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July 26, 2014 / 28 Tammuz, 5774
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12 Good Reasons Why Secular Israelis Reject Haredim

Why is it so common for Haredim to pin the motives for secular hatred against them only on their critics' ignorance and anti-Semitism?
An IDF exclusively Haredi infantry unit training at a range.

An IDF exclusively Haredi infantry unit training at a range.
Photo Credit: Yaakov Naumi/Flash90

Rabbi Dovid Bloch is the official spokesman for the Nahal Haredi, the Netzah Yehuda IDF battalion, was among its founders, and is the spiritual guide (mashgiach ruchani) of its recruits. This part of his record is impeccable, as far as secular Israelis are concerned. Rabbi Bloch studied at Yeshivat Ponivez and for many years served as Rosh Yeshiva of the Midrashia in Pardes Hanah. He currently is a Ram (Rosh Metivta) in Nahora Yeshiva High School and a Rosh Kollel in Jerusalem. That makes his record impeccable for Haredim. This means that his opinion carries a great deal of weight in both camps, and that should give all of us reason to hope for a good resolution of the Equal Burden issue which has been troubling coalition talks these past three weeks.

Now, I ask the reader not to take away from the following text the position that the Haredim are the only ones to blame for the severe gap on so many levels between the two societies inside Israel. But it’s refreshing to read a respected Haredi source with a clear eyed view of the Haredi contribution to the problem.

In an article titled “Maybe the Secular Are Right?” that was published this winter in the Haredi Kikar Hashabbat, Rabbi Bloch asks: “Why is it so common for Haredi pundits and public figures to pin the motives for secular hatred against Haredim only on the formers’ bad qualities, their emptiness, anti-Semitism and the ignorant man’s hatred for the scholar? And another question we should ask ourselves is whether, in some cases, the value benefits from this conduct or another are worth the consequent heavy price of hilul Hashem (desecration of the Holy Name).

Rabbi Bloch then poses 12 questions which he encourages his Haredi readers to ponder.

1. We’ve chosen, for understandable educational reasons, to withdraw and live in exclusively Haredi cities and neighborhoods, avoiding as much as possible any social contact with the secular.

This is legitimate and understandable, but as a result they don’t really know us, amd so they naturally view us as bizarre, in our manner of dress, our behavior, and our language. This creates aversion and alienation. Why, then, we are angry at them for treating us this way?

2. We chose, for educational reasons—although some of us really believe it—to teach our children that all secular Israelis are sinners, vacuous, with no values, and corrupt.

This could possibly be a legitimate view, but, then, why are we shocked when the secular, in return, teach their own children that the Haredim are all primitive, with outdated and despicable values?

3. We have chosen, for the sake of the preservation of Torah in Israel, to prevent our sons from participating in carrying the heavy burden of security, and instead tasked them with learning Torah.

Of course we could not give that up, but why are we outraged and offended when the secular, who do not recognize nor understand this need—or rather most of them are familiar with the issue, but argue that there should be quotas—see us as immoral, and some despise us as a result?

4. We chose for our sons who do not belong, by their personal inclination or learning skills to the group of Torah scholars (Yeshiva bums and worse), to also evade enlistment—including into perfectly kosher army units. And when it comes to the individuals who have joined the Haredi Nahal, we do not praise them, but despise them instead, and we certainly show them no gratitude, while the Haredi press ignores them—in the best case.

Why, then, are we outraged when the secular don’t believe our argument, that the purpose of keeping yeshiva students from enlisting, is to maintain Torah study and not simply the Haredim’s unwillingness to bear the burden?

5. We chose to teach our children not to work for a living, and to devote all their time to Torah study. Clear enough, but, then, why are we shocked when the secular—who do not consider Torah study an all encompassing value—feel that we are an economic burden on their necks, as a mere 38% of us take part in the labor force, and they hate us for it.

6. We chose not to teach our children any labor skills, and we condemn those who do pursue a profession. As a result our kolelim include all of those who do not belong among the scholars and still prefer not to work for a living.

About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.


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61 Responses to “12 Good Reasons Why Secular Israelis Reject Haredim”

  1. Anthony Kane says:

    "pleading "guilty" to each of them" – so you'll never qualify for jury duty, but that's okay.

    "Secular Jews are evil"- this is by definition. Good and evil is defined by the Torah. Secular Jews can be nice, kind, helpful, and considerate, etc. They just can't be 'good'.

    "heretic" not my words, but I do give you that much credit. A heretic is "A person who holds controversial opinions, especially one who publicly dissents from the officially accepted dogma of the Roman Catholic Church."

    "Personally, I doubt very much if you're Haredi, or even Jewish" -so that means you are withdrawing your 13th reason.

    Okay, that's a little better, but still no substance. I would have expected more from someone who holds the coveted title of One star Top Commenter.

    You don't have to bother answering again. We've already established that you have nothing to add.

    One more thing. That name Silagi. Are you Italian?

  2. Dan Silagi says:

    It's none of your mother****ing business what my ethnicity is, Eliyahu, or whatever the **** your name really is. Capice?

    For someone who claims to be an Amherst grad, you're as stupid as you're arrogant.

  3. Dan Silagi says:

    If you have to ask whether or not I'm Italian, that proves you're not Haredi. Just about every Haredi knows "Silagi" is an anglicized version of "Szilagyi" which is a Transylvanian name. Other little giveaways: You spelled "Knesset" incorrectly. Once is understandable — it's a typo, but you misspelled it several times.

