Different Tracks of Modern Orthodoxy
Home › Forums › Decaffeinated Coffee › Different Tracks of Modern Orthodoxy
- This topic has 258 replies, 21 voices, and was last updated 3 months, 3 weeks ago by amiricanyeshivish.
February 5, 2023 4:21 pm at 4:21 pm #2162597
Yserb, you’re right that certain things, limd r”l institutionalized mixed swimming and dancing in young israel were stamped out. If there’s a campaign to spread awareness of negiah – tell me, is it part of a sex education program in schools which emphasizes personal choice and consent while making them aware that there is such a law, but…..”? That’s how most MO people view the issue. Same with tznius, har covering, or pretty much anything in yiddishkeit which goyim would say is restrictive, primitive, etc..
Young israel represents a very different norm of MO than the rest. Its leadership is largely from the yeshiva world, and its policies are in line with normative halacha, for the most part (except mixed large scale kiddush)
Check out the organization Nishma(a modern organization)’s study in 2017 of modern orthodoxy. Between a plurality who responded that they only “tend to believe ” in basic yiddishkeit and a large amount who responded that they have doubts, as well as how many say that yiddishkeit is the most important thing in their life, and how many say that they don’t keep taharas mishpacha fully….check it out. It was taken in 2017 and it paints a pretty ugly picture.
If you want to see where the best of the youth(aside from rabbi shechter’s circle) are headed, read the commentator in YU, an independent student run newspaper which is full of apikorsus and advocation of sin.
Already 15 years ago most MO schools were comfortable discussing having multiple spouses of differing genders in a high school debate stage.
In 2017, the nishma study showed a large amount which were open to gender bender garbage.
It’s just a mirror of progressive goyim. Can you tell me one goyishe value that MO hasn’t taken steps towards?February 5, 2023 4:21 pm at 4:21 pm #2162598
Aaq dofi – i would only have to worry about my “true feelings” coming out if i had them hidden away. I don’t; I am able to love Hashem’s children even if they’re off in one way or another. The satmar rov famously helped secular, anti frum zionists with tzedaka – it’s really not a new idea in yiddishkeit.
It’s only new if you’re used to self righteous indignation and allowing yourself to feel hatred about a particular person, whether they wronged you personally or they have engaged in behavior that to your values is abhorrent.
But the Torah doesn’t say to look at people that way. At least not in our time, as we have no din of tochacha according to the chazon ish.February 5, 2023 7:36 pm at 7:36 pm #2162659
Maybe if you weren’t a tzukiguminer you would have a foggy idea of what your talking about. In the remnant of the Litvish world that barely survives in today’s yeshivos, it is a given that there was a Torah Velt before the Gaon.February 5, 2023 7:40 pm at 7:40 pm #2162668GadolHadofiParticipant
You do realize that if the parents and administration of the school where you teach would read how much you love them, you’d be out on the street.February 5, 2023 8:13 pm at 8:13 pm #2162690
Nom, who said there wasn’t a torah world before the gaon? And what in the world makes you think that there’s little left of the litvishe world? Do you mean that the level of learning is lower? If so i agree. If you think that the litvishe were maskilish, i can only say that you need to stop reading disproven academic accounts online.
Dofi, we’ve been done with this conversation a page ago.February 5, 2023 8:14 pm at 8:14 pm #2162691
Also nom, better to return to the Torah world than brag about leaving itFebruary 6, 2023 1:30 am at 1:30 am #2162716
“@ujm The people who you affectionately call “LWMO” made up the vast majority of Jews who consider themselves “Orthodox” for decades.”
Yseribus: This is, historically, factually absolutely incorrect. The vast majority of Jews who consider themselves “Orthodox” during, let’s say, Rav Moshe’s time were most certainly not what is now called LWMO. They were closer to what’s now RWMO. They never had the slightest thought of supporting women “rabbis”, women egalitarian “minyan”, supporting homosexuals, etc. Au contraire, they were very opposed to all that and considered that garbage to be completely non-Orthodox, and only to be found in the Reform and Conservative movements.
