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22.2.12

The problem the Baal Teshuva movement.

The problem with Kiruv and the Baal Teshuva movement.
It had a great idea in the beginning of teaching people to learn and keep Torah. And this is I admit a great thing.

The problem with Kiruv note 1 and the Baal Teshuva movement. The movement the movement to convert Reform and Conservative young college students into  by inviting them to Sabbath meals and show them an idealized picture of what Torah is about. The words "Baal Teshuva" means newly religious.] had its glorious honeymoon when old and young, comfortable and desperate, homeless and tenured all found that what they had in common was so compelling the differences hardly seemed to matter.

Until they did.

Revolutions are always like this: at first all men are brothers, and anything is possible, and then, if you're lucky, the romance of that heady moment ripens into a relationship, instead of a breakup, an abusive marriage, or a murder-suicide. The Baal Teshuva movement had its golden age.

Part of what all Baali Teshuva  had in common was they against: the current "System," (the whole thing evolved out of the 1960's mentality) and the principle of insatiable greed that made it run, as well as the emotional and economic problems that accompanied it.

The "System" that damages people, and its devastation was on display as never before in the early 1960's.
And then came people -- the psychologically fragile, the marginal, the greedy and cruel -- some of them endlessly needy and with a huge capacity for disruption. Others who had wanted to experience a Jewish society on a grand scale found themselves trying to solve parnasa ( money) problems by using the Torah and by fraud pretending to be teaching the ancient wisdom of the Talmud (which is great).
The fraud  is what I think destroyed the beauty of it all--but it might be the very system itself that is particularly open for abuse--very much like communism


And then there was the violence. The main modus operandi can best be described by Odysseus: "We went into villages and killed all the men and took the women and children". This is done not by violence, but rather stealth and cunning. Kiruv depended on the naivety of women, and teachers play the part of righteous sages. Then the woman comes to ask advice from the teacher about her husband. the answer for was to find out the level of observance of the husband. If it is more than the accepted amount, then they tell the woman the husband is a lunatic "meshuga." If the level of observance is less, then the husband is a heretic (apikorus). This way the woman and and her children become part of the community and the husband is discarded like trash. This was almost never do this with malicious intent but just by instinct.

Next is Aish and the different Kiruv  groups. In essence, debating today has become a rhetorical tool used to control questions through obfuscation. This is why debating, is very much a root cause of propelling our anti secular knowledge forward to the next level of insipidity. This was not the case in previous epochs. Not long ago people actually presented evidence supplied by history, data, facts, and used demonstrable proofs to demonstrate the validity of arguments. There seems little use in debating in groups like Aish that do not retain respect for truth. Ironically, debating the virtue and merits of truth, moral goodness or the nature of the good life is rarely something that those who sincerely practice such things feel compelled to do.
 Rav Shach wrote what he thought about Kiruv-- and it was harsh.
There is no board of review or  a process to decide integrity. And since there is no overseeing or checking for integrity, there is no integrity.

This is the problem with empowering people that have no sense of justice. It is the reason Reb Israel Salanter started the Musar movement. Without a sense of justice, what is the point? Just the opposite. Teaching people Torah when they are unjust just gives ammunition to bad people. Thus the teachers of think they are righteous because they suppose they are bringing people to Torah, but they themselves are unjust. The whole thing has become an Animal Farm with all the Orwellian nightmares associated with it.



(note 3) bringing them into orthodoxy enforces what every  schizoid tendencies.