Bring Back the Pride


rabbi-lipschutzBy Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz

I recently had the distinct pleasure of spending some time with the noted and famed baal teshuvah, Rav Uri Zohar. He told me that lately, when he speaks in front of secular audiences in an attempt to be mekareiv them, he opens with the following introduction: “It is said that I am a chareidi. Well, don’t believe it. Chareidim are terrible people. They steal. They are dishonest. They all have money hidden under their floorboards. I am not chareidi, chas veshalom. I am really just a chiloni who observes the mitzvos.” 

He brings the house down and is then able to open their hearts to the truth.

Chareidim are under attack. We are being vilified wherever you turn. All forms of media – secular, Jewish and religious – write and propagate about how evil the chareidim are. Spokesmen of every stripe are falling over themselves giving interviews to whoever will spell their name correctly about how there is something wrong with those chareidim. There is something wrong with their educational system. There is something wrong with the water they drink. They have gone off the deep end. They are insular. They are uneducated. They have no manners. No decency. Nothing.

And, of course, they are so different than everyone else.

And you know what? They are right. We are different than everyone else. Our chinuch is different. We do behave differently. We really do. Let’s admit it.

We don’t rob people. We don’t have guns. We are good neighbors. We don’t have all the problems that general society has. We don’t have 50% intermarriage and divorce rates. Our children, by and large, are well behaved and intelligent. They are neat, clean and raised well. They don’t cause mayhem on the block late at night drinking beer or smoking weed, with their boom boxes booming, keeping the neighborhood awake.

We live our lives for our children. We work day and night so that we can pay tuition for our children’s schooling. We seek the best for them and, of course, we spend much of our time learning with them and making sure that they will grow up to lead responsible lives.

Yes, we are different. Our lives are guided by an ancient code of laws, behavior and ethics. We try to ponder how G-d would judge our actions and we endeavor to find favor in His eyes as well as the eyes of man. After all, that is the way the sages of the Talmud taught us to live and that is the way we have been doing it for centuries. We taught the world ethics. We introduced to the world laws and jurisprudence. And though much of what we taught to various societies through the ages has been forgotten, we have never forgotten it and we have never given up on finding favor in the eyes of G-d and man.

Are we always successful? Of course not. We are human. Humans make mistakes. We have a yeitzer harah which seeks to entrap us daily. But when we do fail, we seek to learn from our errors and we pick ourselves up and become better for it.

If we are intellectually honest, which by our very nature we are, we know that our educational system has flaws and is far from perfect. But it is so far superior than to any alternative that some who have had to endure what is offered out there would even find our self-criticism to be excessive. However, while we point out the flaws and encourage more accountability in our mosdos hachinuch and improved standards of education, we must acknowledge the beautiful and unadulterated system of education that our communities are blessed with. And we should, at the same time, point out how shameful it is that some would suggest that it is our educational system – and its flaws – which produces dishonest individuals who go on to break the law.

Jews who cleave to the Torah and observe its precepts are without a doubt the most generous of any civilized people. It is in our genes. We have been giving charity ever since the Torah commanded us to. Even Jews who have strayed far from their home from Torah and have little or no connection to their religion have charity so embedded in their psyche that they rise to the top of communal giving.

There is no community which is as charitable as the Jewish community. Go anywhere in this country where there are plaques commentating generous donations; it can be a zoo, aquarium, museum, hospital, or any other non-profit entity serving the public. Look at the names and you will be amazed at the percentage of Jewish ones listed there. If those who have strayed from the Torah are so charitable, imagine how much chesed and tzedaka are performed by the people who follow the Torah. The amount of chesed that goes on in our chareidi world is unparalleled and is taken for granted. And, pardon my asking, but when was the last time you read an article anywhere about the middas hachesed so prevalent in our world?

The purpose of this column is not to sing our praises and not to whitewash the inevitable slippage. It is to put everything in perspective. It is time we all took a deep breath and said, “Hey, hold on a second. Who are you talking about? Why are you talking that way about us? Who appointed you as chief apologist for our way of life?”

Is everyone perfect? Of course not. Are there people who cheat and steal? Of course. But why is it that we permit the world out there to paint us all with the broad brush of those few rotten apples? Are we lacking in self-respect? Have we forgotten where we come from and what we are all about?

