Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Are Charedim Jewish Gypsies?

From a new paper by economist Peter T. Leeson:

"Gypsies believe the lower half of the human body is invisibly polluted, that supernatural defilement is physically contagious, and that non-Gypsies are spiritually toxic. I argue that Gypsies use these beliefs, which on the surface regulate their invisible world, to regulate their visible one. They use superstition to create and enforce law and order. Gypsies do this in three ways. First, they make worldly crimes supernatural ones, leveraging fear of the latter to prevent the former. Second, they marshal the belief that spiritual pollution is contagious to incentivize collective punishment of antisocial behavior. Third, they recruit the belief that non-Gypsies are supernatural cesspools to augment such punishment. Gypsies use superstition to substitute for traditional institutions of law and order. Their bizarre belief system is an efficient institutional response to the constraints they face on their choice of mechanisms of social control."

Firstly, "their bizarre beliefs" are no less bizarre than things that the majority of people in the world believe, so don't get all upset and say I'm calling Charedim bizarre. The author is an economist, which means that cultural differences are totally baffling to him. As an anthropologist by training, they don't seem bizarre at all, they seem perfectly reasonable, given the economic, political, and social circumstances in which Gypsies have been forced to live for generations.

But here's an idea: are frum superstitions, segulot, isolationism, and belief in and patronage of "tzaddikim" who can purportedly perform miracles REALLY a counter-system of law and order to actual halacha?

2 Comments:

Blogger peter said...

Roma Gypsies are descendants of Rechabites Midianite tribe . Sinti Gysies are descendants of Bene Mosheh tribe they are descendants of Moses and Ziporah .

4/07/2014 8:19 AM  
Blogger peter said...

Rechabites have similar covement like Jacob have and thats the reason why Roma live how they live my love.

4/07/2014 8:22 AM  

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