May 9, 2010

The Haredi working man

A point I am noticing in the current fight, in the media that is, with the secular media claiming the Haredim are parasites and leeches (even if not always using those words) and being supported completely by the secular community, and with the haredi media responding with details of how many haredim work and how much bread and milk haredim buy to support the economy, is specifically the haredi response (I dont need to deal with the secular response, as it is not "nogeia" to me).

First of all, Moshe Grylak wrote an exceptional response on the topic in Mishpacha magazine thsi past week. It was 3 pages long, so dont expect me to translate it, but it was exceptional, to the point and well written. I had one or two points of contention with it, but his overall message was fairly strong and I think correct that the term and accusations are more sensational and clearly not true.

That being said, I find it a touch humorous that the haredi "leaders" (by that leaders I mean the politicians and journalists who set the tone in the haredi world and are its more public face even if they are not really the actual "leaders") are suddenly waving around the haredim who work as classic members of haredi society.

If they are so quick to claim working Haredim as the public face of haredi Jewry, where are they all when these families have trouble getting their kids into the good neighborhood chadorim and are only successful in doing so, if at all, after using much protexia and after going through much agmas nefesh? Where are they when the needs of these haredi working men and women are not defended nor promoted, as Moshe Gafni said publicly a number of times "our job is to protect the yeshivas. Once someone leaves the yeshiva, he can take care of himself"? Where are they when the haredi working man is discriminated against in shidduchim and in general around the community?

The are quick to use the haredi working man when it helps their needs, if just to prove that such a person exists, but to actually count the haredi working man as an equal in haredi society? That is not even close to being the reality.


  1. Rafi - you have hit the nail right on the head! A working hareidi is an "unpleasant necessity" to the hareidi world - one to be avoided at all costs!

  2. Earn money from homeMay 09, 2010 3:42 PM


    way to go! Now, maybe you can help me get my kid into (put name of charedi school here) or maybe that guy from Mishpacha magazine can?

  3. it raises the question, that I have been thinking a lot about recently, of what is haredi. Anybody who wears a black kipa? a hat and jacket? beard? if you wear it all the time or only some of the time? I dont have answers yet, and if I ever come to conclusions maybe I will write it into a post, but it looks to me like the term haredi is at times being used very selectively, to say only guys in kollel and yeshiva are haredi, and at other times very liberally saying anybody religious is haredi.

  4. could we get a link to that article by the way?

  5. What could Grylak have possibly said, apart from pointing to the fact that 37% (or so) of Charedi men( and more women) do work - which is still a joke, and that the chilonim are partly to blame? Whichever way you spin it, the Charedi world needs to change, and chnage fast. Kids need to be given a decent education, the vast majority of adults need to be in gainful employment and that's it. I'm not saying all the rhetoric is nice, but I can't say I diagree with the suggestions (e.g. not funding schools which don't teach a national curriculum as in any normal country). And I also think it's legitimate that people are getting really annoyed with the Charedi political parties, which are seen as extorting money from the budget for sectoral interests. I don't see how anyone can deny that that is the case.

  6. Eliyahoo William DwekMay 09, 2010 6:33 PM

    Any man who chooses to be a ‘rabbi’ (‘true teacher’ of Torah) or a ‘dayan’ (‘judge’), or a ‘mekubal’ (‘kabbalist’) should be doing so Voluntarily. Out of his pure love for Hashem and the Torah. And his Ahavat Yisrael.

    If he refuses to do community work voluntarily, and wants and accepts payment for everything he does, such a man should not be heading a community. He should get a job and earn a living. He can collect milk bottles or clean the windows. That is what is called ‘earning a living’.

    Torah is learned, studied and taught: out of Love. Voluntarily. But the ‘rabbis’ have turned the Torah into their ‘Profession’, from which they earn money.

    We are commanded in the Shema to:
    ‘LOVE Hashem, your G-d, WITH ALL YOUR HEART, and with all your soul and with all your might.’

    ‘VE’AHAVTA et Hashem Elokecha BECHOL LEVAVECHA uvechol nafshecha uvechol meodecha.’ (Devarim, Vaethanan, 6:4-5)

    Is the ordinary man or woman PAID to pray to Hashem, or to say some words of Torah? No. Has veshalom! But the rabbis are. These men can give ‘lovely’ shiurim that they have rehearsed. But they would not give a shiur without being paid for it.

    The true hachamim and rabbis of old, all actually worked at proper jobs and professions.

    Wake up! Even a little child could have worked this out. These salaried men can never truly stand for the Torah, because in a case of conflict between a correct course of action according to the Torah, and the rabbi or rav’s pocket – his pocket and position will always prevail.

    Pirkei Avot: (2:2)
    “Raban Gamliel beno shel Rabi Yehuda HaNassi omer: yafeh talmud Torah im derech eretz, sheyegiat shenaihem mashkachat avon. Vechol Torah she’ein imah melacha sofa betailah ve’goreret avon. Vechol haoskim im hatzibbur yiheyu imahem leShem Shamayim……”

    “Rabban Gamliel, the son of Rabi Yehuda HaNassi, said: It is good to combine Torah study with a worldly occupation, for working at them both drives sin from the mind. All Torah without an occupation will in the end fail and lead to sin. And let all who work for the community do so for the sake of Heaven………”

  7. You're charedi if you send your kids to a charedi school. Doesn't matter if you work - if you got into the charedi school it means you are charedi enough. That's how (charedi) society judges it. Think about it, it's true.

  8. Does no one else see the irony of this post right above the pashkevil post where EY demands that children not recieve a secular education?

    Yes Rafi, there are some charediim work. In fact, almost every charedi works in some fashion or other, getting paid to sit in kollel is also paid work.

    The issue is whether the charediim as a group consume far more societal resources then they put in, and for how long.

    The charediim answer 'Torah Torah Torah.'

    How can you even talk with people who will only pay their debts with collateral that you don't value?

  9. Way - the juxtaposition was intentional. In one you have them sayign education to prepare for the working world is prohibited. In the next you have them taking pride in those who work. Along with the internal point made in that post.

  10. yes, but it seems to be ignored.

    When a tel-aviv mayor says the govt should stop funding schools that don't have a core curriculum, the charedi response was, "it's impossible to define a core curriculum' and that the mayor is racist.

    Do you really think the jewish world would be so great if everyone was charedi?

    Sometimes a point can be so obvious and clear that the only argument against it is to ignore it. And that is what is happening in the discussion of charedii education and thus the charedii interaction with the world at large.


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