Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Women at the Wall and Dov Lipman: A short post, Erev Shavuos

I really have no time to write today, as I have to finish putting together material for all the various classes that I hope אי"ה to deliver during Shavuos.   (At least I have the easy job tonight; it is much easier to give a class at 3 AM then to stay awake listening to someone else...)

Nevertheless, I need to briefly comment on two items:

1) The Women of the Wall (WOW)

I first heard about the counter demonstration this past Friday Rosh Chodesh, when calling my mother שתחי' to wish her a good Shabbos.  "Did you hear about the great Kiddush Hashem at the Kotel this morning?," she asked me?  "The Rabbonim, really played this one right.  They asked tens of thousands of women and girls to come to Kotel at 6:30 AM, before the monthly 7:00 AM visit of the WOW, and to completely fill up the women's area with the people who are the ones who always daven there, not just the crocodile-tear "deeply spiritual" Anat Hoffmans, so that when the WOW come they will not be able to get anywhere close. They were instructed to not engage the WOW, not to speak with the press, just to come and daven.  It was really great!"

I was so very glad to hear this news!  Finally, something the Hareidi leadership did that I could really be proud of!

Of course, however, the inevitable happened.  The terrible reshaim who call themselves Chareidim but are in fact nothing more than idiotic evil hooligans, came and disrupted and spit, and threw chairs, and even according to some reports, rocks.  Instead of Kiddush Hashem, the world heard about, once again, a great Chillul Hashem done by "The Chareidim".

No matter that it was a small group who spoiled the Kiddush Hashem that was made by the thousands of women -- that is what the world will hear, as one can see in any number of news outlets that I do not have the time now to provide links for.

My main frustration?   WHERE IS THE VOICE OF THE CHAREIDI LEADERSHIP DENOUNCING THE HOOLIGANS AND SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT???   WHY ARE THEY NOT SPEAKING OUT FORCEFULLY AGAINST THOSE TERRIBLE MONSTERS WHO GIVE ALL OF US A BLACK EYE?

Their silence is deafening.   And unfortunately, most people will apply the Halachic principle of
שתיקה כהודאה - Silence (in a case where protest is appropriate) constitutes Agreement.

Thus it is hard not to agree with much that is being said about this incident, the article  Desecrating Judaism in the name of God being an excellent example.  At the Kotel I lost the love of my life is a particularly painful recounting of the results of the hooligans.   It makes me want to scream!!!!!!!!!

Once again, I reference what I have written written earlier, in which I argued the need for a new voice that will represent those of us who can no longer tolerate being associated with the statements, or non-statements, emanating from the Chareidi world.

Which brings me to

2) Dov Lipman

I listened to the interview that he recently had with Zev Brenner.   I see in him a very kindred spirit, and I am so glad that he is doing what he is doing.   While I am not sure if, in his shoes, I would have joined Yesh Atid, there is no question in my mind that he is trying to do what needs to be done and means well, and I am thrilled that he has the opportunity to be in such an influential place at this time.

Most of the dissatisfied Chareidi will not join Yesh Atid.   But we need to not see them as the enemy, but rather as a group that needs to be dealt with respectfully and with the view towards building bridges, not walls.  They are a large and growing movement, and it is not unlikely that Lapid will be Prime Minister before long.  The Chareidi world can either face this reality, or move deeper and deeper into irrelevance and poverty.

Not a pleasant thought.

Chag Sameach!!!!

PS Please see further commentary on this post in a separate post

4 comments:

YLO said...
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YLO said...

Please see the comment on this article posted seperately, either by clicking on the link at the top, or by going directly to http://libibamizrach.blogspot.com/2013/05/comment-and-response-regarding-women-of.html

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YLO said...
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farblunjet said...

Dear Rabbi Oppenheimer:

Many thanks for your prompt and interesting reply, which, however, leaves me even more confused than I was before. You say that the Kotel is not an orthodox synagogue and “no one group has exclusive rights to it” and also admit that halachically, “women are technically allowed to wear tallitot and tefillin, according to many sources.” These facts should certainly be completely determinative of the issue.
The primary objection to these women, you say, is their motivation, and that their behavior “offends” the hareidi women who come there to pray. Assuming your interpretation of their motivation is correct, since no one group has exclusive rights to the Kotel, their motivation, however much you disagree with it, is completely irrelevant so long as their behavior is halachically appropriate, which you admit it is. The fact that the majority of hareidi women, or even all of them, choose to be offended by their actions is again completely irrelevant. It is somewhat presumptuous, if not arrogant, to prevent others from exercising their halachically correct right to pray at the Kotel because your feelings may be hurt. If you are offended, either ignore the offensive conduct, get over it or deal with it in a mature manner, which does not include physically preventing another group of Jews from praying at the Kotel.. Perhaps engaging in an educational dialogue about religious observance and religious tolerance would be much more productive to both sides. It is without question better than the shameful conflict that the world is now gleefully watching. Chillul hashem indeed!

Jeff Bernstein ( still farblunjet)