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September 16, 2014 / 21 Elul, 5774
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Does the Very Air in Israel Make One Wise?

I don’t know what is in the air in Israel that makes some people think that they are doing the right thing by God in sticking knives into the heads of their opponents.
A Haredi man posting "pashekvilim" in Meah Shearim, in Jerusalem.

A Haredi man posting "pashekvilim" in Meah Shearim, in Jerusalem.
Photo Credit: Nati Shohat/FLASH90

The Gemarah (Bava Basra 168b) tells us that Avira D’Ara Machkim – the very air in the land (of Israel) makes one wise. Well, you could have fooled me. I don’t know what is in the air in Israel that makes some people think that they are doing the right thing by God in sticking knives into the heads of their opponents.

I can’t imagine what the rest of the world thinks when they see something like this reported in the media. Probably something along the lines of my opening sentence.

I realize that Rav Steinman is elderly. Perhaps he is unaware of the kind of thing that is going on – on his behalf. I do not know how old Rav Auerbach is but perhaps he too is unaware. Maybe he is sheltered by his close advisers about what is going on – on his behalf. I don’t know.

But it would seem to me that if they do not have power or ability to do anything about the disgusting behavior of their supporters, neither of them should be leaders of anything.

This is not to say that they are not Gedolim with tremendous Torah knowledge and life experiences to draw upon for advice. But leadership should be about more than about Teaching Torah, Psak Halacha, or giving good advice. At the very least it ought to be about influencing your own supporters enough to prevent them from doing harm to others while making a huge Chilul HaShem in the process.

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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Binyamin and Chaya Maryles, uncle and aunt of Emes Ve-Emunah author Harry Maryles.
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