Home › Forums › Shidduchim › Becoming Yeshivish
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September 15, 2013 9:52 am at 9:52 am #610629
I’m a baal teshuvah, first of all. My journey to Ahavas Torah and ultimately becoming shomer mitzvot is an interesting tale. To save you the details, I did some soul searching, became heavily involved in rationalistic thought, and became kabbalat ol hamitzvot. I came to love Torah, mitzvot, chukim, and mishpatim through powerful gedolim like Saadia Gaon, Rambam, and later rabbis like Rav Hirsch and others who synthesized their regular life with their study of Torah. To put it shortly, I’m amazed by their wisdom and feel that much of it might have been drawn by their study of medicine, philosophy, linguistics, and other “secular” disciplines. Their ability to interweave that directly related to Torah study and that which was not into their lives and still be great gedolim is incredible to me.
However, studying in college only allows me to study so much. Maybe I’ll read a chapter of Mishneh Torah a day, possibly study Shulchan Aruch with a visitor from out of town, and maybe even be able to catch a new article on Aish. However, I’m simply not as dedicated to Torah study as I wish to be, even with the free time I’m allowed in the college life. I’m now at a crossroad, at one point I want to secure a decent education so that I may take care of my mother and my (potential) future wife and our children. There’s that very physical reality that I don’t want those that I love to be as poor as me, but should I focus my soul’s desire to study daas torah? I don’t know what God wants out of me, so thinking that I can just run away to yeshivah without taking care of my immediate family members seems childish and irresponsible of me. I have people investing into my future because they know I’ll return the favor (and also because they love me).
Nonetheless, I’m lacking. 15 to 16 years of living in complete secularization means that I’m far behind my Orthodox peers and learning at college means that I’m not learning Torah consistently enough. In a sense, I do want to become yeshivish, but I do have a few questions:
What does it mean to be yeshivish? Am I expected to accept works like the Zohar, ideology like the kabbalah, and involve myself in minhagim that I simply don’t accept as ethical or parallel with the core ideas of Judaism? I know yeshivish is a general term, but it seems to have very specific implications by how I see it used.
Must I abandon my ultra-ratioalist, borderline Rambamist attitude? For those familiar with these type of people know what I’m talking about.
Do I implicitly forbid myself from drawing knowledge from wisemen of all nations by becoming yeshivish? Is a science book suddenly forbidden from yeshivah study or seem as inappropriate? I’m not talking about halacha, but if I am to accept the concept of “daas torah,” that Torah is involved in all areas of life; then, doesn’t it go both ways? Doesn’t knowledge on all areas of life draw back to Torah?
To put it simply, I was fine being a regular Jew. The man who kept fast to his faith and would not bend any halacha to convenience his day-to-day life, but I’m not sure if I’m ready to be that tzadik. That scholar who spends his time sitting in yeshivah everyday. Not necessarily because I’m not ready for the commitment, but because I’m unsure of what it details and I worry for the welfare of my loved ones who might suffer without my hand.
I put this in shidduchim because a girl I’m talking to is yeshivish and is really pushing this issue. By no means is she the reason why I’d specifically become yeshivish, but she does force an issue that has been waiting to pop up to arise early.September 15, 2013 11:06 am at 11:06 am #1018478eyefortruthMember
Surely an ultra-rationalist like you would quickly realize that it is impossible to simultaneously ask what it means to be yeshivish, and label another person as being such.
Also, the Rambam, rationalist as he was, still believed in Divine intervention, which is a purely irrational conclusion. He also believed that the world was created, i.e. has a beginning, even though Aristotle himself could not support such a statement with any logical proof. One cannot be a believing Jew without accepting fundamental tenets which are not based in pure logic. But when you think about it, it is impossible for someone to live his life based on pure logic. For example, the fact that A caused B cannot prove that given another opportunity, A will in fact cause B in the future. Yet no one thinks twice about getting on a plane, or turning the ignition in a car. We live life based on assumptions, or experiential proof, i.e. we assume things to be true because they have shown themselves to be.
Enough of my rant against “rational” Judaism. Be whatever kind of Jew you want to be, as long as it is within the confines of Halachah.September 15, 2013 11:48 am at 11:48 am #1018479
I understand that living life and being religious relies on accepting basic apriori principles, but when I refer to rationalist, I mean along the “Rambamist tradition.”
