Ahavas Yisrael for those in YU/the MO community (Ask me anything)

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    commonsaychel, are you saying that speaking against MO support of LGBTQ+ lifestyle and their disregarding of basic halachas is simply “griping” ?

    Yes, every community has its issues, no doubt about that. Every human has their issues. No one and nothing is perfect. But Modern Orthodoxy is for the most part not Orthodox (with some communities being the exception) and for most part more aligned with the Conservative movement. This is not about griping but about telling it how it unfortunately is.

    Avi K

    Avirah, Hashem runs the world according to Nature. Moreover, there is free choice and there is personal responsibility. We are not fatalists like another religious group that says that all “is written”.

    Rabbenu Chananel says (Chagiga 5a)
    ופתרון יש נספה בלא וגו’ כגון אדם שהרג חבירו.

    The Or haChaimhaKadosh says on Parashat Vayeshev
    פי’ לפי שהאדם בעל בחירה ורצון ויכול להרוג מי שלא נתחייב מיתה משא”כ חיות רעות לא יפגעו באדם אם לא יתחייב מיתה לשמים, והוא אומרו ויצילהו מידם פי’ מיד הבחירי ובזה סתר אומרו ונראה מה יהיו חלומותיו וגו’ כי הבחירה תבטל הדבר ואין ראיה אם יהרגוהו כי שקר דבר:

    I really wonder what is the purpose of your libelous screeds. Chazal say (Kiddushin 70b) that one who constantly disqualifies does so with his own blemish. Could it be that these are things you hate about yourself?

    As for the Holocaust specifically, Rav Soloveichik said that we cannot know why it happened but we can learn a lesson – that all Jews are in the same boat.

    As for learning, the Netziv (He’emek Devar on Devarim 19,12) says
    כי אם ליראה. על זקניכם כי אם ללכת בכל דרכיו ולאהבה אותו ולעבוד את ה׳ בכל לבבך ובכל נפשך. על המון עם ישראל כי אם לשמור את מצות ה׳ וגו׳. על טפכם נשיכם וגרך כי אם לטוב לך. ומכ״מ נאמרו כל אזהרות אלו יחד משום שנאמרה הפרשה בכלל קהל ה׳ שבהם נכללו כל אופני אנשים וכל המתבקש מכל א׳. וכמו כן עשה דוד המלך שביקש אחת מה׳. היינו לכל א׳ כראוי לו. ת״ח יהיו ישיבתם בית ה׳ לחזות בנועמו ולבקר בהיכלו. ומי שאינו מוכשר לכך והוא מהלך בעסקיו. כי יצפנו בסוכו ביום רעה. מי שהולך למלחמה עם אויביו בצור ירוממני. מכ״מ בכלל ישראל מתבקש כל זה והדבר מובן שיש אדם שפעם עומד בזה האופן והקב״ה שואל ממנו כך וגם הוא בקשתו כך ופעם הוא באופן אחר והרי הוא אז כאדם אחר כמותו:
    I can tell you that many MO shuls do have Torah learning. There are also many MOs who learn in battei midrash – together with black hatters. In fact, originally there was a sharp distinction between shuls, which were only for prayers, and battei midrash, which were only for learning.


    Yes, it is an emotional issue and hard to be dispassionate when we have some ostensibly adult and cogent posters discussing the “evils” of girls being taught talmud or several other regressions of MO hashkafah that individually or collectively are held up as the rationale for a wide range of problems and tragedies that have befallen klal yisroel. Its become the norm after many tragedies for certain regular suspects to immediately call for teshuvah and blame women’s failure to adhere to hilchos tzinus as a major cause. Obviously my use of the familiar “kinder and kirchen” hyperoble and Taliban analogies are deliberate efforts to make a point and that is the frum tzibur has much to do on its own w/o expending so much energy on the evils of MO and “feminisim”.

    🍫Syag Lchochma

    “Its become the norm after many tragedies for certain regular suspects to immediately call for teshuvah and blame women’s failure to adhere to hilchos tzinus as a major cause.”

