Thursday, May 08, 2008

Kudos to NoPeanutz

A guest post by TikunOlam

Since I have been banned from linking to Yeshiva World by the ba'al hablog in our last editorial meeting (and I can't afford to lose my job here), I am just going to quote a comment made by NoPeanutz in its entirety.

"There are so many non-religious Jews in Israel who for the entire year, including Yom Kippur and Tisha b’Av, do not feel any connection to their past nor to their people. And not even because they are kofrim, but because they are tinokim shenishbe’u. They were raised in a certain environment where Yiddishkeit was not a value. Even if they have bitachon and Yirat Shamayim, they would not even know how to do mitzvot properly.

Medinat Yisrael made it possible for even these tinokim, all over the world, to be connected to the most God-fearing and pious of their people. Now, we have two chagim, just two days a year, when these brothers of ours, who do not even know how to keep Shabbat or how to wrap tefillin, can feel a sense of brotherhood and nationalism that connects them to their past and legacy, and can connect them to their Jewish brothers everywhere. Why would someone, like a frum Jew who is comfortable in his Jewish skin and lives a religious life all the time, push away these people who do not even know anything about how to be religious or cannot feel religious?“Hinei Matov UmaNaim, Shevet Achim gam Yachad.”Is it not a mitzvah for us to get along together with all the Jews? Is Hashem not most happy when we, the observant, can just sit down and have a picnic with our brothers and not judge them?

Imagine that you have a brother with whom you used to be close, but from you have since drifted apart. He does not keep kosher, so you and your children can never eat in his house. He married a Shiksa, so you are uncomfortable bringing your impressionable young children around him. He does not keep Shabbat, so you never run into him in shul. And you are heartbroken, upset and a disappointed in him. You even cannot help wondering how he can be so numb and inconsiderate by his activities and lifestyle. All year you have not seen him.However, one day, he picks up the phone to call you. Without knowing why, he just feels more connected to you, like he wants to be a part of you, to be back in your life. To bring himself closer to the way things once were….would you hang up on him without even hearing him out? Without even talking to him? If he told you that he wanted to go to shul, just to try out, would you not take him by the hand and encourage him? If he told you that he wanted to try on the tzitzit, just once, to see how they feel and to see how they make him feel, would you not show him love and patience?

So how can Hareidi Judaism, the most visible kind of frumkeit there is, not take these Jews by the hand and show them love and patience when they want to feel close? How can we not respect their siren, their feelings, the sacrifices they make on behalf of Am Yisrael? How do we not take the time to engage them and to understand their feelings and to help them civilly understand our own? When they open themselves up and put themselves out there for us, how can we not do the same for them, for our own brothers?

“V’chol Bnei Basar Yikrau Bishmecha.” We all look forward to times when the whole world will recognize KBH. If we push away Jews, people with bris mila, people with Hebrew names, people whose grandparents took the same oaths at Har Sinai and in the Gas Chambers as our own, how can we ever expect the non-believers, who do not understand Hebrew and who were not at Har Sinai to eventually see HaShem?

One last thing: Everybody knows the story of the Holocaust survivor in shul on Yom Kippur who does not know how to daven, and the only thing he remembered from his Rebbe was the Aleph Beis. Just singing the Aleph Beis at Neilah opened up the Shaarei Shamayim for all Klal Yisrael. Our Israeli brothers know the Aleph Beis. But they know much more than singing the Hebrew alphabet. They serve in the army, build Israeli society, promote Jewish culture and they protect Am Yisrael. They, as a society, feel responsible to their fellow Jews. It is perhaps their only mitzvah, the only one they know how to do- and they do it very well. And they do it L’Shma. And unlike a spiritual reward that comes from an answered tefillah, the zchus of them performing this mitzvah is obvious to all, in front of all our eyes. To ignore their contributions and sensitivities goes against so much of what we stand for.

Comment by NoPeanutz — May 7, 2008 @ 11:04 am

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