Take a lesson from a taxi driver

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    Avram in MD

    Syag Lchochma,

    I realize I didn’t fully answer your question, but I’m almost out of time to post, so iy”H I will try to post more soon.


    If it were a legitimate case where in Teaneck culture streimels were considered informal attire, then I personally wouldn’t theoretically have a problem with a shul policy stating that the shaliach tzibbur should wear something other than a streimel. In real application, however, I don’t think it’s an apples to apples equivalence, because whereas some have a minhag to wear a streimel (and would be violating their minhag to not wear it), I don’t think there’s a corresponding minhag to not wear a hat and jacket (where wearing a hat and jacket would violate the minhag). Does this make sense?


    the fact that there isn’t enough achdus and ahavas Yisrael with Lakewood as an example.

    I think your extrapolation was very fair. Otherwise one sentence of his is gratuitous: This was a very large shul in Lakewood. Is this achdus???


    DY thanks


    Sort of, though this case (as I understood it) was about a guy who wears a srugi not being allowed to daven for the amud period. Even with a hat or at by day with a Talis. Perhaps I misunderstood


    you just took two different quotes and presented them as one. That’s hardly a “fair” anything. And that is also why I chose to present the question specifically to him.


    No I didn’t. Maybe you read it as one.



    While I sympathize with your feelings in that story, I think that they made the correct decision with no ill-will intended, no lack of Ahavas Yisrael, and you also should not take offense for this same reason, as follows.

    It is not at all uncommon for people who wear a knitted kipah to use a different havara than the traditional observant havara, such as substituting a patach for a kamatz and a taf in place of a saf (or thaf). (We’ll ignore the reason they do so, for this purpose.)

    While this havara may fit a sefardi shul, as that is their mesorah, it does not make sense for an Ashkenazi shul whose mesorah is, for example, to distinguish between kamatz and patach and taf and saf.

    So it makes sense that they would not offer the amud to someone wearing a knitted kippah and that this has nothing to do with their presumably fine level of Ahavas Yisrael.

    Ahavas Yisrael is a wonderful thing, and hearing a nice chazan is also nice, but neither should cause mesorah to go “out the window”.


    HaKatan, they could have made a simple inquiry as to which havarah he uses. Unlikely explanation, IMO.


    you just posted

    the fact that there isn’t enough achdus and ahavas Yisrael with Lakewood as an example.

    as one sentence when in fact the first 10 words were DaMoshe’s and the last 5 words were added by Avram in his explaination. And honestly, when you come in and split hairs on almost every interaction I have with other posters, that is pretty much the reason I am no longer here.


    Actually, the real reason was because the gabbai was in the shul where DaMoshe davened for Yomim Noraim and didn’t care for his davening. He didn’t want to insult him, so he said it was his kippah.



    I was quoting Avram, part happened to be from DaMoshe; the point was Avram’s undertanding of DaMoshe’s approach, which I agree with, and brought a raya.

    The second half of your post escapes me.


    HaKatan – because I know I have made comments in the past about your tone and harshness, I wanted to make a point of thanking you for such a respectful post.


    I just want to point out something nice from DaMoshe’s story. I’m assuming his cousin who lives in Lakewood is of a different hashkofo than DaMoshe, yet they learn together nightly and spend the occasional Shabbos together. This is achdus and ahavas Yisroel.

    I don’t find this a chiddush; I know a lot of people of different hashkofos and from different communities who get along beautifully, whether they be friends, relatives, or business acquaintances, and DaMoshe seems to me (even though I might be a bit rough on him at times – sorry) to be a very nice person.

    Nevertheless, I thought I’d highlight this point.


    Thank you DY. With all the conversations we have, I’ve never thought badly of you. In fact, I’d love to have you over for a Shabbos sometime! And yes, I mean that seriously.



    That’s putting it mildly. 🙂

    Seriously, though, that’s very kind of you.



    Thank you.


    I’m sorry you find it unlikely.

    Avram in MD

    Syag Lchochma,

    “before declaring an entire shul or community to be lacking in ahavas Yisroel based on hearsay.”

    another example.

    I agree with you that what I wrote was not a direct quotation of DaMoshe per se, but I did feel that it was an accurate summation of the body of his posts in this thread. DaMoshe didn’t refute or object to the take either. Upon rereading his posts carefully, it is possible that he was intending to limit his polemic to the gabbaim themselves and not include the larger shul or Lakewood community. It wasn’t clear, however, particularly after he prefaced a response to Joseph with “If you’re going to tell me that in Lakewood, they think that…”. There could be other interpretations of that response too. I think other posts such as Sam2’s bringing wife beating as an example to support his point further charged the debate.

