Forum Replies Created
Avi, you may have a point about what sometimes happens when there is no living rebbe, but in practice, there have always been several Breslov manhigim in each generation who functioned as leaders, giving people advice and so on. For example, today there are many chashuv Breslov leaders today–Rav Shalom Arush, Rav Elazar Kenig, etc.
Rebbe Nachman was opposed to hereditary rebbes, which most other chassidic groups have had, perhaps because it tends to create a social system in which people rely vicariously on the rebbe’s spiritual attainments instead of focusing on developing themselves by implementing the rebbe’s teachings. For example, as recounted in Reb Noson’s biography, a chassidic rebbe confided in Reb Noson that he was jealous of Breslov chassidim because his chassidim mainly came to him for blessings about material problems, while Breslovers were focused on enhancing their avodas Hashem.
Takes2toTango: It’s completely false that “most” Israelis on their way to becoming BTs who go to Uman are “druggies or worse.” Just because you have a false stereotype in your head about Breslov BTs does not mean you should spread this falsehood on the Internet.
For example, NaNachs are very visible and many people’s idea of what a Breslover is, but in fact NaNachs are only a tiny proportion of all Breslovers and all BTs. And contrary to what you might think, most NaNachs don’t have anything to do with drugs. (That said, I personally don’t agree with their hashkafa).
Breslov has always had some interesting characters, since there’s no membership list and anyone can just call themselves a Breslover and thereby become one in other people’s eyes, but that doesn’t mean that most are into bad things. As with any Orthodox group, the vast majority are fine, upstanding people.
Google “I am the soul of Rebbi Nachman” and you’ll see what I’m talking about. I’ve seen the reference elsewhere too, but I don’t remember where. It’s unclear what he meant by it.
In a recent English biography of Rav Kook, it describes letters between Rav Kook and Rav Tzvi Yehudah in which the latter talked of his desire to become a full-fledged Breslover, but his father discouraged him, advising him to be more like himself–influenced by chassidus and various other sources instead of being a follower of a single individual.
Many dati leumi people today are strongly influenced by Breslov (as in the Chavakuk movement (Chabad-Breslov-Kook)), so even today there are many followers of Rav Kook who go to Uman.
Why not live there already? They do–that’s what I just said. Breslov chassidim generally live in Israel, but travel to Uman for Rosh HaShana when possible.
You may have point about the Ukranians, but you can’t move a kever when the chassidim are against it. The Jews who live in Uman say that anti-Semitic incidents are pretty rare.
Rav Kook was always very close to Breslov chassidus and chassidim. He closely associated with them as soon as he moved to Israel. (Rav Kook even suggested he was the gilgul of Rebbe Nachman!) His son almost become a Breslover chassid. Denouncing people for following basic Breslov chassidus is not something Rav Kook would approve of.
It’s to be expected that some non-Breslover rabbis would speak against going to Uman. But Breslovers have to follow their Rebbe, and their rabbis, nearly all of whom say to visit Uman if possible. About leaving their families, chassidim have always visited their rebbe on certain holidays. There’s even a halacha that you’re supposed to. (And there’s no halacha that you have to be in town with your family on R”H).
However, if their families don’t want them to go, or can’t manage without them, they don’t go. It’s not that different from leaving your family for a few days to go to America or Meron or whatever.
Avi K: The vast majority of Breslov chassidim were opposed to moving the kever to Israel. It’s far from clear Rebbe Nachman would have approved of such a move. He chose to move to Uman before his death for a specific reason — because it was near the graves of the Chmielnicki pogram victims, and he wanted to be buried near them.
Rebbe Nachman explicitly taught that the gravesites of tzaddikim literally have the kedushah of E”Y. So it’s clear he would be in favor of people visiting Uman from Israel–at least his chassidim.
However, unlike most other Chassidic rebbes Rebbe Nachman placed a great emphasis on the importance of visiting, and living in, Israel. (Rebbe Nachman taught that we should all yearn for visiting Israel even if we can’t, and Reb Nosson wrote many prayers on this theme–in Likutei Tefilos, which Rav Kook was known to often have with him.) For that reason, the vast majority of Breslovers live in Israel. Well-known Breslover rabbis, like Rabbi Lazer Brody and Rav Shalom Arush, are always trying to convince people to make aliyah.
About 40,000 go each year. Rebbe Nachman taught his followers it was very important to visit his grave on Rosh HaShana. Some Breslov chassidim go every year, while others might go once in a lifetime.
The most distinctive teachings of Breslov chassidus are the importance to praying to Hashem in one’s own words (hitbodedut) and going to Uman. (There’s a lot more, too, including a special emphasis on studying the Shulchan Aruch each day, “it is a great mitzvah to be happy always,” etc.)