“and most of their children grow up and either drop the pretense of being Orthodox… So I don’t see the existence of “LWMO” as an issue that needs to be addressed, since it seems to be resolving itself without outside “help”…”
That’s a tragedy, not something that is “resolving itself”. What could be more tragic than a formerly Orthodox family, even if the extent of their Orthodoxy was Shabbos, Kosher and Taharas Hamishpacha, now dropping the little Orthodoxy that they did maintain and no longer identifying or practicing any Orthodox beliefs and practices such as Shabbos, Kosher and Taharas Hamishpacha?
The very reason that, as you said, “most of their children grow up and either drop the pretense of being Orthodox” is directly because they were led to believe by their MO leaderships that all the rest of the Taryag Mitzvos were optional, and only practiced by the “fanatics” known as Chareidim.February 6, 2023 1:33 am at 1:33 am #2162727
My point is that your mixing up today’s branches of Orthodox Judaism with a hundred years ago. Mixed swimming was an issue in many parts of Europe. It is hard to discern any country that was free of it. Even by those that were otherwise observant and had great torah leaders. It spread in America just like every other leniency did. As recently as the 1950s this was an issue even by chassidim! Teaching girls gemara came about in Europe from several different sources. Scholastic pursuit is an old discussion. The Modern Orthodox have not contributed much to this discussion besides for the claim that it is more of a necessity in our day. Etc. Etc. It happens to be that there is a relationship between these issues to the and the Modern/Yeshivish/Chassidish divisions of Orthodoxy. But it is a casual one. (מצה מין את מינו). Not an historical one.
Therefore, when you use the teachings of your revered Rebbe to claim the superiority of the YV over MO, your making a mistake. These teachings did not create the difference in the level of strengths between the communities. Rather they are a reaction to those very differences. In sum, the yeshivishe shittos of a hundred years ago could be used in support of MO much more than to oppose it. Like you say, אכשורי דרא.
My proof of it is, that to any insider the YV currently reflects very little of it’s Litvish roots. It is more and more a reflection of taking yiddishkeit very seriously. And with it, it is constantly borrowing and upholding other cultures that are about being very, very. frum in a visible manner…. Which makes MO even less appealing and so on and so on.
If you believe that this is the way of the Torah, than go ahead and work on it’s enactment. I’ll cheer for you with a full heart. But like much of Chassidus and almost every Jewish group, you totally fail when you try saying that this was always a historical truth. It’s simply not true. It does not mean your worldview is wrong. You can say, that now that modernity has given us such stark choices between right and wrong, of course we must fully commit to what is right and not associate with what is wrong. Even though we may forfeit all that worthwhile in the eyes of modern man OOPS! person.
But as soon as you claim this is what the Torah always was, your wrong. Even if you think your Rebbe told you so. It could still be true. Just not historically true.February 6, 2023 1:34 am at 1:34 am #2162731
@AviraDeArah I seem to recall a while back that MO teens would constantly talk about negiah like frum people talked about Lashon Horah. Meaning, that the well-intentioned kids knew it was something they were supposed to do and be careful about, even if it was all around them and they themselvesfaltered from time to time. My understanding was that this was due to a campaign by MO Rabbonim, which is why the phrase “Shomer Negiah” is very common and not, I dunno, “Shomer K’Layim”.
I agree. Many MO communities have accepted goyishe values over Torah values. However, as I’ve stated numerous times before and as you yourself admit, those communities are dying. They don’t have leadership that supports such values, and most of the oilom in that boat are either making Aliyah, becoming frummer, or just heading towards full non-observance.
Again, the current trends in Yeshivish communities to one-up each other on how k/frum we can be by throwing away important parts of our lives and education, is an acute danger to our Klal.February 6, 2023 10:04 am at 10:04 am #2162859
Nom, yiddishkeit was definitely on the downturn before the Holocaust, in ways that most people don’t know. But that’s just it – it was a downturn. And the gedolim wrote a lot about it, including the trains that picked uo mechalelei shabbos in large jewish cities, women totally throwing away hair covering, and mixed dancing….but you’re not correct about mixed swimming. In all the letters from the chofetz chaim and others mentioning the sins of his day, he doesn’t mention it, nor does anyone else.