    My question is just about a tendency to make a posters comments more extreme, and then respond to him based on the “updated version”

    I thought a lot about this, and I think there are several different things that go on, with different elements at play depending on the thread.

    1. Sometimes when a poster identifying with one “group” makes a statement about others in a different “group” (e.g., DaMoshe’s story in this thread, or if a Yeshivish person opened a thread to discuss some problem or other he witnessed with individuals in a MO setting – certainly has happened in the CR before!), other posters may interpret this as a blanket statement about that other group. Sometimes this arises from unclear wording by the OP, sometimes it arises from posters taking personal offense. I think DaasYochid alluded to this issue earlier in this thread; such posts usually do not engender positive responses.

    2. In most threads as posts get added, the debate evolves into two camps, even though individual posters have a wide range of views. In this thread, for example, several posters have put me, DaasYochid, and Joseph into one “camp” and responded to us as one, even though our statements and positions have differences. Similarly, it’s possible that interpretations of DaMoshe’s posts by those arguing with him have been influenced by Sam2’s and ubiquitin’s posts, for example. I think once this two-sided evolution happens, people start responding to the “camp” rather than the poster, and it’s much easier to misinterpret individual posters based on perceptions of what the greater “camp” holds. I agree with you that posters should be very careful to remember that we are responding to unique individuals, not a camp.

    Avram in MD

    DaasYochid (quoting DaMoshe),

    This was a very large shul in Lakewood. Is this achdus???

    Right, this was another line that made me feel that DaMoshe was encompassing the entire shul or Lakewood community in his lament, not simply the gabbaim involved. Even if it was just the gabbaim, my point that DaMoshe shouldn’t believe (or interpret in such a negative way) what his cousin said stands. The whole story makes me feel sad, because in reality DaMoshe probably wasn’t even expecting the amud when he visited his cousin, so if nothing was said he never would have been hurt, and most people at that shul probably wanted to make him feel welcome, just like his cousin, and he ultimately felt unwelcome.


    Avram: Meh. I wasn’t even necessarily defending DaMoshe. I was just proving to DY why his point was invalid via reductio ad absurdum.


    Avram, you are correct. I wasn’t expecting to daven for the amud – in fact, it gets tiresome davening a lot! (Whenever I’d go to visit my parents for Shabbos or Yom Tov, the gabbai would ask me to daven for the amud. My father recently started davening at a new shul, so on Pesach I might not get asked – woohoo!) If nothing had been said, I would have been fine. I don’t mind not davening, but the reasoning was what bothered me. I would actually LIKE to daven for the amud in this shul now, just to show them that someone with a kippah srugah can daven nicely, with kavanah.

    It reminds me of a time I davened at a yeshiva on Pesach. They asked me to daven for the amud. After davening, the Rosh Yeshiva came over to me, and asked, “Where did a Modern Orthodox man like you learn to daven such a davening? It sounded just like a yeshiva guy!”

    I didn’t know whether to take that as a compliment or an insult!


    I was just proving to DY why his point was invalid via reductio ad absurdum.

    Which you didn’t, for the simple reason that I don’t disagree with your premise, just with this application of it.

    Avram in MD


    Sort of, though this case (as I understood it) was about a guy who wears a srugi not being allowed to daven for the amud period. Even with a hat or at by day with a Talis. Perhaps I misunderstood

    That’s the thing, nobody truly knows what the shul (or perhaps just the gabbai’s) policy was. We’ve had four speculations on this thread by my count: no srugis because they’re not good enough (DaMoshe), no srugis because it’s assumed they won’t have a hat/jacket (me), no srugis because of perceived hashkafic differences (DaasYochid), no srugis because they pronounce Hebrew differently (HaKatan). There’s been some interesting discussion about whether these such policies are reasonable or not, but in reality with regard to the actual event, we don’t know the policy or its rationale.


    some shuls have very specific minhagim they are makpid on, and 90 seconds before the time for davening is not enough time to go over those minhagim. where i daven for example, they are makpid on specific pronunciation certain words (morid hageshem not gushem, for example) among other such examples. therefore they are comfortable if a “regular” gets up for the amud and not someone unfamiliar with their various hakpados. it is easy to label a minyan and say its members lack ahavas yisrael, but it is equally a lack of ahavas yisrael when one simply doesnt consider there is another side to the story and comes to erroneous, and worse, spurious conclusions.

