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Oct 23, 2007

only time for narishkeit

You have probably read about the story of 5 Hareidi men beating up a woman the other day on Egged bus #497 from Bet Shemesh to Bnei Brak. She sat down in the front of the bus, they requested she move to the back of the bus. She refused. A soldier sat down next to her thinking it would deter them from making trouble. They did not care but proceeded to beat her and the soldier and disappeared before the police arrived.

If you missed it on the news sites, you could not have missed it on the blogs. Many of the various jblogs have written about it.

I delayed writing about it because the only details I knew were the ones mentioned above which came from the various media outlets.

I wanted to get more details. I posted on various neighborhood and social forums and asked around.

Nobody responded with any more information than that which was printed in the media.

This kind of stuff happens because the Rabbonim and askanim are busy making life difficult for the simple people. They are busy finding things to ban and posting signs about using only kosher cellphones, no computers and internet, no higher education, no army, no reading this book or that book, no this or that. All the narishkeit in the world has to be banned with signs declaring the protection of the sanctity of the community and speaking in the name of God.

But when incidents like this happen there is only deafening silence. Not a word from the Rabbonim banning such behavior or such beasts. Not a sign on the wall that this is not the way of our camp.

No - our camp does not use unapproved cellphones or eat from hetter mechira. We do not surf the internet or go to concerts that have men and women present even with separate seating. We only beat women who do not acquiesce to our selfish requests. How holy we are.

There is only time and energy for narishkeit.

The Navi says many times in the times of the Kings of Israel that anarchy reigned as "people did what was right in their eyes". There was no authority. The top brass was busy with narishkeit.

That leads to incidents like this. The top brass are busy with narishkeit and not with leading the people properly and providing what the people need.


  1. I just wrote a whole post in response/in your honor. But OOPs I called you ETAN G. Sorry, it's late. I will post a correcting comment.


  2. "Simply a maginificent post!"

    -Dalet Amot

  3. My wife got on the 418 bus by accident on Sunday (I'm not sure how that's possible, since it's a "Mehadrin" bus i'm sure it was glowing from holiness). Even though there were only 5 people on the bus, and even though she didn't realize it was a Mehadrin bus, and even though she was carrying our son, and even though she was exhausted because no one helped her get on the bus - a man insisted she go to the back...and even yelled at her "zeh mehadrin!" after she didn't want to. She assures me she could have taken him. :-)


  4. I've heard people refer to RBS Bet as "Poland", not to be confused with "Lithuania" (a.k.a. the Kirya Haredit), but I don't think Jews, no matter what their garb, behaved like this in the shtetl. I think this neighborhood is best called "RamatBetShemeshtan".

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  7. I rode the 418 on sunday and was also asked to go to the back. I wasn't feeling well either but I follow the rules no matter what. I also looked at all the chassidic men and wondered. ... but you know what, this is privately owned bus and they can make their own rules.

    The 497 was mehadrin and the woman was wrong for not respecting it. That said. The violence is inexcusable and must be dealt with.

  8. The 418 is not a private bus, but rather an Egged bus. It has been in the past viewed as both positive and negative by those wanting a "mehadrin" way to travel.

    There are also no shortage of local private buses which institute their own policies regarding travel.

  9. Egged is privately owned. It is not publicly owned. The gov't has a contract with them but that doesn't restrict them from having other busses.

    If a person doesn't want to do mehadrin then don't get on that bus.
    The ppl in the area obviously want it. They don't have them in the areas that don't want them.

  10. Ok, it's true that Egged has been somewhat privatized. That said, Egged still receives quite a lot of money from the gov't, and cannot be compared to the private operators who provide "mehadrin" bus service between (R)BS and Y-M and Bene Brak (or even the bus to Beitar).

    Your comment regarding the desires of those in the area reminds me of the quip that democracy is two wolves and a sheep deciding what to have for dinner.

    In fact, comparing the number of 418 buses and riders to those on the 417, I'd say that most people (probably more than 80%) don't want "mehadrin" Egged service (although many do use the "mehadrin" private buses).

    I don't know enough to compare the 497 to the 414 or the private buses.

  11. Actually there are quite a few chareidim in RBS A and most definetely B. Don't forget the Kirya too.

    I associate myself with chareidi but I think of myself and frum but normal.

    Why can't the busses cater to the chareidim too? They are ppl too.

    also, what ever happened to V' Ahavta l'reiacha camocha? I don't think it only applies to chareidim. It would have been mentchlich for her to follow the rules even if she didn't agree.However, that doesn't mean that those thugs should have beaten her.

  12. creativemommy - whether Egged is actually public or private has nothing to do with anything. They are considered public transportation, they hold monopolies for bus service in most cities, and for all intents and purposes they are public, even if technically they are partially private.

