web analytics
September 1, 2015 / 17 Elul, 5775
At a Glance
Blogs
Sponsored Post


Soothing the Savage Breast

In a million years I would have never dreamed that people who look and dress the same way and very likely share the same religious values could be so radically different.
Singing Chasidic duo from Jerusalem, Aryeh and Gil Gat.

Singing Chasidic duo from Jerusalem, Aryeh and Gil Gat.

Late 17th century English poet and playwright William Congreve coined a phrase that in my view has never been truer: Music has charms to soothe the savage breast.

In the video below, one will see two Chasidic brothers from Jerusalem, Aryeh and Gil Gat, singing the Simon and Garfunkel classic ‘The Sound of Silence’. It was on an Israeli television show featuring new talent called ‘Rising Star’ which I assume is the Israeli version of ‘America’s Got Talent’.



As I watched this video I thought of similarly dressed people who can indeed be characterized as savage. Unfortunately there are far too many of them in places like Meah Shearim and Ramat Bet Shemesh B. In one of the more memorable videos – people who looked like this can be seen chanting and shouting disgusting insults at an 8 year old girl on her way to a Religious Zionist school.

I thought to myself, ‘What a contrast!’ In a million years I would have never dreamed that people who look and dress the same way and very likely share the same religious values could be so radically different.

Now I don’t know if these two singers have another side that would motivate them to yell at little 8 year old girls on other occasions. But my heart tells me that they would never do anything like that.

I will admit that these two singing Chasidim are not typical at all. Not only does their community not sing Simon and Garfunkel, they probably never heard of them… And if they did – many of them would probably condemn them as secular Jews with secular values and not worthy of our attention.

But not all of them. In my view neither these two gentlemen nor the extremists who constantly cause a Chilul HaShem are typical of this community. Most of them fall between these two extremes. That said I believe there is a lot more tolerance for the extremists whose values they support if not their actions – than there is for two singers who sing secular songs on TV. At the same time I can’t help thinking that if the reverse was true, it would curtail the kind of Chilul HaShem one sees so often.

It is interesting to read some of the comments at the site of that YouTube video. Of those I read the reviews were very positive – some of them even moving. And most of the reviewers did not have Jewish sounding names. It is also interesting to note that they got a standing ovation from at least one of the judges – who was obviously secular because of the way she dressed.

Which to me once again shows that there are no inherent prejudices against Chasidim or anyone else because of the way they look. The only time they are judged unfavorably is when they do things like emotionally abuse an 8 year old girl or similarly disgusting acts.

Music is a very difficult phenomenon to explain. It can calm one down or incite hyper-activity. It can raise emotions of joy and emotions of sorrow. It can sooth and it can irritate. I happen to love music of virtually all genres. Some more than others… but all. I especially love the kind of ballads sung by these two gentlemen. Whether it’s Carlebach, Fried, Shwecky, McCartney, John, or Joel… when I hear one of their ballads, I tend to stop what I’m doing for a few moments and just listen. It is soothing.

If only the savage breasts of Meah Shearim would allow themselves to be soothed that way. Who knows where that would lead.

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.

The author's opinion does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Jewish Press.

If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Soothing the Savage Breast”

Comments are closed.

Binyamin and Chaya Maryles, uncle and aunt of Emes Ve-Emunah author Harry Maryles.
Current Top Story
Why would a Jew want to join the ISIS?
Good Jewish Boy from Israel Tries to Join the ISIS
Latest Blogs Stories
Palestinians attack an Israeli soldier during clashes between Israeli security forces and Palestinian protesters, Aug28, 2015, in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh near Ramallah.

Despite many IDF soldiers jailed for defending themselves, families say,”Rather jailed than dead.”

Someone should alert this man: Dani Dayan, Chairman of the Judea, Samaria and Gaza Council.

Why won’t the gov’t finally annex YESHA & Jordan Valley formalizing their status in State of Israel?

Jewish Press Blogger, Selena Chait

Both “Half-Shabbat” & R’ Yosef’s opinion champion an extreme. There most certainly is a happy medium

Trump

Trump’s slogan and story gives American restores hope to dream to: “Make America Great Again”

Is GDP outdated an measure of prosperity? Are there any alternative methods of assessing $ growth?

In their attack on Ban Ki Moon, Hamas admitted to committing a different war crime.

The ideal of Modern Orthodoxy should be not be viewed as a compromise the way most Charedim view it.

Israel shouldn’t rely on US; It has an awful record in protecting allies.

The Halacha of shmirat einayim (guarding one’s eyes) is incumbent on the MAN; it’s his obligation

Dem. presidential candidate Doug Shreffler talks about his campaign & its motto “as good as it gets”

I’ve decided to move away from my safety net-and I wouldn’t change that decision for anything.

Was “Jerusalem” the song Matisyahu planned to perform? It was the PERFECT response to BDS campaign

If the world’s winds of hatred bring Jews to Israel we are ready, joyfully offering them a home here

At what age should the realization start setting in for kids that we live in an uncertain society?

Spain’s SeaWorld canceled Zionist-spy dolphin’s performance unless it supports a Palestinian state

More Articles from Harry Maryles
Rabbi Norman Lamm of Yeshiva University

The ideal of Modern Orthodoxy should be not be viewed as a compromise the way most Charedim view it.

haredim-no-women-allowed-sign

The Halacha of shmirat einayim (guarding one’s eyes) is incumbent on the MAN; it’s his obligation

Calling the Jewish Press‘closest thing to a frum English-language weekly’ insults the publication

Professor Cohen’s quotes statistics proving Reform & Conservative Judaism are in free fall.

Most that struggle abandon observance altogether. Why did these 3 remain observant?

Esav Sonei L’Yaakov: Is this how we should think of all non Jews?

Surprisingly, many Hareidi communities do not advocate full time Kollel study for life as the ideal.

The phenomenon pushing limits of Orthodoxy to the extreme left has no chance of becoming mainstream

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/haemtza/soothing-the-savage-breast/2013/10/17/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: