Isaac Kaplan

"Is it any wonder I've got too much time on my hands?"

Friday, May 12, 2006

Higher Standards?

Back when I was in high school, I would go to a newsstand in my neighborhood and pick up a USA Today Baseball Weekly every now and then. This was before I realized that it, like the USA Today, was written on a third-grade reading level. Anyway, one Friday I went there, and the guy behind the counter asked to go to the back of the store and get some kid out of there. Seemed a little strange, but I figured I'd do the guy a favor. I saw a heimishe-looking kid with peyos behind the ears reading a magazine. Suffice it to say, it wasn't quite Mishpacha Magazine.

I was shocked and outraged. How could a yeshivish kid with peyos behind the ears read porn!? What a faker!

A few years later, my Hasidic aunt saw a movie in a theater. And one of my cousins had a similar reaction of outrage. "She's makpid on cholov yisroel, but will go to a theater!?"

But as the years have passed, I've realized that such outrage is silly. 3000 years ago, we all stood by Har Sinai. The modern, the chareidim, the chassidim, the sfardim, etc.. When it comes down to it, we all have the same mitzvos. And a kid in a srugie looking at a porn is just as bad as a yeshivish kid.

After all, it's not like everyone makes a conscious choice, "oh, I'll be a chosid" or "I'll be chareidi. Therefore, I'm accepting a higher standard upon myself." Get real, folks. The chassidim are all born into their system. And many of them have yetzer haros too, as the world found out a month ago. So it's not like someone is subscribing to a higher standard just because they happen to be born to chassidish parents. What do you expect the guy to do? Cut off his peyos and desert hs family and friends, simply because he has a yetzer hora?

To me, the outrage in these situations has to go their leaders and, in general, to the system in question. Like with that incident in BP: the rebbes have to condemn it and do everything in their power to make sure something like that never happens again. And rabbeim in chareidi yeshivos have to deal with the porn issue, rather than sweep it under the rug as if it doesn't exist. The leaders have to do their best to rein in the yetzer horas of their constituents.

Many people in different sects of Judaism have a "holier than thou" attitude, thinking that their brand of Judaism is far superior than others out there. Many chareidim will rip YU and the MOs. But when their kids are looking at porn, I feel like telling them, "clean up the mess in your backyard before ripping everyone else." It reminds me of Lipschitz's piece in Yated about how wearing a black hat is a response to "mi l'Hashem ailai," in the same week that Jack Abramoff was on the cover of every paper in the country with his Borsalino. Get off your high horse, Lipschitz.

So yeah, if the kid in the above incident thinks he's better than me simply because he has hooks behind his ears, he's got something else coming.

There are bad chassidim out there, bad chareidim, and bad MO people. Part of what separates the better groups from the worse, in my opinion, is how they deal with them. But to hold chareidim or chassidim to a higher standard simply because they were born into that system? Gimme a break.

2 Comments:

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