    Not that any of that matters. This has nothing to do with Egged policy. If Egged feels it is financially beneficial to run a bus line that is mehadrin that is their right (though I understand that is being challenged in court as sexual discrimination).

    That still gives nobody any right to be the self appointed enforcer of the rules and to beat people up. Maybe the woman was sick or pregnant or tired and for whatever reason could not go to the back? Maybe she was being provocative.

    I do not know and it does not matter. Nothing that she could have done justifies what they did.

    The 418 is mehadrin as far as I understand. The 47 (where it happened) I do not know about. One areticle I read said it is and ne said it is not. Maybe certain buses on the route are and others are not. I do not know as I do not take that bus.

    But again, it does not matter, nothing she did or did not do was deserving of that response.

    If they were upset they could go to Egged management and complain that the driver is not enforcing the rules. The driver would be reprimanded and eventually transferred to a different line or fired or whatever. Nobody had the right to be the enforcer and nobody can justify how they chose to enforce it.

    A few months ago there was a verbal spat in the halls of the Knesset between a Haredi MK and an officer in the Finance Ministry over budgeting certain Haredi institutions. The officer was adamant that the issue under debate did not qualify for the funding and the Haredi MK was insistent that they deserve the budgeting.

    Things turned nasty and the Haredi MK screamed at the officer that he is worse than the Nazis. The officer in turn slapped the MK.

    What the MK said and provovked was much worse than what this woman did, no matter how provocative she was trying to be.

    The officer was relieved of his duties and is being brought to trial for his assault on the

    Will these thugs be brought to trial for their assault on this woman?

  13. I hope those thugs go to trial b/c the violence is totally inexcusable.

    However, I don't see the harm in having some busses mehadrin and some not. Why does there have to be a law suit. Why can't ppl respect other Jews?
    If indeed these busses are semi public, I deserve to have a say in the bus system too. I pay enough arnona for that.

  14. the lawsuit came recently, as a result of some of the recent incidents where thugs beat women up on various bus lines (some mehadrin some not). Until now people have been generally accepting of it. Now there is a growing movement to do it in because of the way they treat other people, and often they are doing it on non-mehadrin lines as a way of making it unofficially mehadrin.

    Again, I agree with you that Egged should/could have mehadrin lines and it should not bother anybody. When incidents like these occur though, people get upset and try to get revenge in whatever ways they can. If someone felt they could take it to court and shove it down their throats after what they did, I would call it the haredi community shot themselves in the foot (if the courts declare it illegal).

    There is no hiddur mitzva to beat people up in order to sit seperate.

  15. I agree with you,but is it fair to punish a whole group for some wackos.

    I mean , my father was threatened in good old brooklyn by the YI that we went to for wanting to sell our house to African Americans. They threatened to break his bones if we did. We did and my father was no longer permitted to go to shul. That is a huge chillul Hashem.
    Just b/c some thugs act like idiots that does not mean that everybody should suffer.To me that is wrong. I for one would protest (peacefully of course) against it if Mehadrin busses were made to be illegal b/c I shouldn't have to ride those private busses and pay extra b/c of some idiots.

  16. it would be a shame if that was the result....but I doubt it will happen. even if the courts declare it illegal, the Haredi parties will find a way to get it exceptioned. As a cultural thing or something...

  17. On one level I love the fact that religion and state are one in this country, but on the other hand it makes it so much more complicated.

    The hatred between the chareidi and the dati etc. is so bad that it can make you nuts. The hatred in itself is a chillul Hashem.

    Whatever happened to loving every jew like yourself? I like every body as long as they treat me decent. If they don't I try to think that they have a good reason. Not always successful at thinking this way but I try.

  18. By the way, I think that the reason why rabanim aren't outspoken is b/c they might not necessarily know about it. Some chareidim don't even read the chadash that comes free to your door.

    I am slightly leaning this way only b/c the news is upseting , as you can see from this story.

  19. haha! even if they did read the chadash they would not know. this past weeks chadash had an article about the mehadrin buses (most of it was that there are not enough or good enough service). It began with the recent incident that happened. It described in great detail how she provoked it by not being considerate of their request, etc. It did not mention even once what they did to her. Whenever it had to mention what they did it said "and what happened happened".

    Not once did they condemn the thugs.

    To me that means the general community supports that behavior.

  20. I wonder if the chadash is afraid of what would happen to them if they publicly denounced the violence.

    although, it did not seem to me like they were saying that they were condoning the violence. I think that it said that they don't know how it turned out the way it did and that the newspapers just love stories like this one.

    IMHO, I think that the soldier that sat next to the lady should have nailed the thugs with his gun and quickly taken the lady off before she got hurt. i am sure that the soldier knew self defense.

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