    But the main point is that if you are indeed ultra-Orthodox, you wouldn't be justifying every negative Haredi stereotype, specifically, that secular Jews are "evil," and that the only purpose of secular Israelis is to die in combat for Haredim. By doing so, you've made yourself a Haredi caricature — with one big exception, your appearance. Where's your kippe? Where are your pais and your tzitszis? And your misstatements about the Yom Kippur War are beyond laughable, especially coming from someone who claims to have lived, or who currently lives, in Israel.

    You're as Haredi as a pork chop.

  4. Dvorah Kane says:

    Dan, my condolences for your loss in '73, but have you ever considered that ONLY 2 of your relatives were killed because the haredim were studying Torah.?

    If haredim were in the Army fighting as well (instead of in the kollels, yeshivas and heders learning Torah – which is what we believe protects Israel)… all of our army may well have been slaughtered, not just a few.

    Again, I am sorry for your loss. All Jewish souls have their job to do – secular, haredi and everyone inbetween… it's all in G-d's plan.

  5. Dan, I just want to say that you rock.

  6. Orah Peer says:

    Love the article! this quote is amazing.

    In my view, this is the strongest and most introspective comment on Haredi interaction with the state I’ve read. The pundit Menachem Rahat, who mentioned Rabbi Bloch’s writing in this Shabbat’s Matzav Haruach magazine, also cites a rarely discussed ruling of Maimonides, Hayad Hachazakah, Hilchot Talomud Tora, 3:10:

    Anyone who decides to be engaged in Torah study and not work, and instead to be supported by charity – this person desecrates God’s name (Chillel et Hashem), degrades the Torah, extinguishes the light of our faith, brings evil upon himself and forfeits life in the world to come; since it is forbidden to derive benefit from the words of Torah in this world. The Rabbis said (Avot 4:5): Anyone who derives benefit from the words of Torah in this world, forfeits his life in the world to come. They further commanded and said: (Avot 4:5) Do not make the words of Torah a crown to increase your own importance, or an axe with which to chop. They further commanded, saying: (Avot 1:10) Love work and despise positions of power (Rabbanut). And: (Avot 2:2) Any Torah which is not accompanied by work will eventually be nullified and will lead to sin. Ultimately, such a person will end up stealing from others.

  7. Orah Peer says:

    In my view, this is the strongest and most introspective comment on Haredi interaction with the state I’ve read. The pundit Menachem Rahat, who mentioned Rabbi Bloch’s writing in this Shabbat’s Matzav Haruach magazine, also cites a rarely discussed ruling of Maimonides, Hayad Hachazakah, Hilchot Talomud Tora, 3:10:

    Anyone who decides to be engaged in Torah study and not work, and instead to be supported by charity – this person desecrates God’s name (Chillel et Hashem), degrades the Torah, extinguishes the light of our faith, brings evil upon himself and forfeits life in the world to come; since it is forbidden to derive benefit from the words of Torah in this world. The Rabbis said (Avot 4:5): Anyone who derives benefit from the words of Torah in this world, forfeits his life in the world to come. They further commanded and said: (Avot 4:5) Do not make the words of Torah a crown to increase your own importance, or an axe with which to chop. They further commanded, saying: (Avot 1:10) Love work and despise positions of power (Rabbanut). And: (Avot 2:2) Any Torah which is not accompanied by work will eventually be nullified and will lead to sin. Ultimately, such a person will end up stealing from others.

  8. Orah Peer says:

    tomado de este link

  9. Mina Celnik says:

    Except the people who need to read this will find a reason that it's not true…..

  10. Orah Peer says:

    many charedim starting to work now in Israel ,there is an ORG.that takes care of training,scholarships etc..they are doing it now begadol bH

  11. quiza por la tradicion de los rabinos del siglo I, los mantenia la comunidad con los diezmos …que eran los sabios del pueblo judio y el pueblo debia mantenerlos….no se..

  12. Dan Silagi says:

    Where are those rabbis of yore when we really need 'em?

  13. Orah Peer says:

    no perluchi ,los diezmos iban p/los Cohanim y los leviim…pero =desde todos los tiempos hombres trabajaban,no era la mujer la q' los mantenia….el mundo no puede subsistir si no hay gente q' estudie Torah.eso s muy claro,y asi lo dijo Rabbi bejaye.ahora no todos PUEDEN estudiar to el dia,hay gente q' simplem. esta estudiando porq' no le queda otra y por el q' diran…los valores estan tan dados vuelta q' gente q' trabaja o va al ejercito(relig.)s mal vista y son considerados como segunda clase….mientras los q' no hacen na to el dia tienen el respeto de los relig….por eso me gusto mucho ese articulo q' pone las cosas donde van.

  14. Orah Peer says:

    la mujer puede ayudar como no!pero ella NO tiene q' ser la responsable de traer pan a casa!easy as that.

  15. Orah Peer says:

    cuando te casas est a la ktuva donde el hombre se compromete a mantener a su mujer no al revez!

  16. Orah Peer says:

    esas mujeres estan tan brain washed q' se creen q' hacen una mitzva increible etc…..well depende.hay casos donde el hombre no puede vivir sin Torah y sin estudiarla to el dia ,great!p/alguien asi conseguir una mujer q' lo mantenga OK(sobre to si el podria trabajar dentro de su rango como sea Mashguiaj kashrut,Sofer,etc…).pero todos los demas q' cabalgan n esto y pierden su tiempo tomando cafe y charlando n yeshiva etc..mientras su mujer,pregnant or whatever estado lo mantiene me parece horrendo.

  17. Orah Peer says:

    por eso dije q' las cosas bH ESTAN CAMBIANDO.hay ORG. q' empiezan a entrenar a jaredim hacia el trabajo,ya hay miles trabajando y happy!!!

  18. Orah Peer says:

    eso n Israel aqui muchisimo relig. trabajan.

  19. Orah Peer says:

    Dan i didn't get ur question…

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