Why do we seclude ourselves from the world around us?

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  • #1712980

    outsiderlookingin
    Participant

    So I’ve been perusing these forums for a few months and I’m noticing a pattern. A lot of people on these forums seems to think that fraternization with non-Jews or less religious Jews or girls is dangerous. However, as someone who frequently hangs out with people who fall into the above categories, I do not understand where the aversion comes from. In my life, I’ve hung out with conservative Jews, reform Jews, girls, non-Jews, gays, etc. In fact, some of them are among my closest friends. This changes nothing about my standing as a Jew. I find that I still have the same fervor for Torah and Mitzvos as I had when I was younger. In fact, having such people as close friends have helped me put the world into perspective and helped me understand the world around us.

    Personally, I feel that many of the problems plaguing Judaism today, come from this stigma and even talking to someone not like you will send you into a tailspin away from Yiddishkeit. However, my experiences have shown me that understanding and respecting those around you. I should also add that in my experience, the more a guy interacts with girls, the less he sees her as merely an embodiment of the devil and temptation and more as an actual person with goals and aspirations. I feel like this culture of isolation is a catalyst for so many of the OTD issues we see in our time in Galut.

    Too Long; Didn’t Read: Why are we as Jews so scared of interacting with those who are not like us (religiously, gender-wise, or sexual orientation)?

    #1713254

    Sam Klein
    Participant

    Cause a fact in life is that when you surround yourself around certain kinds of people or things them they begin to affect you. And it goes both positive and negative. When you surround yourself around tzaddikim and wise people it makes you wiser versus alcoholics and smokers etc… You start to get affected and soon you are dragged down with them C”V.

    save yourself from getting hurt by only being arround positive people and surroundings

    #1713370

    lakewhut
    Participant

    אוי לרשע אוי לשכינו

    #1713363

    Joseph
    Participant

    The question you should be asking is why anyone would be crazy enough to socialize with the crazies in our crazy world.

    Your failing to recognize the change your association with the crazies has changed you for the worse is a bad answer. The change in you was slow but sure and you unfortunately didn’t even realize you’ve changed.

    The mere fact you can normalize reference to toeivaniks is itself a symptom of the above. And your lack of cognizance of the results of socializing with the opposite gender is further demonstration of your inability to see yourself and the changes it has wrought upon you.

    #1713465

    outsiderlookingin
    Participant

    @sam Klein: I think the key is respect. Just because I hang out with these people doesn’t mean I am automatically them. We have our views and we respect each other’s views. For instance, if my friend is a conservative Jew, I still respect him and his customs even if my personal custom is different. A person is not defined by their religion or lack thereof and defining a person only based on religion is a terrible trait. Just because someone is different than you does NOT automatically make them evil. Nor does it automatically mean you will become them. Furthermore, what defines a “tzadik?” If a person is a good person but not Jewish, why should they not be considered “good?” Lastly, I never said they were only alchoholics. I have a diverse range of friends and while some may fall into that category many of my friends are not. We are all intellectually respectful of each other and we have similar interests (robotics, world, technology, music, etc) and our religious or sexual differences do not make us different PEOPLE.

    @joseph: What I said above still stands. These people aren’t automatically crazy just because they are of a different religion, gender, or orientation. And I do see the results of interacting with the opposite gender. I understand that they are people that have ideas as well and not just as tempting things until marriage. It means that I no longer look at a woman and immediately have Teivas because I’m used to it and i don’t see every single woman as tempting.

    #1713554

    Yabia Omer
    Participant

    Ashkenazim are definitely prone to seclusion and extremism. This is not a universal thing among all Jews, thankfully.

    #1713723

    Little Froggie
    Participant

    WOW. Here is someone who conquered his taavos. Here in the flesh (actually blogging about it somewhere in the blogesphere…) One Rabbi, when he heard something to the likes of what you attempt to claim, asked “And how many times did you have to sin, in order to CLAIM immunity to the Yetzer Hara?”

