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Friday, December 08, 2006

To the Seekers Among Us

Nothing is coincidence, though we can't always explain why.

The following, coincidence, however, I think I can explain. I need to post the clarification in red below, and I am.

A Rabbi in kiruv hitched a ride with me recently, and I had the Agudah blogosium CD playing in the car.

He mentioned that he had a person who he was working on drawing closer to yiddishkeit, until this individual discovered the Orthodox blogs ( I presume the expose' ones) and decided that it's no better here than anywhere else.

Let me inform this individual or anyone else looking into our world from the outside.

All Orthodox bloggers are firmly committed to normative orthodoxy. The question of whether a small percentage, probably far less than 1%, of Rabbis or Orthodox Jews did or did not commit wrongs does not push any blogger, or his children or his/her readers from our community, away from Sabbath Observance and adherence to halacha.

This is because the selfsame bloggers who criticize also know that it's far better here than elsewhere.

Bloggers are highly idealistic individuals volunteering their time to air issues, teach, learn and discuss. They are bothered by possible perceived issues around the edges of our community, not by the central themes of Judaism. The statistics bear out that our community is far above the norm in marital fidelity, honesty, and self fulfillment. Our children are more idealistic and serious than their peers outside. But even one problem is a problem we must confront in the view of bloggers. These possible issues do not, however, reflect on a community head and shoulders above all others in every important measure.

Yes, we have much work to do, and we discuss it. But there is also much work we do not have to do.

Please, for your own sake, don't miss the forest for the trees.

19 Comments:

Blogger TheProf said...

The problem is that most of those currently on the outside of the frum communities, although possibly closing in and even ostensibly BT, only see the trees. They are very put off by lapses in what they perceive as pure Judaism. I have a stock answer to thosew ho confront me by saying, look at that guy, he's a thief, the Torah says No Stealing. How can I be frum if that guy's a thief? My answer, albeit simplistic, just because that guy's a thief, doesn't mean I should stop putting on tefilin or being shomer shabbos. Anothe confrontational question, have you never had any questions concerning Judaism/ And my answer, sure I have, many, evyr since I was quite young. But my answer to myself has always been, you have a question because you're ignorant. Learn and you'll find an answer. And reality has been that I have found answers, to almost any question I have ever had. And the ones without answers yet, still my response, hey guy, you're still ignorant, go learn some more. There's an old kiruv saying, those with questions won't listen to answers. OK so it's a generalistic concept but to a great extent it's true. All that said, I still disagree with Leapa as to the value of the "Orthodox Kosher" blogs. The degree of harm that these blogs generate far outweighs any benefit that they allegedly may bring. At the beginning of this blog series, I agreed with the initial idea that the internet brings more benefit than harm and that any harm can be mitigated through education. I still have that stand. But blogs are something else. Too many people can be insiduously influenced and quite negatively by many of the "airing of grievances" that occur. Many of these are either falsehoods, professed to be true by individuals who are out to get someone or rationalize their own moving away from yiddishkeit; or episodes that are far from the communal norm but again are being used as rationalizations. Already weak individuals are often influenced by these blogs. Rabbi Zweibel's blogosium was directed against these blogs but as a necessary precaution, the syog that must be made to protect our social fabric, the gedolim realize that all blogging activity should be assured. If that can save a significant percentage of people from falling off, then it's worth losing whatever positive benefits may be lost by losing "kosher" blogs. And to those who know me, you know I am far from xenophobic.

11:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What you refer to as "trees" is the attacks on Rabbinical figures, Askanim, and other Yidden. The "forest" represents the pure and holy Klal Yisroel.
Bottom line is, that these attacks are defined by the Chofetz Chaim (and by our Halacha) as pure 100% LOSHON HARAH - period.
I can't envision anything good coming out of a transgression of our Torah.
So until blogs talk pure issues, not people and communal misdeeds - they are BAD for the Jews

12:11 PM  
Blogger Leapa said...

Anon - I'm careful not to the defend attacks.

I'm only making sure they are viewed in context.

1:28 PM  
Blogger Frummer????? said...

It’s a shame, but would the alternative have been better? Would it have been preferable to leave the abuser in place, with an end result of driving not one, but many, many souls away from yiddishkeit. And that is what would have happened. For many abused youngsters end up turning away from yiddishkeit when they grow older. It is a hard and cold fact.

Sure, one soul now remains lost, but many, many more will now stay connected.

6:05 PM  
Blogger Frummer????? said...

And one more point.

The orthodox blogs all point to one thing in particular, and that is a lack of proper hashkafa about life in general.

It is a subject which is sorely missing from our education curriculum.

I forget what the particular subject or question was, but a few weeks back my son’s Rebbe explained one of the stories in the parsha according to a chassidishe Torah while completely ignoring the basic pshat as given by Rashi - which was a fundamental understanding in how Hashem provides for us. It was an opportunity missed, and sadly, that is the way they teach. No basics, all frumkeit and chassidishkeit.

And those who should be giving the appropriate guidance, often don’t know where their flock are because they are so disconnected from real life. I've seen it for myself. Rabbonim, who should know better, having no idea what makes the youngsters of today tick.

6:29 PM  
Anonymous deerson said...

frummer:

the ends never justify the means.

7:07 PM  
Blogger Frummer????? said...

"the ends never justify the means."

In this case, they certainly do.

