Forum Replies Created
um . . . ein gozrin gezeira al gezeira? Perhaps, depending on the circumstances, partying with non-Jews may be a bad idea, but thats a highly individualized and fact-specific decision, and in any case “violation” (even of the spirit of the gezeira) would be the wrong word to use.
rabbiofberlin: Um, okay. Sure.
While I think the author of the piece expressed his idea rather poorly, his point is a good one, and could actually help us better understand the Holocaust, its importance, and the ways we can try to prevent it from happening again.
All he is saying (in between all the controversy-inducing language and hyperbole) is that we should stop thinking about the Holocaust as an historical anomaly, something unprecedented, unnatural, and inexplicable, and start thinking about it the same way we think about other historical events. American do not only morn the losses of the Civil War, they study them as an historical reality to better understand their causes, effects and continuing implications. The same is true for Pearl Harbor, or the way the Japanese think about Hiroshima and Nagasaki, or the way Russians think about the Second World War (let’s not forget they lost over 25 million people in the war). These events are not looked at as one-time events, they or their equivalents happened before, and will happen again, and understanding them as historical processes enables us to deal with them, and address potential repetitions.
We have not dealt with the Holocaust in this reasoned way. We have treated it as something unnatural, and inexplicable, and as a result we don’t understand it as well as we might. We have an emotional connection to the Holocaust, and it is understandable that as a result, our thoughts about the subject are highly reactionary. But that does not mean we cannot think about the Holocaust as an historical event, and analyze and understand it as such.
In addition to understanding the religious implications of the Churban, for example, we can also understand the historical processes that led up to, culminated in, and followed events like the destruction of the Second Temple, the defeat of the Bar Kochba Revolt, the Crusades, the Inquisition, Tach V’Tat, and the Holocaust.
Again, the author expressed his ideas using some very poorly chosen words, turns of phrase, and arguments. His underlying point, however, is well-taken.
Dare I say, the very fact that reactions to the piece have been so caustic and reactionary indicates that he may well have a point: We simply seem unable to get past our deep emotional connection to what happened in 1933-1945 so as to be able to think logically about what happened, why it happened, and what it has done.
I used to. But the prices are not that much cheaper than those offered by some major suppliers (i.e. ZBerman, ect.), if they are cheaper at all. To me, its become more of a seforim fair (offering the largest selection of seforim and books) than a SALE. So unless I have something hard to find that I am looking to buy, I don’t bother. Just the thought of the Croos-Bronx is enough to deter me from making the trek.
Anyone who thinks that our generation is the worst yet in terms of zima has very little sense or knowledge of history.
Anyone who thinks that the problems of the dor hamabul can be summed up by saying “toeiva” and “gezeilah,” or that the problems of Sodom were similar to those of the dor hamabul has an overly simplistic appreciation for Torah.
Anyone who thinks that the state of “our generation” can be extrapolated from what one sees in their own city, on the internet headlines, and by focusing on the worst people/things among us has a very simplistic awareness of the world.
Not to mention, of course, that halacha too seems to think that paying judges a salary from the public coffers rather than having litigants pay judges for their time on a per case basis is an ideal way of minimizing bribery, keeping judges honest and hardworking, and ultimately vaguely accountable to the general society they are judging.
Sushe: Why would it cause one to forget learning (by wearing the yarmulka flipped inside out)?
For the same reason it relieves your headaches.
soliek: Well said!
Depending on how you define emuna, maybe yes, maybe no. But either way, I’m not sure how this is something you can “give over” to your children. I can certainly tell then what things I accept as true, and what obligations I accept as binding on myself. As to WHY I accept them – well, I’m not sure how that is relevant to my children. They will have to accept them (or not) for their own reasons, based on their own nature and their own unique needs, perspective, and way of thinking.
No, I can’t “prove” maamad Har Sinai. I accept that there was a maamad Har Sinai. That is all, and that is all I will ask of my child(ren).
No, I can’t explain why the Christians are “wrong” (wrong about what exactly). I’m not sure why I should or would. I guess if they are interested in that sort of thing, I could direct them to any number of texts that I would be happy to read and discuss with them. but that sort of theological discussion just doesn’t bother or interest me – Torah is not theology, it is law. But that’s just my perspective.
I think that how these kinds of movements turn out depends on how there 2nd and 3rd generations of adherents handle them. We never know how they will turn out until years later when they actually do turn out. We didn’t know how Moses Mendelshon’s inherently legitimate approach would turn out until his students and his student’s students turned his views into the reform movement; we didn’t know how JTS would turn out until the 1930s; and we didn’t know how chassidism would turn out until the late 1700s. We can speculate, but we won’t know how YCT or Open Orthdoxy, or JOFA or whatever will turn out for quite some time.
