Monday, September 12, 2016

"אל תהי צדיק הרבה" Don't Make Things Up!

"אל תהי צדיק הרבה"

Al Tihiye Tzaddik Harbeh

Don’t Make Up New Laws in The Name of Righteousness!

Rahel Jaskow
This past Shabbat, Parshat Shoftim, at my usual Women’s Shiur/class, I learned the phrase “אל תהי צדיק הרבה.” We discussed what it could possibly mean, especially as there’s another phrase צדק צדק תרדוף, Tzedek Tzedek tirdof, “Justice justice pursue,” which gives the impression that we are supposed to be as just and righteous as possible.

But we’re also supposed to be careful not to add or eliminate Mitzvot, Commandments, and that’s where I think this Tzaddik Harbeh business comes from, adding faux/fake mitzvot.

Yesterday morning on the bus in Jerusalem, a man got up, obviously upset, because a woman and I sat across from him. In response we quickly regrouped and another woman joined us. And as the old Israeli saying goes, “the asimon went in,” I suddenly realized that his running away from us was the proverbial “Tzaddik Harbeh.”

Versions of this true story can be seen all the time on Israeli buses. The Tzaddik Harbeh crowd has forgotten basic Derech Eretz, the mitzvot, commandments between man/woman and fellow man/woman. In their striving to be extra religious/mehadrin, many (most?) males won't look at a woman and end up ignoring the opportunity to assist one, such as in getting up and giving an elderly or pregnant or a lady burdened with packages his seat.

The man who got up from his seat yesterday did not do so graciously, לשם שמיים lishem shamayim, in the Name of Gd as a mitzvah. He looked upset and horrified that we, two middle-aged (plus) women, had invaded "his space." He had placed a bag across from him just to save it from female invaders, such as ourselves.

It is wonderful that so many Chareidi men now volunteer as medics in Israel (and abroad) assisting and saving men, women, religious and not, Jew and non-Jew. Now, the next step will be to do the "little things," the ones that don't make it into the newspaper or tv news headlines. Train males from the youngest age to allow women ahead of them, to give them seats in buses and just be old-fashioned gentlemen.


Anonymous said...

Where does the Talmud or Rambam or Code of Jewish Law [Shulchan Aruch] teach that males should allow women to go ahead of them, or to give them seats on buses?

Or were these customs invented by Gentiles?

HDG, Yerushalayim, E"Y Shlemah said...

Derekh eretz kadmah latorah. דרך ארץ קדמה לתורה.

That's my answer and I'm sticking to it. I have no idea whether specifics are mentioned in our sources, but we do need to put helping a burdened, older or weaker person before ourselves, generally. I don't think the goyim actually invented kind customs for their own sake, but that doesn't make them bad for us; we just need to watch our motives.

Rahel said...

Anonymous, what is your point? Would you care to elaborate?

Batya said...

Rahel, CDG amen!

Rickismom said...

Sorry but fail to see your point. If he wants to be machmir that is his right. That he gave up his place less than graciously could be worked on, but have YOU never been tired and in a bad mood. Seems to me a bit of nit picking. True he was not gracious , but quite frankly right now neither are you.
I have sons who are more machmir than I... I roll my eyes sometimes but accept that this is their right. (And I'll take that any day over my lovely kids who are chiloni.)Baruch HaShem I have managed to teach them to have derech aretz. So he wasn't gracious. Not everybody is or will be all of the time

Batya said...

In all the decades, close to half a century, I have traveled here in public transportation pregnant then later with babies and now officially a senior citizen more Arabs have given me seats than chareidi men. And you all know that I look like what I am.

Anonymous said...

Batya: As you write, do not make more of or diminish when it comes to Jewish law.
Most of these chumros are all made up by different segments of the religious society (which has really gotten out of hand and sometimes plain sanity), depending where they originally came from (Europe, middle East) and has nothing to do really with Jewish laws. First, always comes derech eretz - Derech Eretz kadmah l'Torah! As my beloved and righteous Ima, a'h, used to say 'Tzu G-D and tzu leit', meaning to be a mensch which is first - G-D and then man. Courtesy is always the first proper human thing - on how to act and behave.

Shiloh said...

Why we just don't get it. It's all about human decency. We have gone way off track and just cannot be normal decent humans but focus on nonsensical chumrot and halachot. We are truly a laughing stock just as Daniel said. Wake up Israel, you are way off track.

gentile jim said...

I'll give my seat to any pregnant woman.

Batya said...

Jim what about old ladies like me?