Thursday, June 05, 2008

When The Cure Is Far Worse Than The Disease...

Source: Ynet

A fourteen year old girl was attacked in Israel when a man, purported to be from a "va'ad hatznius" poured acid on her face, legs and stomach, causing light burns. Her crime: wearing loose-fitting pants and a short sleeve shirt.

What's even more interesting is that the group had been threatening the victim's older sister for a while and it's possible that they attacked her thinking she was her older sister.

We can argue whether or not tznius regulations are too strict or should be relaxed. We can argue whether or not sheitels are acceptable, or snoods, or even no hair covering at all. But one thing I think we can all agree upon is that vigilante groups are bad. And people taking it upon themselves to throw acid upon teenagers is worse. And that doing all this in the name of Torah is the ultimate Chillul HaShem.

Ultimately, in any place where you don't have a theocratic authoritarian regime, adherence to religious rules has to come from within. You can't force someone to do the mitzvos in a place where there is freedom of religion. If you want to encourage observance of Torah U'Mitzvos, you have to do it by showing people that keeping the Torah is good. You have to do it through setting a positive example, not by throwing acid on people or beating up women on a bus.

Ultimately, however, whoever did this horrible act has done far more harm than good. If there was any chance of this family might ever become shomrei Torah U'Mitzvos, it has now been shot to hell. If there was ever any chance of showing these people that the Torah is the proper guide to life, it's gone now. And the same thing applies to probably hundreds, if not thousands of people who might have been on the fence and now have been pushed away due to this horrific act.

Congratulations. You saved us from one short sleeve shirt. But you caused a huge Chillul HaShem, an untold amount of Chillul Shabbos, eating of treif, and general non-observance of the mitzvos for hundreds or thousands of people whom you just pushed away from following the Torah -- and their descendants.

Good job fellas.

The Wolf

Hat tip: FailedMessiah

15 comments:

Truth hurts said...

"Ultimately, in any place where you don't have a theocratic authoritarian regime, adherence to religious rules has to come from within. You can't force someone to do the mitzvos in a place where there is freedom of religion. If you want to encourage observance of Torah U'Mitzvos, you have to do it by showing people that keeping the Torah is good. You have to do it through setting a positive example, not by throwing acid on people or beating up women on a bus."

Maybe I'm cynical but I don't think that simply setting an example is enough to keep people chareidi when they're embedded in a welcoming society. That's why so much of today's frum Judaism serves to make it difficult to leave; if it didn't, people would leave. Same goes for laying down the law: a simple example isn't realistically going to prevent women from wearing short sleeves. Show me a society that has chareidi norms that maintains it using nothing but positive techniques while surrounded by beckoning freedom.

ProfK said...

truth hurts, how about our own American society? The only time that we have "mass" migration away from frumkeit is when we use the rod and whip instead of the carrot. Why, when a child first starts learning from a chumash, do we give him a taste of honey? So that he will know that learning is sweet. We don't threaten him and we certainly don't beat him into accepting Torah.

Frankly, I am so horrified that someone would throw acid on someone else and claim that it is in the name of Torah and will save yiddishkeit that I hope that the family has the guts to go to the police and have the perverted animals who did this arrested. And I hope they rot in jail never to be let free. Were they in an American jail I would devoutly wish that their cell mate would be someone named Bubba.

Truth hurts said...

"truth hurts, how about our own American society?"

You mean the one with massive assimilation everywhere except where kids are raised in a cocoon with a hearty dose of xenophobia, lack of productive portable skills, minuscule contact with wider society, and marriage scheduled before independence? Because if you mean that one, I don't see your point at all.

"The only time that we have "mass" migration away from frumkeit is when we use the rod and whip instead of the carrot."

History does not bear that out. On the contrary, it shows that Jews--when given the opportunity--leave. The only post-Emancipation groups to successfully keep Jews from leaving are the ones that kept Jews from leaving. Literally.

"Why, when a child first starts learning from a chumash, do we give him a taste of honey? So that he will know that learning is sweet. We don't threaten him and we certainly don't beat him into accepting Torah."

That's cute, but the fact remains that if the kid decides the Orthodox life is not for him they'll disown him. Conditional love is the ultimate threat: be like we say or you're out.

Anonymous said...

Profk, do you think if frum kids were told by their parents that they'll accept them even if they're not frum they would stay frum?? Pulleaze.

Jewish Atheist said...

If there was any chance of this family might ever become shomrei Torah U'Mitzvos, it has now been shot to hell

I've been shocked twice now, once in the comments at DB's where someone said this would negatively affect her shidduch chances and now here, where you mention the above as a potential negative result. How about the fact that an innocent teenaged girl was assaulted and burned with acid?! It takes a mind sick with religion to even think that her future odds of becoming Orthodox are even worth mentioning in that context.

