Monday, June 8, 2009

We Are Normal

Tonight, the Satmar Rabbi, Aaron Teitelbaum, marries off his granddaughter, Bluma Ashkenazi, in Kiryas Joel.

Mazel Tov to you too.

But not without incident, that is.

One of the founding principles of the Chassidic movement is that regular folk marry off their children modestly according to fixed spending regulations, while rabbis throw extravagant weddings. There are several ways to uphold this treasured tradition. Prevalent custom among contemporary rabbis is to decorate with ornamental lights all streets leading to the various dining rooms and ballrooms where matrimonial festivities are to be held. Nobody questions whether this is really necessary. Certainly, like all traditions, it is rooted in our holy past.

Of course, not every nook and cranny in the outdoors belongs to a certain Chassidic sect, but that’s why we have invented laws of eminent domain. Our boys are free to hang electrical wire wherever they see fit. No questions asked.

Apparently, utility companies disagree.

And it came to pass that Orange and Rockland Utilities dispatched a couple trucks to take off wires illegally strung on their utility poles by Satmar Chassidim in Kiryas Joel, Times Herald Record reports.

Before long, they were surrounded by a mob of zealous young Chassidim. How dare they remove the wires? What do you mean these are your poles? I mean, we did make you guys pay to move the poles away from the curb in a successful litigation where we argued the poles are yours, but that doesn’t mean we cannot use them the way we want to.

So the boys block the technicians, the technicians call the cops, the cops order the crowed disperse, the crowed instead barricades the trucks, the trucks are escorted by police, police are barricaded too, and get some eggs and plastic bottles hurled their way as well.

Police clash!

Mazel Tov again.

Wait. Isn’t this all about God? To most VIN commenters it is. Everything we do either sanctifies the name God or desecrates it.

If we serve the police kugel, God is great, and if we have an argument, His name is disgraced. Now, what will the gentiles say? That Chassidic teens occasionally quarrel with police? You mean just like teens in Newburgh, Middletown, and elsewhere?

What a chillul haShem that is.

I don’t care whether O&R Utilities should have been more sensitive and waited another day to remove the decorations. Neither is it relevant to ask why the KJ Public Safety couldn’t coordinate with police to prevent this from happening.

I want to know why an offense against Police and the People of New York is turned into an offense against God. Why do we have to be better than everybody else?  Why do we represent God more than any other religious group? What has this to do with faith at all?

And if it does, isn’t it enough that crime statistics are lowest in our neighborhoods? Do we really need to be picture perfect? Who raised the bar that high?

Yes, our teens are rogue. We even have a few real criminals.

We are normal.


laura said...

I'm impressed. I like when someone dares to speak his *own* mind, not simply parrot the party line. Excellent post.

moshe said...

git gezugt

The Bray of Fundie said...

your questions about khilul HaShem are rhetorical...yes? ;)

A Pusheter Yid said...

Not at all.
Chazal defined chillul haShem. The professional term differs from popular usage.

The Bray of Fundie said...

What I find most galling about this is that it's SATMAR khasidim. What happened to the shevuah of not doing גירוי באומות העולם???? Or is that something that only secular zionists are capable of.

I'm sorry but when I hear stories about Satmarere overturning Police cruisers or storming police stations it strikes me like a Lubavitcher saying we should stop all Kiruv efforts or a Stoliner efusing you hakhnosas orkhim even if he's got the means to do so.

The Bray of Fundie said...

please share.

You mean to tell me that an identifiable Jew behaving in public at a goyish or sub-Goyish standard is NOT a khilul HaShem?

Your providing me with some insight into the mindset that allows so many kharedim to engage in reckless finacial chicanery with nary a thought about the negative publicity.

A Pusheter Yid said...

Satmar is hypocritical. Is that your point? It took you two whole paragraphs to say that?

A Pusheter Yid said...

People behaving the way people normally do is not a chillul haShem.
Of course, for "so many kharedim to engage in reckless finacial chicanery" is a real problem. I wasn't talking about *so many* chassidim, however. This was an isolated incident.

The Bray of Fundie said...

that Satmar is hypocritical in terms of piety was not my point.

Many other kharedi groups and subgroups are guilty of the same crime.

The particular galling hypocrisy here is lack of fidelity to their own shitta.