Also, you’re laboring under the assumption that yidden didn’t take yiddishkeit seriously until now; the haskalah ravaged European jewry, and even frum people were affected. But before and after that, we kept what the poskim wrote and what the gedolim taught. Do you think the exhortations of the chofetz chaim in all of his letters was made up ex nihili? Rav Moshes letter about tznius in America? The gedolim didn’t invent a new Torah; it’s quite the opposite; MO and its haskalah roots invented new, modern ideas and institutionalized sinfulness.
As it happens, I don’t know of any left wing rabbis who defended the mixed swimming. I think they just kept quiet about it.
And while European jewry was beset with problems, there were many strong communities where torah was paramount. My grandfather’s yeshiva town was one such place, until the last few years when the children joined hashomer hatzair and left Torah. Radin, mir, ponevezh, and many others were places where jews, as you say, took torah very seriously. Chasidim did too, and where did you get the idea that chasidim ever had a community issue with mixed… anything??? They were the only ones who as a community kept tznius, and keep it they did, with every chumra.February 6, 2023 11:43 am at 11:43 am #2162895amiricanyeshivishParticipant
With all due respect, untill 20 years ago the chassiddeshe rabonnim were screaming about mixed swimming in Miami where a big oilam going there where not beig makpid since it wasn’t at home
(Almost like not being makpid on yoshon when not at home)
And it wasn’t just the Bubbys and Zeidys it was the children and eineklach coming to visit Bubby and Zeidy.February 6, 2023 11:43 am at 11:43 am #2162901
I can’t get any clarity out of your posts. It’s hard to project what level of the yeshiva hashkafa you’ve absorbed. The yeshiva is not a very regulated place. All kinds of behaviors and perspectives are tolerated. Any Rosh Yeshiva who is worth his salt is not afraid of a contentious talmid. You seem to think that the yeshiva is like an engineered social experiment. That is far from the truth. So I”ll just post what I take issue with.
1) Mixed swimming is documented in many testimonials. And it comes across like it wasn’t a big deal to anyone.
2) In our day everything all Jewish rituals are being taken seriously. Uman and Meron. Techeiles and black on black. All kinds of kashrus. Eruvin and techumin. Shluach hakan and peter chamor. Everything and anything can be everyone’s business tomorrow. These were fields for the expert or those with the know how. Today, all of us are taking up positions that we know little about.
3) European Jewry endured a lot. I don’t know what you think Haskalah was or wasn’t.
4) There were big debates about how much the poskim have authority over tradition. There were communities that were too traditional. As well as communities that were too transitional.
5) Historically, the ‘Gedolim’ is not the same as having the most influence or the most talmidim.
6) Nowhere was I discussing a new torah ch”v. All these letters show is a call to basic observance. Not a hashkafa or a lifestyle. [I feel like this is where your missing a lot of info. Your making a schism out of what is almost universal.]
7) MO did not grow out of what I know as haskalah. If you thing observance was absolutely amazing before haskalah, am I to believe that the seventeenth century letters denouncing immodesty were made up ex-nihilo?
8) What’s the difference between a Rabbi condoning or throwing up his hands and saying what can I do?
9) If tznius stops at gender seperation in day to day life, than I concede that Chasidim are fully compliant with tznius. Maybe the most since שלשת ימי הגבלה.February 6, 2023 1:43 pm at 1:43 pm #2162949
Nom, what are these accounts of mixed swimming? The steipler wrote of American jews that he was shocked to his core that people who are shomer shabbos can even think of doing such a thing, which he says is yehereg velo yaavor. It was clearly a big deal and something he never heard of, and he was from Europe. It’s in kiryana de’igrasa. I don’t know what naskilish books you read that led you to think otherwise, but if you know of a rov who wrote nonchalantly about mixed swimming, please do tell. I’m sure there weren’t any.
I don’t know how you can group together individual spiritual accessories, such as uman, with mitzvos deoraysoh like peter chamur – there are jews who own donkeys; in Europe, that wasn’t common… simple as that.