Many BTs are attracted to Breslov teachings, and so many people (especially Israelis) who are on the path to becoming frum go to Uman, and it can be an important spiritual experience for them, which encourages them. There are also many frum non-Breslovers who go–Chabad, dati leumi, Yeshivish, etc.–because they have some interest in Breslov chassidus.
The Bilvavi (R’ Itamar Schwartz) has a long essay about the topic of over-materialism in the US, addressed to all frum Jews here. Here are a few paragraphs (google a sentence and you can find the rest on his website):
Our Lavish Lifestyle
People here [in America] are not just living in opulent homes, but in palaces! The houses of people here are becoming like graves.
This way of life was not how our ancestors lived. They lived and sought something completely different.
I can practically guarantee that your Gan Eden (Paradise) will not be nice as your houses. The Chovos HaLevavos writes that this world and the next are opponents. If so, they cannot coexist. Where should there be opulence? Either in the Bais HaMikdash (Temple), or in Gan Eden, but there should not be such a thing in this world.
This way of life has become so deep-rooted here that you do not understand that this is not the true way of life. This way of life has been going on for a few generations already.
How much do you work to pay for your house? People are devoting the entire day, their whole lives, to pay for more and more materialism.
If someone from Europe of old would visit this society, he would assume that this is must be Purim, and that gentiles are masquerading as Jews!
What we see is the opposite of how Jews should live.
Why don’t you immediately get up and move to the Land of Israel? Isn’t it more holy there? Isn’t it a little more spiritual there? It is more than a little. So why stay here? Obviously, because there you will have less money, and your home will be a quarter of the size: only five rooms…you want comfort…
Do we all want Moshiach to come and gather us to the Land of Israel?? Do you want to get up and go there when he comes?? If so, why not do it tonight? If we want true life, with spirituality, not with this materialism among the gentiles, are we able to take the first plane to Israel? But people make all sorts of excuses why they don’t move.
Life here is all about seeking materialism. You all live like the wealthiest. This entire way of life is wrong!February 8, 2018 9:36 am at 9:36 am in reply to: Are Reiki and similar “therapies” consider Avizrayu D’avoda Zara? #1465353
A book came out recently by R’ Rephoel Szmerla saying most of these things are OK, but it’s controversial — I think others say they’re avodah zara.
As Lightbright said, certainly acupuncture is OK and not avodah zara.
There is a halacha about not sipping your wine, since it is seen as haughty. Perhaps this implies one should not be a connoisseur, at least not ostentatiously.
According to the definition above, anyone who appreciates the differences in taste (or “smoothness” or whatever) between different kinds of scotch is by definition a foodie. Same with wine, micro-brews, etc. I’m not saying it’s wrong–though it may be less healthy than being a connoisseur regarding actual food–just pointing out that “foodism” is more common than people might think (even if people don’t use that label.)
Watching and caring about sports is another thing that’s analogous — a “hobby” or source of pleasure that’s common and hard to justify, though it may not be inherently wrong.January 17, 2018 1:11 pm at 1:11 pm in reply to: May a lawyer publicly state that his client is crazy? #1451606
This is very normal under American law. If you are legally insane, you cannot be executed. If the lawyer believes what he is saying, it is fine. A lawyer has a duty to advocate for his client. Sometimes this can even mean doing things against the client’s wishes, though this is tricky issue and rarely occurs. A client can always fire his attorney.
Under American law, to decide whether someone should be sentenced to death, the jury considers both aggravating (factors that make the death penalty appropriate) and mitigating circumstances (factors that would make it not appropriate). One mitigating factor is mental health. So even if someone is not legally insane, if they have serious mental health problems (“defendant’s capacity to appreciate the wrongfulness of the defendant’s conduct or to conform conduct to the requirements of law was significantly impaired”), that could be something the jury could consider in deciding whether to impose the death penalty. The jury should hear all the relevant information on both sides and then make its decision. It’s fine if the attorney argues, look, given all the information I’ve shown you, you should conclude that based on his mental health problems, he doesn’t deserve the death penalty.
If he’s actually innocent, may he be speedily released.
It’s true that more people die from alcohol and tobacco. But that doesn’t mean that marijuana is less dangerous.
Marijuana causes major mental health problems, from anxiety to psychosis (ever heard of druggies who are “burn outs”–who have basically lost their minds? It happens). There is also growing evidence of its addictiveness.
It negatively affects short-term memory, dulls your mind, reduces motivation, and makes you focus on physical pleasures, while sometimes giving you the false impression you’ve come to some great insight, which turns out not to make any sense when you try to tell people who aren’t stoned—all bad things for one’s avodas Hashem.