The person I’m labeling as yeshivish describes herself as yeshivish, so I’m not putting a label on her. I’m simply describing her using her own words.September 15, 2013 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm #1018480Torah613TorahParticipant
TL;DR, sounds like a question for a Rabbi you like.
Or a troll.
I’m not sure which.September 15, 2013 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm #1018481ubiquitinParticipant
Yes to almost all your questions.
There is a wide spectrum of orthodox jewry out there. It doesnt sound like yeshivish is for you.September 15, 2013 1:47 pm at 1:47 pm #1018482🍫Syag LchochmaParticipant
Sounds like a rewording of the same op’s we’ve had a run of lately.September 15, 2013 2:12 pm at 2:12 pm #1018483NaftushMember
Econjew, having mentioned RSR Hirsch, you may have discovered an adage from the Gemara that his successors quoted in a sourcebook on his teachings (I believe it’s from Berachot 24): Derech Eretz is one of four things in need of reinforcement (a pasuk is given). Then the Gemara indicates how this should be done: the merchant in his merchanting, the professional in his professional practice, the soldier in his soldiering. By extension (and so RSR Hirsch taught), your college studies aren’t distractions from Torah, they are part of your Torah. Please rethink the idea of your life being a race in which there’s someone you must “catch up” with, particularly if those you’re shidduched with insist on pressuring you in that direction. As for being dissatisfied with the quantity of “real” Torah that you’ve been learning, that can cut positively or negatively.September 15, 2013 3:42 pm at 3:42 pm #1018484Sam2Participant
eyefortruth: The Rambam in the Moreh 2:25 goes through a 25-step process to philosophically and rationally prove the existence of G-d.September 15, 2013 3:49 pm at 3:49 pm #1018485popa_bar_abbaParticipant
sounds like a question for a Rabbi you like.
Or a troll.
Did someone call my name?
I think you should pretend to be frum, but really still be rationalist. And you should marry someone who is pretending to be rationalist but is really frum. And your kids can pretend to be both.September 15, 2013 6:42 pm at 6:42 pm #1018486eyefortruthMember
Sam2, i never said the existence of God cannot be proven. The fact that He created the universe from nothing cannot be proven. Look in the ????? on Yesodei Hatorah in the very beginning (Perek 1;1).
But if you dont like that one, prove to me that Mashiach will come. Its purely belief based, not logical in any way, yet if someone denies his coming, ??? ?? ??? ????? ???.September 15, 2013 6:51 pm at 6:51 pm #1018487
ubiquitin, really? Darn.
Naftush, the reason I put square quotes behind “secular” in the phrase “secular disciplines,” is because I don’t think there are studies that aren’t Torah study, though obviously I am concerned with the amount of Talmud I actually don’t know and I feel like I should step up, if not just for me.September 15, 2013 7:28 pm at 7:28 pm #1018488OURtorahParticipant
econjew- good for you for your journey back to Torah and Hashem!
I am curious to understand better why you can’t be what you coin as yeshivish and still attend university?
You can maybe do a morning seder and then go to classes at night, or opposite. and if you look at going to university as a means to getting a parnassa to support a family IyH, that is what Hashem wants from you. And you can raise them teaching them that torah is the most important thing while still maitning a job. As long as you incorporate torah into your life (aka say brachos, learn torah, be a mentche, daven three times a day, spread ahava and truth etc.) I don’t see why going to university is stopping you from being frum!September 15, 2013 7:50 pm at 7:50 pm #1018489
OURtorah, I was under the impression that “yeshivish” means very specific connotations in terms of attitude, ideology, and practice. I didn’t think being yeshivish would allow me to work.September 15, 2013 8:15 pm at 8:15 pm #1018490Sam2Participant
eyefortruth: If you can prove that G-d exists, and that He gave us the Torah, and that Chazal properly transmitted Torah Sheba’al Peh, then you have proven Moshiach as well.
But I mostly agree with you. There is some level of belief required as not all of these things are objectively provable.September 15, 2013 8:27 pm at 8:27 pm #1018491
You can devote yourself to Torah study, full-time or part-time, no matter what kind of Jew you are. Plenty of Modern Orthodox, Centrist Orthodox, “frum but not yeshivish,” and Chassidic Jews are serious about studying Torah.
In practice being Yeshivish means dressing in a certain way (black, usually velvet kippah, black hat, jacket while davening, white shirts), having a certain hashkafa (focused on the Yeshivish gedolim) which is not particularly mystical (kabbalah study is uncommon) but is certainly not rationalist, going to certain shuls and sending your kids to certain schools, and studying Torah in a certain way (focusing on Gemara and, maybe, halacha, while chassidim study chassidus too, or even focus on that, and more independent-minded people study whatever they want to study.)