Don’t get me wrong, a lot of it doesn’t sit well with me – mostly hashkafic reasons (which I can mostly brush off), but sometimes for halachic reasons (which are a lot harder to be complacent about). That’s why I think that healthy criticism of these developments is appropriate – discussion of hashkafic objections, and very strong disputation (framed in halachic terms, not unilateral “kol korei’s”)in halachic matters. What I think is not appropriate at this point is blanket and strident condemnation – calling them reform, apikursim, ect. That sort of thing is not called for until we know how they turn out. Not being neviim, we really can’t know yet. Will this be another chassidic/TIDE/TuM change or will this be a reform/conservative type change. Time will tell. Until it does, I think we should keep the lines of communication and reasoned halachic and hashkafic discourse and disagreement open and active.
Hmmmm. . . there was no mesorah for chassidus, was there. All those changes to nusach, shechita, glatt, mysticism, rebbes, new rituals, ect, ect, ect. It was a movement to change the way Judaism was practiced because many of the masses had emotional/spiritual needs that were not being met by what was then the “traditional” way. The traditionalists fought against it and even called its proponents kofrim and reformists. In the end, the criticism tempered the changes, the positive impact of the changes tempered the critics, and both sides recognized that they could both exist within the bounds of halacha.
. . . and the wheel, it keeps on a turnin’.
“Nor is the color of our shoelaces (nowadays) a religious issue.”
Perhaps not to you. To others, particularly the RWMO who live in the wider world in full compliance of halacha, EVERTHING is a religious issue, and NOTHING is a religious issue.
Some people here tend to discredit my credentials as a follower of R. Hirsh’s TIDE because my views do not fit into the dumbed-down version of TIDE indicated by the Artscroll biography of R. Hirsch. So allow me to give over a small bit of R. Hirsch’s Torah:
Judaism is not a religion in the conventional sense of the word. There are no “religious rituals” there are no “religious” issues and “secular” issues. There is just life – in all its variations – and halacha, the laws we must adhere to and guide our conduct by. RSRH regularly condemned the Reform movement precisely because they viewed Judaism as a religious, and its practices as rituals. Eating pizza is a halachic issue (is it kosher, do i need to wash and bench, is it yoshon, is it overpriced and a violation of ona’ah, ect.); choosing shoelaces is a halchic issue; davening is a halachic issue; using the bathroom is a halachic issue; getting an education is a halachic issue; running a business is a halachic issue.
To say that something is a halachic issue, however, is not to say that the halacha dictates a particular course of conduct. Some things are divrei halacha – where we wear our tefilin, how we heat up food on shabbos, what bracha to make on chocolate covered strawberries. other things are divrei reshus – what color shoelaces to wear; whether to be a doctor, lawyers, teacher, or janitor, what color suit to wear; what to eat on friday night; what kind of car to buy, ect. The fact that these things are not devarim shebireshus does not mean they are not halachic issues – it just means that the halacha allows for discretion in deciding how to act, to each according to his or her own nature and preference and abilities.
So, to say that making a simchas bas is problematic because it is creating a new ritual is really to mistate the misframe the issue. The question is not about arbitraily categorizing some things we do as “religious” and others as not religious. The question is how does the halacha view this practice. Is this the kind of thing where the halacha dictates a particular course of conduct (i.e., it is assur to make a simchas bas), or is this a situation where we have discretion to act as we see fit, each guided by their own hashkafa, and their own understanding of broad Torah principles? If the latter, everyone can do as they see fit. Some people tend to be more traditional, tend to need traditional and mesorah to maintain there halachic lifestyle (chasidim are a prime example of this), and for those people, a simchas bas would be distasteful and unnecessary. They can certainly refrain from doing it. Others are more independent and feel the need to express their individuality (within halachic bounds, of course). Some may even be inclined towards contemporary feminism to some extent (*gasp*). They might need a simchas bas as a basic part of bringing Torah into every aspect of their lives, and that’s fine for them.
The fact that they are motivated by feminism is no worse than other people’s being motivated by traditionalism or conservatism or other “isms” that influence how we make decisions within the bounds of halachic discretion. The problems arise when certain ideologies are expressed in actions that violate halacha, whether that means feminists say barchu at a women’s minyan, or chassidim cheat on their taxes, or MO fail to follow basic tznius and negiah rules. In any case, yesh din v’yeish dayan. God is more than capable of judging people’s motivations, if He so chooses. We cannot fully understand anyone’s complex motivations for acting a certain way; we are not in their shoes. We can judge only based on the actions we can externally observe, and then only by objective standards of halacha – not by imposing our own standards of how to act in devarim shebirishus.
“I did not make brochos are say special tefilos or pretend it was something which it was not.”
Well done! You really are A Heimishe Mom. Nothing like taking a birthday party in honor of your daughter’s becoming personally obligated to follow halacha and purposely removing every recognition of that fact and instead turning into a meaningless secular party for a secular purpose. You took an opportunity to make Torah real by bringing into EVERY aspect of life – not just beis yaakov, shul, and chessed projects, but something as mundane as a birthday party – and instead pushed the Torah away to the corner of the room as if to say, God has no relevance here.
