Different levels of religious observance (frumkeit)

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  • #2004444
    ujm
    Participant

    Do those who practice a lifetime of a higher level of religious observance/frumkeit obtain a higher level of reward in Olam Haba?

    If you wish to avoid addressing the Olam Haba question, more simply asked is it preferable for a Jew to live observing a higher level?

    #2004465
    Shimon Nodel
    Participant

    Oy

    #2004496
    Avi K
    Participant

    Hashem decides based on the person’s challenges, upbringing, etc. (Rav Dessler, “Kuntras Nekudat haBechira”).

    #2004480
    philosopher
    Participant

    I think the middle way is the best. Of course, for everyone the middle way means a different thing.

    The most important things are try not to violate halacha and to serve Hashem with out hearts, not by rote.

    #2004495
    UniqueUsername
    Participant

    A Jew has many obligations.
    You are asking about what is beyond these obligations.
    What I heard and read from multiple sources is that regarding what is considered stringencies or optional is that one should do what is appropriate for his spiritual level. Over time, one can raise their spiritual level and thereby “raise the bar”, so to speak.
    Doing what is beyond one’s real level at the time can do real spiritual damage.

    #2004553
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    Avi K, I have a proof to you from the Midrash of ולא יכלו אחיו לענות אותו and the brothers of Yosef could not answer him, what are we going to do when we will be judged לפי מה שהוא according to what he is, what his background is. The Rambam in Hilchas Yesodei Hatora (5,11) says that chilul Hashem is according to expectations. These people are expected a higher level of behavior all over, also bein adam lechavero.

    #2004554
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    The Chasam Sofer interprets לא תעלה במעלות על מזבחי don’t elevate yourself higher than your status, people expect from you, אשר לא תגלה ערותך עליו, so that your faults should not be revealed.

    #2004557
    Little Froggie
    Participant

    And if you wish to avoid the first two questions of the OP, you can go straight to this on:

    Is it preferable to be promoted every year in school to a higher grade or can one stay in kindergarten one’s whole life…

    #2004565

    We also discussed here a balance between different area – should you spend more effort in chumros in one area while you disregard others?

    It is a hard question. On one hand, it is silly to see someone who, say, dresses machmir and then parks his car on a sidewalk. On the other hand, everyone naturally has certain talents and interests and should not throw them away. If someone is a talented piano player, you would not want him to work day and night on his science classes. Similarly, yes, Avraham was given a couple of tests that went against his middah of Hesed, but he still spent most of his life in hesed, instead of kicking kids out of home or threatening them with knives. Those were tests, not lifetime occupation.

    SO, I think, as long as you realize there are these trade-offs between being machmir in something special and your general level, and them consciously select where to be machmir, you are OK. But if you are simply following “popular” chumros and not examine yourself, you are not.

    #2004568
    Gadolhadorah
    Participant

    Before you enter olam habah, there is a screening committee of malachim that reviews your CR posts as part of a more comprehensive forensic audit by beis din shel maalah of your frumkeit. The final report is forwarded to the Ebeshter who obviously has full discretion to accept, reject or modify the advice of his maalachim. Otherwise, I’d like to believe that those who excel in ahavas torah and are engaged in both serving hashem AND helping those in the tzibur who are less fortunate will be assured of a greater chelek of olam haboh.

    #2004571

    To practice doing chumros right, choose your own one chumra and train yourself on that. Preferably, a private one and that is not done at expense of others. For example, I am counting how many people I can wave through in front of me in traffic. The reason for this chumra is that people are generally polite when walking and looking at each other faces, even in masks: there are no red light on sidewalks! But if we don’t see faces of drivers, suddenly it is wild west.

    Turns out this is not an easy one. Sometimes, I am in a hurry and either forget or feel that my time is more important. Sometimes, I have more kids in a car than the empty school bus I meet – why should I let him. Also, I seem to be doing it better when kids are in the car and I can “teach” them (or really show off?). Also, what do you do when the drivers behind you get annoyed by you slowing the traffic down by letting people in? And what about people who do not understand your blinking to let them in and continue standing – do you wait partently for them or not?

    #2004572
    Yserbius123
    Participant

    To paraphrase my Rosh Yeshiva “It’s not about how high on the ladder you are, it’s about how far you’ve climbed”

    #2004563

    The danger on both meikel and mahmir side is to make sure you are not deluding yourself when making decisions. We see here lots of people, including myself, who will not change a position on an issue even when offered a strong argument against. So, then, how can you trust yourself?

