Sunday, May 22, 2022

The rise and rise of the Strictly Orthodox

And more internationally, expect Charedi advocates to flex their religious muscles on issues like the egalitarian prayer space at the Western Wall. Israel’s fragile coalition has yet again stalled on the long-delayed implementation of an extension of the egalitarian area, which would give it acess from the main Kotel plaza, for fear of provoking an Orthodox backlash.

For many Progressive Jews, this remains a touchstone issue that symbolises a commitment to religious diversity in Judaism. But pluralism remains anathema to the Charedim and they will not accept it quietly.


  1. Kalonymus HaQatanMay 22, 2022 at 2:01 PM

  2. “The rise and rise of the Strictly Orthodox” Bravo. No to Progressive Jews, with their commitment to religious diversity in Judaism.

    Torah thought parsha במדבר “The Levites, however, shall camp round about the Tabernacle of the Testimony, that wrath may not strike the assembly of the Children of Israel; and the Levites shall safeguard the watch the Tabernacle of the Testimony.’” (Numbers 1:53).
    רש"י במדבר א' נ"ג
    ולא יהיה קצף - אם תעשה כמצותי לא יהיה קצף, ואם לאו שיכנסו זרים בעבודתם זו יהיה קצף, כמו שמצינו במעשה קרח (במדבר יז, יא) כי יצא הקצף וגו':
    העמק דבר
    והלוים יחנו וגו'. לעיל דכתיב וסביב למשכן יחנו, היה משום כבוד וצורך המשכן, וכאן הוסיף הכתוב שיחנו סביב למשכן בשביל שמירת ישראל, באשר היה השראת שכינה בגלוי במשכן, על כן עלולים ישראל להענש על איזה חטא, כמו חוטא בסמוך לפלטרין של מלך, על כן באו הלוים והגינו על הקצף:
    ושמרו הלוים וגו'. וגם להיפך שישמרו את ישראל שלא יתקרבו למשכן העדות. ויש לפרש עוד דהוא הוספת ביאור לדקמיה, היינו עוד אופן שמירה חיצונית, דמשכן העדות היינו כח התורה היה שומר את ישראל מנחשים ועקרבים במדבר כידוע, שהיו זיקי אש יוצאין מן הארון ושורף נחשים ועקרבים, ועתה צוה ה' שגם הלוים ישמרו אותה משמרת של משכן העדות, היינו שיתעסקו בתורה, ובזכותם יהיו ישראל נשמרים, כמו על ידי כח משמרת העדות:

    Rashi says: iIf we follow God’s Commandments there will be no wrath. If we don’t there will be wrath.

    My theory. Numbers 1:53 is a continuation of בהר בחקתי with reward for following God’s commandments and punishments/warnings for not following God’s commandments. The Levites have special responsibility. Beautiful.

  3. This is part of a bigger trend.
    After WW2, the shock and horror of what had happened affected more than just us. Look at Western society and you see decades of compromise. Yes, there were still fanatics espousing their cause and their cause alone but overall the centre had strength. In the Jewish community you could see this by how Conservativism flourished. It was a compromise movement - all of the ritual and ethnic of Judaism, few of the obligations. You could be a good Jew and a good American without conflict.
    Since the fall of the USSR that has all started to unravel. The barbarians are no longer at the gates; they're running the universities, some major corporations and are in government. And in our community it's not any less. The most intransigent elements, the folks for whom the work "compromise" is synonymous with "pork" are the ones pushing the agenda now with no interest in what's best for the Jewish people as a whole as opposed to their narrow needs.

  4. Kalonymus HaQatanMay 22, 2022 at 7:04 PM

    Remember, especially during the omer, that numerical growth, without requisite middos, can in the end lead Chas vshalom, to disaster.

  5. It's happening in the United States, as well. Pew Research's surveys of American Jewry bears this out.

    In Israel as well.

  6. Kalonymus HaQatanMay 23, 2022 at 2:37 AM

    In the US, there are still 5-10 million non Hareidi/non-ortho Jews. it is just that they are intermarried or assimilated, but they still have a maternal bloodline. the only way for the maternal bloodline to end, is if the women no longer have children or they only have male offspring.

    Hollywood actress Lauren Bacall (Betty Joan Perske) for example, married 2 non-jewish actors, and had 2 sons and 1 daughter. Since she was halachically a Jew, her 3 children are also jews. Whereas her daughter will continue to give birth to jews, her sons would only have jewish children if they married (or lived with) jewish women.

