Sunday, August 14, 2005

A sad anniversary

Today is Tisha B'Av, the saddest day of the year that commemorates countless national tragedies, foremost being the destruction of both Temples but it has expanded to also include tragedies that didn't happen on this day, such as the Crusades and the Holocaust.

Right now in Israel the "disengagement" (or, as the Arabs view it, unilateral Jewish surrender) is starting.

And tomorrow is the first year anniversary of this blog.

I remain saddened by the incredible amount of sin'at chinam in the Jewish blogosphere. The sin of Loshon Hora is bad enough when applied to an individual, but when used against a group of people it is literally unforgivable.

How many times have we seen JBlogs issue screeds, sometimes in the guise of humor, against Lubavitchers or Haredim or Modern Orthodox Jews or Likudniks or Roshei Yeshiva or Jews from Brooklyn or Jews from Teaneck or Gaza settlers or religious politicians in Israel or America? These attacks happen daily, and unfortunately the attacks are not usually aimed at the ideas that may be objectionable but to the people that believe them.

Sometimes, one sees a blog seriously discuss ideas, defending and attacking opinions. Of course this is admirable and in a loose sense it is essentially democratizing the halachic and hashkafic methodologies from previous centuries.

But, shamefully, these posts and blogs seem to be in the minority. It is easier to disparage people, especially when one has a willing audience who is happy to laugh at the jokes - and provoke a more extreme attack next time.

In general, as my readers know, my political views tend towards the conservative. But I believe something that is shockingly liberal. I believe that almost all Jewish and Israeli leaders usually do things because they honestly believe that their decisions are the best for the nation as a whole. I believe that Ariel Sharon and Shimon Peres passionately believe that disengagement is the right thing to do now, I believe that those who want to ban certain books believe they are doing the right thing, I believe that people fighting for or against metzitzah b'peh truly believe their arguments. I may strongly disagree with various opinions, but I hope I do not disparage the people who hold them. Conspiracy theories make little sense to me. It makes much more sense to be "dan l'chaf zechut", to give these leaders the benefit of the doubt, and argue against their ideas rather than try to come up with bizarre theories as to how they are really trying to do X.

I believe in achdut, unity. It hurts to see such petty and absurd infighting in the JBlogosphere. A sizable part of the world would like to see us dead, and it seems to me that we should be concentrating on what we have in common rather than what separates us.