The Single Greatest Problem?

Jewish Atheist has decided that he has pinpointed the greatest problem in Orthodox Jewish communities,

It’s because the communities engage in social shunning of anybody who doesn’t fit in…Orthodox Jews have gotten so terrified of exposing their children to anyone who they deem a bad role model that they just kick out everybody who’s not perfect (by their standards.) And they do it to kids, too. In many right-wing communities, if you talk to girls on a Saturday night, you might as well be a crack dealer. They’ll treat you the same way.

This is the biggest problem?  I can probably think of at least 5 more important problems that need to be dealt with.  But since it has been brought up, I will address it.

First of all, I don’t see lot of shunning that you speak of.  It is far from a rampant problem in the Orthodox community because usually when the parents find out they just cover it up because they are so embarrassed.

Second of all, the shunning and sheltering of their children are two totally issues.  Yes while parents do shelter their kids in order to protect them, its not because they feel they will be shunned, but because they don’t want their kids doing it!

Third of all, lets say that the fact that people leaving Orthodoxy is a major problem and it is based on the fact that they are sheltering their kids, what is JA’s solution?

Let them have beliefs that aren’t 100% Orthodox.

Excuse me? So its not the things that we are protecting them from that are wrong, rather it is us for being mad when the kids misbehave?  So kids in certain communities who have a tendency to do drugs or join gangs they kill people…we should let them do a little bit of it?  Its fine if they aren’t 100% law observant!

Show the kids that there are alternatives in life.

Introduce them to drugs! Show them the awesome effects that crack and violence can have on a community.

I do agree that we cannot shun people who act differently, we cannot take the drastic actions that JA calls for.  In fact, the whole kiruv movement, and really the Torah in general, teaches us that our goal isn’t to shun these people but rather to teach them the right way to act.  Sunning someone doesn’t get them to stop doing it, it merely blocks them access to the people who can convince them to change their lives.

However, to change our lives and permit some actions that are wrong or to even allow for the possiblity that its ok not to keep halacha is not ok.  We cannot compromise our beliefs merely because society disagrees with us.  It is at times like these that we must be extra viligent to protect the Torah way of life.


The Blind Leading the Frum

There are many people out there who hate the frum more than anything in the world. While most of the reasons that they have for this hatred for fellow Jews is baseless and are merely excuses, they have a point once in a while.

Abandoning Eden is a blog I read quite often.  While she has decided to no longer be religious she harbors no ill-will towards those who do, with the exception of people, like her parents, who seek to ruin her life or control her life through religion. The main focus nowadays in the preparation and reactions to her upcoming marriage to a non-Jew.

Her most recent post, which I have no doubt happened for those of you who question such things, shines a very bright light on a problem with the religious community.  It relates the conversation that she had with her brother, who is living in Israel.

And what did this Rabbi say that was so important my little brother called me for the first time ever, from a different country?

The Rabbi said that one of three things will happen with me and B [her fiance] . Either B will fully convert to Judaism, or we will break up, or B will die within a year.

Yes, a rabbi told her that.  Let us get a few things straight

1) G-d doesn’t work directly that way.  Nowadays it isn’t “do this or you will die.” Anyone who is worth their weight in gold when it comes to Judaism knows that most of the reward and punishment is in the world to come

2) The rabbi has never met nor spoken to this girl, and forbade the brother from speaking to her.  Yet he has such a crystal clear vision that he can see this coming?

3) (and most importantly) THERE IS NO MORE NEVUAH (PROPHECY).  We learn from our sages that there haven’t been prophecy for thousands of years! So, where did this “vision” come from?  A dream? Direct communications with G-d?  Because if its the later, I would seek professional help and warn the current Prime Minister of Israel before he makes a land for peace deal because another wacko is on the loose.   If its the former, a have a lot of crazy dreams that look like they are predicting the future but thankfully I didn’t wake up in high school during finals in my underwear today.

It is people like this that give all frum people a bad name and clearly are making a chillul Hashem.  Because either he had a dream that he has decided is true and is telling the world, OR he is straight out lying to try and manipulate this poor girl.  Despite the fact that I do not agree with her decision, it is not my place to manipulate AE into doing anything even if I think it’s the right thing.

We have to stop listening, and more importantly, stop following these people.  When people look at those of us who are observant Jews we should be putting on a shining example, not threatening their loved one’s lives.

I know some of you out there will attack this post saying “But people do have ruach hakosh nowadays” and that is true.  But I dont know of an example where one got ruach hakodesh to threaten someone’s life.  Usually its a story like “dont go to work today” or something, but to tell someone not to marry the person or die? Come on.  G-d doesn’t work that may except through prophets and as I said before, there are no more prophets.  Anyone who says otherwise, hasn’t read their torah/mishna/gemara close enough and maybe you shouldn’t be relying on them anyway if not.