Drunkeness is very bad, and totally assur (as is all tobacco use), but small amounts of alcohol have safe and predictable effects.
TLIK: You’re right there’s no real justification for getting drunk on Simchas Torah, and even on Purim getting drunk is prohibited according to many authorities.
It’s assur. Rav Moshe has a good teshuvah about it–can someone post it in English, please?
Some people may appear to use it without negative consequences, but in fact, for many people it tends to have many negative effects — anxiety, paranoia, panic attacks, laziness, lack of motivation, psychological dependence, lack of normal physical and emotional maturation, focusing on maximizing physical pleasures and desires, etc. A large proportion of users have serious anxiety problems from it. Several studies show that young people who use it have twice the rate of schitzophrenia and psychosis–which by the way, are incurable.
As Rebbe Nachman said about tobacco–what, do we not have enough cravings in this world that you need to add another one?
Just think of how many tzaddikim have lived b’simcha throughout the ages without ever trying marijuana (or wanting to)! Davening, fasting, a little l’chaim — we Yidden already have plenty of time-tested ways to alter our consciousness. It’s not necessary and it poses dangers — so why try it?
At the same time, yes, it should be legalized, since the Torah frowns on prison as a punishment anyway, and there are better ways of reducing drug use and dealing with addiction than locking up addicts in prison. But that doesn’t mean we should use it.
Good one, Avi! 🙂
From Ramak’s Tomer Devorah:
“And he should constantly pray for mercy and blessing for the world just as
the Supernal Father has mercy on all His creatures. And he should
constantly pray for the alleviation of suffering as if those who suffer were
actually his children and as if he had created them. For this is the will of the
Holy One, Blessed is He”
“Furthermore, his mercy should extend to all creatures, neither destroying nor
despising any of them. For the Supernal Wisdom is extended to all created
things- minerals, plants, animals and humans. This is the reason why we
were warned against despising food. In this way man’s pity should be
extended to all the works of the Blessed One just as the Supernal Wisdom
despises no created thing for they are all created from that source, as it is
CS: Video #185 at Dollars includes the Rebbe strongly suggesting one should daven for blessings for non-Jews (through the merits of the Jews.)
Neither that Gemara nor Rashi say that one is not allowed to daven for goyim. There is no such halacha. (If so, where is it in the S’A? However, some such as Sefer Chassidim hold that one should not daven for a non-Jew who is doing evil to the Jewish people, which makes sense.) The Gemara and Rashi only discuss the very specific situation of using the word “Shalom,” which is one of Hashem’s names, to greet goyim.
Nonsense. You can pray for whoever you want. Elisha HaNavi healed non-Jews, Moshe saved non-Jews (in last week’s parshah), etc.
I suspect Solara and JewishPapers and Joseph are the same person. Joseph has a history of such sockpuppeting.
Caroline Glick wrote a book arguing for something similar to Joseph’s idea, except that Gaza would become part of Egypt. She says Yehudah/Shomron Arabs would have the choice to become citizens, and many would choose to, but not all, and with increased aliyah there will still be a substantial Jewish majority in the entire state. That’s her idea.
There are other options than the ones that have been mentioned.
For example, there is an option that you could call the Puerto Rico or Greenland solution. All of Israel would become one state under Israeli law. However, those living in Palestinian villages would be able to vote in local but not national elections. It is basically the same for Puerto Ricans and Indians living on Indian reservations in the US, and no one ever complains about that. Some would call this “apartheid,” but really, many countries have territories in which people can vote in local but not national elections.
Even better would be the Jordanian solution, in which Jordan (which is already 80% Palestinian) declares all Palestinians to be Jordanian citizens, who can vote there even if they don’t move there, and who can move there if they want. In practice, many Palestinians will stay in Israel to work, but they would be citizens of another country, so they couldn’t vote in national elections. This would deal nicely with the demographic problem while also ensuring they have the rights of full citizenship (for one country).
The main thing Palestinians complain about (aside from the existence of Israel at all) is restrictions on moving around, checkpoints, etc. But those things would all go away if terrorism stopped–their only purpose is to prevent terrorism. Once incitement to terrorism is actually illegal and enforced, and Palestinians give up their anti-Semitic and pro-terrorist ideologies, then Palestinians who remain can be just like Israeli Arabs, who can go anywhere they want. Privately, many Palestinians will admit they prefer being ruled by Israel directly rather than by the PA, since PA is corrupt and incompetent while Israel has a decently-run government.
People should do research on Iceland’s policy before assuming you understand what it means.
“The new rules don’t mean that companies must pay everyone doing the same job the exact same salary.
