Question to Toi on Modern Orthodoxy

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  • #601876

    In another thread, you wrote: “Modern orthodoxy continues to blind itself to the obvious failings of their movement, denying even that its founder said that its right to exist depends solely on classic orthodoxy’s inability to thrive in america and the new world, and, having clearly been proven wrong, should be discontinued.”

    I was wondering: Could you explain this a bit? Thanks.

    #849777

    HaKatan
    Participant

    Off the top of my head:

    Rav JBS, in his 13 addresses, said “the more one can distance one’s self from secular culture the better one is for doing so…” and that the reason for creating this new MO movement was that he (incorrectly) feared that traditional Orthodoxy would become a museum piece and couldn’t exist in the new America. B”H, this did not happen.

    Therefore, it is quite clear that Rav JBS himself felt that MO was NOT lichatchila in any way.

    So since Traditional Orthodoxy CAN and does, B”H, not only exist but even thrive, in this (not anymore so) new America, there is no valid reason to “modernize” Judaism when doing so is at best a bidieved according to Rav JBS, its founder.

    Does that help?

    #849778

    optimusprime
    Member

    He is a bit busy disparaging Gedolim who he holds are Apikorsim because they disagree with his worldview.

    #849779

    1. R. Soloveitchik was not the founder of Modern Orthodoxy.

    2. I wonder if you could give some context on that quote.

    3. You paraphrase and say “and that the reason for creating this new MO movement was that he (incorrectly) feared that traditional Orthodoxy would become a museum piece and couldn’t exist in the new America.” I wonder where you get this from. I doubt its accuracy.

    #849780

    sushee
    Member

    SW: Who IS the founder of MO?

    #849782

    Sushe:

    That’s a fair – and not necessarily easily answered – question. If, as I assume, you’re asking that because you’d like proof that R. Soloveitchik didn’t start Modern Orthododxy, I’d like to quote you something from the Wikipedia page on Hebrew Theological College:

    “It [HTC} was founded in 1922 as a Modern Orthodox Jewish institution of higher education in America…”

    In 1922, R. Soloveitchik was a teenager, (living in Europe).

    #849783

    sushee
    Member

    SW: My question is in the positive rather than the negative. I don’t care so much for proof who it isn’t. I’d like to know who IS.

    Why is the question not easily answered (as you’ve indicated)?

    #849784

    kollel_wife
    Participant

    I’d like to try to answer your question as I am a product of this type of background.

    “Modern Orthodoxy” was the orthodoxy that existed in America in the early 1900’s just by virtue of it’s existence. No one initially defined it.

    Many things the old timers brought over from Europe were not continued by the next generation.

    Those who remained Orthodox – kept Shabbos, but were often very unknowlegable of the details of Halacha in all areas. Ladies covering hair, carrying a key of Shabbos, correct procedures for warming food on Shabbos, making Brochos on food, Shatnez, modest clothing, etc. These things weren’t kept properly by many. This was what modern Orthodoxy was – Jews who weren’t the bearded European parents, who were educated secularly and limited in their Jewish knowlege.

    In addition there were the ideological changes of the generation regarding education, knowlege and type of jobs available to Jews.

    At some point Rav Soloveichik defined Modern Orthodoxy as a goal for those who were remaining Orthodox – more stringent Halacha, and the incorporation of the study secular subjects and worldliness in order to bridge the gap between the Torah and the Jews of the day.

    There are those today who call themselves modern Orthodox – who go mixed swimming, etc. – this is not the Modern Orthodox the Rav wanted people to aspire to. He wanted to get people to keep the Torah properly, to keep mitzvos more correctly, but was also incorporating secular knowlege and study into it.

    #849786

    Sam2
    Participant

    Sushe: Pashtus is no one created or founded Modern Orthodoxy. It was just a different way of reacting to all the terrible losses Yiddishkeit suffered during the Haskalah. The Chasam Sofer’s Derech was to negatively prevent people from leaving by cutting off those still frum from the rest of the world. The other Derech was to embrace the world and positively keep people from leaving by having Frum Jews associate with the rest of the world and see why Judaism is still better than them (I am using the words positive and negative in their literal, and not colloquial, senses). Both have worked for different communities and both have roots in Yiddishkeit going back over a thousand years. There is no real other difference between “Modern” Orthodoxy and “Traditional” Orthodoxy, as some here like to call it.

    #849787

    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    “Modern Orthodoxy” was the orthodoxy that existed in America in the early 1900’s just by virtue of it’s existence. No one initially defined it.

