***Journalist, governments, secular Jews, and non-Jews the world over are all wondering the same thing:Why are the coronavirus case counts higher in hareidi neighborhoods and communities?
Reposted with Permission of Frum Watch
Some like to point to the difficulty practicing social distancing with large families in cramped quarters, while others like to point to the lack of science education and general secular knowledge. Still others point to the hareidi communities refusal to put on hold its communal way of life. We would like to share with you the real reason behind the lackadaisical commitment to, if not outright rejection of, the social distancing guidelines in the hareidi community.
The answer is one word – WORK (or the lack thereof).
Let us explain. Never before in the history of the Jewish people has a Jewish community rejected the notion of the male members of the community working for a living. From the Bible to the Mishna to the Talmud — through the times of the later codes of Jewish law — husbands and male members of the Jewish community always have worked to support themselves and their families. In ancient times, some chopped wood, some made clothing, while others were shoemakers and blacksmiths. The Jewish marriage document, the Ketubah, itself attests to the importance and obligation of the husband and father of the household to support his wife and children.
However, this all changed when Rabbi Aaron Kotler, a Lithuanian yeshiva dean, arrived in the US and founded the Lakewood yeshiva and kollel in 1943. Rabbi Kotler believed and Rav Karelitz, the Chazon Ish, in Israel agreed that the secular work place was no place for a frum hareidi male. The temptations were too great; kefirah (heresy) was rampant – and besides, the hareidi world needed Torah scholars, not Torah businessman. This Torah Only theology spawned what we now know as the “kollel for life” model, where the male members of the community learn Talmud for life, while their wives and daughters support the household.
This new order is unprecedented in the annals of Jewish history. For the first time ever, we now have in Lakewood, Bnei Brak, and Jerusalem entire communities of men who don’t work for a living. Naturally, without working men, the community ultimately has become reliant on the income of the wives (usually working part-time), government welfare, and gemachim (community charities).