    According to a Rav who errs on the strict side himself: if you commit to strict halakha, you can usually look up a sefer and you will know what to do. If you commit to humros, you are in danger. Should you, for example, do another humra at the expense of your family? I did not have a chance to ask him about an obvious way people handle that – join a community and buy books where not following humros is considered gehenom and your questions go away.

    #2004613
    ubiquitin
    Participant

    It is easy to be frummer, it is much harder to be frum.

    #2004625
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    The Ksav Sofer compares us to climbing a ladder as Yaakov Avinu’s dream having the potential to shteig, elevate from the ground to the heavens being below or above the malachim. I think the above from Yserbus123 means that the importance is the effort one dispenses to elevate oneself. Do this elevation stepwise otherwise you falter as the Chasam Sofer above.

    #2004633
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    ubi, you might be alluding to the holy Or Hachaim who interprets the pasuk לא תשא את שם ה’ אלקיך לשוא, do not use the name of Hashem your G-d to elevate yourself uttering it in vain, to make yourself look more religious than you really are.

    #2004614
    ujm
    Participant

    Some potential examples of a higher level of observance might be keeping Cholov Yisroel, maintaining generally a higher level of Kashrus, a higher level of Tznius, more Limud Torah, a higher level of Shmiras Shabbos (adding time before/after, acting more Shabbosdik), Davening more rigorously/properly, avoiding halachicly/hashkaficly questionable venues (places with improperly dressed people or images, improper language, improper ideas, not watching movies/television).

    Would those maintaining these higher standards be rewarded in Gan Eden? If you maintain not, why would anyone uphold the higher standards?

    #2004650
    Gadolhadorah
    Participant

    One of the most frequently invoked and familiar themes of our mesorah is that kol yisroel yesh lachem chelek b’Olam Habah. However, as we also know, not all “shares” are equal. Its easy to say that a especially heilege tzadik will have a greater “share” than a poishete yid or that one could easily “lose his/her share” by engaging in evil and failing to do real tshuvah.
    Against that framework, one can bring down many statements from chazal that performing a particular mitzvah/chumrah will “guarantee” a person’s chelek and vice versa, a particularly egregious aveirah will result in the permanent loss of that chelek.

    This type of hyperbole is certainly is not a consensus view nor do the majority of gadolim subscribe to a goiyeshe-styled notion that yidden can “earn our way into Heaven” by performing a prescribed set of mitzvot or overlaying chumrah upon chumrah. We perform the mitzvot because it is our “privilege” and “obligation” and out of a sense of ahavas hashem and not to accrue sufficient “mitzvah credits” like frequent flyer miles to secure our chelek of olam haboh.

    #2004693
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    The Mesilas Yesharim says that when we love someone like a father, we want to do extra for him to please him even if we don’t get a reward for it. We love Hashem, who is a father to us, so we want to do extra to please him and specially in the ten days of teshuva drinking chalav yisroel, as we want to be judged not by hair splitting, exactly what we deserve.

    #2004714
    Benephraim
    Participant

    The famous question of שכר מצווה is not in this world. As it says היום לעשותם ולא…. but in the very next pasuk it says reward of עקב תשמעון. So the Baaley Musar say, you get the reward for the excess and chumra in this world ( the עקב) .But the reward for din is in Olam Haba.

    #2004722

    ujm, it is shocking that none of your chumrot examples involve mitzvos being Adam LeHavero. It is all focused on yourself. Well, maybe tzniyut is to make it easier on other people’s eyes, but probably more on maintaining your own status.

    I don’t think it will help if you add a couple of extra things there, your current unbalanced list is a good indication of improper motivations. Maybe this is something to think about.

    #2004784
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    Ben Adam Lachavero, sensitivity by being tactful and be concerned for the other’s feelings. How would you feel if said about you?

    #2004790
    ujm
    Participant

    AAQ: It is indeed very sad that you think Bein Adam Lamakom is chopped liver, “unbalanced” and “maintaining your own status”. Very sad, indeed, as Bein Adam Lamakom is as important as Bein Adam L’Chaveiro. Furthermore, it’s quite disappointing that you fail to recognize that not dressing provocatively in public is very much a Bein Adam L’CHAVEIRO issue. To do the opposite is to cause your brothers to sin unwantingly. Nothing, whatsoever, about “maintaining your own status”.

    #2004812
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    The Midrash Shmuel on Pirkei Avos 2 says that ben adam lechavero includes ben adam lamakom hence greater but that does not mean to neglect the latter.

    #2004816
    AviraDeArah
    Participant

    I really wouldn’t group cholov yisroel together with the fundamentals such as tznius that you mentioned… it’s really not high up on the list for most people who aren’t already machmir on it. It gives the impression that “well, since i eat ou-d it’s ok for me to do XYZ”

    #2004839
    AviraDeArah
    Participant

    The 1st perek of mesilas yeshorim spells it out clearly: good is in olam haba, we get there by doing the mitzvos. Full stop.

