Monday, May 31, 2010
So who decides?
(demonstration scheduled for today)
If you happen to see the Yiddish newspapers in your local grocery or newsstand then you may think that you're living in an alternate universe. That is if English is your choice language and you consider yourself a mainstream frum Jew. While the Yated and Hamodia may discuss general news or news that affects you locally, the Yiddish papers are busy with demonstrations and protests in Israel. [That and weddings and shidduchim in Rebbishe Hoyfen.] To them this is THE issue of the day, even if only 5-10 people are doing the demonstrating. Which goes to show us how we all live in our little world. Again; I'm not discussing whether or not it's important, just how we all see things.] If you ask Mr. Wercberger from Wilson Street what he thinks are the issues of the day that should concern a frum Jew chances are he'll tell you about gravediggers and demonstrations. He may thrown in some Satmar politics for good measure, if there are any, but that's about it. Which shows us how we're all so preoccupied with ourselves. Of course Mr. Yeshivish reads all about the latest riveting Lakewood happenings, such as car accidents, Hachnosas Sefer Torahs, and the latest hachtoroh in Lakewood's newest neighborhood, but he won't necessarily think that his little event is what makes the world go 'round. Mr. Wercberger will, and he'll wonder how dare you don't think like he does.
The Yiddish paper tells you that the Yahadus HaCharedis is out there in force demonstrating. You look around. You consider yourself a charedi Jew, and so does the Belzer next to you doing his grocery shopping and looking at the newspapers with you. He too scratches his head and wonders what he missed here. How was it that he wasn't informed about what people like him are doing! At first he thinks that maybe it was on the agenda for next week, but then he sees how it already happened, with hundreds or thousands or hundreds of thousands - depending on the writer's mood - attending! After some thought you realize that nisht dir meint men... The only Jews that are considered Charedim - that tremble at the sound of G-d and his commandments are those that demonstrate against grave digging. That may be the case - but it sure doesn't make you feel very welcome, now does it? It also doesn't make you want to take time off from work and join your Charedi brothers, now does it? Which brings us to the topic of this thread: who decides what makes you Charedi and what isn't enough? Can I decide that the most important issue in my life is kiruv or checking fish for worms and that it's THOSE issues that make me and keep me Charedi, or do I need to follow either the Agudah or Satmar? Food for thought. But in truth we're all like that - more or less. We may not judge your frumkeit by the color of your socks or the shape of your hat, but we sure would like it if you did what we all do. It's just that they have this way of writing that makes us very, very uncomfortable. Other than that it's all the same.