Thoughts About Anti-Semitism

We are all quite anxious about the escalation of anti-Semitism. Our sense of security has been challenged, and we wonder what will happen next.

As believing Yidden, we know it’s not a random event, nor is the true cause that which one person or another said or did. Rather, this is Hashem’s plan, down to every last detail.

Chazal teach us, when there is a tzarah which occurs to a community, the community should research its shortcomings (as part of the context of declaring a taanisGemara, Maseches Taanis, 12b).

We may not be able to know for sure what the reasons are for the things that happen; however, we are still obligated to search for areas which need improvement, which may be the cause, or at least part of the cause.

We can search for clues, according to rules which we know Hashem uses, as Chazal teach us. And I am referring to the principle of middah k’negged middah. If we find an equivalent between the current events, and an area in which we, as a community, can use improvement, that will be a basis to connect the dots between them.

According to this “formula,” let’s consider a primary driver of the recent global wave of anti-Semitism.

I think it’s pretty clear that hateful talk about us on social media and other online forums has a huge role in the surge of anti-Semitism. I won’t elaborate on this, since I think this is not my chiddush but is quite well known.

So what does this correspond to?

How about Jewish “anti-Semitism,” frum “anti-Semitism”?

Unfortunately, online lashon hara is a huge problem. Verbal mockery of individuals, communities, movements, as well as negative videos and other forms of online lashon hara, are, sadly common.

The scope of the damage is increased exponentially when published in cyberspace. While awareness of the severity of lashon hara has improved among the frum community in some ways, this is counteracted by the power of the internet to spread information. Perhaps added to this is a certain feeling of hefkeirus, which is sometimes present online.

Patronizing sites and blogs that promulgate lashon hara is forbidden and encourages those who run them to continue in their ways. By avoiding these sites, we are doing a little bit to pressure them to improve their ways.

I hope with these lines, I am successful in convincing at least one person.

P. Friedlander