Who is a "Chareidi"?

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    Tora Yid

    There is a lot of discussion today, on the front page of YW, about “Who is a Chareidi?” So I thought I would share the following perspective.

    I generally do not use the adjective “chareidi” because it is misleading. It originated in Eretz Yisroel as a way to describe those who followed the Eidah HaChareidis as opposed to the Rabanut. But it has evolved, and has come to mean basically anyone who is not Modern Orthodox/Religious Zionist. But then it is simply the generic, default, traditional manner of being frum. And by using a brand name for the generic you are giving the impression that it is not the generic.

    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.


    Unfortunately the perception of many is that “Chareidi” is associated with a mode of dress. A mode of dress is very easily copied by those who have very different beliefs, and in turn behavior. Historically, one of the reasons we do not wear tefilin during the day (except during davening) is because of fraudsters.


    Josh31 — “Historically, one of the reasons we do not wear tefilin during the day (except during davening) is because of fraudsters.” Could someone clarify what exactly this means?

    There are a number of individuals who wear tefillin both at Shachris and at Mincha regularly. Sources say that the Gr”a wore Tefillin throughout the day. The Shaar HaKavanot of Rav Chaim Vital documents the practice of his teacher (the Ariza”l) wearing Shimusha Rabba at Mincha.

    It might be more precise to say that we do not posess clarity of thought and purity of body to wear Tefillin beyond a limited time each day.


    TY: In Israel many still refer to themselves as Chareidim. Rav Rosensweig in YU once said that he is Charedi. Why should Chassidim and those more right-wing have a monopoly on being “Chared El D’var Hashem”?


    Because of the associations with the word, I try to avoid using “charedi” to describe any hashkafos. A chossid is a “blanker chossid” (or rebbe for that matter). A person who believes that full time learning is the ideal and attempts to follow it as long as possible would be “yeshivish.” A person who believes that there is a positive inyan to follow Eastern European Jewish culture is “heimish” etc. Charedi is a purely political distinction and does not denote anything good.


    For example, if you want to argue that Israeli hareidim are lazy cowards, define as “hareidi” anyone who is learning in kollel (excluding those who hold non-kollel jobs) or who serves in the army (excluding those who do). This is what many Israelis do. If you definie “hareidi” as dressing “funny” (from a secular perspective), than all hareidim dress funny. Of course you have a problem since there are many people who might be considered hareidi based on observance of mitsvos and halachic perspective who hold jobs other than learning in kollel, do serve in the Israeli army and who wear modern western style clothing.

    If you want to understand the political ramifications of being “hareidi”, define “hareidi” as believe that if Torah as understood by orthodox rabbanim take priority over Israeli law as enacted by the Knesset or the Israel Supreme Court, you get a measure of those who do not accept the legitimacy of the Israeli government. This is the number of Orthodox Jews who might if sufficiently provoked consider rebellion against the zionist establishment, and probably includes most people who are Shomer Shabbos Just consider what happens if the government were to establish a day other than Shabbos as the national day of rest, and to order the demolition of all settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, or to require all students to go to secular schools – these being ideas that have had considerable support from Jewish parties in past Israeli elections. Good zionists accept the legality of a law passed by the knesset, and hareidim might rebel.


    Someone who shakes.

    Shopping613 🌠

    Chareidim are people who dress the most modestly in eretz yisroel. Example if you see a girl wearing a tzinus plain white shirt and blue Jean skirt that barely covers her knees on shabbos she is not chareidi, proboblg modern.

    Also chareidim do not believe in Internet, if chas vashalom you have Internet you are kicked out of the chareidi world.

    same with Tv,smart phones, and non- kosher anything and eating rabbinut

    Feif Un

    So SHopping613, nobody on this site is chareidi, according to you, since they all have internet?

    As for your point of how girls dress on Shabbos, in my Modern Orthodox community, I’ve never seen anyone (boy or girl) wearing denim on Shabbos.

    Shopping613 🌠

    Well if someone in the community finds out he/she will be considered by his/her clmmmunity not chareidi

    and maybe you should visit MY community sometime

    Feif Un

    Shopping613: I don’t know where your community is, and the mods are not likely to allow you to tell me.

    Avi K

    The word “chareidi” appears in Tanach (Yeshayu 66:5) and means “those who shake in fear (at Hashem’s word)”. Originally it referred to all shomrei mitzvot but later became associated with people who follow the Eida HaChareidit/Aguda/Shas.


    Third time is the charm. Try posting that again, and see what happens.


    Members of the Religious Society of Friends.

    Shopping613 🌠

    I didn’t mean it litterally, don’t think that every community is like yours.

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