    I have never heard this from anyone but you. Are you gaslighting us or are you pretending random extreme views apply to the general public?


    My AhHah moment came on my YU interview
    I grew up in a YI and the Rabbi thought YU would be good for me. So I went and while there I visited the dorms. Some of my friends had brothers already there. I walked into two rooms. Both had large posters of supermodels and no, they were not tznius. I was shocked. I couldn’t understand how a place with the word Yeshiva in it’s name would allow this. I told this to my Rabbi and though he assured me he would put me in the “yeshivish” dorm I realized I had made enough excuses for my community and I headed in a different direction (ultimately ending up in Ner Israel)
    This was in the late 80’s
    Lets be honest. A survey of the gap year yeshivos in Israel will reveal that the average MO grad is not what should be called shomer shabbos. How do I know? bc my former classmates are rabbeim in these places.
    The MO community may have islands of serious students, but they are in a sea of those drowning.


    This discussion should separate theology from sociology. I see a list of MO problems to include girls learning Gemora and inappropriate tzniut and keeping shabbos. Are you suggesting, like R Eliezer, that these problems are connected – that girls find tirutzim in Gemora to go dancing in Shabbos? I don’t think so.

    Maybe confusing issue is putting everyone who is lacking observance into “MO”. MO schools invite both families looking for “MO” experience for kids and those who simply want to send kids to a posh Jewish school. This is both negative experience for the kids from the first group and hopefully positive experience for the latter.

    So, to see the effect of the school you should not simply point to graduates and see how they behave but compare students before and after they go to the school. This is now a recognized metric in education evaluating teachers and schools. Maybe someone with more knowledge about these schools can provide their observations.

    🍫Syag Lchochma

    AAQ – excellent post!

    mensch1 – thank you. I too had aa Ah Ha experience but it was some smaller ones combined. One of the “last straws” was probably when most of my high school class stopped keeping much of anything by the end of high school, except those who had “frummed out” in their Israel year, and the handful of sincere, devoted and serious Mizrachi-niks (who, by the way, have a solid frum family of grandchildren 30 years later, B”H). I figured something was up and when I looked into it more, I realized that the self serve buffet style of observance (do you keep kol isha? are you gonna cover your hair? do you wear pants? are you shomer negiah?) was a paradox in itself. If it’s optional, why do it at all? But we were told that mitzvos were mandatory just that how you observed them seemed to be optional. This was probably very much connected to AAQ’s above post as opposed to an actual hashkofa. the modern schools at that time were there to rescue the immigrants children/grandchildren who were prepared to just toss it all to avoid the persecution of Europe.


    Avi – all is indeed known, Hashem knows the future and sees it happening, but Hashem gives us free choice; that’s the old contradiction and dropping one part of it because it lets you feel secure with an Uzi won’t solve the problem. It remains that nothing can happen to you without it being from Hashem – that’s the chovos halevavos in shaar bitachon, the nefesh hachaim and virtuall every machshava sefer ever. We have a mesorah even that every minute thing that happens is hashgacha, even though there is seemingly a shitah that says that small things might not be – the seforim explain that rishon to mean that it’s relative…we don’t see the hashgocha in the small things, so le’umasaeynu it’s as if it isn’t there.

    For a very good explanation of the ohr hachaim and this topic in gener, see rav chaim friedlander’s sifsei chaim; the ohr hachaim doesn’t mean that you xan6chNge6a gezera from shomayim…he means that with bechira, you can be meorer dinim on a person and they can be judged in shomayim more severely than not – it’s like when someone is in a tzara lr be’idna dirischa, things happen that otherwise wouldn’t, but “hakol tzafui veha’reshus nesunah” is axiomatic. When paroh said to Hashem “why are you blaming me? You decreed that bnei yisroel should suffer” Hashem answered “who asked you to be the shliach?”. Wicked people end up being the shluchim for bad things and good people the shluchim for good things.