    I’m not aware of anyone who would define Modern Orthodoxy that way. I’m not aware that anyone in the early 1900’s in America believed in any of the philosophy of torah umadda.

    I would define it as followers of the Rav.

    #849788

    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    I would define it as followers of the Rav.

    Excellent. Then include all the Toras Moshe Rabbis (such as Rabbi Dr. Meiselman) and their followers (such as Dovid Kornriech) as MO, and their opponents (such as Rabbi Slifkin) as Charaidi 🙂

    #849789

    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    Excellent. Then include all the Toras Moshe Rabbis (such as Rabbi Dr. Meiselman) and their followers (such as Dovid Kornriech) as MO, and their opponents (such as Rabbi Slifkin) as Charaidi 🙂

    In the fine middle eastern tradition of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” (Not calling anyone an enemy. Ok, not calling everyone an enemy. Ok, just ignore this parenthetical.)

    #849790

    HaLeiVi
    Participant

    In the days before grouping there were many ‘modern’ Jews living alongside ‘Chareidi’ freinds and family. Different times and different places were more one way or the other.

    #849791

    Tora Yid
    Member

    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.

    So there really is no such thing as a “Chareidi.” 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,” and you may even never hear the term used at all.

    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 generic, default Judaism a label it conceals the fact that this Judaism is in fact the generic and default.

    #849792

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    @ty

    You need to study history a little better, Charedi Judaism as practiced today comes from the 1700’s between the followers of the Baal Shem Tov and the Followers of Vilna Gaon

    The isolationsim of the chraedi world somewhat came from the Haskalla movement, rather than right the Haskalla movement head it, it walled itself from it (Chatam Sofer)

    #849793

    ItcheSrulik
    Member

    Because ashkenazim feel a need to have sects — perhaps an ancient minhag from the bad side of the late second temple era — we have a sect called Modern Orthodox and another one called “yeshivish” (which is a new thing. Ah mohl there weren’t enough yeshivaleith in one place to make a sect) all the chassidim l’mineihem, another one called heimish (cultural chassidim, but no chassidish hashkafa. How this becomes a sect is beyond me) and yet another one called beis-yaakov-yeshivish-withit-light-hold-the-mayo. Sephardim have a much more sensible attitude.

    #849794

    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    You need to study history a little better, Charedi Judaism as practiced today comes from the 1700’s between the followers of the Baal Shem Tov and the Followers of Vilna Gaon

    What are your sources for this?

    If you are looking at recent history books and articles, I’d like to know what they are basing themselves on. There isn’t much in the way of Jewish literature from before chassidus, and most of what we have is seforim. And there is nobody alive who was there.

    Generally, I think that these sort of historical observations are pretty suspect.

    #849795

    Toi
    Participant

    pba- chareimim/prushim are the tzibbur started by the talmidei haGra and the baal ahem. They joined when they all came to EY. The hasidim compromised on their minhagim and nusach etc., and the talmidim of the Gaon on their dress, which the chasidim saw to be more important. The term chareidi was later applied more generally to the chassidish/litvish older yerushalmi community, and somehow nowadays, wrongly i think, has become associated with the righter wing of yiddishkeit. sources abound but i cant think of one now. in any case, calling everyone besides mo chareidi is laughable, its simply a misnomer.

    #849796

    Toi
    Participant

    o darn it, i didnt want to reply on this thread, thought it would be shtultzy not to. ho hum.

    #849797

    Toi
    Participant

    bump. no one commented and im being a baby. harumph.

    #849798

    “I would define it as followers of the Rav.”

    Popa: So, according to you, when did Modern Orthodoxy start?

    #849799

    HaKatan
    Participant

    I think Kollel_Wife makes a good point, that there are (older) people who don’t cover their hair, etc. due to the upheaval from the transition from Europe to America.

    But, Sam2, Rav JBS founded the MO of today and MO today is not a result of that upheaval.

    It is, as mentioned above, the distortion of the ideals of Rav JBS, some of which, in retrospect and as held by other gedolim who were his peers, were mistaken to begin with, that are responsible for the various MO avlas that have occurred and continue to occur.

    MO is eventually going to head either in, CH”V, a “YCT –> Conservative —> Lost to Yahadus” direction, or, hopefully and BE”H, more likely, in a Traditional Orthodox direction. “Chareidi”, based on Chassidic mesorah and practices, is not part of the equation nor is it a greater or more authentic level of observance than Traditional Orthodoxy.

