Harry Maryles

Time to Remove the Evil from Our Midst

Comment 1: How would anyone feel if one of their’s became a turncoat and joined the other side? During a time of war or shmad, when the enemies of the Torah are trying to force you to join them you must resist.


Comment 2: I am a jewish charedi yeshivish woman and all I can say is that I’m absolutely disgusted. If you don’t want to join the army then get a petur and don’t join how dare you call someone a nazi for being in the army. Where are these chuldrens mothers and fathers. I hope they are very ashamed of the chilul Hashem they made. There children have no middos at all. Have you ever taught your children who nazis are???? If you wanna call an boy in the idf and nazi then you should not live in Israel and be protected by them day and night. In fact they should be receiving so much respect from all of yisroel.

These 2 comments were made in reference to a YWN video showing yet another disgusting display of human behavior by extremists in the Charedi world. They represent the polarization taking place within the Charedi world itself.

The video shows a Charedi soldier walking through a neighborhood in Ramat Bet Shemesh B and being treated like a Nazi. Ramat Bet Shemesh B is populated by what can only be called extremist Charedim. And their extremist behavior is not getting any better.

Most extremist Charedim are Jews that live in virtual isolation from the rest of civilization. To the extent that they have any contact at all with the outside world is to the extent that they need them. For example if they need a doctor, they will see one. (They cannot produce their own doctors.) But they will never have any social interaction with them. For fear of being influenced by their values.

This community has absolutely no clue how to interact socially with anyone outside of their world. They consider non Jews to automatically be Jew haters. They consider the Israeli government and their police force to be the equivalent of Nazis. They consider non religious Jews to be hopelessly anti Charedi. And even other religious Jews don’t fare much better in their eyes – if they are in the slightest way Zionistic.

They therefore have no problem committing what most people would consider a public Chilul HaShem. Like spitting on reporters covering public demonstrations. Or calling a little girl a whore if she does not dress by their extremist standards of modesty. And many other types of such behavior

These people are a world apart. They are Porshim Min HaTzibur – separating themselves from the rest of world Jewry or even the rest of religious Jewry. Increasingly the moderate Charedi world is beginning to see them that way too. Which I believe to be the vast majority of Charedim.

It used to be the case that these people were looked at with a certain degree of admiration by the Charedi moderates. I believe that is no longer the case. After so many events like this, moderate Charedim are beginning to see them for who they really are. Although there are still some Charedim that support what they did. Or at least understand and have sympathy for them – as the first comment above shows.

The fruit of such extremes produces behavior that is so bad that in my view it makes their piety worthless. I have seen them this way for some time. And now the moderate Charedi world seems to be coming around to the same view. That is reflected by the reaction of the second comment above to what they witnessed in that video.

The truth is that I pity these extremists. In my view they are in the category of Tinokos SheNishba. When a Jewish child is captured by non Jewish thugs and raised by them – they are not aware of the Torah and Halacha. They therefore cannot be blamed if they are not religious. These extremists were raised the same way in terms of how to interact with the rest of the world. It’s not their fault.

Nonetheless as R’ Chaim Soloveichik said to someone who tried to judge favorably – an Apikores (heretic) that was raised that way:  Nebech an Apikores is still an Apikores’. You can feel sorry for them.  But it dosen’t change who they are.  They are a group of Jews that believe they are the epitome of a Torah Jew when in fact they are the exact opposite of that. They are better role models for the Taliban than they are for Jews. Nebech.

Most people know that I am not a fan of the extreme religious left. I have strongly criticized some of their innovations and believe they have crossed some theological lines. When Agudah Moetzes leader, Rabbi Yaakov Perlow spoke out harshly against them at an Agudah convention a while back, I supported him and agreed with what he said. I took my lumps from a lot of my friends on the left. But I have yet to hear that kind of condemnation of the extreme right from the Charedi religious leaders. If there is any at all, it is usually accompanied with apologetics… and words like ‘Yes, they were wrong but you have to understand where they are coming from’.

I don’t understand how they can only see the extreme left in such harsh terms and yet never the extreme right.  They should be every bit as determined to expel the extreme right as they are the extreme left! Not only that but when it suits their purposed they cater to their every Chumra so that they will join together in a project. Like that internet gathering a few years ago. They wanted that type of Chasid to join them in order to be united of purpose. So they gave in to their every demand. Which ended up with an event that condemned Internet use well beyond what they intended. Something they had to fix with subsequent smaller meetings.

If the extreme left has gone off the reservation to the point of expulsion, so too has the extreme right. It is more than time to speak in the same harsh terms about them.

There may be little that anyone can do about changing the behavior of these extremists. But there is one thing we can do. And that is to excise them from Orthodoxy once and for all – and have nothing to do with them! Their behavior is as un-Jewish as the extreme left. It’s time to call a spade a spade and to stop looking at their externals as though that was the Ikkar (primary expression of Judaism). It is at best the Tafel (of secondary importance). Once that happens religious Jews can hopefully once again be seen as role models for the rest of the world instead of being seen like primitive savages.

About the Author
My worldview is based on the philosophy of my teacher, Rabbi Aaron Soloveichik , and the writings of Rabbis Joseph B. Soloveitcihk , Norman Lamm, and Dr. Eliezer Berkovits from whom I developed an appreciation for philosophy. I attended Telshe Yeshiva and the Hebrew Theological College where I was ordained. I also attended Roosevelt University where I received my degree in Psychology.