    The proportion of Hareidi Jews may be increasing, as part of the overall Jewish community. But they are also increasing more OTDs, and some MO and RZ offspring. Also, BTs very often become hareidi, but not exclusively.

    The significance of the trend is perhaps overestimated. Before the enlightenment, there may have been 80-90% of Ashkenaz jews who were frum. it dropped to something like 10% or less after WW2.

  7. There are many more BTs who become Hareidi than there are Hareidim who leave the fold (and become OTD or MO). Indeed, the latter is a very small phenomenon.

  8. 1) We don't know the stats. Aish and the like are very good at telling you how many souls they've saved but don't keep stat's on how many have gotten away
    2) If you want to count matrilineal blood then there are hundreds of millions of "Jews" in world because you include all the unknown descendants of the Ten Tribes.
    All we can work with is what we know. At this point there are 6 million people in the States who identify as Jews. Up to 1/3 are not halakhically Jews.
    The future belongs to those who care. Non-religious Jews don't care. Religious Jews do.
    Or as I wrote years and years ago, "they have conferences, we have babies."

  9. Kalonymus HaQatanMay 23, 2022 at 8:15 PM

    Because many who you count as hareidim already violate Torah, eg in gur, the latest violence hotspots.
    This self destruct has been happening for quite a while.
    Also, even the hareidi style bt yeshivas produce mo and rz inclined people.
    Anyhow, nothing wrong with hareidi if they keep the halacha.

  10. Kalonymus HaQatanMay 23, 2022 at 9:47 PM

    Not just those tribes, also the known jews, Spanish marranoes, Russian, European, American matrilineals.
    Perhaps it's moshiach's job to find them.

    There are small hassidic sects with a few hundred or couple of thousand followers. But rz has many tens of thousands, as does mo.
    As a kid growing up in London I was always aware of very frum yidden, and they seemed numerous then, and had all their own institutions. Stats are just a current set of figures, not nevuah.
    Even if everyone was haredi, there would be modern, pro Zionist sects as well as the opposite. Same with chilonim in the other extreme, some are traditional, some anti Zionist.

  11. Torah thought daf hayomi Rabbi Aaron Cutler’s advice to a mamzer
    Yevamot 78a
    “R. Joseph raised an objection: R. Tarfon said, Bastards may attain to purity. How? If a bastard married a female slave, their child is a slave. When, however, he [the child] is emancipated he becomes a free man [V. Kid. 69a.]. This [Since the child, prior to emancipation, is regarded as a slave] clearly proves that the child is ascribed to her! There it is different, because Scripture said, The wife and her children shall be her master's [Ex. XXI, 4, indicating that in this particular case, (that of the children of a female slave), the children are ascribed to their mother. This is no proof, however, that in other cases also children are to be ascribed to their mother.].”

    Rabbi Aaron Cutler famously told a religious student mamzer to find an American Christian girl willing to covert and willing to marry the mamzer and willing to be a good kosher wife and raise the children to be religious. What was the advice?

    The American Christian girl must agree that the mamzer buy her as his slave in face of American laws against slavery. Rabbi Feinstein said the law of the land is the law: no slavery allowed.

    My theory. It a legal fiction he makes her his slave like selling hametz on Pesach and such. She becomes his slave. She has his baby. The baby is ruled as an offspring from a Canaanite slave. He frees her from slavery. The baby is ruled as not a mamzer but a Jewish baby. If the baby is a girl she can marry a Kohen.

    Beautiful. The problem we’re dealing with is: “A bastard shall not enter into the assembly of the Lord; even to the tenth generation shall none of his enter into the assembly of the Lord.” (Deuteronomy 23:3). A mamzer gets an Aliyah to the Torah and counts in a minyan. Fascinating subject.

  12. Aha, yes I heard this story too, but not telling who ordained the solution.

    BTW, mamzer isn't quite the "bastard", since bastardy is only about being born out of wedlock.

  13. You are praising someone for knowing Mishna?
    Kiddushin 3:13 Rabbi Tarfon says: Mamzerim can be purified, so that their offspring will not be mamzerim. How so? With regard to a mamzer who married a Canaanite maidservant, their offspring is a slave. If his master subsequently emancipates him, that son is found to be a freeman, rather than a mamzer. Rabbi Eliezer says: This method is not effective, as this son is a mamzer slave.

