web analytics
July 30, 2015 / 14 Av, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Breaking The Fwd:fwd:fwd:fwd:fwd Chain

Perhaps whenever we receive or read about yet another terrible story concerning frum Jews, we should remind ourselves about how much good there is in our community.
Breaking the Fw:Fw:Fw Chain

Breaking the Fw:Fw:Fw Chain

I get the point. We all get the point. There are Jews who act inappropriately. There are Jews who look religious but who commit disgraceful acts when they think no one is looking.

There are Jews who shame us all. No one is denying that. But is it really necessary to forward to everyone we know every article in every newspaper or on every website that describes an incident in which a Jew did something wrong?

Let’s say the stories are completely true. And, for a moment, let’s even put aside the laws of lashon hora (as if that can be done). Is there something to be gained by every Orthodox Jew being aware of the shameful acts of fellow Orthodox Jews? Is there something to be gained by publicizing our own degradation?

It’s not as if we are aren’t aware that such things happen in our community.

We are charged to love every Jew. Granted, it’s not always easy to do so. But as any psychologist will tell you, it’s a matter of focus and perspective. In a cynical and sarcastic society, where we all suffer from jealousy, fantasies about everyone else having it better than we do, and all manner of inferiority complexes, we often zero in on the negative. We are quick to judge and condemn others, without seeing the whole picture.

But even when Jews have indeed acted reprehensibly, how can we love our own people if all we talk about is how they are doing things wrong, cheating, acting immorally and being lousy citizens?

If a person tells a therapist he feels lowly and worthless, the therapist will instruct him that for every negative thought he has about himself he must counter with five nice ones. The therapist may even insist he write the positives down and keep it logged in a journal for constant review.

Perhaps whenever we receive or read about yet another terrible story concerning frum Jews, we should remind ourselves about how much good there is in our community. What about those beautiful articles depicting the chesed, the heroes, the love and passion exhibited in furthering our service to Hashem? Those articles circulate, but not nearly with the same speed as the negative ones.

The level of Torah study and mitzvah observance today is beyond compare. Recently, a neighbor related that she arrived home from a tzedakah event and remarked to her husband that she was so proud to be a part of such a special people. Though she had attended many such events before, that night it struck her just how remarkable it is that they are so commonplace in our community. Virtually every night there are similar events taking place for the benefit of a myriad of organizations.

Tanna D’vei Eliyahu speaks glowingly about the intense pleasure God has, as it were, when we speak kindly of our fellow Jews. Rav Avrohom Pam, zt”l (quoted in Haggadas Mareh Kohain), dolefully noted that it is common to hear people, even people of stature, bemoaning the spiritual degeneration of our time.

Rav Pam said we must realize that God has no pleasure from such negative speech, adding that he wasn’t referring to one who rebukes or admonishes others. In such a case it is surely fitting to explain to someone (in a genial and gentle fashion) what he has done wrong. Rather, Rav Pam explained, he was referring to those who stand together “conversing about things.” While speaking, they begin to discuss people and events and they lament the spiritual erosion of our time.

If one wishes to find fault with Jews, “iz duh vos tzu g’foonin” – “there is what to find.” But if the purpose of one’s words is simply to speak negatively, he is doing a great disservice to the world.

About the Author: Rabbi Dani Staum, LMSW is the Rabbi of Kehillat New Hempstead, as well as Guidance Counselor and fifth grade Rebbe in ASHAR, and Principal at Mesivta Ohr Naftoli of New Windsor. He can be reached at stamtorah@gmail.com. Visit him on the web at www.stamtorah.info.


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.

One Response to “Breaking The Fwd:fwd:fwd:fwd:fwd Chain”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Hamas rally in Jabaliya.
Hamas Calls for Gaza ‘Uprising’ Against Palestinian Authority
Latest Indepth Stories
Talks between Iran and the P5+1 were likely to be extended beyond Obama's self-imposed deadline.

Names of the enablers of Iran’s Nuclear weapons will be added next to Hitler’s on the list of infamy

By most accounts, the one person with the political muscle to swing enough Democratic votes to override a veto is Sen. Schumer.

The next day, in a speech in New York to the Council on Foreign Relations, Mr. Kerry substantially upped the ante.

In Israel, the judiciary has established itself as superior to ALL other branches of the government.

The Fifteenth Day of the month of Av became a day of national rejoicing. The moment that had seemed hopeless became the moment of Redemption.

I think the melodies in our religious services have a haunting sound to them that just permeates your guts and gets into your soul. If you have any musical inclination, I think they inspire you to compose.

Cavalier analogies to the Holocaust are unacceptable, but Huckabee’s analogy was very appropriate.

Pollard was a Jewish-head-on-a-pike for all American Jews to see and to learn the explicit lesson.

If the Iran deal passes, Obama’s WH becomes world’s leading financier of terrorism against Americans

{Originally posted to the author’s website, FirstOne Through} Some passionate and eloquent liberals have bemoaned the state of inclusiveness among Jews today. Leon Wieseltier, editor of the New Republic penned an angry piece “J Street’s Rejection Is a Scandal” about the exclusion in 2014 of J Street from the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. […]

Magnanimity by Moshe Dayan, allowing Muslim control of the Temple Mount, led to today’s situation.

It was modeled upon a similar fund that had been set up by Sephardic Jews in Venice. But Amsterdam’s Dotar was initially more ambitious in scope.

Rav Aharon Margalit is a bestselling author – his book, As Long As I Live, has been translated into four languages – and a standing-room only lecturer. Both religious and non-religious audiences flock to hear him. What makes him so extraordinary? Rav Margalit is a Chasidic Jew who experienced incredible challenges from a very young […]

J Street is the vanguard (Jewish face)in support of Obama’s Vienna Accords Nuclear Deal with Iran

More Articles from Rabbi Dani Staum
Staum-062615

Amalek, our ultimate foe, understood that when unified, we are invincible and indestructible.

Staum-052215

Every person is presented with moments when he/she must make difficult decisions about how to proceed.

Humility is not achieved when all is well and life is peachy but rather when times are trying and challenging.

People often think that all they are missing is “just a little more” and then they can be truly happy.

To many of our brethren Chanukah has lost its meaning.

A person who truly feels that everything is a blessing from G-d will count his blessings and realize just how much he has.

Avraham became a great man during the 175 years of his life, while his predecessors became increasingly wicked, despite staggering knowledge, during their lifetimes of hundreds of years.

Often in life we become stuck – stuck in the morass of our habits and the rote of our comfort level.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/breaking-the-fwdfwdfwdfwdfwd-chain/2014/04/24/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: