Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Another Rant

There has been alot on my mind lately, and so I decided to chat with one of my friends about it. We started off with a very nice conversation, and she completely seemed to understand me. It was rather fun making far-fetched analogies and comparing lives and thoughts. Then she said to me "I think you should speak to Rav X", and I'm like "what? why? what will he say?"

I dont understand why, if I have some sort of problem, be it shidduch-related, halachic, personal (parents, friends, career, family) or hashkafic (like grandma going to hell thing) I don't understand WHY I automatically need to seek guidance with a Rabbi. Why can't I just kvetch?

One of the things I have a problem with is fake people in general. I have a specific issue with the fact that modern and yeshivish people are so frikkin opposite that its almost scary to label yourself. The modern people specifically compete about who is more or less modern, while the frummies compete who is frummer.

A few years ago when the bug-in-water thing came out, alot of people I know either went out and bought filters (or put socks over their faucets), or didn't do anything at all, sat around and made fun of the whole thing. Both those people irk me. Why are you automatically driving yourself nuts buying filters? Why not go, look and see if there are bugs? Why not learn a bit about it in the newspapers before you ban tap-water, when only a few hundred years ago all the Jews used to drink from wells and the bugs were actually VISIBLE!!

I mean really now... BUGS in tap water?

Why can't people just look. Nope. No one looks. Yeshivish people blindly follow what their rabbi says, and the modern people specifically make sure NOT to do what the yeshivish people are doing. They're the kind (and I know families like this) who BELIEVE that YES there are bugs in the water, yet they don't want to buy a filter for fear they will no longer appear "modern."

Why would you NOT buy a filter if you believed there were treif non-microscopic bugs in it? You're an idiot. What are you proving by drinking bugs? You really care that much about your reputation?

So I ask my friend, why is the yeshivish guy better, for blindly buying the filter, if the modern guy blindly doesn't buy the filter? Aren't they equally as retarded?

So she says "ask the Rav, he'll tell you about the bug crisis!"

WHY DOESN"T SHE SEE THIS IS DEEPER THAN BUGS IN WATER?

Then there's the hair covering. I hate the idea of women covering hair. Especially if they cover it with a sheital. It just drives me banana's. But there are those people, who treat it as if its hard-core halacha, which its not. It is a machlokes at most. Yet, the yeshivish people treat it as halacha, and the modern people treat it as something they "choose" not to do, even if they have no idea whether or not it is halacha or minhag. Here is an interesting article I read about this. The only thing rabbi's have ever told me was "You don't want the answer so you're arguing"

No people, I want answers. Infact, it would be a heckuva lot easier for me to just blindly follow everything. My life will be void of stress and headache.

I would love it, if just one day, a Rabbi said to me "You know what, you're right, we don't know, we just THINK this is the best way" rather than be like "you're not interested."

Infact, last year I actually emailed my friends rabbi. She said he "wouldn't be the type to give you the 'your not interested answer""

And he did!! Before I even started arguing. He was like "Rachel said that you're like x,y,z" So I was like "did Rachel forget to mention that I'm also a BT, and I encourgaged my family to become frum with me? and that I go to shuirim, and that I read and learn alot? Or did Rachel conveniently forget that?"

So he opened up a bit for like 2 emails, and then was like "It's more than just the source!" So I was like "well, I want to know then what it is" So he goes "You dont, you're just saying you do!"

You know how much respect I would have had if he would have just told me "Anita, its a machlokes, we take it as a halacha because Isha's Sotah is a huge deal" ?? But no one tells me that. Because they don't want to. becuase if they tell me that, they have to admit they said that to my friends, and then if word spreads, how will their kids go to yeshiva if their father (a Rabbi) was actually honest about something that had to do with halacha?!

So anyway, I was ranting about how fake I think frum people are, and how it bothers me that I have to go on a hunt searching for whether or not things are as they seem to be, or if they're taught by some frummer elders of zion to control the masses. And she goes "Ask Rabbi X, he won't lie to you"

No, I'm sure he wont. I'm sure he beleives the answers he's feeding me. The cookie cutter answers I've been receiving from my teachers.

Why can't I rant, and be given the opportunity to have a friend tell me she "understands"? Why does she have to recommend that I seek some sort of Rabbinic help. Doesn't she realize that is exactly what is throwing me off?

55 comments:

Orthoprax said...

Do you know the story of a certain emperor who's clothing didn't match up to their common lauded reputation?

frumpunk said...

I have a rav you should speak to about this. But I'm not sure you really want the answers, you're just saying you do.

*ducks*

frumskeptic said...

:) lol :)

chanief said...

Oh honey, BTDT in a huge way. I have yet to find any real answers. It almost always boils down to "because that is what ____________ says" (fill in the blank with the Torah, Chazal, Mishna etc etc) or "You must not really want the answer."

Good luck in your search for the truth. I for one have come to believe there aren't any answers. Coming to terms with that is a work in progress.

Moshe said...

If I'd be one of those rabbis, I would so tell you, "we'll tell when you're older." :-D

frumskeptic said...

chanief: I'm totally aware that there aren't answers to every question. But when I want an answer, I expect the Rabbi to atleast TRY and answer it, not be like "you don't really want to know!"

Can he read minds?... is he in my head?