Employers still have the option of rewarding their workers based on experience, performance and other aspects. However, the companies must show that the differences in wages are not due to gender.”
The gender pay gap is a real issue, though research suggests much of it is due to women choosing less renumerative careers.
In Holland, men and women both have the right to part-time work if requested, so a huge number of women (and some men) work part-time and love it. They get paid less of course, but life is better. Men should do the same–that way, more time for Torah (see Pirkei Avos 2:2).
Chabadshlucha: I was under the impression that Chabad girls learn Gemara but mainly through Ein Yaakov, as the Rebbe specifically suggested. Is this correct, or do girls today actually learn Gemara as boys do, focusing on its halachic discussions as well?
Not only can you bless someone (ie, pray for them), but we should pray for all people we know or hear about who are in need, and even the entire world.
“Every person is obligated to say, ‘The entire world was created for me’” (Sanhedrin 37a). “Consequently…I must constantly look into and consider ways to make the world better; to provide what is missing and to pray on [the world’s] behalf” (Likutey Moharan I, 5:1).
LB: Yes, but you’re right that we’re really asking Hashem to bless them. In the few instances in which we “bless” people rather than just davening for them, such as the father’s blessing of children at the Shabbos table and the Birkas Kohanim, the phrasing of the blessing makes clear it is a prayer that Hashem bless them. When I sign a letter “Kol tuv,” my intent is “May Hashem bless you with everything good/all good things (kol tuv).”
Thanks, Joseph–I enjoy your transcriptions (?) from Rav Miller’s tapes.
Raw onions with eggs is a commonly served food, but Rebbe Nachman of Breslov had a tradition from his great-grandfather the Besht not to ever eat raw onions, which he emphasized the importance of in his writings. Sichos HaRan 265.December 25, 2017 9:53 am at 9:53 am in reply to: If Donald Trump were to מְגַיֵּר and become Jewish… #1435761
I’ve got it–he would be a Kahanist! 🙂
Dryer sheets are completely unnecessary, and are full of toxic chemicals. Many people feel sick just being around them. Some of their components are known neurotoxins.
Mishpacha wrote a feature article positively covering the book, and then issued a retraction of sorts, after receiving many critical comments from rabbis about the field.
Apparently, some rabbis, like R’ Szmerla, argue that nearly all alternative medicine and associated practices like energy healing are permitted, while some, like R’ Belsky, forbid many of them, particularly things like energy healing.
I would stay far away from reiki and energy healing and such, but traditional forms of medicine like Chinese medicine (which involves not just acupuncture, but also herbs, exercises like tai chi or qigong, and other practices like massage) would seem to be unproblematic, and in practice, are openly used by well-known rabbis.
A recently published sefer, Alternative Medicine in Halacha, by Rephoel Szmerla, concludes that such things as energy healing (and various other alternative therapies as well) are kosher.
There are many Palestinians, other Arabs, Iranians, Afghans, etc. with blue eyes. Some of them have pretty light skin too.
Ashkenazi Jews are probably descended from Middle Eastern and/or Babylonian Jews, but they were in Europe for over a thousand years, more like 1500 years. That is enough time for the average skin color to change (and eyes and hair too, since skin, eye hair genes are related), for health reasons. Even so, most Ashkenazim have dark hair and many have olive or dark skin (though many are very pale). Blue eyes are common but not the vast majority.
When a single couple has several children, because of natural genetic variation some will be lighter and some will be darker. In far Northern climates, darker skinned people will not get as much Vitamin D, and will sometimes have health problems or be generally sickly as a result, while the light-skinned will be healthier, and thus more likely on average to have children and successfully raise them and keep them alive. A few dozen generations is potentially enough time for the shift toward lighter skin to take place.
Genetic studies also suggest that Ashkenazim were descended in part from converts from Southern Europe, especially Italy, and to a much smaller degree from Western and Eastern Europe. This is not surprising, since Jews have attracted converts wherever they have lived. It may have happened at a somewhat larger scale in Ancient Rome.December 3, 2017 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm in reply to: Where can Israeli Jews escape to in case of emergency? #1417334
Good points, Avi K. The traffic fatality rate is also much lower in Israel (in terms of people per 100,000 population who die each year in car accidents), because people drive so much more in the US. Opiate overdose deaths are also very common in the US. Suicide rate in the US is higher. 9/11 killed a number of Jews. Over 50 Jewish US troops have died in Iraq or Afghanistan. If you all all these extra deaths together, they probably make it statistically safer to live in Israel since 1948 ( and definitely since the 2nd Intifada ended — very few, comparatively speaking, have died in terror attacks since then.)
