Expatriate Owl

A politically-incorrect perspective that does not necessarily tow the party line, on various matters including but not limited to taxation, academia, government and religion.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

What's the Retribution About This Time?

The news media and the blogs are all awash about a tragic automobile crash in Brooklyn which claimed the lives of an expectant couple, and, ultimately, the baby.  The couple, Nachman and Raizel Glauber, were members of the insular Satmar Jewish community.  I did not know them, but am most empathetic with the families and the community, notwithstanding my considerable differences with the Satmars.  It was a horrible tragedy.

It has become fashionable amongst the insular Chassidic Jewish communities for various individuals, groups and/or rabbis to proclaim, whenever tragedy strikes, that it was Divine Retribution for some sort of failing within the community.  The shortcoming that seems to be popular these days is tznius, or modesty.  Various pronouncements, which will not now be stoked by a hyperlink from this posting, have been read and heard that such and such a tragedy occurred because the women of the Jewish community are not fully covering their bodies, wearing provocative clothing, and/or talking with a less than modest demeanor.

But if the principle of "Mida K'Neged Mida" (English equivalents:  Measure for measure, every action has an opposite reaction, et cetera) is truly to apply, I can think of a few issues with an even closer connection than the dress and demeanor of the women.

First of all, according to the news reports, Raizel Glauber was thrown from the vehicle by the impact.  Whenever I see a report of someone being thrown from a vehicle in a crash situation, I think "Seatbelt" (or rather, the non-use thereof); and my hunches prove correct a goodly majority of the time.  There seems to be a disproportionate incidence of seat belt non-usage among the insular Jewish communities; indeed, I have had more than one past occasion to threaten some rabbis and children of rabbis with expulsion from my car for their obstinate balking at my orders to buckle up.

My Dad, whose profession required him to know and apply the laws of physics, regularly educated all of his children about various common phenomena from a physics standpoint, not the least of such being the acceleration of an automobile and the effects upon the objects therein, inanimate and otherwise.  And he would not put the car into gear until everyone was buckled up.  I acquired that habit from him.

But there is another "Mida K'Neged Mida" connection here.  Takia Walker, the owner of the speeding BMW that crashed into the livery cab in which the Glaubers were riding, has been arrested on insurance fraud charges in connection with her acquisition of the vehicle.  Insurance fraud is known to occur amongst the Satmar community, and it is condoned by the communal norms and attitudes a bit too much.

No human being truly knows G-d's plans, and how He runs this world.  It is possible (and, I believe, quite likely) that every action or inaction by a human being has its consequences in a system of what ultimately amounts to perfect justice.  So if you tell me that such and such a tragedy occurred because a woman's hemline was four inches above her ankle instead of the standard three, please consider that there are other possible causes, including but not limited to noncompliance with the law.

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