    Rabbi Soloveitchik fits into category B as mentioned above; those who believe Hashem caused the holocaust but eschew giving reasons. This opinion was very popular after the war, and still is among balebstishe people. It’s not treif, it’s just putting your head in the sand in my opinion. Also, many rabbis after the war did not want to offend survivors – this has a basis in chazal, as the gemara says it’s onaas devorim to tell someone that you’re suffering because of your sins. Rav avigdor miller, and the gedolei olam such as Rav Shach had no problem saying repeatedly that it was a punishment, but others did shy away from it, so that is worth mentioning.


    Most of those here in the CR who condemn MO hashkafah are still able to do so with a degree of intellect and civility. However, as I have followed these posts over nearly a decade, those who do so with a degree of contempt and with an absence of civility are no longer a “fringe” or “random” minority. Likewise, there are too many episodes of both natural disasters and personal tragedy where we immediately read stories about certain rabbonim (echoed by certain posters) linking them to failures in adherence to tzinius, toeavah marriage or other breakdowns in observance of halacha, frequently focused on “conservative/reform” but increasingly sweeping in MO as well.


    When davening in MO shuls, I find it strange that not only do the congregants not wear hats, including, in many cases, the Rabbi, many congregants (unlike the Rabbi) do not wear the attire that they would wear if meeting a king/nobleman/whatever.

    Any MO “halakha” on that topic?



    Just wanted to make one final point:

    Regarding alumni percentages (noticed a couple of those, so thought I’d comment on it): It is a fact that the current situation in the Modern Orthodox Chinuch world is such that the majority of alumni from Yeshiva High Schools (whether seperate [both genders included] or coed) are set on a path of frumkiet in the direction of building frum families. For example, in my graduating class in HS (just a few years ago), nearly 100% of the class went to Yeshiva in Eretz Yisrael, and that has been a trend for the past 15 or so years at least, and is not unique to my HS.


    Hakatan – they reason that in the goyishe world, it is no longer the standard to wear hats in front of choshuve people. According to many poskim, this may have some merit and one cannot say that they are violating halacha – but those that allow it, including the tzitz eliezer, recommend wearing it as that is the way of bnei torah. There is a discussion if it is better to wear a hat and miss a minyan or daven with a minyan without a hat; rav chaim kanievsky quotes his father the steipler as saying the hat is preferable.


    Just pointing out that the Posek who was mockingly called the bnei bonim guy has haskamos from Rav Moshe feimstein and Rav Shlomo Zalman Aurbach, those beacons of Modern Orthodoxy.
    While we are talking about halacha that certain groups may not follow, what happened to the halacha of bizuy Talmud chacham? Is that one optional?
    Avirah, you are just as Modern Orthodox as those who describe themselves as such are, you just happen to be meikil on other halachos than them, like lashon hara and bizuy Talmud chacham (not to mention the bitul mitzvas asey of techeiles).
    And yes, it’s just as beshita as the modern Orthodox shita on tznius. (If you were as makpid on Shemiras halashon or bizuy Talmud chacham as you are on kashrus, this thread would not exist.)


    Re: hats and kings

    Are you guys THAT sure that all Jews were always wearing black hats, especially imported and expensive ones? Using your analogy, what if I enter the King’s palace and dress as a minister and the King finds out that I am a simple visitor with a humble request?! He’ll surely call police to throw me out of the palace. I think I am better off dressing up as a simple peasant I am, in a poshute British suit. At least, maybe the King will have rochmonus and listen to me!

    I imagine it would be even scarier to have a 100 of my friends, all dressed up as Talmidei Chachamim, come to the King as a group, pushing and shoving. When one of us double-parks near the palace interfering with the Royal procession, the whole group will be arrested and sent to Gulag regardless of individual merit.


    Avira >> so long as they are wearing a yarmulkah

    I understand that there are exceptions to this also, such as professions where yarmulka may interfere with a mission or where one may be disadvantaged: legal, medical, government … We may see this less often in our times due to liberalism/multi-cultism, but in previous generations there were a lot of pretty religious people who did not cover their hats. It actually may be a sterotype among haredim, less knowledgeable than Avira, that this is MO MO (modus operandi): I was telling a hevrusa a story how someone in rural South reacted to my yarmulka, and he was genuinely surprised that I was wearing one at work there.