I heard of a somewhat traditional Sephardic girl with that name. It’s possible the name is mainly used among non-religious Israelis. Not sure how popular of a name it is. It is said to mean “season” and is the Jewish month in which the holiday of Shavuos, which commemorates the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai, is celebrated.October 8, 2017 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm in reply to: Where can an Israeli working boy in Brooklyn find chizuk? #1379229
Chabad is always an option — I mean shluchim, not Crown Heights. There’s also a Breslov Center in Brooklyn.
Just a thought, but why not look for work in Israel? Think of your future kids — they will be able to study Torah at such a higher level if they speak Hebrew fluently, and so much less likely to intermarry if they go OTD, c”v’s. If you’re turned off by the kind of Yiddishkeit or schools you grew up with there’s a million other Orthodox options to choose from in Israel. Why move to one of the most expensive places in the world (Brooklyn) when there are so many advantages where you were, and hardly any tuition compared to the US? If parnassa is your concern, the tech industry in Israel is booming like crazy and there is no end in sight.October 8, 2017 4:15 pm at 4:15 pm in reply to: The likelihood of raising a half black child as yeshivish #1379088
Welcome to the CR, and hatzlacha in deciding which schools to send your kids to and which communities to identify with!
In reality, there are Jews of Color who have successfully integrated within every stream of Yiddishkeit.
I know a half black-half white young man raised as Yeshivish who married a white Jewish woman and is doing fine. I know a black ger who married a white woman; he considers himself Centrist Orthodox but sends their kids to the yeshivish school for practical reasons, which is working out fine.
I would choose what schools and communities just overall fit in with what you want for yourself and your family, in terms of hashkafah, halacha, community, etc.
I guess divorce and marriage rates, if there really are differences that can be documented, could be one consideration, as well as the rate of people going OTD — these are potential reasons for choosing one derech over the other, since the proof is in the pudding, but I wouldn’t try to fit into a mold you disagree with fundamentally just for the sake of the kids.
Many people (especially but not limited to gerim and BTs) don’t neatly fit in a single category and are somewhere in between, or even are a mix of MO, Yeshivish, Chassidic, etc. Incidentally, today (18 Tishrei) is Rebbe Nachman’s yahrzeit, and many gerim and BTs have gravitated toward his teachings, whether or not they identify as full-fledged Breslover chassidim.
If I were you I would investigate different schools and shuls and see how friendly the teachers, students, shul members, etc. are, or otherwise see which ones you like, and just choose the ones that seem right. Some communities are just more friendly, and some are probably more accepting to Jews of Color or gerim or their children. Out-of-town places are often a mix between MO and non-MO Jews, with a good number of BTs and gerim, but I’m sure that’s true of many places in NY and Israel as well.
Ceramic pans are widely available, affordable and work fine.
Cast iron pans are very nice but if you buy them pre-seasoned there could be kashrus concerns, and if you season them yourself it’s a bit of a hassle.
Teflon contains manmade molecules that enter, and never leave, the human body, and nobody knows if they’re harming you.
Avi K: I don’t know–it’s a hard question, and each BT has to decide what to do in such a situation. Rav Arush’s extensive discussion of such married-to-a-secular-Jew-new-BT-scenarios very strongly argues against divorce, but doesn’t say it’s OK to sin either, so I’m not sure what exact advice he (or other kiruv rabbis) would give in that exact situation. Ultimately the BT will make his own decision.
I agree that’s it’s usually possible to arrange not to have to work on Shabbos and Yom Tov. If not, he should quit and find another job, since most employers out there are more accommodating nowadays.
“he can’t demand that she [secular Jewish wife] become a BT overnight or else? What about kashrut and taharat hamispacha?”
He can demand, but in the real world he may not get very far. BTs often become observant gradually. This is normal. Halachically it would be ideal if he and his wife would become observant overnight, but that’s generally impossible. Kiruv rabbis are generally sensitive to this reality and will not put too much pressure on him to become frum overnight or demand she do so, and let him become observant in his own pace. What the BT does and how he does it is his business. It is often better to be a bit slow and messy and eventually become a full-fledged BT with his wife and married and kids intact and happy, than to demand immediate changes and end up miserable, divorced, full of regrets and with messed-up kids and an even more anti-religious ex-wife. Of course, it would be ideal if the wife immediately agrees to do the minimum to ensure he will not be committing aveiros, and he should try his best — sometimes that works. But if that is not possible, then it’s not possible. We don’t counsel people to do aveiros, but at the same time kiruv workers have realized that too much speed or pressure can be counterproductive. Rav Arush’s discussion of this issues notes that there is typically a way for the man to avoid sinning even if his wife is not yet committed to full observance.
