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Why I Am Not Charedi

I am also not Ultra-Orthodox, Religious Zionist, Dati-Leumi, Chardal [meaning either mustard or Charedi-Leumi (Nationalist Ultra Orthodox)], Yeshivish, Yeshivish Machmir, Yeshivish Modern, Modern Orthodox, Centrist Orthodox, Right Wing, Left Wing [although in my hockey days I did prefer playing left wing], Post Modern, Pre-Historic Caveman, Chasidic, Litvish, Chavakuk [popular in Israel, meaning Chabad - R' Nachman - Rav Kook. I think. Or maybe Carlebach is in there somewhere.] Brisker [although I drink Lipton], Chazon Ish-nik, Merkaz-nik, Religious Intellectual [although on rare occasions I enjoy using the intellect that Hashem in His great kindness gave me] etc. etc. etc.

I believe that we are much too fragmented. And all of these groupings just exacerbate the problem. There is so much anomosity between the various groups and even within each group. And even where animosity isn't present there is often apathy. THEY are strange, or fanatic or sinners etc. etc. Example: How much affinity do a Satmar Chossid and a Modern Orthodox lawyer feel for each other when they are placed next to each other on an El-Al flight. The Modern Jew is dreading the long flight because he knows that Chassidim smell. [I once got into an argument with a very intelligent young man who insisted that Chassidim smell. My argument that they go to mikva daily and that thay shower beforehand was to no avail. I tried arguing that I spend a lot of time in close proximity to Chassidim and I never noticed. He replied that I am so used to the smell that I don't notice anymore. I wanted to ask him if he subscribes to "der shturmer" the Nazi propaganda newspaper. Bauch Hashem I held my tongue.] The Chossid might be thinking "Oy, I have to sit next to a modernishe Yid for the whole flight". An exaggeration [I hope] but my point is clear. Or at best they are not really interested in the person sitting beside them and pay them no heed.

But I have news. WE ARE ALL BROTHERS [AND SISTERS] !!!! I have a halachic obligation to love this person AS MUCH AS I LOVE MYSELF. WHOA!!! [For the precise halachic ramifications I refer you to the shiur in the Halacha section on V'ahavta L'reyacha Kamocha"]

All of these "labels" seperate us. Purim is coming up. On Purim we learn in so many ways that we are all one. Mishloach Manos, Matanos Lévyonim, eating and drinking together ["gdola legimah shemikareves es halevavos"], Esther insisted on GATHERING TOGETHER ALL OF THE JEWS, for the decree was to kill ALL of the Jews etc. etc. [See the Machshava Sefarim on Purim where this idea is developed.]

And maybe, just maybe that is what Chazal are alluding to when they say that one should drink until they don't know the difference between Haman is cursed and Mordechai is blessed. Between those Jews with whom we identify who are akin to Mordechai in our eyes and those Jews from whom we feel estranged who are akin to Haman in our eyes. On Purim they are all the same.

Important note. There are certainly exceptions to this rule. There are some Jews who love and care about all other Jews but I think that there is definitely room for improvement. Therefore I will start with myself and to that end I will merely define myself as a "Jew". This way I can feel love for and identify with every other person in this category even if they dress and think differently than I. I hope that you will join me. [It also increases your opportunity for a good shidduch if your are searching for one!]

There is another reason that I am not Charedi. But that is for a future post bézras Hashem.

Love and True Brotherhood

Elchanan ben Henna Miriam

P.S. Please go to www.freethesoldiers.org and see what you can do for our soldiers.

Rav Kook, in a letter published in Israel just before Rosh HaShannah, 1933, wrote in part, as follows, in a call for teshuvah:
"It seems to us that we are split in to two camps. It is commonplace for us to banter about with two names that compose our community (kahal) in its entirety; and they are "chareidim (those who 'tremble' before God)" and "chofshim (those who are 'free' of God)". These are new names that until now were never regularly expressed by us at all. We knew that people were not equal in their levels, in particular with regard to their spiritual content, which is the foundation of life, but that there should be a delimiting name designated for this that describes groups and parties, from this we did not know. And, it seems to me that with regard to this we can certainly say that the early days were better than these, and if only we could forget, completely, these two names."

when i had the holy zechut of learning with you in preparation for taharat hamishpacha, you introduced the popular "Men are from Mars..." book to me and suggested i read it before getting married.

i'll always remember that the author, john GRAY is just your hashkafa. not black, not white, just gray. thanks for the post.

Thank you R' Ari for the source.Rav Kook truly exemplified a person who tried to rise above narrowness. His followers once encouraged him to become a Chassidic Rebbe but he refused explaining that he is dedicated to the klal and if he became a Rebbe that would limit him to one group. [Related by Rav Moshe Tzvi Neriah]

Yashar Koach R' Shlomo!!!

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About me

  • I'm Rabbi Ally Ehrman
  • From Old City Jerusalem, Israel
  • I am a Rebbe in Yeshivat Netiv Aryeh.
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