But I guess if doing all that is part of the mesorah . . . .
But go ahead. Continue faulting people for making a definitive recognition of the religious significance of the birth of their daughter. Denigrate them for acknowledging God’s role in their lives and the future life of their daughter, not just in vague thought, but in definite speech and action.
Oh Sam2, you just don’t get it. There is a mesorah on how parents can and cannot be happy upon the birth of a daughter. Clearly this is a break with the mesorah; it has no sanction from the gedolim; it is just a radical – practically conservative – innovation driven by radical feminist agendas. The mesorah dictates that good frumma yidden make a kiddush to celebrate the birht of a daughter. They don’t make a party – just a kiddush – they don’t say tehillim or other teffilos to express their gratitude to God, and they most certainly do not make a bracha to mentally dedicate themselves to the important task of raising their new child in the proper derech.
(sorry, couldn’t resist).
I have a VERY pressured life. It makes me exhausted, occasionally frustrated, often curt and impatient, sometimes very unpleasant to be around. it also makes me incredibly productive, fulfilled, and content. I most certainly am happy under this kind of pressure.
BUT that doesn’t mean everyone is. Some people thrive on pressure and rise to the challenge. Others are buried under its weight; they could achieve the same heights under a more relaxed regimen.
SO, while it may not be unhealthy for you to learn 10-12 hours a day as a 12-13 year old (or 17-20 year old, for that matter), it may be very destructive for others. Chinuch l’naar al pi darcho. You are right, in thinking that some of this “softness” may be attributable to general social norms and standards where kids are under less pressure and so are unable to handle the pressure as well. But, the reality is that social norms are here, they do impact on how kids handle life, and we need to work with these realities rather than try to ignore them and expect kids to fall in line.
You know, Skiaddict, just because someone writes something in a book doesn’t mean its actually true. Especially when the thing he’s writing would require some kind of nevuah or ruach hakodesh.
THere is a lot to be said for a community having certain standards of kashrus for its local restaurants and supermarkets, and those standards being enforced by a vaad of local rabbonim having exclusive authority to grant hashgachos. Hashgachos also cost money to supervise; there are administrative costs in addition to the actual cost of the mashgiach’s salary. A communal vaad hakashrus thus has to charge for its services, and a business owner needs to anticipate and consider those costs before deciding to open a restaurant.
That said, you’re right. There is NO EXCUSE for a vaad to act like a mafia by extorting inordinate sums of protection money from store owners. A vaad needs to be responsible to the community, and if it acts inappropriately, the members of the community ought to replace the vaad members.
Lomed: OR, if God wanted to do a chessed for us by obligating us to know His full Truth, he would have given us the ability to use our intellectual and creative powers to discover that Truth (and become better people in the process), and would have given us the Torah to show us how to discover the Truth in the world around us, and how to distinguish between Truth and falsehood.
Oh wait, that’s exactly what He did.
MDG: Rabbi Lamm does not mean parts of Torah are untrue, God forbid.
What I believe R. Dr. Lamm meant is that everything in the Torah is true, but the Torah itself, as we know it, does not contain all the Truth that’s out there. Some of God’s Truth (i.e., the fabric out of which the world is fashioned and in accordance to which the world runs, and based on which people should act) is revealed to us in the Torah – sometimes explicitly other times implicitly. But that is not ALL the Truth. Some Truths are not revealed in the Torah, but instead were left to mankind to discover over time. These Truths are the “maadah” half of Torah U’maadah, and the “derech eretz” part of Torah im Derech Eretz. These Truths are uncovered by biologists, politicians, historians, psychologists, doctors, lawyers, philosophers, engineers, mathematicians, chemists, generals, ect.
By combining our knowledge of Torah Truths and Derech Eretz (or maadah) Truths (always using the Torah’s guidelines to determine what aspects of the non-Torah world are indeed True), we come to a fuller and more complete understanding of the Whole Truth.
Josh31: Well said. As a law student, I can only say that my ability to diligently learn Torah has only been enhanced by the realization that the typical law student can go 4-6 weeks studying without any real breaks for 10-20 hours a day, without weekend breaks. That’s hasmada!
Just a bit.
But to be serious, I’m not sure what the Rambam’s learning or not learning has anything to do with TuM. If the fact that the Rambam didn’t study American History is meant to imply that neither should we, then we should all study Aristotelian and Platonic philosophy, Islamic jurisprudence, Greek medicine and astronomy, and Roman histories because the Rambam most certainly did study those disciplines.
(Don’t get me wrong, Greek philosophy, Roman histories, and Islamic jurisprudence are great – but I can’t speak to Greek medicine or astronomy since I’ve never studied those myself).
“I guarantee the Rambam did not learn American history.”
Nonsense. How could you say such a thing? The holy tzadik, the Rambam, didn’t know American history? The Rambam was a baki in kol haTorah kuloh, he knew all of Torah backwards and forwards. And just as Chazal must have known correct history, medicine, biology, astronomy, physiscs, philosophy, zoology, jurisprudence, and child psychology because they were beki’im in Torah and had a masorah from Sinai, so too the Rambam must have known American history from his intensive study of Torah. After all, EVERYTHING is in the text of the Torah, is it not?