In practice, people usually don’t decide overnight they want to be BTs. They slowly become more observant and knowledgeable, still unsure of what they believe and what their future will be, until they finally realize they believe in this 100% and are going to go all the way. The wife can be a partner in that process.
“ubiq, yytz is suggesting it is okay for him to remain with her.”
Not that it’s “OK,” but often a new wannabe BT might decide to give her some time to decide if she wants to convert, and a kiruv rabbi generally won’t try to talk him out of it (or try to convince him to leave if he hasn’t decided.) Sometimes after meeting some frum Jews, reading some kiruv-oriented books and so on they commit to Yiddishkeit and convert l’shem shamayim. It’s also worth taking some time to do genealogical research to make sure she’s not Jewish — sometimes she actually is and never knew it.
“Absolutely incorrect. When asked we most certainly do tell him to leave. If a new BT asked if he should quit his Shabbos job will you suggest not advising him to stop working on Shabbos since “that’s up to the individual”? Completely absurd. Especially if he asks!”
We don’t demand they leave–who are we, Pharaoh? We’ll tell them the truth, yes, it’s a sin. If it’s a rotten relationship, he wants to leave her anyway, and they have no kids, then why not leave? But if he loves her and she is open to learning about Yiddishkeit and exploring conversion as he becomes more observant, then he can decide, why not give her some time? If it works, it works. If not, not. This is how the real world works, and there have been successful, valid conversions along these lines. Sometimes it is the non-Jew starting the process of becoming observant together, and sometimes it is the Jew, and sometimes it is both of them equally.
“Chareidi butei dinim absolutely do not convert intermarried spouses.”
Yes they do, at least here in North America.
Please try to keep your posts shorter. Thank you.
?September 12, 2017 7:00 pm at 7:00 pm in reply to: How much unproductive time do you spend online each day? #1362408
You are very right, Jakob! It is addictive. Apps like Cold Turkey can help by shutting off access to certain websites whenever hours you want.
Yes, I’m not saying that we should tell people they must stay with their non-Jewish spouse. But we don’t demand they leave, even if they ask us what they should do — that’s up to the individual. Every BT does what they do on their own time, so why not, while they’re doing that, give the non-Jew a chance to decide is she wants to convert? In many cases she does, with all her heart. It makes sense, as much as anything makes sense in the messy process of becoming a BT.
“Same with a non-religious woman. Ideally he must stop living with her immediately. ”
Not according to Rav Arush in Garden of Peace. See it inside. No BT can demand his wife become a BT overnight or else. People have to be practical. No kiruv rabbi advocates radical overnight changes and demands for such of one’s spouse, because it’s counterproductive.
“Regarding conversion, Chareidi butei dinim absolutely do not convert intermarried spouses.”
This is not true. I know of cases myself in charedi batei din. In Israel there are authorities who forbid someone “married” to a non-Jew to convert (I think R’ Shternbuch is an example), but in the US it certainly happens. It is typical to require a period of symbolic separation (while still living in the same home) between the spouses as the gerus is finalized.
Interestingly, think of the case of the non-Jew married with two kids to a secular Jew, and the non-Jew on her own wants to convert. (This scenario is pretty common….) The only way for her and the kids to convert is if they stay together and he slowly becomes religious enough to make it happen! If she leaves him right away (which would be your advice always), she will never convert (and he will never make teshuvah), because the kids will be eating cheeseburgers with daddy every other week, when he has custody, and the beis din can’t convert kids like that in such a situation, and they can’t convert her if she has goyish kids who will be living with her. But if she bides her time and plays her cards right, within a few months or years, he’ll become religious enough and she and the kids can convert.
“This is even before getting to the problems with why she cannot convert. Even if you assume she could convert in the future, no one disputes as long as she’s not Jewish that he’s absolutely forbidden to be with her for even one more day.”
She can convert. All major batei din in North America, charedi and RCA included, convert people under these circumstances (a non-Jew married to a Jew). The kind of kiruv you’re advocating is just not the kind of kiruv that is actually practiced.
Yes, it is a sin to live with her, but becoming frum is a slow process, and rabbis counseling BTs have learned from experience (and da’as Torah) not to demand they change everything at once and stop all aveiros immediately. It’s also a grave sin every Shabbos he doesn’t observe properly. No one advocates going from 100% desecrating Shabbos to 100% observing Shabbos in one week — it simply isn’t possible without burning someone out.
“With a non-religious you should insist that she at least keep the bare minimum taharas hamishpacha.”
