Charedim and Dov Lipman

By Harry MarylesTo Unify a Nation

One of the biggest assets of the Charedi community in Israel is someone that hails from a Modern Orthodox background in the United States. He is a Talmud Chacham with a fine secular education. But he has bought entirely into the Charedi mindset in Israel. I consider him a friend. And I think he would say the same about me.  But one would not know that by one angry comment (among many) he made recently on my blog (in response to my own comment to him). He calls himself Dan (not his real name). I post it here in its entirety:

I’m absolutely horrified that Orthodox people don’t give a hoot about the undermining of religious issues in Israel as defined NOT by Charedim, but by ANY Orthodox Rabbi. Laws by Yesh Atid had to be blocked time and again by Bayit Yehudi because Rabbis such as *Rav Druckman* said they are anti-Torah.

Lipman has had plenty of chances to explain his views, and I don’t care what Lipman considers himself. Supporting a law that allows non-Jews to adopt Jews (and that IS part of the law, for all those falsely claiming I misrepresented; it goes BOTH ways) is supporting Shmad. Period.

He is horrified?  Well, I too am horrified. I am horrified that his children (and virtually all other Charedi children) will never receive the education he did. That they will not be prepared for the outside world in the slightest. That they will be sociologically forced to sit and learn Torah for as long as possible without the slightest bit of preparation for the work force during that time.

I am horrified that the skills their own father learned in the US which affords him the opportunity for a decent job will not be available to his children for a lack of learning them. I am horrified that his children (and all other Charedi children) are being told that their first choice in life must be to abandon working for a living since there is so much Torah to learn. They therefore need every available moment of study to be geared towards that.

I am horrified that even children that are not as much suited for Torah study as they might be for some other field are being told to ignore that and continue studying Torah for as long as possible.

I am horrified that the Charedi paradigm of working wives  has supplanted the clear mandate from the Torah that requires a man to support himself.

I am horrified that his community has abandoned the Halachic dictate to teach their child how to make a living because if they don’t they will end up as thieves.

I am horrified that the entire Charedi world is increasingly becoming impoverished.

I am horrified that the Charedi community feels entitled to be supported by a secular government without any reciprocal service other than full time Torah study. And disappointed that the Charedi community contributes the least financially to the economy – instead taking money out of an entitlement (i.e. various welfare programs). And then complains that it isn’t enough because other segments have their own entitlements which grant them more. (Two wrongs don’t make a right).

I am horrified that the vast majority of parents in the Charedi world must purchase a home for their children in order for them to get married, and that with so many children and so little income – that is increasingly becoming an impossibility.

I am horrified that there are now Two Torahs: One for Israel and one for everywhere else. This is demonstrated by the fact that the educational paradigm of Charedi Yeshivos in the US (and in some cases even in pre Holocaust Europe – e.g. Telshe) value(d) secular studies and include(d) them in their high school curricula, while in Israel it is considered anti Torah and even Shmad to do.

I am horrified that as a Charedi he feels that every single male Charedi Jew should stay in Yeshivos and thereby avoid serving in the army. I am horrified that they rely on secular or Religious Zionist Jews to fight and possibly die for them while they remain fully exempt from that possibility.

I am horrified that Charedim see the army as a terrible place for religious Jews to be because in that environment they can be disabused of their observance – when in fact there are programs specifically designed for Charedim and contain only observant recruits.

In my view, his horror pales in comparison to my horror. He is horrified that I support a Charedi member of the Kenesset, Rabbi Dov Lipman,  who has tried to remedy these situations. Why does he ignore that and focus only on his accusation that Rabbi Lipman supported legislation that is against the Torah? Especially since his accusations are being made publicly instead of directing them to Rabbi Lipman himself, and giving him the opportunity to explain himself. Saying he has had plenty of time to to do that means nothing in the face accusations made in public, and not directly to him.

In my view these accusations obfuscate his real objections. Which are his opposition to the very remedies Rabbi Lipman has proposed and set into legislation. If he were to be honest he would explain those real objections instead of finding extraneous ones for purposes of smearing him. Why do the things that horrify me, not horrify him?

If he were to answer that his Gedolim have spoken and are equally as angry and condemning of Rabbi Lipman as he is, I would understand that. Because that is in essence what being Charedi is all about: Listening to the Gedolim. But not once did he mention that. Why? Because he knows that will not get any traction here.  I do not define Lo Sasur the way Charedim do.

One more thing. There is the fact that (as he pointed out) even Religious Zionist Dati Leumi Rabbis have disagreed with Rabbi Lipman’s support of the law drafting Charedim. But that is only partially true. The fact is that they do value army service. They are only opposed to the sanction of prison time for Charedim that resist. They see it as arresting people for learning Torah. I understand why they might see it that way. But I part company with them for one reason. If the draft is going to be fair, then sanctions for resisting it have to be the same. Either you arrest all draft dodgers or you arrest none of them. It is as simple as that.

So there you have it. He is horrified and so am I – for different reasons. I leave it to the reader. Which is the greater horror?

This post originally appeared on Emes Ve-Emunah.


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