Sunday, January 09, 2005

A Tale of Two Conversations

I had two conversations last week with two people I know from my yeshivah days. Both have brains and both use them. One of them is more courageous in where he allows his brain to take him. Although I had considered both of them friends, since last weeks’s conversation I have demoted my relationship with one of them to a mere acquaintance.

Anyway here is a report of the conversations and I will let you decide with whom I had to alter my level of friendship.

One of them is training to be a Rov. As I said he is clever and uses his time well. He understands what he learns and has already begun taking on a rabbinic role. We were speaking about the tsunami. He said to me that he doesn’t begin to understand why some people ask how Hashem could allow this. It is obvious he says, almost all goyim deserve to be killed anyway. Any goy, he assured me, who doesn’t keep the seven Nohadic laws is punishable by death, and since few goyim keep the seven Nohadic laws they all deserve to die. So I asked him if he thought that the goyim of our neighbourhood deserve to die and he said yes. So I asked him if he would support the killing of all people that don’t keep the above mentioned laws and he said yes but he couldn’t see how it would be practical at present. So I asked him in what way was he different to Osamah-Bin-Laden, the Taleban and suicide bombers. He answered me that there was a massive difference; they were wrong – they only had to think logically and they would realise that they were wrong. So I asked him how he knew he was right. At that point he got upset. Of course he was right. Anybody who thought that he was wrong was a heretic. End of conversation number one.

In the second conversation with a second colleague, the tsunami came up again. My second friend made what I think was a very pertinent comment. He said that if people in the chareidi community would have televisions and would actually see bloated bodies on the beaches, would actually see the mass graves, would actually see the crying fathers, would actually see the wailing mothers, would actually see the orphaned children, would actually see the enormity of the collective suffering and pain, would actually the see the great destruction – having seen this they would no longer be able to continue claiming that Hashem allowed this to happen due to the peoples deviancy and idol worship. As it is so many of these fundamentalists don’t even listen to the radio. Many get their current affairs updated in the mikvah changing room. And that brings me to the end of conversation number two.


Blogger Tamara said...

So ex-friend no. 1 is training to be a Rabbi. Scary.

5:46 AM  
Blogger mnuez said...

Friend two is right. Jews in general, and religious Jews in particular are truly rachmanim bnai rachmanim. Obviously our idealogies can be as intractable as those of the nuttiest kamikaze, yet despite that (!) how often do these nut-jobs actually become kamikazes?

Tell me the Jew who isn't pained by Esev's crying? Show me the Jew who still hates a nazi's sone if said son repudiates his father and his father's crimes? Show me the frummer yid who can see a horrible tragedy and not be bothered?

Jews are no Saints. We sin as individuals, and as a nation we have many shits among us, yet how many nonJews write like this? ~ I know quite a few Jews who instinctively feel like AAChasid.

The first guy spoke with his head and the second fellow spoke with his heart, and while the yiddishe kup - being often a very able one - is easilly diseased, the Yiddishe hartz is made of hardier stuff.


2:10 AM  
Blogger Circumspection said...

"The first guy spoke with his head"
You mean he actually said something intellectual?

3:12 AM  
Blogger Ayir said...

From what I gather of the first conversation the guy essentially said "I think they should die because of X and I'm right and they're wrong because I'm thinking logically." Thinking with his head, indeed.

Btw, of course there is some logic involved in thoughts that inspire strong religious feelings. It's the left brain saying "Damn it. I'm a person too. I have a stake in this just as much as you do."

And yeah, everyone thinks their logic is the most logical. Although, I would say that it borders on fanatical if one thinks it's their logic or death.

8:33 AM  
Blogger Meshulam said...

Your post seems to make the implication (accidentally, I imagine), that the TV someone made the second Jew more attuned to the moral questions facing Jews in light of this amazing occurence. Yet, I don't own a TV and I have shied away from looking at Newspaper pictures of bloated bodies, etc... All I need to see is the number of dead people and all I can say is that I simply will never understand the extent of kind of destruction. The number is beyond my comprehension.

The Novominsker Rebbe Shlit''a said about the Tsunami that it should bring us to do tshuva. He didn't make any claims about understanding why it happened, and he certainly didn't pass judgment on the people involved. The real godolim are the must frum and the most "worldly" so to speak.

The second person is right that we all need to be more mindful of the world around us and (dare I say it) more sensitive to it. And the first guy would do well to learn a bit of hashkofoh. Maybe that will refine his "logic." He'll need it if he wants to go further then merely passing the written and oral dayonus test.

8:22 PM  
Blogger S said...

Did you let the assumption that they don't keep the 7 mitzvos to go unchallenged? These people, I think, are for the most part religious Catholics/Muslims: ie--they don't kidnap, murder, commit adultery, etc. They're fishermen. They might hate Jews, but hating Jews is not a prohibition.

3:51 PM  

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