Mar 17, 2010

Religious violence

I find it mildly amusing, and very sad, how religion is turned to as a form of violence. A local religious newspaper is fighting against a new religious newspaper that is attempting to start distribution in the city.

It happens to be that the new newspaper, in my opinion, has a far more professional appearance and is written better, and the competition can only help the established paper get better, but that is besides the point. Instead of the old paper improving, and instead of them going to beis din to claim hasogas gvul and the like, they resort to violence; some physical and some religious.

They have resorted to physical violence to actually disrupt the distribution of the newspaper on Friday. The opponents claim the paper has no hetter from a rav, actually no hetter from the rav they want it to have a hetter from, and therefore allowed themselves to physically stop the paper guy from distributing his papers, and even took his bundle and lit it on fire.

Besides that, now they have distributed a four page pashkevil in the mailboxes full of old quotes and letters from rabbonim saying the "shvuons" (weekly papers) are prohibited and the source of all eveil (the shvuons were the source of all evil before the Internet came to be). Of course, their shvuon is allowed, just no other shvuons.

Of course, in light of recent events, such as a certain letter signed by certain gedolim supportng a certain person, and asking for money on his behalf, who is in jail for violent acts against children, one has to question whether these quotes should be listened to.

If the rabbonim actually signed those letters of support, which I do not believe to be the case, they do not deserve to be listened to. If they were tricked into signing those letters, then it is not their opinion but the opinion of the askanim, and I have no interest in listening to them. if they never signed it, but their names were added without their knowledge, that is even worse, and who says in any other letter with their signatures we can now assume they actually signed it.

Until now, it hurt to say that gedolim were tricked into signing their name on all sorts of crazy takanos and issues. Askanim manipulate them and all that, but it hurt to say it. After the Elior Chen letter, it is now clear and publicly known to all that that is exactly what happens. There is no longer any denying it - the rabbonim said openly they were tricked into signing it. Rav Elyashiv even said he never signed and his signature was added without his knowledge.

So now, when a poster goes up against a yeshiva someone doesn't like, we can easily ignore it, without even a guilty conscience, because the gedolim don't really sign these things or know what they are signing. When the put out pashkevilim against something signed by the gedolim, we don't have to be concerned because the gedolim don't really sign these things, or know what they are signing if they did.

And at the end of the day, it is all religious thuggery.


  1. Hasagat g'vul is technically incorrect. You mean to say yored l'chayav.

  2. ok. I am really just saying that if they have a claim, they should take it to beis din.

  3. Admit it or not this thuggery is a common theme in certain communities.

    It is thuggery that brings Rav Shteinman to RBS to give a shmooze about voting.

    It is this thuggery that encourages the tearing down of posters from organizations that we don't "like".

    It is this thuggery that allows certain community "leaders" to exclude very noble organizations from appealing in their shuls.

    It is this thuggery that influences every facet of our life from the color of our Shabbos tablecloth to where we send our children to the width of the brom on our Borsolino.

    Present time dictate that we should strive as much as possible for achdus. Yeshivos and chesed organizations are struggling. More people than ever are needy. Social ills have permeated our midst. Kids are failing both in and out of schools. Divorece is at an all time high.

    And what are the rabbonim concerned about?

    A new newspaper.

    Shame on us.

  4. Adi, or is it Adbli -

    While I agree that most of what you list is due to the wrong elements taking hold in our society, I take 100% issue with calling all of it "thuggery."

    One of the reasons our communities have so much trouble thriving is because we are no longer taught to discern subtleties. Your poor vocabulary only reinforces the sensationalism and lack of prioritization.

  5. Shira,

    I respectfully disagree. In each of the examples that I brought (perhaps the tablecloth/borsolino example is an exception) it is only thuggery.

    Having a gadol lambast us if we don't vote for a particular party/candidate is thuggery.

    Ripping down posters is thuggery.

    Using your power as a shul leader to exclude an organization that assist members of that self same shul is thuggery.

    Plain and simple.

    I am sorry that you don't approve of the word but sometimes the truth does hurt.

  6. What a chutzpah that Gedolim are used in such a despicable manner to give a free hand to whomever wishes to.

  7. more people throughout history have been raped, beaten, robbed, and murdered in the name of religion, than any other excuse.

    Thuggery is a perfect word.

    If you would prioritize the violence by these idiots instead of worrying about whether salmon has a new worm, maybe our religion would thrive correctly once again.

  8. HaRav Chayim, HaRav Chayim Solo, HaRav Chayim Soloveichik.

    Speaks Out Against The Thugs

  9. who is that dopey person who makes a fool of himself all the time ? I wish he had a name so we can get to know him.

  10. This Rav Chaim Soloveichik fan person.

    He keeps on doing it all over blogs on totally unrelated posts and it's getting really annoying.

  11. kasay,

    I can see your point. He is almost as annoying as those who defend the thuggery of other rabbonim here in Bet Shemesh.


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