Speaking strictly as an Orthodox Jew – I have come to believe that we are increasingly becoming a divided nation religiously. But not in ways that I would have ever dreamed. So divided are we that it almost seems like we are on different planets.
It used to be a foregone conclusion that observant Jewry would always be united by the very fact of their observance. No matter how our different our Hashkafos were from each other, there was always the realization that what united us was far greater than what divided us.
Not that the relationship between Modern Orthodox Jews, Chasidic Jews, and Lithuanian type Yeshiva Charedim was always that smooth. It wasn’t. There have been some major disagreements between the factions in the past. But whenever it came down to the basics of Judaism, we all understood that there were observant Jews and non observant Jews. And that Orthodoxy represented the vast majority of observant Jews.
In Israel where small differences are often magnified beyond all proportion there was still the observance factor that united us. There were secular Jews and religious Jews. I’m not making any judgments. I’m just stating the facts.
That’s how it used to be until now. The dividing line has changed. And in my view not for the better. It is no longer religious Jews on one side and secular Jews on the other. It is Charedi Jews of the Lithuanian Yeshiva mentality on one side – and everybody else on the other. And by everyone else I include secular Jews, Dati Leumi Jews, and even Chasidim and Sephardi Jews – in at least one very important area. Parnassa – making a living.
The Lithuanian Yeshiva mentality is completely opposed to doing anything about preparing their people for the workplace. It is all Torah all the time. 24/7. The very idea of trying to prepare for a Parnassa and not relying on various forms of charity is non existent. If a Charedi man leaves a Kollel and tries to find a job, he is considered a second class citizen for abandoning the Beis HaMedrash. Finding a decent job is a near impossibility without some sort of preparation. And yet there is absolutely no preparation of any kind given – or even tolerated during the educational career of a Charedi male of the Lithuanian variety.
To the extent that anyone tries to do anything about it, it is seen as anti Torah. As is well known to readers here, the government’s decision to fund Charedi schools at past levels only if they offer a core curriculum is seen as anti Torah… even anti Semitic by comparing them to Czarist Russia of the 19th century who tried to do the same thing to Yeshivos there!