Sunday, May 29, 2011

New Square - Lessons Learnt

[Guest Post by Ari]

Last week, Shaul Spitzer allegedly attempted to murder his fellow Chareidy and Chassid, for the great sin of causing the Rebbe anguish by davening in a Shul other than the Rebbe’s. This act is definitely not something that happened in a vacuum, but rather the culmination of many years of legitimized violence against any individual deemed a threat by the thugs placed in control by the Grand Rebbe himself. The only people thinking otherwise are the non-Yiddish speaking enablers of the grand illusions of utopian shtetl life who are always willing to keep any depraved culture alive as long as they are not forced to live within its repressions.

The soul-searching by the parts of the Chareidy community who are not yet brain-dead is on, and so is the apologetics of those lacking the faculties to do so. In-fact, listening to the schmoozing going on anywhere more than two chareidim met this past week, was a dizzying experience.

For instance, most Chareidim spoken to on the subject, seem to be whining that what happened is a shandeh, and the Rebbe, his son, the Gabbai, the Beit Din, the butler, all participated in an act that’s a sin against humanity, a violation of Federal and State law, and perhaps one can even claim a transgression of the teachings of our sacred rabbis. But are they really upset at the violence that has been going on there since the founding of this holy utopia? Rather more to the point, is it even a violation of the current community rules in any Chareidy society?

Let’s imagine for a moment a different outcome to this sad story. Mr. Rottenberg has been notified in advance that they will come after his house, they have publicly harassed him in the past, and they even mentioned that his house will be worthless. He tries to take this up with the local police, but they only seem interested in protecting his harassers and don’t seem to take him seriously. He tries to sell his house, but the villagers are all informed that they are not to place any offers on the table without permission from the Grand Rebbe himself. He decides not to take this laying down and he goes out and purchases a gun, installs cctv cameras and alarms, and sits in horror waiting for his murderers. One night four in the morning, he sees some suspicious activity, and he comes out to find four masked thugs aged 17-19 with gallons of gasoline and incendiary devices in hand. Since they are trespassing illegally, he proceeds to draw his weapon and shoot them dead one by one.

Now what.

What would the people say?

Happy outcome to an otherwise sad situation?


The same people who are screaming now skver ekeldik, shandeh, who knows what, all silly and stupid comments, would say did he really have to do that? They would boldly proclaim that the Rebbe should throw out of New Square any person even remotely associated with Mr. Rottenberg.

And this Rottenberg guy? He would live out his remaining days joining the ranks of the good old Otisville prison together with our hero from Iowa, and nobody there would even look in the direction of this awful rotzeach and murderer, who all told only did what is clearly stated as permissible in Shilchan Urich and US law.


What is going on with us.

We are a totally paradox people, who don’t even realize the extent of the vast dumbness that we find ourselves in.

One comment I overheard really got me thinking. When a house of one of the Neturei Karta guys who visited Achmedinijad was burnt down no one said a pips; everybody seemed to agree that this is the way to go.

Here goes our theme; we indeed do believe that terror against individuals who don’t conform to the mainstream is justified. The only question that remains to be debated is what degree of punishment is justified by which transgression.

When Moshe Gabbai burnt down yeled and babies were thrown out from the windows – It’s different says the Satmar, it was against the Aron corporation, but skver? No.

The Bobover shvunts will say that what Ungar did is chutzpah against the Mahara”sh, there for all acts against any of his Chassidim are ok. But skver? No.

When the Machnufka Rebbe dares to organize his followers in Yerushalayim, it’s different, that’s the Kuvoid of Belz. But skver? No.

When Ungar was in power in Bobov, it was justified to go after his mechatzufim. But skver? No.

When Lefkowits tried to kill Moshe Gabbai, it was different, he was a rotzeiach. But skver? No.

And finally when we will hear that a pedophile was killed by the father of a boy who caught him in the act, what will we say? That’s a real hard one. It will really depend on who’s the father and who’s the pedophile – I’m just honest.

Some people within us will try to argue that, hey I don’t think so, I really think I’m different, I say all rebbes are a bunch of bs, nazis, and monsters.

Dumbbell, you yourself will also kill, pillage and all the nine yards for the causes you deem worthy.

It’s in our DNA. It's our very own crap. And there is nothing you can do about it!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Irrelevance of Creation

Yesterday, as I walk into Shul, a crazy friend of mine comes over giggling. Upon my inquiry what the fuss is all about, he tells me that in the wee hours of the morning, he snuck into my house and tickled my nose. And? You didn’t even feel it! And? I tickled again! And? I just had to give up! And? The giggling was over.

Besides for giving me the creeps, I would have no clue how this matters for me. For all I can gather, there are no personal items missing from the china closet, nor does this jerk have the brains to take any, or to do any other harm. He’s a totally harmless creep.

The Creation Story

We all know the about the story of creation presented in the Bible. If you read the Bible carefully, you will conclude the age of the world to be approximately 5700 years, as it appears in the Jewish calendar. However, the scientific consensus regarding the age of the world is growing stronger every passing year. This consensus holds true between multiple and diverse disciplines such as cosmology, biology, and archaeology.

Yet, for many a biblical religion, this poses an existential dilemma. And it’s all about the timeline. If you must accept the literal bible as the absolute truth, then you cannot reconcile this with the scientific view of the age of the world. As a rational human being, you are forced to choose between one of the two.

So, along comes the creative solution, first pioneered by southern Baptists more than a century ago in defense of the Biblical narrative. If God Almighty has the limitless power to do anything, then he could have just so created all that we see today in the form of a 4.2 billion year old world, complete with all the processes a real 4.2 billion year old world would have had.

Sounds cool, doesn't it? Well, not exactly. Here is a challenge to this whimsical theory. If indeed it is the case that the world was created less than six thousand years ago, but in the form of a 4.2 billion year old world, what relevance does this creation have (other than explaining an irrelevant old text)? How does this creation matter in any shape or form? Or to sharpen the question, why would the creator petty around with this creation as if… and not do so in the first instance, i.e. creating the world 4.2 billion years ago for real.

Can we surmise that He wasn't around then? After all, it was before the big bang...

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Shine Of the Shechina

מסכת שבת דף ל' ע"א
• “וילכו לאהליהם” שמצאו נשותיהן בטהרה
• "שמחים” שנהנו מזיו השכינה
• “וטובי לב” שנתעברו נשותיהן של כל אחד ואחד וילדה זכר

How exactly does "נהנו מזיו השכינה" fit into the sequence between "מצאו נשותיהן בטהרה" and "נתעברו נשותיהן"?

Well, how does this compare to: "וצדיקים יושבים ועטרותיהם בראשיהם ונהנים מזיו השכינה"...

Why were we so
naive to think this is some Islamic concept…

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Intimate Taboo

The mikveh was unexpectedly steamy, hot, and oh yes, bubbling full of hot air. The regular frummie gossipers were quivering in the rabbeinu tam’s gatches, unmistakably shaken. The most recent shocker: The Chassidic community has been collectively tortured and is under attack. One of our own, Rabbi Lebovits, was convicted this week on eight counts of unlawful sexual activity with a minor, and then some.

There were the usual guys railing against lowly pedophiles and that they deserve more prison time than Al Capone. On the other hand there were the usual Mesira hacks screaming bloody traitor against anybody who has a hand in this whole stinky affair. Then there was Moshe. He was certain that the damage to the sexually abused child is definitely over-hyped by fantasizing and dramatizing Psychologists, who love to make a big to-do about every other nothing.

How can a bit of extra touching, especially to a child who has no clue of what’s happening to him, do any substantive damage to the child’s psyche? This has got to be a good excuse for every delinquent out there. How foolish of the so-called ‘child advocates’ to perpetuate this argument? And isn’t it really brilliant to shove this farce under the rug? And he has proof too. Only crazies stand up to claim abuse…

Moshe also noted that abused children deserve some blame too. For instance, Moshe's father, a prominent aged rabbi in our community, would never allow him to go to the mikveh until after his Bar Mitzva, and even then, only once a week. I subtly proposed to him that perhaps his father had some first-hand experience as a victim…

Moshe was offended. I pursued this further. “Let’s assume your father is a victim, does this somehow diminish his stature? We’ll agree that his abuser aint a saint, but what does this say about your father?” Ironically, he claimed that I should understand that it is offensive for anyone, especially someone in our sheltered community, to have his private intimate life discussed by others.

For some odd reason, the irony was lost on him…