A kulturkampf has been fought for the past one hundred years in Eretz Yisroel. The secularists have had the upper hand most of the time and have won many of the battles. Despite all the attempts to destroy it, the religious community has continued to thrive. This drives the anti-Torah forces crazy and they never miss an opportunity to mock and deride us as well as attempt to curtail our growth and minimize our power and effectiveness. But nothing they try works, and despite all their best efforts, they realize that they are losing and we are gaining.

Many years ago, I met Ariel Sharon and interviewed him for this newspaper. He told me of the time he went to meet a rebbe as part of the coalition building process. The rebbe‘s office was located upstairs of a bais medrash. Mr. Sharon arrived for his morning meeting after he had woken at 4 a.m. to see his son off to his army base, in the driving rain. As he walked in to the building, he saw the chassidim assembling to daven. No one was in a particular rush, he said.

He recounted that he was furious. “My son had to wake up at 4 a.m. to go train for war, and these young people were able to live freely, seemingly without a care in the world.

“But then I thought to myself, you know the difference between me and them? They all know that their grandchildren will be Jews. I don’t.”

And with that he forgave them.

The man who gave his life for the Zionist dream realized that it was the religious folk who would guarantee the Jewish future of the land. He didn’t have the courage to mend his ways and return to the G-d of his forefathers in the city of Brisk, but somewhere in his conscience, he knew the truth. And he’s not the only one.

Different people of his ilk deal with the truth differently. Some harbor a modicum of respect for the chareidim and for the lives they lead, while others build up hatred for all that the religious people represent. It is as if they lie in wait for the minute a religious Jew is accused of doing something wrong. They pounce on the perpetrator and, as true racists and bigots, convict all religious Jews of aberrant behavior. If one religious Jew is indicted for a crime, immediately every religious Jew in the world is accused of the same misdeed.

And we let them get away with it. We don’t respond that we are bnei Avrohom, Yitzchok and Yaakov. We don’t respond that we have a common creed which predisposes us to an unassuming, law-abiding way of life. We don’t respond that we are the Am Hanivchar and that one yungerman living bemesiras nefesh and learning in Lakewood is worth more to us than all the educated crafty spokesmen who pour oil on the anti-chareidi fire with their erudite, pedantic, pithy soundbites.  

When they use the sorry situation of a couple of out-of-control teenagers to besmirch masses of fine young frum boys, we don’t analyze the numbers and show how many thousands of boys travel thousands of miles away from home to grow in Torah and become better Jews and better men.

Since the time Jews have been driven into exile, there haven’t been as many people learning Torah as there are now, there hasn’t been as much money given away for hachzokas haTorah, there haven’t been as many families dedicated to the values of Torah, and there haven’t been as many children following in their parents’ ways as there are today.

The yeitzer harah can’t take it. He can’t stand to watch all this go on. He fights mightily to ensnare us and our children. Despite all that he has thrown at us, the Torah world continues to strengthen. Now he has drafted the media in a way we were unprepared for. They contribute a lot more than we think to the way other people view us and the way some of us have begun to view ourselves.

It’s about time we stood up and proclaimed that we have had enough of this. Stop lecturing us. Stop judging us by the alleged actions of a tiny percentage of our people. Stop ignoring all the good, and concentrating on the bad.

Let us do all we can to return the shine to our lives. Let us work harder on improving ourselves and separating ourselves from all types of thievery and heresy. Let us cleave yet stronger to the words of the Torah, ki heim chayeinu ve’orech yomeinu.

It’s all nothing new. The novi Yeshayahu [66, 5] said over two thousand years ago, Listen to the words of Hashem you who are chareidim to his message, your wicked brothers who despise you and seek to shunt you aside, tell you that they are closer to G-d than you are and He likes their actions and the way they conduct themselves more than He favors the actions of the chareidim, for in the end you the righteous ones will be blissfully exultant while the evil ones will fade away in embarrassment.  May it come to pass speedily in our day.  

 { Newscenter}


  1. Well to the idea that we are not racists, how do you answer to the claim that sphardim are still being discriminated against in Israeli society, not just in the secular society but in chareidi society??? Why is there such a level of segregation in chareidi society between the ashkenazim and sphardim??? Can you give me a logical rational answer based on real quantifiable evidence??

