Thursday, December 09, 2010

The Sheitel Debacle: Analysis

A Guest Post By E. Fink

Over on VIN there is an Op-Ed by Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz. Rabbi Yanklowitz is best knows as the founder / president of Uri L'Tzedek, an orthodox social justice organization. First of all, kudos to VIN for publishing the Op-Ed. Rabbi Yanklowitz is not your typical VIN party-line toeing rabbi.
His basic take on sheitelgate is that is shows a flaw in bitachon.
While this is probably true, I believe this is a flawed approach.
Bitachon is not something that can be simply taught, internalized and then executed. It can take a lifetime to become a baal bitachon. What are we supposed to do in the meantime?

I think the biggest flaw in the cloistered ghetto system was demonstrated in Hush (the novel about sex abuse that I reviewed on my blog).

Insular frum communities stress the superiority of the Jews to such an extreme that non-Jews are demoted into near non-existance. Non-Jews are assumed to be murderers and sex fiends that will kill and rape all the holy Jews at their first opportunity. It is forbidden to have non-Jewish friends and those who do have non-Jewish friends are less holy. The goyim are easy to fool because they don't have daas Torah and their brains are mush because they don't study gemara. This communal lie reinforces the idea that all non-Jews are out to get the Jews, they are the enemy and we can do whatever we want to survive their impending onslaught against the holy Jews. And that cheating them is easy. After all, they have a goyishe kop...

This attitude was almost excusable in light of centuries of persecution in Europe and the Holocaust.

But in 2010 / 5771, it is inexcusable. We are all partners in an open social environment. I feel silly saying this, but, News Flash: the non-Jews do not want to kill us. But so long as we teach and preach that they are the enemy, crooks will feel justified in their actions.

This is an easier problem to fix.

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