Monday, July 16, 2007

Nice vs. Stupid

Random, unorganized thoughts from this weekend. I started writing this post on Motzei Shabbos, then stopped, then just edited out a bunch of stuff from Shabbos. Shabbos was actually awesome; these are just some side thoughts from issues discussed.

Thank God, our friends are with rare exception exceptionally nice people, who do incredibly kind things, and who are just... good people. But the stories that happen to them are mind-boggling. It amazes us to hear the stupid, rude, insensitive, and obnoxious things that people have said - and not even necessarily because they're bad people, but because they just don't think.

On an unrelated note, while we often hear that there is so much corruption in the frum community, it is usually ignored, non-specific, etc. People really don't understand what levels of corruption there are - particularly in certain communities* - and just how much money plays a role in so many of these situations. More importantly, it has become so easy to smear people and ruin reputations if someone has a grudge; to make up a story, to slant one's own story, and the like - that the corruption is so incredibly hard to break.

The batei dinin of old were required to be made up of people who were wealthy in their own right - not only so they couldn't be bribed, but that they could not even be influenced by monetary interests. That's somewhat difficult to have nowadays, perhaps, but it is devastating to the individuals whom the batei dinin are judging. But perhaps worse is the aspect of external appearance, and how this factors in: From a public standpoint, which party winning - or more importantly, losing - would negatively impact how people view other people, institutions, etc. And this is sad, because that should not be playing a role whatsoever... and of course, means that many people get the very short end of the stick for the simple reason that they aren't perceived to be as valuable to [whomever].


Shabbos was actually amazing, though it might not seem like it from the above. There are still more good people than bad, and more honest people than not. I know the above is vague, but that's often necessary as well. It's great that most people are willing to go that extra length to do what's right and more.

* As a note, Queens has a very positive reputation for having an extremely honest, non-corrupt beis din.