Should one walk up to just about any Charedi Yid from Williamsburg, Boro Park, or Monsey and tell him of a (hypothetical) 70-year-old Jew living in St. Louis who was just diagnosed with a rare disease that will take his life. There is only one “outside” chance of a new drug that can possibly help. For reasons, its cure can only be driven down and time is of the essence. Watch how they would jump to it! To help another Yid, not caring about Shabbos, davening, missing simchas etc. They will drop everything and drive straight down to give this Jewish soul a chance to live. How many times on Yom Kipper do we run out of shul, jump in a car, desecrate everything we hold sacred, to take a 95-year-old cancer patient (with one foot in the grave) to the hospital, so that “maybe” he can live another month or two. Look around, there is no one that would dedicate themselves for another as much as our community. For even a slight chance of life, we raise millions, charter jets, spend days in search boats. Simply NO other community can hold a light to our record of dedication to another.
Here is the question: With Covid, we perform a total about-face and just don’t care if others will die. Why Is That?
No one can argue that COVID is not a killer, as it has taken the lives of over a million people, and in our own community, it left a long wake of over 1,000 deaths. In Bnei Brak just in the last 2-week period: 55 dead, buried, and gone, there are graves to go visit for proof of its effect. Yet we totally ignore reality, everyone becomes an anti- semite – hydro with zinc is the answer – the FDA are paid off – masks don’t help – doctors are hiding things– herd mentality – all fake statistics, etc. there is a “conspiracy” lurking around every corner, all the while bodies keep piling up.
This question is baffling indeed! How can these two extremes co-exist within our community.
For arguments sake let us say every politician is an anti-Semite, yes, they allow BLM to demonstrate but us they lock down. What does BLM have to do with us? What are we trying to prove – that since they let BLM act dangerously and kill some of their own, we will show them and will do the same! It might be a good argument if it would not cost us hundreds of lives. Let’s forget the government for a moment, what are WE doing to protect ourselves and our elderly. Can it be we are so callous by saying “I am young and younger people don’t die from it, who cares about the elderly?” That cannot be the issue, it is not who we are, and in other instances we do everything for the elderly. What should we be asking? Is what WE as a community are doing to try to stem these deaths? Should we not take these extra precautions ourselves without any so called anti-Semites prodding us to do so. If we were to use the recommendations of almost all the doctors, wearing masks, social distancing, no large gathering, would we not be able to save at least a few lives? How many minyonim or simchas are worth one Yiddisha neshumah?! Is there any halacha or precedent that 1,000s are now worth one life, or is the halacha just the opposite? The Question begs, forget the government, we as a community do so much for others, why with Covid we are so indifferent to the blood of our brethren?
Now once again – stop any Charedi Yid going to a shul, not practicing social distancing, not wearing a mask, dancing together in crowds, ask him why he is not taking some precautions You will get these answers: “Masks don’t help (and he finds a quote from Trump or some doctor),” “Distancing? Almost all yidden had it already,” “Dancing? We have to live!” Then ask about the 1,000’s yidden dead, “It is a conspiracy, everyone who died they blame on covid.” Next, they quickly quote that the flu kills more people. What does one have to do with the other? Cancer also kill people. What about old people? “Well they can take the hydro with zinc, and they should not go near anyone,” basically locking themselves in a closet. “It is all their own fault.”
Trying to analyze this, do they really believe they are right and the 98% of all infectious disease doctors and experts are all wrong? Is everyone out to get them? Are all health agencies noting but conspiracies? You will hear them claim that the FDA is totally corrupt – in the hands of big pharm or they are trying to influence the elections. Google it, the decision to approve a drug or not, is in the hands of roughly 173 FDA people. According to these theories, all 173 people have been paid-off. In comparison Charles Mason killed only 9 people and the 173 FDA experts and doctors are ALL willing to kill hundreds of thousands for a few bucks. Proceed to ask them how many sub agencies are in the FDA…blank stare. How many times does the sub agency that approves drugs meet? What is the FDA leading 19 member team doing themselves to have check and balances on their sub agencies? All you get is wide eyes and blank stares. Ask them if they were hired by the FDA to watch over the drug companies, would the take a million dollars to kill 5 people. Me….no, I will never do that…OH, but one thing they “know for sure” that the 173 FDA are compromised and willing to kill. Any proof – NO. It is truly funny; they know nothing about the FDA but know they are all corrupt. The FDA works with “hard data” from peer reviewed testing, not group influence. They have standards and regulations how a to meet their requirements. Should they see the HARD EVIDENCE and someone on top tells them to ignore it – all will just fold?? America is not Russia nor Afghanistan. Their job does not hinge on someone above them. I venture to bet if they were told to ignore hard data, just about everyone would raise an alarm and run to the press. These experts were vetted for their honesty before we put our lives in their hands.
To sum it up – our community thinks it is all one big conspiracy backed by anti-Semites!
To find an answer to the above posed question, let us examine what the possible reasons are:
- Our long, long, history of living in foreign lands under despot rulers, where every law was passed had an open or hidden agenda on how to make our lives miserable. 70 years in a benevolent country like America we still cannot eradicate this deep-seated suspect hatred from our sub-conscious minds. This was explicit as soon as covid came out, we believed Dr. Zelenko with his claims we are all safe and the rotten FDA are not willing to go along. Think back, we claimed Mzitza B’peh had nothing to do with science or medicine, it was a conspiracy to uproot Bris itself and they just started with this. Remember Measles! We have a good excuse why we are full of conspiracies; we can turn around and blame this thinking on the 2,000 years of oppression.
- We are a nation of kishey oh’ref a stubborn people. Yes, we stand head and shoulders above the rest when it comes to helping others. However, should it try to restrict our lives – no shuls, nor our usual fancy full blown weddings, or forced to wear masks, then we turn 100% and just don’t care about others. In other words, we are a good people as long as our lifestyles are not crammed. Once we are restricted in our lives, (forget about not caring about the non-Jew) we are willing to spill our own brothers’ blood as long as we are free to live the way we want. Overly good people until it comes to our own comfort. Can you show another group of people that are fighting these protection measure like us? Any other community in America demonstrating?
Which of these are the true reason? It is hard to gauge. Most will not accept the second reason because that argues we are a tough, obnoxious group. No one wants to accept this reprimand about themselves (will even ask how could you even say something like that about Yidden) However, the truth is this stubbornness also goes back to our collective conscious – we survived in the diaspora and had to be stubborn to survive the 2,000 years living subjected in foreign lands.
The first reason has a serious setback. The frum but not charedi yidden, in the 5 towns, Yeshiva University community, most of New Jersey, many in our own community, and the rest of the frum community in America also came with this baggage of 2,000 years living under oppressive rulers. However, it seems they were able to shed this baggage and become rational people. After 70 years, they realized this government is not out to ‘get them,” and most are not “anti-Semites,” they are just trying their best to keep everyone safe.