Friday, February 21, 2014

Why the 3rd Beis Hamikdash will come down from Heaven

The Tolna Rebbe had a fascinating (and humurous) explanation of why the 3rd Beis Hamikdash will come down from Heaven.

Picture for yourselves how this Bais Hamikdash will be built.  Let me tell you what is going to happen.

“The first ones who will enter the picture will be Agudas Yisroel who will say ‘Of course we are the ones who will build the Bais Hamikdash.  We are the ones who worry about all the needs of the chareidi community. Is there any doubt that we should be the ones in charge?’  They will convene a whole assembly of gedolim in order to decide what needs to be done.

“Meanwhile, R’ Meir Porush will come and say, ‘And what about me?  The Agudah represents everyone?  I want this to be under my auspices.’  And then there will be a second group of Rabbonim discussing how to build the Bais Hamikdash.

“The Litvaks will come next and they will start to scream. ‘Gevald! The chasidism should build the Bais Hamikdash?  They will all be dancing because they don’t know anything about the actual halachos of building the Bais Hamikdash.  They will offer to find one Kohein who actually knows the halachos of the avoda. But they will tell us:  “for this part, you are going to need the Kollel Chazon Ish.  For that part you are going to need the avreichim in Brisk.”  What are you, crazy?  We will build the Bais Hamikdash.’

“Then will come Satmar, from both sides, and they will say, ‘You are all Zionists!  You are unfit to build the Bais Hamikdash.’

“The Chabadniks will also get involved.  ‘You are all crazy!  Moshiach is ours!  It is our Rebbe, our Moshiach, what are you talking about the Bais Hamikdash?  You are all insane.’

This is so true, it is hard to believe that a Chasidic Rebbe would say this.

Source: Jerusalem - Tolna Rebbe: Why We Won't Be Able To Build The Third Bais Hamikdash On Our Own

Thursday, February 20, 2014

A different take on the new draft law for Charedim

If you read the Charedi press today it seems like a terrible day. The headlines in the Charedi press are all doom and gloom and say things like "A day that will be remembered in infamy." However, the fact is that the law that was passed was actually quite generous to the Charedim.

The law states that in the summer of 2017 the Charedi world must supply 5200 soldiers, sounds like a lot, however, this is from a potential group of 50,000. Of course this is only in 3 years, for the next 3 years there is complete peace and quiet, no draft whatsoever. Additionally, if there aren't 5200 soldiers in 2017, the law gives an extension of 6 months before any criminal sanctions take place. Last but not least, 3 years is a long time in Israel and there will most probably be a new government before then which can of course change the law.

The bottom line is that this law is actually quite favourable to the Charedim. If that is so, why the gloom and doom? The answer is very simple, it serves the Charedi interests. It creates unity and a common enemy and preserves the notion of us against them, the Charedim vs the evil Israeli government.

Source: החרדים דווקא מרוצים מחוק הגיוס החדש

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Cults in the Charedi world?

To my great surprise Mishpacha magazine (Hebrew) had a long article about cults in the Charedi world. They describe how charismatic individuals who seemt o know kabbala suck people in and take charge of their lives. They detailed how a Rosh Kollel got sucked in by a charismatic leader who spouted kabbala and seemed to know things about the Rosh Kollel. The leader then proceeded to take command of the Rosh Kollel's life in terms of decision making, all decisions had to be run by the leader etc. and of course the leader found ways to extract money until his family extricated him.

The writer of the article asked the obvious question, how is this different then Chasidim (or today even non-Chasidim) who ask the Rebbe before making any decision and of course contribute financially to the Rebbe? The answer given was not very satisfying to me and leaves the question very much open to me.

Take a look at the picture below of the Satmar Rebbes vacation villa in Miami Beach Florida. Keep in mind that Kiryas Yoel is the poorest town in the United States. 

Also take a look at my post The richest Rabbis in Israel. When you combine the money with the societal pressure to conform and stay in the fold (e.g. משמרת הצניעות), it is hard to see the difference.