The Hasids who run the Chabad houses, some in very exotic locales, provide a welcome service for Jewish tourists. Visitors can socialize or pray, or eat Kosher food together. It was not unusual for the Rabbi who ran the house in Mumbai, Gavriel Holzberg (and his wife Rivka), to host 30 people at a meal.
In conversation, Gavriel Holzberg told my brother he had noticed something odd. He had noticed a visitor who seemed to be canvassing the place. Gavriel got alarmed enough to contact the Mossad (Israel’s intelligence agency).
I don’t know what the Mossad’s reaction was, but given what happened later, they missed a chance to stop something big. A small worry, which could be dismissed as subjective experience, was the forewarning of the oncoming tornado.
My twin left India, with a baby girl from a surrogacy clinic, (a surprise that initially shook me up, but the girl, 7 years later, is a fun person to talk to and go on walks with) and then disaster struck:
Ten highly trained terrorists in inflatable speedboats landed on the Indian coast, and headed into Mumbai. Two attackers entered a railway station and killed 58 people. Then they attacked the people staying at the Taj Mahal Hotel and Oberoi Trident hotel.
I tell this story because I’m about to criticize some of the Hasidic movements for hiding from the world, and yet here is one sect that does not hide from the world, and they paid an awful price for that.
My father, who is interested in Jewish history, says that Hasidism gained many adherents after the Khmelnytsky Uprising, in which many Jews were killed, and others were left without their families or villages. Hasidism was an optimistic celebratory movement, and they needed a dose of optimism.
Anyway, we have in the U.S. various black hat groups, some who do well enough, and some of them do not get enough of a secular education to have the skills to make a living. As a result, there are a substantial number of Hasidim who rely on government aid for their large families to survive.
The problem is not that they are lazy, on the contrary, one former Hasid said in an interview that they study 16 hours a day. The problem is their attitude to secular education. The problem occurs in Israel too. Ironically, the Hasidic women (in Israel) are not as discouraged from learning skills that can bring in an income. The men though, see the highest calling as studying the word of God.
if I were to argue with them on this point, I would say this. I’d say that the ancient Israelites, like almost everyone else in that period, were an agricultural people. Even King David started out as a shepherd.
The Bible was a mixture of history and commandments, but Jews did not spend their lives in front of a book. To survive, they had to earn their daily bread, and in the process interact with the various peoples in the area.
I’d also say that poverty caused by a lack of willingness to learn skills does not ennoble people. Poverty forces people to live at the expense of others. I don’t know much of the bible, but I doubt that it encourages dependency.
Finally, I’d say that if you don’t want your children to learn about evolution, if you believe it contradicts the biblical narrative, then you can still teach your children math, or bookkeeping, or architecture, or construction, or computer programming, or some other applied skill.
From our respective positions of rabbi-counselor and former Playboy model and actress, we have often warned about pornography’s corrosive effects on a man’s soul and on his ability to function as husband and, by extension, as father. This is a public hazard of unprecedented seriousness given how freely available, anonymously accessible and easily disseminated pornography is nowadays.
Put another way, we are a guinea-pig generation for an experiment in mass debasement that few of us would have ever consented to, and whose full nefarious impact may not be known for years…
The statistics already available are terrifying. According to data provided by the American Psychological Association, porn consumption rates are between 50% and 99% among men and 30% to 86% among women, …
Nine percent of porn users said they had tried unsuccessfully to stop—an indication of addiction that is all the more startling when you consider that the dependency rate among people who try marijuana is the same—9%—and not much higher among those who try cocaine (15%), according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information.
But it is a fair guess that whereas drug-dependency data are mostly stable, the incidence of porn addiction will only spiral as the children now being raised in an environment of wall-to-wall, digitized sexual images become adults inured to intimacy and in need of even greater graphic stimulation. They are the crack babies of porn.
: No More Indulging Porn – By Shmuley Boteach and Pamela Anderson Aug. 31, 2016 – Wall Street Journal