    Avram in MD


    Meh. I wasn’t even necessarily defending DaMoshe. I was just proving to DY why his point was invalid via reductio ad absurdum.

    I think I missed your point because I personally don’t equate not being offered the amud with mistreatment, even if there was some policy in place that precluded me from being shaliach tzibbur. We can discuss whether any such policy is reasonable or not (and you may very well find me in agreement with you regarding some potential policies), but it wasn’t the policy that mistreated DaMoshe, it was what he got told.


    Avram, I’m enjoying reading your posts, and find myself agreeing with your approach, to try to look at things positively. To further address Ubiquitin’s question to me earlier, I would hope that I would do the same if the shoe was on the other foot, but as a human being, I’ll admit that it certainly comes more naturally to me to defend a community with which I more closely identify.

    I just want to add, on a personal note, that DaMoshe sent me a message (through his friend with whom I occasionally communicate through email) that his invitation to me was sincere (which I hadn’t doubted). At this point, it’s not really feasible for me to accept, which I (and he) feel bad about, but I think it brings out an important point which has been mentioned before, but bears repeating.

    In the CR, it’s all talk and few deeds, no facial expression, and no tone of voice which can express warmth and friendship.

    So all we’re left with is discussion and debate, and that can lead to misunderstanding and hard feelings.

    Real life, though, is about so much more than hashkofos, debating skills, and writing ability. I don’t think different hashkofos are a barrier to getting along or even to being close (and certainly not different attire!). I think had I been able to accept his kind invitation, we’d have a good time together.

    I think true ahavas Yisroel doesn’t require that we agree with each other, or even (and I think DaMoshe might still disagree with me about this) respect each other’s hashkofos. We do need to respect each other, though, and this respect can lead to friendship and love, even while maintaining disagreement.

    Thank you, DaMoshe.


    Your right – we don’t actually know the policy of the shul in question. But four very valid possibilities leads one to remember to be ?? ??? ???? – there could be endless possible reasons, and we’ve guessed four without thinking too much. I could probably come up with a couple more if I would spend the time thinking.

    So what started off as a complaint against the ‘achdus of klal yisroel’ actually sounds perfectly legitimate. Of course, the ‘victim’ can’t see it like that, because when you are in the story, you understandably that you are wronged. But when somebody with an outside view without the blurred perspective of a person involved looks, you realize that it actually makes quite a bit of sense.

    Not judging is a very important policy.


    Thank you, DY. You’re correct, I do disagree with you 🙂 I think that different hashkafos should be respected, as long as they don’t violate halachah. For example, I know many people who are Lubavitch. While I disagree with them, I still respect their hashkafos. However, if they are meshichist (which my Rav, along with many other Rabbonim, holds is a major problem halachically), I do not respect the hashkafah.

    DY, if circumstances ever change, and you are able to come, you know how to reach me!



    Your last post, may have been the best thing I have read on this website. Yasher Koach


    DaMoshe: “However, if they are meshichist (which my Rav, along with many other Rabbonim, holds is a major problem halachically), I do not respect the hashkafah.”

    Just as you and your Rav hold a certain hashkafa is a major problem halachically and therefore you do not respect the hashkafah, why is it difficult for you to accept that others and their rabbonim may hold that your hashkafa is a major problem halachically and therefore do not respect the hashkafah?


    As long as we’re talking about davening for the amud; I was davening in a new shul and was asked by the gabbai to daven. I declined, as I don’t have a good voice and cannot project. He thought I was being modest. This went back and forth for several weeks, ending each time with him claiming I was being modest. I finally agreed to daven one shabbos, after which the gabbai said you’re right, you weren’t being modest!!


    nolongersingle: That’s a very subjective question. To be short, there is a camp called “Torah-observant Jews”. Said camp contains many Hashkafos. It is very difficult and painful when some inside the camp are viewed as outside. Especially, as is the case with most of the Taanos on “Modern Orthodoxy”, a lot of it just comes from misinformation. Most within the “Yeshivish” and “Chareidi” camps accept DL and MO as being Torah-observant, just not for them. So when some come very strongly against it, it hurts.

    How this is different than Meshichism is a very nuanced problem.


    Sam2: Thank you for the excellent response. I agree with what you wrote.

