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One Above and Seven Below_Scribd Edition

One Above and Seven Below_Scribd Edition

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Published by binhersh
Pilot chapter of One Above and Seven Below. Main definition of Chareidi.
Pilot chapter of One Above and Seven Below. Main definition of Chareidi.

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Published by: binhersh on May 14, 2009
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05/11/2014

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One Above and Seven Below 1
One Above and Seven Below
This book is about chareidim - I believe. I assume that it is being read bysomeone who is either a chareidi or not a chareidi (that pretty much coversall the possibilities). If you are chareidi, this book is about ‘us’. If you are notchareidi, this book is about ‘them’.This, then, begs the question: is this book about ‘us’ or ‘them’, or neither?Are you chareidi? Am I chareidi? Are you a chareidi who does not think thatI am a chareidi? Does Moses our Teacher qualify? How about Korach?Pinchas? Zimri ben Saleu? Is Elijah the Prophet chareidi? Will the Messiah be chareidi? What about Adam the First Man? Noah? Samson the Mighty?King Achab?
1
 Your local Orthodox rabbi? Your great grandfather? Do youthink you qualify and actually do not? Is it possible that you would not prefer to be a chareidi but actually are? And, what about the man on the Quaker Oats cereal box?In short, what exactly is a chareidi? (And, how do I know?)I suppose that this is a fine setting for the classic cliché of three Jews andseventy-five opinions. These opinions will range from:
Ultra-Orthodox Jews
Followers of the Eida HaChareidit
Very traditional old style Jews
Ancient backward out of date Jews
Jews with beards
Jews with beards that aren’t trimmed
Jews with beards that aren’t trimmed, funny black hats, long coats andlong dresses, thick stockings, and wigs.
Jews with big families
Jews who [say that they] don’t watch television
Jews who don’t watch television, listen to the radio, read books, go tomovies, nor to college and, therefore, haven’t got a clue about what’sgoing on
Jews that don’t work 
Jews that don’t pay taxes even if they do work 
Jews that go around collecting money
1
The Mishna in Sanhedrin (10:2) lists Achab as one of three kings who have no share in theWorld to Come. You are justified to ask, “By what measure is Achab even up for considerationfor this list?” The answer is that the scripture (Kings I 17:6) relates that when Eliyahu HaNavihid from Achab in the Jordan, he was provided with meat brought by ravens. The Talmud(Chullin 5a) offers an opinion that the food was brought from the table of Achab. It seems thatAchab was partial to mehadrin level kashrut.
 
2 One Above and Seven Below 
Jews that don’t go to the Israeli army, who throw stones on Shabbat and burn Israeli flags
Jews that are deeply committed to Torah observance
Jews that send all the boys to Yeshivas and girls to Bais Yaakovs
Jews that won’t eat in your house
ChassidimAll of the above are true at least some of the time but none of them canconstitute a real definition. Even the one that is most benevolent andaltruistic - Jews that are deeply committed to Torah observance - cannot beused as a definition as there are plenty of Jews who will identify themselvesas such, and who truly are very committed to Torah observance, who would be loathe to identify themselves as chareidi and indeed do not meet any of the other descriptions that are listed.As a point of fact, let us try to apply the list of descriptions to one of the personages that are mentioned in the second paragraph of this chapter: Mosesour Teacher. My assumption is that even non-chareidim would visualizeMoses as a chareidi (especially if they consider Charlton Heston to bechareidi). But was he to be considered ultra-Orthodox?
2
 I suppose Korachthought so.
3
 Did his people think he was traditional old style? Ancient out of date? I wonder what was considered out of date in 2448.
4
 Did he have a largefamily? Only two sons. Did he send them to yeshiva? Not the first one.
5
 Didhe not work? He was a shepherd, then a diplomat, a demagogue, a judge anda Head of State. Did he dress differently than any Jews? He probably didn’twatch TV or listen to radio. Was he clueless? Did he go around collectingmoney? Okay, he took those half shekels, but not for a living. Was heChassidic? Ask any mitnaged.So, again, what is a chareidi?I actually saw an article focused on chareidim that defined chareidim as:Hebrew for Quaker. My first impulse - actually, my first repulse - was that,aside from a strange similarity in habiliment, chareidim are the furthest thingon earth from the Quakers. On reflection, however, I had to appreciate the
2
The prefix ‘ultra’ is defined in Webster’s as: exceeding the norm; extreme. It is paradoxicalfor any person to call themselves ‘ultra-Orthodox’ because in the eyes of each individual, hislevel of observance personifies the norm and does not exceed it. It is only logical whenexpressed by someone whose view of Orthodoxy is more subdued than that of the subject. Itemerges that the expressor and the subject can never be in agreement as to this status.
3
Moses, however, did not. G-d seems to have sided with Moses on this one.
4
Approximately 1312 BCE.
5
This concurs with the Mechilta that states that Moses conceded to Jethro to expose his oldestson to idolatry. There are numerous interpretations of this Mechilta, many of which maintainthat this is not to be understood literally.
 
One Above and Seven Below 3
fact that the writer was technically correct; the precise translation of the wordchareidi is indeed Quaker .
6
And the similarity in habiliment does project acomparable external image: that of a group of people who are traditional,simple, old fashioned, non-materialistic, devoutly religious, family oriented,self-contained, non-conformist, and, despite all the above, quite ostentatious.And yet I maintain that chareidim are the furthest thing on earth from theQuakers.So, after all this, what is a chareidi? And to whom does this accolade apply?I think that if one really wants to know what a chareidi is, the first thing to dois to consult with the one who coined the term – the prophet Isaiah. If Iremember correctly from the Introduction, a chareidi is one who is anxious tohear the Word of G-d which, at first glance, would seem to indicate one whois anxious to do what G-d wants.As simple as this may be, it doesn’t really work in practice. This is becauseanybody and everybody who claims to be religious is convinced that they aredoing precisely what G-d wants. Be it the Reform, Conservative,Reconstructionist, or Masorati Jew, any flavor of Orthodox Jew and evenreligious non-Jews. Everybody is certain that everything he does is justhunky-dory with G-d.But if we take a closer look at the words of the prophet, we may noticesomething a bit more profound. It’s not so much that we do what G-d wantsas much as it is that we make it our business to know what it is that G-dwants us to do. The prophet is talking about somebody who is anxious tohear what G-d has to say; somebody who is
listening 
to what G-d wants.These are the chareidim.So now we have the prophet Isaiah’s definition of a chareidi:
 A chareidi is somebody who is anxious to hear the “Word of G-d.” 
But, how do I apply this definition to the society of people who are knowntoday as chareidi? And how are we to distinguish the chareidi from his“brethren”?Well, since this is
my
book, I will give it my spin. Here is how I wish to adaptthe prophet’s definition of what is chareidi (and what is not chareidi and toapply it throughout this book:
 A non-chareidi Orthodox Jew (NCOJ) knows the Chumash. A chareidi 
6
Most people follow a conventional translation for the word “charada” to mean trembling - or quaking – in fear. I have chosen to follow the commentary of Rashi and Metzudot Tzion inIsaiah 66:5. Rashi says “Those who rush with trepidation”; Metzudot merely says “Those whorush”. These imply that the emphasis is on the
rushing 
which is due to fearfulness. The mostsuccinct term for this (IMO) is to be
anxious
.

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