What’s wrong with being Frum?

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    i think that being referred to as “Frum” or “Very Frum” is the highest order of a compliment. Though it abused so often and said with negativity or condescension. IDEALLY one’s so-called frumness is how one perceives themselves and their relationship with Hashem and involvement in a Torah lifestyle. Nu, so why do people react so defensively when called “frum?” What’s wrong with that? Isn’t that where we should ALL be striving? Looking at our own relationship with Hashem, being aware of our personal flaws and how we can give Hashem more nachas, how I can accept Hashem’s presence and Will in my life and make room for it and connect to it? Isn’t that what frumkeit is all about? Do correct me if I’m wrong. So what’s with the stigma? I just realized that alot of it has to do with our ‘putting people into boxes’ or judging others in relation to where we are holding. I feel that it’s sorta natural, though not so right, to think of people as ‘more’ or ‘less’ of something than ourselves. Probably to make ourselves feel better, to justify our own actions, instead of facing ourselves.

    Nota Bene: Please THINK before posting. I envision this thread as thought-out and not petty un-thinking comments. Thanks:)



    Your analysis is spot-on, though I’ve never heard anyone ever take being called frum as anything other than complimentary.


    Perhaps you are getting mixed up between Frum and Krum?

    Frum is good, Krum is bad.


    I think it means when someone says “Oh, you do that – you’re too frum for me”. That is not meant as a compliment, but it should be taken as one.



    If frum means trying one’s best to serve Hashem, then it is only a good thing.

    However, frum can be used with a negative connotation meaning frum but not ehralch; focused on chitzonius instead of pninimus; careful in bein adom l’Makom, but not bein adom l’chaveiro; overly concerned with judging others frumkeit; etc.

    We all know people like that. (Not that there is ever anyone like that on YWN!)

    Personally, I prefer being called Torah observant.


    Thanks Ashreinu, well said and yes people definately do knock frumness to an extent like saying so and so is “far-frumt.” It has to do with the fact that everyone thinks that they are ‘normal’ and anyone frummer than them is farfrumt and anyone less frum is modern. People need to change their attitude and be aware that there is always room for growth


    Ashreinu, its the stigma in the word “frum” not in being more stringent in your practice of halacha. I grew up in a paradox – modern orthodox home and yeshivish elementary school. They made “frum” seem like it was 100% about what people see (and whats not nice we dont show). They focused so much on what you were wearing (I was scolded for wearing ankle bracelets) and how you looked on the outside, rather than what your observance was.

    I like the term “observant.” To me, it connotes someone who is keeping halacha and striving for a closer connection to Hashem. The most observant people I know come from a spectrum of backgrounds (MO, yeshivish, chassidish) and they are all steadfast in conforming to halacha and growing. They believe in what they are doing and dont do things just because “it looks right.”

    We cannot judge who is a better person – it depends on who you are comparing yourself to. If you judge me against Moshe Rabbeinu, I fail miserably. If you judge me against a murderer, I pass with flying colors. My mother always told me that the more Jews thrive, the more they turn against each other.

    Good luck in your journey to become closer to Hashem. May you be live a life fulfilled with Torah and mitzvos!


    I dont think its ever used in negative way, what i do think is veiwed as negative for example: In my yeshiva younger bochrim come saying “ill learn but i dont want to flip out”. And for them its sort of a negative feeling. why? b/c they want to be percieved as normal, and they look at “flipped out” as not normal. This is true b/c they were brought up in a superficial environment in which they need to somehow break out. Until then they veiw it as a so called “fantasy world”. EX: When i was home last yr i saw a little boy 12-13 davening w/ alot of kavana. His freinds next to him were laughing cuz it looked funny. I would also laugh if my friend was doing some voodoo thing with alot of kavana. The solution to all this is making torah a reality to u not just a tradition. I’m not sure if this is what you were getting at, but even if its not i think one of the BIGGEST problems of our dor is the superficial world of america which clouds our minds.


    Thanks all for your posts.

    Gavra – I meant Frum and not Krum. I meant when the words are used to describe someone or something negatively, usually marginalizing the person or action as ‘extreme.’