    When I was in yeshiva as a teenager, YU was bashed all the time, along with Modern Orthodoxy as a whole. I once asked someone what was wrong with YU? I was told, “In YU, they learn Torah, but not properly. They treat it like any other college course. They take classes in math, science, reading, writing, and Torah! They don’t differentiate between them!”

    When I got older, and actually did some research, I found this was a blatant lie. The supremacy of Torah is stressed again and again. So yes, many of the complaints (including many that people post here) are from misinformation.

    It’s interesting to note that R’ Bender shlita used to be very opposed to YU. Probably about 7-8 years ago, I heard him speaking highly of it to someone. I was next to a Rebbe from the yeshiva, and I commented to him how surprised I was to hear R’ Bender say that. He replied to me, “R’ Bender’s views on YU changed drastically recently. You know why? He was stuck in traffic and needed to catch a minyan. The closest place was at YU. So he walked into the Beis Medrash, and saw what was going on there. Afterward, he said, ‘You know, I never really looked into it myself. I based everything on what people told me about YU. Maybe I should do some actual research on it!’ Well, he did the research, and now he actually has a high opinion of YU!”


    I’ve heard Meshichists say the same thing… that their positions is misunderstood and the attacks against them is based on misinformation. I know it is all nuanced, but just saying.


    nolongersingle: I hear your point, but here’s the thing: I’ve heard Rabbonim such as R’ Reisman, R’ Belsky, and others, say that a Meshichist can’t be counted in a minyan. I’ve never heard a Rav of that stature say a MO guy can’t be counted in a minyan.

    Avram in MD


    Thank you for your kind words.

    So all we’re left with is discussion and debate, and that can lead to misunderstanding and hard feelings.

    I think this is a great point. The opportunity to discuss and debate issues I care about is a big part of what motivates me to read and post here, but there is a big downside to be aware of.

    Avram in MD


    I do think there is a distinction between disputes between, say, MO and Yeshivish and between “meshichists” and the remainder of Orthodox Jewry. Most of the disagreements between the former are over matters of practice or outlook, for example, what to learn or not to learn, what to wear, how separate from secular society to be, etc. When you get down to the nitty gritty of ikkarei emunah, however, these groups fundamentally all agree, and that’s what makes us all Orthodox Jews. When a group begins to change one or more of these ikkarei emunah, however, we run into serious trouble. When Moshiach is declared to have come without any of the signs (ingathering of Jewish exiles, rebuilt Beis Hamikdash, knowledge of G-d fills the earth as water fills the seas, restoration of Malchus Dovid, resurrection, etc.), that represents a big change in one of our ikkarei emunah. We also have a history replete with examples of how dangerous this particular change is.

    I personally don’t know enough about the meshichists themselves or the relevant halachos to say whether or not they are still within the boundaries of Torah Judaism, but I do know that the issues are quite different from the ones we typically debate in the CR.


    Is it acceptable to not respect the hashkafa of open orthodoxy – or once doing so you acknowledge that certain hashkofos are verboten? If it is all nuance, then one person’s nuances may differ from anothers.


    nolongersingle: It’s hard to comment on OO because they don’t have an official mission statement and their flagship Yeshivah (YCT) officially does not endorse anything that’s Kefirah. However, a scarily high percentage of the people who attend the Yeshivah say and do things contrary to Ikkarei Emunah. So I think most of the Frum world is on a “wait and see” policy by them.

    The same goes for Yeshivat Maharat, though I think it’s pretty clear by now that almost everyone attending there now has improper Hashkafos. (e.g. if we took a poll of Maharat and asked if/why a woman can wear Tefilin, the answers would pretty clearly show something outside the framework of traditional Mesorah-based Judaism.)


    And to think- all of this from a taxi driver!

    Those NY cabbies, nothing like ’em!


    I’m not trying to argue whether any particular hashkafa is beyond the pale. All I’m trying to understand is how if you’re able to comment “The same goes for Yeshivat Maharat, though I think it’s pretty clear by now that almost everyone attending there now has improper Hashkafos”, how can you complain if someone else similarly says that your community has improper hashkafos?

    Patur Aval Assur

    The Seridei Eish (3:21 in the Mosad Harav Kook edition), after discussing a big machlokes between two acharonim, writes:

    ??? ???? ?? ??? ????? ?????? ?????? ??????? ???? ????? ???? ????? ??????? ?????? ?? ???? ?? ????? ????? ??????? ???????

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