Moshe: Lol...if a rabbi told me I was too young, I would make sure to ask him what age he would find appropriate to give the answer, then I'd come back. :)

My mom once didn't want to tell my sister something, and was like "when you're 9 I'll tell you" ...so my sister, about a month before her 9th birthday was like "You'll tell me, right? I'm going to be 9 soon" and sure enough, even before deciding where we'd go out to eat, she made my mom tell her

frum single female said...

its a shame that so many rabbis feel threatend when people question judaism. so long as someone is respectful it shouldnt be a big deal (although i know sometimes they make one feel like it is) i feel fortunate to say that i grew up outside of the new york area and the rabbis at my school would answer any religion question we had so long as the person asking it was being sincere. we didnt always agree with the answers, but at least we were able to discuss it.

Anonymous said...

People classification is a natural part of life not just Judaism's and its unavoidable simply because people are all different. I think your first mistake is classifying people that are conservative (conservadox at best) as "modern". Personally I don't view covering hair as stemming from the bible (Torah itself) and it appears your article writer agrees. However, if it is a machlokes (at best), and it obviously is a strong and long standing minchag (even if people dissented for a few decades) didn't Jews say naase ve nishma? So in the case of a married women (who isnt 100% sure), should she, according to a Torah law, cover her hair and then discover the meaning behind it (you know...just in case.)
....fav anony...GO MODERN PEOPLE! :).

p.s...our Rav said we don't need a water filter, however he did have one just in case. LOL!

Jay said...

if it's important for you to be part of the frum world than you need to march in lockstep or else you'll be ostracized and when the time comes your children will face issues reagarding potential marriage partners. Why put yourself through this life where the color of your underwear in scurtinized. I know it's hard to shed the chains that your parents have shackled you in from day one.

The Babysitter said...

Well there's the idea of Chok, not everything has a reason, some things we are meant to follow blindly, the idea of a woman covering her hair, although we may come up with reasons, its just a chok, we don't know the reason and still have to follow.

Its even a greater reward to blindly follow out of faith, then to do it because of common sense. But then for faith, its good to question things and learn why you do things so it will be a solid foundation, and won't be destroyed when things don't seem to be working out the way you thought it would be.

Your last paragraph actually reminded me of what I learnt in sem about the differences between men and woman. When a woman vents to her husband she just wants him to say he understand and feel for her. But yet men are all about fixing things, so they'll try to give some logical advice to fix things, which isn't what she's looking for. Then when the husband vents, the wife will say how she feels bad and stuff, when really the husband just wants to know how he can fix it. So that's why you won't really hear a Rabbi tell you he understands and so on, but rather give the technical answer.

Anonymous said...

babysitter - in terms of actual halacha, I may agree about following blindly...I mean really everything is a chok - we cannot actually explain (for example, in terms an atheist would understand) why we keep shabbos or kosher...but for minchagim - I dont agree on following blindly...We should always have reasons for what we do even if they are personal and self indulging and dont have a tzinius reason behind it.
..favorite anony

The Babysitter said...

Anonymous: I don't agree with that, because minhagim are passed down, and its something we have to follow. Unless your refering to just stam things that people make up. Minhagim are not made up, they have a source from previous generations.

Jessica said...

jay - please tell me your joking. I'm pretty sure i know what frum skeptic is going to say to you, but in case i'm wrong, don't hold me to it. You say, "I know it's hard to shed the chains that your parents have shackled you in from day one."
Frum Skeptic is a ba'alat teshuva! Her parents didn't make this decision for her, she did!

mlevin said...

Babysitter –

So, what is the source for wearing only black and white? There is no source, it was a way goyim used to dress. Same goes for black hat. What about forcing women to wear socks? In shtetles women ran around barefoot, because shoes were expensive. Socks is a very modern invention. Sandals are the type of shoes Sarah, Rivka, Rochel and Leah wore, with open toes and no stockings. What about separate sitting. In the shtetle life all weddings and other festive occasions were mixed affairs. That was how young people met and got married. There is this old couple in my shul. They met at the wedding and got married. Being rocket scientists they moved to Moscow. When their daughter was of marriagable age (after college) she took time off time from working to go to weddings. She went to the most weddings she could, of the most distant relatives and even weddings of their friends. By the end of that summer she was engaged.

No, these “minchagim” have no source. There is a reason for claiming them to be halochah however: to gain more power over masses. By making life difficult and uncomfortable you limit people’s ability to ask questions and demand real answers.

Do you really think that TV and Internet are really bad? What about public libraries (also banned) and newspapers? No, bans on these were issued in order to keep people in the dark.

Moshe said...

Public libraries are banned?
Since when are newspapers banned? Everyone in BP reads the anti-semitic NYTimes

Orthoprax said...

"Its even a greater reward to blindly follow out of faith, then to do it because of common sense."

Wow. That's a cake taker.

What exactly could you say to the Hamas guy who faithfully fires on civilians?

s(b.) said...

I look everything up myself; it's half the fun of learning.
People should have a water filter because there are traces of drugs in the water, and 'cause we don't know what poo in the ground might cause cancer (if you're in the NY/tri-state area).
http://www.examiner.com/a-1371265~No_standards__no_mandates_to_test__treat_or_limit_pharmaceuticals_in_water.html?cid=rss-Baltimore

הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

Dear Melvin, (I don't know, it sounds right...)

Well, (not that I would fathom wearing one) but what I was told about black hats and suits is that (notwithstanding how the practice came about) it sort of became the uniform for yeshiva students. If all people who learned Torah wore pink shoes, then to associate with with the Torah scholars it would be proper to wear pink shoes (I personally do see how one could feel more like they belong in a yeshiva where everybody dresses like that, but not everyone who learns Torah does dress like that. They didn't in Eastern Europe either).

"There is this old couple in my shul. They met at the wedding and got married."- There were great political conflicts in the 'shtetles' themselves. Many of the 'shtetles' were already irreligious by WW2 (although they had an outward fathfulness to the Rabbi, and to some aspects of Judaism).

But seriously man, you're right; there should be more places to meet some nice Jewish girls!

frumskeptic said...

fave anony- Its not about who I lable...all frummies are full-of crap. This includes both me and you. Thats my point.

Plus, if someone keeps shabbos, kosher and teharas hamishpacha- they're frum, by halacha. what level they keep it on, is their business, so any issues that you use to assume I mean "conservative" people, are really irrelevent- I'm referring to people who are "growing" not people who are reform and think Lobster is kosher.

Jay- What Jessica said.

Babysitter- "Well there's the idea of Chok, not everything has a reason, some things we are meant to follow blindly, the idea of a woman covering her hair, although we may come up with reasons, its just a chok, we don't know the reason and still have to follow."

The idea of a chok makes sense. We do have to keep kosher and shabbos (Like anonymous mentioned) and we have absolutely no logical explainations as to why we should do so.

However, unlike with kosher and shabbos (which is stated in the Torah, outright, as law) nowhere does it say one has to cover their hair. Its speculation that women covered their hair (Isha's sotah, Korech's wife) but NOWHERE (and I really looked into this) does it say straight out "Women have to cover their hair." Which totally takes it out of the category of "chok"

Even Shatnez..which is like COMPLETELY meaningless (with hair covering you can talk about tznious and goyish women used to cover their hair 2 so it can fall under minhag and stuff) , is straight fowardly written in the Torah. Therefore "chok" absolutely does NOT apply to hair covering.

"Its even a greater reward to blindly follow out of faith, then to do it because of common sense."


Firstly this goes back to what one of the commentors mentioned in a previous post (I think it was Orthoprax), How do you know what leads to a greater reward? Does your bible say something mine doesnt?

Secondly, I feel bad for you if you're willing to "follow blindly". People who tell you to "follow blindly" are most likely either a) brainwashed or b) power hungry. Its terrible to think you're not getting as big a reward if you do something because its common sense.

"Your last paragraph actually reminded me of what I learnt in sem about the differences between men and woman. When a woman vents to her husband she just wants him to say he understand and feel for her. But yet men are all about fixing things, so they'll try to give some logical advice to fix things, which isn't what she's looking for. Then when the husband vents, the wife will say how she feels bad and stuff, when really the husband just wants to know how he can fix it. So that's why you won't really hear a Rabbi tell you he understands and so on, but rather give the technical answer"

What they don't tell you in sem is that sometimes men like to vent as well. And sometimes men don't want only logical. Just like, I usually like logical answers-and I'm female-. I have yet to call a Rabbi to tell me he "understands" and I dont think I'll ever do that, unless a family member of mine becomes a Rabbi. I only expect technical answers from my Rabbi, I want him to fix things or give me answers.

About minhagim - Yes things were passed down, doesnt make the "halacha" and doesnt mean we must follow minhag. Its actually completely retarded for any Jew today to think they follow minhag at all.

In the olden days it was extremely obvious who was litvish and who was chassidish based on whether their gefilte fish was sweet and the type of fish used. Nowadays you use whatever you want in your recipe, and it doesnt mean anything. And this is true for MANY things. Minhag is not halacha. If someone tells you that (especially a Rabbi) I highly recommend you never seek their advice in anything again. Even my Rabbi, who hates admitting frummies are compulsive halacha maker uppers (for lack of a real word!) never said that minhag was halacha.

Jessica- :)

Moshe- at the camp I went to there were many girls who did not go to public libraries. Their schools didn't allow it. I dunno if there ever was a Rabbinic decree against them, but many far right-wing schools do not allow their students to go to them (or so i heard).

Sb- interesting article. thanx. lol...this week my chem professor scared me about bottled water...now I'll never drink water again...no...I will...but I'll be paranoid the first few times. lol

Anonymous said...

fs - are there any frum people according to you who are not "full of crap"? I find that insulting and as should everyone else reading this (including mlevin)...I happen not to be fully of crap.

(not fully of crap) anonymous :)

p.s...since everything is relative, i believe that people could think they keep shabbos, kosher, and taharas hamishpacha however NOT in accordance with halacha. So even though people think they keep kosher (ex: fish out) according to me (and many others) they don't. I'm sure that some people think that swimming pools suffice for mikvaot, and as long as you don't drive on shabbos - you keep shabbos. These people are missing the point, and though they (like you) think they keep shabbos and kashrus and taharas hamishpachas - THEY DONT! This does not make them bad, it just doesn't make them orthodox (NOT EVEN MODERN!)

chanief said...

Frumskeptic - your response to Babysitter is right on target.

I only want to add that one of the largest issues I have with Orthodox Judaism is the concept of minhagim.

Minhagim are "customs." These minhagim are based on interpretations of halacha that were appropriate for the specific time, place and society that people were living in.

Times change, technology changes, situations and locations change and yet old minhagim are treated like halacha when they possibly have no current relevance or significance. There is no regular review of minhagim to see if they still fit a community and or situation.

The only thing I have seen change over time is the addition of more and more chumras and don'ts.

Unless you have the ability to follow blindly, being a frum jew has become stifling and I am certain that is not what God intended.

