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Dissenting View from Haredi Insider


An IDF Haredi unit studying at the Peles Military Base, in the Northern Jordan valley.

An IDF Haredi unit studying at the Peles Military Base, in the Northern Jordan valley.
Photo Credit: Yaakov Naumi/Flash90

I received a submission from an individual whose background and Haredi credentials are impeccable. .. and he remains Haredi to this day.

He attended Yeshivas Mir and returned to America to learn in a Kollel in Lakewood, New Jersey . He was also involved in Chinuch as a high school Rebbe. He has recently received an education that has allowed him to enter ‘the professions’. Here is a quote from the bio he sent me that explains his motivation for the post:

One thing I can definitely say: I experienced first-hand many of the disastrous results of Yeshivish social-engineering. Much of the recent mishegasin that have shaken the Haredi world are not news items to me. I have… grinned and borne it for years. My shift to doing something “gashmiyusdige” for my family, and myself, for the first time in my life, has given me a sense of freedom (I don’t mean hefkerus) to truly be myself for once and to recognize emes and call out the sheker.

He asked me to keep his name confidential and I have agreed. Here in part are his reasons:

Some of the opinions that I quoted, regarding the situation in Eretz Yisroel were based on conversations with recent additions to our community who moved here from (there). My children play with their children. If they can easily identify me as a local “Dov Lipman” they just might pounce. Yes. I am afraid of them attempting to turn me into a pariah.

Powerful stuff! His post follows.

I have had discussions with various people representing the gamut of opinions that exist in the Haredi society in EY. I will start with the most moderate (excluding the R’ Dov Lipman types who are a small exceptional group).

There are those who do feel that serving in the IDF would be a solution, if the IDF would actually be accommodating to the Haredi needs. They claim that the Nachal Haredi unit is not accommodating because (listen to this “logic”!) it is full of the bums who would be on the street without it and they make it a bad environment for the boys who are not the bums. Therefore, it is the IDF who is not making enough accommodations.

Then there are those who feel that there is a conspiracy to induct bachurei yeshiva into the IDF with the nefarious goal of Chardakization. They point to Nachal Haredi boys as the proof (even though the “bumminess” of those boys, that they claim exists, is a product of the Haredi establishment’s unwillingness to deal with those who don’t fit into their mass-production of kollel Rabbis approach to education.)

There are some who point to their negative experiences with Hiloni anti-Haredi-ism that they experienced trying to do business in Tel Aviv. Now, I cannot justify the outrageous bias that some of my friends have experienced as Haredim, trying to do business with completely secular Israelis. But I can demand from them I higher standard with trying to understand where this hatred is coming from.

Just because a Haredi knows and believes, be’emuna sheleima, that his limud Torah has shielded IDF hayalim from harm, does not mean that a secular Israeli feels that way. He sees it as if this person is of a group that sits in the safety of its batei midrashot, all day and night, while his/her ___________ (you fill in the blank with son, daughter, brother, sister, father, mother, uncle, aunt, great-uncle, great-aunt, grandfather, grandmother, grandson, granddaughter) died ensuring that this Haredi could conscientiously object from doing so himself/herself.

The hatred towards Haredim dissipates when the Haredi, instead of playing the elitist and condescending genuine Jew, who nebich, has to deal with these lowly Hilonim, in order to make a parnassa, instead shows them some genuine ahavas Yisrael and compassion for what they’ve gone through and for their feelings.

As a bochur, on a return home from yeshiva, I once spoke in a shul on the topic of Hashem’s love for us. An Auschwitz survivor (at the time not more than an acquaintance of mine) did not take too kindly to such a topic. “Where was G-d when my parents and siblings were gassed and put in the ovens?!” he yelled from the back of the shul.

Someone promptly escorted him out the back door of the sanctuary. After maariv, he met me in the hall and it looked like I was going to get my head bitten off again. I promptly walked over to him and gave him a big hug and told him (in his ear) how badly I felt that my talk had brought up such bitter feelings and I could not even imagine how much he missed his family.

He broke down in tears and we shmuezed the whole walk home. We never resolved (I would never attempt to!) where G-d’s love for his family was in Auschwitz, but he became a close friend who would often rave to my parents about what a mensch their son was.

During the Shabbos riots in the good old days, when Kikar Shabbat earned its name, the Jerusalem police used to mercilessly beat Haredim at, and in the wake of the protests. There was even one case in which a policeman beat a Haredi to death. At that time, a good percentage of the JPF was comprised of Yaldei Teheran who had been completely secularized by the secular Zionists. (For some background on who these war orphans were click here).

The Brisker Rav, Rav Yitzchak Ze’ev Soloveitchik was aksed by a talmid how it was possible that the Yaldei Teheran could beat fellow Jews like the Nazis and other antisemites had done. He answered that with every strike they are screaming “Why didn’t you help me? Why didn’t you do more to introduce me to a life of Torah?”

My point is not whether Hiloni sentiments towards Haredim is justified. Emotionally healthy people know that a major key to successful relationships is validating the other person’s feelings, regardless of the rationale and logic which dictates otherwise. A person does not give up anything by validating the feelings of another. If anything, it results in reciprocation from the other party to the relationship.

I strongly believe that Torah is magin and has saved countless IDF lives; however, not the Torah of people who do not have enough room in their hearts to have compassion and understanding for the feelings of the countless secular Israelis who feel that they have been taken advantage of by a group of selfish and arrogant parasites (that’s the way they feel–right or wrong) for far too long.

It is high time that the Haredim start treating the Hilonim like their long lost brothers, tinokos shenishbu bein ha’akum, and treat them with love and compassion, drawing them back to eisan haTorah with divrei Shalom. The Haredim have no right to lower themselves to the level of hate rhetoric that has existed for far too long from the secular side of the divide. The fact that the Haredim have been oseik baTorah all this time means that they have given up the right to resort to hate rhetoric. It should be beneath them, regardless of how they’ve been treated on trips to Tel Aviv.

Our brothers are hurting, and as the people in Klal Yisrael, who claim to bear the only legitimate and unadulterated mesoras HaTorah beRuach Yisrael Sava, these cartoons, and the tolerance of such rhetoric by the Haredi establishment is inexcusable. Something tells me that Zeidy Yisrael would not approve of such tactics, given what happened between Yosef HaTzaddik and his brothers.

*Not his real name

Visit Emes Ve-Emunah .

About the Author: Harry Maryles runs the blog "Emes Ve-Emunah" which focuses on current events and issues that effect the Jewish world in general and Orthodoxy in particular. It discuses Hashkafa and news events of the day - from a Centrist perspctive and a philosphy of Torah U'Mada. He can be reached at hmaryles@yahoo.com.


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One Response to “Dissenting View from Haredi Insider”

  1. Rena Gold says:

    what truth! yes, only by achieving ahavas chinam – both towards those in other 'camps' as we ll as towards those of our own who don't fit into the mold – can we hope to obliterate sinas chinam. I love his open-eyed view of modern-day 'chareidism' [ie the "“bumminess” of those boys...is a product of the Haredi establishment’s unwillingness to deal with those who don’t fit into their mass-production of kollel Rabbis approach to education" - yes!!!]

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