And yes, MO was born of haskalah. Its leaders were all soaked in it, including revel and belkin. Their attitudes are taken straight from maskilim who believed in the independent importancd of secular studies and culture. The kind of stuff rav hirsch spent decades fighting.February 6, 2023 3:38 pm at 3:38 pm #2162974Ari KnoblerParticipant
The amount of ignorance, prejudice, preoccupation with externalities and sheer שנאת חינם on display here is astounding.February 6, 2023 3:38 pm at 3:38 pm #2163004
On mixed swimming. Nobody here is condoning it at all. You see it as a development of MO. That is not true historically. (And according to Amirican’s post, it wasn’t true currently until this [Mine, not yours.] generation.) The fact is that mixed swimming happened a lot a hundred years ago. It’s in many biographies, recollections, and observer accounts. And they mention it off hand as if it was normal. I can’t tell you why it was normal for them. But it was. Of course, we can assume that all rabbonim were fire and brimstone against it, but there isn’t much talk about it. Maybe the rabbonim weren’t aware. Or it was done in places with little leadership. Or maybe it was much more innocent than what we think of it. I don’t really care. The fact is that it was done before MO became a separate group. And later it was an issue in all circles of NY orthodoxy, and the rabbonim reacted forcefully.February 6, 2023 3:39 pm at 3:39 pm #2163029
The list is not at all exhaustive. The point is that these are all serious endeavors in the modern day. Whereas, our ancestors barely thought of these things.
One Senior Talmid Chacaham that I’m close with had to attend one of two fundraisers. It didn’t work out for him to go on the three day cruise, so he was at the pidyon peter chamor instead. He remarked that on the cruise he would have been involved in Torah non-stop. Whereas he ended up just watching someone else do a mitzvah.
The point is that the yeshiveliet today are much more involved in these things even if, or maybe especially if they know less than the learned of previous generations.February 6, 2023 5:24 pm at 5:24 pm #2163052
Your last paragraph is incomprehensible to me.
“MO was born” When?
“haskalah” What does that word connotate to you?
“It’s leaders” Who?
“including” Two presidents of YU. What does that have to do with MO at large?
“Revel” You must mean that he was a talmid of Telshe. But still, he was a man of stubbornly independent thoughts and methods. Not really under any outside influence.
“Belkin” was big on the greek classics. And completely not involved in day to day leadership of anything besides one yeshiva/college.
“Their attitudes” What do these two have in common?
“taken straight from” Because they read their works?
“maskilim” Any specific names?
“believed” Again, boiling down to itty bitty belief. Who knows what anybody really believes? [Besides for you. Asking for a friend.]
Postscript: If MO means the crowd that you grew up with, and the YV is just the yeshiva that gained from and align yourself with, I would agree with you. The fact is that there is much, much, more. And if we were to ask the MO communities that are failing (Just those that cling to observance. Privately face to face.) they would justify their existence on you and others that went on to yeshiva and made it. Where you in YU and are just annoyed about it? Because your not making any point or much sense besides that.February 6, 2023 5:27 pm at 5:27 pm #2163065
N0m: What you are relating about mixed swimming from a historical Torah observant communities perspective is a complete canard, fictitious and not based on even a shred of truth.February 6, 2023 5:27 pm at 5:27 pm #2163066
Nom, just give a source if there is one – you’re making a claim and not substantiating it. I quotes the steipler, readily available, who expressed shock and disbelief over it.February 6, 2023 5:28 pm at 5:28 pm #2163080
If a MO rabbi spoke against mixed swimming he’d have backlash at least and will lose his contract at most. They purposely hire rabbis who won’t criticize their lifestyles. Yeshivaleit go out of their way to do mitzvos eg peter chamor. The mitzvah always applied.February 7, 2023 1:19 am at 1:19 am #2163130
There are three different chapters here.
First is a hundred years ago. It’s recorded as a given without any fanfare. Maybe these people were really not observant.
Second is after the war. It’s being protested in all (American) circles that included observant families.
Third is these days. It seems to be a major issue by MO but barely anywhere else.
Chapter 1. After I came across a photograph in some shtetl titled ‘A hot day by the river which was clearly mixed, I started taking note of it. It can be found in memories from all over. One source I feel comfortable sharing here is All For The Boss. Ruchoma Shain describes the dilemma of not being able to join her friends on their trips to Coney Island.
Chapter 2. Many rabbonim put out letters for their own kehillos about the seriousness of mixed swimming. Not even half of them were MO.
Chapter 3. Mixed swimming is a common lament among and toward the MO. I have no idea. In my whole life, I’ve had very little interaction with MO on their turf. There was a post today that claimed this was a problem by Chassidim up until twenty years ago. And there has been isolated stories all over.