  2. I’ve never seen a better example of truculent, supercilious and smug sinas chinam in my life as this screed. It is a picture perfect demonstration of how a yeshiva education can produce one who looks and sounds so frum and is in fact so far from G-dliness.

  3. Reb Pinny,

    Thank you for your heartfelt message.

    I think we all need to make an effort in these difficult times to pull together, be gentler in criticism, and see the ma’alos in others.

    I would like to quote from R. Lopitan who makes the point very well, I think, and it’s relevant to all groups, regardless of hashkafa:

    “But I understand, that especially when being critical of my brothers and sisters, I need to be humble and modest , avoiding any sarcasm and certainly not relishing in critique. The truth is that if the message is right and true, it will get heard without being “in your face” and sensational. I was happy that my ideas were picked up by many different outlets, but I feel that since it was a message of rebuke, tocheicha, I need to work harder to make sure not to feel even one shemetz – one iota – of satisfaction of taking on a community and its leadership”

  4. I say the best defense is a good offense. R. Lipschutz has been here as gentle as could be, yet look at the first few comments, and, I’m sure, dozens to come. Anti-chareidim think they have a license to be hateful, chutzpadik, and denigrating towards chareidim while smugly critcizing chareidim for being hateful etc. Since they’re treating us exactly like the world is treating Israel, we should start reacting the way they want Israel to react to the world.

    SZ, you have a point, but be happy sefardim today are not treated as Ashkenazim were treated by the sefardim when they were the elite majority – in England, Holland, Argentina, etc. Segregation and racism against ashkenazim was sometimes official and transgressors were punished by cherem.

  5. ” R. Lipschutz has been here as gentle as could be, yet look at the first few comments”

    I don’t know if you were referring to me but I was serious!

    I recognized R. Lipschutz’s “heartfelt message” (and mussar?), and even more so, was inspired by R. Lopitan’s message, which is applicable across hashkafic boudaries.

    Tein b’lebeinu sh’nirah kol echad ma’alas chavereinu…

  6. well said. finally someone who is not embarrased to be a yid. enough trying to find favor with goyim, and anti torah jews.
    finally a yid speaking up on behalf of his yidishe brethren

  7. Actually there is a new “shul” in Lakewood where the guys go there at night and wake up their neighbors.
    The shul is in a residential neighborhood, and the “chareidi” members of the shul are not from the neighborhood. These members go to the shul and drink and smoke and wake up their neighbors.

  8. Boy, cantoresq,

    Were you by any chance talking about yourself? The Sinas Chinam that reeks from your every post is rather offensive.

    Try to search you own heart.

  9. Actions speak louder than words.

    R. Lipschutz is a talented wordsmith, but his words will not wipe away the actions of those who pose as ‘Haredi’ and are phonies, engaged in various disgusting behavior. And he should realize that ‘the few bad apples’ that he talks about, have increased to more than a few.

    Who doesn’t know the famous Ramban on Kedoshim tihiyu, that warns against being a ‘novol bireshus haTorah’ – against behaving disgustingly, while on the surface seemingly staying within the boundaries of the Torah.

    R. Lipschutz should realize that the Ramban wasn’t talking about non-frum Jews. The Ramban was talking about ‘frumme Yidden’, even ‘Haredim’. One can be the most ‘Haredi’ and be a novol bireshus haTorah. That is what we have to crusade against. This battle will be won, not by crafty editorials, but by improvement in how we act.

  10. Great article. its full of torah true ahavas yisroel. the good words in the article are not a lead in for a any scathing, condescending criticism that uses words of love to hide hate like in rabbi lapotins article

    to shades of grey,

    your name is correct. grey is not white (holiness)or black (klipah).
    how can you cut out a paragraph from rabbi lapotin’s hatefull,critical,article and try to say that reb pincha’s message is like lapotin’s.
    that is exactly the mishmash we suffer today. when our own bretheren use our own torah to lash out against us torah true followers. lapotin is not a reb pichas lipshitz.
    thank you pinney for your heartwarming perspective

  11. I think cantoresq thinks sinas chinam applies to goyim – show me one single mekor – doubt you’l find any. You’re allowed to hate sonei yisroel – reb pinchos was not being hateful, he was practicing ahavas yisroel, and defending klal yisroel against those like you who denigrate them. Far from godliness? how is praising your nation’s strongpoints – and not denying its weaknesses, lacking godliness?

