Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The goyim do it too!

The other day I was discussing kolel with a friend of mine (the one who irked me into writing the Another Rant post). Well anyway, I know many of you would recommend I seek new friends (I recommend it to myself each morning), but the problem is, I live in the past. She used to be such a good friend, she was so smart, and we used to mess with our teachers together.

I remember once one of our teachers was discussing the importance of minhaggim. The teacher said " Ashkenazie do not eat kitniyos on pesach, because in Europe these things weren't readily available for the Ashkenazie community. Even though these things are available now, and we're so diverse, it is still important to keep the minhaggim, because they represent who you are. " The lecture continued, and the teacher said something bizarre (can't remember what), and so this freind was like :

"now, lets say my grandfather lived in an area that had bug infestations every summer, and so going to shul was not an option on shabbos, because it was inevitible that he step on a bug, does that mean that now, for a few months each year I should not go to shul on shabbos?"


My teacher was like "well no, because now you don't have the bugs!"


So my freind was like "and now we know about kitniyos"


The teacher got ticked, came back the next day with a passuk that said something we already heard, and life continued in its usual routine way. My friend and I were so compatible. Always with our smart-a** remarks annoying the teachers. Both of us were frum. We read alot, we spoke to alot of people, we compared notes, and overall we got along. Then she went to seminary...


OMG! You know how frummies tell you you shouldn't watch TV because it brainwashes you? And because there are subliminal messages in the shows and commericals and stuff similar to that? Well I truly believe that frummies just fear their own methods of subliminal messaging will not work in contrast to the multi-million dollar budgets of the fancy ad agencies.

This friend, is now a pain. She takes everything she hears literally. She constantly quotes pirkei avos, and other things, and never makes a freakin decision without asking "advice" first (from the Rebbeim or their wives). Its like if she were stuck in an elevator she'd prob call the Rav first and ask if she should press the emergency button.

Anyway, we were discussing Kollel and welfare. I told my friend that if a telemarketer calls and asks for tzedakeh, my parents always ask if the organizations gives to kollel families. If they do, my parents don't give them money. Then I said that it really sucks to have your money taken away (in the form of taxes) and given to people who are smart, and perfectly capable of getting their butts up and working. Instead they think they run the world by "learning" Torah. I gave her a whole speech about the time-zone thing, and how Hashem created the world with time zones so that there's always Torah learning going on, and I gave her a whole thing on how Adam's punishment was to work from the sweat of his brow. And then she goes..."well, I'd much rather be paying kollel guys with my taxes than black guys."

Wow did I get mad at her. Am I the only one that doesn't see that comparison as plausible, considering the Jews constantly claim to be "better then the goyim" or "chosen"? If we're "better" or "chosen" why the hell would we be ok with giving one of our, perfectly able-bodied kind, charity, then giving another? Shouldn't it be that we lead by example? That WE work, and they get their butts up because they'll be like "Look at the Jews, maybe we should work too?"

This really bothers me. Maybe, if we really are "the light unto other nations" and weren't cheating in taxes, and weren't hiring illegal immigrants, and weren't only getting married by chupa (but civil weddings as well) maybe then the goyim WOULDN"t be cheating as well...but I dunno... how would we ever know? We keep justifying our actions by saying "well, the blacks are on welfare, why can't the kollel guys, or the chassidish guys with 15 children be on it too?"

I'll tell you why...because its wrong. I'm not one to promote welfare, and I hate the idea of it, but I'm not naive enough to think it'll ever leave. The people on it, should be on it because they DESERVE it (temporary setbacks- unemployment, injury, unexpected death of supporter, etc).

I was also reading other blogs on the Rubashkin issue, and one person said "who cares, goyim don't treat their employees well either."

Well... thanx for the news. Next time I go out wearing a short mini-skirt a low-cut blouse, eating a cheeseburger, and you tell me "the torah doesn't allow it" I'll reply "well, the goyim do it too." Try answering me!

26 comments:

Jessica said...

"Maybe, if we really are "the light unto other nations" and weren't cheating in taxes, and weren't hiring illegal immigrants, and weren't only getting married by chupa (but civil weddings as well)"

HUH!? Granted, I've only been living in NY for two years, but this is the first time I've ever heard of this. People really do this? Why? What's the point? Legally you can only be called a dependent on your parents' taxes until you're 24 (or is it 25?), if you're not married you can't be on each other's insurance (and again, most insurance companies only allow children to be on until their early-mid 20s)... so what would be the benefit of not being legally married?

Lubab No More said...

> The people on it, should be on it because they DESERVE it (temporary setbacks- unemployment, injury, unexpected death of supporter, etc).

Great post. I would just make one comment: I don't know if anyone "deserves" welfare. But certainly there are people who need it.

Yehudi Hilchati said...