So the moment he realizes the Torah is true, he should leave her unless she immediately starts going to the mikvah and stops passing him things while she’s niddah? Sometimes it takes a few months for her to come around. If people acted according to your advice there would be so many unnecessarily broken homes.September 11, 2017 8:02 pm at 8:02 pm in reply to: Why is the frum world seeing more divorces while it’s dropping by the secular? #1361396
There are no reliable statistics about frum divorce rates from the past or the present, so we don’t know whether they are going up or down. Aren’t people just making guesses based on their experience?
Goyish marriage rates increased dramatically for a few decades, perhaps because of feminism and the end of no-fault divorce, and then have slightly decreased (possibly because an increasingly small number of non-Jews gets married anymore aside from the educated upper-middle class). But their divorce rates are probably still far higher than ours.
Huju: Remember that people don’t always tell the truth on the Internet, and that people pretend to be people they are not. In fact, if I remember correctly, Joseph himself has posted under various different names in the CR, and once the Mods realized it, they often just put “Joseph” as his subtitle. I don’t believe he’s actually a kiruv professional. For all we know, the other person on this thread agreeing with Joseph is also Joseph. Yes, if it were true it would be shocking.
Of course, people should never marry a non-Jew with the expectation that they were convert, and I’ve never heard of an Orthodox community where this is common (of course, it’s common among the heterdox). It’s wrong in the first place, and most of the time it wouldn’t work out. (Anyway, we’re not talking about people raised Orthodox here — we’re talking about secular Jews who marry non-Jews.)
But sometimes a non-Jew married to a Jew decides on their own they want to convert, and if the spouse is willing to become a BT (perhaps usually they’re not, but when they are), then it works out. The same goes for the convert: if secular-Jew-turned-wannabe-BT is married to a non-Jew, sometimes she learns about Yiddishkeit and decides she wants to convert for the right reason. No beis din will convert someone under such circumstances unless the non-Jew can honestly say she is making a lifetime commitment to Yiddishkeit and will remain totally frum even if they later divorce. In such cases, they are thus not converting for the sake of marriage, they are converting l’shem shamayim.
All I’m saying is that a new BT should not immediately leave his non-Jewish wife, since it makes sense to give her time to see if she will decide she wants to commit to accepting the yoke of the mitzvos. The same goes for new BTs married to secular Jews — don’t ditch her right away just because she’s reluctant to all of the sudden move to Boro Park, put on a sheitel and start going to the mikvah every month. Rash, hasty decisions often result in less than desirable results. In fact, Rav Arush counsels against divorce at all in such situations (BTs married to Jews) (as explained at length in his acclaimed marriage manual, Garden of Peace.)
A lot of good responses on this thread.
I personally don’t believe Joseph is a kiruv rabbi.
Let’s say a Jewish man wants to become frum but is married to a secular Jewish woman? Should we urge him to immediately leave her? After all, every moment she is refusing to immediately become 100% frum she is causing him to sin in various ways! Of course not. Some misguided kiruv rabbis might do this, but not the reasonable ones. Rav Arush’s Garden of Peace has an important discussion of such issues.
It’s a similar issue when a goy wants to convert but is already married to a Jew. We don’t urge him to immediately leave the Jew (although that would put an end to some aveiros), because if he plays his cards right she may well become a BT and everyone will be better off. Both these last two are common scenarios.
It would be a big mistake to focus on trying to get the husband to leave her.
What if she is meant to convert? Kiruv is a slow process. Wait for him to become more observant, and once he does, and she is exposed to it, perhaps she will desire to become frum and convert halachically. If not, their religious differences may well lead to divorce. Let him make the decision on his own. Even if it takes her a decade to convert (or for them to amicably divorce and re-marry appropriate parners), that will show the wait was worth it.
People have to make decisions on their own time. Lives are at stake. One has to be wise and know what battles to pick, when to push an issue and when not to. Why focus on one mitzvah that would cause the most suffering when there are 612 more?
Another thing to consider is that many who are mekareved do not stay with Yiddishkeit long, and slide back until their own secular ways (or even convert so some other religion, c”v’s.) Is it a good idea to whisk a starry-eyed BT away from his family, plunging the family into despair, when he may well be no more religious than before within a few months, having destroyed his children’s lives for nothing? Often the slower, more gradual process is more effective.
I believe that that Rambam (or another classic source) says that it is forbidden to be angry at all, but one can pretend to be angry if needed, for example to properly discipline children.
From Mishlei to modern rabbonim, there are countless Torah teachings on how important it is to avoid getting angry, and how to do so. We should all review them on a regular basis and work on ourselves to eradicate this evil trait.
Shtika, a husband in that situation should immediately acquire the Garden of Peace by Rav Shalom Arush and read it from cover to cover. It is an invaluable guide, and has a lot of important things to say about divorce as well. Many, many people attest to having completely solved their (seemingly insolvable) shalom bayis problems after implementing the book’s advice. It may sound too good to be true — trust me, it’s not.