I’ll stop now. My tongue is virtually bursting through my cheek.
Certainly they were written by one of the non-perushim sects that lived in the end of Bayis Sheini period. What does that have to do with viewing them?
mik5: Your rav was probably referring to the vast majority of non-frum Jews, who are adjudges tinokos shenishbu. basically, this means they cannot be held responsible for their failure to observe the Torah, and the fact that they don’t follow halacha does not impact their personal status (i.e., they are not ajudged mumarim l’hachis).
The concept of tinok shenisha originally refers to a young Jewish child captured at a young age and held in captivity by non-Jews for an extended period. The influence of being raised without a Torah education and outside a Torah environment is considered an excuse (not a justification) for why the grown up child fails to follow halacha.
In the contemporary context, it refers to all those that have been raised by secularized or non-observant parents, who are excused for their non-observance of halacha because of their being raised in an environment and culture in which Torah-observance is so foreign a concept, that they cannot be expected to have any regard for it.
yitayningwut: Certainly there is “halachic truth.” But when we refer to “halachic truth” we refer to a halacha being unalterably established either by the Sanhedrin or through the compilation of the gemarah. After that, all is fair game (though that might be a poor way of putting it since any good posek understands the different levels of deference that must be given to a ShuT of Rishonim, Achronim, Mishnah Torah, Tur, Shulchan Aruch, Aruch Hashulchan, Chidushim on Shas, ect.).
I cannot agree when you say, “When there is a machlokes Rashi and Tosafos; Rambam and Ra’avad; Shach and Taz; or R’ Moshe and R’ Yaakov, one is right and one is wrong. End of story.” That is simply not the case.
True, one may be accepted in practice while one is not, but that doesn’t mean that one no longer exists except in the “Bashamayim” realm. Eilu v’eilu tells us that both are correct. Mesorah tells us that we follow the opinion that has become accepted practice. Nevertheless, the fact that one is accpeted and one is not does not mean that under extenuating circumstances, and posek can’t dredge up a daas yachid or unaccepted view and rely on that to develop a psak to be mattir something or vice versa.
There is one “true halacha” in Shamayim, perhaps. Maybe God has a single way that He KNOWS the halacha should be. Here on earth, there is no single true psak (again, expect for rulings of the Sanhedrin and chasima hagemarah). As the Rama to CM 25:1 points out, a posek may, with proper reason, go against an accepted halachic practice and follow a rejected opinion of the rishonim. That rejected opinion is not invalid; it is merely not accepted in practice.
passfan: The RCA condemned the practice; they did not expel R. Weiss (of the Rabbi who wrote the article about “sheasani isha”) from the organization. They voiced their halachic disagreement and disapproval with these positions, but they did not conclude that these action were beyond the pale or that they placed those who made these decisions outside the camp.
Indeed, many MO think the RCA should have condemned the Rabba issue more explicitly than it did, but again, very few of them advocated for R. Weiss’s expulsion.
Again I think your missing the point. The point is that MO is more inclusive and has no need to really brand LWMO as conservative. Either the movement will die, or it will move even further left until there is no doubt about what they are, or they will succeed in influencing the rest of the Jewish world and will be legitimized. The final verdict will have to wait until the result is clear, and until then, many in the MO world would prefer cautious inclusion and halachic debate to expulsion, charamim, kol koreis, and more divisiveness.
passfan: Very well. That is where you and R. Broyde (and others) disagree. That’s fine. As I said in my last post (and it may have been lost in the verbosity), the MO believe the debate is not settled because in fact, these issues were not even on the halachic radar in the past. They fist became relevant as a result of the cultural revolution of the 60s and 70s, and only now are becoming a topic of halachic focus as more and more women have gone through intensive learning programs, and as women become more powerful in their careers, ect. Except for some isolated teshuvos that don’t really speak to today’s facts on the ground, the debate has not been had; it is going on right now, and halachic debates like these can last years and decades – we only see which side is right and which side we will accept in hindsight.
In any case, if you and others feel the debate is over and that LWMO is much the same as the CJLS, that’s fine, and you should conduct yourself accordingly. But the MO world does not see things is such non-historical, short-sighted, and black-and-white terms.
Interestingly, as I pointed out above, because the MO world is more pluralistic, it can tolerate your view on the matter, as well as LWMO views, and RWMO views too – the MO doesn’t have this need to ban people from the Torah-observant world for minor deviations that are merely subjects of disagreement. The chareidi world has its own approach, which requires more uniformity and has less tolerance for change and innovation, and so it must reject the LWMO as practically conservative, and the rest of the MO world as only a bit better than that.
Again, time will tell whose approach will survive in the hearts, homes, schools, and practices of the segment of the Jewish people that consider themselves bound by the Torah.