The reason you need to get new friends isn't because your friend is so frummie, but because she's a racist. It's fine if she disagrees with the welfare system, that's a political and/or social opinion, and she's perfectly entitled to it. But her snide comment about "black guys" clearly shows a blatant racism.

mlevin said...

Jessica - If you're civily unmarried and have children you're automatically qualified for more handouts from the government...

Yehudi Hilchati said...

The teacher said " Ashkenazie do not eat kitniyos on pesach, because in Europe these things weren't readily available for the Ashkenazie community.

Your teacher was ingnorant. That's not the reason for the minhag of kitniyot. The reason was because of where different grains and legumes were grown and sold and the risk that they might be mixed together and that one could buy beans without realizing that a few grains of wheat (chametz) were mixed in. If kitniyot products "weren't readily available" then there would have never been a problem.

Another point: it drives me crazy when the Yeshivish community declares that we did this or we didn't do that in Europe. As if "Europe" was one small shtetl with frum Jews with long beards.

Europe is a large continent with many countries. And Jews there have come in many differnt stripes. Plus, Jews lived in Europe for well over 1000 years. When your teacher talks about how things were done in Europe, what era and region is she referring to? She probably means some shtetl in Galizia in the 1890's. That's not "Europe". That's just one small place at one time.

It's not just semantics. It promotes ignorance about the beautiful and rich tapestry of a Judaism that spanned centuries and had many different practices across many different lands.

frumskeptic said...

Jessica: I have one friend I'm close with who did not get civily married. I literally flipped out at her. She told me why she did it,

1) To stay on her parents insurance
2) She qualified for financial aid, since her husbands salary probably wouldn't qualify.
3) Save money... I'm sure when she had her baby she went on Wic possibly welfare, and stuff like that.

Plus, I know plenty of people of my parents generation, whose kids are my age or a bit younger, who came to the US and filed for divorse (never a get though). They were able to be on welfare, save money for their childrens college, and many other benefits I can't currently remember. These people have an entire system of how they can get money out of hte government. Its sad.

I thought that only chassidish and old fashioned sephardi types did that type of stuff though. Because most of my Ashkenazie friends told me rebbeim don't marry you unless you got civilly married. Just this shabbos, I found out that a girl I know is expecting a baby. Niether her or her husband work - he just finished freshman year in college, and though she's going to be a senior in Sept, her baby will be born, I doubt she'll be in. Anyway, so my friend tells me "they're not legally married, she'll probably claim to be a single mom, sit on welfare, and get free college when she returns the following semester."

How nice... This girl wil have to pretend she doesn't know who the father of her baby is. Totally NOT a chillul hashem.

lubab: You're right. lol. deserve was the wrong word.

YH: I'm used to Jews (of all denominations) being racist. I meant I need new friends cuz they don't think.

And I totally agree with you. I rememebr asking someone how they know what we did in Europe. Plus I pointed out Spain is in Europe, and they're sephardi... I don't remember the answers I got.

David said...

I couldn't agree more, and I think your point about "light unto the nations" is exactly right. We should spend more time setting an example, and less time talking about how important we are.

Jessica said...

Weird... I guess I just assumed that most young couples would have less money than their parents, so sticking with the parents would make them lose out on money. Guess that's not the case.

הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

Anita: There definitely need to be some people in 'kolel' (we need some clergy man! Look at the Chabad!..we also need a place for people interested in Judaism to go and learn- but what is practiced today is definitely too much).

And I agree with Yehudi Hilchati- you wouldn't be complaining almost all the time if you had friends you could look up to, and understand.

Yehudi Hilchati- Well said man!

Orthoprax said...

Hashbar,

"Anita: There definitely need to be some people in 'kolel' (we need some clergy man! Look at the Chabad!..we also need a place for people interested in Judaism to go and learn- but what is practiced today is definitely too much)."

How do you think universities work? People who want to learn should go to a rabbinical college and rabbis should be paid a salary to teach. But there should be programs of study and an eventual graduation. See, I just described RIETS - and YCT and JTS for that matter.

הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

"How do you think universities work?"- I don't know, how? ?? (what are you trying to say? Is this "People who want to learn should go to a rabbinical college and rabbis should be paid a salary to teach. But there should be programs of study and an eventual graduation." a response?)

Yes, of course there has to be some sort of graduation. ...yeah, I think YU, and Chovevei Torah and JTS are nice places...pretty much the kind of idea I'm discussing...

Moshe said...

Besides graduation, there should be testing too. Anyone who's just wasting him time and getting paid should be thrown out.
We have to pay taxes to support lazy people and bs programs. Then we have to pay an obnoxious yeshiva tuition to support the lazy Jews who are already getting our tax money.
And now we're gonna get screwed even more. I just got an email that newegg.com will charge NY customers sales tax. Others will soon follow. The only retailer fighting this is Amazon.