    I wrote about this somewhere else – this is a klor raya to what I said previously, that there are people whom whenever you’re against something, you are accused of having ‘sinat chinam’ – have a tv, because it’s sinas chinom if you dont, hang pictures of atheists in your yeshiva, sice its sinas chinam not to, be sure to support the WZO, since it’s sinas chinam if you dont, approve of everything and every shita in the entire world, since it’s sinas chinam to say that chas veshalom someone’s wrong.

    It’s tacked on to pretty much whatever they want it to be used for. Since it’s so chamur, it gets people afraid, and those who are ignorant in what the actual meaning of sinas chinam is will be lured into the big lie.

    You called a Yif far from g-dliness – that’s sinah, not to mentin lashon hora – who died and gave you the right to say who’s godly and who’s not?

  12. I guess ‘shelo sam chelkein kahem, vegoraleinu kechol hamonam’ is also sinah, since it chas veshalom says goyim, are (gasp) wrong!! 99.9% f goyim practice some sort of avodah zara, and the culture which represents them is the filthiest dirt in the world – it is not sinah to show how we are in fact, above the goyishe way of life, since our way of life is holy. Mi keamcha yisroel, goy echad be’aretz – i guess that’s also sinah, since chas veshalom, you cant say yidden are any better, holier, or any sort of suplerlative above the goyim! you’re a kofer beikar in americanism if you do

    Tell me, do you say ani maamin be’emunah shelaima benevuas thomas jefferson alav hashalom every morning?

  13. number 10
    its real interesting to see how the adaptation of our enemies. they dont use their own philosphy and their reasoning wich has prove to have caused the great assimilation among their ranks. so they attack us by masking themselves and quoting from our sources.
    for example # 10 which part of this great article are you referring to when you say action speaks louder than words?.
    the article is all abput the constant continuos action of the torah true community every day of their week, month year.
    they live a life commited to put into action all of the613 mitzvos of hashem
    they eat only kosher. do you?
    they learn torah. do you?
    they give tzedakah. do you?
    they put on teffilin and daven. do you?
    they keep shabbos do you?
    they use their hard earned money to educate the next genration so that they do not assimilate.
    are you replying to reb pinchas that all chareidi act disgustingly in every aspect of their life?
    get a life.
    oh, why no comment on the GE fraud reported yesterday? because they are not chareidi?
    get real

  14. Dear Rabbi Lipschutz, you can ask your brother, the Telz/Chicago Mashgiach, shlita, about what kind of place “Anshei Shalom” Lopatin of Lincoln Park, Chicago is. Mechitza is 1(one) ft. high. “Chief of Staff” Emmanuel, shr’i, man known to use NIVUL PEH in EVERY sentence, praised as a model congregant.
    Some poor saps older bachelors from the OTHER yeshiva prowl there to look for “shidduchi”, nebach…What can one expect.
    BTW, AA, exellent point and exellent knowledge of Jewish History. As a matter of fact, things that you described continue to this day in Seattle.

  15. Rabbi Lipchutz has some valid points. Inadvertently or not, he slipped in a totally irrelevant and misleading anecdote about Ariel Sharon. I remind him that there are hundreds of boys who wake up at dawn to daven and learn, followed by their training for war. The chareidim who stroll to shul at their convenience owe their lives to these young men.

  16. “how can you cut out a paragraph from rabbi lapotin’s hatefull,critical,article and try to say that reb pincha’s message is like lapotin’s.”

    I think you need to give me a beracha because you were “chosheid b’csherim”!

    For the THIRD time, I repeat that I thank R. Lipchutz for his heartfelt divrei mussar.

    I quoted from a DIFFERENT article by R. Lopitan than the one you were referring to.

    It was titled “Humility in Criticizing”, and it was an article of cheshbon hanefesh which inspired me. As R. Lopitan wrote:

    “Yes, I do believe firmly in working on Kiddush Hashem, and avoiding Chilul Hashem. I said my piece last week. This time I want to apologize to anyone I might have hurt by the tone of my message.

