Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Meet Shimon (AKA your typical chareidi yeshiva guy)

As I mentioned below, the Slifkin controversy has generated a lot of debate on Hirhurim. In fact, there are so many people writing on it that the commenting system keeps breaking down! In the comment section of Gil's latest post, we are introduced to a new figure in the discussions: Shimon.

Shimon seems to be a really sincere and earnest fellow who is truly bothered by the scandalous things that are being said on these forums. He shares with us some of his strongly held views. Below is a sampling of Shimon's feelings about...


"As far as I know, all of the gedolim alive today, without exception, believe that it is kefirah to say that the world is more than 5765 years old."

"It doesn't matter what the scientists tell us about the age of the earth. We have to view science through the prism of Torah. The scientists always change their minds, and Torah is eternal."

About gedolim:

"Our gedolim understand the real inner workings of the universe better than any scientist."

"The gedolim in eretz yisroel are not polluted by science and the kiruv movement which has diluted pure Torah haskafot."

"I am aware that certain gedolim have said that chazal took their information from goyish sources. But they were wrong. And look who said this: men who also studied philosophy. Those who had a pure Toraha hashkafah, like the gedolim in France and Germany didn't say this."

About Rabbis:

"I know that some rabbis in the U.S. are similarly involved in the kefirah...since at least one of their dayanim has stated that the world is older than 5765 years. This means that his gittin are pasul."

"If your rebbe teaches something you should only follow it when he is alive, but if after he dies all the gedolim feel differently, you should now adopt the view of the gedolim and assume that your rebbe would have done otherwise."

"I am sorry the OU is not following the gedolim. If their mashgichim feel similarly, then it is no longer a reliable hashgachah..."

On Jews and Judaism:

"We have a terrible situation where according to the gedolim virtually all Modern Orthodox Jews and even some haredim are kofrim...This means that are all pasul edim and can't be given aliyos."

"Just because Artscroll looks frum doesn't make is so...frumkeit and observance has to be joined with adherence to daas Torah... Plenty of observant Jews are misguided because they don't listen to the gedolim."

About Kiruv:

"...All this is the fault of so called kiruv organizations and supposedly Orthodox scientists."

"...I know that many gedolim are less than happy about the kiruv movement for this reason, and that it has enabled non-Torah views to gain a foothold in yiddishkeit."

"'s possible that these gedolim said this only to bring people back to yiddishkeit but they didn't really believe it."

"...the kiruv movement which has diluted pure Torah haskafot."

And my favorite line, about yours truly:

"Hedyot -- you are an apikores so why don't you go back to where you came from."

He has many more such gems throughout the entire comment section. I heartily recommend that you go through it all to appreciate the depth of this guy's beliefs.

Many, if not most, of the posters seem to think that Shimon isn't a real person, just someone spouting mindless drivel to get everyone riled up. But his enthusiasm is very convincing. At first I was sure it was a joke, but now I'm not so sure.

He has gotten the crowd pretty worked up. On the one hand, he has the MO crowd trying to disprove all his radical positions. And from the other side, he has his chareidi buddies pleading with him to shut up before he embarrasses them even more. Poor Shimon. He just can't seem to win. What's a God-fearing, da'as torah-believing, gadol-following, yeshiva guy to do?

Whether or not Shimon is real, I think it's worth taking a closer look at him, because to me he seems to be a fairly accurate representation of the typical chareidi yeshiva guy. The only major thing that is different about Shimon is that he is speaking up. Most people who hold such views have way more tact and discretion then he seems to posses. But if you spend time in any black-hat yeshiva in America, Europe, or Israel, I guarantee that you will hear similar ideas being expressed constantly. It's definitely true that not all people who identify themselves as chareidi would agree with these positions. But the fact is that in many, many mainstream chareidi yeshivas, these views are persistently presented, they are promoted, and they are encouraged.

So why don't we hear from people like Shimon more often? Partly, because for some people, the fire eventually wears off and they adopt a more moderate stance on many issues. But for many others, it's simply because they know that people don't like hearing what they have to say, and speaking up will only antagonize their associates. Yet they continue to believe them, and quite fiercely too, convinced that they are the true keepers of the faith.

I therefore would like to thank Shimon. As I said in the comments at Hihurim, without individuals like Shimon telling us their views, frum people would be able to naively believe that the only threat a zealous yeshiva guy like Shimon poses is an extra long chazaras hashatz. If only it were so. The truth is much more grim. People like Shimon are taking over Judaism and gradually destroying it, one kol koreh at a time.


Anonymous said...

Hi there,

Im new to the blog scene but I have to say that Shimon was driving me up the wall. Great job on this post. I hope HE gets to read it. By the way, your profile says your an ex yeshiva guy speaking out. Does this mean you are a secular Jew now speaking out?

The Hedyot said...

There's a great deal in between the two poles of secular Jew and yeshiva guy. I'm somewhere in that range.

Anonymous said...

haha, thanks for that very general response. Do you still keep mitzvot and believe in the Torah.. Im asking cause I'm going through some crap right now myself.