What I see today, of the frum community is a perversion of the religion (I know this is a generalization - I am being general to get my point across, of course there are some exceptions.)

There is a Catholic concept called the sin of scrupulosity. Unfortunately, the frum community these days is guilty of this sin (as twisted as it may seem to accuse the frum community of committing a Catholic sin!!)

Moshe said...

It's not just a Catholic idea, Jewish too. Started with Adam and Chava.
G-d said don't eat from the tree. Adam said don't touch the tree. Snake told Chava to touch the tree and when she did he told her, "see, nothing happened, now eat from the tree."
These minchagim also create hatred. The extreme right consider them as chalacha and teach same to their kids. The outcome is that those that don't keep them are considered not religious.
In the metsuda kitzur shulchan oruch there are notes on the bottom that inform the reader if the minchag should be kept now or if it's outdated and doesn't apply.

frumskeptic said...

anonymous: I have no desire to get into a personal discussion with you about this on a blog. But yes, i think just about all frum people are full of crap. Heck I'll go as far as saying all people are full of crap. Once you conform to a society, and do things that you do not agree with just becuase its what society does you are full of crap.

Except that any definition of a mikveh does not allow for pools...yet anyone can justify "fish-out" as kosher.

Asked sister what all this kosher stuff says in accordance to what she learned in halacha:

It says three times in the Torah do not cook a kid in its mothers milk. Meforshim ask why is it in this triple language. so they answer (not sure who),
the first time refers to the literal meaning- do not cook meat in milk-

the second time refers to not benefitting from the cooking of meat/milk.

the third reference refers too not eating it at all.

From these three stem halachos like selling it, and not even being able to pass these things along to your cleaning lady. And how separate dishes because if you use that plate for hot meat-so that the dish was able to absorb it- and then put hot milk on top of it then the heat will open up the pores again and lift the meat and mix it with the milk. But the whole separate dishes thing is a stringency because really if the plate was completly clean after a 24 hour period where the plate was not touched there should be no problem to eat something else on top.

Therefore, if you eat fish, and you're in a restuarant with only goyim, who can eat all this, there is nothing wrong if the plate is clean, and your fish is kosher.

Fish does not have to be on separate plates. And any halacha about fish was created as a health restriction (not eating with meat).

Plus...According to my Rabbi your kosher fish is allowed to touch crab, and it would still be kosher. I will find out about the knife. But evertime I leared an instance about knives, it always had to do with the knife cutting which are Dvarim Hariffim.

So, not going and eating "fish-out" is probably more of a sensitivity than it is an actual halacha. Though I will look into it.

chanief said...

Moshe- The metsuda kitzur shulchan aruch? Is that different from the kitzur shulchan aruch that everyone refers to as "the kitzur shulchan aruch"? I ask in all seriousness because I studied it in yeshiva and don't remember seeing anything about minhagim no longer being applicable and I want to see it for myself.

The idea of the sin of scrupulosity may be alluded to or pervasively present in the religion, but the Catholics take it very seriously. I do consider myself ignorant despite my years in yeshiva, so I ask - is there a name for it? Is there a punishment for the sin? I love learning new things...

ITA about minhagim breeding hatred. I once heard a small child tell another on the playground on shabbos "You're not jewish because you're wearing sneakers on shabbos." Yikes! Since when did what kind of shoes someone is wearing on shabbos determine their jewishness? Yet this child din't make it up, he learned it from his parents as fact.

I've seen the frum community change so much in the last 15 years or so, it's become a very scary place for someone who can think for him or herself.

Moshe said...

English translation, blue with red, 2 books.

Not sure about name but the way I heard it's something serious considering what happened. This very much applies to chosson/kallah classes. People are getting outright lied to and when they find out that something is a lie they start considering that all they were taught is a lie

Skeeta said...

ugh, I HATE when rabbis do that. it's so obnoxious.

mlevin said...

הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט
1. There are many things wrong with forcing people to wear uniform on permanent basis.
a. It stifles individuality, people cannot express themselves. This leads to unhappiness and conflict. People are created different for a reason. We each have our own strengths, weaknesses, talents. But by forcing people into black and white your are forcing people to be just like everyone else. Imagine if Moses confirmed, he would never had saved us from Mitzraim. Imagine if Abraham confirmed, he would have died an idol worshipper.
b. Uniform not only separates, but it insulates people away from the world. Judaism is about change and bringing light down to other nations. How can Jews bring light to the nations if they are hiding in their own neighborhoods, afraid of socializing with Goyim, afraid to turn on TV, or to listen to the radio or to read newspapers? You cannot enlighten people if you are never in contact with them.
c. Uniform is also unhealthy. Wearing the same thing throughout all seasons is not healthy for the body. How could it be healthy in 80 degree, 90 degree, 100 degree heat to walk around in heavy socks, heavy shoes, closed in layers of heavy clothing? It is extra strain for the lungs and for the heart. To compensate people tend to stay indoors more. Staying indoors keeps sun light away from the skin, thus making one deficient in vitamin D, which weakens muscles and bones.
2. So, your response to the fact that people in shtetls walking bare foot is that these shtetls were not frum. Did I understand you correctly? You implied that only those shtetls where people were shoes and socks were frum. Right? Thus it is safe to conclude
a. All poor people in shtetles were not religious, because wearing shoes was a luxury that majority were not able to afford. Instead they walked around without shoes and shoes for kept for special occasions.
b. Since socks/stockings are a recent invention, all Jews prior to that invention were not frum.
3. You also stated that not all who learn torah dress like that. Ok. Let me remind you, that it’s almost impossible for a child to be accepted in yeshivah (girl or boy) if father wears anything other than black and white clothes with black only shoes (not sneakers), if mother doesn’t cover her short hair (yes, her hair has to be short), if mother wears open toe shoes, or short sleeves, or bright colored clothes, or denim, or sneakers… So, if you want your child to receive Jewish education you are literally forced to conform to their backward, unhealthy and restricting ways.

