The Remarkable Arrogance of Wisdom

Try to imagine the words written about Shari Arison directed at Eli Yishai because he does not decide anything without consulting Rabbi Ovadia Yosef.

There have been quite a few words written in defense of Shari Arison, of her courage and honesty. Much has also been written about the hypocrisy of her being attacked while critics remained silent in the face of others' spirituality.

Nonetheless, I would like to revisit the subject one more time. Not out of concern for Arison, a woman who possesses vast powers - both economic and evidently personal. She does not need me to come to her defense.

Rather, this affair is symbolic. The ease with which every sniveling journalist permitted himself to pour scorn and ridicule over Arison because of her statements is no less insufferable. It is an ease which is borne out of the remarkable arrogance of "wisdom" and "rationality." It is an absolute certainty that holds there are no other ways to lead one's life or to manage affairs.

This mind-set allows them to repress all other options, including those that are proven to be very effective: whether it be a field of medicine they regarded as unconventional because they know what is good for the patient better than the patient does, or the option of negotiation, co-existence, and division of assets in place of life-or-death wars. Or it can spread to any other approach that does not march in lockstep with their "enlightened" approach, whose interest is to impose a hierarchy of winners - those who exert power in order to determine what is "right" while silencing any other option.

By the logic of this prevalent "enlightenment," its dismissive attitude toward all that is different is determined in inverse proportion to the amount of strength that its adherents hold.

Organized religion, which is reliant on divine law and its sages, is the strongest. So, while those same journalists belittle ultra-Orthodox rabbis, they will be very cautious in showing them respect. Try to imagine the words written about Shari Arison instead directed at Eli Yishai because of the fact that he does not decide anything without consulting Rabbi Ovadia Yosef. Even Islam, which is hated by the power structure, does not attract such contempt.

Following in the footsteps of the official rabbis are the sorcerer-rabbis, men who engage in activities that are deserving of scorn but who still are guided by holy scripture and are for the most part connected with the religious establishment.

Then come the "environmental activists" and the assorted "health-nuts" who despite being viewed by the power structure as bizarre and extreme, at least buttress their arguments through scientific means. The bottom rung of the ladder is occupied by the spiritually guided, particularly those who have no notable guru to speak of, or any political power.

Finally, one must come to the conclusion that, yes, this is chauvinism. The dominant trend of "rationality," exclusivity of decision-making, the violent disqualification of other options, is masculinity shaped by our culture.

Thus, Nochi Dankner can consult with a psychic rabbi nicknamed "The X-Ray" and Ilan Ben-Dov can travel to the Osho ashram and they will remain respectable businessmen whose judgment is beyond reproach.

On the other hand, a woman who also communicates on her own, or through anonymous female communicators, is an abominable, contemptible creature. Proof of that is found in the example submitted by male writers in response to Arison's book: "What's next? [Bank Leumi chief] Galia Maor reading the stars?"

As if totally by chance, it was a woman who heads a bank that they needed to stand in as a hypothetical case. Once again, this is an instance of chauvinism because they took great pains to emphasize the point that she only inherited her money and that her father did not even want her to manage it.

And yet, it is true, her father too was a chauvinist. It is chauvinism, and it is very effective. Once again, it shows women what can be done to them, even if you are as powerful as Shari Arison. And it goes without saying what can be done to a woman far less powerful than Shari Arison, as most women are.