(Note: Not sure exactly when this Q&A occurred, but Avneri served in the Knesset between 1965-74, then again in 1979-81, and Mapai was a center-Left party that lasted from 1930-1968. So that, combined with the tape number, likely places it in the mid- to late 1960s.)
Whose Sinas Chinam Caused the Churban?
Was the Beis Hamikdash destroyed because of sinas chinam, baseless hatred, among frum Jews?
No, there’s no sinas chinam among the Jews. Don’t let anyone tell you that.
The sinas chinam the Gemara talks about means the causeless hatred of the type that comes from Avneri, the representative of the homosexuals in the Knesses today.
He hates decent Jews. The communists there too, or the Mapai, they hate the Jews.
That’s the sinas chinam — but decent Jews don’t have sinas chinam.
In the times of the Beis Hamikdash it wasn’t Shamai and Hillel and their talmidim who had sinas chinam.
It wasn’t the Pharisees and the multitudes of the frum Jews who were their followers, who were the problem.
The sinas chinam was from the Tzedukim and the Notzrim. They hated the sages and the frum Jews who sided with the sages.
And it was because they were Jews, it was their sinas chinam for which the Jewish nation suffered.
I understand that even some well-meaning writers and speakers have attempted to to apply the accusation of baseless hatred to the frum Jews at the time of the churban, but it’s a serious error.
TAPE # R-55
(Used with permission from Toras Avigdor)
Anyway, it also got me thinking...
It's not uncommon for frum Jews to prefer or feel more sympathetically toward certain types of non-frum Jews than certain groups of their fellow frum Jews.
It's well-intentioned & often feels good, but it's also a sign of veering off into the wrong direction.
And this is one of the aspects of Rav Miller that I really appreciate: the consistent push toward achdut with fellow shomerei Torah u'mitzvot regardless of the variables in hashkafah.
When we have a strong base of people who keep Shabbat and all the rest, then that strengthens those of us who already keep Shabbat while providing a firm foundation for any fellow Jews who wish to join in keeping Shabbat & all the other mitzvot.
Also, when Rav Miller says above: "There's no sinas chinam among the Jews," you might be saying to yourself: "Now, wait just one minute there..."
But as described on this blog several times, your regular Jew actually wants to bond with fellow Jews.
Having come from a predominantly non-Jewish society sprinkled with assimilating Jews, the connection I feel with fellow Jews in Eretz Yisrael always stood out for me.
It was the first time I was among large groups of Jews, both frum and not so frum.
(I admit that even though I've been in Eretz Yisrael over half my life, I barely encountered the secular Leftist types. So most of my experiences have been pretty positive.)
A certain trust exists between us, especially frum Jews, and it's so natural & common, we barely notice it because it's expected; we take it for granted.
In fact, that's why we get so angry when maltreated by a fellow Jew, especially a frum Jew. We expect so much more from our fellow frummies, our disappointment becomes that much greater. We feel betrayed in a way we wouldn't with anyone else.
Just like how we feel disappointed by maltreatment from our siblings with whom we grew up.
Or the moments of friction stand out so much more, the marvelous stuff gets eclipsed.
As noted several times on this blog, a lot of Jews don't hate each other, except that the newspapers are so manipulative and vitriolic, they create fire and fan flames where there weren't any.
When I lived in Geula (near Meah Shearim), I found the people to be so nice. Demonized groups like Toldos Aharon, Neturei Karta, and Gerrer chassidus actual contain some of the most good-hearted people. Compassionate, sensitive, and warm in their own way, I encountered several situations in which I felt very cared about by Jews generally demonized as hate-filled close-minded fanatics & zealots.
Since marrying, I've found myself living in buildings comprising frum Jews of different groups, different politics, different ethnicities, different nationalities, different mother-tongues, and so on — all in one building!
And generally, people get along. Not always, but a lot.
At the very least, there's a desire to get along on the part of most.
Sure, we all have our flaws and sometimes stress & Galus overwhelm our yetzer hatov.
But I've seen a lot of good.
And I've also seen frum faces glow with pleasure when they speak about a frum friendship they've cultivated outside their specific frum group, or how their children play with children from another group.
A lot of Jews wish to bond together and even manage to do so.
Rav Miller isn't blind to our flaws; transcripts of his lecture show how aware he is of our flaws as he chastises us for everything from being noisy in a street late at night to not speaking nicely enough to our spouse to not appreciating apples & air enough.
But overall, we possess a lot of good.
Problematic leadership (NOT Gadolei Hador, but other kinds of leadership), plus media that stirs up a lot of hatred (including self-hatred), causes the main problems.
What people do wrong gets into the newspapers.
What people do right receives very little, if any, publicity.
The Stunning Greatness of "Regular" Jews