While it may seem inviting to demonize the Haredim who do this, they are encouraged among themselves and the activity will continue, as long as they feel that people are indeed being intimidated. By taking offensive measures, it will make it clear that Orthodox Beit Shemesh residents are not at all intimidated and are becoming resolved to fight back. It is important that only Orthodox people take up this fight, or the Haredim will become more resolved that this is a war against chilonim or Yavanim or whatever. Do not accept aid from people whose aim it is to damage Judaism. They only help the Sikrikim.

Take photos of individuals and try to get names. Post pictures and names in public forums with Shegetz, baal z'roah, listim, min or any other epithet. Their power is in being anonymous hordes. do not play their game. Make them be individual criminals.

Follow them around as they come and go. Go into the Haredi neighborhood and yell for people to turn over the minim and apikorsim in their midst. Demonstrations should be frequent, brief, and video recorded. Slogans should center on questioning the lineage and halachic basis of the Haredim. This may not be as impressive in the papers, but the line Haredim will not want to support the radicals and you are likely to end the daily insults and incursions, and ultimately the invasion of the Haredim and the uprooting of Orthodox Jews from Beit Shemesh.

Apply cost to every offense. Go into the Haredi neighborhood and speak to the woman and children walking in the street. Do NOT spit on them or intimidate them, quite the opposite. Speak kindly to them and explain that the Jews of Beit Shemesh want peace with them. They will most likely run away quickly. However, when the Sikrikim see that frum Jews will come into their neighborhood, unafraid, and speak to the people there, their own families, they will feel invaded and they will focus on keeping the outsiders out, rather than attacking.

And make no mistake, they are coming to take Beit Shemesh and push out the other residents. And they want to do it throughout Israel. The ones who claim they only want peace need demands made of them, put up or shut up. They must disavow all of the insults and the philosophy of the Sikrikim or they are considered supporters of that gang.

The radicals are not adept at playing defense because Orthodox Jews never think in terms of offense. The time has come.