Satmarer Khasidm should avoid confrontations with governmental authorities or otherwise anatgonizing Goyim like they avoid flying the Israeli flag or conversing in Ivrit....BUT THEY DON'T!

The Bray of Fundie said...

People behaving the way people normally do is not a chillul haShem.

I disagree. If that behavior is public, sinful or even bears the appearance of impropriety it is indeed khilul HaShem.

Maybe not the kind that you've got to die before commiting but ceratianly as a meelee d'khasidis

The Bray of Fundie said...

Yes, our teens are rogue. We even have a few real criminals.

We are normal.

If normalcy is the best we as Yidden can hope for why bother with all the Torah, Mitzvos and Khumros??? Why not just throw in the towel say it was all a big mistake and rejoin the balance of humanity?

Now I know your rebbe gave the Baal Shem Tov an honorable intellectual burial...but even if it's so that נשתכח תורת הבעל שםyou'd think that all the highly touted Satmerer קדושה, טהרה ויראת שמים would've produced a noble society of אנשים מורמים מעם? No?

You guys certainly treat the balance of humanity, all other types of Jews included, as if you are superior.

kisarita said...

sorry... chasidim are not normal, their disrespect for the law is well beyond your average citizen. That's not necessarily a bad thing when it comes to getting what you want, but it doesn't help win friends and influence people.

The Bray of Fundie said...

Oy. See waht I mean...

The Bray of Fundie said...

arewe unworthy of your response?

A Pusheter Yid said...

Is there a 24-hour-response time limit? Or do have to respond to your braying at all? Is the Satmar ideology best represented by these hooligans? Or is it my duty to rush to its defense?
Your incessant grumbling that Satmar is hypocritical, snobbish, and not living up to the standard you set for it is in total digression to the purpose of this post.
I made two points here. One, Chassidim never signed contract or otherwise entered in a commitment to behave in a manner supreme to that of the general populace, and there is no rationale behind a demand for such a commitment from a religious group of any kind. Two, as long as the motivation for a crime is not religious, such as trash-burning and rock-pelting in Jerusalem in the name of Shabbos, God is not affected at all.

Your assertion that Chassidim are not law-abiding citizens and therefore abnormal, is absurd. By your logic, every criminal is eligible for the insanity defense.

kisarita said...

ok so i haven't done a survey but that's just the way it seems to me. I don't think this kind of behavior is common in another community.

not normal means just that- not the norm. I didn't say insane.

Anonymous said...

One, Chassidim never signed contract or otherwise entered in a commitment to behave in a manner supreme to that of the general populace

Funny... I always thought tha cahsidus meabt "lifnim m'sheeras hadin"

JK from KJ said...

In fact, so normal are we that Sacha Baron Cohen, in his new movie Bruno, has included Chasidic Jews in the so many groups he mocks and offends. We’ve grown into a minority that can handle a comic blow or two.

The back of the hill said...

Ach ach ach, tayere Bray, are you preaching Havdala consciousness?

Now, as a Dutch-American BUT a non-Jew (yoh yoh, ich veiss, goy...) I can very well understand the tendency to be embarrased by the behaviour of one's own group.
I cringe everytime that bunch in 'Olland pull something particularly blinkered and stupid.

But on the other hand, just acting like normal people, mmmm, not really a chillul HaShem. More like a natural right that everyone has, whether or not they have any truck with the external secular humanist authorities and no matter how they trumpet their own self-image.

As for how Satmar treat other Yidden, meh. Some chossids I've met treat me like family, others recoil as if I'm the sitra achra made flesh. Not really that much different from a reformish woman a while back who inisted that because she was born of a Jewish mother, everything she said about Judaism was full of emmes, possibly even inspired by Ruach HaKodesh..... whereas I of course was speaking gibberish, as was made plain by all the odd locutions. What could I know?
I have run into the same pattern from Chinese less literate in the language of Li Po than myself (and have, I admit, pulled the same shtick regarding matters Dutch to others).
People who are likely to reject what does not fit in their world will often use the nearest excuse to do so.

Besides, you will admit that outside of Kiryas Yoel and Williamsburg, it takes real effort to find Satmarrer leite. So it's not really an issue.

The back of the hill said...

Oh by the way, Tayere Pusheter Yid, what niggenim were sung?

One cannot but be curious....

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