Point being, whatever it is, was, or will be, mixed swimming has no direct correlation to the differences between the MO or the YV. My whole intention is only towards this one line.February 7, 2023 1:20 am at 1:20 am #2163131
Some last random thoughts then (hopefully) I’m done with the topic.
One choshuve talmid chacham was aware of this historical fact. He told me that it wasn’t about levity. They didn’t have plumbing. And the river was a way to cool off.
I found some sources from two hundred years ago, about specific hours that the men would stay away from the water sources. But these were all in small shtetlach.
Ujm, maybe they weren’t observant. I don’t know. My point is that they weren’t MO. Maybe what happened was that the observant copied the non-observant.
Avira, the Steipler’s letter is later. It was a major issue then. And not just MO. It took around ten years to get it under control. You see, sometimes breaches in Torah can be contained.
Lakewhut, so MO has a rabbi problem. Mixed swimming is a casualty of that. A yeshivish person who insists on mixed swimming or some other issur will go somewhere without a real leader of a rabbi. Last generation, that was MO. I’m not convinced it will remain that way. Or even if it still is that way.February 7, 2023 1:26 am at 1:26 am #2163166
@lakewhut While I appreciate you starting this discussion, I’m going to say something, Yid to Yid, that I hope comes from a place of ahava. Kindly stop discussing things you know nothing about.February 7, 2023 1:29 am at 1:29 am #2163182Always_Ask_QuestionsParticipant
> My grandfather’s yeshiva town was one such place, until the last few years when the children joined hashomer hatzair and left Torah.
Right. And when you rightly say that a lot of MO now going OTD, you might ponder why people in a small shtetl on the banks of Neumunas “suddenly” went to Shomer Hatzair. Maybe, their “yeshivish” education did not prepare them sufficiently to the onslaught of modernity? I am not saying it as an accusation, but as consideration that maybe the “ideal” past was not ideal for the new circumstances and both “modern yeshivish” (this seems like a right term) as well as “modern O” are different reactions to modernity, trying to keep Yiddishkeit going, and given both are still searching for an answer, we should look what both bring to the table, rather than fighting.
This is like two people on a sinking boat, arguing whether to sail to the shore or to try to close the hole. Try both and see what works.February 7, 2023 10:30 am at 10:30 am #2163323
Nom, you’re not providing sources for anything, just claims about things you’ve seen in books, without describing what the scenes were, or where they were. As for ruchoma shain, she did not grow up in a frum community; her father was a trailblazer, and in her public school, she was basically the only frum girl in class…so it makes a lot of sense that her friends would do what goyim and frei people do.
Just repeating that something was historically common in an anonymous forum where no one is believed by authority is very unconvincing.
As for it being a problem by chasidim…you say you’ve seen “posts” about it – don’t be a pesi maamin lechol davar, especially with what you see online.
Also, it’s only being protested in the elements of MO that are influenced by the yeshivos. A large amount of young israel rabbis learned in eretz yisroel in charedi yeshivos. They started saying that bungalo colonies can’t keep calling themselves young israel by virtue of their mixed pools and dances, because YI didn’t want to be associated with such things anymore.