    Joseph, Squeak, myshadow – Yes, it’s too often used to describe s/o as farfrumt.

    dd – I don’t think that ‘Frum’ as a verb applies to your paragraph, “frum but not ehralch; focused on chitzonius instead of pninimus; careful in bein adom l’Makom, but not bein adom l’chaveiro; overly concerned with judging others frumkeit; etc.” — The right word woulf be lacking insight or mixed-up priorities, but those attributes ou wrote about aren’t really related to frumkeit.

    SJS – Thank you!

    Yashrus – It breaks my heart to read what you wrote. Sincere kavana is far from voodoo. It’s an immature attitude about observance that leads to ‘laughing at someone else’s sincerity.’ That, and not wanting to appear too ‘flipped out.’ Your words,

    “The solution to all this is making torah a reality to u not just a tradition,” couldn’t be truer.

    Along with, “one of the BIGGEST problems of our dor is the superficial world of America which clouds our minds.”

    So, it seems to boil down to the fact that we’re very quick to label others as something, in order to make ourselves feel better or ‘higher on the totem pole.’

    Along with the pervasive ‘superficiality rating system’ of today. It’s sad but true that within 5 seconds of meeting someone, we can assign them a label or place in our minds and judge ourselves in relation to them. This, I think, is a tactic of the Yetzer Hara, to justify our own behavior and deflect responsibility.

    That being said, I started this thread after reading a comment where someone preferred to be referred to as, Frum But Normal as opposed to Very Frum. So it got me thinking…

    In the end, frumkeit is the sincerity of a personal relationship with Hashem and our desire to further it and expand it.

    Hashem wants our hearts – “Rachmana Liba Bai” (sp?) – Hey, I just realized that Klal Yisrael has the best Return Policy! Our chachamim garauntee that Hashem will take returns in any condition:) No matter how far we feel we’ve strayed or how ragged we’ve run ourselves, Hashem will ALWAYS accept a heartfelt, genuine desire to return. MOST IMPORTANTLY, in myshadow’s words, “People need to be aware that there is always room for growth!”


    Euphemism can be annoying sometimes.


    Ashreinu: I agree with you completely. I think part of the problem is that some people try to out-Frum everyone else, as if it’s some kind of contest. The wacko stuff that often results makes somewhat of a farce of the term.

    Another issue is that too many people believe Frum means an external thing, like dressing the part, (I’m not speaking of a Tznius issue) as opposed to acting the part.


    In the old litvishe and European yeshiva’s and the old shtetl the word Frum had a negative connotation. As other people above said, it was originally used to mean only externally religious. That the reason it is now sometimes used negatively because that’s how it was originally used.”The highest order of compliment” is erhlach not frum.


    That might be true Yosi7, but like squeak said, if someone calls you a “frummy” because you’re too frum for their liking, you should wear that as a badge of honor.


    Semantics are stupid. Words mean whatever meaning we give them. To you the word “Frum” has no negative connotations, therefore you see it as having no negative connotations. To others that might not be true. The same word can mean different things when used by different people. The whole premise of this thread is fallacious.


    I wonder why this thread has been resurrected after SIX years! It boggles the mind why people here dust off these old posts from years back. When I saw the subject, I thought it was a different type of discussion, like wondering why people abandon frumkeit, and I was prepared to comment on that. And I will. I often wondered why it wasn’t enough to just to follow Yiddishkeit according to the letter of the law without compounding it with new takanos based on a halachah. It seems to me that maybe fewer people would go off the derech if following halachah without the extra chumras were not enough, or without demonizing everything as not being frum enough. Somewhere along the line it became accepted practice, the more chumras the better, even if those chumras do little more than making being frum more difficult. Personally, I don’t feel that adding more chumras brings a person closer to Hashem.


    flatbusher, you disagree with Chazal who tell us in Pirkei Avos to make gedarim.


    I’m frummy.


    The Gerrer Rebbe said that a “frummer” means only for himself. In other words, he is frum in order to be extra special. He doesn’t mean serving Hashem. For example, Hashem says that if you are sick you can take medicine on shabbos, a frummer says I won’t do that. But Hashem says you can. Don’t be more frum than Hashem wants from you.


    I think that in some contexts, when someone says “stop being so frum,” they mean in the sense of ???-?????? ??????? ???????? (Koheles 7:16)

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