    In writing this blog, sometimes I fall into the trap of being sensational and YELLING my point. But I understand, that especially when being critical of my brothers and sisters, I need to be humble and modest , avoiding any sarcasm and certainly not relishing in critique…”

    Tein b’lebeinu sh’nirah kol echad ma’alas chavereinu…

  17. #10, Naval birshus hatorah is every bit as applicable in bein adam lamakon as in bein adam lachaveiro. And most if not all religious chareidi-bashers are just that. In fact, I think, they’re much closer in outlook and behavior to ????? ????? ????? (except for their anti-Semitism) than to ehrliche yidden.

    Truth is hate to those who hate the truth.

  18. Let’s go back to the article, shall we?

    “And you know what? They are right. We are different than everyone else. Our chinuch is different. We do behave differently. We really do. Let’s admit it.

    We don’t rob people.”

    You don’t ROB people? Shall I start naming names? Do you not read the papers? Who’s in the federal pen, learning Daf Yomi and eating glatt kosher? Ganovim, that’s who. THIEVES. ROBBERS. I don’t care if you’re not street muggers. Your people rob each other, and the taxpayers, as much as the next man. Whether it’s in the form of all sorts of creative non-stop tax evasion, or non-stop money laundering of illegally-gained cash, or WIC, or Food Stamps, or Section 8, or Medicaid, you are among the biggest thieves. You DO rob people. Just not with guns. Thank G-d for that, at least.

    “We are good neighbors. We don’t have all the problems that general society has. We don’t have 50% intermarriage and divorce rates.”

    You may not have all their problems, but you sure have a lot. Off the derech kids is not a problem to you? These are children from YOUR families and YOUR schools who have left you, to adopt the mores of detestable general society! Why have they done so, in such large numbers?
    What could they POSSIBLY have seen in your form of Judaism to make them run for the door?

    No problem with abused children? Really? No child abuse among the charedim? Only for about 50 years or so. For 50 YEARS Jewish children have been abused by their own rabbis, and then rabbis covered up for, and threatened, the VICTIM! And you would have us believe that the problem doesn’t exist among charedim, since they’re so great. Well, there’s plenty of it—JUST LIKE IN ANY OTHER SOCIETY, we have our share of sickos–but that’s not the real problem. The real problem is the denial, the intimidation, the threats, the fears of loss of shidduchim and social standing, the fear of a thorough beating, not upon child abusers, BUT BY THE ABUSERS’ SUPPORTERS AND FRIENDS UPON THE VICTIMS. That is the very essence of a sick and dysfunctional society. And it is your society. And don’t deny it.

    “They don’t cause mayhem on the block late at night drinking beer or smoking weed, with their boom boxes booming, keeping the neighborhood awake.” Does burning garbage cans at all hours count? How about rioting and fighting with Israeli police? You know, the ones who keep society safe, and protect you from terrorists?

    “”We try to ponder how G-d would judge our actions…”

    Why ponder? I’ll tell what G-d says about your actions, since you like Isaiah so much. Welcome to the first chapter. Hold on to your black hat. Here goes:

    “Woe! They are a sinful nation, a people weighed down by iniquity, evil offspring, destructive children!”
    “How the faithful city has become a harlot!…Your princes are rebellious and associates of thieves, each of them loves bribery and pursues payments. They do not render justice to the orphan; the grievance of the widow does not come to them.” And so G-d says, stay home. Don’t come trampling my Holy Temple with your ugly sacrifices. Don’t abuse children, and then intimidate their parents, and then eat glatt kosher and cholov yisroel and yashan. Get out of My sight with your hypocricy.

    “Are we always successful? Of course not. We are human. Humans make mistakes. We have a yeitzer harah which seeks to entrap us daily. But when we do fail, we seek to learn from our errors and we pick ourselves up and become better for it.”
    Your yetzer hara, sadly, allows you to believe that goyim are nothings, have no tzelem elokim, and can be taken advantage of. Now, where would you get THAT idea? Your chinuch, that’s where. Your particular form of Judaism has created this monster. And if you truly believe that goyim and their laws are worthless, the next step is to break those laws. Non-stop. Until you get caught, of course. Which you will, eventually.