    We have HaShem’s (that GOD up there) set of rules and ethics He said to follow. That is the ultimate and absolute good and moral standard to strive for. <<Gotta go now, more אי”ה later>>

    #1713718

    beee
    Participant

    Outsider:
    ” Just because I hang out with these people doesn’t mean I am automatically them. ”
    Your right, it duz not happen the first time you hang out or the second or the third but over time it causes you to change.

    When you say ‘respect’ when it comes to some one who is conservative, there is a difference between respect and becoming there best friend, you can respect them from a distance.

    Also, my personal opinion on your view on woman is that you are convincing yourself that to hang out with girls is ok because it takes away your teives. I f you want to hang out with girls, at least dont tell yourself that its a mitzva and that its a good thing for you!

    #1713705

    midwesterner
    Participant

    Check out the Rambam in HIlchos Deios beginning of Perek 6

    #1713704

    Joseph
    Participant

    Outsider: You simply still don’t get it. Witness your reference to “orientation”, as if that’s some normal difference. (And that’s but one example.)

    #1713679

    ujm
    Participant

    Yabia: That’s what kept the Ashkenazim (that engaged in seclusion from the outside world) frum. You see the Sefardim (who socialized with the goyim) didn’t remain as frum.

    #1713719

    beee
    Participant

    Outsider:
    ” Just because I hang out with these people doesn’t mean I am automatically them. ”
    Your right, it duz not happen the first time you hang out or the second or the third but over time it causes you to change.

    When you say ‘respect’ when it comes to some one who is conservative, there is a difference between respect and becoming there best friend, you can respect them from a distance.

    Also, my personal opinion on your view on woman is that you are convincing yourself that to hang out with girls is ok because it takes away your teives. I f you want to hang out with girls, at least dont tell yourself that its a mitzva and that its a good thing for you!

    #1713721

    In the words of Billam (Numbers 23:9):
    הֶן עָם לְבָדָד יִשְׁכֹּן וּבַגּוֹיִם לֹא יִתְחַשָּׁב.
    THE PEOPLE SHALL DWELL ALONE
    That is the definition of a Jew.

    #1713755

    places
    Participant

    ujm
    look at the intermarriage rate of the Ashkenazim vs, the Sefardim

    #1713763

    outsiderlookingin
    Participant

    Wow. Lot’s to unpack here:

    @Yabia: You’re absolutely right.

    @little Froggie: I’m having a hard time understanding what you are implying. Are you saying that even conversing with someone of the opposite gender is a sin? Are you indicating that they should only be a thing that you see but consider evil until marriage? That’s how sexism is created.

    @beee: This conservative is actually a good friend of mine. When it comes to serving God we obviously do things differently. We don’t change our customs to accommodate each other and we respect each other’s principles. We are brought together by our hobbies. We are both into building robots and most of our time is spent talking about those topics. I don’t believe that being close friends with someone of a different religion automatically changes you if you both respect each others customs. As another point, I NEVER said that I consider it a mitzvah to hang out with girls. I just find that an interesting side effect is that I have less of an issue with teives.

    @midwesterner: I read it. I agree with it 100% I also believe that someone can be “righteous” and lead good moral lives without conforming to your exact ideology and those who don’t believe in the same religion as you are not automatically “walking in the path of darkness”

    @joseph: I am merely stating that a person is not defined by only one aspect of them. Are you trying to tell me that a gay person is automatically evil even if he leads a moral life?

    @ujm: I would argue that the Sephardim have different beliefs and customs. Those customs aren’t inherently better or worse than ours, but different and incomparable. It’s a different culture in general and there’s nothing wrong with that.

    #1713799

    Little Froggie
    Participant

    OK. I’m back. Let’s try.

    Yes. Conversing with someone of the opposite gender is sinful, according to Halacha, actually a well known Mishna in Pirkei Avos. And the Rambam states to distance oneself from women “EXTREMELY, EXTREMELY” (if my memory is not failing). So too advises Shlomo Hamelech. I have a hunch that he was slightly smarter than some anonymous entity who claims he has it all figured out.