PS: I'm MLevin not Melvin. Melvin is a men's name.

mlevin said...

* conformed

sorry for spelling error

Moshe said...

you know, all of us should get together and open up our own yeshiva

mlevin said...

Moshe - they wouldn't let you.

Moshe said...

Who wouldn't let me?
Who says we have to interact with them?
My son is 2 years old and I really dread sending him to one of these overpriced, obnoxious dumps where you pay for a bunch of people pretending to sit and learn while your kids get no education.

mlevin said...

Moshe - I don't know all that is involved in opening up a new yeshivah and who opposes it, but I hear people talking.

There is a day care opened by a Russian BT. She had to go through hell and back before they allowed it.

Then I heard your rabbi wants to open one, but he is met with opposition.

R. Katzin is a totally different story. He was imported to US with a sole purpose of opening an yeshivah for Russian speaking Jews so they don't have to mingle with their children. Originally his school was great, but as time went on, good students ended up in other school and his school has become a home for troubled teens.

Glad I don't have boys.

Moshe said...

Originally it was great? I was there 1991-3 and it was never a school for BT but for kiruv and those who became frum are at most 1%.

Which day care you talking about? I know 2, Ella and Sara-Liba. I don't think Sara-Liba had problems.

My Rabbi deals too much with American FFBs.

The only problems with not conforming is marriage, shul and yeshiva. We don't marry them anyway and we have our own shuls, only thing that's missing is a yeshiva. There are plenty of other people who aren't Russian but are also against all the bs in yeshivas, the bans, etc. All we need is a name for our "sect" and someone to lead us.

Moshe said...

Many times people here mentioned that outside NY people are normal. I don't want to move. Why can't we create a community similar to those here.

Anonymous said...

I am not a 2 year BT, but I am very proud of integrating my children into regular American overpriced snooty yeshivas...I don't like the snooty or over priced part, but I do like the American part. I have nothing against Russian BT's but I am totally against their refusal to integrate into mainstream American society...their children grow up with a whole "other" set of issues, which in time will also be swept under the rug like Americans do.

As per Sinai, its more then 1%, its probably 25% amongst men that graduated 95-97. I am totally proud of those men, and I will gladly send our kids to the same yeshiva as long as that yeshiva has American kids in it as well. I am so appalled by the idea of Russian BT kids yeshiva. I mean, great, as if there are not enough boxes and classifications that we and our kids are placed in, you want to add more.

p.s...There is also gan yisroel or ohel sarah (whatever its called)

Moshe said...

25%?! You better provide some names if you're gonna claim that. I was in Rabbi Vashovsky's class 91, 92 and from my class, besides me, there was at most 2 more people. Last year I was in Rabbi Vinitzky's class, pretty sure no one other than me is frum from that class.
Refusing to integrate into mainstream American or mainstream frummy American?

The Babysitter said...

mlevin: black and white is not something I consider a minhag. While eating gebraks or not, or waiting 3, 5 or 6 hours between meat and milk, is something that is a minhag. Such menhagim become like Halacha in the way people practice it, the importance of it. All those other things you mentioned are not what I can minhagim. So I agree with you that they have no roots.

Orthopax: I'm talking about mitzvos that you are commanded to do from the Torah. Lets say not to eat treif, its better to not eat treif "blindly" because Hashem says so, then to rationalize that its not healthy.

frumskeptic: You made a good point, I hadn't realized that it doesn't say anywhere in the Torah that you have to cover your hair, and that in order for it to be a chok it has to say it in the Torah.
About the reward, well there are chazals that tell us. Like it says "Lifum Tzara Agra" the harder you work the more reward. and we do know that Kibud of haem and Shiluach Hakan have the same amount of reward. So it is mentioned.
Maybe "blindly" was the wrong term to use. More like you do it because Hashem commanded you to, and not because of the benefit you see in it. But again that doesn't mean you should kill people and stuff because some "Rabbi" says to, but just sticking with the basics that are in the Torah. Like Kibud Of Haem even though it would make sense to respect parents that brought you into this world, you should do it because its one of the commandments.
There are different levels, There's Yirah and Ahava, and its better to do a mitzvah out of love of Hashem, than because your afraid of Punishment, so here same thing.
Anonymous: Good point. That proves my point of why people shouldn't be doing it just out of common sense, cause then you won't be following the halacha the way your supposed to.

chanief: I have an answer to that, not in terms of Minhagim, but in terms of Halacha, which probably is the same thing that your saying. I'll copy over part of it:
It says: "On shabbos you could kill lice, you can't kill stuff that reproduce, lice comes from dirt."
But its impossible that something comes from nothing.
1679 - Pachad Yitzchak said chachamim made mistake about not being able to kill lice.
All Torah was given to Moshe, how to apply it was given to the Chachamim, Moshe said you could kill lice, we find reasons based on knowledge and apply it, the reason could be wrong, but Halacha is not wrong.
Chachamim knew reasons aren't good, but people would only listen if there is a reason to believe to accept the Halacha, its a reason that people believed in at that time.
There are Many reasons for halacha, not just 1 reason, but it doesn't say all the reasons.
A) Chachamim had superior knowledge -- Ruach Elokim, even if scientist say that its not true.
B) Overtime nature has changed, we can't use their refuahs cause we changed, were not the same, certain halachos could change.
C) It could be we misunderstood the chachamim, so we can't say their making mistakes.
D) They spoke in metaphor's, not everything is meant to be taken seriously.
E) Chachamim got knowledge from scientist, then they made Halachos, now Halacha changes.

and btw, I agree with you all that a lot of the chumras and bans are just non sense.