    “Is everyone perfect? Of course not. Are there people who cheat and steal? Of course. But why is it that we permit the world out there to paint us all with the broad brush of those few rotten apples?”

    Every DAY during the past 9 Days there was another “shanda for the goyim” involving frum Jews. All the crimes were financial, too. No, not every one of you cheats, true: it just SEEMS that way. But thank G-d, at least you don’ use guns.
    Don’t you get it? It’s near pathological. Constant cheating and scamming: fellow Jews, the American taxpayer. When will it end?
    Your problem is that here is no intellectual honesty out of the charedi camp today. You can do no wrong! So much Torah learning today! All is well with the world! It’s not fair! Most of us are nice people!
    You have lost your social intellectual honesty. YOUR SOCIETY HAS ILLNESSES, but you can’t properly address them, since you have an agenda to push, and pushing an agenda, in the form of your editorial, is more important to you than facing the painful truth of constant, in-your-face financial scams and child abuse and off-the-path kids and a tuition crisis and a shidduch crisis and…so much more.

    Don’t you realize when you wear pious clothes and act horribly it is the worst chillul Hashem imaginable? When you abuse children, and cover it up, and deny the cover up, then admit that mistakes were, indeed, made, what are we to think? When your princes take kickbacks, scam the IRS out of tax money, falsely declare all sorts of things on documents and plead guilty and wind up in jail, are we not seeing the very words of Isaiah come to life?

    “Wash you, make you clean, Cease doing injustice. Learn to do right.” The we’ll get somewhere. STOP BLAMING THE MEDIA WHEN BOY BITES DOG AND THEY REPORT IT. It IS news when rabbis, who lecture others, are the worst-behaving ones of all.

    Clean up your miserable charedi house, full of deep contempt for those less religious, the non-religious, and the goy, for Heaven’s sake, and stop blaming us for pointing out the obvious to you.
    We said it to a Jew 2000 years ago, and I say it to you today: “Physician, heal thyself.”
    Your house is on fire. Don’t blame us when we wonder why the firemen are always showing up at your door.

  19. Oh, one last thought:

    Comment from matis
    Time August 7, 2009 at 12:58 AM

    “I guess ’shelo sam chelkein kahem, vegoraleinu kechol hamonam’ is also sinah, since it chas veshalom says goyim, are (gasp) wrong!! 99.9% f goyim practice some sort of avodah zara, and the culture which represents them is the filthiest dirt in the world – it is not sinah to show how we are in fact, above the goyishe way of life, since our way of life is holy.”

    And to that, my friends, there is nothing to add.

  20. About twenty years ago Rabbi Nosson Scherman spoke at the Agudah convention and he stressed that it’s not enough that we are in fact above the goyim and the rest of the world’s mores(see 21) as we are then setting the bar pitifully low. What we have to aspire to is the best we can be.

  21. Well, shmuel, I see you truly have had a bitter lot in life. Or you have chosen to behave as though you have.

    I perhaps am sheltered and not aware of what’s going on in the world, but let me tell you: I have passed through the charedi school system which you hate. I grew up in a New York area fairly “black-hat” community, my Rebbeim were all Lakewood educated and Yeshivaleit.

    No one abused me. None of my friends were abused. In a community of over a thousand families I can count on my fingers (although that is admittedly too many) the amount of children who have r”l left frumkeit. Our chinuch system was and is fine and upstanding, producing a generation of fine Yidden.

    It is clear that, like an unfortunate minority among us, you are bitter about your life and what you have done with it. Perhaps you have even suffered at the hands of those “few rotten apples.” I must say I truly feel for you.

  22. Don’t “feel” for me, please. I don’t need your pity party. Your condescension is itself pitiful. You don’t know the first thing about me, judging from what you just wrote. If you knew me, what I accomplish daily, weekly, and annually, you wouldn’t believe it.

    Really happy to hear you grew up charedi and noone abused you. Seriously, I’m delighted. But for you to write what you wrote is astonishing. Do you really have that little concern for everyone else? YOU were never abused. Good. And the dozens, the hundreds, who WERE abused? What say you to them? What say you to the accomplices? The facillitators?

