May 16, 2010

Fixing the World, aka butting into everybody else's business

There was a very interesting article written the other day about an incident that had happened a couple days earlier.

The author, a woman named Noa Raz, writes that she is a member of the Conservative Movement. She davens every day, with tallis and tefillin in the privacy of her own home. She slept by her friend in beer Sheva and in the morning she davened with her tefilin. She later went out to the bus station and a haredi fellow, after staring at her, pointed at the lines on her arm and asked if they are from tefillin. After ignoring him for a bit, he finally got in her face and she no longer could and confirmed they were.

He then grabbed her arm, started kicking her, and screamed and cursed at her.

She successfully extricated herself after a few moments and ran to her bus (later she filed a report with the police).

This is the problem today with religion. We butt into everybody's business. In this case, assuming the general details are generally accurate (it is only one side of the story, and it is from a news report so I dont expect all the details to be accurate, but lets say it is generally accurate), she donned her tefillin in the privacy of her own home (her friends home actually).

The excuse given to oppose the Women of the wall does not fit the bill in this case. She was not being provocative, she wasn't just trying to show people she can get away with it, she was not trying to show up anybody.

All she was doing was davening according to her belief. That is besides the fact that even though she is not commended to don tefillin she was still doing a mitzva.

Sure, we might write it off and say this guy was just a nut job, a fruitcake, off his rocker. And maybe he was. But we are seeing more and more of this recently where religious people are butting into everybody else's business and telling them how to live their lives.

It has to stop.

Fix yourself, fix your family. Stop worrying so much about what the next guy is doing, let alone about what he is doing in private.


  1. He then grabbed her arm, started kicking her

    I don't believe it. Sorry.

  2. Amen, Rafi.
    I see all the time, money and energy going into pashkevilim, demonstrations and protests, and wonder to myself how much better the world would be if each of these minutes and shekels were devoted to increasing Torah and love in the world.
    I've been hearing advertisements on the radio for a shevuot program in Tel Aviv to make Torah available to whoever wants to learn, which is being run by Tzohar. What a shining example of how we should be reaching out and using Torah knowledge to help our fellow Jew come closer to Hashem.

  3. "Shalom alai nafshi, ki bishrirus libi eileich, l'ma'an sefos ha'ra'ava es hatze'me'a". Totally ignoring when someone else is doing something wrong is not the right way to go about it - though showing others the beauty of Yiddishkeit, rather than strong-arm tactics, are the right way to go.

  4. The action by the Haredi guy is sin'at chinam, just as when the Bet HaMikdash was destroyed.

    And people wonder why mashiach isn't here yet...

  5. A sad story, and impossible to defend....IF TRUE.

    Also sad is how much ink is used before investigating. This would not be the first (or second or third) time that totally fabricated stories were told about such things. Remember the "dirty diapers" thrown at the kotel last year?

    IF this really happened more-or-less as told, and IF the man was remotely near sane, I grieve. Even if not, though, I grieve at the massive Chilul Hashem the media will make telling and retelling it without facts.

    Yossi Ginzberg

  6. Lady-Light:

    Actually, Sinat Chinam is believing everything bad you're told about a Jew.

    Rafi, did you see this:

  7. Shraga, another way of interpreting 'sinal chinam' would be a hatred of a person's chein, or 'grace.'

    Baselessly rejecting a person's intrinsic value and reason for existence--not related to "believing everything bad you hear about him."

    I believe that is what sinal chinam really means: the ME, ME, ME mentality, egocentric and egoistic, completely devoid of "Ahavat Yisrael."


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