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Thursday, August 09, 2007

"A Post of Its Own"

I had intended merely to comment on everyone’s comments, and acknowledge your participation in this ‘forum’ about my previous post, but my comments began to e-x-p-a-n-d, to the point that I decided to make it it’s own Post. So I am now BREAKING TRADITION (sarcasm intended) and responding to everyone’s comments on "A Post of It’s Own!"

First of all, I want to say that I knew my previous post would raise some hairs. I wrote it because it was a subject which was important to me. It was a situation where I felt there was a ‘wrong’ that needed ‘righting.’ I did not intend in any way, shape or form to offend anyone, but on the other hand, although I am tolerant and accepting of the culture or customs of others, when I see them as harming others or detrimental to others’ health and welfare, I will speak up about it. That is what the title of my blog, “Tikkun Olam,” means: to help correct wrongs and repair the world.
To understand some of this, you might have to click on the ‘comments’ link for the previous post, and read what everyone wrote. I am sorry for the inconvenience.

Batya: You wrote, ‘many accidents happen ‘ben hazmanim.’ Yes, they do. And accidents happen all over, to secular and religious people as well. But have you ever asked yourself, why is there a preponderance of calamities similar in nature, which befall the ultra-Orthodox segment of society? What you said is entirely correct: “The bocherim aren’t in shape and don’t take the right food and drinks. And then the driving…”
So, that being a ‘given,’ what is the correct response to try to minimize the danger? Banning hiking? We are all adults here! Is it not childish and immature to blanketly ban hiking and driving for Yeshiva bachurs? It seems like avoidance behavior to me. Instead, analyze the problem and take steps to prevent it's recurrence in the future. That is all I am saying. Analyzing the problem might lead the Rabbeim to see that they need to incorporate life-skills courses into their curriculum, or maybe conclude that their mode of dress is not appropriate for summer months in a desert climate. As they say in the colloquialism, “you do the math!”

‘m00kie: I am sorry it sounds as if I am merely “bashing rabbis.” When have I previously “merely bashed Rabbis” for no reason? I did read the reasoning behind the Rabbis’ ban: I even have a link to it in my post. They were very explicit in explaining why they made this decision. I think it’s a poor one. Yes, they are the leaders, as you said, and we (in this case, the Yeshiva bachurs) rely on them to guide us and make the right decisions. I feel the same about their poor parents-I can’t imagine their suffering-but parents in the Haredi world often rely upon the decisions of the Rebbeim. There needs to be a time when people have to think carefully for themselves, and ask themselves, ‘are the right choices being made for my son/daughter, or are they themselves making the right choices in life.’ You imply that I need faith (emunah). I have emunah, that Hashem created us with BRAINS which we need to USE.

Anon #1: I agree. Banning is avoidance of the problem-taking the easy way out. Education is the answer!
You put it beautifully: “Banning won't teach anyone anything; it will only alienate people from a gift from Hashem.” Teach them to value and respect nature, as you said, 'you see too many people abusing nature and animals. That is so true.

Anon #2: I agree; it’s a destructive way to handle it. And thank you so much for the deep support; I really appreciate it. I am not out to “bash the Haredi community.” In fact, I want to respect them, as they are supposed to be very strong in Yir'at Shamayim ("fear of Heaven.") Unfortunately, they have, to date, given me very little to work with in order to do that…
Thank you for your most eloquent comment.

Anon #3: You compare this incident to the Exodus from Egypt. Actually, the Jews during yetzi’at Miztrayim (the exodus from Egypt) had it relatively easy: the Torah states that G-d provided food (in the form of manna) and water for them in the midbar (desert), and that also their clothing never wore out! I don’t know if that’s a good comparison, then, because He doesn’t do that anymore…WE have to-and that’s where education comes in!

Rebelwithacause: Look, on the one hand, I understand that people want to keep a long-standing tradition, such as, say, long black coats with thick white leggings. It makes you feel as if you belong to the group, and I can even understand wearing only black and white, even though I don’t do it; for some people, wearing just those colors helps them have a narrower focus, perhaps, such as on Torah study. It gives them a less-frivolous outlook on life. Which is fine. But when it begins to impact the health and safety of the people wearing them, it’s already a different story: at that point, they need to think about the origins of this mode of dress to understand it fully. It comes from an Eastern European country with extremely cold winters. How does this dress fit in, in a Middle Eastern country with a desert climate? That’s what I meant by common sense, which is just another term for “sechel!”

Nuch a Chosid: I very much appreciate your linking to my post on your blog, and I want to apologize for any unintended offense. I believe that Hashem created us as thinking beings, and in cases such as these, we need to use what G-d gave us, and think, not blindly rush into a rash decision. What the Rebbeim did seemed to me to be merely a reflexive action, without serious thought.

Ezzie: I also inserted (after I had already posted; I edited the post, and added this later) a link to an article in the Jerusalem Post in addition to the title link, which goes more in depth into this incident and the Rabbis’ responses. I hope it helps clarify the reasoning behind their decision. As I said, sanity and a moral compass is called for.

I want to repeat something I mentioned above, that these accidents happen to secular and religious alike, and here is just such an example: some time ago--a couple of years, perhaps, or even more recently, I don’t really remember--I heard of or read a news story about two secular Israelis, I think they were women, actually, who had recently completed their army service and were on a boat or canoe trip on the Amazon river (doing their de riguer “tiyul” abroad after serving 2-3 years in the IDF). They were told by the boat captain to remove their backpacks from their backs on the trip, and they refused, saying something to the effect that ‘THEY were soldiers in the Israeli army, and knew how to handle themselves, and nobody could tell THEM what to do.’ Unfortunately you all know the end of this sad story: they went through rapids or violent waters, the boats or canoes capsized, and the two Israelis--the only ones with packs on their backs, because everyone else had listened to the captain--drowned. This is tragic. This is STUPID. In this case, stupid Israeli arrogance and lack of common sense caused this to happen. I maintain to this day, “ezehu haham ha-lomed mi-kol adam:” Who is wise? He who learns from all men. That is from Pirkei Avot, Ethics of the Fathers. I never said our sages weren’t wise. Then. What about now?
I thank you all for visiting my blog and commenting. And please continue to say Tehillim and daven (pray) for Yehoshua Meshulam ben Sara Leah.

Todah, and may G-d bless all of you.

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1 comment:

rebelwithacause said...

You don't have to explain to me about your thoughts about what you said before because I understand your point of view and I feel the same about what you meant i.e climate etc.

I also feel you don't need to excuse yourself for your opinion or try to please everyone. Unless all the commentators are your good friends and you feel a special obligation towards them. Of course you are free to do what you like, I am just giving you my feedback.

p.s. You have asked me what was wrong on my blog. I have stopped communicating with certain bloggers cause they don't use the brains that Hashem gave us and all they do is jump up and down like a 6 year old child and cry, shout and slander others.

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