    #2004850

    ujm> very sad that you think Bein Adam Lamakom is chopped liver, Very sad, indeed, as Bein Adam Lamakom is as important as Bein Adam L’Chaveiro. Furthermore, it’s quite disappointing that you fail to recognize that not dressing provocatively in public is very much a Bein Adam L’CHAVEIRO issue.

    Maybe I was not clear. Possibly as RebE points out because I was to tactful. I am not rejecting items on your list and not saying that mitzvot bein Adam L’makom are not important.

    I am pointing out that it is unbalanced. And I admitted that tzniut has an aspect of L’Havero. This is just a sad re-telling of an old joke about a guy whose milk was taken in beis medrash despite a notice of “DO NOT STEAL” until he wrote also “halav stam”…

    So, again, I am suggesting not only to add items to your list, but also to review your motivations for these chumros, as the unbalanced nature of the list reveals some core problems. Just superficially adding things for balance will not fix the original hesaron.

    #2004851

    RebE> ben adam lechavero includes ben adam lamakom hence greater but that does not mean to neglect the latter.

    While balance may be a good start, there are several reasons to do more in L’Chavero:
    1) there is always room for error in L’Chavero: these mitzvos depend on the other person and you can always make a mistake evaluating another person. For example, you think $10 is good enough to pay a worker, but he might think that he deserves $20. You think that coming on time to a class is respectful, the Rav might be offended that you are not there 10 minutes before. You bring a present to your wife, and she thinks that you did not bring it last year … this is way more likely that your halav stam will have camel milk in it. So, being machmir will keep you from an actual aveira

    2) in addition to a mitzva, you are helping an actual person. See Chafetz Chaim story on doing kiddush before piyutim for a hungry guest. And as RebE is saying, any mitzva L’Chavero includes L’makom, so it’s like 3x effect.

    3) if you want to be machmir in learning, same thing – L’chavero involves more details and requires more knowledge, and changes with time and place, so makes sense to spend more time on it.

    #2004852

    We seem to sometimes take positions to oppose our challengers – Reform does Tikun Olam, so we withdraw; others insist on faith, so we re-focus on performing mitzvos. L’Chavero is something that secular society does both on personal and societal level, so we unconsciously value them less.

    #2004863
    ujm
    Participant

    Avira, in your opinion, if a person takes upon himself the chumra of only eating Cholov Yisroel, and henceforth forever forgoes ever eating Cholov Stam, will he be rewarded in Shamayim for that kabala?

    If not, why would anyone switch to only eating Cholov Yisroel?

    (Recall, that in his teshuva giving a heter to eat Cholov Stam, Rav Moshe writes that a Baal Nefesh should stick to only Cholov Yisroel.)

    #2004888
    🍫Syag Lchochma
    Participant

    “L’Chavero is something that secular society does both on personal and societal level, so we unconsciously value them less.”

    Where do you come up with these fruit cake notions? And present them like they make sense?

    #2004905
    Avi K
    Participant

    The Gra says that Jewish observance is like a ladder. If you try to jump a level you will fall. Rav Kook says that if a person tries to keep some chumra that is inappropriate for his spiritual level he will fall somewhere else to keep a general balance. Thus there was an אשת יפת תואר and slavery until humanity progressed to the point where these dispensations were no longer needed. Similarly, vegetarianism is not appropriate for our time but will be in the Messianic Age (see on this Rav Yosef Albo in “Sefer haIkarim” on the generation of the Flood).

    #2004945
    DaMoshe
    Participant

    Yes, higher religious observance will lead to greater rewards in Olam Haba. The question is, how do you define religious observance?
    Joseph gave some examples, but as usual, he is just serving is own views. For example, he listed eating/drinking only cholov Yisrael. How do you know that when giving your din v’cheshbon, you won’t be asked, “Why didn’t you enjoy the wonderful foods that Hashem made available to the world?” Joseph, will you really be able to say that it was due to being machmir for proper reasons, or will you have to answer, “Because I wanted to appear more frum than many posters in the YWN CR”?