A husband can think he’s simply with the wrong wife, but then soon after he begins earnestly implementing Rav Arush’s advice, her behavior and attitude appear to completely change. Similarly, a man in that situation may divorce and re-marry, thinking at last that he’s found a suitable wife, only to discover that she acts just like his previous wife does (and now he still has to interact with the previous wife all the time as well to coordinate things and make decisions for the kids.)
Uncle Ben, Chavakuk refers to people who don’t belong to a single chassidus but instead focus on studying Breslov and Chabad chassidus, as well as the teachings of Rav Kook. (Sometimes people include Carlebach in there too.) Popular among some dati leumi in the West Bank. Similar to “neo-chassidus” discussed recently among ba’alei teshuvah in the US.
Avi K, Rebbe Nachman never claimed to be moshiach or greater than Moshe Rabbeinu. People accused him of saying things he never said. At first he had a lot of opposition but for the last few generations Breslovers have been accepted as mainstream charedi Jews.
Breslov is less centralized than other groups because Rebbe Nachman didn’t believe in hereditary rebbes. So there are a number of groups. All are basically normal frum Jews, though one (very visible but small in numbers, probably less than 1% of Breslovers) group is a bit different…
Shlichus (and mivtzoim) are just the Chabad terms for their version of outreach, or kiruv as it’s called among most Jews. (The Rebbe objected to the term kiruv for the reason chabadgal mentions.) They don’t put any pressure on people or try to convince them Yiddishkeit is true, but instead just teach and serve as inspiring examples and hope that people are motivated to make their own decisions to take on more mitzvos. Breslov tends to use the term hafatza instead of kiruv.
Some non-Chabad, especially Litvish, kiruv rabbis are known to be a little more high-pressure, trying to convince people logically that Torah is true and getting them into BT yeshivas that help them quickly become completely frum. Still, not even they “force” people to be frum, which is impossible anyway.
A flip-phone is just a phone. You can text with it, but it’s cumbersome, and there’s not much else to do with it.
A smartphone is much more than that — the entire Internet is there for you to explore, for good or (usually) for bad.
Most people with smartphones waste hours of their day on social media, texting and Internet browsing, which they could be using for important things they’re neglecting, like Torah, davening, tehillim, mitzvos, chesed, sleep, exercise, getting your work done, paying attention to your children, etc. The same goes with people with constant access to the internet due to laptops, etc.
LU, about the untznius images everywhere on the internet, fortunately there is a partial solution for those of us who need the internet for work — you can find browser ad-ons (like Wizimage for Chrome) that automatically block all images.
I don’t think there’s any real phenomenon of Breslov and Chabad not liking each other. I’ve heard that about other chassiduses, but not them. In fact, the Ba’al haTanya and Rebbe Nachman knew each other and supported each other, and I think one of them even predicted (correctly, it turned out a few generations later) that their descendants would marry. The 5th or 6th Chabad rebbe (I forget which) was known to regularly study Likutei Moharan, a significant number of Chabadniks go to Uman for Rosh HaShana, and the Rebbe himself was very warm toward the Breslov chassidim he interacted with. Many people (not just the Chavakuk types) study both Breslov and Chabad chassidus.
Libertarian socialism is leftist because its goal is to replace capitalism (that is, the ownership of the means of production by elite capitalists) by the collective democratic ownership and management of capital. It is basically an anti-authoritarian version of capitalism (as are many anarchist philosophies.)
OK, communists suppressed free unions, but if you look at the most leftist democratic countries today, like in Scandinavia, 80% of the working population is unionized. Free unions and economic equality are a major part of leftist economic ideology. So Nazism was leftist in one economic respect but not others, and was rightist in terms of nationalism (and for that matter, social conservatism — they were against toeiva and were anti-feminist and pronatalist.)
People who identify as mainstream conservatives should not feel hurt when people point out the threat from far-right extremism. They have almost nothing in common ideologically (perhaps aside from liking Trump). But for some reason they seem to want to minimize the threat (just as nonviolent leftists are reluctant to acknowledge the real threat from left-wing extremism). It’s a psychological thing, I guess.
We should focus on Torah and mitzvos and our avodas Hashem this world–timeless things of eternal value–and not focus on identifying with and debating all these transient political movements and ideologies.
We would all benefit from reading Koheles every day, not just once a year. Debating politics all day, as many people do nowadays, is truly havel havalim. It is like obsessing over palace intrigues. How much Torah could we have learned instead of squabbling about meaningless details? Rachmana litzlan.