    Notice, you don’t dispute much in my essay. Not a word about how I’m wrong. The best you can do? You shrug your small shoulders and bleat, sheep-like, “Well, it didn’t happen to me, or my friends.” That you know of. You’re sure noone in your community was ever abused? Interviewed all thousand of them? Maybe some were? And, assuming some were, among your abused friends, they told you what they went through? And how they were disbelieved? And threatened? And their parents intimidated?

    Are you denying this has been the hellish experience for hundreds of your fellow Jews, who have grown up with this terrible baggage forever? But it didn’t happen to you, in your fine community of mechanchim! Baruch Hashem! Nu, what do you say about those less fortunate than yourself?

    Your petulant mussar shmooze is so typical of what passes for tochacha in charedi circles today. Let’s not talk about entrenched, systemic problems, stemming from our very imperfect chinuch , “one size fits all” system, where if a guy is not cut out for Talmud all the time he may as well be a goy for all you and yours care. “Work on yourselves” means saying Shma on time, davening with more kavana, eating only cholov Yisroel…and child abuse, and financial scams, and “Top 10 worst landlords” means nothing? No ethics. No shame. Nothing. But you pity me.
    I pity you, my friends. You have no soul, no concern for your fellow Jew. And you’re stunned that I do.
    I’m not bitter about my life. I’m bitter about how unconcerned so many like you live yours.

  23. 13.Matis, Last sentence:
    “…Even the Greatest of their men…””(from Rav Avigdor Miller, zy’a,”Awake My Glory”)

  24. Osher, you’re right, Shmuel does sound bitter. And for good reason I’m sure. However, if his bitterness is preventing you from understanding the point(s) of his post, then perhaps I can attempt to portray the same message to you in a less “bitter” fashion.

    I love being a Jew. I think true Judaism is beautiful, and although I am far from a perfect Jew, I wish for Mashiach all the time. So you can see, I am far from a bitter Jew.

    That said, I agree with so much of what Shmuel wrote. And to be honest, you Osher are the one that I feel for, the one that I pity. You will probably never see the true beauty of Judaism and what it really means to be a Jew, because you are so sheltered and are only surrounded by black hat yeshivaleit. I too grew up in that society, but I was fortunate enough to see through all that was taught to me by people who probably really believed what they taught, as they were spoonfed the same from their educators.

    I unfortunately have too many opportunities to spend time with Chareidim who truly believe that they are doing the right thing. Always searching for the next chumra, while ignoring so many halachos such as lashon hara and chilul Hashem, conveniently forgetting that the bais hamikdash was destroyed due to sinas chinam.

    Almost every point in this article can be honestly refuted, as Shmuel has attempted to do. But although I have a lot more to say on the subject, I believe I am wasting my time with you as my audience. And I can’t even blame you, Osher. You don’t know any better. I truly pity you for you are a tinok shenishba.

  25. What a pity that I came across this article so late! But I figure it’s still worth it to add my opinion for anyone who may come across it in the future, so here goes…

    Shmuel & Osher, I agree with both of you.

    Unfortunately this is a reality. This is a very painful thing for me to swallow, that so many of our brothers are suffering. The victims of course, but the “abusers” too. People have problems. Those who are dealing dishonestly in business and in their lives in general, I feel more sorry for them than anyone else. Those who are abusing children, those who are living a lie so devout on the outside and yet they have secret dealings and activities which are so contrary to the lifestyle they pretend to live. Imagine living with that? Yes, it’s yetzer hara that helps them get there and we are taught that aveirah goreret aveirah – when an alcoholic took his first shot, do you think he knew he would end up addicted, that it would take over his life? When a person dabbles in sin he doesn’t realize that once he tastes it, it becomes a bit lighter in his eyes, chances are he’ll do it again and again until one day he wakes up and he no longer recognizes himself. We are taught that this person actually loses his bechira chofshi with regards to that sin. These are the people I pity. The ones who gave in to temptation until it ate them up alive.

