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Are Ahavas Yisroel and Ahavas Torah compatible?

On the way to Yosemite recently I was listening to some old Mordechai Ben David stuff, one of those “gay” (sorry there’s no other word that describes it as good) English songs for frummies came on about all the suffering in the world. It was the classic “shits getting so bad, Moshiach must be here” syndrome that frummies like to bring up every time something bad afflicts the frum community. The song (Many Happy Days are coming) went on to talk about Sinas Chinam and how we shouldn’t be judging each other and that we Jews should be respecting one another even if we are different. I’m down with that message, until the next lyric says that the generation is lost and full of immorality. 

This got my mind stuck on a conundrum that Ahavas Yisroel and and Ahavas Torah don’t seem to be compatible anymore. It seems that the more right wing the general frum community gets, the less Ahavas Yisroel there is (unless you belong to what they consider Klal Yisroel) and the excuse is that Ahavas Torah (love of the Torah) is so powerful that loving fellow Jews who don’t align with their vision of what Ahavas Torah should be, is not part of the mitzvah of Ahavas Yisroel. Maybe I’m just nuts, but with the Asifa, the numerous Charedi riots in Israel and other things it appears that Ahavas Yisroel has come to exclude most of “Yisroel”.

This is a natural response of a people who feel threatened by secular society and even more threatened by Jews they don’t count as a faction within Klal Yisroel, so does this mean that Ahavas Torah excludes Ahavas Yisroel or is one not required to love their fellow Jewish people if their observance is not steeped in Torah? Am I, as an orthodox Jew allowed to simply love Jews that are observant and ignore the ones who are not on my level? Is sinas chinam allowed on the basis of rebuking those who are sinning against our Ahavas Torah?

Now of course you may attack me and say I am guilty of the same things that those Charedim are guilty of, I have just disparaged the entire Charedi community and have promoted Charedi hatred (justified in many cases especially based on their response to the Beit Shemesh fiasco). I’m not going to lie, I’m guilty of sinas chinam, no I have never burned a dumpster or spit at little girls, but I do speak up when I think something is awry.

I’m just trying to come to terms with my own journey in trying to maintain an orthodox way of life while accepting my fellow Jews of different beliefs and practices as my equals. I’m not sure how common this issue reigns in many others lives, but I think it should. I feel that there should be more love between different Jews, but I understand that the fact that orthodox Jews are fundamentalists by nature limits this dialogue or love and it sucks. I also find it interesting that as  capitalistic as orthodox Jews are who don’t want any government telling them what to do, they sure as hell want to tell others what to do when it comes to their religious practices. It’s a hard two way street to conquer.

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{ 16 comments… add one }
  • thinking outloud July 3, 2012, 7:22 AM

    This is standard; sinas chinam only goes one way as well.

    Typical ‘news’ story on the frum blogs can be summarized as follows:
    …Charedi way of life threatened……sinas chinam against chareidim is being fostered …gezeiros shmad on the community …unsubstantiated negative comment about someone not as frum …divrei hisoyrirus … wash rinse repeat.

  • anon July 3, 2012, 10:07 AM

    Any extreme path leads to sinas chinam; this applies to to left wing types as well. Chassidim vs lakewood modern orthodox left vs right modern orthodox vs more orthodox chabbad vs satmar litvish vs chabbad sephardi vs ashkenazi syrian vs other sephardim non-religious vs religious. Don’t worry the further left you go applies to the same concept applied to the right wing people

  • Menachem July 3, 2012, 10:20 AM

    That is very sad.

    Because in truth if the Ahavas HaTorah is not compatible with Ahavas Yisroel, than it isn’t really Ahavas Hatorah, it something else.

    As a Lubavitcher, I noticed in the Rebbe that very strongly.

    For instance, Chabad is really ideologically very anti-Zionist (in a way more than Satmar) and the Rebbe held that very strongly, yet the Rebbe was very much Mekarav Israeli politicians because even though he vehemently disagreed with their Shitah he loved them as Jews.

    • Marcos July 4, 2012, 4:55 AM

      I did not know Chanda were anti Zionist. They must hide it pretty well, well at least some do. Btw, what is a shitah? Could not find it in the glossary.

  • Telz Angel July 3, 2012, 10:26 AM

    “We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another.” — Johnathan Swift.

    Religion defines the idea of an “us” and “them.” See my post on “Helping a brother in need” http://www.frumsatire.net/2011/07/20/helping-a-brother-in-need/ from last year. The key to ahavas yisrael is figuring our how to best define “us” to include more. The current trend in yiddishkeit is to do the opposite.

  • know it all July 3, 2012, 11:38 AM

    There are 613 mitzvot. If absolutely necessary, in order to obtain levels of extreme holiness, I guess that once someone has mastered all the rest, they can start in on the ones that (supposedly) require you to stone, spit, burn, shun, support child molestors, or whatever. But until you have mastered all the rest, why is it important for those to be the top of the totem pole?
    (kinda sorta like glass houses/stones thing)

  • Yochanan July 3, 2012, 11:42 AM

    “shits getting so bad, Moshiach must be here” .

    If those were the actual words, frumpop would be so much better.

  • philo July 3, 2012, 1:53 PM

    Simple answer – leaving out the bein adam lachaveiro isn’t really ahavat Torah.

  • Dan July 3, 2012, 7:52 PM

    I don’t think this charge is accurate. Chareidim run the biggest non-governmental social services organizations in Israel, and they run them for the entire country (like yad sarah).

    If you equate ahavas yisroel with accepting other ways of life, then fine. But that isn’t really fair.

    Also, mixing the beit shemesh loonies into this is not really fair, when you measure it against all the chesed chareidim do for the general jewish community.

    • thinking outloud July 4, 2012, 6:18 AM

      Yad Sarah was started by the former mayor of J’lem who, although may seem Chareidi, did serve in the IDF. So he may be “Charedi Lite”
      In some cities in Israel outside of the major metro areas there are chareidi communities that would seem, at least from the outside, less insular and more worldly or accepting of their surroundings; ie., Chareidi lite

      • Dan July 4, 2012, 8:43 AM

        He may be chareidi lite? But everyone who volunteers for them is chareidi. And Ezra L’marpeh is chareidi.


        This post is really very wrong and irresponsible.

  • Yehudis July 4, 2012, 7:01 AM

    I may have to resprctfully disagree with some of the points brought here. You can love someone and still be fundamentally opposed to their hashkafah or way of life. I’ve never harbored hate for any Jew, though have been the target of much of that hate. Yes, I believe that my way of serving Hashem is the best possible way I can do so, while acknowledging that while I may see flaws in your hashkafah, it’s only a different way of serving Hashem and is probably the best way for you. Do I sometimes speak strongly against certain practices and outlooks? Yes, but it doesn’t mean I love you who holds that way any less. And this Ahavas Yisroel comes from Ahavas HaTorah, not despite it.

  • Rabitom farhi July 19, 2012, 6:33 PM

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