    #2004946
    Shimon Nodel
    Participant

    Also, you apparently have no idea of what goes on in militaries the world over. Eishes yefas toar is very relevant. The avos harishonim were extremely careful not to have any machshavos zaros at all times, which can sometimes be virtually impossible in the heat of combat. I cannot think of any mitzvah I’m the Torah that is no longer needed. If anything, humanity has regressed tremendously, not progressed like every chacham thinks today. Even goyim (the smart ones) will admit that societies everywhere are regressing rapidly. Look at the injustice everywhere, for just one example…

    #2004979
    AviraDeArah
    Participant

    Avi, do you really think that humanity has progressed in the past few hundred years and not regressed? If people were engaged in fighting the yatzer hora and Knowledgeable of his tactics, they would see what chazal say that in regards to a yefas to’ar, a person js incapable of holding themselves back. If you want to know how soldiers have “progressed” beyond our righteous forebears, see Rav avigdor miller’s “awake my glory” page 105, quoting “a history of the Israeli army”, by zeev schiff, page 124. He (schiff) writes “entering the army at age 18, for most young women means their first experience away from home snd their introduction to *****(znus). At headquarters there is much socializing encouraged by regular army officers. Frequent parties are held and the easy going familiarity promotes a **********(culture) that is distinctly jewish”

    ….seems like the jewish army is a whole lot better off today. Indeed the world with its baby-killing, child castrating, tor’va embracing, immodesty-championing culture is far superior to the past when they *gasp* had slaves!

    I do agree with the sentiment about jumping too fast though.

    Also, UJM – I don’t know if accepting a chumra automatically equals a schar. Sometimes shu”a says “tavo alav bracha”…sometimes not. When halacha recommends it as a matter of practice then definitely! Schar and onesh aren’t by volume of action alone, as the rambam in hilchos teshuva makes clear – it depends heavily on quality of action, both sin snd mitzvah. So if someone takes it on and is ready for it, he will definitely get schar, but someone making a laundry list of chumros would be better suited to examine the spiritual deficiencies that he has – working on middos is a mitzvah too!

    #2004961
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    Look at the Ramban in Parashas Acharei on vechai bohem in great detail. People get a reward as the purpose for doing mitzvos. If one dioes mitzvos to do well this world, he gets rewarded this world and one next world, will be rewarded next world. If for no reward, will be rewarded both words, as he will not be swayed by it. The hachana, preparation for doing mitzvos is rewarded in this world.

    #2004944
    Shimon Nodel
    Participant

    Avi, there are currently more slaves than there ever were in all of human history. Just because governments outlawed slavery, it didn’t magically disappear. It’s gone beneath their radar

    #2004985
    AviraDeArah
    Participant

    Damoshe – let’s be real here. being asked why we didn’t enjoy the world in our generation….i doubt any of us will be asked that, as we enjoy a LOT more comfort and pleasure than literally anyone who has ever lived before. curtailing one’s dairy eating to cholov yisroel and eschewing breyers ice cream, opting instead for kleins, will not impact in the slightest the taanah of the nazir that he is choteh al.hanefesh by withholding legitimate pleasure from himself. If anything, in our time we’ll be asked why we engaged so much in material pleasures when we had an unprecedented ability to sit and learn

    #2004996
    🍫Syag Lchochma
    Participant

    DaMoshe- i agree with you on your take of the situation but I disagree about the CY part. It isn’t quite the “chumra” you (and AAQ) make it out to be. It just hits a reflexive chord so you lose your objectivity about it, which helped me draw the conclusion that perhaps that was indeed his real motive in this creepy thread.

    #2004997
    AviraDeArah
    Participant

    Re, avadim; der klalah fun eved avodim yihiyu; azoi shtayt in der torah, vos is leolam va’ed…chazal hot nisht dermanen az der klalah is nohr in a givisineh tzayt..vi ken mer zogen anderish? Uhn gib a kook arois vi zay firzich…vildeh chayos, hargenen mentchin uhn machen a gantzeh tarbus fun dem…. Zay darf huben baalus

    #2005033
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    Avira, I saw in Maasei Hashem, why eved avodim, we are avodim, so kenaan will be an eved to avodim, to us.

    #2005057
    Avi K
    Participant

    Shimon, have you taken a census? Of course, one can have a wide definition of slavery. Someone who cannot part from his cell phone and runs out of tefilla to answer it is a slave in a sense. According to slavery expert Siddharth Kara, out of 28.4 million slaves today (out of a world population of 7.674 billion – .37%) 18.1 million are actually indentured servants. According to the Encyclopædia Britannica, slavery was practiced in every ancient civilization and slaves sometimes accounted for a very large percentage of the population.

    #2005113
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    The Torah is called cheirus, freedom from the yetzer hara.

    #2005046
    ujm
    Participant

    DaMoshe, are you equally worried that when giving your din v’cheshbon, you won’t be asked, “Why didn’t you enjoy the wonderful foods from Hebrew National that Hashem made available to you and Rabbi Ralbag certified?”

