While I have read many stories over the past year plus about various Charedi violence breaking out for various reasons, a couple of days ago, I saw something with my own eyes that made me sick.
I had occassion to be in Mea Shearim, a neighborhood I really like going to. I had to purchase some sefarim and went to Manny's (now called Or Hachaim / Manny's). They have moved about a block further down Rehov Mea Shearim and into a beautiful location. I walk in there and want to buy every sefer on every shelf!
In any case, as I approached the store, I noticed a small crowd gathered outside and then saw what all the fuss was about. Someone had thrown tar (or a tar-like substance) all over the front of the store! The windows, the awnings, the door, the ground...all were covered in a very sticky and dirty black tar. As I stood there mouth agape at this vandalism, I came to learn that there were some members of the local community who were not too pleased with some of the sefarim he has on the shelf in the store. (Lest you think he has heretical items, I further learned that some of the sefarim obejected to were by Rav Aviner and Rav Kook). In addition, last week, Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yonah Metzger was in the store and some of the locals were not too happy about that either and came in yelling "Sheigetz...get out of our neighborhood!"
So, it is surmised that this vandalism, which happened within 24 hours of the Rabbi Metzger incident, was perpetrated by some of the locals. There is a security camera outside the building but more than likely these righteous individuals wore masks per the police.
And you wonder why the Mashiach has not yet arrived? And no, I am not bashing all Charedim. What I am bashing (once again) is the belief that if you do not follow my way of Torah you are an Am Ha'aretz and I have an obligation to violate every rule in the Shulchan Aruch to prove my point. The ideas in the Gemara about damage to personal property were probably meant as theoretical anyways.
This is an example of pure, unadulterated SIN'AT CHINAM. It is the holier than thou attitude that does not allow for the idea of שבעים פנים לתורה , that as long as you are living within the framework of Halacha, there are 70 facets to Torah.
And here we are in Chodesh Elul. We begin (in the Ashkenazi tradition) Selichot in just a few days.We will turn to Hashem and ask for forgiveness for what we have and have not done. Before thinking about our Bein Adam La'Makom issues (those issues that are between man and G-d), maybe we should spend a little MORE time on our Bein Adam L'Chaveiro.
Sin'at chinam is NOT free...it has a huge price tag in that it delays (chas v'shalom) the coming of Mashiach. May we all see the light a little clearer...may we all learn to tolerate each other when living in the framework of Halacha and may we TRULY merit the coming of Mashiach...at the rate we are going right now, it certainly does not seem like this will occur anytime soon.
We ALL have our work cut out for us.