I am so enjoying this thread. it’s a shame there aren’t more people interested in getting into this, but thank you for a stimulating exchange.
You said, “Tolerance is not relevant here.” I think we may be talking past each other, since, as I see it, tolerance is exactly the crux of the issue. Or to put it more precisely, halachic monism vs. halachic pluralism is the keystone to the discussion.
I take from you last post that you think that there is a single “right” answer to halachic questions (you refer to accepting the legitimacy of more meikil psakim as “compromising on the truth”). On reflection, I think you would have to agree that this is not the case. Every halachic question has many possible correct answers; “shivim panim l’Torah” does not only apply to hashkafa. This does not mean that WE or I need to accapt every legitimate psak halacha; I do not. What I and what we all need to do is accept that every psak halacha properly grounded in sources and appropriate halachic reasoning, and arrived at with appropriate yiraas horaah and recognition of the ol malchus shamayim is a legitimate halachic approach, even if we, I and all of klal yisrael reject it in practice.
Electricity on shabbos and yom tov is a prime example. We all know that in the late 1800s and early 1900s, the question of whether it is assur to use electricity on shabbos is assur or not was a major issue. Very prominent poskim, poskim who’s views we have come to accept on other matters, held that it was muttar to use electricity on yom tov. We (all of kal yisrael that recognizes an obligation to follow halacha) ultimately rejected that approach; we do not use electricity on shabbos or yom tov, and indeed, for some, refraining from electricity has become the hallmark of shabbos and yom tov observance. The fact that after the dust of the debate settled one view was rejected in practice does not mean it was beyond the pale or outside the camp at the time, or even that those who followed it while the debate raged were not orthodox (I hate that word – use instead, Torah-observant). The view that electricity could be used on yom tov was legitimate – it was grounded in sources and proper halachic reasoning, and was forwarded by people who recognized their obligation to the Torah. Nevertheless it was ultimately rejected, and the mere suggestion that it may be okay to use electricity on shabbos or yom tov would immediately condemn the speaker as conservative (or worse).
The point of that illustration is this: For the MO (the knowledgeable MO who learn and know Torah and take their obligation to follow halacha seriously – I’m not talking about the MO lite, that are culturally orthodox, but really pick and choose things like swimming on shabbos, yichud, shomer negiah,covering hair, eating in vegetarian restaurants without hechsheirim, ect.), tolerance of competing halachic views is key. MO can accept that some poskim issue non-mainstream rulings fot their communities, even if those same MO would never do or rule the same for their own kehillos, and even though those same MO will write articles and teshuvos arguing against the appropriateness of such psakim. Some MO rabbanim – grounded in halachic sources and reasoning – that women may have their own minyanim (that do not say devarim shebikidusha); that women may receive a heter horaah; that women should say sheasani isha; and many other changes that the rest of the Torah-obsevrant world may find distateful and outrageous. But for the MO, tolerance and pluralism is the order of the day. As the MO see it, these matter are not settled yet; the issues of feminism and current social and cultural realities are just now emerging and how they are to be dealt with halachicly has not yet been debated and decided by the klal one way or the other. Since these things are still “up in the air,” so to speak, these LWMO “innovations” are not outside the camp; they legitimate (albeit perhaps wrong)halachic positions; they are one side of a debate in halacha – a debate that must be had, and a debate in which both sides must battle within the “daled amos of halacha.”
I think this in part explains the conservative issue that you seem so bothered by. You are correct to point out that if the MO are so willing to be accepting of different positions as long as those positions have a halachic basis, why not be tolerant of the rulings of the CJLS whose rulings, as you point out, are always also grounded in the sources. The answer I think is as follows: That ship has sailed. The conservatives tore down the mechitzas backed by halachic sources, but they did so after the matter had been settled in the early to mid 1800s. The debate over mechitzas had already taken place and had been resolved, obviously, in favor of the mechitza being an essential element to a Torah-observant shul. The CJLS could not revisit the issue and rule against what the Torah-observant world had determined was to be the accepted halachic approach. So to with driving on shabbos, and other issues. Once the CJLS tainted itself with these rulings that were beyond the pale, as well as other rulings doing away with elements of kashrus, ect., even there otherwise halachicly grounded decisions are “outside the camp;” they are not legitimate because they stem from a source that has already lost its halachic legitimacy.
This is not the case with the LWMO. Yet, at least. The halachic debate over women’s issues is not yet fully engaged, and certainly not resolved. Until it is, the MO will accept the legitimacy (though not the correctness) of halachic views properly grounded in sources and reasoning and which stem from people who, aside from these innovative psakim, are certainly within the camp.
I apologize for the length; this is just a complex philosophy to work out and explain, and I am SO enjoying the conversation.
