Jan 20, 2013

Burning books is not worse than attacking people

Something horrible happened in Ohr Yehuda last night. Some people took the books of Rav Ovadia Yosef and of his son Rav Yitzchak Yosef, and burned them in the streets of the city.

Burning books is always horrible. It is an expression of the repression of freedom and intellect.

Attacking people is still worse than burning books.

Shas has accused Amnon Yitzchak and his people of being behind the burning of the books.
(source: Kikar)

First of all, it is horrible that elections has caused such a deterioration of relations between people who previously respected each other, and that it has even brought them to violence.

Second, the statement issued by Shas about the incident got my goat. They said that this is an escalation that is unprecedented in the haredi community.... )and then went on to accuse activists from Koach l'Hashpia as being behind it).

Escalation? Meaning the burning of books, as horrible as it is, is worse than physically attacking a room full of men, women and children, as openly active Shas activists did to an Amnon Yiztchak rally last week in Bet Shemesh?

I am not defending Amnon Yitzchak (who happens to deny that the book burner was an activist connected to his party). I am not supporting him, I don't like him and I think his running a party for political office was probably a tremendous mistake that will turn around and be found to be damaging to his life's work of bringing people back to Judaism.

However, I don't know that he was responsible for this incident (that is for the police to collect evidence and make a decision, arrest, convict, etc), and even if he was, I think the attack on people was worse than the burning of some books, as holy as they might have been (though the attack on Yitzchak's rally does not justify such a response).

There is something backwards and corrupt about a society that thinks that burning books is an escalation of violence greater and above that of attacking a roomful of men, women and children.

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  1. "Burning books is always horrible. It is an expression of the repression of freedom and intellect."

    What about burning avodah zarah? Would that not be a misswah?

  2. maybe we'll get an updated shaarei tshuva out of this?(bitter laughter)
    Joel Rich

  3. Why is it that all the violent and ugly incidents that have been reported seem to involve "religious" parties? Is this just that evil left wing press inciting against the religious again, or is there a real problem of political violence that's specific to the religious community, and that really ought to make us think about why this is happening?

    1. Perhaps someone could enlighten me.

      Likud, Bayit Yehudi, Rav Amnon, etc all put up banners in my area for their parties. They had no issue putting the signs next to the other parties.

      When the UTJ put up their signs... low and behold..all of the other banners were torn down with only "Gimmel" remaining.

      This is not too different than the signs of certain organizations being torn while others remain up.

      It is "little" issues like this that reflect a broader perception that generally non-Charedim are more tolerant of others while the same can't be said in reverse.

  4. I agree with the post. But as I see the competition between Shas and Amnon Yitzchak it is about who is more holy. People hardly seem to matter to either side, nor truth or decency. But in a battle about holiness among such contenders, sacrilege is the ultimate crime.


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