    Actually they did that in the era of the Mabul (great flood). Only they went a step further – they actually ‘tried out’ all the females they encountered, מכל אשר בחרו, to “be able to conquer that taiva”, I suppose. (and by the way, modern day society isn’t lagging to far…)

    And to answer another question of yours, YES, a gay person is a sinner, no matter how cultured he is. We have our set of morals, ideals, lifestyle directly from HaSHem. He says explicitly in His Torah ואת זכר לא תשכב… And ואיש אשר ישכב את זכר..מות יומתו. His Torah is the absolute truth, whether we understand or not. In time of Sanhedrin he’d be put to death, notwithstanding that he feels he’s leading a so called moral life. Hey who’s calling the shots here? HaShem says his lifestyle is a תועבה, and he has a gall to call himself moral?!? HaShem deemed it an unnatural lust, and he legitimizes it?!?

    And back to the Rambam (it’s Gemarah and Mishna too), he tells us to be in the environs of Torah true Jews. In the company of Torah practicing Jews – BECAUSE WE ARE SO AFFECTED BY OUR SURRONDINGS, our friends, our neighbors.

    #1713814

    Shopping613 🌠
    Participant

    @outsiderlookingin

    Talking to the opposite gender or having a relationship is not considered EVIL. But in general, a relationship with the opposite sex who is not your spouse or your intermediate family, what is the purpose of it? Where will it go? You constantly want to put each other in a place where you are taking energy and time to avoid a problem or something happening? Many say you should not have any type of relationship with the opposite sex who is not related to you.

    Gosh I wish my filtered internet at home wasn’t blocking half this thread.
    Maybe I’ll get a chance to read it at work, it sounds so fascinating.

    #1713816

    🍫Syag Lchochma
    Participant

    Frpggie- he asked if they are evil, and you said, “in answer to your question, yes he is a sinner”. The answer is no, HE is not evil. But his lifestyle is wrong and there is no flexibility on that.

    This is a huge problem with online chats, and this happens too often. Outsiderlookingin, you are badly blurring the lines between what people are saying is wrong and what that means about people themselves. And in all fairness it isn’t being preaented very well. I cannot tell if it is deliberate on your part or if you are sincere. The questions are being asked in a way that requires a harsh response to the presentation that there is a moral compass outside of Torah, but your underlying quest for understanding the effects of not knowing the effects of this needs to be answered differently.
    There is an obligation to respond harshly to the blurring of these lines of morality, but there is also an obligation to hear and respond to the questions of those who don’t know in a manner that encourages growth.
    You may need a real life person for that, there are answers and in a face to face setting you may gain understanding.

    #1713846

    ujm
    Participant

    places: The reference was to frum Ashkenazim who isolate themselves as much as possible away from the secular world. Those people have a nil intermarriage rate, a close to nil assimilation rate and a very high staying very frum rate.

    #1713944

    Little Froggie
    Participant

    Syag, Again, you put it down most beautifully.

    I cared to respond (you did note my abstinence, didn’t you!) not for him/her, but for others looking on and maybe getting a feeling that that’s a normative view in Jewish ideals. No, I didn’t, nor could have I known if this poster was sincere or not.

    I just wanted to state the Torah’s case: ואבדיל אתכם מן העמים, when we’re APART and doing what we ought to, then we belong to Him, להיות לי, as the Medrash says. Understandably, a lot of these issues, thoughts, sayings are not fit for consumption for the Politically Correct… It’s HaShem’s word, the only absolute truth, and that’s the only thing that counts. Of course we have to be candid how we go about it, there’s no need for in-you-face confrontations, and we need to have in mind the best way to attract and draw close those alienated from Torah and its ways (yes, I’m a Torah Mate – learning on the job!!). It’s just that sometimes the ultimate and absolute truths get blurred BECAUSE OF OUR CLOSE PROXIMITY to our ‘neighbors’, and we ourselves have to be reminded that these truths are directly from the world’s Great Inventor up here.

    #1713947

    Avram in MD
    Participant

    outsiderlookingin,

    Why did you choose outsiderlookingin as your username?

