Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Response to Readers: Drawing Water from the Same Well

Just recently, an Anonymous commenter posted this comment on my original post about the autistics:


Um, I'm kinda confused. The message of these kids seems to differ from the message of your book. I don't remember the exact pages (I read the book right when it came out) but I remember you saying that being Chareidi is not related to your kippa or whether or not you wear t'cheiles. It means accepting the values listed on page 217. Now suddenly, you are promoting (and saying this was the intent of the book all along) the definiton of chareidi alluded to when you say "there's chareidi and there's chareidi" or the definition used by your bekeshe laden friend on page 218. The guys at mekaz ha'rav are chareidi according to your definition but not according to the definition of the second definition.I'm confused.

I will certainly do my best to clear up the confusion. I will try to make this as simple as I can:

The message of my book is that all Jews are obligated to live up to Vayikra 26:3 which, according to Rashi and Toras Kohanim means "keeping the mitzvos and toiling in Torah study." If we do so, things will be pretty good and we will merit the blessings of the following 10 pasukim. If we do not, we are in for a very rough ride (such as the following 33 pasukim).

The message of the autistics is that all Jews are obligated to live up to Vayikra 26:3 which, according to Rashi and Toras Kohanim means "keeping the mitzvos and toiling in Torah study." If we do so, things will be pretty good and we will merit the blessings of the following 10 pasukim. If we do not, we are in for a very rough ride (such as the following 33 pasukim).

Don't you love Copy /Paste?

Are we together on this to this point?

Now, I chose to call anybody who lives up to Vayikra 26:3 chareidi because I believe that this is what Yeshaya HaNavi had in mind.

As such, anyone who does so is chareidi no matter which Yeshiva he learns in.

Neither I nor the autistics are interested in what type of kippa one wears or whether they wear t'cheles (the page that you refer to is 67).

As much as I focus on Vayikra 26:3 there is another focus on Vayikra 19:2 which I mention briefly on page 95 but do not go into detail. Still it is every bit a part of the 1A7B credo. This is the part about Kedoshim Tihiyu which Rashi explains as "havu perushim min haarayos..." and the Ramban explains as not being a "naval b'rshus haTorah". I consider Kedoshim Tihiyu as an intrinsic part of Im Bechukosai Telechu so the same ultimatum (we keep it - good; we flout it- bad news...) applies.

The autistics seem to take an extremely hard-lined view of Kedoshim Tihiyu. Still, it is a reflection of the attitudes of chazal. Since I am trying to be as inclusive as I can with my definition, I am not actively promoting such a hard-line view. I am having enough trouble selling ameilus b'Torah so I leave it to them to push the strict Kedoshim Tihiyu. The autistics are not trying to be overly inclusive in their "One Above" list so they can get away with it.

Bottom line is: We are drawing our water from the same well.

I hope I have cleared up some of the confusion but, truth be told, I am a bit confused myself. I am not sure in what way I was "suddenly" promoting another definiton. Perhaps you can clear that up for me.

In any case, if you need more clarification - you know where to find me.

Best,

Chezkel

6 comments:

joshwaxman said...

"Neither I nor the autistics are interested in what type of kippa one wears "

from Ben Golden:
"A man who prays without a long jacket or a hat, or wearing shorts, cannot be praying true prayers because this lack of modesty proves that his mind is in other, inappropriate places."

(Contrast this with Aruch HaShulchan's position on the matter.)

see here:
http://dreamingofmoshiach.blogspot.com/2008/02/autistic-message-fear-helps-us.html

Kol Tuv,
Josh

Yaakov W said...

Hi,
I am the Ba'al HaAnonymous comment. Just got a blogging name (that was my first time posting on a blog).
Thanks for responing. This was a first as I mentioned, and a surpise that it was taken seriously.
I do not think you really answered the problem. I think it is quite clear that the autistics' understanding of the word 'chareidi' alligns the 2nd definition, the understanding in most people's minds when the word "Chareidi" is used. Although vague, you allude to it in your book, as I mentioned (although you would not acknowledge it in your back and fourth with Rabbi Slifkin) and I think you realize the chiddush of your book is using word 'Chareidi' to refer to what Yeshiyah had in mind as opposed to what the current masses have in mind. The audtistics do care what type of kippa one has on his head or whether or not he wears t'cheiles (obviously symbolizing differences in other areas of hashkafa other than ameilus b'torah).
The nafka mina are those people who the current masses would not call "Chareidi" but you would. This includes the serious "modern-orthodox" Jews and serious Dati L'umi Jews learning in Merkaz HaRav, Kerem B' Yavneh, Har Etziyon, YU etc. who accept the terms listed on page 217.
But according to the autistics, these people's hashkafos are unacceptable.
The hashkafic differences between the group of people listed above and their Chareidi (common understanding) counterparts are not a hardline vs. softline definition of Kedoshim Tihiyu. Rather, they argue on the place or validity of secular studies/endeavors ("modern-orthodox), the State of Israel ("Dati Leumi") etc.
The reason I said 'suddenly' was because the shift I saw seemed sudden to me. It may have actually been gradual and it only felt sudden to me, and for that I apologize.
But I saw a shift from your definition of Chareidi (one which I like very much, by the way)to to popular understanding (better word than definition) accepted by the autistics, and the masses. By promoting what they say about the massacre in Merkaz HaRav and the deligitimization of the Dati Leumi community as a hashkafa which is rotten b'itzumo as opposed to kosher b'itzumo but plauged with problems ("The difference between the weakness that has ensnared the Charedi community lately, and the weakness of the Dati-Leumi community is, with the Dati-Leumi, their weakness is a part of their idealism whereas with the Charedim it is just a personal weakness each individual has with his or her connection to this world... The Yiddishkeit of the so-called radical Jews or Ultra Orthodox is true Yiddishkeit.") your definition if chareidiism takes a new twist. People who before were in your definition before have now lost their standing as a one-abovenick.
To me this was very disheartening.