    #2005178
    Shimon Nodel
    Participant

    Avi, you’ve never heard of human trafficking? There are so many variations of human trafficking, not just of females. There is slave labor on the market everywhere! From India and China to right here in the USA under your nose. Just look up the stats from the FBI. And that’s just illegal slavery. There are dozens of countries which approve of unofficial forks of slavery. They just use loopholes, extortion, or merely call it a different name. Here are some: China (they enslave people outright), India, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, UAE, EGYPT, and TURKEY. These countries approve of enslaving people. I’m not talking about indentured servitude. And there are so many others which turn a blind eye.

    My point is there are massive numbers of slaves today which dwarf the number of slaves throughout all of human history. So have societies truly progressed past slavery when it has increased exponentially?

    #2005263
    ujm
    Participant

    How about eating kosher non-glatt meat? Someone machmir to only eat glatt will not get any more schar in Olam Haba than if he chose to spend his lifetime eating non-glatt (but kosher)?

    I’m referring to the real halachic distinction between glatt and non-glatt.

    How’s the above and different if you replace glatt with either a higher standard of Kashrus or, for that matter, Cholov Yisroel?

    #2005288
    AviraDeArah
    Participant

    Ujm – klal yisroel accepted on themselves to keep glatt in America (many in Europe did not), as part of strengthening kashrus…cholov stam by contrast was accepted in most yeshiva communities, with the exception of giving it in yeshivos as per the psak of rav moshe. The chazon ish is said to have been maskim to the heter as well. Eating non-glatt would be a total pritzas geder, whereas cholov yisroel was not universally accepted. In out of town communities, the majority of yerei’im veshlaymim dl not keep cholov yisroel (this is changing in places with larger communities, such as baltimore)….the comparison is off in my opinion.

    Having known many fine lower east side kolel families, talmidim of rav dovid zt”l who eat cholov stam, I can’t judge people who are maikil, though if someone is maikil in cholov stam, he should be following a rov like rav dovid (they are in the minority) who do not hold that it is an important chumra in every aspect, and not shop around for convenient opinions. I personally am makpid on cholov yisroel, as my rebbeim held to be.

    #2005300
    Nochum Dokshitz
    Participant

    You missed the whole idea of an eved. The way I was brought up is that there are two types of servants, a servant who works to get paid, this is the more common servant. and then there is the true eved, the servant who is not serving for the schar but is serving because that is the kings rotzon. the eibershters rotzon is that we complete life and he gave us the guide to completing life, the torah. We should not keep torah for gan eden but rather because that is the eibershters rotzon. we are servants who are serving the eibershter because that is his rotzon and he is or melech. (I don’t know the details) there was once a story of the baal shem tov when a bas kol said that the baal shem tov is not going to receive olam haba. when people saw the baal shem tov they asked him why he was not only not frustrated or upset by the bas kol but on the contrary he was in a joyous mood. the baal shem tov responded “until now maybe i was just serving the eibershter for the sake of Olam Haba, but now that i wont receive olam haba I can now serve the eibershter lishmo and not for the schar of olam haba.

    #2005337

    Avira> klal yisroel accepted on themselves to keep glatt in America (many in Europe did not), as part of strengthening kashrus

    this is probably true, but if we define “klal israel” broadly to include various people who eat kosher but whom you may not necessarily respect, moev to glatt is probably due to marketing strategy of certifying agencies who want to have a broad standard accepted by stricter communities, I believe somewhere in the 80s, possibly also re-definig “glatt” to minimally acceptable, and even down to proverbial glatt chickens.

    #2005348
    rational
    Participant

    To the best of my knowledge, all or almost all Orthodox people in the U.S. eat only glatt. I doubt one can even find non-glatt at a reputable butcher. Due to the high standard of living of most Orthodox, this chumra has been well accepted and is easy to observe.

    However, this uncompromising and modern chumra comes with a heavy ideological price tag. One can throw out the vast majority of hilchot treifos, as these halachot have become irrelevant. Not glatt? throw it out or sell it to the goyim. For more than a thousand years, poskim were consulted to make a halachic decision on kashrut that made torah she’be’al peh a living torah and not an ancient relic. I am not advocating eating non-glatt meat. But I do not think that it should be a litmus test for inclusion in the frum community. No one would question a Posek’s authority to pasken hilchot nidah, an area which has not undergone modern revision. When a posek sees a mar’eh and paskens l’heter, no one questions this heter, that’s why we go to the posek. But for treifos, a deision l’hatir has become obsolete. it is unfortunate that any question of glatt/not-glatt-but-kosher has been sent to the dustbin of halachah.

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