Yeshivish People Are Afraid Of Themselves

15 Aug

I’ve said this before, but Yeshivish Judaism is a fear-based religion. I think it’s important to discuss this a little more to point out some of the ramifications. People who ambush something, like guerrilla fighters, fear their enemy too much to face fighting them head on. So if you see someone trying to undermine or ban ideas about secularism, they fear it too much as well. Now, why is this? Why should a person who ostensibly believes all that he’s preaching, fear another idea so much that he’ll keep it at bay, not daring to think about it?

One common reason, especially with religion, is that he doesn’t believe it rationally. He is attached to it on an emotional level. Rationally, the other side makes sense. Science works right before our eyes. But if you question the religion, the consequences are disastrous, community- and eternity-wise. So you force yourself to cordon off parts of your mind and warp your thoughts to match the existing dogma precisely. You can think rationally about everything besides religious theology, or anything that challenges it. Because thought crimes lead to actual crimes, and besides, God knows your thought crimes as well and will roast you for them.

Another way of putting it: Your religion is entirely external. Something you do out of a childhood fear, like not sleeping in the dark. You force yourself to go through the motions out of this fear. Then you wonder why it’s so hard to have real feeling or kavanah. You’re trying to tap into a positive feeling that was never there. It reminds me of a story about a certain Rebbe. His student came in complaining about getting rid of ‘Machshovos Zaros’, ‘Foreign Thoughts’, during davening. He answered, “First you have to accept that those aren’t foreign thoughts, they’re your thoughts”. People twist themselves into separate people, the real “Me” who lives in the world for himself, and the fake “Me” who does what he’s told to avoid pain.

Katy Perry is a good example of this. In an interview with Rolling Stones she said that her father was a preacher who spoke in tongues, while her mother translated it for the congregation. “I knew about hell from the moment I understood a sentence. I had felt boards with Satan and people gnashing their teeth.” At the same time, she said, “I am sensitive to Russell [Brand, her fiance] taking the Lord’s name in vain and to Lady Gaga putting a rosary in her mouth, I think when you put sex and spirituality in the same bottle and shake it up, bad things happen.” This all from the singer with arguably the most sexually explicit lyrics in pop music. She’ll rebel against her father and his values, but her father’s god is untouchable. She can’t stomach following any of his rules, but she won’t mess with him directly, because then “bad things happen”. She’s basically telling God, “You leave me alone, and I’ll leave you alone.” She’s the chossid who goes to strip clubs. It comes back to the point I made here and it’s a sad way to live life. (You can trust me on that, I have a lot of practice.)

This is also why I don’t talk to most frum people about any issue related to religion anymore. They’re not trying to lie, but it’s impossible for them not to. If a point is raised that legitimately questions the dogma that they know, it needs to be silenced- not answered. Because even an issue that seems unrelated to them, like gay marriage (this is a big one these days), isn’t theoretical at all. Any dissenting thoughts threaten their immediate and eternal survival. If someone is poking a hole in your life-preserver, then no matter how good his reasons are for doing so, you’re not very likely to listen.

If you want to hear someone blogging about this like a boss, read George Orwell on the frum world.


8 Responses to “Yeshivish People Are Afraid Of Themselves”

  1. truelibertarian August 15, 2011 at 1:08 am #

    You’re right. Certain sects of Judaism are like fascist cults. What happened in New Square recently is a perfect example, and is actually a textbook example of fascism. A “nationalistic” sect that does not even allow the slightest bit of deviation from the norms established by the spiritual leader and uses violence to discourage such behavior. Whether or not the violence was ordered upon the man explicitly, implicitly, or not at all, it’s a testament to the mindset and brainwashing that occurs there. It’s disgusting.

    Unfortunately, this issue can be directly attributed to religion. Any belief system that relies upon pure dogma can cause something like this to occur. To be fair, it’s not just religion. Soviet Russia is a very good example as well. But it mostly occurs with religion.

    • itchemeyer August 15, 2011 at 1:49 am #

      Yeah it’s pretty sick out there.

    • Anonymous August 22, 2011 at 3:29 pm #

      Good point true! That’s why Chabad has such a solid record of message and mind control. Their Soviet Russian roots serve them very well. Hence large, imposing and empty buildings serving up dishes of mind meld to children, the smiling shilach’s that quickly supress any deviation (or intellictual thought) inward, outward or upward, the banal tripe circulating out of 770. The latter makes Madison Avenue take notice.

  2. tesyaa August 15, 2011 at 10:16 am #

    It’s not just the yeshivish world, it’s large portions of the MO world as well that can’t face questioning.

    I would never want to poke holes in someone’s belief, but there are a lot of people who I wouldn’t mind leaving a book like “How to Read the Bible” on their doorstep, ringing their doorbell and running away.

    • itchemeyer August 16, 2011 at 3:39 pm #

      Hmm. I’m not that familiar with the MO world. I always got the impression that they’re healthier.

      • truelibertarian August 16, 2011 at 11:04 pm #

        On the whole, I’d say they are. But then there are those ultra-Zionists who are as insular, dogmatic, and irrational as the Yeshivish world.

  3. Gutman Braun August 15, 2011 at 4:44 pm #

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