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Basic Judaism

Ultra-Orthodox Jews (Chareidim), Fanatic Religious Jews and Neturei Karta

Are Chareidim (Ultra-Orthodox Jews) who throw stones on cars on Shabbat authentic chareidim? Is it good to be an extremist? A few thoughts about extremism and being an Ultra-Orthodox Jew. Guidance for those strengthening their commitment to Judaism

| 18.11.18 | 17:31
Neturei Karta (Flash90)
When the viewer observes the TV news edition, he thinks he knows just who the chareidi community is: on the screen, he sees men dressed in black and white throwing stones, attacking policemen, hugging the president of Iran, blocking major intersections, burning garbage dumpsters, spitting at girls, and more. All of us have seen these pictures.

Any browser on secular websites is acquainted with the headlines smeared in giant letters across the screen, emphasizing that the criminal is a “chareidi” and even a “rav.”

The viewer and browser very quickly forget the great rabbis to whom they go seeking a blessing during a time of tribulation, and the tens of thousands of religious Jews who try to fulfill God’s commandments in His Torah: to love, to give in to others, to forgive, not to avenge, not to bear a grudge, not to covet, to be meticulously honest, to practice lovingkindness, to give charity and all the rest of the Torah’s commandments.

It looks like the time has come to say a few words about extremism.

"It’s important to realize that the actions of the Neturei Karta  are not similar at all to the practices of the accepted chareidi population. Their extreme actions can be catagorized as “fanatic”, and their actions tend to drive people away from accepting chareidi Judaism as being a balanced approach.

"While it is true that they dress and appear like the rest of chareidei Jews, their extreme actions have no connection at all to what charedei Judaism really stands for. Just think of all the rabbis you have heard about and you will immediately realize that there is no connection between them and such fanatic acts as displayed by the Neturei Karta, which fill the headlines and open up the news edition."

The problem is that only these groups are displayed on the media, and the media actually loves to focus on their fanaticism.

Do chareidim really live at the state’s expense? How to understand their way of life. Rabbi Zamir Cohen explains the facts

What does it mean that a person fulfills the Torah and its commandments in an extreme way? It means that he can not murder, steal, or do anything bad to someone, because all these things are explicit prohibitions. It means that a genuine fanatic will fanatically keep all commandments.

Here is an example of two fanatics: Rav Ovadya Yosef invested all his energy in learning Torah day and night, disseminating it, and strengthening its observance among the people. Rav Dr. Moshe Rothschild tirelessly worked to found the Maayanei haYeshua medical center. There are many more such people. All the charity organizations that we are familiar with and make use of their services, were founded and managed by “fanatic Jews” like these who didn’t let anything stop them in their efforts to fulfill the Torah’s commandments.

A person who murders a prime minister, or who takes pictures with the Iranian president and encourages him in his murderous behavior — are violating explicit prohibitions in the Torah. Yet people are sure that they represent the chareidi public because they are dressed in “black and white”, grow a beard or wear a yarmulkeh.

Who is a real fanatic? If we study the Bible, we will discover, for example, that Abraham our Father was a religious fanatic. The whole world was worshipping idols and he was on the other side. Moses our Teacher, Elijah the Prophet, Judah the Maccabi, Mordechai the Jew, and many other Jewish heroes were unquestionably “fanatics.”

Why do we think it is better to be “in the center?”

Many of us think that “the center” is the best place to be. That there is no need to exaggerate and be a “fanatic.” It’s true that in general, extreme behavior is usually not correct and not healthy, but when it involves devotion to our Creator and fulfilling His commandments — the source of our vitality — the greater our devotion, the better off we are.

A person who is devoted to his Creator is not a “fanatic” in the negative sense of the word. It’s like saying that a person is “a fanatically wise man” or “he is fanatically happy.” Is a person who breathes without stop throughout his life “fanatic in his breathing”? When a surgeon is performing his operation meticulously and cautiously to save the life of his patient, should we call him “a fanatic”? Should we call an athlete who refuses to give up and exerts himself to reach first place in his race “a fanatic”?

A person has to aspire to achieve as much as can in his life. A person should not be dallying between two worlds, but should follow Judaism with all his strength and live a life of faith and holiness.
Chareidim - Ultra-Orthodox Jews (Flash90)
Those who say “the center is the best place” show that they don’t really know which way is best. A person shouldn’t sometimes keep some things and sometimes not keep some things. Our Creator didn’t give us the Torah for us to choose what we want to keep and what we don’t want to keep. The Creator gave us the Torah and told us to ignore our own logic and instead to follow a divine logic beyond our perception.

We have to go with the truth until the end. Step by step until the end, without getting stuck in the middle. Let’s not look for the sector that appeals to us and go after it. Let’s go instead with confidant steps after the truth.

The chareidi world is viewed as closed and strange. What is the meaning of its segregation? Why do they wear black? How can it be that those who are taught to be considerate of others don’t serve in the army? Are they really anti-Zionist? Rav Zamir Cohen puts all the cards on the table and exposes the whole truth in his fascinating lecture: “The Chareidim, who are you and whose side are you on?”
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