The growing leftist wings of MO are getting worse in these inyonimFebruary 7, 2023 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm #2163340
A Quick Quote of Amirican Yeshivish’s post above:
With all due respect, untill 20 years ago the chassiddeshe rabonnim were screaming about mixed swimming in Miami where a big oilam going there where not beig makpid since it wasn’t at home
(Almost like not being makpid on yoshon when not at home)
And it wasn’t just the Bubbys and Zeidys it was the children and eineklach coming to visit Bubby and Zeidy.February 7, 2023 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm #2163373☕️coffee addictParticipant
I know I’m coming late to the discussion but I want to add my two cents
There was someone (or a few people) who bashed cgassidim for davening after Zman tfillah, that’s nothing compared to YI who half the guys don’t put on their tefillin properly and are on their phone or shmooze with the guy next to them FOR THE WHOLE DAVENING
believe me, if an MO doesn’t have to wake up early they would daven at 11 tooFebruary 7, 2023 1:26 pm at 1:26 pm #2163399
So Chassidim can be compared to the unlearned MO if they would stoop to the level of late-risers. Sounds about right. 😎February 7, 2023 1:28 pm at 1:28 pm #2163404MarxistParticipant
And there aren’t Chasidim that shmooze or on their phone during davening? The institutionalizing of missing zman tefilah by Chasidim is not something to be overlooked.February 7, 2023 4:36 pm at 4:36 pm #2163417GadolHadofiParticipant
“As for it being a problem by chasidim…you say you’ve seen “posts” about it – don’t be a pesi maamin lechol davar, especially with what you see online”
So one is a fool for believing negative posts about chasidim but your constant stream of negative posts about MO is Torah MiSinai?February 7, 2023 4:37 pm at 4:37 pm #2163420
@coffee-addict I’ve never seen any correlation between type of community and how someone acts in shul. I’ve seen Chassidish shuls where everyone is eating and schmoozing during davening. I’ve seen MO shuls where the whole place is rigid and quiet. I think in the more left-wing barely-frum places, some people rarely come to shul, so when they do they are very serious about it.February 7, 2023 4:38 pm at 4:38 pm #2163440☕️coffee addictParticipant
“And there aren’t Chasidim that shmooze or on their phone during davening?“
I don’t know I don’t usually daven late, but I don’t think on the same level, where there can be 2 chassidim that shmooze or on the phone tgg he ere are 6 or 7 MOsFebruary 7, 2023 6:08 pm at 6:08 pm #2163514
There isn’t enough time to shmooze by an MO weekday service.February 7, 2023 6:10 pm at 6:10 pm #2163530
dofi, i source as much of my statements as I can, and when not, i use logic. His statements were “I saw something somewhere” which is meaningless.February 7, 2023 7:41 pm at 7:41 pm #2163559
It is literally on this page! Twice! How many posts do you miss per thread? No wonder……..February 7, 2023 7:41 pm at 7:41 pm #2163561
The problem with sourcing your statements is that you are constantly discussing the intentions or beliefs of others. How could you be so sure, what other people, especially whole communities, really want or think?
PS If you can read minds through the internet, head over to tzaddik/kidnapper threads. There is a guy in Flatbush who is either a major hero or a supervillain. Since it is unanimously agreed that he is not your average joe acting in a totally average manner, we need a mind reader to arbitrate what is clearly a major public issue.February 7, 2023 7:42 pm at 7:42 pm #2163564MarxistParticipant
I think I recall Rabbi Berel Wein once saying that the whole excuse of davening late was to have more kavanah and deveikes during davening but today you have some Chasidim davening late and without kavanah so it’s the worst of both worlds.February 7, 2023 7:44 pm at 7:44 pm #2163565
The phone usage in MO shuls is geferlach. Shmoozing on Shabbos definitely happens. During the week the davening is too fast to shmooze.February 7, 2023 7:45 pm at 7:45 pm #2163566
In chasidish shuls phone usage isn’t as prevalent. It’s stigmatized to have a smartphone there.February 7, 2023 9:40 pm at 9:40 pm #2163599DaMosheParticipant
This entire topic is hilarious. People making up facts all over the place. Between Joseph, Aveirah, and Lakewhut, I don’t know who made up more stuff.February 8, 2023 12:28 am at 12:28 am #2163612
@lakewhut And you know this from your vast experience davening in many MO shuls across the country?
@coffee-addict Everything depends on the shul. Some MO shuls are very serious, some the oilom barely davens. Some Yeshivish shuls are dead quiet, some you can’t hear the Chazzan. Some Chassidishe shuls are full with the kol teffilah, some don’t even have a minyan of people who aren’t busy with coffee or kugel.February 8, 2023 12:28 am at 12:28 am #2163613
DaMoshe: I’ll give you sources, citations and maare mekomos. You, and everyone else, can look these up in the Seforim Hakedoshim yourselves. Mishnas Rabi Aharon is in any Shul and Bais Medrash worth its salt. No need to take my or anyone else’s word for it. These aren’t my sayings, but rather the sayings of Gedolei Yisroel.
Here we go:
Rav Aharon Kotler ZTV’L, in Mishnas Rabi Aharon (Vol. 3, Hesped on the Brisker Rav) states that the essence of Modern Orthodoxy is the same as the Reform and Conservative. That is, change Judaism into something that more people will be willing to accept.
