Sunday, May 29, 2011

Civil Wars

Jewish civil wars.
What is it? Why does it exist, and why does it it have such destructive power?
Historically there were often wars between different fractions of the Jewish nation that left blood running through the streets and valleys:
        Wars between the northern and southern kingdoms.
        Wars of Hashmonuim against corrupted by Greek ideology Misyavnim - Hellenisers, and after a while...
        Wars of decedents of Hashmonuim with Perushim, who were then defenders of everything sacred for the Jew.
        Wars between zealots of all different fractions, fighting between themselves as the enemy watched with satisfaction from the hills surrounding Yerushalaim.
We couldn’t learn to love or even respect each other with humility in our own land, and now we have to learn this lesson in long school of Golus (exile). The wars continue between different segments of our nation, but there is no more bloodshed, and no orphans and widows are made by those wars.
When some of my friends in the middle of the Satmar or Bobov civil wars were so ashamed to talk to me about it, they didn’t understand from where I coming. I am coming from a world where bloody war is still a reality. Not only between the countries, but also wars between boys and young teenagers from different neighborhoods; fights between fans of one sport team against a different group of supporters.
I am coming from the world where students described with satisfaction to impressed listeners how thick the layer of glass was from the brawl the previous weekend in the dance hall. How many bones and noses were broken, how much blood was spilled. Anyone who saw the fans of the sports teams fighting and destroying everything in their way knows that Israel is the holy nation.
In some of the Jewish quarrels, emotions are sometimes raised to the level of ‘red hot.’ Each side is convinced that the other party is devoted to the destruction of everything what “we” consider holy. But at worst, it ends with in the hands of the police, and most of the time it is altogether necessary.
There is still a long way to go before we learn to listen to our adversaries. There is still a long way to go before we answer our emotions with mussar--not for others, but for ourselves. There is still a lot of Amulek in our hearts which tells us that scuffling, shouting and screaming, humiliating, and mentally destroying our “enemy” is assuring our victory. There are still some leaders who, instead of going out with tears to protest the misbehavior of some of their followers, will tell you that this is normal; there was always machloikes in Klal Isruel.
Yes, I agree, and some of them were bloody machloikes (quarrels). Does it justify the erosion of Jewish values? Look rather for a different leader, don’t listen to someone who for his hidden ambitions causes a holy nation to sin by remaining silent when there is a need for crying and tears. Yadaim, yadaim Esav – kol, kol Yakov. The hands are for Esaw and his decedents, but Yakov and his children should solve their disagreements with their voice. Our sages teach us that this is our goal, this is what we should learn: to be different from Esav even when we quarrel. As one wise person put it, it should be by the power of argument, and not by the argument of power.
Talmidey Chachumim marabim Shulom BeOylom. Sages spread peace in the world. If someone does the opposite, he is neither a Talmid Chacham nor a follower of Talmidey Chachumim. The Jewishness of his acts or lack of action is questionable to the utmost extent.
( All of the above was writen a year ago and did not describe any particular individuals or groups. All below i wrote last week.)
This week, a person pretending to represent the holy people of Yisrael gave a powerful speech, a speech filled up with word ‘peace.’ But its essence was about ambition, domination, and war. That’s probably was how Nimrod himself convinced others that they must engage in war: to protect the peace. For those who are walking the path of war, war is always pictured as the first necessary step to peace. For these who genuinely want peace, the first step to achieve it is… peace, even if it costs a lot of camels, donkeys, and sheep.
In another area of Jewish affairs, a tragedy happened. A Yid raised his hand against another Yid in attempt to kill him and his family. To all the Haredi bashers (including those who are Haredi themselves), it was accident. It is exceptional, and anyone who sees it differently, please read this essay again from the beginning.
As long we have any trace of admiration for the followers of Amulek--including these who emerge from among us--thoughtless people will find justification for themselves to act in an Amulek-like manner..
The author of these words looks like Chasidic Jew. But more importantly, he feels himself to be a follower of the Chasidic path--albeit with ambivalent thoughts about contemporary so-called “Chasidus.” I have not gone to anyone with a kvitel. However, I asked a person whom I consider an authority on this issue to whom should I go should I decide one day that there is some spiritual gain for me in going mit a kvitel. My Rabbi told me two names. One of them was the head of the community where this tragedy happened.
As long as I don’t hear words of strong mussar or even see him visiting his adversary, I have only one name left.
Matys Weiser

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