Now reg readers if I’ve got any know I do my share of windmill tilting here taking on Haredi and Chassidish nonsense. I don’t spare no sacred cows because I only care about the truth. But what I can’t stand is this kind of stupid elitist bashing you see in MO circles.
Here’s the difference
Real criticism: The whole premise of Chassidism is grounded in creating separatism in Judaism
Stupid bashing: I once saw a Chassid go into a porn store. All these people are phonies and fakers and their shtreimels are just a disguise.
Now guess which category Elliot Resnick’s “Truth and Certain Jews” on the Jewish Press blog belongs to? Now I’m happy that the Jewish Press every now and then challenges conventional orthodoxy. I’m glad they publish Chananya Weissman of End the Madness, I’m less glad that they publish Marvin Shick’s tedious observations but I’m all for criticism of frum communities. But Elliot Resnick’s piece is stupid and bigoted.
Why? It uses the typical bigot’s tactic of condemning by example. It takes two supposed incidents involving Chassidim and uses that to paint a portrait of an entire community and that’s ignorant and dishonest. Let’s look at this.
“Why should they exaggerate?” I asked him, knowing that the JTA is a professional agency, not a propaganda operation.
It was to this question that I received his “Why shouldn’t they exaggerate” reply.
To be honest, his question rang so strange in my ears that I had a hard time formulating an answer. And then a few minutes after the conversation’s conclusion it came to me: Why shouldn’t they exaggerate? Because doing so is false!
This point is obvious of course. But not apparently to this ostensibly religious Jew. To him, the question wasn’t why someone should depart from the truth, but why one would ever tell the truth in the first place.
Hey Elliot, here’s a possibility you haven’t considered. Maybe, instead of being some sort of fundamentally dishonest individual, the Chassid just didn’t trust the JTA? I know Elliot that you probably get down on your knees and worship the JTA three times a week but most of us think it’s a shoddy and sloppy agency that slaps together stories with obvious mistakes and bias.
It’s a warped mind that takes someone’s statement that he distrusts an organization as proof that he’s incapable of not lying. If one of your buddies at a West Side Synagogue gave you that same shrug and dance about the Bush Administration, would you assume that he and everyone there are a bunch of ethically defective people who can’t tell lies from truth? No and the reason you wouldn’t is culture. And the reason you assumed the worst here, tossing Dan Le Kaf Zechus overboard is culture. And he’s made the classic bigot’s mistake of portraying another culture in the worst possible light.
Unfortunately, some Jews, including — or perhaps especially — Chassidic Jews, will make sure never to shake a woman’s hand and to always faithfully wear a black hat but lie (stretching the truth is perhaps a more delicate term) with astonishing ease. When one witnesses such behavior one wonders what makes these people so religious after all.
What a stupid question. What makes any of us religious? Is Elliot under the impression that being religious means being perfect? The same thing that makes Elliot religious, makes the lying Chassid religious. That Chassid stretches the truth in business, Elliot stretches it on the blog of the Jewish Press.
But what exactly is Elliot’s basis for claiming that Chassidim are more likely to be liars, zippo. So he’s got lying and motzi shem ra which puts him behind the hypothetical lying Chassid in the gehenom sweepstakes.
The impulse among many to come closer to God by becoming better Jews is laudable. However, these Jews and all Jews should attach greater importance to basic Biblical values and laws, such as the value of truth, than they do to ensuring that their tzitzis are clearly visible to all.
Yes they should. And perhaps Elliot Resnick should attach greater importance to such basic Biblical value and laws as Lashon Hara, Motzi Shem Ra, Rechilus and fun stuff like that. I mean it’s laudable that he has the impulse to come closer to G-d by calling Chassidim a bunch of dirty liars who steal other people’s yogurt but maybe he can learn some Chofetz Chaim now and then.
Unfortunately, the following story tells it all:
You just know with an opening like that, that what follows will be the Klansman’s equivalent of that black guy eating a stolen watermelon story or the illegal Mexican collecting welfare. Yes Elliot please tell us your anecdotal story that will reaffirm your prejudices. Please.
The next day, finally understanding the sad reality of present day Jews, he wrote the following: “Not chalav yisrael.” The milk was untouched.
Ha ha. No see get it. They care about Chalav Yisrael but not about stealing, cause they’re all thieves! Now let me tell the one about the negro who tried to cash a welfare check. Or how about the single Modern Orthodox guy who asked if his girlfriend could go the Mikvah. Let’s slander everyone based on some second hand milk stealing incident in the name of preaching morals to them. Why don’t we all spread some more sinas chinam so we can bring Moshiach in a thousand years or so.
Oh by the way, if that bottle of milk was at the Jewish Press offices all he had to do was write an RCA Hasgacha on it. Heh