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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