The readers of this blog aren’t used to the vitriol that so characterizes some segments of the ultra-orthodox community. So let me provide one example of something so outrageous, that it can only be used for illustration.
Hasidic oriented websites have spent the last 48 hours covering the death and funeral of the grandfather of Hasidic rabbis, the Vizhnitzer Rebbe, Rabbi Hagar, who was interred yesterday. But these sites don’t only laud the master who has passed. They take issue with the lack of participation in the funeral by the so called “Lithuanian” yeshiva students.
Now, the average observer looking at the pictures taken from above the funeral –more than 100,000 individuals by police estimates – would struggle to differentiate between the different streams of Ultra-orthodox Jews participating. But the trained eye can identify that only a small number of the inheritors of the “misnagdim” came out.
The significance of this is debatable, especially in light of the purported statement of the great sage of the “Lithuanian” community, Rabbi Steinman, which encouraged his students to participate in the funeral.
But here is where the vitriol comes in. The Hasidim claim that there was a deliberate campaign (a plot, if you will) to boycott the funeral.
Why, you may ask?
The argument put forward is that the “Lithuanians” are preparing psychologically for the burial of their own grand master, who has been at death’s door for a number of weeks. The Lithuanians boycotted the funeral to insure that when the time comes for their teacher’s funeral, the press will be able to report that more people participated. This, in turn, will demonstrate the inferiority of the Hasidic community and the superiority of the “Lithuanians.”
The Lithuanians of course say this is absurd, though they can’t account for not being at the funeral.
I have a simple question for those individuals who are casting aspersions on one another.
At a time when the family of Rabbi Hagar is mourning, and at a time when rockets continue to be showered on Be’er Sheva, don’t we have better things to do with our time? Wouldn’t that be more in the spirit of both your leaders?