Yaakov

P.S. I personally have a hard time taking the autistcs seriously because haven't chareidi chareidim been killed in terrorist attacks? Was Hashem telling them that their haskafos were crum as well? If one of them viewed R' Elayashiv Sh'lita as his rav, is R' Elyashiv crum?

Yechezkel said...

To Yaakov:

>> Thanks for responing. This was a first as I mentioned, and a surpise that it was taken seriously.

Why shouldn't I take your comment seriously? It appears to have been sincerely written.

>>I do not think you really answered the problem...

I sense that there is something about what I wrote that you either do not want to accept (your privilege) or that you do not understand. In either case, all I can do is elaborate further on the same points that I made in my blog response and I don't think it will help.

>>The audtistics do care what type of kippa one has on his head or whether or not he wears t'cheiles

I have not seen any place where they intimate that a velvet kippa is frummer than a knitted one or that one who wears t'cheles is more kadosh than one who doesn't. That is what I was saying in page 67 of my book. If you have seen them discuss kippa and tzitzis please refer me to the page.
Nevertheless, they are very concerned about tznius to the extent that nobody (men or women) should wear flashy colorful clothes and even men should wear long jackets. This does approximate the typical chareidi garb.

>>The nafka mina... But according to the autistics, these people's hashkafos are unacceptable.

I haven't seen the autistics say this. What I have seen is that the general dati leumi and modern Orthodox hashkafos are unacceptable. The more serious elements of these groups may actually not be so "MO" or "DL" as they appear. They are chareidim trapped in a MO or DL body similar to, l'havdil, trans-sexual mishugoyim who always say they are a "man trapped in a woman's body" or vice-versa.

>>But I saw a shift from your definition of Chareidi (one which I like very much, by the way)to to popular understanding (better word than definition) accepted by the autistics, and the masses.

I think you are forgetting what I wrote in the second half of page 69 and top of page 70. Look again.

Incidentally, just as I wrote there that in many cases I will have to "shift" my definition to a more universal one for the sake of clarity – the autistics must do the same.

>>By promoting…your definition if chareidiism takes a new twist. People who before were in your definition before have now lost their standing as a one-abovenick.

This has been my position all along. I am confused as to what you thought I held about standard DL (I was brought up in the same RZ-BA environment as your father was).

>>P.S. I personally have a hard time taking the autistcs seriously because haven't chareidi chareidim been killed in terrorist attacks? Was Hashem telling them that their haskafos were crum as well? If one of them viewed R' Elayashiv Sh'lita as his rav, is R' Elyashiv crum?

I think you missed the following line from their communiqué (Chapter76):

Every tragedy that takes place has a specific reason, a root, and there is a reason that we cannot understand. We must therefore try and figure out the reason that we are able to understand.

Things happen for reasons we don't understand. What you are pointing to is not a reason for or against taking seriously the autistics any more than it is a reason for or against believing in HKBH.

As i said before, you know where to find me.

Regards,

Chezkel

joshwaxman said...

no response to me? :(

(yes, I see you worked in an interpretation in response to yaakov, by casting this as modesty, but Ben Golden also mentions a *hat.* And it is specifically in the course of tefillah. See Aruch HaShulchan where he discusses that this garb for tefillah is dependent upon the custom of the particular community.)

I think because you know some of the people personally involved, and because they bolster your own beliefs in some matters, that you are not correctly assessing just what it is that these autistics are really "saying."

KT,
josh

Anon said...

Yechezkel is not being open. He DOES think that most dati-leumi types, even those in Mercaz HaRav, are not charedi, even by his definition that charedi means "being a shtark Jew". His claim in his book about how his relative in Mercaz HaRav is charedi according to his definition was a deceptive ploy - Yechezkel does not think that this is true of most other people in Mercaz Harav.

Baruch said...

Anon, if you get a chance, please email me at yodamace@gmail.com