Rav Shimon Schwab ZTV’L writes (Mitteilungen, Bulletin of Khal Adas Yeshurun April/May 1989): “Sometimes the Modern Orthodox halachic foolishness which is flirting with the anti-Torah establishment, may border on heresy. This is all part and parcel of the spiritual confusion of the dark ages in which we happen to live.”
Rav Shimon Schwab ZTV’L (Selected Essays pp.160-162): “However, in addition to the legitimate shitos we have discussed, there is yet another, more modern version in vogue called “Torah Umaada”. Apparently this is [supposedly] identical with Torah Im Derech Eretz, especially since both claim a belief in the priority of Torah over maada. Both seems exactly alike, but like two left gloves which cannot be worn together, they don’t fit! . . . “To summarize, Torah im derech eretz without Austritt is considered treif l’chol hadeios! Even if you call it Torah Umaada.”
Rav Shimon Schwab ZTV’L (Selected Essays p. 89): “Let me single out two examples where silence is not permitted . . . “The first item is Modern Orthodoxy . . . most of it has become stale, stagnant, and fossilized, and we could not call it modern anymore. “In the meantime, the contemporary generation has advanced and risen to higher standards, Boruch Hashem. We are witnessing the rise of a new type of American Orthodoxy. This is the Yeshiva and Bais Yaakov generation . . . This is the new generation of Bnei Torah and baalei batim who do not intend to stand still and remain satisfied with a tiny yarlmuka or a teaspoonful of Jewish knowledge…They are marching on! And so we are zocheh, Baruch Hashem, to prestigious yeshivos gedolos in America and American-born Roshei Yeshiva , rabbanim, and poskim. “Today, our [Chareidi] youth in America is the real modern Orthodox, if you must use this expression, and they are marching forward. Whether they belong to chassidishe, yeshivishe, or Torah im derech eretz variety, they are marching forward, step by step, to a more wakeful form of avodas hashem. . . Their greatest pride and joy and nachas consists of children who are talmidei chachamim, bnei torah and bnos Torah.”
Rav Shimon Schwab ZTV’L (Selected Essays pp.90-91): “And now we address ourselves to our chaveirim bedeah, our achim bemitzvos of the Rabbinical Council of America: Ad masai? How long do you want to remain a branch, without becoming part of the tree? . . . We say to our achim b’mitzvos [in the RCA], “have Rachmonus with yourselves, and lemaan Hashem, part company with those who have given obscene semichah to to’evah clergymen” . . . Have rachmonus with yourselves, and break off your professional relationship with those who, for instance, consider Yishu HaNotzri merely a failed moshiach . . .We implore you . . . to part company with those gravediggers of Torah. I know it is a painful subject but it is unavoidable . . . We call on you to join us [Chareidim, who are] the true Modern Orthodoxy [Rav Schwab is referring to previous statements of his that MO is today outdated and “anything but modern”], which is a generation of sincere mevakshei Hashem”.February 8, 2023 12:29 am at 12:29 am #2163614
Rabbi J.B. Soloveichik in his Five Addresses clearly states that “separatist Orthodoxy” would disappear and only MO will survive. “Jewry and Judaism throughout the world” depended on the survival of this movement. Rabbi Soloveichik did not believe that he was merely helping a segment of Orthodox Jewry — he held that “the future of Torah in America” depends on following his approach. He held that the “separatist” Orthodox will die out and only YU and MO will survive. He held America was too strong for the real, pure Orthodoxy. Those who insisted on continuing the “old style” Orthodoxy would, he said, be come nothing but tourist attractions and die out eventually. What cannot be understated are the words of Rav Soloveichik, “secular culture . . . . AS LONG AS ONE CAN LIVE WITHOUT IT SO MUCH THE BETTER FOR THE SPIRIT”. The traditional Ultra-Orthodoxy (Rav Soloveichik refers to them as “isolationist” (sic) Orthodox, or “extreme” (sic) Orthodox) would theoretically be the best choice. But in America, it can’t survive. “Tourist attractions” he says Chareidim would end up. Clearly he was 100% mistaken.
