Never Judge a Jew By His or Her Cover – Especially Israelis

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Standing in line in our tiny moshava post office, I witnessed the following scene. Two Chassidic women were at the teller and some altercation erupted with the woman next in line. I’ve been here long enough and know all three. It was about the goings on in the post office, but the older woman behind the two younger women blurted out within her rant that they – “you people” – don’t even do military service, obviously having nothing to do with stamps and registered mail.

The woman on the left remained silent, but her friend on the right calmed inquired, “and you did?” “Well, no,” the older woman answered. “When I came to Israel, I was too old.” “Oh,” was all the woman on the right answered. And with that, peace returned to the place.

Like I said, I know all three women. The older woman was an old-timer on the moshava, clearly non-religious, if not anti-religious. The two dressed Chassidic-style are ba’alot teshuva. The one on the left served in the IDF Intelligence – two years in active duty and two more in miluim (reserve duty) – before doing teshuva, while the one on the right spent her two years in the Border Police right at the Jordanian border crossing.

With well over a million of Am Yisrael having returned to Torah, ba’alei teshuva (B”H, ken yirbu), one really has no idea judging by appearances alone.

Later, when I met up again with the Magavnikit and we mentioned the incident at the post office, she merely said, “Tinokot shenishbu,” brushing it off. “She doesn’t know what Torah really is and that it alone is the root source of our security here. But truth be told, before I took on Ol Mitzvot I said similar ignorant stuff too. I even remember saying I’d never in a million years be religious.”

Haven’t we all hated – been filled with sin’at chinam (baseless hatred) – long enough?

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