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A Window into the Chareidi World

5 Sivan, 5783 - May 25, 2023 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Despite the Vicious Propaganda, Chareidim do not act Primarily for Money

by Yitzchok Roth


Since the budget was proposed, the Opposition has been expressing its opposition to the budget by attacking the chareidim. In fact the budget is just a normal Israel government budget, with those in the government getting funding for their constituencies, who voted for them at least in part for that reason.

The chareidim are being portrayed has "sucking the blood" of the rest of Israel even though there is no objective facts to support this.

It is also clear that if the chareidim had gone together with the parties that are now attacking them, they would have gotten at least as much money, and probably more. But this did not happen.

It didn't happen because the chareidi public cannot be bought with money. Not even a lot of it. Those who shell out bills at demonstrations are polluted with the old time, detested anti-Semitism which regards Jews as money grubbers, pursuers of money, but what can they do if the reality points in the opposite direction?

If the chareidi stereotype were accurate, we would find ourselves as part of the leftist government which dispenses money generously, even munificently.

The chareidi public, guided by gedolei Yisrael, operates only from idealism. The late Rosh Hayeshiva HaRav Menachem Man Shach blazed the way which we follow, together with the traditional public and its Knesset representatives so that this sector feels part of the Torah-observant public in Israel. In this manner we will be able to draw it closer to Yiddishkeit. The aspiration to illuminate the way with the light of Yiddishkeit for those distant, swelled and increased in the past and continues to do so in the present, beyond any economic consideration, even if that were to contribute to improve the budgetary balance for the Torah world. This does not jibe with local anti-Semitism but this is a factual reality.

Where are Things Going?

What will be the end? How will we deal with the mounting self-anti-Semitism?

Well, first of all, we are used to it. The Jewish people throughout the ages has suffered worse persecution and survived. The chareidi sector in the State of Israel is hardened already with anti-Semitism.

The older folk amongst us can tell the younger generation how in the early years, in the '60s, when Yossele Shuchmachker disappeared, every chareidi in the street was exposed to hate-filled cries of, "Where is Yossele?' and in the best scenario, the encounter would end without blows. The hatred of the nations against us descended upon Jewry at Har Sinai, as well as the revulsion of the boors towards a talmid chochom. We overcame Pharaoh and will survive this as well.

Here, then, are some boosting words for those who need them:

An amazing story in the name of the Chazon Ish was told by R' Mordechai Neustadt zt"l (who served as chairman of the Nidchei Yisroel Rescue Committee in America).

"In my youth, I was a melamed in a cheder in Rishon le'Zion. This was before the establishment of the Chinuch Atzmai network. The only educational systems at the time were government-secular schools and government-religious ones, both against our generations-old traditions, causing terrible damage to the sanctity and purity of Jewish children. We were continually disturbed by the thought of how to succeed in educating boys and girls in the tradition of Yisroel Sabba when the whole clout of the government and the various educational streams were set against us. They had plentiful funds and organized means to fight us.

"I, together with several askonim, went to consult the Chazon Ish who said: `There is an explicit subject discussed in Bava Basra that, 'Whoever has the might has the right' (Kol de'olim gevar.). And he said no more.

"From this we concluded that there was nothing in our power to do since we were, after all, still in exile. The State held the money and the power, and operated through violent ways to force its will and policies. Thus, we were helpless to do anything. This, at least, is what we understood from the words of the Chazon Ish, and our delegation rose to leave.

"But then he detained us and asked, `Why are you leaving? We were in the middle of the discussion.' He asked us to bring a Maseches Bava Metzia from the bookcase, opened it at the words of the Rosh at the beginning of the tractate where he explains the essence of this halocho, saying, `Our Sages ruled that might rules... and relied on this saying that whoever has the halocho on his side must bring proof, and whoever is in the right should sacrifice himself to prevent the other side from theft.' If this is what the Rosh rules," said the Chazon Ish, "then even if the other side is stronger, if one knows that he is right, he must sacrifice himself to bring it to light, for in the end, he will succeed. And therefore," he summed up his message, "since you are in the right, if you proceed with mesirus nefesh, you will succeed in the end."


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