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A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing    

A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

The Jewish neshama is so deeply concealed within so many people that they now question and even dismiss the very validity and practicality of G-d given Torah…


Unless your head has been in the sand, you’ve heard about the rioting and uprising from the Ultra-Orthodox, or Charedi, crowd in Bet Shemesh. I personally try to stay away from hearing about such controversial topics, as I have enough rioting and spitting going on in my own house. However, now that I consider myself Charedi, I feel it is my personal duty to speak out against the craziness and fanaticism that the world has enjoyed witnessing (not to mention that I live 5 minutes away from the action).
Ever since the Haskala, or Enlightenment movement, began in the 19th century, there has been a new breed of Jew- the non-observant type. Historically speaking, never before this time was there any type of Jew other than a Torah observant Jew. Rebbe Nachman warned about this many times, saying that “Great atheism is coming to the world”. This new type of spiritual revolt against G-d led to future generations of Jews completely forgetting their identity, not to mention their Torah obligations. As a result, the Jewish neshama, or soul, is so deeply concealed within the person himself that he is now questioning and dismissing the very validity and practicality of our Holy, G-d given Torah. This, I believe, is the root cause of the dissention between non-religious and religious Jews.
The fuel is constantly added to the fire when a Charedi Jew doesn’t act as he should. We see this again and again, and every time it happens, the world points the finger and says, “You see, they’re all fanatics!” Isn’t it interesting, though, when there is an uprising in another part of the world, either the media doesn’t give it that much attention, or everyone and their grandmother isn’t judging the character of the collective group? Why does this phenomenon only occur with the Jews, and the religious Jews at that? Believe it or not, there is an answer. Let’s discover what happened before the Jews received the Torah. G-d Himself went from nation to nation, asking them if they were willing to accept the Yoke of Heaven upon themselves. Each one politely (or not so politely) declined, stating there were restrictions, stipulations, and other fine print that didn’t jive with their lifestyle. For example, some were not pleased with the “no killing” part, while others took issue with the “no adultery” part. Eventually, the Israelites (they became Jews after accepting the Torah) said they were willing to accept the conditions, and signed on the dotted line. All of a sudden, the spiritual status of a Jew was transformed into something much greater than just another nation. As of that moment, they became the spiritual lifeline for the entire world. It was now their responsibility to live and study Torah in order to not only sustain themselves, but to sustain the entire world. This dependency continues until today, and will continue to exist. Therefore, let me clarify something- we are not better than other nations. We simply have more responsibility to provide spiritual sustenance to the rest of the world. Have you heard of the phrase, “Light unto the nations”? That’s what I’m talking about!
When we observe a Torah lifestyle, which is full of restrictions and physical limitations, we actually provide the rest of the world with the spiritual vitamins they need in order to function. This is why when we try to act like non-Jews by leading a lifestyle similar to theirs, and forgetting our spiritual obligations, the world rebels against us. They don’t even realize it themselves, but they are upset that we’re not holding up our end of the deal. I can’t blame them! Imagine that you have a job in a factory, and your agreement with the power supplier is that they keep the electricity running so that you can do your job. What would happen if the power company just decided one day not to turn on your electricity? How mad would you be? Would you be able to function and complete your purpose? Of course not! This is how the rest of the world feels, even though they themselves don’t yet realize it.
So we have one extreme, which is Jews who are completely non-observant. Then we have the other extreme, which is the diaper-throwing Charedis. Let me say that neither extreme is any closer to G-d than the other. Nowhere in the Torah does it say that one must throw rocks at a passing car on Shabbat. So the million dollar question is, “How do they justify their behavior?” Here’s the million dollar answer: Back when the Israelites left Egypt, there were thousands of Egyptians that left with them. How did they get out? They converted in the hopes that they would not be destroyed by the plagues, and thus ride the wave of Jewish freedom. Of course, that wave was actually made of sand and a 40 year desert trek. Nonetheless, they converted. The problem was that they converted insincerely; they did not really desire to become Jewish and let go of their connection to materialism. It was actually these Egyptians who instigated the Golden Calf fiasco. Well, it turns out that in every generation, these Egyptians come back in the guise of Torah observant Jews, and they’re always making trouble. They are otherwise known as the Erev Rav, and they are the original “Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing!” Okay, now can someone give me that million dollars?
While the rest of the world, especially the Jewish world, is busy judging and harassing Charedis just because they are Charedi, the real Torah Jews must come out and not only speak against this gross misrepresentation of Judaism- they must also show the world what it is like to be a true Torah Jew. I myself was guilty of judging a book by its cover, until I met Rabbi Brody. I used to think that all black-hat-wearing, long-coat-dragging, bearded people with funny sidecurls were dry and heavy, not happy and content. Now that I have had the privilege of knowing him for several years, I can say with confidence that the way he lives and the Judaism he and Rav Arush promote is the real deal. Yes, we are obligated to follow a Torah-oriented lifestyle. However, we are also obligated to be happy. What a strange obligation, I know. However, this really means that we must focus on being happy with what Hashem gives us every day, and live our lives with true emuna, knowing that it is all for our best. A famous Rabbi Brody quote that I love is, “Judaism without emuna is not real Judaism.” What most of us don’t realize is that within the Torah’s directives for how to live, one can find true happiness. Instead of running from one restaurant to another, or one store to another chasing a fleeting spark of happiness, why not go for the real thing? Before you know it, you won’t need a new pair of shoes every week or a new I-Phone every six months.
Though it is unfortunate that it only takes a small minority to spoil the image of the entire group, this is not an excuse to continue judging the Charedi world. Ultimately, we can never really be sure exactly who is Erev Rav and who isn’t. This will only be revealed when Moshiach is here. Until then, let’s give everyone the benefit of the doubt- many of us are trying our best to live upright, wholesome lives and continue that legacy with our children. And I can guarantee that if there is any diaper-throwing going on in the rest of the Charedi world, it’s only the ones that are landing in the garbage!

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  2 Talkbacks for this article    See all talkbacks  
  No copyright on "real" judaism
Daniel Horowitz1/24/2012 1:33:38 PM
YY1/17/2012 2:08:30 AM

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