Monday, February 16, 2009

A Call to End the Double Standard

Dear Readers,

I am sure that after reading about the latest anti-eruv spat in Yerushalayim, most of you are as appalled as I am at the hatred that is rearing its head between the secular and Charedi Jews in Eretz Yisroel; see here. After all, what possible justification could there be to vandalize something as innocuous as a pole and monofilament string? Who could possibly be offended by such an inconspicuous object? Why would anyone sabotage a structure that does not, in itself, impinge on his autonomy? The answer is obvious; it is an overt form of anti-Semitism. Ripping the eruv is being used by the secular Jews as a means to make their neighborhoods inhospitable to the Chareidi element so that they will not dare to venture into their environs.

There is no denying that the ripping of eruvin has become the weapon of choice to control neighborhoods in many cities the world over. However, this time, dear reader, I am not referring to the secular Jews but to the Chareidim. Eruvin have been ripped by frum people in Boro Park, Kensington and Williamsburg, Brooklyn and now in Stamford Hill, London as well.

I trust the irony is not lost on you, my loyal readers. Of course, the anti-eruv cabal tries to keep their struggle distinct from the one waged by the secular Jews and non-Jews; it is a given that it is not beneficial for the Chareidi cause to be under the rubric of the secular Jews’ cause. This is illustrated by the struggle in cities such as Montreal, Quebec and Golders Green, London where the cabal waited to ramp up their campaign against the eruv until after the anti-eruv court cases of the secular Jews.

Rabbosai, don’t you see the parallels? The secular Jews are ripping eruvin to control the Chareidi element and keep them out of their neighborhoods, and the anti-eruv cabal is ripping eruvin to force the population, layman and rabbanim alike, to follow their positions in halachah and hashkafah.

The question I pose to you, dear reader, is why are we outraged when the secular Jew or non-Jew commits this revolting act but we are silent when the same act is carried out by a frum vigilante? Arguably, ripping by frum Jews is an immeasurably greater chillul Hashem than when the secular Jew rips, and so the outrage should be that much greater.

Rabbosai, it is about time that all of us, layman and rabbanim alike, take a stance against this contemptible act of coercion being committed by frum vigilantes just as we are outraged when it is performed by secular Jews. I would venture to say that until the time that this double standard is no longer tolerated, we will continue to have this issue with secular Jews as well. As there have lately been some very public instances of frum Jews ripping eruvin, I have a nagging feeling that the modern day ripping of eruvin by secular Jews and non-Jews has been learnt from the Chareidi vigilantes.