Anonymous said...

Both. Secular Jews never left Brighton, and frum jews never left Binsky or Shaarei. I am totally pro russian kiruv programs (as I am pro transitional communities like Brighton Beach), but as a stepping stone, not as a place to get stuck in.

(sorry for forget last time) anony :)

Orthoprax said...

Babysitter,

"I'm talking about mitzvos that you are commanded to do from the Torah. Lets say not to eat treif, its better to not eat treif "blindly" because Hashem says so, then to rationalize that its not healthy."

And I'm talking about moral directives that you ought to have a better understanding for than just being a matter of religious obligation.

It may say 'lo tirsach' in the Torah, but that isn't what makes it wrong.

הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

madame Levin:

Oh, you're a girl! And there I was talking about it being hard to find places to meet girls..(just joking, I could see you have children).

..good thing you noticed that "conform" thing after a while, I was getting worried..

Don't say it to me; I was just stating my understanding of their opinions- I agree with them as little as you do.

Personally I don't like the 'yeshiva uniform' idea much either because 1. I feel there isn't any source for it in halacha, and 2. besides for Poland in recent history (or where it was forced upon them) most Jews wore the same clothing as the peoples they lived among. 'kipot' (the little hat the Jews wear) themselves are non-Jewish garments (of European origon). Obviously as well as 'shteimels'. So, therefore, how can the people who's whole raison d'etre is clinging to traditional clothing and language, when it's quite obvious that their ancestors not too long ago discarded their own clothing and language (from Aramaic and Middle eastern garb, to (ultimately) shtreimels and Judeo-German ('yiddish').

In regards to head covering for men; in general I think it's always important to mention that there is much evidence that our greatest Rabbis in the past were bare-headed and saw no problem with it. The main source for that is the very source for kipa-wearing in general; "רב הונא לא מסגי ארבע אמות בגילוי הראש" (Rav Huna always had his head covered). Obviously the Talmud is telling us a 'minhag chasidut' (special stringency) of Rav huna, implying that everyone else, including the other Amoraim didn't! (Taz on the S"A, as well as responsum by R. Yaakov Katzin and R. Ovadia Yosef).

(I think it's also important to mention that there is a valid halachic source to at least one aspect of 'Jewish clothing'; the Gr"a quotes a mechilta in his notes on the S"A (בהלכות חוקות העכו"ם)saying that it's assur to say "the same way the goy wears [whatever] so I will wear [whatever] to be like him". There were perhaps times when that law was applicable, but one definitely cannot say that because most "ulra-orthodox/חרדי" Jews wear something, it can be understood as 'Jewish clothing', because there are a vast number of orthodox Jews who do wear other things (there are also obviously a vast number of more 'progressive' Jews (right-wing conservative for example) who wear other things.)

And of course, somehow- the same exact halachic sources are to guide all our (orthodox Jews) lives...

In regards to uniforms in general; well, personally I sort of like the uniformity it lends to at times (it's sort of weird to see the little Arab kids (in the west bank) running around in full uniform, while the Jewish kids look sort of 'shlumpy' compared to them- one example). But all-in-all I agree that it is important for children (and adults!) to somehow express themselves through clothing.

And what are you talking about by the way:

"...it’s almost impossible for a child to be accepted in yeshivah (girl or boy) if father wears anything other than black and white clothes with black only shoes"-

There are so many fine modern-orthodox schools here and in Israel that imbue the children with 100% (yes 100%!) more Torah values than 'the block-clod'. There are also great modern-orthodox yeshivas where they seem to learn almost 100% more than the 'black hat' yeshivas, so..I don't see what you're worried about really..

And in regard to what you understood about what I said about shtetles: Just a disclaimer; not that I at all care about how the Jews in Eastern Europe lived in there cursed little piles of filth they called towns, and not that even saying the word shtetle doesn't make me nauseous, but just in regards to the Eastern European Jews who live among us, and are influencing our youth in their backwards ways- again, being poor doesn't make one irreligious obviously. The irreligious were actually usually the more affluent of the shtetles and usually wore shoes. Halachically there is nothing more religious about wearing shoes to wearing sandals (unless like, you're with a guy with some f--ked-up foot-fetish or something...then you gotta' watch out!)

Anonymous said...

I usually dont get involved in these things, but this post of your does not portray you well. As someone who knows halacha rather well, I will tell you that married women covering their hair is not a machlokes at all. If you can find one well known halachic source which questions the biblical requirement I would tell you that you are correct that it is a machlokes. In fact, there is none. There are all sorts of fake rumors about the Aruch HaShulchan and such, but it is all false. It is basically unanimous. You have every right to rant about whatever you wish, but try not to rant about things you are deeply uninformed about. It just makes you look crabby and whiny.

frumskeptic said...

anonymous: Did you read the article I linked?