  14. Kalonymus HaQatanMay 24, 2022 at 6:57 PM

    I was pointing out that the regular English translation is a misnomer.

    What about a regular gentile who isn't a slave?

  15. I remember reading an essay on how this might be done nowadays. The biggest obstacle was the outlawing of slavery. Puts a damper on it.

  16. No, here's the thing.
    As a kid I remember going to a seminar and hearing about how non-Orthodox Jews, with their intermarriage and assimilation, would disappear in a couple of generations. At the time the Orthodox population of America was10-15% and Israel was 15-20%.
    Almost 2 generations later the Orthodox population of America is 10-15% and Israel is 15-20%. It hasn't budged. That should tell you something about dropouts.

  17. Kidushin 3:13 “R. Tarfon [ His view is accepted] says, Bastards may be legitimized [or legitimatized, legitimated, i.e., their children
    be not bastards]. How so? If a bastard wed a bondwoman [a Canaanite bondwoman] the offspring is a bondman [a Canaanitish bondman. But if a bondman married a bastard the offspring is a bastard.]; and if he be freed, the son in consequence becomes a freeman [a free Jew, and may marry a Jewess]. R. Eliezer [his opinion is rejected] says, In such case this one [the issue] is a bastard bondman.”

    My theory. Even according to R. Eliezer we can explain Rabbi Aaron Cutler’s advice to the mamzer. Rabbi Cutler advises the mamzer to marry a Christian American lady that agrees to convert and to follow Torah The mamzer marries her before she converts, maybe in a church whatever. Marriage to a Christian lady is not recognized under Jewish law.

    The mamzer then makes her his slave with a legal contract notarized before lawyers. She then converts with Rabbi Aaron Cutler. She has offspring---all Jews because Rabbi Aaron Cutler did the conversion. Beautiful.

    A mamzer that marries a Jewish lady, even a Canaanite bondwoman, the marriage holds and the offspring is a mamzer---for 10 generations. Rabbi Cutler’s good advice is for the mamzer to marry a Christian lady who promises to convert and promises to let her husband rule over her, that she’s a bondwoman to him.

    The advantage of her being a bondwoman---she could tell people who ask about the father of her children that she’s a bondwoman and there’s confidentiality like doctor and patient. A Jewish slave girl that has offspring they’re normal Jews even if we’re sure the father is a mamzer. Beautiful. I agree 100% with Rabbi Cutler.

  18. “The rise and rise of the Strictly Orthodox” This we see I this week’s parsha במדבר במדבר “The Levites, however, shall camp round about the Tabernacle of the Testimony, that wrath may not strike the assembly of the Children of Israel; and the Levites shall safeguard the watch the Tabernacle of the Testimony.’” (Numbers 1:53).

    “Those who were to camp before the Tabernacle in front---before the Tent of Meeting on the east---were Moses and Aaron and his sons, guardians of the charge of the Sanctuary, for the charge of the Israelites; an outsider who encroaches shall die.” (Number 3:38)

    Hertz Chumash p. 577: “The most honorable place in the camp, and the most convenient for constant and direct access to the Sanctuary.”

    Arachin 11b:
    “ R. Jonathan derived it from here: That they die not, neither they, nor ye [Num. XVIII, 3. The only altar service of fit Levites was the singing. Anyone performing at the altar any service for which he is unfitted, as e.g.. exchanging the Levite's task for that of the priest's incurs that penalty.]. [i.e.,] just as you at the service of the altar, so they, too, at the service of the altar. It was taught also thus: That they die not, neither they, nor ye. viz., ye by engaging in their work, or they by engaging in yours, would incur penalty of death; they, however, by engaging in [another's] work of their [If a Levite engaged in the work of another Levite, his offence is not as serious as that of one who had undertaken Priest's work; still, it is an offence.] own [group] would be incurring penalty for transgression, but not death.”

    In Arachin 11b they deal with the question why 2 passages saying essentially the same thing. My theory. Everyone has their assigned duties. Doing what is assigned to another is an offence, maybe or maybe not, a death punishment penalty, but an offence. Beautiful.

    I’m a Kohen and I take seriously blessing the people every day and twice on Shabbat and holidays---not in galut. The special job of the Kohen and Levites: follow God’s commandments and be guardians that there be no wrath from God. In Bnei Brak I see rise and rise of the strictly Orthodox, ב"ה.


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