Monday, April 19, 2010

When the Secular write about Haredi Society


It has become a fashion lately that secular Jews write books about anything concerning haredi society. The more extreme some haredi / chassidic groups are, the better. Haredi "extremism (fanatism)" sells (especially to Gentiles) and this is what these kind of authors want: 
SELL ! Make money, and become famous; no matter what.

Everyone has the right to do whatever he wants but when secular Jews, let alone Gentiles, start writing about haredi Rabbis or anything haredi, mostly a big mess is coming out.
In the eighties, the Israeli left - wing journalist Amnon Levy wrote "The Haredim". A quite well written book and the reader is aware that Levy actually did research within haredi society. However, a Gerrer Chassid once told me that Amnon Levy made a big mistake: 
He wrote his book from a viewpoint of a secular leftist Jew and this doesn't fit.

Various secular Jews sneaked or tried to sneak into haredi society in order to gather information. Usually without great success, as they don't understand society and are not at all interested in religious teachings let alone Mitzvot. The only thing which counts is CASH. The "authors" don't even make an attempt to understand chassidic ideology but search for scandals. Who is whith whom and maybe a high Rabbi has a secret to uncover. This is what they are after.

I sometimes see a university professor searching for information and he complains that haredi society won't speak to him. Quite selfish ! Does he think that only because he is a professor at a (Zionist) university haredi society has the duty to speak to him. 
No, they won't. Your are not in society and keeping Mitzvot - You are out !
In fact, it takes years to get in.

Such behaviour of faked writers drives me up the rooftop. Not only because they count their cash but because they hand over false information to their readers. Other people who have no clue about haredi society believe what they write and get a totally wrong impression. Those authors lie at their readers in order to sell.

Additionally, most of such writers (at least the Israeli ones) are left - wing and hate haredi society. You can imagine then how their book content looks. The same with the professor I mentioned. Because no one wants to talk to him, he is even more against society.

One of the only authors I can recommend is the former Gerrer Chassid YITZCHAK ALFASSI. He wrote more than seventy books and I think that some of them were translated into English as well. Yitzchak Alfassi taught at Tel Aviv University and his books on Chassidut are totally reliable.

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