I’m usually pretty slow about responding to the topics that the BBT admins suggest to the contributors here, but the one labeled “The War Between the Modern and Chareidi” really provoked me. After all, it’s not a war. What we saw in Eretz Yisroel and Lebanon was a war. People die in war. Modern and Chareidi Jews aren’t killing each other. We may not always be nice to each other, but calling it a war is over-dramatizing. I will, however, agree, that it’s not a very warm peace.
Aside from the wording, the topic caught me because of a conversation I recently had with my son. His day camp, along with several others, rented out a water park for the afternoon. I asked if Camp “Modern” would be going. My son’s camp uses their swimming facilities, so it seemed to me they might join for a trip. My son responded with a cynical, “Them?” and then said something disparaging which I am ashamed to repeat.
I was horrified. I reminded him of who is Bubby and Zaidy are. He loves them and does not look down on them for being non-observant. I also said, “You can’t make fun of people just because they’re modern.”
My son replied, “They make fun of me because I’m Chassidish.”
Ugh. What’s a parent to do? I’m sure my son told the truth. Probably a few kids said some things they shouldn’t have. And even if my son didn’t retaliate then and there, it didn’t help his ahavas Yisroel.
To my mind, there’s really only one solution: modeling ahavas Yisroel. And the only way to do that is to develop ahavas Yisroel. So here’s one small method I’m trying for myself.
I read in Rav Avigdor Miller Speaks that when you’re walking along the street, and you pass a store owned by another Yid – not necessarily someone you know personally – daven for that person to have success in his business. In turn, Hashem will bless you because as we know, whoever blesses the children of Avraham will be blessed as well.
In keeping with this advice, I’ve added my own twist. I daven especially when my first reaction to the other person is negative. Whether my negativity arises because the other person is more modern than I, more Chareidi than I, or because I feel slighted for some personal reason, I whisper a little tefillah, usually for nachas. It definitely changes my attitude for the better.
Now of course, this isn’t the only thing. Friendship between Modern and Chareidi is an even stronger thing. In fact, I would say that one of the major achievements of this blog is that it connects people from different kehillos. And I know it’s not the only place in the Jewish world where it goes on. B’ezras Hashem, one day I’ll post about the Ayecha Shabbaton, a Shabbos that really was a life changer for me.
But just for day to day, I’m davening. I may never see the results, but Hashem listens to tefillah, so perhaps my tiny whispered prayers are making a difference for Klal Yisroel.