BT: Why is it a shame that MO shuls might do things not sanctioned by the chareidi community or BMG? Where do you live? It sounds like your “MO” shul has nothing to do with MO. What makes it MO exactly?
yitayningwut: Unfortunately, this is an ongoing, unavoidable problem for people like R. Broyde (and myself) who believe that the Torah provides us with wide boundaries to apply the halacha in light of local conditions and circumstances, and that someone on the left or right’s paskining differently than we would like does not take them out of the orthodox camp. Why are we less accommodating to some halachic developments (i.e., the traditional conservative rulings from the first half of the 1900s) and more tolerant (though not approving) of others (like current movements to make things more accommodating to women)? Ultimately, I think it comes down to each rav/posek’s judgement. R. Broyde feels as though psak X is legitimate (though not ideal) while psak Y is completely unacceptable; other poskim feel differently (the “she’asani isha” issue is one such point – I have heard several prominent MO poskim call this the beginnings of a new conservative movement, while others are merely uncomfortable with it, but understand its halachic basis).
I think a lot can be explained by the MO world’s general aversion to labeling in the way the chareidi world does. For the MO, people’s commitment to Torah falls somewhere on a sliding scale spectrum – you are more or less observant of halacha, but just because you wear pants, don’t cover your hair, or play ball on shabbos doesn’t make you “non-orthodox”; you are simply less than perfectly observant of halacha. To be sure, there are limits; shmiras shabbos, kashrus, and taharas hamishpacha may set the boundaries of orthodoxy, but the decision to say sheasani isha or to allow a woman to paskin shailos and to give her a title signifying that fact (all backed by halachic reasoning, even if not mainstream) do not go to the core of whether or not a person recognizes the ol malchuis shamayim.
Labels are far more important to the chareidim. And for good reason: The chareidim reject integration with the wider world, and chareidi hashkafa therefore depends largely on insular cohesive uniform communities. Black pants and white shirts; hats and jackets; different streimels for different chassidim; adherence to Daas Torah on matter other than halacha; ect. Conformity is important, and so it is also important for chareidim to have bright-line determinations of who is and is not “in the camp.” You can’t be a less-observant-chareidi (like you can be a less-observant-MO), you are simply no longer chareidi, and as the deviation from the charedi norm becomes more pronounced you are outside orthodoxy and are now conservative or reform.
These distinctions between camps are much less important to the MO. You observe halacha or you don’t; you observe more or you observe less. As long as the MO poskim feel that your innovations or changes are merely troublesome and misguided, but are not a complete rejection of the ol malchus shamayim, there is no need to remove you from the camp (which exists only in some hazy sketch anyway).
Ultimately, the point is that time, hashgacha pratis, and successive generations of poskim will tell whether like the conservatives of the early 1900s, the LWMO will reject God’s Torah in favor of their own creation, or whether other groups will accept some or all of their ideas as legitimate and they will be incorporated into the mainstream.
I think R. Broyde’s point is as follows:
LWMO (YCT, Open Orthodoxy, or whatever else you want to call them) has been advocating and implementing some troublesome halachic innovations. The fact that they are troublesome or innovative should not be reason to expel them from the MO or orthodox camp, however, since they remain committed to developing their p’sakim in the context of proper halachic decision-making (relying on sources; on what they see as a mesorah from their teachers; and on very strong halachic, social, and other reasons if they are going to deviate from current and recent practice – see Rama to CM 25:1). However, just because LWMO shouldn’t be kicked out of the machaneh, so to speak, does not mean the rest of us should remain silent when they do innovate (rabbah, woman leading kabbolas shabbos, she’asani isha, ect.), even though their innovations are based on the halachic process. They innovate, justifying their practices in halacha, and others in the MO camp should agree or vehemently disagree as they see fit, also based on halachic reasoning.
The result will be – as it should be – a shakla v’taryah in p’sak, and the result of the debate will only be seen in how halachic practice will have changed in a hundred years, as it has changed over the hundreds of years past. R. Broyde doesn’t say it, but I would add that there is a degree of siyata d’shmaya here in how these halachic debates turn out over many, many years.
Bottom line, as long as the LWMO recognize the need to operate within the constraints of the halachic process, they remain orthodox. But the fact that they remain orthodox does not mean their halacha-based innovations should not be argued with and countered with halachic arguments upholding current practice.
I have a list, I’ll try to get it for you later. But for a great summary, go through the aguna entry in the encyclopedia talmudis and make sure to read the footnotes!
zahavasdad: “Imagine” isn’t about atheism per se; anti-secular music Jews sometimes hinge on one line of the song (“and no religion too”) and claim that the song is atheistic thus pasuling all Beatles music and all “non-Jewish” music as well. If you listen to the full song it is pretty clear that the song is about the destructiveness of man-made civilization; how man has used his ability to oppress his fellows through various devices – including man-made institutional religion. Agree or disagree with the view expressed, it isn;t about atheism.
This is assinine. Netzavim is one of the most powerful parshios, especially before the Yomim Noraim; it is empowering and humbling at the same time. Since the first time I really read through it preparing for a high school weekly chumash and rashi test, I shudder when I hear the words.
