Monday, March 05, 2007

Shushan Purim...

Rabbi Harry Maryles, on his blog Emes Ve'Emunah, posted a very funny, totally satirical post yesterday, and commenting on it was lots of fun, and even people who for the rest of the year do not get along with each other had a fun time dialoguing with each other. I posted a comment there I would like to repost here. You can see Rabbi Maryles' post here.

Once you've read the post, if you go to the comments, you will see some fun poking and jabbing, but everything in good nature. The 16th post is mine and is reprinted below, with some revision:

I hate to inject a serious note into all this, but wouldn't it be great if we could all get along like this the rest of the year as well? Wouldn't it be great if when one person said something controversial, instead of attacking that person, a dialogue was held with cooler heads prevailing (pardon the pun)? Many frum people today have lots of questions as to the validity of many things we do that are done just because they've been done for hundreds or thousands of years, and some just for a couple of decades. I've touched on many of these before, like second day Yom Tov, Kitniyos, Glatt meat, etc, and I will discuss them at greater length in the future as well.

When my grandfather was a young boy in cheder, if he asked a question the rebbi didn't like, he got smacked. If he was on the wrong page, he got smacked. He grew up to absolutely hate yiddishkeit, all aspects of it, because he was left with such a bitter taste in his mouth. I'm saying he was right, but he wasn't the only one. My father in law had the same experiences and is still alive and isn't very fond of Orthodox Judaism either. And he doesn't see the difference between MO, Centrist, RW, Yeshivish, or Chareidim. To him, it's all Orthodox. The attitude of "We don't like what you're saying and instead of discussing we're going to attack you" has caused the loss of many neshamos.

My grandfather, in his hatred of Judaism, had himself cremated after his death, and because his wife was alive at the time (not my grandmother), there was nothing we could do, at all to stop the cremation. My father ended up with no shiva, no shloshim, no kaddish, no nothing because when his father asked a question, he got smacked. And smacking doesn't necessarily mean physically today. It also means with words.

I think this is the lesson of Purim: It starts off with Yeshno Am Echad Mefozar U'Meforad, and ends up with everyone celebrating the same thing, the same cause, the same victory - with no machlokesim in sight. In fact, I think it's likely the original Purim, right before the formation of the Knesses Hagedola, marked the last time there were no Machlokesim. Instead, as it was the time when Bnai Yisrael accepted the Torah voluntarily, without a mountain hanging over their heads, the last time there was total Achdus.

Yehi Ratzon that we should be Zocheh to celebrate that kind of original Purim again B'Meheira B'Yameinu.


Anonymous said...

And, everyone should stop labelling. Why do we need to know whether something is RW, LW M, Y, or AO. And are they more M than O, or are they Z.....The overwhelming majorit of Klal Yisrael is not "frum" (or "O"), and really doesn't care about these nuances. When they have a positive experience with someone who they identify as being Torah observant, they feel positively about the Torah. When they have a negative experience with someone they see as Torah observant, they feel negatively about the Torah. To them, kosher means kosher and not what hechsher, is it pas yisroel, cholov yisroel, etc. Shabbat means Shabbat, not do they use an eruv, do they use teabgs, do they cover their tablecloth with a plastic cover.....and so forth. My rav says, "Just be a yid."

Orthonomics said...

I prefer not to put myself in a box since I can't get cozy in any one box anyways. :)

Your post would be a great introduction to a series on chinuch. At least here we try to take a soft touch when we try to be teach mitzvot. I've seen far too much unpleasantness in this regard, short of physical slapping.

(Of course we do take a tougher approach to menschlikeit as you know. :)