If you have a choice between saving one person from drowning or an entire busload - and you can only do one and not the other, which should you choose? Which would you choose. The answer is obvious. Even if it means that the one person will certainly die.

8:01 AM  
Anonymous deerson said...

frummer
sorry you are not allowed to play G-d. and by the way your analogy stinks. the bus scenario is happening before your eyes with the ability to prevent an immediate consequence. you are making a psak halacha based on a future possibility even if you are privy to prophecy that doesn't factor in to the halacha.

12:40 PM  
Blogger Frummer????? said...

From the chronology it is clear that certain persons knew that there were cases of abuse occuring time and time again.

Kids were at certain risk of being drowned under a tide of shmutz. The mudlide had to be stopped before more innocent youngsters had their lives completly ruined by the abuser.

4:17 PM  
Anonymous deerson said...

vigilante actions in a society based on law whether that be religious or civil cannot be condoned. obviously the certain peeple who knew about the abuse were the wrong peeople it is hard to believe no one in the frum community Rabbonim or lawyers did not have the ability to put this abuser out of commission. as a last alternative with the proper halachic sanctions the police should have been put into the loop to stop the abuse.
plastering the abuser name over the blog is a vile and crude technique besides being unsanctioned Loshon Harah. The whole affair speaks volumes on the lack of smarts and sensitivity of the blogger

8:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Deerson:

This may be a classic case of kanoyim poygin bo.

Even Rav Solomon alludes to cases which have 'slipped through our fingers'. While this may not be carte blanche for criticism of Talmidei Chachamim, it is still necessary to yell "fire!" when danger threatens!

Do you know that victims have died of AIDS?

8:24 PM  
Blogger Frummer????? said...

"The whole affair speaks volumes on the lack of smarts and sensitivity of the blogger"

Now there's a statement I do agree with! ;-)

7:28 AM  
Blogger TheProf said...

Deerson speaks of vigilante actions. The scenario of response by a mossad hatorah to allegations of abuse can hardly be considered vigilante actions. If the hanhalo makes proper inquiries, including a pointed review of the alleged abuser, and a review by a bais din of roshei yeshiva, mechanchim, and rabbonim, that hardly can be considered vigilante actions. The problem is that the cases which "slipped through our fingers" were truly swept under the carpet because of a misguided concern for the alleged abuser and his family. Chazal tell us that lo k'midas bosor v'dom midas hakodosh boruch hu. Hashem can do tzodki yachdov, bais din shel bosor v'dom can only be concerned with the halacha issues that confront them. If an abuser is found to be guilty after an exhaustive investigation, that person must be ostracized. And though the bus analogy may have logical flaws, it does ring with some veracity. And at the end of the day, whether we like it or not, daas torah MUST be held kodesh kodshim. The torah clearly states, and chazal clearly interpret it, afilu omer lecho al yemin she'hu semol. Even if you clearly see that the gedolim asher bizman hazeh are saying on yemin that it is semol, we must accept it. Al achas kamo v'kamo when they truly say al yemin she'hu yemin. Our generation h as a serious problem in that the yeshiva system to a great extent has developed baalei batim real talmidei chachomim, who are now bonim gidalti v'romamti ve'heim poshim bi. They are questioning and often invalidating their manhigim, in the process spitting into the well from which they drank. And the blog system is a guilty abetter. Again I say, careful, you're skating on thin ice.

9:26 AM  
Blogger Frummer????? said...

The blogs are nothing more than the safety valve of the pressure cooker bleeding off some of the built up pressure.

Today's world of internet access, where any idiot can run their own publishing house, cannot be stopped or pushed back into history. It is here and it's here to stay.

If the concerns of the generation are not being addressed, countered or explained by those in authority, people will revert to the net to vent their frustrations, and yes, they will probably influence other too around to their way of thinking.

The genie is out of the bottle and can no longer be put back. Now our leaders have to face up to it, and answer our questions head on.

Yes, it is the age of chutzpah.

10:58 AM  
Anonymous deerson said...

prof

was the posting of the blog that named the abuser was by an individual without sanction or was it under the direction of Rabbanim?

7:50 PM  
Blogger TheProf said...

Deerson, I don't know who posted anything. I don't read any blogs besides this one. I'm assuming based on the fact that rabbonim assur blogging that it was not sanctioned by anyone. Not that bloggers generally care what rabbonim say (Yes I know what I just said). There are halachic parameters to the concept of "the ends justify the means". Like driving a hatzolah car on shabbos to help a sick person. And almost always you'll see caveats in likut seforim or articles that state please askra qualified rabbi and don't paskin from this article. You can't just go off on your own and decide that something is allowed when their exists so much controversy around that subject. It's not like deciding that a milchig spoon dipped into chicken soup is kosher or treif because after all, I have smicha and I remember the halacho.

9:14 AM  
Anonymous deerson said...

prof

it seems you missed my point totally my reference to the viligante action was of the blogger not the handling of the abuser by mossad haTorah.

7:57 PM  
Blogger TheProf said...

Deerson it seems that you can't read. I clearly state that the vigilante action is by outiders, including bloggers, and that it should only be handled by a mossad hatorah and rabbonim. Handling a situation of an alleged child abuser is dinei nefoshos and should not be handled in any way by "daas baal habayis" and defintely not by the caliber of the stamm blogger.

9:20 AM  
Blogger Crankshaft said...

The Jews certainly take their Sabbath seriously.

Sometimes, the extent to which they do alarms others. :)

12:07 AM  

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