    #1720332

    ☕️coffee addict
    Participant

    One time I asked my rebbe “if מי שגדול מחבירו יצרו גדול ממנו then why do goyim need to advertise with scantily clad women give them clothes and it will affect them just the same”

    He said “just the opposite the higher level you are on the easier something affects you”

    The same could be said over here

    #1720467

    ☕️coffee addict
    Participant

    Not sure what was wrong with my other comment

    #1720480

    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    There was a bet between the sun and the wind who can take off the coat of an individual. We can look at the coat as being religious, not mixing with those who influence us against Torah’s teachings, The yetzer horah, bad inclination, can have different effects on different people. For some he is like the wind, the more he pushes the individual to do bad, he strengthens himself to overcome the yetzer horah’s influence and keep his coat on, whereas for most of us, he behaves like the sun taking his coat off and giving up his religion. Since we don’t know what the effect will be, we must watch ourselves from groups that influence us against the Torah’s teachings.

    #1721256

    Haimy
    Participant

    We are following the Halacha stated in the Rambam hilchos deos Chapter 6:
    1)
    It is natural for a man’s character and actions to be influenced by his friends and associates and for him to follow the local norms of behavior. Therefore, he should associate with the righteous and be constantly in the company of the wise, so as to learn from their deeds. Conversely, he should keep away from the wicked who walk in darkness, so as not to learn from their deeds.

    This is [implied by] Solomon’s statement (Proverbs 13:20): “He who walks with the wise will become wise, while one who associates with fools will suffer.” Similarly, [Psalms 1:1] states: “Happy is the man who has not followed the advice of the wicked.”

    A person who lives in a place where the norms of behavior are evil and the inhabitants do not follow the straight path should move to a place where the people are righteous and follow the ways of the good.

    If all the places with which he is familiar and of which he hears reports follow improper paths, as in our times, or if he is unable to move to a place where the patterns of behavior are proper, because of [the presence of] bands of raiding troops, or for health reasons, he should remain alone in seclusion as [Eichah 3:28] states: “Let him sit alone and be silent.”

    If they are wicked and sinful and do not allow him to reside there unless he mingle with them and follow their evil behavior, he should go out to caves, thickets, and deserts [rather than] follow the paths of sinners as [Jeremiah 9:1] states: “Who will give me a lodging place for wayfarers, in the desert.”
    Credit: Chabad.org

    We are living in a time where most of humanity does not believe in or follow the values of the Torah. We need to maintain a cultural distance from them if we are to remain loyal to Hashem & his Torah. Even if some individuals are able to to resist to assimilate with the masses around us, our community as a whole needs to isolate ourselves culturally if we wish to survive. The modern Orthodox community is a perfect example of frum Jews trying to take the honey of the secular world without being bitten by the snake of atheism that abounds. Many of their young people are leaving Yiddishkeit.

    #1721090

    outsiderlookingin
    Participant

    Hope everyone had an amazing Pesach! Now back to business:

    @RebbitzenGoldenpickanicerscreenname: That’s unsettling.

    @LittleFroggie:
    Did he state what the reason was? I’m wondering if he approaches it from a different angle. I’ll need to go back and learn. And again, why would you be “trying out” someone who is your friend?

    Regarding the gay person, I apologize. There was a point I meant to elaborate on but forgot to: The Torah says “A man who lies with a man in the way he lies with a woman…” indicating action. If a man lies with another man in that way he has, in fact, committed a sin and an immoral act. However, if he did not do such an action but just has the desires of a gay man (and doesn’t act on them) I don’t see that as a problem. Unless of course, one holds that simply existing and being gay is a sin.

    @shopping613: Let me give you an example: I have a friend who is female and not observant. She is planning on pursuing the same degree in engineering as I am. Additionally, we both compete in similar robotics leagues among other similarities. As such, our conversations mostly focus on those things and our lives, but nothing really beyond that. The fact that she’s female and non-observant doesn’t really play into our friendship. So to answer your questions, It isn’t GOING anywhere, because that isn’t the type of friendship it is.

    @sygalochochma: I am actually in talks with some rabbis I’m close with on this issue.

    @avram in MD: For this exact reason. There are a lot of things I’ve been brought up with under the guise of Orthodox that I’ve found differ from the greater Orthodox community and I’d like some answers.

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