    ItcheSrulik, I think you must be joking. Nobody wants disunity; but by choosing to dilute and distort, CH”V, the Torah’s laws, MO de facto makes itself into its own sect. May we all be zoche to the geula sheleimah, when we will all be part of a true Aguda Echad serving Hashem the way He wants us to, BB”A.

    #849800

    Sam2
    Participant

    Hakatan: Until you prove these “MO” “Avlas” and dilutions and distortions of Yiddishkeit (aside from your obvious disdain for those who attend Broadway shows), your hatred spewed towards what you term “MO” remains unfounded.

    #849801

    cantoresq
    Member

    The fact is that Chareidiut is as much a departure from pre-emancipation traditional Judaism as is MO, reform Judaism or any other movement. Jacob Katz and others have well established the truth of that, and it is undeniable. Emancipation was THE game changer, and Judaism has yet to recover from it. Reform responded by jettisoning Halacha. Chareidiut responded by hallowing the Shulchan Aruch and by elevating Dinei Derabbanan and minhag tot he status of Torah law. MO, while essentially accepting the authority of the Shulchan Aruch as normative accomodates certain deviations from it in light of an equally important manifesto to participate in the surrounding culture. Those deviations might be grounded in minorty Halachik opinions not accepted by the Shulchan Aruch, or they might be based upon contemporary sevarah. But MO does, in theory at least, seek a Halachik basis for its actions. MO, also in many instances rejects the notion that minhag always has the status of din. It also rejects/resists the jettisoning of those minhagim which contradict the Shulchan Aruch, if such practices are hoary with age. Thus at my MO seder, I divide one piece of shmurah matzah among the entire table, even though the size of each piece is far smaller than the shiur of the Chazon Ish, or even that of Chatham Sofer. I do it because my father did it that way, as did his father etc. That age old family practice, a mesorah if you will, trumps any code based criticism anyone might levy. Conservative Judaism seeks to place Halachik observance within a historic continuum in which Halachik practice remains ever fluid and always subject to modification.

    But all this is merely academic. Who is anyone to criticize the Halachik praxis of anyone else, when none of the current schools of though truly reflects the pre-emancipation system?

    #849802

    Tora Yid
    Member

    Sam: Broadway shows have pritzus. How could you find them unobjectionable?

    #849803

    Sam2
    Participant

    Tora Yid: I do find them objectionable. Some people have Heterim for them from their Rabbis (though probably not for ones containing Pritzus). So while I wouldn’t go to one, I can’t honestly say that a person who listens to his Rabbi is inherently wrong (I can think the Rabbi is wrong though). My point remains that HaKatan’s indictment on what he calls “MO” is that some of the people who call themselves “MO” attend Broadway shows. I’m waiting for something more substantial to throw off a large percentage of Frum Jews.

    #849804

    HaKatan
    Participant

    “Sam2”, you’re really serious that I claimed MO is wrong “only” because of intentional and flagrant violations of one of the 3 aveiros chamuros SheBiChamuros?

    Come on. I’ve mentioned this many times before. Rav JBS himself wrote that the more one can distance himself from secular culture the better he is for it. “Modernizing” was, in his view, a horaas shaah that felt was necessary because he mistakenly believed that traditional orthodoxy would become a museum piece. Now, tell me that MO follows this shunning modern culture. They don’t.

    For starters.

    #849805

    Sam2
    Participant

    HaKatan: I know what claims you make. Do you care to back up any of your claims of “intentional and flagrant violations of one of the 3 aveiros chamuros SheBiChamuros”?

    #849806

    HaKatan
    Participant

    I just saw your previous post, too. I do not CH”V hate MO **people**, and I further believe that they are tinokos shenishbu. But that does not justify kashering the ideology.

    Incidentally, figuratively bowing down to the egel hazahav of Zionism makes it two out of the big three, Arayos and A”Z.

    I’m also amused that you can’t fathom why “even” being mattir Broadway shows, which I mentioned before as being absurd to even try to get a heter for, is enough for any Torah Jew to know that MO is not in keeping with the Torah.

    #849807

    cantoresq
    Member

    “I’ve mentioned this many times before. Rav JBS himself wrote that the more one can distance himself from secular culture the better he is for it.”

    HaKatan, please provide the source for that assertion.

    #849808

    Sam2
    Participant

    HaKatan: Because I am not of the opinion that just because I don’t agree with a certain P’sak of someone that I can throw out him and his entire community as “not keeping with the Torah”.

