Becoming Chareidi

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    How does one become Chareidi or Yeshivish? What does he do differently? What does he wear differently? Also what is the difference between Yeshivish and Chareidi?


    There are many different ways of serving Hashem within a Torah network. Don’t try to box yourself in. Within the Chareidi/ Yeshivish community, there are many different customs. The Gedolim say not to use the internet, yet many yeshivish people do. Some people have filtered internet, and some people have no internet, and some people have nonfiltered internet. At the end of the day, Halacha is the same for all Jews, no matter what community you affiliate yourself with. The key thing is to not stress out. If I had to label myself, I could call myself the black hat- Bais Yaakov- NCSYer, because I consider myself all these things equally, other people look at me differently, and say “She is religious” or “She is a baal teshuva and therefore it makes sense for her to do ______________” I remember when I decided two weeks before 12th grade started to switch from my public school to one of the local bais yaakov that I thought to myself, I am not so sure I want to go in the black hat direction, yet I knew absolutely nothing about being a bais yaakov girl, and I am in Israel now, and I had a number of issues with seminary “A” and I had to leave that seminary, and I just keep on thinking to myself, wow, I actually want to go to a Bais Yaakov seminary, my year at that bais yaakov school in my community was amazing! and I have realized that I have taken on many blackhat nuances, yet, I am still the same me, I might wear slightly different clothes, but I still have a personality, and most of the same interests that I had before, I still fight with my mom over wantin designer clothes, but now I just go to a gemach and get them, and I don’t freak out anymore about the hashkafa, I just grow at my own pace, and I strongly suggest that you do that as well.

    Herr Himmel

    There is no such thing as a “Chareidi” or “Yeshivish”. Those who people refer to as “Chareidim” have mostly never referred to themselves as such – in America you can go to Yeshiva from Kindergarten through Kollel and you will most probably never hear “we are Chareidi” (or “Yeshivish”) and you may even never hear the term used at all.

    I generally do not use the adjective “chareidi” because it is misleading. It originated in Eretz Yisroel as a way to describe those who followed the Eidah HaChareidis as opposed to the Rabanut. But it has evolved, and has come to mean basically anyone who is not Modern Orthodox/Religious Zionist. But then it is simply the generic, default, traditional manner of being frum. And by using a brand name for the generic you are giving the impression that it is not the generic.

    Chareidim do not follow any specific teachings of any specific Rebbi, nor do they believe in any specific values not already in the Torah. Chasidim follow the specific teachings of the Baal Shem Tov and his disciples; Telzers follow the teachings and Minhagim of the Telzer Yeshiva; the Mussar movement was started by Rav Yisroel Salanter – but “Chareidi”? There was no beginning to “Chareidism” except on Har Sinai; no particular person whose teachings they follow except Moshe Rabbeinu, and no particular Minhagim they perform.

    And because words matter – it’s a strange thing but people often tend to form impressions of reality based on words and phrases rather than creating words and phrases that reflect reality – I do not use the term “Chareidi” because by giving the generic, default Judaism a label it conceals the fact that this Judaism is in fact the generic and default.


    Join a shul wear most or all men wear black hats, wear a black hat yourself, wear white shirts and a black kippa only (velvet or non-knitted cloth), base your halachic practice and hashkafic views on those of yeshivish gedolim, adopt the minhagim of people at your new community, etc. But there’s a lot of variation and there’s not one set of practices you need to adopt.

    “Charedi” is a general term for Orthodox Jews who are not MO. That includes Yeshivish, Chassidim, and some Sephardim like those associated with the Shas party in Israel. Outsiders refer to all non-chassidic charedim as Yeshivish but in “Yeshivish” circles people mean something slightly different and more specific by Yeshivish. So I know people who I and most people would call Yeshivish but they don’t call themselves that. As someone mentioned charedim is a term used mostly by outsiders.


    I am distressed when I hear of MO kids and day school kids getting involved with NCSY and kiruv groups because these groups should exist to mekarev those not keeping mitzvos, not to indoctrinate the Modern Orthodox into Haredism. The goal of kiruv should be to get the non-observant to keep shabbos, kashrus, and to learn and daven, not to push an ideological agenda, which is what they do these days.

    Avi K

    Himmel, it goes back further than the Eida HaChareidit. It was used to describe anyone who is shomer mitzvot from the pasuk (Yeshayahu 66:5) “… ????? ????? …”.



    Your feelings of distress only come from your lack of awareness of how beneficial it is. NCSY creates an atmosphere that encourages youth to see Yiddishkeit as something alive and promotes interest in spiritual growth. Why would you deny that to kids from a MO background?? They do not push a chareidi lifestyle, per say. They expose kids to excitement about being frum. It’s up to the kids to chart their own path. The advisors are merely available to provide information. They do not push their own hashkafah on the kids.


    I am a baal teshuva. NCSY was really good for me because it provided things that I needed to become frum on a more holistic level than any other Jewish organization could in my community.


    mommamia22: I imagine his distress stems from the co-ed meetings and Shabbatons they have.


    Shouldn’t this thread just be called “becoming jewish”?


    I pretty much agre with Popa, with the small caveat that the OP is already Jewish – it is observing Jewishly that is in question.

    On another note, there have been a few posts here about NCSY. I know that in some regions there is quite a bit of outreach to teens that are on the fringes of the MO world, but where I live, more than 90% of NCSY’s work is done with kids in public schools or non observant kids from non orthodox homes who are in the community high schools. There is an ongoing and quite serious internal debate within NCSY as to where best to deploy the limited resources available. The maskono has been that each region and sometimes each chapter has to determine what the facts on the ground are in each community, and do what is most productive there.

    As to an ideological agenda, its not done so much, at least not until the participant has made a determination to be frum and for example spend a year in Israel in Yeshiva, Seminary, or other program. At that point hashkafic questions crystallize a bit more, but ultimately what drives the directors and advisors I know is what is best for the participant.


    Yeshivish is how close to God you want others to think you are. Chareidi is how close you actually are.


    Chareidi is broader. Yeshivish is a type of Chareidi. So is Hasidisch or Sefardi.

    The terms are ill defined. Most human beings tend to fit into their surroundings. If you hang out in a hareidi environoment, you wake up one morning and discover and go to work and notice the people in the “normal” world all seem to be a bit strange, and when you get home you feel relieved to be back when everyone is normal.


    The term Chareidi comes from Yeshaya 66-5. See there.


    This question is apropos to this weeks parsha. 27:33- Va-yecherad Yitzchok. Yitzchok was Chareidi. One of the ideas expressed by the Daas Z’keinim is that Yitzchok was afraid that he may have done something contrary to the ratzone Hashem. (ma a-von u-ma michshol b’yadi). The ba-alei mussar say that there are no pareve actions. Everything is either in accordance with the will of Hashem or contrary to the will of Hashem. A Chareidishe Jew always has that concept on his mind and evaluates each action he takes in light of it.

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