    Yeshivish – anyone can get haskamos, especially grandchildren of gedolei yisroel(i had refrained from calling him by name because of the kovod of rav henkin) who put on hats and make themselves appealing to choshuve people. Haskomos usually say that they did not read the contents. If the contents of a sefer are not the result of serious study, then we are forced to reinterpret the haskama, not the sefer.

    Rav Moshe gave haskomos to a lot of people he didn’t agree with, but the wording was very revealing. I recall a mizrachi guy who wrote a sefer on rashi, and rav moshe refers to him as Mr in the haskama and writes very pareve things about him – fitting who he was.

    As for bizui talmidei chachamim, if you notice, I am careful about how I speak about rabbi shechter, rabbi willig and moreso rabbi yoshe ber Soloveitchik. That doesn’t mean they are immune to criticism and that they have acheived the status of people to whom we are to submit ourselves to as subjects of “lo sasur”. Nor does it mean that because someone is a gavra in learning that his opinioks suddenly become daas torah when the Torah community has ignored or disavowed them. Shlomo carlebach was a serious talmid chochom at one point in his life; it doesn’t mean what he did was ok, and he admitted that himself. Rabbi yoshe ber likewise wrote in 5 drashos that MO is not going to reach great heights (he was a brisker after all) but is necessary to save Judaism, and that the yeshiva world wouldn’t last….of course Judaism is alive and well in the Torah world, and is a flickering candle in MO – puk chazi!

    Bemakom chilul hashem ain cholkin kovod le’rav – it’s not a “kulah” as in kulos and chumros, to point out the spiritual bankruptcy of a divergent movement, whatever individuals are involved and however knowledgeable they are in Torah. If one day, my rebbe rav Belsky would have chas veshalom gotten up and said to ordain women – ad kan; there’s no emunas chachamim when a chacham changes the Torah or violates it.

    Yochanan kohen gadol ended up becoming a tzeduka after being kohen gadol for 80 years! It’s possible.

    As for being mevatel an asei with techeles….we haven’t had it for 1500 years, and we pasken that ain techeles maakeves es halavan; we don’t consider the baal hamaor’s shita of it being hotzaah in reshus horabim either…the brisker rov may have been choshesh, but he didn’t go travelling the world trying to find techeles either – he had more important things to do. Certainly then, when a house is on fire, you don’t run to save the plastic cups…MO is awash in sin, not “kulos”, plain old aveiros, some willfully, some because of ignorance, but malei avvon either way – MO leaders should save what’s important, and not pretend that nothing’s wrong.


    AAQ – yeshiva styles change quite often; in europe, only rosh yeshivos were known to wear black and white; bochurim wore lighter colored suits, and either caps or hats of various colors, all lf course conservative by today’s wacky standards. They also changed from noticeable, distinct clothing of a yeshiva man because the mussar movement held that raising up the esteem of the yeshiva bochurim in an environment that was hostile to Torah was more important. The havdala from goyim would be acheived by immersing one’s self totally in Torah and mussar, while keeping away from goyim on a practical level as well.

    Bochurim in Lita usually didn’t even speak Lithuanian; my grandfather only spoke Yiddish in his town and in yeshivos that he went to, which were ponevezh and grodno.

    There’s a rambam (I’ve seen it quoted in the sefer ohr gedalyahu i just can’t seem to find it) that states that talmidei chachamim and their students wear hats, so this would be the source for the poskim who say that it is still preferable to wear a hat even if halacha doesn’t require it. Additionally, our culture’s lack of a value system might invalidate the premise of the above argument; many people would not be embarrassed to stand before the president in shorts and flip flops in our twisted society.

    Re, yarmulkahs and working – yekkies didn’t used to wear them when they would work. The reason for this has been a point of contention, with some attributing it to anti semtism, and others to a lechatchila, but most acquiesced to rav moshe’s psak that nowadays one must wear a yarmulkah to show that he is an observant Jew, even according to the poskim who hold that it’s not normally a chiyuv.  I have a relationship with a board member of KAJ who does not wear a yarmulkah, but puts it on inbetween customers! If I understood it correctly, rav breur seemed to hold that it was bedavka, to show a havdalah bein kodesh lechol.

