Jun 20, 2010

Yossie Beilin paskens halacha, and gives some social commentary

Yossie Beilin wrote an opinion column in today's Yisrael Hayom newspaper. He was commenting on the Emannuel situation and he said that while we can afford to ignore the extreme haredimm who are way out on the fringe, we cannot ignore the normative haredim who do not accept the rule of law of the state. He was arguing the concept of deena d'malchusa deena, as if anyone would consider him an authoritative halachic opinion to make such an argument.

NOTE: Yossie Beilin, and other great secular writers and thinkers like him, are welcome to write their opinion and try to influence society according to the way they think. Please don't stoop to trying to convince frum Jews how to act using halachic arguments that you have no concept of what they mean, nor how or when they are applied. Nobody is going to give you more credence just because you quoted 3 words from the gemara.

That is neither here nor there, as far as my interest is concerned. I am more interested in understanding one off handed remark Beilin made.

Beilin was showing how different the haredim are. Beilin says after comparing to how frum jews have acted in other countries by following the laws and dictates of the states and praying for the states welfare (my translation), "As far as I am concerned, they can bless and praise anybody they want in their prayers. They can dress in the middle of the summer like Cossaks from the end of the 18th century. And they can use a clock (RG: watch?) that is different than the one other Israelis wear - did you know that?. But since they dont understand on their own that in Israel too the concept of Deena D'Malchusa Deena applies - the state come along and obligates them to act so."

Does anybody know what the heck Beilin is talking about that haredim use different watches/clocks than other Israelis? Beilin used the word "sha'on", so I don't think he simply meant a different calendar schedule like following the Hebrew date rather than the English date - he meant a watch or a clock.

Does anybody know what he is referring to? He even recognizes that most people have no idea about this, as he points out "Did you know that?" when he mentions it.

Basically he is saying the haredim are from Mars, but I really would like to know what he meant by the watch comment.


  1. The real hardcore yerushalmim in meah shearim use what they call "Shaon Eretz Yisrael" which is actually the timekeeping method used by tha Arab countries (as opposed to the European countries) prior to the time that the world time-standard organization decided on what they called Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).

  2. Possible he was referring to segments within the ANti-Zionist Eida who don't accept "Summer Time" (AKA "Daylight Saving Time") as determined by the Zionist Government.

    There used to be a clock in the old Mea Sharim Shuk (where the Shteeble is now) which was an hour slow during the Summer and proudly had a sign under it saying that "This Clock does not conform to Zionist Time".

    It is possible that Toldos Aharon and other anti-Zionist groups now change to Summer time according to the PA, not the Knesset.

  3. There are extreme anti-Zionist haredi Jews of course but they have nowhere near the influence in Israel that the radical Left does - to which Yossi Beilin belongs. The days when Jews had to bow to the likes of them is over.

  4. He may have also meant something equivalent to "they walk to the beat of a different drummer."

  5. besides for the "Summer Time" (DST) which they of course do not count, there is also a 21 minute difference beteen the local yerushalaim time (set anew every day at noon) and the GMT+2 time zone

  6. I suspected DST, because I have heard that there are a few people who dont conform to that, but it sounded like more than just DST..

    Yehudah - I dont understand what you said about the 21 minutes

  7. The world is divided into 24 time zones, where each zone is defined by the longitude line exactly 1 hour (15 degrees of a circle) east/west of Greenwich England, and 1/2 hour to the east and 1/2 hour to the left of that line is incorporated into that time zone (such that the time zone changes every hour rather than that every few miles/kilometers it moves by a few minutes).
    The GMT+2 time zone (30 deg east of greenwich)is actually through Alexandria Egypt and Jerusalem is on the longitude line 35 degrees, which is approx 21 minutes after Alexandria.
    this is in addition to the fact that the “Shaon Eretz Yisrael” is calculated daily by the noontime (which changes over the seasons) and not as the standard time which is really an average set at the spring/autumn equinox.

  8. He was most likely referring to DST. Not such a big deal, heck, there are entire states in the USA that don't follow DST like the rest of the country!


  9. I heard Ponevizh doesn't go on DST

  10. wow rafi, you must really hate beilin. Your normal response would be something like, "I don't like him and he is not using the term correctly, but how wonderful to live in a place where even left wing secular politicians quote the talmud."

    instead you seem upset that he used the term and sarcastically dismiss him. I don't know how much studying Beilin has had in his past, but his argument is not crazy or stupid.

    yes its true that harediim are known for their deep deep learning so that every letter can mean something else with a few math tricks and all of a sudden anything can be pilpulled to mean anything else: But for those of us who are less learned, or are learned and simply disagree with the haredii pilpul, we (secular jews) often think that orthodox jews pick and choose their beliefs and explanations to suit their desires. a secular jew argues, ben adam lchavero and the haredi says, you don't know what it means, it doesn't apply in this case, it only applies... A secular jew says deena dmalchusa and the haredi says, you don't know what it means and it doesn't apply.

    This is a big problem, when maxims which should be pretty straightforward are turned into the most complicated laws which can be debated and parsed until they have no real meaning.

    So yes, Beilin may not know what every mphorush says about deena dmalchusa, and he may not be aware what each rabbi in each shtetl attached over the years, but that's sort of the point isn't it?

  11. way - while I appreciate Yossie Beilin for his intellectualism and I enjoy reading his articles (the way I enjoy reading Yossie Sarid), I never agree with him. I dislike him. Beilin is an extreme leftist and is very egocentric.

    That is regardless of his comment about halacha. He should stick to what he knows and talk about the social aspects of what the incident effected, rather than the halachic aspects. if he is attempting to sway anyone with his article, it will not be by quoting halacha as nobody will treate him with any authority on the subject, regardless of how well he can quote the basic text. He should stick to what he knows and what he is good at.

  12. Rafi,

    I have not read the article, but I have read Beilin in the past so let me ask this: is Beilin quoting gemara to sway harediim?

    Or is he quoting what could be a pretty straightforward guideline from the gemara, "obey the rules of your country," to secular jews to point out the stark differences between the two communities?

    And perhaps he is also pointing out to the secular community not to be fooled by the zealousness of the harediim. He is pointing out that they can manipulate halacha and gemara and tanach to mean whatever they want it to mean (sorta like the complaint the harediim have against reform).

  13. ...and he's wrong.

    Who says that dina malchuth dina applies in Eretz Yisrael?

    Learn the sugiyah in the Bavli. It's about exempting Hachamim from certain taxes in Hutz laAretz.

    The Yerushalmi never even mentions this concept.

    Gee. I wonder why....


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