Sunday, March 7, 2010

Mea Shearim, Neturei Karta and a "spiritual" chassidic Tish


"So, what did you actually get from the Tish last night ?" I was asked this question from someone in Mea Shearim and it made me think. The night before I had been invited into the neighbourhood; by two different families but only made it to one. Both would have been anti - Zionist and what I learned from the family I spend the first Shabbat meal with was that I shouldn't say "Hebrew" but "Lashon HaKoidesh - the Holy Tongue".

I also learned that many Mea Shearim inhabitants don't like the Neturei Karta at all. Neither group - Rabbo Yoelish Kroisz as well as Rabbi Israel Hirsh. The anti - Zionist difference between the Neturei Karta and the rest of the anti - Zionist groups / directions in Mea Shearim is that the NK prefers the Arabs ruling over Israel whereas the rest wants any non - Jews but NOT Arabs.
On the other hand, I was told that the NK actually does quite a lot of Chesed and does provide lots of help for the needy.

After the meal on Erev Shabbat I went to the Tish of the Toldot Aharon Rebbe and stayed there until it ended (approx. 1am in the morning).
What I gained from the Tish ?
First of all, I enjoyed the space at the new TA Synagogue. The kids mainly stay on the second floor of the Ezrat Nashim (women's side) and most women place themselves on the first floor. But not only.

Although the new building provides more space, it was still crowded last Friday night. I ended up standing next to the Toldot Aharon Rebbitzen who was busy talking to a haredi female visitor. Next to us stood a TA woman I know and we had a short conversation about different chassidic groups and their Tishes.
For more than two hours I stood next to the glass Mechitzah and enjoyed myself. The Toldot Aharon Rebbe David Kahn had already made Kiddush and was just about to start his main cause. I would not say that he was in such a great mood and the Tish went rather quiet and relaxed. Rebbe David is definitely not as "lively" as his brother who is the Rebbe of the Toldot Avraham Yitzchak.

My mind didn't go to any spiritual heights but I rather looked around and thought about how a newcomer into the group would feel. The issue of acceptance arose. Not that I am seriously planning to join any group and my thoughts were just wandering around. How could a newcomer possibly fit into the closed structure of the group ? How would his life be when he decides to give up his former life ? How can someone suddenly decide to put his fate into the hands of a Rebbe and a group ?

Instead of dreaming and being overwhelmed by the chassidic feeling I a kind of compared reality (the daily life) and the imagination of the people from the outside visiting the Tish. 
Maybe this way I also gained a lot.


  1. the rest wants any non - Jews but NOT Arabs? Who is left to rule except jews or arabs? The russians? The druze? The common anti zionist direction seems very unrealistic.

    If israel were a hundred percent jewish should there be anarchism?

  2. With the glass mechitza, does the sound come through from the main shul? Is it glass from top to bottom?

  3. B"H

    It depends. At Ruzhin - Boyan the women hardly hear anything through the glass Mechitzah. At the Toldot Aharon or the Toldot Avraham Yitzchak a woman really has to stand right behind the Mechitzah in order to hear. This is a problem and this is, besides the pouring rain, another reason why I didn't go to these groupto hear the Megillah.

    When I go to the TA for Shacharit on SHabbat, I need to concentrate but still don't hear every word.
    Maybe the women get used to it after a while and do hear.

  4. B"H

    It doesn't matter who would rule but neither Jews nor Arabs. Maybe the British or the Romans are coming back.:-)))