    Some sefardim seem to not have worn yarmulkas in the middle east, including Syria – I saw a teshuva once from rabbi kassin, the chief rabbi of the new york Syrian community, defending the practice. I don’t know how long this practice dates back to, or what the circumstances were thereof.

    There are individuals who have received heterim for not wearing a yarmulkah, such as steven hill, an actor on a major television show who became a full baal teshuva. Such circumstances are very unique and require a psak; it’s not the sort of thing that can be decided by one’s self.  As a general rule, however, rav moshe’s psak was almost entirely accepted, as it should be.

    Avi K

    1. What is respectable garb differs according to time and place. Should Sephardim today wear fezes because at one time it was the mark of a man of standing?

    2. Many Orthodox men did not wear kippot at work or while engaging in secular studies. In fact, in Rav Hirsch’s school, the boys studied secular subjects bareheaded. In fact, originally it was only a middat chassidut. If you see old passport pictures, even talmidei chachamim have their heads uncovered as it was a requirement of the government (US passport regulations still say this but there is a religious exemption). The Cahfetzchaim also wore a cap as did Rav Kook when he was a rav in Latvia (after he came to Yerushalayim he changed to a spodik). I heard that Rav Moshe wore a straw hat in his bungalow colony


    Yeshivish, i really don’t see how to explain this to you any other way, since you’re very wrapped up in framing my very thought out and developed positions as mere mirrors of an MO abrogation of halacha. I also explained why most gedolim do not hold of pursuing techeles and why even those that hold of it (including my rebbe rav Belsky) do not make a big deal about it for their talmidim. To my knowledge, the only rabbi of note who instructs people – quite frequently i might add – to do so at the expense of giving important tochacha to his girlfriend-having constituents is rabbi shechter.


    Also yeshivish, i do believe that there is a valid toe’les in my writings – people do read these threads, and while I avoided castigation for the most part of individuals, I tried my best to explain how divergent MO is from normative halacha and hashkafa – i did so without hyperbole, in my opinion. While it is not communally acceptable for charedim to be dishonest in business, full organizations exist in MO to try and justify horrible violations of toe’va and pritzus. If you ask a random MO person (as can be seen here by some posters) they will believe that halachikally normal standards of tznius and the emphasis thereof are “taliban” and “extreme” – these are sentiments of a secular jew, not someone who claims to be Torah observant.

    There are also different standards when discussing such things than airing dirty laundry of otherwise observant jews. This is an ideology, a movement, a danger to Torah itself. As MO continues to fight for whatever is left of its soul against encroaching Open orthodoxy, we see the writing on the wall.

    Perhaps some will see the writing on the CR and rethink their ways – that’s what I did, albeit on a different forum.


    When the Gaon was about to be niftar, his last words were about the great opportunity one has to do mitzvos in this world. He lovingly grasped his tzitzis and said “for a few kopeks one can buy eternal life”. He was niftar mitoch love for the mitzvah of tzitzis that is now brazenly being referred to as a zecher…


    Also, Avi – in no sane society would jeans and a t-shirt be an honorable way of dressing; there are simply limits to the definition of kovod. I have heard the same thing about rav mosje wearing a straw hat and my LES friends have told me that they’ve seen rav dovid zt”l wear a straw hat many times in the summer when it’s hot

    🍫Syag Lchochma

    GH- you always say things like that about gaps and unfair treatment and I always agree. Then at the next opportunity you throw in those derogatory comments. A woman is a homemaker, but a yeshiva woman is locked in her kitchen. A lady wears long sleeves, but the chassidisher lady is wearing sleeves that Gd forbid don’t veer more than 3 inches from her wrist. A guy eats in a restaurant, but a chassidisher stuffs his face with garbage.

    In all sincerity, do you really not realize you do that?


    @gh, Actualy I grilled it myself in my backyard, I have a sear grill, nothing like a seared steak to make a vegetarian fall off the wagon

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