It’s fairly common for Yeshivish women to work to support their husbands in full-time Torah learning for a few years (or even for their lifetime, though that’s less common outside of Israel), but it’s probably more common for men to work full time but study at a fixed time each day.
To me your hashkafa sounds most consistent with Modern or Centrist Orthodoxy. However, if you wear a black velvet kippah and/or other aspects of the Yeshivish uniform then at least some people will think of you as more yeshivish or at least “frum” between Modern and Yeshivish.September 15, 2013 8:43 pm at 8:43 pm #1018492
yytz, interesting. Is it common to study in the morning and possibly at night while still working full time? I don’t want to feel like I’m sacrificing that physical Torah study, but I wish to apply it to the “secular” area of my life too.
I’m sort of happy that being yeshivish doesn’t necessarily imply that I’m going to have to be chassid and involve myself in chassidic teahings, because quite honestly I don’t care for any of it. I think I can draw a 1000 times more knowledge from Pirkei Avot than from the entire away of chassidic books.
Is it possible to be “yeshivish” and a Hirschian though? I don’t quite understand the core values of what it means to be yeshivish, so I’m afraid to stick connotations to it.September 15, 2013 9:19 pm at 9:19 pm #1018493
One of the writers on Cross Currents recently described himself as a Hirschian, in the sense of being in favor of work and not just Torah study, and I think he would describe himself as Yeshivish. So it’s possible.
Re: chassidic seforim, I recommend perusing Likutei Eitzos and other more modern compilations of similar works (google “Set aside time each day to meditate and pray alone” and you’ll find a chapter from one such compilation online for free.) There is a lot of interesting practical advice in those books. Even non-chassidim, such as well-known rabbis in the Mussar movement, have recommended them as mussar.
Of course everyone can choose their own derech and mystical things aren’t for everyone. I would just think an open-minded and intellectually curious person who wants to grow in their own Avodas Hashem would want to open a more mystically-minded sefer now and then to see if there’s anything useful.
As for the core values and daily study schedule for a Yeshivish person, I’m not the best person to ask. Keep in mind that not all the posters on this site would describe themselves as Yeshivish.September 15, 2013 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm #1018494
yytz, I understand. I’m kind of conflicted with mystical subjects. Recently I’ve listened to a few lectures Daniel Matt and I saw the correlation and felt that his analysis between kabbalah and science was well founded. I even found myself accidentally discovering some of the core ideas of kabbalah when I tried to give a logical explanation of free will. I’m not against it; but personally for me, when I open up the Tanya and see that gentiles are said to have the same soul (as in type of soul) as a dog or a couch, it bothers me quite a bit and doesn’t seem like the values that I learned from Torah.
Thanks for your output.September 15, 2013 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm #1018495
Everyone has their own tastes — I’m personally drawn toward certain teachings, such as those of Breslov chassidus and the Ramak (as in Tomer Devorah) but some other mystical things, like complex meditations on permutations of the Divine name, don’t appeal to me at all. Re: that line in Tanya, there are many (non-offensive) interpretations of it by modern-day Chabadniks that are worth looking into.September 15, 2013 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm #1018496
True, interpretations are just that, interpretations and some are better than others. I ended up defending the idea of free will with a kaabalist interpretation that follows that all matter essentially has free will (because of stochastic phenomena in the universe). I end up contradiction myself on the subject quite often by ridiculing it and then using it.September 16, 2013 12:57 am at 12:57 am #1018497OURtorahParticipant
econjew- I don’t see why you can’t be with a certain tzibur and do other things outside that “boxed in” title. I don’t belive in these titles. We are all Jews and as long as we are in confines of Halacha and doing our adovas hashem leshem shomayim (or at least doing our humanly best) why should it matter what you call yourself. you can be sure there are very yeshvish people that just have the title but aren’t as serious behind closed doors. and you can be sure of that in any “sect” of the Orthodox spectrum. Many people are dishonet, but you should be honest with yourself. If wearing a black hat makes you feel more connected to Hashem and to a tzibur you want to assocaite with, then by all means (come join us!) but, if you are doing it just to be “yeshivish” you are missing the whole point. you need to understand the meaning behind the hat, not just put it on. So if this girl your dating is so adamant that you are yeshivish, maybe you should reconsider someone who wants to confine you to someting your not. You can have yeshivish tendancies but not be a full time learner with a wife supporting you. its ideal and it works for many is beautiful. but for lots econimic times are hard, and you clearly care about supporting your family.