I don't make this stuff up. I never had a teacher show me a source either way, and rabbi's (like I mentioned) assume I'm not interested.

Plus, this is my blog, I can whine all I want. Its fun. :-D.

Anonymous said...

i just wanna say the last anonymous wasnt me...shoot now i gotta make a profile...

Fav Anony.

frumskeptic said...

fav anony: I knew it wasn't you :)

you commented about the hair covering before on this post,and MANY times we had the discussion in person...and If you wanted to call me crabby and whiny, you'd just do it to my face ;)

Orthoprax said...

Anon,

"If you can find one well known halachic source which questions the biblical requirement I would tell you that you are correct that it is a machlokes. In fact, there is none."

Yes, Mishnah Ketubot 7:6 explicitly says that hair covering is "daat yehudit" (Jewish custom) as distinct from "daat Moshe" (Pentateuchal law).

The Gemara, however, disagrees with that assertion.

הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

orthoprax:

"dat"(דת) yehudit, not "daat"(דעת) yehudit...

Orthoprax said...

Ok.. I've seen it transliterated both ways.

The Babysitter said...

Orthopax: If you think of it as a moral obligation then you can come up with a contradiction. For ex: in Philosophy you learn that there are certain evils that are absolutely wrong, that you can not do, like killing, stealing and lying. But then the Torah says you can lie for shalom bayis. But thinking about it in a philosophical way its not allowed. Plus even philosophers disagree about moral obligations. So then how do you know what is moral or not. Its so much easier to look at the Torah which has it all there already for you, with the exceptions and everything built in.

And you may be right, that theoretically killing as an act isn't wrong because it says not to kill, but because its morally wrong which is why even the non-Jews have a concept that killing is wrong. But this won't apply to the stuff the non-Jews don't hold of.

mlevin said...

Really - there many reasons why killing, stealing or lying are not wrong (religion aside)

KILLING - you can abort your baby because it is negatively affecting your life or a life of a baby. Many people see nothing wrong with abortion after birth. Some consider it ok to abort a baby within twelve years after birth. And this is not an only occurance in history. Parents had a right to kill their children. Husbands had right to kill wives. There are honor killings. People practice human sacrifice. People practice canibalism...

STEALING - welfare is a perfect example of stealing from hardworking people and giving to lazy bums. Yet, it is perfectly legal. No only that, but how many people you personally know who receive government subsudies, and yet they also receive help from their parents? Therefor you helping in their criminal activities. You are a thief, too. How many able bodied men stay in yeshivahs and steal (collect) money from the government instead of working and contributing to society? Yet, I am sure you do not do any thing to stop that thievary.

LYING - People lie on regular basis. It is not even illegal to lie. Unless one is lying under oath.

So, your absolute truths are no so absolute anymore. Are they?

Orthoprax said...

Babysitter,

"If you think of it as a moral obligation then you can come up with a contradiction....Plus even philosophers disagree about moral obligations."

And there are no machlokets in Halacha?

"Its so much easier to look at the Torah which has it all there already for you, with the exceptions and everything built in."

That's an example of giving up your moral autonomy. It essentially divorces your actions from any moral context whatsoever. This may make you a good follower, but diminishes your ability to consider the morality of the system or to rightly approach circumstances that the system does not address.

For example - is it right for a woman to be forced to be an agunah? Is slavery ever acceptable (the Torah differs between indentured Jewish servants and non-Jewish slaves)? Child abuse is never mentioned in the Torah (which is ironic given recent events). Is organ donation a moral obligation?

It's not as if rabbis cannot be wrong ethically or Halachically on any of these issues. So yes, it may be "easier" - but it may also be _wrong_.

"But this won't apply to the stuff the non-Jews don't hold of."

Generally that's just ritual action and is a step down in importance in my book. I actually think it's a big problem when some Jews get so caught up in the ritual that basic ethics gets sidelined.

When the kashrut of the slaughter is more important than the treatment of the animals then you've got your priorities messed up.

Isaiah 1:11-17:

"The multitude of your sacrifices—what are they to me?" says the LORD. "I have more than enough of burnt offerings, of rams and the fat of fattened animals; I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats. When you come to appear before me, who has asked this of you, this trampling of my courts? Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me. New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations— I cannot bear your evil assemblies.

...[W]ash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight! Stop doing wrong, learn to do right! Seek ustice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow."

The Babysitter said...

I'm not even sure where this is going anymore, lol.

Mlevin: I agree with you on everything you said. That even proves my point more. Also Unethical is different from illegal. So these stuff you mentioned might be legal, but not necessarily ethical, which is what morals are about.

