Wel-l-l-l, it's the third day of Nissan and, although the Pesach rush makes things hectic at home, it is actually quieting things down a bit here at the Har Chotzvim office. This gives me a long overdue opportunity to write.
Now, there have been occasions over the past year that I considered to finally come out of hibernation and post something, but it just didn't happen. One of the main urges came around the issue of the Great Internet Satan and the great Kennes that took place in CitiField last summer.
One reason I didn't take it up is that to some extent I have been worshipping the Great Internet Satan myself (of course I have filters) so perhaps my perspective would wax thin. Another reason is that I really did not have much to add to the outspoken pundits who were already on record.
My overall position has always been that the Internet is just another one of many Para Adumos that we must suffer along our treacherous journey to Destiny. This was totally reflected by the banner slogan that graced the event: We can't live with it; we can't live without it. Of course, I do think it is a great Kiddush Hashem that so many frum yidden took the time and congregated to face up to the hazards of this issue. Yet, I don't think it is especially prudent for anybody in today's generation to pompously declare who does or doesn't get a share in Olam Haba. This is not salesmanship and not the way to win friends or influence people.
Another crucial event was the expose' and trial of various sexual offenders. Primarily the one from Williamsburg. Though I have not been privy to all the details of the case, I am personally of the opinion that the fellow is guilty as sin.
Because there does not seem to be any dispute that he violated the Halachos of Yichud l'mehadrin min ha'mehadrin. And when basic ABC yichud is so blatantly and wantonly violated, not only is there no chezkas kashrus to the perpetrator, but there is actually a chezkas tumah as we know from the laws of Sotah.
Still, I try to stay away from discussing the sexual issues because, more than not, they are a discussion of human behavior inside of a religious framework rather than a discussion of hashkafa. My game is hashkafa. In other words, I may preach "Being of the chareidi hashkafa is the best because we have the morality laws and only we have the halachos of Yichud to safeguard ourselves and others." Invariably, the kvetchers will point out how much of our morality laws and laws of Yichud are brazenly violated by my fellow chareidim. To which I can only respond, "It's not a problem with the rulebook, it's a problem with the players!" (That's ye olde "Don't judge Judaism by the Jews" defense.)
Of course, the hottest issue of the day is the power struggle in Eretz Yisroel and the mishugoss of "Equalize the Burden" and the resulting coalition crisis.
Now, this should not be an issue in the eyes of any Orthodox Jew because, as I wrote clearly in Chapter 6 of my book, Orthodox Jews are expected to live within the precepts of Pirkei Avos. Pirkei Avos (3:5) tells us:
רבי נחוניא בן הקנה אומר: כל המקבל עליו על תורה מעבירין ממנו על מלכות ועל דרך ארץ; וכל הפורק ממנו על תורה נותנין עליו על מלכות ועל דרך ארץ.
Those who carry the burden of Torah are relieved of the burden of government. Those who throw off the burden of Torah are exacted the burden of government.
In short, we have our burden and the secular have theirs. They don't carry ours – we don't carry theirs. Seems pretty equal to me. We have nothing to apologize for. Especially to those who are not familiar with Pirkei Avos and do not even recite Krias Shma (or even Modeh Ani) at least once a day.
Notice the word כל which means Everyone. Not 400 students and not 1800 students. It means Everyone who accepts the yoke of Torah, whether it is 600, 6000, 60,000, 600,000, or 6,000,000 .
It is sad but not surprising that even some "Orthodox" Jews do not respect the words of Pirkei Avos (as well as do not recite Krias Shma twice a day). These may include such notables as Naftali Bennet.
In any case, my observations are that the sincere Torah oriented religious Zionists (RWs) are not currently at odds with the chareidim. Ever since the disengagement they learned that the post-Zionist establishment is not their ally. What comes out is that this army issue is really a religious/secular (believer vs. non-believer) issue rather than a chareidi/NCOJ (beliver/believer) issue. My work is to deal with the latter.
With this, to express my feelings about the army issue, I refer you to my dear friend and colleague, Rabbi Moshe Averick, who has taken up the believer/non-believer cause and has written a poignant and well researched essay that speaks for all of us. (Click HERE for the essay – just don't forget to come back!)
So, if I didn't come out of retirement to discuss the Internet, sexual deviance, or Israeli politics, what did bring me out of the deep freeze?
It is an issue that is very near and dear to my heart and to those of many others --- the Shidduch crisis!
As I knew it would, it hasn't gotten any better. There is no reason for it to have.
Unfortunately, I have already used up almost all of my window of time for this winded introduction, aside from the fact that this post is already as long as a post should be. Thus, I will sign off from this post and bare my thoughts in the next post which I hope should come out before Rosh HaShanna, bli neder.
In the meantime, Chodesh Nissan is here. It's time for a real geula.