    Also, “figuratively bowing down to the egel hazahav of Zionism” counts as Avodah Zarah? That assertion is laughable.

    #849810

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    “I’ve mentioned this many times before. Rav JBS himself wrote that the more one can distance himself from secular culture the better he is for it.”

    …please provide the source for that assertion.

    I haven’t seen this, myself, but I have seen such a thought quoted from “The Rav Speaks: Five addresses by Rabbi J.B. Soloveichik” pg.27-29.

    It’s quoted in “Tradition vs. traditionalism: contemporary perspectives in Jewish thought” by Abraham Sagi, on page 39 (excerpts available on Google Books).

    #849811

    MDG
    Participant

    Also, “figuratively bowing down to the egel hazahav of Zionism” counts as Avodah Zarah? That assertion is laughable.

    You can look at any thing that any group holds strong to and call that an A”Z.

    #849812

    cantoresq
    Member

    DY, neither site checked out online.

    #849813

    micha
    Participant

    MO was created by default, when someone invented this new notion of Torah-only hashkafah and that daas Torah is more valuable than secular expertise in the realia of the question. Both late 19th or early 20th cent ideas. This new notion of chareidism required rewriting the actual history of Lithuanian Judaism, the Yeshiva Movement, and Chassidus in Eastern Europe in order to pretend an older age that it really possesses.

    That’s not to say MO is problem-free. If any derekh were problem free, the others would close shop and we would all switch sides. The trick is to respect and learn from the strengths of all of them.

    #849814

    twisted
    Participant

    “(older) people who don’t cover their hair, etc. from the upheaval”

    There are indications, such as old photographs, and citations in 19th century halachic literature, that in Lita, and some of the

    western cities, some notable people(married women) did not cover their hair.

    #849815

    greatest
    Member

    cantoresq: Five Addresses, p.31 – “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 “

    #849816

    greatest
    Member

    twisted – so what? That makes the forbidden permissible?

    #849817

    cantoresq
    Member

    Greatest, I’ll have to read the entire piece, and get back to you. But for now, R. S.R. Hirsch and R. Esriel Hildesheimer’s embrace of secular culture come to mind.

    #849818

    greatest
    Member

    Rav Hirsch did not encourage non-Jewish culture, in fact his policy of austritt was designed specifically to separate culture from education. He also did not send his students to outside colleges, he made his own. And why in the world would anyone consider it a positive thing to spend years learning secular law – and if so for law, why not for MTV trivia? If all knowledge comes from G-d (quote from Dr. Lamm) and therefore is worth pursuing then all knowledge that comes from G-d is worth pursuing – why limit your knowledge to what the colleges teach?

    Rav Hirsch was talking about Germany during Haskalah. He was right, then. He and his small Kehilla (about 300 members) saved German Jewry. Rav Soloveichik was talking about New York in the 60’s. There was no comparison

    #849819

    micha
    Participant

    … and the Netziv’s Zionism and his introducing secular studies in Volozhin. Admittedly Russian classes in Volozhin were only introduced under gov’t compulsion, but since the yeshiva velt felt a need to rewrite that bit of history, I think it’s still relevant. Also, RSRH found it to be embraced heartily enough that he wrote his followers an approbation for donating to the Volzhiner Yeshiva as fellow travelers down the path of TIDE!

    Kelm, the mussar yeshiva, also had a HS with a full gymnasium’s curriculum for secular studies. And that was without any government involvement.

    Most of the yeshivos actually encouraged informal study of other subjects — as long as the students did so in their own time. R’ Avram Elya Kaplan’s diary reports debates about topics like Freud and Marx being commonplace in the halls of Slabodka.

    #849820

    micha
    Participant

    And the Rambam, the Ibn Ezra, the Rama…

    #849821

    micha
    Participant

    That said, there is one thing to embrace Torah im Derekh Eretz when secular culture embodies much derekh eretz. When higher culture has little influence in daily life, when far more of the surrounding civilization’s culture is crass or outright assur than thoughtful, ennobling and humanizing, it becomes a much harder argument to make.

    As I wrote earlier… “Modern Orthodoxy” was the historically mainstream approach to living a Torah lifestyle; the isolation and backwardness of the shtetl was a sad aberation forced upon us. But that doesn’t mean it’s the more correct response to today’s world.

    Frankly, I think neither response is correct. Deciding in advance that everything modern is something we are capable of sanctifying through Torah, or that everything modern is dangerous and needs avoiding are both false. You need to know the person, the change to the world in question, and come up with thoughtful, case-wise, answers for each. But that’s just my own worldview.

