Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Sur Mai Rah v'Asei Tov

MOChassid: "In the chareidi educational circles there is way too much emphasis on Sur Mai Rah and not nearly enough on Asei Tov. There is an overwhelming fear of the outside world but not enough confidence in the beauty of Torah and Yiddishkeit. Consequently, we hear about restriction after restriction rather than discussions about inspiring our children. This is tragic."

True, but not limited to educational circles.

How many of us know people who are happy to bring a second or third shul to their immediate neighborhoods (with all the attendant duplications of cost) simply for the sake of avoiding women who don't cover their hair, or to keep their kids from mixing with kids who watch TV or go to movies?

How many of us know people who'll refuse to open a well-written book containing important arguments simply because they don't recognize the author's name? Or because they once heard he is "a little modern?"

How many of us know shul Rabbis who inveigh against women who come to shul with their ankles uncovered without seeming to worry about the fall-out?

In each of these cases an Asei Tov (do good) opportunity is being sacrificed for the sake of Sur Mai Rah (turn away from evil.) Those fleeing a shul where the woman dress immodestly might have stayed and provided a better influence. The man who is afraid of names he doesn't know deprives himself of knoweldge. And the angry Rabbi likely keeps women from joining the minyan, if he doesn't drive them and their husbands away from the shul altogether.

Examples of this sort abound, and MoC's right: It is tragic.

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