hope that helped! hatzlacha on your path!September 16, 2013 1:07 am at 1:07 am #1018498
By no means is she the reason why I’d want to be yeshivish. But she does bring up relevant questions in my life that I’ve pushed off to the side for too long.September 16, 2013 1:22 am at 1:22 am #1018499from Long IslandParticipant
To me you sound like “top tier YU Yeshivish”. Many, not all, are very, very serious about learning and hashkafa, as you are. Some are also very serious about simultaneously achieving an academic-based career. Generally these young men learn all AM until about 3 PM and then first pursue their secular studies.
Yeshivish usually excludes secular education until a much, much later time.
It seems to me that the kind of young woman you are looking for is more of a michlalah/Stern woman who is very strong in her hashkafah, pursuing a career to either help with finances, or to support a husband for some years and have a truly torah-dik home.
These women want men who learn and will always learn, at least part time.
I am speaking from personal experience. I have both the Stern graduate daughter(s) and the YU top-tier son-in-laws WITH black hats who have a university education as well. I have one son-in-law that I consider a truly black-hat mindset and another son-in-law that is also very, very frum, who is still learning full time, BUT also with a “rational-intellectual understanding” approach to his learning.September 16, 2013 4:04 pm at 4:04 pm #1018500
Well thanks “from Long Island,” but I’m honestly not very good at self motivation personally so I don’t think I’m “top tier YU Yeshivish.” For example, I’ve found it impossible for the past week to get up for 7AM shacharis and an hour long seder following after it. So most of the times I find myself getting up to say the Shema, going back to bed and davening after class in private.
I’d have to move to NYC if I actually wanted to find someone that fit that hashkafa though and I know that won’t happen for the next 2-3 years.November 14, 2013 7:07 am at 7:07 am #1018501ahava282Participant
Being ” yeshivish” takes a lot of dedication. Kollel full time, black pants, white shirt. Speaking to women a bare minimum and university a no no. Kollel full time yes. No tv or secular radio.
Now, modern yeshivish is better to “label” yourself it sounds like.
This day and age you must have a parnosse and a heavy wallet at that. Kids, tuition, kosher food and its more expensive to live in a frum community in any big city.
My husband is “modern yeshivish” and doesn’t feel as a baal teshuvah that he needs to pretend to be “yeshivish”, he does not learn full time in a Kollel. You definetly need to choose a yeshivah( I suggest Ohr Somayach in eretz Yosrael or Shor Yoshuv in Far Rockaway and go either before you get married for at least one year or use your first year of marriage in a yeshiva in eretz yisrael. She should be willing to go to a sem while your in yeshiva so shes not lonley.
I know a yeshivish guy who is FFB, 35 and still not married. He says because he went pre med he was getting suggested women who were too “modern”. So, its a consequence to take.November 14, 2013 9:06 am at 9:06 am #1018502RedlegParticipant
Yeshivish, MO, Modern Yeshivish, Rationalist, mystic, chassidish, Black Hat, Grey Hat, Kippah Seruga, etc.
Can you say, “Lo Sizgodedu”?November 14, 2013 7:17 pm at 7:17 pm #1018503vootsackMember
you posted on YWN. you are clearly already yeshivish
Go to YU. you can still be yeshivish there.June 3, 2014 3:25 am at 3:25 am #1018504VogueMember
You could also go to any community college with an online program and still be yeshivish.June 3, 2014 3:33 am at 3:33 am #1018505MachaaMakerMember
What makes you want to be “yeshivish” per se( if you arent holding in that world) and not just a frum Torah Jew?June 3, 2014 3:35 am at 3:35 am #1018506👑RebYidd23Participant
The clothes?June 6, 2014 8:33 am at 8:33 am #1018507sm29Participant
I’m between Modern and Yeshivish. Think about what you feel is right for you. Whether it is learning full time, or working and learning etc. Ask a rabbi or friend for advice. And don’t let people push you to do what’s not right for you. You can feed your neshama and support your family tooJune 6, 2014 4:36 pm at 4:36 pm #1018508To be or not to beMember
I’m a conservadox-reformitive blend of ultra chareidi, sruga-wearing, Modern Yeshivish . where should I go ?
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