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The Downside of Religious Idealism

The lifestyle of a Jew is lived far more fully in Israel than in most communities in America. Even Boro Park.
The Downside of Religious Idealism

Photo Credit: Yori Yanover, with images by Yehoshua Yosef / Miriam Alster / FLASH90

They do not value Aliyah per se. They see living in Eretz Yisroel as a plus. But they see the Medina as a necessary evil at best… that needs to be constantly pressured for support.

Working for a living is seen as a B’Dieved… to be done only as a last resort. Although many Charedim do end up working after learning in a Kollel for a number of years- leaving the Beis HaMedrash is seen as a defeat of their goals of learning full time.

If they do make ‘official’ Aliyah at some point, it is not for idealistic reasons but for practical ones – to gain whatever financial benefits the government offers to encourage it. They do not consider drafting Charedim into the military fair since they feel that the spiritual contribution of Torah learning is far more contributory to Israel’s safety than is the military. Charedim therefore see RZ/DLs support for the Medina and the draft as worshiping ‘false ideologies.’

Those from both communities who have moved to Israel are far more committed to their value systems than those who haven’t. They moved to Israel because they can be better Jews as they define it. And they are going to fight much harder for those beliefs.

I think this is the impetus for the bitterness between the two worlds. Compromise is not in their lexicon. They did not give up ‘the good life’ in America and move to Israel in order to compromise their values. They moved to Israel to strengthen them.

I suppose there are other reasons too. And I suppose that this is all a bit of an over simplification. But I do think that it is the very idealism that motivates one to live in the holy land that is at least in part responsible for the degree of enmity that results.

Just some of my thoughts on this issue.

Visit the Emes Ve-Emunah blog.

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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