Wednesday, November 09, 2005

BT's skeptical Family Members- Chizuk Like the Old-Time Anti-semites?

It's been said that anti-semitism has kept the Jews together through the ages. There's the famous story of the Rabbis debating whether to root/pray for Napoleon to be victorious in Russia during his campaign there. A famous Russian rabbi (an early Chabad rebbe?) said he would pray for the czar ( a wicked anti-semite).

Napoleon would certainly have seemed a refreshing change, having promised to unite the european continent and pave the way for a new, enlightened empire. A key proposal of his vis-a-vis the Jews, was Napoleon's stated aim to "emancipate" the Jews. It seems plausible he would have opened the doors for Jews to new professions, land ownership, and the like.

Well, you guessed it, the Rabbi chose to pray for that anti-semitic bastard Czar. Why? Because, with emancipation would come assimilation. At least the Jews stuck together in Russia. (Being the skeptic I am, when I heard this story, retelling of all these Rabbis meeting with sudden urgency about who to pray for, it's an amusingly self-important stance. Rabbis of today haven't lost their sense of presumed gravitas of their prayers either. However, one has to wonder, why didn't they use their powerful prayers for some other outcome, even a Jewish one, like er...uh, moshiach for example? It almost seems like they weren't mekabbel the mitzvah to expect moshiach at any moment per Rambam's 13 ikkarim of Judaism, but I digress...) For more on anti-semitism, and how it is part of a divine plan to keep Jews together, see here:

But, alas, I digress... I really digress.

I was inspired to write a post about this based on a dialogue with a BT on RespondingtoJBlogs' site:

BT said:

I said:

(And if the links change, don't worry, you'll get the drift here).

In short, it seemed the Anonymous BT (our demographic niche market) was being chastised by his family for his frumness. We've ALL experienced that. In fact, that's one of the advantages for BT's- when we go off the derech, our families cheer! Not so for FFB's; their lot is to take the derech less traveled, and it must be a lonely one at that.

Could it be that anti-frumkeit families are actually keeping their BT relatives more frum, just like all those anti-semitic bastards over the years?

Of course! And it makes perfect sense. BT's essentially reject their upbringings. Their families are typically ignorant of basic judaism. And- their families are clearly just defensive since they are being made aware of just how lock-step and non-spiritual their lives actually are!

So, I guess my thesis here is that BT's are lulled into a false sense of security in some ways by their intransigent families, that they are on the right path. They become more isolated from their families and cling even more to their Rabbeim. Of course, the Rebbeim are not "brainwashing" per se, since they practice what they preach. Nevertheless, this phenomenon gives the Rabbeim all they need to solidify their hold on BT's with family problems. In Freudian/Lacanian analysis, transference takes place rather readily.

Mis-nagid can fill in the blanks of how BT's are more susceptible to being roped into this cultish cycle of events.

Thoughts yea or nea?