And it was that which he said justified “Modern Orthodoxy” – survival, nothing else. If these words seem a bit difficult to understand today, you must appreciate them within the context of the prevailing secular social attitude during the time they were said, the early 1960’s. Many people were dazzled by the “new social and economic order” and even frightened about the future of Torah in America. The typical alter litvishe water carrier didn’t seem to fit in to the picture of what they imagined to be the technologically fueled, fast-paced, high-educated America.
Modern Orthodoxy was created as a response to a problem. The problem: The new world. America. Things will be different there. America is not the place for traditional Torah Orthodoxy. In the words of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveichik: “we would be enveloped by a new economic order. The lion’s share of Jewry would be centered in the Western world, and society would be based on science, where “the sun and the moon and the eleven stars” will radiate scientific learning and technology; where every scientific discovery will be publicized in the newspapers as the greatest sensation’ where all professions will be linked to higher education . . .it was [therefore] forbidden to rely on a continuation of the status-quo . . . great changes were about to occur in Jewish life for which we would have to be prepared.” (Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveichik, Five Addresses, p.31) “There is secular culture, great and powerful technology creating wonders and changing the foundations of our life . . . This secular culture entails destructive elements, many negative and perverse aspects; it may be a blessing and a curse simultaneously, and thus AS LONG AS ONE CAN LIVE WITHOUT IT SO MUCH THE BETTER FOR THE SPIRIT – [but] finally we will have to relate to it.
This was the Modern Orthodox mind-set in the early 1960’s. Ultra-Orthodoxy will be swallowed up by the all-too-powerful American culture, and the “new type of Talmid Chacham”, the secularly educated, religious Zionist will “conquer” the new world. (“Conquest” is a word often used in Rav Soloveichik’s lectures). That was then. Before long, the tune began to change. Yeshivos, chareidi-style yeshivos flourished and grew. Kolleim, yes, Kolleleim, where married men with families would “shut themselves behind walls” and spend their entire day immersed in Torah, began to spring up all over the country. Ultra-Orthodox Kiruv organizations were succeeding in attracting even the most Americanized youths. People laughed at Rav Aharon Kotler when he said that American students would be willing to go to Yeshiva full time with no college. Now look at who’s laughing at whom. Where we used to see articles announcing the pending death of “ultra orthodoxy”, we saw, in the 1980’s, articles by such Modern Orthodox spokesmen as Rabbi Dr. Emanuel Rackman, of Fifth Avenue Synagogue on Manhattan and later Bar Ilan University in Israel, decrying the spirit of “Ultra Orthodox Triumphalism”. When the ArtScroll series of English Torah classics came out, we saw an article, I believe it was in Tradition magazine, complaining about how ArtScroll, by using good English and high quality production, gives the false impression that they are really “Modern”, when in reality they are “ultra orthodox” in disguise.February 8, 2023 2:27 am at 2:27 am #2163660
“Mishnas Rabi Aharon is in any Shul and Bais Medrash worth its salt.”
Important and popular sefer, but your really stretching it with that one.February 8, 2023 2:28 am at 2:28 am #2163661
I’ve been in shuls of all stripes of orthodox across half the country. MO shuls generally daven early and fast. It’s great! Get up, guaranteed service, and a full day still ahead!February 8, 2023 2:28 am at 2:28 am #2163662
I don’t really hang around a city long enough to get a sense of shul-talking. Though bein hazmanim is worse everywhere.February 8, 2023 2:29 am at 2:29 am #2163664
I get the sense that decorum in shul, goes by the person not the affiliation or congregation. If the Rabbi teaches the people to have respect, than they will. Or at least thy might. A serial shul-talker will do so even when he finds himself in a shul with nobody to talk to.February 8, 2023 2:29 am at 2:29 am #2163665
One big difference is that in MO shuls I am always greeted and given invitations. The more chareidei shuls think that if you found the shul, you can or did find everything else.February 8, 2023 2:30 am at 2:30 am #2163666
Davening late wasn’t an excuse. It arose among those who were in shul a whole morning (i. e. From well before dawn until noon). The only question was what time was the better time to choose Tefillah over Torah. All the common folk davened early and went to work. These Chassidim would start davening around the same time as the workday. And they davened long and loud for hours.February 8, 2023 2:30 am at 2:30 am #2163667
It is common in MO shuls for people to daven from their phones.
- The topic ‘Different Tracks of Modern Orthodoxy’ is closed to new replies.