    The fact is, all of the issues which Shmuel mentioned exist in every society. Every single one. Look at the Charedim as a whole. I am not Charedi mind you, in fact I was raised in a more left wing home. The fact that as I grew older I leaned more towards the right did not affect my home life. We are all on different levels and all appreciate each other as we are. It’s a “as long as you’re happy” policy. But I have dealth with Charedim throughout my life. Many have been downright rude to me, but you see, I don’t consider them Charedim. Just because you grew up in such a family with such a community, does that automatically make you ultra-Orthodox? Just because you dress a certain way? Some people dress the way they do by habit – it’s what they’re used to. Or because everyone within a 5 mile radius dresses that way. Doesn’t mean a thing. On the other hand, I can’t even begin to tell you the beauty I have seen from true Charedim. Truly devout G-d-fearing people. People who live true Torah lives, who are honest with THEMSELVES. Who strive to see themselves clearly and do the right thing. I cannot begin to describe the beauty I see in a true Torah lifestyle. Growing up I saw it. I hated school, didn’t care about much of anything. But as I grew older I found nothing woke me up like Torah class. Nothing was more beautiful than what I learned in Navi. Mishlei, Halacha. I saw something in it. Slowly I grew to absolutely love Torah. Every bit of it. I wasn’t necessarily getting more religious, I just found it interesting. I saw that it was emet. Everything was so fake to me, but Torah is emet. I was so drawn to it, I had so many questions and I still do. I thank Hashem every day for putting me where He did… in that family, in that school, in the Jewish people! Imagine if I was born a goy! I can’t imagine where I would be, would I be an intellectual? Maybe a doctor.. if I were a goy, where would my search for wisdom end? I suppose it would either end in conversion, or it would probably end unsuccessfully. There is no wisdom like Torah, and there is no truth besides Torah.

    Back to my point (it is in here somewhere, bear with me), there are problems in every society. In every community. In every area, every way of life. We are all human and just as we don’t expect perfection from ourselves we should not expect perfection from any other individual or community or society. And we don’t, right? Or do we? Since I got “more” religious, I can’t tell you how many people have criticized me about something I did wrong in such an unreasonable way. When I do something wrong I apologize. When someone criticizes me I take it to heart and really contemplate what I did or said wrong and how I can improve. But there are times I see, people expect more of me. “You’re supposed to be the religious one.” “And you think you’re so religious?!” Excuse me, I wasn’t aware that religious = perfect!

    My point is, you see such terrible things amongst the ultra-Orthodox. I also see it. But I see it elsewhere too and in fact, I see it everywhere. There are sick people in every society, there are thieves and abusive and corrupt people. But they are the minority. You aren’t being true and fair. You’re stereotyping. Stop criticizing the general public! Most people are good – everywhere! Some people are slightly deranged – everywhere! YES, people are suffering. What are you doing about it?!! If you feel so passionate about it, do you really think bad-mouthing Charedim is going to help?? Do you think Hashem is happy for you right now? He wants us to care and feel for each other, yes. But once we’ve accomplished this, do we allow the yetzer hara to help us use it as justification for lashon hara? Or do we act? Do we pray? Hashem, please help these sick people. Please send them help, and please help those who were victims to others’ abuse. But we should act! Maybe start an organization to help these abused kids, provide someone they can talk to, intimidate the person responsible! Promote awareness and the importance of honesty in business and the halachot pertaining to the subject. If you care, do something! Don’t bad-mouth your brothers because you don’t know them. There is so much good that you don’t know about. There is good in every person and I venture to say that every person is mostly good. You will be judged after 120 in the same way you judged others. Midah k’neged midah. Your anger is misplaced. Yetzer hara got them, and it seems he’s onto you too!

    If you’re one who believes Charedim are awful, what do you propose? Maybe no one should be Charedi because you see so much bad in it? Do 2 wrongs equal a right? Charedim in general are doing their utmost to live a Torah life, to live according to Hashem’s will. Yes, many have to work on ahavat Yisrael, but many Chilonim do too! Just ask my grandparents who nearly vomit at the sight of peyos and laugh every time they see certain religious practices. Even the more religious left wingers I’ve met, and well, even you as it seems! In every group there are intolerant people. We all have what to work on. We were given 2 eyes- one with which to look at ourselves (in a critical way) and the other to look at the good in others. Yes, they have problems, so does every society. The fact is they are the ones that should be worried about their problems. But if you care so much, be their guest – help them fix it.