Aaron from L.A. said...

I usually try to find humor in some of the crackpot ideas that the "chumra of the Week Club"comes up with on a fairly predictable basis.But there is nothing funny about this.Who puts such despicable ideas into the heads of these nut jobs?You bet I'm angry!

ProfK said...

Anonymous,
"do you think if frum kids were told by their parents that they'll accept them even if they're not frum they would stay frum?? Pulleaze." This incident isn't about telling anyone anything. It's about physical force and coercion.It's about threats.

Do you really think that if frum kids were told by their parents that if they don't stay frum they will be doused with acid that they would stay frum?

SaraK said...

You mean the one with massive assimilation everywhere except where kids are raised in a cocoon with a hearty dose of xenophobia, lack of productive portable skills, minuscule contact with wider society, and marriage scheduled before independence? Because if you mean that one, I don't see your point at all.

truth hurts,
I don't know where you are getting your "statistics" from, but I know hundreds of people who were raised in frum homes without xenophobia, with contact with the American society and without forced marriages and they have all chosen to be frum.

BrooklynWolf said...

Jewish Athiest,

Did I not use the words "horrific" and "horrible?" Of course my first concern is for the victim. But I was commenting more on the point of the goals of the attacker. If the point was to get her to keep the mitzvos (albeit through force rather than love) then the plan was a horrible one to start.

That doesn't mean that I have any less concern for the victim.

The Wolf

Sanegor said...

From what I heard, the girl has Orange Juice or another soft drink spilled on her by accident. Maybe it is and may be it isn't truth. Let's do the usual and assume the worst - someone crazy spilled real, not citric, acid over the girls face. A sad crime, and I'm sure that Israelis with their super-efficient machine of oppression will catch, try and jail the nutcase.

But trying to paint the abstract evil "charedim" as acid-throwing inhuman aliens on basis of this incident is just a cheap PR trick by people who do this for a living. This doesn't even qualify as Chillul Hashem as it's obviously an act of a nutcase - no lack of those in Bet Shimush - and has nothing whatsoever to do with the abstract Va'ad hatznius.

For all these cases in the media, I have yet to hear a name, a conviction, a testimony, a video tape - something other then a paper tale ...

Zach Kessin said...

While Orange Juice and Coca Cola are in fact acids that just does not make sense. Why would this girl have been taken to the ER if someone spilled OJ On her? I have heard enough stories of the Beitar Modestly patrol harassing women to make me think that this is very real. I also predict that there will be riots if they try to arrest the guys who did this.

FWIW This girl is probably going to have scars on her face for life.

Commenter Abbi said...

truth hurts- you describe the exact same tactics used by the soviet union to keep pple from leaving their "utopian" society. Look where it got them.

sanegor- sorry, the "blame the media" tactic just doesn't work anymore. This has happened too many times already.

jewinjerusalem said...

For the record the girl is from betar. This is a charedi city. Probably the family is already religious. it sounds as if this girl and her sister are having doubts as to whether they want to lead a charedi lifestyle. This is unfortunately too common a problem both in israel as well as the US.
As to the issue at hand. This is horrific! Disgusting! An abomination! And every other word of horror. I'm no less charedi than the next guy, but this has absolutely no place in any society. I hope the local Beter rabbonim and police catch the criminals. There can only be the strongest condemnation!!

Jewish Atheist said...

bw:

Did I not use the words "horrific" and "horrible?" Of course my first concern is for the victim.

I didn't mean to imply otherwise, I'm sorry. I really was just shocked that one could even think of future kiruv possibilities in this context.

Anonymous said...

"Truth hurts" is right:
======================
British Jewry increasingly haredi

Published: 06/06/2008

One-third of British Jews under age 18 are fervently Orthodox, according to a new study.

A study published Friday by the umbrella group of British Jewry, the Board of Deputies, found that the British haredi community has grown at an annual rate of about 4 percent over the last two decades.

The study, by demographers David Graham and Daniel Vulkan, estimates the current size of Britain's "strictly Orthodox" population at between 22,800 and 36,400 people. There are an estimated 300,000 Jews in Britain.

Although the fervently Orthodox represent just 10 percent of the overall Jewish population in the country, one-third of British Jews under age 18 are fervently Orthodox, the study noted.
============

Small differences in retention rate add up to big differences. In one generation non-hareidi Judaism will go from 90% to 66%, shrinking as haredim grow. Britain is an open society, and only haredism, with its stick-not-carrot approach can survive the relentless pull of the wider culture.