For 300, your best bet is probably gonna be macy’s, unless you have a lot of time to shop around, then try barneys outlets in woodburry commons and riverhead, century 21, saks off 5th, ect. – if you bide your time at those kinds of places you can find real gems – $1,000+ suits that fit and feel wondeful, and last a long time, for $250-400.
Ein Od, I’m confused, your talking about custom and Marshalls in the same sentence? Are you looking for quality, but custom is just a bit too pricey, or are you looking to go inexpensive, regardless of the quality?
Abellah: Unfortunately, you’ll find a lot of people who sat being mikayem a mitzva is bittul Torah – training for a parnassa is bitul Torah, making a parnassa and supporting your family is bittul Torah, kiruv rechokim is bittul Torah, I could go on.
Metro: Quite right. I was talking in terms of the OP borrowing the money from the pushka because if he did that there would be more room to be meikil in deciding whether or not he can consider himself an ani at that time. Always good to be mitztareif the snifim l’kula and cover as many bases as possible. But yes, if he did take the money as pure tzedaka, certainly he would have no obligation to return it.
NOT A PSAK, BUT A SLIGHTLY INFORMED OPINION:
It really depends on what the pushka is for, and how great your need is for the cash. If the pushka is a “general” tzedaka box – i.e., you put money in periodically, and when it’s full you decide who to give the money to – the money there is generally designated for aniyim (assuming you haven’t generally designated it for institutions or yeshivos). At the moment you are strapped for cash – i.e., you need some cash, the bank is closed, you can’t get to an ATM before you need the cash, ect. – you have what to rely on in saying that at that moment you are an ani, and may take tzedaka for yourself, all the more so because you intend to pay it back shortly. Of course, this would depend on how great your need for the cash really is – but that is something you can best judge for yourself. Bottom line, if you really do need the cash right away, you would have what to rely on to consider yourself an ani and take it, especially as only a very short term loan.
BUT, if the tzedaka box in question is designated for a specific cause – i.e., a yeshiva or some other organization sent you a pushka, or you mentally designated your home pushka to go to a particular cause – likely that cause gains rights to that money as soon as you give it. They could, in theory, sue you in beis din if you failed to give the money to them and instead gave it to another tzedaka, and therefore, it would be hard to find a basis for you to use that designated money, even if you could be considered an ani due to your present need for quick cash. One solution might be to write a check for whatever you take and place the signed check in the pushka – the signed check represents your obligation to pay no less than does the dollar bill in the box, and might solve the problem.
Interesting question. Other thoughts: What do you do if you do borrow the money from the pushka and the value of the money appreciates or depreciates before you replace it? What if you realize some sort of profits from the borrowed money – i.e., you use it to buy a lottery ticket and win – was the borrowed money yours because at the time you took it you were an ani, or was it the tzedaka’s money that was lent to you? Lots of possibilities.
Health: Learning as much Torah as possible undoubtably makes you a better rabbi, but that doesn’t mean having a broader knowledge of related matters does not. Perhaps if your a maggid shiur or stam a “talmid chacham” you have little need for formal advanced secular education, but a Rav, a rabbi does. A rav must paskin shailos, and so must understand the economic, psychological, political, and other issues that his congregants are dealing with and which relate to reaching a good psak. A rav must be able to lead his kehilla, not just give a drasha on chumash on shabbos morning and a daf yomi during the week. Practical, real world work requires practical, real-world knowledge, and if you want to do it right, you learn from the experts and get yourself certified to be sure you really understand the things you claim to know.
Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.
I get up at 4:45 AM every morning, learn until 7, daven, head out to school at 8, go to class/study/research/write until 5, arrive home at 6, spend some time with the family until 8, learn until 10:30, daven, and spend some time with the wife, and get to sleep by 11:30-12. Pretty long day of pretty taxing learning and working, but I couldn’t possibly enjoy it more.
Charlie: To be fair, Reagan did do a passable job at Governor of California for 8 years, so his resume was a bit more well-padded than, say, our current President. Otherwise, spot on!
Of course. But why limit it to art before 1900? There is chochma in ALL art and culture. Whether that chochma is something we should internalize and apply to our own lives, that an entirely separate question. After all, there was great chochma in the strategic and operational planning of Hitler’s S.S., but that doesn’t mean it was a good thing. The same can be said for just about any aspect of art, culture, or academic study: There is quite a bit of chochma in cubism, pop-entertainment, and critical feminist studies, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the methods used or conclusions drawn by these “disciplines” are worth emulating or implementing.
I daven at Sharrey, which was filled pretty much like regular for shachris, mincha, and maariv on shabbos. They also had minyanim this morning as usual. I heard the White Shul was closed after 1 PM on shabbos afternoon, but on shabbos morning it was business as usual. I can’t speak to other shuls in Far Rockaway, especially those closer to Seagirt Blvd, but I did see people closing up the Sulitzer Bais Midrash at around 9 PM on motzai shabbos, so I assume they had minyanim as well.