Orthopax: Your right that if your just following the rules of the Torah then your giving up your moral choice. But when faced with a moral dillema and your not sure what to do, sometimes its easier have an answer told to you than to have to figure it out. Plus everyone can rationalize anything to the way they want. Like Mlevin said before with abortion, people can say its ok to do abortion cause it affects the mothers life, and while its still young its not considered young, and so on.
Child abuse is mentioned in the Torah, it says your not allowed to raise your hand to hit, that about covers it. It also says V'Hafta L'reach Hakamocha, you have to love everyone, by abusing children that's not loving. Although it does say by Hilchas Kibud Of Haem that even though a parent abuses their child, the child still has to respect them somewhat.
That's true that Rabbi's might not have the right answers also. But then if you have one Rabbi you hold of and he tells you something. Even if its wrong, as long as your following what he says because he's your Rabbi then you didn't do anything wrong. It says if a Rav tells you that your right shoe is your left you still have to listen cause he's your Rav.
But your right, we don't have the answers to everything.
I agree with you that the basics are more important. I think its horrible that people who are all into spirituals don't have the basics and will spray mace at a mother and child because the mother isn't dressed tznius or something like that.
"When the kashrut of the slaughter is more important than the treatment of the animals then you've got your priorities messed up."
That I have to disagree with. Animals were put here for us to benefit from. If we can't shecht them then what benefit are they, we need them to survive. People come before animals.
What you quoted is talking about the Kohanim who weren't bringing the right types of Karbonos. They were being stingy. They brought sick and poor animals, so Hashem said who needs them, as if to say what they were doing was so bad that it was worthless. And yea about the bottom paragraph, that's exactly it. The way they treat others, the widows and so on is more important than the Karbonos. Which is like Bein Adom Lichavairo is more important than Bein Adom Limakom. Because each person has a Tzelom Elokim, a part of Hashem, and by respecting a person your accomplishing both.

Orthoprax said...

Babysitter,

"But when faced with a moral dillema and your not sure what to do, sometimes its easier have an answer told to you than to have to figure it out."

Of course it's easier, but so what? It's usually easier to do the wrong thing.

"Plus everyone can rationalize anything to the way they want."

Yes of course, so we must be on guard against that too. The best trick is to dissassociate one's personal interest from the issue and look at it objectively. There's nothing wrong with getting the view from a third party - and a rabbi can be useful here - but a rabbi isn't perfect any more than any other person who's judgement you trust.

"Child abuse is mentioned in the Torah, it says your not allowed to raise your hand to hit, that about covers it. It also says V'Hafta L'reach Hakamocha, you have to love everyone, by abusing children that's not loving."

Hum? I was actually referring to sexual abuse. The Torah goes on and on about specific people for whom it is inappropriate to 'uncover the nakedness' of, but children seem to get no mention. Animals even get special notice, but not chldren. This was, as I mentioned, ironic because of the recent scandals involving several rabbis.

"Even if its wrong, as long as your following what he says because he's your Rabbi then you didn't do anything wrong."

Yes you did!! You did wrong. Period. The "I was just following orders" defense didn't work in Nuremberg and it shouldn't work here. The person most responsible for your actions is you.

"It says if a Rav tells you that your right shoe is your left you still have to listen cause he's your Rav."

That's nice, but take it with a grain of salt.

"That I have to disagree with. Animals were put here for us to benefit from. If we can't shecht them then what benefit are they, we need them to survive. People come before animals."

I didn't say people shouldn't come before animals. I said that people care more about shechita than about tzaar baalei chaim. This too was in the news a few months ago.

Though I disagree with the idea that animals were 'put here' for the benefit of man. Ideally, since they are independent living creatures, we wouldn't need to use them. At that ideal point, they wouldn't suddenly become pointless.

"What you quoted is talking about the Kohanim who weren't bringing the right types of Karbonos. They were being stingy. They brought sick and poor animals, so Hashem said who needs them, as if to say what they were doing was so bad that it was worthless."

I don't believe that is correct. There is no sign in the verses that the animals themselves are deficient - the issue is with the people who are doing the offering. This is a theme throughout Isaiah where people are publically pious - they fast, they give expensive sacrifices, they celebrate the holidays - but they don't practice justice.

The Babysitter said...

1) ok, right
2)o, I didn't think of that type of abuse. But yea, I heard about those cases, but then it wasn't clear what the final verdict was, if they were guilty or not. Could be people were just starting up. Although I definitely don't think it should be allowed, and if the stories are true, then its really upsetting. It might not say anything about children, but it says 3 years old by girls and 9 years old by boys is the age when things become prohibited. Its strange that it wouldn't mention children if it mentioned animals and 2 people from the same gender, figuring that however strange they may sound, people will have desires for it.
3) That's true, you did do wrong. But what I meant to say is you won't be accountable for it. This goes back to the other discussion before...of course you should judge for yourself and not do things that you know our wrong because a Rabbi says to. Like don't jump off a roof, don't be involved in murder...But then when its a question of if a kashrus is good or not, or a question of whether to give the 3 year old his hair cut before lag baomer or after, or other such things, then if you don't pick and choose what you like from different Rabbi's, but rather follow one Rabbi and listen to what he says, then even if its "wrong" you won't be accountable.
Plus if a Rabbi tells you to do bad stuff, like kill or jump off a bridge, then he isn't that much of a Rabbi. A Rabbi has to have qualifications first.
4)ok, interesting
5)could be I was mixing it up from a different place. What your saying makes sense and sounds right.

Yehudi Hilchati said...

frumskeptic,

I think I've made this comment before, but here it is again: You really need to move "out of town." So much of the conformity and groupthink you dislike is much more prevalent in the big frum communities, especially in NY.

Obviously, it's not the best idea for you to move to some backwater where there are no frum single guys, but maybe over the next few years you can try to date guys who are interested in leaving the ghetto of NY too and you can move out somehwere once you're married.

I live in a small but growing Orthodox community in the midwest. (We have 3 Orthodox shuls.) People keep mitzvot but don't do nutty chumrot and social strictures that have no basis. It's a much healthier environment and it's what Orthodox life should be. It's also a really warm community and no one judges anyone else.

This is commonplace in many smaller communities. So much of the stuff ypu complain about is unique to NY and a few other big frum centers.

Moshe said...

Hard to leave your family, friends, convenient shopping and restaurants...