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There's a joke that goes something like this.... The Left hates the Right, the Secular hate the Religious, the Ashkenazim hate the Sepharadim, and everyone hates the Haredim. Ok, that's not the real joke, the real joke is different. However, the real truth is that ....even the 'relgious' hate the 'religious'. And this is a travesty.
We, who try to be religious and serve G-d, are supposed to know better. We ourselves still harbor baseless hatred towards our own brothers. And probably the ones that get the worst bum rap are the Haredim. ( For lack of a better translation; The word 'Hared' means awe/fear and 'Haredi' is basically one who 'trembles' in awe of G-d, or the more common understanding could be ultra orthodox Jews 'usually' seen wearing the traditional garb of white shirts and black suits.)
Easily identifiable by their dress, secular, and even some religious people look at our Haredi brothers as people who do not contribue to society. They call them draft dodgers as many choose the path of learning Torah instead of serving in Israel's military. However, I know PLENTY of 'Haredi' Jews that DO serve in the army, and more and more are serving, so much so, that new units have been made to enable them to train and fight, while not placing them in a 'compromising' environment.
"But all they do is sit and study Torah!"
If not for the Haredi Jews intensely studying the Torah day and night, who would carry on the knowledge and holiness brought to the State, if not for them? SOMEONE has to learn Torah, and for those of us who feel that we can't do this intensely, or even at all for whatever reason, should be happy that there are those who do.
Others like to castigate Haredi Jews as leeches, who don't work. Tell me, if that were the case, that Haredim do not work, WHO is doing all the business in Meah Shearim, Geula, Bnei Brak, Kiryat Sefer, Beitar Elite, Ramat bet Shemesh, etc. etc. etc. ? If Haredim are not contributing to the community, WHO are the ones having the bulk of our children, our next generation? Who are the families that are purchasing the most clothes, apartments, furniture, groceries, and feeding the 'man on the street' economy?
Yep, our brothers and sisters in the Haredi community get a bum rap. This is not to say that every Haredi Jew is perfect. I believe that people try to do their best, but as in any community, there are good, bad, sick, healthy, loving, uptight, smart and -not so smart people. But this would inlcude all segments of Israel's and the world's populations. But Haredim are the ones who are picked on.
Nevermind the secular bankrupt youth today who can't wait to leave the country for the fruits of better $$$ overseas. Nevermind the drugs, sex, and money that drives most of the 'hip Westernized' ones who may even go to university, but do so to be the next generation in their family to 'make it' in the big world. Their raison d'etre is not to serve G-d, but too often to serve themsleves.
Saying this, there are MANY GOOD people who are secular, who mean well, who try to make the world a better place - in their own way. The point of this blog post is not to besmirch anyone, rather to shed some light on our brothers whom many of us 'love to hate' - our Haredi brothers and sisters. One can't 'box' the Haredim. They are individuals, with some having one perspective, others having another one, -including rabbinical leaders.
This blog below was sent to me by email (hat tip to Aviva, a Haredi neighbor of mine) and I wanted to post it, expecially as we are now in the month of Elul, before the High Holidays when we are all supposed to do some serious introspection on self improvement.
Rememeber, we were 12 tribes at one time, and all had a different asset, a different 'personality', yet ALL were important and had unique tasks to do in this world. Who are we to hate one another?
“…the frum [religious people] are the majority that use the pool. Our opinions at this point would make a big difference and this certainly creates a strong responsibility to demand that they keep it closed.
Can you guess what happened next?
“While I certainly admire and respect your sense of outrage at the opening of the pool on Shabbos, I would like to ask you to consider some points. First of all, one of the main bones of contention here in this country between the religious and the irreligious has always been Shabbos. In a country with a 6-day workweek, a major cause of hatred towards the religious Jew has been the fact that everything is closed on Shabbos: the movies, the malls, the stores, the restaurants, the beach, public transportation to the beach, etc. We have stopped them from being able to do anything on their only real day off.
These are very nice sentiments, but what did the local haredi rabbis have to say? Surely they weren’t going to identify with this “love thy neighbor” mumbo-jumbo! One million Ynet readers can’t be wrong when they think that all haredi rabbis are rabid fanatics.
“The Minhal was asking for a clarification of the position of the Rav and the kehila concerning the position that it is the obligation of the community to enforce Shmiras Shabbos [Sabbath observance] and take steps to force the minhal to close the pool on Shabbos.
The rabbi who leads the local English-speaking community and the rabbi who leads the local chassidic community, both of them renowned halachic authorities in their own right, were also consulted. They both agreed with the leading neighborhood rabbi’s statements.