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!