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Morality and Chareidim

Slifkin hit it off in this latest article which was cross posted in Jpost.

It is true that the vast majority of haredim would never dream of spitting on people and cursing them. These are the actions of a fringe element that are feared and detested by the rest of the haredi world. But the mainstream haredi community is supportive of the ultimate goals, and does not see such actions as being terrible enough to justify joining with “outsiders” in order to condemn it. A letter expressing support for Banot Orot and condemnation of the extremists was signed by over a dozen national-religious and moderate haredi community rabbis in Beit Shemesh, but not one mainstream haredi rabbi signed on to it or made any similar such public declaration.

As someone who is living in a Chassidic enclave, albeit in the US, I do agree with the general presumption made by Slifkin that many if not most Chareidim (whom I know personally) see the MO community as a lesser Jew. If you ever mention this to a Chareidi, they will always fall back on safe arguments and trudge out the Satmar Ruv and other Gedolim who they would want you to believe had an unequivocal love to every Jew, regardless of their affiliation or religiosity. This is of course not the subject of the current controversy at all. The question is only what the community thinks and how they act. Not what their Rabbonim say from the pulpit, but rather what the people understand implicitly, which one would assume is the more authentic, unfiltered, and uncontrolled message.

The interesting thing though that I feel Slifkin missed, is the reasoning behind the lack of aversion by many Chareidim to violence – when not directed internally. There is no moral value within the Chareidi community that does not stem from the way they perceive Halacha, and not all Halachot are created equal. Violence is not always a problem and in the mind of many a Chareidi, although he may not be comfortable enough to do it himself, it is the right way to go. In fact, I have heard many people explain how they feel that the only reason they themselves aren’t on the forefront of the religious battles is because their own morality and musardike development is lacking, and thus they are happy that other people are doing the job for them.

So yes, Yossi Sarid does indeed have a point! Despite all apologies, the violence is still happening in the name of religion! And the only real religious problem a regular Chareidi will have with this is a tactical/strategic one, not a moral problem in of itself! However, I must point out that I do agree with some of the critique against Sarid, but not because his arguments are not valid. It would rather be nice for Sarid to acknowledge that not all Religious Jews are Chareidi and not all people who appear Chareidi are indeed so.

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