Brach’s is open, as are some of the stores on Central Ave. The neighborhood is a bit dirty and there is an occasional tree blocking a lane here and there but really not as bad as that tornado last year or the storm we had that motzai shabbos in March.
I never left. B”H all is well. Looks like zero to minimal flooding, just from rainwater in a few spots and intersections, and nothing more than a few inches. Some trees and branches are down. Most of the power is up, I hear (at least I have power, but I have LIPA). Rumors of some looting in a couple of places, including Oak Drive – but I took a drive down there this morning and there didn’t seem to be anything amiss, so I can’t confirm.
Bottom line – come back, clean out your gutters, and push the twigs off your car. Nothing much more than that for the most part except for a couple of isolated incidents.
Simple answer: Many (maybe most) people just do not understand how to deal with these situations properly – they have never gone through them themselves or worked closely to help those who have; they react impulsively without thinking things through. This goes for friends, neighbors, and yes, even people in positions of authority like rabbeim and roshei yeshiva (though generally rabbonim of a kehilla are far better at this since they must deal with their congregants as a whole – they don’t get to send them home after seder and let them be their parents’ problem). Simply put, oftentimes people do stupid things. It seems as though you have been subjected to this, and most unfortunately it came from those who you should be able to trust and work with.
I don’t know where you live, or whether your looking for some support and help, but I have quite a bit of experience in these metters, and if you’d like to contact the mods and get in contact with me, please please do so.
Kol tuv, and the best of luck to you! You are a wonderful person trying hard to do what’s right, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise – only you know how difficult your struggles are and how hard your trying; most everyone else is just looking at the outside.August 22, 2011 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm in reply to: Does taking on more chumros make one a greater tzaddik? #801111
call me frum: Yes it does; despite his having died over 120 years ago, still in many ways, my rebbe, mashgiach, and role model. I try to exemplify his timeless teaching, as best as I understand them, in my life, both in the real and CR worlds.August 22, 2011 8:16 pm at 8:16 pm in reply to: Does taking on more chumros make one a greater tzaddik? #801104
It could be. But a machmir must always understand that their churos do not only affect them, and when it is appropriate to keep them, and when not. For example, while I may be makpid, k’daas hamachmirim, to NEVER EVER eat food containing liquid that is heated up on shabbos, no matter how the heating is done, I would not keep that chumra if i accepted an invitation to eat at someones house who heated up such food (in a way that is legitimately muttar, even a daas yachid). I may not accept an invitation from them again in the future, but once i did so, my personal chumra is no excuse to disregard the proper kavod i must show to my host. similarly, i would not likely keep my chumra in a situation where for whatever only food with liquid is available for my own shabbos meal. perhaps I wou;ld not eat it myself, but my chumra cannot be an excuse to tell my wife and children to eat a cold lunch when a warm one is available al pi hadin.
Do you have a page number for that in his ESSAYS book, so I can look it up and see the context and maybe have an idea?
To out it VERY briefly, I think R’ Aharon and R’ Schwalb had different problems with TuM.
For R’ Aharon, the problem is MO in general, regardless of what particular MO philosophy one follows (TuM, TIDE, YCT, ect.). All are problematic as per the Chassam Sofer’s famous rallying cry of “Chadash Asur Min HaTorah – Anything New or Innovative is Prohibited by the Torah.” The Chassasm Sofer applied this maxim to combat Reform, but it has been extended to include any changes – even minor ones – from the way things were done in Eastern and Central Europe in the late 1700s and early 1800s.
For R’ Schwalb, I think, the problem is not with MO per se, but with TuM as a philosophy. TuM in many ways is inconsistent with the central tenets of TIDE. Whereas TIDE embraces “secular” knowledge, it considers such knowledge inherently valuable only to the extent that it is not inconsistent with Torah; it synthesizes Torah and rest of the real world, with Torah always controlling which aspects of the larger world are considered acceptable. TuM (as per R’ Solevetchick) on the other hand, rejects this idea of synthesis. In TuM philosophy, both Torah and Maadah are inherently valuable. While Torah is of course the more important and always must control our actions, non-Torah ideas (philosophic, artistic, political, scientific, ect.) are also inherently valuable and are also to be fully embraced. For TuM there is no synthesis – Torah and Maadah are at times at odds; Torah must control our conduct, but we can still be fully immersed in the Maadah world. That is what R’ Schwalb was taking about when he criticized having a Yeshiva on the first floor and studying apikursus on the third floor (for those who saw that quote in the other thread). R’ Schwalb was alos criticizing MO (TuM) rejection of the austritt principle, which is so central to TIDE.
GAW never said there was NO benefit to learning unless you contribute something substantial to the k’hal (though even if he did so, I very much doubt that would be apikursus – just wrong). He simply said that in the good old days, learners did not expected money, and workers were not expected to help support people’s learning unless those people where using their studies to prepare for a position that tangibly contributes to the k’hal through rabanus, dayanus, teaching, and psak.