Friday, August 28, 2009

Surprised at the surprise


Long-haired man seating on top of treehouse-like platform playing the guitar, during the Woodstock Music & Art Fair. Location: Bethel, NY, Date taken: August 1969

I'm surprised that some of you were surprised by comments regarding the death of the good Senator Edward Kennedy z"l. Here's why: It seems like these days, what was common and normal just a few short years ago no longer is that way. I'm talking mindset here. What we think and believe. Maybe it's the blogs that changed some peoples' way of thinking. 20 years ago, definitely in the years before, Jews believed that Society should be somewhat moral, since society affects our surroundings, and we all are products of our surroundings. Azoy vi es Kristelt zich azoi Yiddelt zich, goes the old saying, and we prayed that the Kristelling would not be too harsh. We hoped that the goy would not totally lose his marbles so that our children would be able to grow like want them to. Which is what happened, unfortunately. Lots of what we see today is based on the fact that we relied on society too much. We hoped that since our surroundings are decent that we could raise a normal Jewish family here in the enlightened world. Then when society went haywire we suffered. You can say "not me," "not my group!" but that wouldn't be very truthful, if you look just a bit below the surface.


Long-haired man seating on top of treehouse-like platform playing the guitar, during the Woodstock Music & Art Fair. Location: Bethel, NY, Date taken: August 1969

So what were we supposed to do? How were we supposed to stand up to that massive influence? Funny you should ask that. One of the ways we were told was to vote for those purport to hold similar views on issues of morality. I say "purport" because one never knows. If the man says he'll vote against Gay Marriage or he'll try and negative keep influences out of our neighborhoods, or he'll vote to allow school vouchers to become a reality despite the unions, we vote for him, at least on a local level. (See? I fell into that Government handout trap...) At least that's the way it is/was in some circles. People like Rav Avigdor Miller would often tell their people that the dangers to our morals are what's most important, and that's what we need to vote to avoid. Why? very simple. We didn't look to the Government to provide for us, we did that ourselves by working hard. The Government was there for other reasons. To pay taxes, collect social security - after all, you were just collecting what you paid in, and to fight wars, maybe. So the only question was how the Government was going to decide on issues regarding values. Years ago there was no different mindset against any of the Ultra-Orthodox, at least I don't think so.


Paul Foster, wearing a top hat with wings, a multi-colored outfit, & a red & white striped jacket, walking during the Woodstock Music & Art Festival

Then something happened amongst a certain segment of our society, and it started to adapt the sentiments of some of the "underprivileged and disenfranchised elements." The Government was here to provide for us, and we were to take full advantage of it. פארוואס זאלען נאר די שווארצע און פארטיריקער קריגען? became the cry of the day. It's a malchus shel chesed, darf men oysnutzen di chesed biz vifil m'ken. We won't discuss the merits or lack thereof of taking Government assistance because that often depends on the situation, and whether or not the person feels any lack of pride by taking it on a constant basis. But we will discuss whether or not this has become the tafkid (aka role) of the Government! In some circles it has, and this all that matters, since di medinah zol farzinken verren, and voos geit mir ohn voos der sheygetz tut bay zich in tzimmer... Take that out of the equation and all you have left is: "Is he good for the Jews?" VeDal. That's why for the last decade or two you've seen a major shift in those neighborhoods, why Monroe voted Cuomo, and why Skver voted Clinton vs. Lazio, and so on. Not money for Yeshivos as much as money for my pocket. That's why guys like UD, a Commie like nobody's business, like Teddy Kennedy. Even the AI had the decency to say that they didn't always agree with him, that there were differences on social issues etc. It wasn't ALL about the "Benjamins."

There's a lot more to say. But that's why I'm surprised.

12 comments:

Hirshel Tzig - הירשל ציג said...

I wonder where the guy in the tree house is today?
hmmmm

SDR said...

The guy in the tree house did teshuva and is now the Spinka rebbe's Gabbai. BTW very true and powerful post.

Hirshel Tzig - הירשל ציג said...

low blow there, SDR.

Anonymous said...

The tree house fellow and some of the others look quite Jewish.

btw, I was rafting on the Delaware the other day and witnessed three Sqverer young men who were rafting leave a pile of garbage behind. where does this boorish behaviour stem from?

Gave A Get said...

Tzig,

When we see the leaders of our time not demonstrating this high level of morality (think Satmar, Bobov, Spinka)or upholding the values that we've survived on, what are the mere mortals supposed to do?

Not Brisk said...

For the record: I think Rabbi Miller's view regarding voting for a candidate who is interested in upkeeping the traditional form of marriage (and was a pro-lifer?) is not so much because it will affect us, but because one is being machzik the rishaim (even if some of those marchers are not Zionists)

Tzig, who is it Levin, no? Does he still have a radio show or something? (no, not JJ from the 'organization')

Anonymous said...

http://www.meaningfullife.com/oped/2009/07.17.09$Matos-MasseiCOLON_One_Small_Step.php

http://www.algemeiner.com/generic.asp?id=1358

Anonymous said...

Chances are the guy has a grandson in Lakewood..!!

Re the comment about our leaders.....our history is not good at dealing with failings in society which is why they keep repeating themselves....


Don't worry - in twenty years Artsroll will be writing books about the Skinker Rebbe as being medakdek about kashrus of money.....

The proof ? They write about the Divrei Yoel as a 'Ohev Yisrael' depite what he did to the Baal Shomrei Emunim, Spinker Rebbes family in Krula, Imrei Chaim and Kalusenburger Rebbe in Williamsburg, numerous other pre war fights which he started and of course against Reb Moshe in New York....

Gave A Get said...

@anonymous 10:12:

I think the best Artscroll book ever was "Never give up" by that great tzadik, L.P. who only stole L'Sheim Shomayim until he stole from Fanny Mae.

http://www.judaicaplace.com/art_1578194199/judaica/item.html

Anonymous said...

I know a baal tshuva who is about the right age and looks to be the treehouse guy and he claims to have been at woodstock (at least by old pictures). Then again, everybody from certain backgrounds claims to have been at woodstock. Kind of like every echte chabadsker shtams from the baal hatanya and everyone else from the besht.

Anonymous said...

anon
I am scared you are the one from the tree, since you use LSD

Anonymous said...

Not old enough, sorry.