    #849822

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    Cantoresq, Google “Tradition vs. traditionalism: contemporary perspectives in Jewish thought” by Abraham Sagi”

    #849823

    “Rav JBS himself wrote that the more one can distance himself from secular culture the better he is for it” – HaKatan

    “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 ” – The Rav

    At the risk of being labelled a pedant, I’d like to point out that HaKatan’s assertion does not flow logically from the out-of-context quote of Rav Soloveitchik.

    Saying that the Rav felt that “THE MORE” one can distance himself from secular culture the better he is for it implies that secular culture is something which should be shied away from – if one must engage in it, it should be in as limited a capacity as possible.

    “As long” – unlike “the more” – may well refer to different stages in life. Once one needs to confront secular culture, Rav Soloveitchik’s statement is not limiting the extent.

    #849824

    greatest
    Member

    There was no “modern orthodox” leaders that created their movement the way l’havdil the baal shem tov started chasidus or rav yisroel salanter the musser movement. Instead, modern orthodoxy is just a bunch of people who like what the gentiles think and do, and to one extent or another, morph judaism to fit in, and then they spend their time putting major effort into figuring out what modern orthodox means. The root problem with Modern Orthodoxy, the issue from which stem all other issues, is that they incorporate secular, non-Jewish, values into their religious practice. What the secular world values, they believe is valuable. What the secular world thinks is normal, civilized, sophisticated, good, and proper, they do too, and they incorporate those values and attitudes, which are often corrupt and against the Torah, into their religious practice.

    And so, because in the secular world, a “people” is bizarre when when youre talking about a people with no country and no common language – imagine the Italians without Italy or Italian – therefore, Zionism, which, to their standards “normalizes” the Jewish nation (that was actually the word the Zionists used) becomes almost a requirement of Modern Orthodoxy; because secular studies, college education, mixing of boys and girls and a general a collegiate, yuppy lifestyle, is considered “normal” in the secular world, it become part and parcel of the MO lifestyle.

    And ironically, where college and mixing of the sexes is concerned, the MO community become tremendous meikilim way beyond what the halachah allows. In these areas, they will struggle to find heterim, whether they exist or not; on the other hand, regarding making aliyah, they will become fanatical machmirim, and despite the myriad leniencies and historical precedent of Jews willingly living outside of Eretz yisroel, they will often run around saying that you have to make aliyah, and not to do so is in violation of the Torah.

    When secular values demand they be fanatical machmirim, they become fanatical machmirim; when secular values demand they become unreasonable mekilim, they become unreasonable mekilim.

    #849825

    greatest:

    “He also did not send his students to outside colleges, he made his own.”

    Really?

    “And why in the world would anyone consider it a positive thing to spend years learning secular law – and if so for law, why not for MTV trivia?”

    See “The Soloveitchik Heritage” where this issue is addressed with regard to Rav Aaron Soloveichik.

    “If all knowledge comes from G-d (quote from Dr. Lamm) and therefore is worth pursuing then all knowledge that comes from G-d is worth pursuing – why limit your knowledge to what the colleges teach?”

    What knowledge are you talking about (that colleges exclude)?

    “Rav Hirsch was talking about Germany during Haskalah. He was right, then. He and his small Kehilla (about 300 members) saved German Jewry.”

    I think that’s a gross oversimplification.

    #849826

    Toi:

    “o darn it, i didnt want to reply on this thread, thought it would be shtultzy not to. ho hum.”

    Not being familiar enough with your jargon, I’m not sure exactly what “shtultzy” means. But if it means that you ignore questions addressed to you because you think it’ll make you look that much cooler, you’ve lost some respect here. (I’m really not sure what it means, though.)

    #849827

    greatest
    Member

    Shvartza: When Rav Soloveitchik writes “as long as one can live without it so much the better for the spirit ” that clearly is him saying stay away from it as much as possible. He clearly isn’t saying that once you have to deal with it, jump in to secular culture as much as you’d like. So it certainly is limiting the extent.

    #849828

    greatest:

    “When Rav Soloveitchik writes “as long as one can live without it so much the better for the spirit ” that clearly is him saying stay away from it as much as possible.”

    That’s not true. I’m going to paste what I said before. “As long” – unlike “the more” – may well refer to different stages in life. Once one needs to confront secular culture, Rav Soloveitchik’s statement is not limiting the extent.

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