Jun 17, 2015

a theoretical haredi in a mixed swimming pool

theoretically, and only theoretically, if a haredi [political/community] leader was caught on camera in a mixed swimming pool in Eilat, what should happen?

Theoretically, and I won't entertain guesses or anything of the like because it is only theoretical, if this were to happen, could this leader/askan/politician continue to function in his role as a representative of the haredi community?

In this theoretical scenario, I am told that this fellow was there because he had meetings coordinated with a working vacation, and was supposedly, theoretically, careful to avoid looking at the women in the pool and the area, though I doubt it was theoretically possible to avoid seeing any.

In this theoretical scenario, what would your reaction be?

On the one hand, perhaps we should applaud the lightening of the approach of Haredi leaders. We get upset when they walk out, or support walking out on female singers, when they support, or don't discourage, gender segregation on buses and in communities and leadership positions, and the like. Should we not be happy when we see something like that that indicates perhaps a reversal?

Or, on the other hand, should we look at it as hypocrisy? Perhaps such a person, a theoretical person, is not worthy of being a Haredi leader and representative? Even if he theoretically was careful to avoid, as much as possible, looking at the women who were theoretically present, perhaps the maris ayin of it kills his leadership abilities and worthiness?

Of course, this being a theoretical scenario means I am just interested in the debate, not determining or affecting someone's fate.

So, what do you think, considering this theoretical scenario?

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  1. Seems like a no brainer - "hanged, drawn and quartered". Why would you even suggest we 'applaud' this 'lightening'? Isn't it plainly wrong to go to a mixed bathing event? Leaders need to be definitely held to a higher standard, and it's one thing if the leader was in the vicinity on business (like passing through a casino to get to the front desk) or sticking around for pleasure.
    Could I add a twist? Let's say w/r to Oren Hazan's case. If the haredi leader had done something like this in the past, going to a mixed bathing area (not managing a hotel and casino...) before taking office, would it be tolerated?

  2. What about the famous Disco Rabbi? He hung out in some pretty seedy places and look how much good he did.

    1. yeah, but he stayed dressed and didn't go shake it with them.

  3. Let's be honest. Keitz Hayamim will be full of erev rav and erev zeir. H' knows the good from the bad ones.

  4. The truth is, that, as with many similar type matters, the question is not the action but the follow up. David HaMelech did far worse, yet he reacted with humility and contrition when confronted with his sin. In fact, the Gemara says that it is specifically a contrite sinner who is more fit to lead, as they can better relate to the people. So, in this "theoretical" case, if the party involved would say that he had a moment of weakness and fell short of his standards, I would hope that all would understand that we all on occasion fall short of our standards, especially in sexual matters, and would be forgiving. This is one of the three sins that the Gemara says all transgress every day. If, by contrast, their is denial and obfuscation, that is a different story entirely.


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