The Hedyot said...

Depends on the day. I'm also going through a lot now and have not settled on what I do or don't believe.

Mis-nagid said...

Hedyot, a truly great post.

Anonymous said...

This guy sounds just like my brother in law who is at some fanatic yeshiva in Queens. They really believe this crap.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like one of those Yeshiva guys that never heard V'ahavta La'raecha Ca'mocha


Anonymous said...

A creature named "A" was posting who is almost as bad as shimon. They do both sound very young.

Anonymous said...

"People like Shimon are taking over Judaism and gradually destroying it..."

Hedyot - there is still time for people to wake up - and I think there is a gradual awakening. So don't despair and concede just yet.

People like Shimon don't realize that not only are they shooting themselevs in the foot, but that the shots are awakening a sleeping giant - the masses that don't agree with them.

Anonymous said...

You keep saying he is a typical charedi guy but you also say that his charedi buddies are embarrassed by him and want him to shut up. Which is it? He is definately just writing parody. I don't know anyone like that and I learned in charedi yeshivas a long time. I do know a few that approach his attitudes but that is the minority by far.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why you think this is parody. Every thing Shimon says can be found in teh writings of R. Shach and the Steipler. Are you saying that no one in the yeshiva world believes this stuff except for the roshe yeshiva? If so, then the emperor has no clothes.

Anonymous said...

"Every thing Shimon says can be found in teh writings of R. Shach and the Steipler" Provide the exact citations please. Thank you

Anonymous said...

Once upon a time, when I was learning at Shapell's, we were hanging out in the beis medrash and one of the bochurim told another that according to the Talmud, King Solomon once ruled the entire world. I remarked that surely when the Talmud said "ha'olam" in that context, they didn't mean Solomon reigned over, say, China. The bochur called me an apikorus.


Anonymous said...

Actually, after reading Shimon's quotes I could believe that he is a real person. He is not a typical yeshiva guy and I await your quotes from Rav Shach and the Steipler.

Anonymous said...

And since Shappell's is hardly a charedi place, we see that there are silly people amongst the non-charedim also.

DovBear said...

Why do you get compliments, and I get abuse? We're in the same place (if anything I am more observant than you, and more beholden to Jewish teachings than you) saying the same sort of things, but I get killed, and you don't.

Very strange.

SholomBare said...

Excuse me but this bullshit boils down to one thing that is foremost on peoples minds. Who will my children marry. They are worried about shidduchim prospects. How sick!

the shaigetz said...

Happily I have not had him on yet, but I do not see that these people are taking over. If you ask me they are becoming more vocal only because Charedim living in the West are picking up the freeer attitudes of the Western world and they feel more and more threatened. Lets face it our parents did not have to complain about an Gemara in English. It would have been burned! Today all shuls but the very most chassisdishe will have a couple.

Anyway, I just dropped by to tell you I have put you on my bar.

And Dov Bear: It's because he does not care. (-:

The Hedyot said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
The Hedyot said...

DovBear - You're in this game for the compliments? Tsk, Tsk. Don't you know the mishna in pirkei avos about that? He who chases after honor, will get a seat on the dais at the Agudah Convention. Something like that, no?

Shaigetz - Thanks for the sidebar placement.

SholomBare - The shidduch issue is a serious problem in society, but what exactly does it have to do with characters like Shimon?

And to all who are generous with compliments - thank you and don't forget to spare a few for DovBear. Apparently, he's feeling a bit insecure. :)

The Hedyot said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
DovBear said...

I don't need compliments. I was wondering rather why you don't get insults.

Do you just delete them all?

The Hedyot said...

I haven't had reason to delete anything yet, but if anyone were to write anything heretical, like say, "Hedyot is uchy", I would ask my rebbe what to do.

Anonymous said...

anon: Shapell's attracts a wide range of people. I don't know if the person who called me an apikorus would identify himself as charedi, but he certainly was on the right side of the range.

(Shapell's used to have a black hat that students could borrow, if for example someone was going to be spending an out-Shabbat in Bnei Brak and had no black hat of his own. While I was a student there, the administration gave the hat away, because all the bochurim who would be visiting a black-hat place had their own black hats, and the bochurim who didn't have black hats had no interest in going anywhere that black hats were mandatory.)


Anonymous said...

I would like to meet Shimon. Can you introduce us? There just aren't enough good Jews like me on the Internet. In fact, I might be the only one.


zal said...

"So why don't we hear from people like Shimon more often?" Probably because the internet is assur. And even if it weren't, since tv, movies, non-Jewish music & art, anything remotely related to modern culture, cellphones (for some), books on science, books on philosophy, the vast majority of dead Gadolim, R. Shimson Raphael Hirsh, large sections of the Rambam (including all of Moreh Nevukim), the AOJS, R. Nosson Slifkin, the Making of a Gadol, unfiltered NY water, sheitels that may have Indian hair, mushrooms on Pesach, and independent thought are assur they really have nothing of interest to say.

Anonymous said...

Shimon's back. Check out Hirhurim