Regarding the tzedakah organizations, find out what percentage is going to the cause. According to US law, at least 51% must go to the cause. Now this is in official organizations, in Jewish ones, the number is a lot less.
Better Business Bureau has a sub-section, Wise Giving Alliance, where you can look up what a specific charity doing with your money. Not surprisingly, most Jewish organizations are not there.
Here's something else to think about, why are there 10 organizations collecting for the same cause?

Anonymous said...

ok so granted the whole chareidishe worldview is absurd, now what? dump it? reform it? laugh at it? where do we go from here?

-rembrandt

Anonymous said...

I have one friend who didn't get legally married and 3 months later she was divorced (at 19) so i guess people might have their reasons.

so you really think cheating the govt is a jewish thing?
wake up, you just see it more in the jewish world because you live here.
I would totally cheat the goverment if i could, I work and go to school, I get no financial aid bec i work and pay tons of taxes because i'm a single girl living at home.

frumskeptic said...

"ok so granted the whole chareidishe worldview is absurd, now what? dump it? reform it? laugh at it? where do we go from here?"

I wasn't exclusive to the chassidishe worldview. And i think it should be more of a reform yourself.

"so you really think cheating the govt is a jewish thing?"

Did you read the post?

frustrated frummie said...

to the person who calls themselves anonymous, as well as wrote the last post to frum skeptic....please go reread the post, and try to brush up on your reading comprehension, before you decide to post comments on blogs, that are found to irritate many different people...thanks!!!

frumskeptic said...

oh...btw, i know that wasn't chassidishe.. lol

MO and others are just as guilty...was not at all exclusive to "super frummies"

ALL frummies (with a few exceptions) are insane

frumpunk said...

"ALL frummies (with a few exceptions) are insane"

Insane? This delicious chicken disagrees with you. Am I insane if I put raw meat on my head and insult small children? Is it insanity to crack eggs on strangers heads and ask them how they'd like their omlette? If thats insane, I don't want to live in your world of sanity.

The Chief said...

Great topic. Great post.

I have an aunt who legally divorced so she can become elligable fo Section 8, to pay the morgage on the house they own!

mlevin said...

Anonymous 5/28 8:49 pm –

“I have one friend who didn't get legally married and 3 months later she was divorced (at 19) so i guess people might have their reasons.”

Huh!?! What does that have to do with legally married or not? I really don’t get it.

“so you really think cheating the govt is a jewish thing?”

No, FS is saying that there is absolutely no excuse to cheat the government, especially if one is Jewish. She is also saying that excuse “goyim do it, too” holds no water. We are forced to dress differently, eat differently and observe differently from goyim, but we should follow goyishe example in cheating? That is an absurd argument and hillul hashem.

Dave said...

Leaving aside the issue of "we can do it because the goyim do it", it is distinctly not the case that "everyone else" is out there cheating the government.

Sorry anonymous, but most of America isn't hiding marriages to get Federal benefits, declaring their basement to be a church to get tax benefits, or otherwise trying to defraud the system. Most people just muddle through, pay their taxes, and go on with their lives.

The fact that you think everyone else is doing it says a lot more about you than it does about the rest of the country.

realistic viewer said...

You and your friend - not the same. She went to sem, you would NEVER go to sem.

There is this young man in my shul who is "frummer" then the rest of his family. Supposedly this "frummer" thing happened when he went away to Yeshiva in Israel, post-high school. Our family friend who goes to the same shul quietly remarked on day, while pointing at this boy; "You see this boy? He used to be so normal, so happy. And then he went to Israel, to Yeshiva. Now, he never even plays basketball anymore, only learns Torah. What a shame."

Different strokes for different folks....

frumskeptic said...

realistic viewer: She always said she'd "never" go to seminary. Then when she got offered full scholarship and credits ONLY if she went to seminary, she took the opportunity.

And no, I don't think she's unhappy. I don't think frum people are "unhappy" like the guy in ur shul. But I do NOT beleive that ALL those people suddently see the light in seminary and only then do they see happiness.

People were created with brains to think for themselves. Seminary and the uniformaty takes away the creativity and the wonderful thought processes of the individual mind. She was a brilliant person. She's wasting her talents.

frumskeptic said...

and before i get attacked. I'm just confirming the obvious..

I do NOT beleive all seminaries brain wash. I do NOT beleive that all people come back from seminaries messed up. I do NOT beleive that being frum means you're not "creative" or lack intellect.

Joodah said...

First time reader, I can relate to your outlook, and your take on orthodox judaism makes me laugh
(in a friendly "i can relate to that" way).

expect more comments in the future :)

frumskeptic said...

Joodah: :-)
glad I made you laugh. lol :-)